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we are instructed, through the medium of those earthen vessels,' which are set apart for the keeping of the heavenly treasure. They must, therefore, take heed not to teach for doctrines the commandments of men,' but to declare with faithfulness and authority-Thus saith the Lord God.
But, again, the moral weight of the clergy, in their several spheres, arises above all, under the divine blessing, from the holiness of their lives. It was in part the personal holiness of our Lord, as contrasted with the hypocrisy of the Scribes, which enabled him to speak as one having authority. And had the enemies of St. Paul found aught to object against the purity of his life, he would not have been brought before four successive tribunals, to defend himself merely from the frivolous charge of being a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes ?."
And, if the policy of a mere worldly wisdom could teach Pagan philosophers to require
7 Acts, xxii. 26. xxiv. 5.
virtue in an orator, how much more strongly does the Gospel require of a preacher, that “he should behave himself holily, justly, and unblameably among them that believe &. The canons of the primitive church-documents valuable for the light they throw on the manners of the first ages of Christianity-interdict all who had done public penance from admission to holy orders. And if a rule so rigid evinces the value which the Father's attached to the irreproachable lives of the clergy, enough may be gleaned from the scanty notices of ecclesiastical history to testify the wisdom of their judgement, and to show the veneration and authority with which man is invested, even in his fallen state, by sanctity of character. One early instance occurs in the title given to an Apostle on account of his virtues, by a people whose prejudices were violently opposed to the principles on which those very virtues were founded. Josephus himself does not scruple to confess his conviction, that the distress which fell upon his
1 Thess. ii. 10.
nation in the destruction of their city, was a penal judgement for the martyrdom of James the Just. For, says the historian, the Jews slew him, though a very just man.
Another enemy of Christianity, and one who knew it well, as be had once been enlisted under its banners, affords his testimony to the same truth. The Emperor Julian attributed so much of the success of the Gospel to the strict lives of its clergy, that he gives direction in two of his epistles, respecting the serious tempers and deportment of the heathen priests, referring to the conduct of the Christian pastors for an example of the policy he recommends to Paganism. There is no testimony to the beauty of true holiness more impressive, than that which is thus borne by the involuntary awe excited by it in those who, while they approve its excellence, hate what they are constrained to admire. Herod, from a full conviction that 'John was a just and holy man, feared hiin. It is a glorious trophy raised to
religion, when the adorning display of Christian graces is such as to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, and to engage the esteem of those who are condemned by it. No greater tribute was ever paid to the constraining influence of the doctrines of the cross, than when it was remarked of some of the primitive believers—See how these Christians love one another. They were all preachers, as it were, by the spirit which they evinced, and doubtless won over many, by, the silent energy of their example, to exclaim-We will go with you, for we perceive that God is in you of a truth.'
But in tracing the sources of an effective ministry, care must be taken not to attach too much importance to secondary causes. It should never be forgotten that all honour cometh of God, and that it is he alone that gives the increase. Except the Lord keep the souls of his people, the watchman warneth but in vain. 's
Behold,' saith he to each of his humblest ministers, as of old to the angel of the church of
Philadelphia, ‘I have set before thee an open door
There is also a danger of another kind, to which the clergy, as a body, are peculiarly exposed. Though, by the divine command, they are to be patterns to the world of the rule and doctrine of Christ, yet their duties must not be performed solely for the sake of setting an example. Influence is desirable for a clergyman, as one of the talents which may be successfully used for the salvation of souls. But it must not be so sought as if it were mistaken for the end of his being. It is nothing more than one of the instruments for his work, by which he is to build up his people in Christ, and stablish them in the faith. Ministers therefore who enjoy the love of their flock, must be cautious lest they obstruct the glorification of their heavenly Father, by becoming too exclusively the idols of their charge. Their influence, although at first productive of much seeming religious obe
9 Rev. iji. 8.