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^-T^T'j-^-aj^- 



WOEDS 



TO THB 



WINNERS OF SOULS. 



BT 



REV. HORATTOS BONAR, D.D. 



** He thmt vianeth (onbia wiae.' — iVor.ai.JtL 




BOSTON: 
THE AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY; 

UrSTITCTKD 1814. 

Dxpoerrusixs, ss coBsniLL, bostoit, ass is bibuc-housk, 

A8TOB PULCK, SEW TORK. 



" 'Tis not for man to trifle. Life is brief. 

And sin is here. 
Our age is but the falling of a leaf — 

A dropping tear. 
Wo have no time to sjwrt away the honrs : 
All must be earnest in a world like oars. 

" Not many lives, bat only- one have we, — 
One, only one; 
How sacred should that one life ever be — 

That narrow span I 
Day after day filled np with blessed toil. 
Hoar after hoar still bringing in new spoil.' 



■•■*^T:i--i.-, 







'HE following work was prepared hj its dis- 
tinguished and pious author in 1859, during 
the revivals which at that time were so numerous and 
]>owerfuI, both in Great Britain and America. Its 
earnest and pungent appeals were well calculated to 
awaken ministers to a new and profound considcra^ 
tion of the responsilulides of their calling, and a fresh 
consecration of themselves to the service of Christ. 
' They will, it is believed, be no less valuable in pro- 
moting the zeal and fidelity of all in this country to 
whom has l>een committed the solemn, yet blessed 
work of wnnfiNG souls. 

The original preface and a few passages having 
cltiefly a local reference have been omitted. 



.-.«fci.S*i>'^-.,..- 



Vv*^ 



CONTENTS 



-•- 



CHAPTER I. 

rxam 



Tea Ihfobtascb oy a Lttihg MimsTBT 



• • 



5 



CHAPTER n. 
Thb Mxhiktkb's thub Lo^ Ajn> Waix ... 20 

CHAPTER ni. 
Past I>£fects m 

CHAPTER IV, 
SlnnSTEBIAL COITFESSIOir « 

CHAPTER V. 
RsviVAi, nr thb Mihistbt m 



iiiii^~-ii^^v 



kr-.nUii 



■ V '-i:-^ 



WORDS TO THE WINNEBS OF SOULS. 




CHAPTER L 

THE IMPOBTAKCE OF A LIVING MIIilSTBT. 

; OW MUCH MOBS WOULD A FEW GOOD AITD 
FERVENT MEN EFFECT IN THE MINISTBT 
THAN A MULTITUDE OF LUKEWABM ONES ! ** 

Such was the remark of (Ecolampar 
dius, the Swiss Reformer, — a man who had 
been taught by experience, and who has 
recorded that experience for the benefit of 
other churches and other days. It is a re- 
mark, however, the truth of which has been 
but little acknowledged and acted on ; nay, 
whose importance is to this day unappreci- 
ated even where its truth is not denied. 

The mere multiplying of men calling 
themselves ministers of Christ, will ayai| 

6 



t£t-JlSf^3Eir:.£4^4-' ..^^^^ 



6 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

little. They may be but " cumberers of 
the ground." Tliey may be like Achans, 
troubling the camp ; or perhaps Jonahs, 
raising the tempest. Even when sound in 
the faith, yet, through unbelief, lukewarm- 
ness, and slothful formality, they may do 
irreparable injury to the cause of Christ ; 
freezing and withering up all spiritual life 
around them. The lukewarm ministry of 
one who is theoretically orthodox, is often 
more extensively and fatally ruinous to 
souls than that of one grossly inconsistent 
or flagrantly heretical. " What man on 
earth is so pernicious a drone as an idle 
minister ? " said Cecil. And Fletcher re- 
marked well, that " lukewarm pastors made 
careless Christians." Can the multiplica- 
tion of such ministers, to whatever amount, 
be counted a blessing to a people ? The 
fathers of the Scottish Church, acting upon 
tills principle, preferred keeping a parish 
vacant to appomting over it an unsuitable 



nipoRTAKCB OF A Liruro iomaTRT. 7 

pastor. And when the church of Christ, 
in all her denominations, returns to prim- 
. itive example, and, walking in apostolical 
footsteps, seeks to be conformed more closely 
to iuspii'ed models, allowing nothing that 
pertains to earth to come between her and 
her liring Head, then will she give more 
careful heed to see that the men to whom 
she intrusts the care of souls, howeyer 
learned and able, should be yet more dis- 
tinguished by their spirituality and zeal and 
faith and love. 

