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up my heart to God in silent prayer, I felt all at once such a sense of God's love that I scarcely knew what to do. I was enabled to exercise faith in the blood of Christ, and the Lord of Life and Glory entered my poor heart. Truly to-day I have been enabled to live without sin. Glory, glory to Thee, my God! Now I know I shall be useful. Lord, I consecrate all my powers to Thy service : use me for Thy glory.” With such self-dedication, and with such a baptism of the Holy Ghost, we cannot wonder that he went forth, Sabbath after Sabbath, with sacred eagerness, to “preach the Word." Nor do we marvel that he brought many to a knowledge of the truth " as it is in Jesus."
A crisis in Mr. Sharp's personal history, only less important than his second birth, had arrived. He felt he ought to take a wider sphere of labour, and devote himself entirely to the work of the Christian ministry. For a considerable time he hesitated, but the way was in the end made plain for him ; so that, at the Conference of 1858, he was accepted as a candidate for the Wesleyan ministry, and was sent to the Theological Institution. For two years he studied at Didsbury, with much diligence and perseverance. Often does he record at the close of the day's work: “ Several of us met to-night in my study for prayer, and we had a glorious time.” During his stay at the Institution, which he always named with gratitude, he often preached on the Lord's-day, and he speaks, in his diary, of his desire to be successful in winning souls to Christ.
His four years of probation were spent in the Shaftesbury, Ludlow, and Evesham Circuits. In Ludlow he was made very useful, and from this scene of labour many will be " the crown of his rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus.” At the Conference of 1864 he was appointed to the Knaresborough Circuit. After spending four months there, he was sent to fill the place of the late Rev. L. Railton at Peel, in the Isle of Man. Here he exercised his ministry for nearly two years. It was known that during the first month of his stay in Peel he prayed most earnestly for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and was often in deep distress because he saw little fruit of his labour, not unfrequently weeping bitterly; he literally went " forth weeping, bearing precious seed." The spring-time, however, was at hand. Days of quickening came; the sun of prosperity shone ; and a large in-gathering of souls took place. After leaving the service on the Sabbath evening previous to the beginning of a great revival, he was heard to say, “ I can do no more. I preach only to save souls; I cannot tell why the work of the Lord does not revive : I must leave it with God.” On the following Wednesday showers of blessing came down upon the people. Men wept, and cried for mercy, and multitudes received a sense of the forgiveness of their sins, and for months
special” services were held. Mr. Sharp, like many others, rejoiced with a holy joy, even “as men joy in harvest."
In 1866 he commenced his work in the Airdrie Circuit, in Scotland, a wide and laborious field of labour. Here, as elsewhere, he afresh devoted himself to God, and resolved to serve Him by serving His Church. With a calm but fervent zeal, he sought to advance the kingdom of the Redeemer. In all that affected the interests of the different Societies in this Circuit he was concerned, and daily did he urge his request for God's blessing to come down upon the “little one," as well as upon the place in which there was strength. When he came to this sphere of toil he witnessed a wide-spread awakening, and with kindred spirits he prayed and preached, and otherwise wrought for its permanent success, as only those who knew him well can understand.
Years of usefulness were thought to be before this promising young minister, but in the summer of 1868 he was not in good health. Partial rest and change of air were tried, and he returned, as the writer well knows, to live, and pray, and labour as he had never yet done, for the salvation of souls. He took cold in October, and again felt unwell, but said little, and performed all his appointed work. On the 8th of November, he preached in the Wallacestone chapel, from the text, " The end of all things is at hand," than which nothing could have been more appropriate to his own circumstances, as the event showed. His manner was unusually earnest and tender, and many will long remember his fervent appeals. The following Sabbath he was unable to preach. The next day it was deemed necessary to call in medical aid ; but it was not anticipated that his end was near, until he became delirious. The last words he was heard to articulate were, “I am a poor sinner, but Jesus is my all." He sank into the arms of death, on Thursday night, the 19th of November, 1868, in the thirty-sixth year of his age, and the ninth of his ministry. His life was in harmony with the spirit and precepts of Christianity, and concerning his death, though sudden, his friends are comforted : “ He is not,” for “ God took him."
We have only briefly now to refer to Mr. Sharp as he appeared in his varied relationships. As a son, he was ever dutiful and kind to his parents to the end of his life. As a husband, he was tender, considerate, loving, seeking at all times to promote the happiness and spiritual well-being of her who mourns in widowhood his loss. In his friendships there was a fine combination of the faithful and the kind, and this not only in the presence of his friends, but in their absence. “Speak evil of no man" was an article in his creed. We have often seen others reproved by his
silence when the character of the absent was being endangered ; and sometimes we have heard him speak resolutely against this too common sin. His colleagues in the ministry ever received from him the greatest kindness; their “good name was safe in his hands and in his presence, and they found in him a brotherly affection which will make them long cherish for him the most ten. der memories. His piety was of no ordinary kind. It was deep, without being ascetic, fervent without show: and those who knew his inner life can tell how everything was made a subject of prayer, how earnestly he was accustomed to pour out his supplications for the people of his charge, and how he rejoiced over the success of the preached Gospel. In connection with his piety there was nothing that struck those closely associated with him so much as this,-he brought all his personal and relative concerns, great and small, to God.
