Графични страници
PDF файл

charge of a church and district, to which belong a public speaker. In the pulpit, or on the platform, 10,000 souls: 501. a-year have been granted (local he was always master of the whole resources of his help being also obtained), in order that a clerical richly furnished mind, and could bring them forth with assistant may be associated in the pastoral labours which the population demands. The incumbent of

a readiness, and skill, and play of fancy, which inAlmondbury, Yorkshire, has in his parish a district variably enchained the attention of those who heard containing 5000 persons, without a church; up to him; and yet this gifted man had failed when he first Christmas last, divine service was performed in a attempted to address an audience without book. school-room, licensed by the archbishop; but by the Abashed by his novel situation, intimidated by the upremoval of the clergyman it ceased : the committee have granted aid, in order to the resumption of divine turned gaze, which every young speaker finds it no worship, with two full services, until a church can easy ordeal to encounter, his memory faltered, his ideas be erected.

fled, his thoughts became confused, and, to use his own It is also proposed to employ lay-agents, whether expressive language, he “broke down." Discouraged candidates for holy orders, or others; and we may by his ill success, it was with great difficulty he was observe, that already several graduates of the University of Cambridge, who are preparing for the ministry, ever prevailed on to make another trial. have offered themselves in this capacity. The lay

I have no desire to discuss the relative merits of exagents, of course, are not to interfere with the minis- temporaneous and written sermons--though, I must terial office, but to act, in every respect, in subordi- say, I generally prefer the latter--pious and judicious nation to the parochial clergy, confining themselves men have in this respect differed in their practice: but strictly to those duties, which, as laymen, they may properly fulfil. Every clergyman must, we presume,

every one, I apprehend, will allow that readiness of have felt the value of this kind of lay co-operation speech is a qualification most desirable for a clergyAnd we cannot help thinking that thus will be opened man. He may occasionally be placed in circumstances an admirable school, in which young men, after leaving where it is absolutely necessary. It may, therefore, be the University, may acquire some of the experience interesting and useful to know what directions such so important (but hitherto so hard, till actual ordination, to be obtained) to the due discharge of minis

a master as Mr. Richmond would give to persons wish. terial labour.

ing to acquire this habit. The following note, written It will be seen, we hope, that the plan of the by him, many years ago, to a young friend, then preSociety is unobjectionable. "It assumes no authority; paring for the ministry, has never, I believe, appeared it merely provides pecuniary assistance, and recommends suitable labourers. It acts at the solicitation

in print, and may be acceptable to some of the readers of incumbents, and only in conjunction with them.

of “the Church of England Magazine:"The clergymen it supports are placed, exactly like all

MY DEAR SIR, their brethren, under the authority of their diocesan, and the direction of their immediate ecclesiastical ing the easiest and best way to acquire facility and

I can easily enter into your feelings. Were I advissuperiors. The lay-agents are to be removable at the incumbent's pleasure. In no respect is the due

confidence in free address, I would recommend what I subordination, on which so much of the welfare of a have known many to have tried with speedy and comChurch depends, to be interfered with. We are sure fortable success :-that, with the Divine blessing, this plan must succeed. And when we perceive, at the annual meeting, men

1. Conversational expounding of chapters or porlike the Bishop of Chester, the Deans of Ardagh and

tions of chapters. Clogher, the Revs. Dr. Dealtry, H. R. Dukinfield, 2. Writing entire sermons, then making full skelerector of St. Martin's, T. V. Short, rector of Blooms- tons from them, and taking only the skeletons into bury, T. Snow, rector of St. Dunstan's, coming for public, and using either memory or invention in clothward, by their presence and their addresses, to advocate the claims of this Society, we do feel that the

ing them. country has a guarantee that it will be conducted with

3. Visiting the sick, reading Scripture to them, and the principle, and wisdom, and Christian zeal, which mingling explanation and application in a familiar ought to command for it, especially when others are so active against us, the support of the well-wishers of 4. Selecting a few children, and talking religiously our Church.

to them, at stated times. Our decreasing limits warn us to stop: we shall hereafter report the progress of the Society. One

In the above ways, I found, and know many

others thing more we will now say. The committee express

to have found, easy confidence and comfort in all sorts their hope, that by the end of the year 10,0001, may

of attempts.

“Rem bene provisam verba haud invita be placed in their hands. We heartily re-echo this sequentur," will prove its own verity. To these I add; hope. We appeal for them to the liberality, never yet appealed to in vain, of our brother-Churchmen.