In comps^ng Baxter and Orton together, 
the biographer of the former remarks that 
" Baxter would have set the world on fire 
while Orton was lighting a match." How 
true ! Yet not true alone of Baxter or of 
Orton. These two individuals are repre- 
sentations of two classes in the church of 
Christ in every age, and of every denominar 
tion. The latter class are far the more 
numerous: the Ortons you may count by 



.' ^ Vs. J-- ."-i.-l 



8 WORDS TO WINKERS OF SOULS. 

hundreds, the Baxters hy tens ; yet who 
would not prefer a solitary specimen of the 
one to a thousand of the other ? *' When 
he spoke of weighty soul concerns," says 
one of his contemporaries of Baxter, " you 
might find his very spirit drenched therein." ^ 
No wonder that he was blessed with such 
amazing success ! Men felt that in listen- 
ing to him they were in contact with one 
who was dealmg with realities, and these 
of infinite moment. 

This is one of the secrets of ministerial 
strength and ministerial success. And who 
can say how much of the overflowing in- 
fidelity of the present day is owing not only 
to the lack of spiritual instructors, — not 
merely to the existence of grossly imfaithful 
and inconsistent ones, — but to the coldness 
of many who \are reputed sound and faith- 
ful. Men can not Jout feel that if religion 
is worth anythja^it is worth eyerything; 

1 Sjlrester's Fnoenl Sermon fi>r Baxter. 



■'m 



tMPORTANCB OF A LlVmO MIWIBTBT. 9 

that if it calls for any measure of zeal and 
warmth, it will justify the utmost degrees 
of these ; and that there is no consistent 
medium between reckless atheism and the 
intensest warmth of religious zeaL Men 
may dislike, detest, scoff at, persecute the 
latter, yet their consciences are all the while 
silently reminding them that, if there be a 
God and a Saviour, a heaven and a hell, 
anything short of such life and love is 
hypocrisy, dishonesty, perjury ! And thus 
the lesson they learn from the lifeless dis- 
courses of the class we are alluding to, is, 
that as the men do not believe the doctrines 
they are preaching, there is no need for 
their hearers believing Hhem ; if ministers 
only believe them because they make their 
living by them, why should those who make 
nothing by them scruple about denying 
them ? The inconsistencies of the popish 
priesthood have made Italy a land of infi- 
dels ; and ought we not to search ourselves 



Imii^iBJli. ^A.-J.-is.i-SJA -^J^i^ 



10 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

and see how much of modem iufidehty may 
be traced to the indolence, the coldness, the 
cold orthodoxy of the Protestant ministry at 
home ? " Rash preaching," said Rowland 
Hill, " disgusts ; timid preaching leaves poor 
souls fast asleep ; hold preaching is the only 
preaching that is owned of God." 

It is not merely unsoundness in faith, 
nor negligence in duty, nor open inconsis- 
tency of life that mars the jiiinisterial work 
and ruins souls. A man may be free from 
all scandal either in creed or conduct, and 
yet may be a most grievous obstruction in 
the way of all spiritual good to his people. 
He may be a dry and empty cistern, not- 
withstanding his orthodoxy. He may be 
freezing up or blasting life, at the very time 
that he is speaking of the way of life. He 
may be repelling men from the . cross even 
when he is in words proclaiming it. He 
may be standing between his flock and the 
blessing even when he is, in outward form, 






iMPORTAircs or A rrFxerG unrrsTnr. il 

lifting up his hands to bless them. Tlie 
same words that from warm lips would drop 
as tho rain, or distill as the dew, fall from 
his lips as tho snow or hail, dulling all 
spiritual warmth, and blighting all spiritual 
life. How many souls have been lost for 
want of earnestness, want of solemnity, 
want of love in the preacher, even when 
the words uttered were precious and true ! 
"We take for granted that the object of 
the Christian ministry is to convert sinners 
and to edify the body of Christ. No faithful 
minister can possibly rest short of this. Ap- 
plause, fame, popularity, honor, wealth — 
all these arc vain. If souls are not won, if 
saints arc not matured, our niinistry itself 
is vain. The question, therefore, which 
each of us has to answer to his own con- 
science is, " Has it been the end of my min 
istry, has it been the desire of my heart 
to save the lost and guide the saved ? Is 
this my aim in every sermon I preach, in 



12 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

every visit I pay ? Is it under the influence 
of this feeling that I continually live and 
walk and speak ? Is it for this I pray and 
toil and fast and weep ? Is it for this I 
spend and am spent, counting it, next to 
the salvation of my own soul, my chiefest 
joy to be the instrument of saving others ? 
Is it for this that I exist ? and to accomplish 
this would I gladly die ? Have I seen the 
pleasure of the Lord prospering in my 
hand ? Have I seen souls converted under 
my ministry? Have God's people found 
refreshment from my lips, and gone upon 
their way 'rejoicing ? or have 'I seen no 
fruit of my labors, and yet am I content to 
remain unblest ? Am I satisfied to preach," 
and yet not know of one saving impression 
made, one sinner awakened? Can I go 
contentedly through the routine of ministe- 
rial Jabor, and never ^think of asking how 
God is prospering the work of my hands 
and the words of my lips ? " 