Mr. Sharp's habits were studious, and his attainments in scholarship were considerable. We cannot refrain from saying that in his study of the Word of God, especially, he is worthy of being followed. He read the Greek Testament with care daily. The morning was always spent in prayer and in the study of the Sacred Scriptures. This was the case at home, in the quiet of his own study, in the homes of his friends, in the bustle of a Conference or District Meeting. This accounts for his habitual prayerfulness, and for his constant devotion to his ministerial work. It is only justice to his character to add that his conduct as a pastor was exemplary. He visited from house to house, and among groups of cottages was wont to hold a short service, and then visit a few families. The poor were not neglected, and the sick had his kindly attention; no matter what the repute of the suffering person, he was there to recommend the Saviour, and to improve, if possible, the affliction to the profit of the afflicted. In such labours he was often made a great blessing. The last manifest fruit of this kind in which he rejoiced was a person in the neighbourhood, who was brought to God through his efforts, and who died two days after.
It only remains for us to speak of Mr. Sharp as he appeared in the pulpit. In the popular sense of the word he was not a great preacher: indeed, he never aimed at greatness, but at being uscful. His one object in study, in prayer, in preaching, was to do good, to save souls. His sermons were prepared with far more care than many, from the mode of their delivery, would have supposed. There was a constant freshness in his presentation of Divine truth; and he tried at all times to use such plain Saxon words as the most ignorant could understand. His manner in the pulpit was grave and quiet, but he always preached under deep emotion, and not seldom wept when urging his fellow-sinners
to accept of the terms of salvation. The power of the Spirit frequently rested upon him and his hearers while he opened unto them the Scriptures.
In the midst of life and of plans for usefulness-while it was yet morning-God called this earnest young minister to rest. He had heard the calls of God in revelation and Providence, and, with a constancy and ardour rarely seen, he set himself to prepare for eternity's grand harvest, the Divinely-appointed fruit of earth's well-directed toils. He felt himself in the midst of great principles, and knew that, as a “worker with God,” his actions would produce results important and endless. He now therefore reaps “ life everlasting." We, too, are now sowing; if faithful, we soon with him shall also in like manner reap. Reader,
Sow truth if thou the true wouldst reap;
Who sows the false shall reap the vain ;
From hollow words and deeds refrain.
Sow peace, and reap its harvest bright;
And find a harvest-home of light.”
THE PRAYERS OF ST. PAUL:
UNITY AND HOPE.
The two Prayers which are so closely connected in this chapter might, on the first glance, appear to be the broken fragments of one concluding supplication. But, when closely examined, they are found to be perfectly distinct, having each its own most appropriate reference to the general strain of the preceding Epistle. The former reverts to the blending of Jews and Gentiles in the one Church of Christ, and prays for the grace of unity in its manifestation towards each other and towards God. The latter takes up the fundamental doctrine of Christian salvation by faith, and prays for the abounding experience of the blessings of that salvation, as they are reserved for hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. These Petitions have their specific bearing upon the state of the church on whose behalf they are offered; but, like all the Prayers of St. Paul, they are so framed as to belong to the universal Church, in all its communities and in all its individual members. Henco we may fairly give them general titles, and expound them in their general application.
"Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus : that ye may with one mind and one month glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."-Rom. xv. 5, 6.
It will be observed at once that the several words here used are peculiar, scarcely one of them occurring in any of the other Prayers. The customary invocation has a striking turn given to it, and the description of the unity asked for is no less characteristic. In the interpretation of both we shall have more than usually to explore the context.
1. God is addressed as the God of patience and consolation. If we throw our eye backward, we see the meaning to be this, that God is the Giver of that steadfastness and encouragement which it is the design of the Holy Scriptures to inspire. The Apostle has just been paying a grand and precious tribute to the ancient oracles of the Old Testament as given for the instruction of Christians, which instruction, sealed upon the heart as passive patience and active comfort, feeds and strengthens the principle of hope. But the Scriptures, whether written aforetimo or by the Apostles themselves, are only the instrument which God uses for the maintenance in our souls of a sure and efficacious confidence of future glory. This hope was the end of the Old Testament, realized in Christ; in Christ the same hope is raised to a higher life, expanded to embrace a larger object, and sustained by fuller promises. But we are still saved by hope. And the God of the Christian hope is still the God of patience and comfort. His Spirit still teaches us by the finished Scriptures to endure stead. fastly, strong in the consolation of grace, until the sum of all Christian expectation is reached. Thus here, and here only, God receives a name derived from the Bible as His instrument. No higher testimony could be given to the written Word than this. The Scriptures are the power of God for the infusion into human souls of fortitude and strength. And God is the God of that patience and consolation which only through the Scriptures He imparts.
2. The connection between this invocation and the subject of the Prayer will now be sufficiently obvious. But it requires us to remember St. Paul's habit of passing silently, as it were, and without warning, from a single and isolated quotation to the general scope of the Old Testament Scriptures, as well as his habit of leaving his readers to supply many of the links of his argument and exhortation. Had he here filled up the measure of his meaning, many verses would have required to be inserted beforo the petition commenced. We must be bold to read his omission