5. Prayer to God, with simplicity of intention. We trust that our voice will go forth into all corners Had I thus originally begun, I should not have of the land. And the readers of our Magazine may broken down; but I was an untutored tyro, and wist easily, if they choose, raise the sum we ask. May not what I was doing. I approve your idea for tothey think upon the need of their poor destitute brethren; and may God incline them to take zealous

morrow evening, and send you materials. But do just part in this "work of faith, and labour of love!"

in any way as you feel most comfortable ; you are sure
to please
Your friend,


The simple rules here laid down are short enough to QUIRING A READINESS


be readily remembered, and plain enough to be easily SPEAKING

followed. Directions more elaborate will be found in Bishop Burnet's " Pastoral Care."

U. It is generally acknowledged that the late Rev. Legh Richmond was equalled by few in graceful fluency as



their earnest prayers with mine, that He, in SHEPHERD AND HIS SHEEP:

whose name I speak, may, by his Spirit,

effectually bless his word. a Sermon,

I. The character of Christ: “I am the BY THE Rev. JOHN AYRE, M.A.

good Shepherd." I shall here only just Minister of St. John's Chapel, Downshire Hill, point out the particular reasons why Christ Hampstead.

calls himself a shepherd. Joun, x. 14.

1. Because he has purchased his people. * I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and A shepherd becomes by purchase the owner am known of mine."

of his sheep: and so Christ, by laying down Tae Scriptures, in inculcating Divine truth, his life-an inestimable price---redeemed a make great use of similitudes taken from goodly company to be his own possession. circumstances and characters of daily occur- They were previously far estranged from rence among men,

And this is of great him, and serving other masters. And thereadvantage to us, because we are less likely fore he came “ to seek and to save those to receive doctrine in the abstract than that were lost.” This kindness of his he when it is embodied in a form familiar to pointedly refers to, when he says, "The good our mind, and consonant to our feelings. Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." We can have no clear idea of God, for in- 2. Christ calls himself a shepherd, because stance, if he is defined only by his attributes. he feeds his people. The shepherd is charged We may be told that he is kind; but our ap- to find pasture for his flocks ; and, in some prehension of his kindness will be very vague. countries, it is necessary to use much care Let it be added, however, that he is a Father, and skill in selecting wholesome pastures. and a living picture of affection is at once Thus we read that Jacob's sons, who were created -a thousand tender images present shepherds, had often to go to a great distance themselves, and the truth intended to be from their father's habitation : while he dwelt conveyed, not merely rests in the understand in Hebron, they fed their flocks in Shechem ing, but reaches the heart. Hence our blessed and in Dothan. Just so, Christ provides for Lord was fond, in his conversations with his his followers food convenient for them. He followers, of representing himself in a va- satisfies their hunger with healthful nutririety of characters, which, carrying a distinct ment: he quenches their thirst with living image to their thoughts, would, better than water, causing them to drink of the clear naked precepts, illustrate to them his love river, whose“ streams make glad the city and care for their welfare. He was, he of God.” said, “ a vine," to exhibit the close connexion 3. Christ calls himself a shepherd, because of them, as branches, with himself, and the he guides his people. Every one must have derivation of all their strength, and growth, observed that the sheep is an animal most and fruitfulness, from him. He was bread," prone to stray; and, having strayed, it is to intimate the solid and substantial nutri- least able to retrace its steps to the fold. A ment he furnished to those who lived by faith shepherd, therefore, has to be very watchful, upon him. But one of the most favourite that he loses none of his flock. When he characters under which he chose to be repre- leads them along a road, he has often much sented was that which we find in my text- trouble to make them keep the right path. "I am the good Shepherd.” This is re- He must have his eye upon every one of peated many times. And in the Old Testa- them. Just so, Christ not only points out the ment we have the declaration of David pre- way in which his people are to walk, but treads cisely similar ; “ The Lord is my shepherd; it himself, that they may follow him, warns I shall not want : he maketh me to lie down them continually against leaving it, keeps in green pastures ; he leadeth me beside the them by his vigilance, leads tenderly the still waters."

feeble and the young : and if one strays I purpose directing your attention, this away, he goes with anxious compassion to day, to the Saviour, as thus characterised, seek it; and when he hath found it, he and the mutual resulting knowledge of him- bears it back upon his shoulders rejoicing. self and his flock. The text divides itself 4. Christ calls himself a shepherd, because into three branches.

he defends his people. The sheep is a very I. “I am the good Shepherd :" Christ's timid creature: it has no means of repelling character.

