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suggesting the thought, As Christ and His Apostles worked, and laboured, and loved, and cared, so have I to work the same work, to labour in the same field of the Church, to love the same flock, and to care for the same objectthe conversion and sanctification of sinners; and who am I that this should be laid upon

me ?

Well, then, does it not seem that the thought that we are the commissioned servants of such a One, would, instead of exalting us, on the contrary, literally overwhelm us ?

So indeed it would if Christ had left us to ourselves. If He were wholly absent, and we had to bear the burden of representing Him, of feeding His flock and leading it, we should assuredly shrink from such a burden, if it were proposed to us to bear it, and utterly faint under it if we had had it laid upon us.

But this is our strength and consolation, that He has engaged to be with us.

He is present in and by His Holy Spirit; but let us not mistake this promise as if the Holy Spirit, Who has never become incarnate, only represents our incarnate Lord. In ages of the Church when they realized more than we do the divine side rather than the human side of Christian truth, there was a well-ascertained dogma which consisted in this, that wherever there was the presence of One Person of the ever-blessed Trinity, He brought with Him the perfect presence of

not ours;

the other Two Persons. So Christ says, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father;" and when Christ was leaving this world and sending His Spirit, it was to supply not His place, but His very presence. “I will not leave you comfortless,” He says; “I will come to you.” So that in some unseen and inscrutable, but real and efficacious way, our dear Master, God and Man, is "with us."

But if He be with us, does it not supersede the need of our own personal holiness? Does not the presence of such a Helper make all His, and

so that our own wills, characters, attainments, gifts, graces, go for nothing, and He does all ?

“No.* A minister of Christ has two sets of powers' or functions. He has official powers to perform duly certain covenant acts, such as Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, and the offering of public prayers, and binding and loosing in that outward and visible kingdom of which he is, as it were, the official, by being a duly-constituted minister ; but in addition to this, he has, or ought to have, moral power as a preacher of repentance, and evangelical power as a setter forth of Christ crucified.

“Now, in the case of the former, Christ is, for the flock's sake, always present with him in the performance of these ministerial or official acts; so that the personal character of the minister in no case affects the validity of his act. Whenever he baptizes he admits the baptized into the visible Church, so that it would be profane to repeat that baptism; and whenever he administers the Lord's Supper, he gives the most precious pledge to the true Christian of his continuance in the body of Christ. But not so with his moral power of calling men to repentance, or leading them to the Saviour. These powers depend upon his own Christian character, upon his prayers, upon his diligent study of God's word, above all, upon the individual application to his own soul of the work and the promises of Christ.”

* These two paragraphs are taken with a little alteration from a tract I published a few years ago entitled “Doctrinal Revision of the Liturgy.”

How deeply is this truth embodied in that prayer which, amongst prayers, stands perhaps next to Christ's own prayer—I mean the 51st Psalm. “Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all my misdeeds. Create in me

a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with Thy free spirit;" then, then, when Thou hast thus dealt with my own soul, “then will I teach transgressors Thy ways.” Oh, how wonderful that the penitent's prayer and the minister's prayer should be the same, and yet how natural that Christ should employ to

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teach about sin and salvation those who have the heart knowledge of both sin and salvation.

But must we not go further? If He employs us to teach others to bear their crosses and you know that He has said, “He that will come after Me must deny himself and take up his cross”—if He employs us as His ministers to teach men that they are each to bear their cross, and how to bear it, will He not in some way lay the cross upon us? So, at least, thought our Church's own sacred bard when in his evening hymn he taught us to pray

“ O by Thine own sad then, borne

So meekly up the hill of scorn;
Teach Thou Thy priests their daily cross
To bear as Thine, nor count it loss."


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Wonderful, is it not, that this great Christian teacher should, out of all the things for which

as ministers desire your prayers on our behalf, single out this one, that we should bear our cross well ? But a greater teacher by far realized the truth of this even more fully when he assures us that not more certainly for our people's sake must we bear the cross than for! our people's sake we shall have consolation under its inflictions: “ Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all consolation, Who comforteth us in all our tribulation that we may

be able to comfort them which are in any

trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

Such, then, my brethren, is the Christian ministry. It is Christ leaving His Church on earth in order that He might the more effectually minister to it on the right hand of God. It is this same Christ leaving His Church and its concerns in the hands of His brethren in order that He might draw it to Himself, and bind it to Himself by the cords of a man, that is, by sympathy, by fellowship in such things as sense of sin and forgiveness of sin, by love, that is, by human love, by the example of men of like passions with their brethren; and if there be anything else which binds heart to heart, such as even the relief of distress, it has its place in the Church and ministry of Christ.

So that the Church can as soon outgrow the ministry as she can outgrow human naturehuman nature sanctified by the presence and indwelling of the human nature of the GodMan.

And you, my dear brethren, are some of you on this day to enter into this ministry, and some of you to enter upon a higher grade of it.

You voluntarily separate yourselves on this day for the work and service of Christ in His Church, and His chief minister accepts and accredits in Christ's name your separation,

I have but one word for you. Remember this day. Let the memory of what you have

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