any attack, but falls an easy prey to every II. “And know my sheep:” his knowledge wild beast. And therefore, in lands where of his people.

savage animals are found, the shepherd has III." And am known of mine :" their know- carefully to secure his fold; and very often, ledge of him.

as we read of the shepherds of Bethlehem, I entreat those whom I address to join to watch his flocks all night. Just so, Christ

is careful to place his followers in safety. | descending from on high, that the dead soul They are surrounded by powerful foes, too of man is quickened, and made to bring forth strong for them; but he does not leave them fruit. The Lord turns us, and we are turned; exposed to their assaults. Having received he draws us, and we run after him. And, I Father, he diligently

keeps it. " I give unto sheep, that he knows them; because he chooses them eternal life: and they shall never perish, them from the world to be his own peculiar, neither shall any man pluck them out of my his precious flock; because he thus links hand: my Father, which gave them me, is them with an immutable tie to himself, regreater than all, and no man is able to pluck solving to make them the glorious inhabitants them out of my Father's hand.”

of his heavenly kingdom. II. Such, briefly, is the character of Christ (2.) Christ knows his sheep, because he as the good Shepherd. I hasten, in the draws them to his fold. “They (as our Arsecond place, to speak of his knowledge of ticle says) be called, according to his purhis people: “I know my sheep."

pose.” God's intentions of love have in 1. He distinguishes them from others. There due time their effect. And no one, properly is frequently a very great similitude between speaking, is to be reckoned among Christ's true and false disciples. So close is the re- flock till he is made obedient to the heavenly semblance, that Christ, though he gives us invitation, to come forth and to be separate, general directions to know his followers, is touching not the unclean thing. This is a careful to inculcate the impossibility of our point of importance : St. Paul, we are assured, always forming herein a right judgment. In was a “chosen vessel” unto God ; yet was he the parable of the tares, for instance, when the " chief of sinners," a persecutor, a blasthe zealous servants were anxious to clear phemer, and injurious, until the voice of the field, the wiser master forbade them, Jesus arrested his bloody purposes, and a lest, in pulling out the tares, they should root Divine power led him to believe that Saviour up also some wheat with them: “ let both whom once he reviled, and to preach that grow together till the harvest.” But, however faith which once he destroyed. And, theredifficult it may be for us to distinguish truly, fore, Christ's people come to him. He knows Christ always knows the sheep from the them, because they have laid hold on the hope goats. No disguise can elude his searching he sets before them; because they are united eye: no profession can pass with him for to him by the faith which by his Spirit he principle. "Judas deceived his fellow-apostles, works in their hearts ; because, mollified by but his Master's eye was on him. “Have I the view of his exceeding love, they take him not chosen you twelve ? and one of you is a for their Lord and their God. In this he devil.” In the same way, Christ discovers bestows on them a rich blessing-spiritual life his servants, though they may be unknown-which is both a foretaste and a pledge of to men. Very often when an individual is everlasting life. As he is the God and Shepoverlooked or rejected by his brethren, when herd, not of the dead but of the living, he he has no encouragement from those around will have a living flock, moving and having him, and is standing, it may be, in doubt of their being in him: and it is hereby he knows himself, Christ, who quenches not the smoking his sheep; he perceives them endued with flax, beholds him graciously, and acknow the gift which he only has bestowed. ledges him as his disciple. It is a mercy to (3.) Further; Christ knows his people, behave to do with one that judgeth not after cause he has formed in them his image. This the outward appearance. Now, Christ knows is the mark, the brand, as it were, by which his sheep,

he makes them distinguishable. Hereby, as (1.) Because he has himself chosen them. a general rule, it is to be seen who are bis This he is careful to tell his followers. “Ye disciples. They look by faith on him, and, have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, beholding in his countenance the glory of the and ordained you, that ye should go and Lord, are " changed into the same image, from bring forth fruit."' The first part of salva- glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.” tion is the flowing down of God's love in He, also, looking upon them, sees the reflecChrist to man, not the rising of man's love tion, so to speak, of his own features, and to God. “Not that we loved him (says the hence acknowledges them as his. He is Scripture), but that he loved us." Just so, pleased with the work of his own hands, the warm rays of the sun first strike upon He pours down more and more his blessing the earth, and render its bosom fruitful, and upon them: he lets them receive of his then arise the herbs, and plants, and trees, fulness, " grace for grace." and turn their leaves and flowers to his 2. In this way Christ distinguishes his beams, and bask in the brightness which he people generally; but I would next observe sheds around them. Thus, it is by a power that he knows them, by taking particular and

indiridual cognisance of them. He not only his redeemed people esteem him “ the chief knows them with a scrutinising eye, but re- among ten thousand.” No other company can gards them with a favourable eye. And just content them--" they have taken away my as, though, to a stranger, the sheep of a flock Lord,” said Mary Magdalene: no other being present the same aspect, the shepherd is said can fix their admiration ----" Whom have I in to know clearly the features of each one from heaven (says the believer) but thee ? and there another, so Christ beholds the personal cir- is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” cumstances and differences of every member If he be cast into the fire, he has no hurt, so of his Church, in order graciously and ju- long as the Son of God is by him. If he walk dieiously to treat him according to his neces- through the valley of the shadow of death, he sities. He perceives every sickness, and fears no evil, when his Shepherd is with him. applies the proper remedy ; he knows every In his presence there is "fulness of joy.” weakness, and perfects in it his strength; he Friends and relatives may be very dear to understands when to lead and when to carry;

him, but Christ is dearer still : he comparahe sympathises with every trial, and lends aid tively loves neither father, nor wife, nor to surmount every difficulty. No one in that children, nor even his own life. Prizing so company is too insignificant to obtain his inestimably his Saviour, he is ready to suffer notice; no event which affects his chosen is for him ; his glory is that which he desires hightly passed over by him, for he is united to promote -- he spends and is spent in his with them in the closest bonds, even as the service. head and members of one body. And, there- 2. Further; Christ's people know his will. fore, if Peter is to be tempted, he prays for Christ has written his law in their heart, and him, that his faith fail not; if Paul is to be they know and value it. While ignorant of brought before kings, he stands by him pre- Christ, persons, even in their own way sinviously, to bid him “be of good cheer :” he cere, ha run into the worst errors. St. is with them in six troubles, and in seven Paul, before conversion, thought that by per" he will not forsake them." It is an unsecuting Christ he did God service. And the speakable comfort to the Christian to reflect revealed will of God has been in all ages to that Christ thus knows him--the depth of some men a stumbling-block, to others foolhis unworthiness, and yet does not cast him ishness : but Christ's people know his mind; off:—the greatness of his guilt, and yet offers they are endued with heavenly wisdom; they him salvation ;-the extremity of his weakness, have a Teacher imparted to them whose office and yet promises him victory. He can then is to lead them into all truth ; and they peradopt the language of the Psalmist, “Search ceive that this new knowledge is in accordme, o God, and know my heart; try me, ance with the written word. That which and know my thoughts, and see if there be heretofore was darkness, is now light in the any wicked way in me, and lead me in the Lord ; that which they before disliked, they way everlasting." Thus it is that the good now know to be ways of pleasantness and Shepherd knows his sheep.

paths of peace. And it is not a mere knowIII. I proceed, as I proposed, in the third ledge of Christ's will they now possessplace, to speak of their knowledge of him—“I their wills are moulded into sweet conformity am known of mine." There is a mutual ac- with his, so that they are doers as well as quaintance; and, as it has been said, “he hearers of his word; and even where his observes them with an eye of favour, and they pleasure runs counter to their natural prediobserve him with an eye of faith.” The lections, they are enabled to say, Not my will, sheep's knowledge of the shepherd is the but thine, O God, be done. result of the shepherd's knowledge of the 3. Again ; Christ's people know his voice, sheep (Gal. iv. 9): " ye have known God but “they know not the voice of strangers." (says the Apostle Paul), or rather are known This is often dwelt upon in Scripture. St. of God.” He opens their eyes, and they see Paul pronounces every one accursed, even him; he unstops their ears, and they hear though he were an angel from heaven, who his voice ; he shines into their hearts, and should speak with another voice than Christ, they place their affections on him. All their or preach another Gospel; and therefore knowledge is given them of him.

charges the disciples to listen to no such I can only mention a few particulars in messenger. To the natural man the voice of which Christ's people may be said to know Christ is unpleasant : he may listen to it, inhim, their good Shepherd; but I would say, deed, if it be set off with eloquence of speech;

1. They know and value his person—" He but in its plain simplicity it is an offence to goeth before them, and the sheep follow him; him: he says, it is a “ hard saying ;" he canand a stranger will they not follow, but will flee not hear it. It reproves his pride; it rebukes from him." While the world sees no beauty his sins. But the true believer recognises it, in the Lord Jesus, that it should desire him, whether in the Scripture, or in the mouth of


Christ's ambassadors. Their message strikes 2. Again ; how necessary is self-examinaon a responsive chord in his heart, and his tion. There are many, as we have seen, that affections vibrate to the joyful sound. The associate with Christ's sheep, and yet are humble believer recognises it as the voice of none of his. He has his eye upon them-authority, he receives it with teachableness upon those in this place who have a name to and meekness, he is content to be a learner live, but are dead: he penetrates the flimsy under it, earnestly praying that it may be an veil with which they conceal their real cha“engrafted word,” able and effectual to save racter from their fellows, from themselves. his soul. This is a very important, though a Now, remember that a man may go very far somewhat neglected, part of the knowledge with religious persons without being religious distinctive of Christ's flock.

himself; he may bear a great resemblance to 4. Once more; Christ's people know by Christ's flock without really belonging to it. experience his present power to save them. It It becomes you, therefore, seriously to try is not, as I before said, a mere theoretical and prove yourselves, that you be satisfied knowledge which they now possess, for that with nothing short of the entire change of would little profit them, but that intimate ac- heart and character, which is the peculiar quaintance of which the Apostle John speaks work of the Divine Spirit. Without this, your when he says, " that which we have heard, profession will only testify against you ; your which we have seen with our eyes, which we privileges will increase your responsibility; have looked upon, and our hands have handled and out of your own mouth you will be conof the Word of life.” The believer has known demned. the blessing of Christ's death, and has felt the Lastly. How blessed is the true believer's power of his resurrection: he has in a thou- condition. He knows Christ. He knows sand instances had proof of his faithfulness, whom he has believed. He knows that love and, deriving his acquaintance with him, not which passeth knowledge. And his present from the report of others, but from his own knowledge is an earnest of far more extended experience, he sets to his seal that Christ is knowledge. For comparatively, he sees now true. So the Samaritans, we read, said unto" through a glass darkly, but then face to the woman that met Jesus at the well, face.” He has yet but the germ of future we believe, not because of thy saying, for we

blessedness. “ Now are we the sons of God have heard him ourselves, and know that this (says the Apostle); and it doth not yet appear is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the what we shall be; but we know that when he world.” It is commonly observed that you shall appear, we also shall appear with him in know not your friend till you have tried him. glory.” Let this prospect, Christian brethren, How unspeakably precious is the tried love of encourage you. Press diligently towards the Jesus to his people! they then know they mark. Abound in every good word and work. may depend upon it; they know that though Be zealous to go on from strength to strength, creature-comforts fail, and all things change till you come unto "the perfect man, to the about them, he will never leave them, never measure of the stature of the fulness of forsake them: he knows his sheep, and is Christ.” He will speedily gather all his flock known of them.

together. He will “ accomplish the number I must draw the subject to a close; and I of his elect, and hasten his kingdom." Then would only make upon it two or three brief shall there be “one fold” under "

one Shepinferential observations,

herd.” 1. How condescending is Christ's love. He was dwelling in the highest heavens, sur

THE TRIUMPHANT CHRISTIAN'S NEW rounded with pure and happy spirits, whose

NAME.* adorations would have been paid him through

"I will write on him the name of my God."-Rev. iii. 12. eternity; yet he chose to leave his splendid It was customary to write on the pillars of victory the seat, and become the shepherd of a little

name of the false god in whose temple the pillar was flock on earth, which he had, with pain, and erected. And thus, in the case of the Christian, the poverty, and death, to gather from the wilder

name of Jehovah, so dear to him on earth, shall be ness : though he was rich, yet for our sakes stamped on his forehead in heaven : “Ye shall see his he became poor.” We cannot comprehend

face, and his name shall be on your foreheads." In such immeasurable kindness—it has heights,

this world it is possible that the sincere Christian and lengths, and depths, and breadths, which may be perplexed, either by his own doubts of acpass our knowledge. But let us remember

ceptance with God, or by the doubts and insinuations that we are bound by it. We are most un- will be no longer a disputable point. He shall be re

of others; but, in heaven, his acceptance and adoption thankful, if we disregard it. Let us, knowing cognised by Him who has stamped him with his own that we are not our own, but “ bought with name. He shall be owned also by myriads of happy a price," glorify Christ in our bodies and with spirits, who, beholding that sacred name, shall at once our spirits, which are his.

. By the Rev. J. W. Cunningham.

« ПредишнаНапред »