IMPORTANCE OF A LTnurO MmtSTttT. 13 

1 

Nothing short of positive saccess can sat- 
isfy a true minister of Christ. His phinf 
may proceed smoothly, and his external 
machinery may work steadily ; hut without 
actual fruit in the saving of souls, he counts 
all these as nothing. His feeling is, ^^ My 
little children, «f whom I travail in birth 
again, until Christ be formed in you." And 
it is this feeling which makes him success- 
ful. " Ministers," said Owen, " are seldom \ 
honored with success, unless they are con- 
tinually aiming at the conversion of sin- / 
ners." The resolution that in the strength 
and with the blessing of God he will never 
rest without success, will insure it. It is 
the man who has made up his mind to 
confront every difficulty, who has counted 
the cost, and, fixing his eye upon the prize, 
has determined to fight his way to it — it is 
such a man that conquers. 

The dull apathy of other days is gone. 
Satan has taken the field actively, and it is 



14 m^OJiDS TO WINKERS OF SOULS. 

best to meet him front to front. Besidej, 
men's consciences are really on edge. God 
seems extensively striving with them, as 
before the flood. A breath of the Divine 
Spirit has passed over the earth, and hence 
the momentous-<;haracter of the time, as 
well as the necessity for improving it so 
long as it lasts. The " earnestness " which 
marks the age is not of man, but of God. 
To give the right direction to this earnest- 
ness is the great business of every one that 
would be a fellow-worker with God. It is 
taking so many wrong directions — such as 
skepticism, ritualism, rationalism, Roman- 
ism, etc. — that we must make haste to put 
forth every effort to lead it aright. The 
one true goal or resting-place, where doubt 
and weariness, and the stings of a pricking 
conscience, and the longings of an unsatis- 
fied soul would all be ^quieted, is Chrisi 
' himself. Not the church, but Christ. Not 
doctrine, but Christ. Not forms, but Christ. 



'rffW^m 



TMPOBTANCS OF A LIVINO MINISTRY. 15 



Not ceremonies, but Christ; Christ the God- 
man, giving his life for ours ; sealing the 
everlasting covenant, and making peace for 
us through the blood of his cross ; Christ 
the divine storehouse of all light and truth, 
" in whom are hid all the treasures of wis- 
dom and knowledge;" Christ the infinite 
vessel, filled with the Holy Spirit, the en- 
lightener, the teacher, the quickener, the 
.comforter, so that ^^ out of his fullness we 
may receive, and grace for grace." This, 
this alone is the vexed soul's refuge, its 
rock to build on, its home to abide in till 
the great tempter be bound, and every con- 
flict ended in victory. 

It is to give this direction to the varied 
currents of earnestness that we must strive. 
How these may multiply, what strange 
directions they may yet take, with what 
turbid torrents they may pour along the 
valleys of the earth, what ruin they may 
carry before them, and with what a hideous 



iaJv-'.ij -:- £, 



16 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS, 

deluge they may yet overflow the world, 
dissolving and leveling everything divine 
and good, everything true and nohle, who 
shall adventure to foretell ? 

Let us, then, meet this "earnestness," 
which is now the boast, but may ere long be 
the bane of the age, with that which alone 
can bring down its feverish pulse, and soothe 
it into blessed calm, " the gospel of the grace 
of God." All other things are but opiates, 
drugs, quackeries ; this is the divine medi- 
cine ; this is the sole, the speedy, the eter- 
nal cure. It is not by " opinion " that we 
are to meet " opinion ; " it is the truth of 
God that we are to wield ; and, applying the 
edge of the " sword of the Spirit " to the 
theories of man (which he proudly calls his 
" opinions "), make him feel what a' web 
of sophistry and folly he has been weaving 
for his own entanglement and ruin. 

It is not opinions that man needs : it is 
IBUTH. It is not theology : it is God. It is 



. 'J^-- -:i.i-V iiii-..^- 



mpoRTAjrcB OF A zjvmo MamsTBT. 17 

/ 

not religion : it is Christ. It is not litera- 
tore and science ; but the knowledge of the 
froQ loTe of Grod in the gift of his only- 
begotten Son. 

" I know not," rajs Richard Baxter, 
'^ what others think, but, for mj own part, 
I am ashamed of mj stupidity, and wonder 
at myself that I deal not with my own and 
others' souls as one that looks for the great 
day of the Lord ; and that I can have room 
for almost any other thoughts and words ; 
and that such astonishing matters do not 
wholly absorb my mind. I marvel how I 
can preach of them slightly and coldly ; and 
how I can let men alone in their sins ; and 
that I do not go to them, and beseech them, 
for the Lord's sake, to repent, however they 
may take it, and whatever pain and trouble 
it should cost me. I seldom come out of 
the pulpit but my conscience smiteth me 
that I have been no more serious and fer- 
vent in such a case. It accuseth me not 

8 



18 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

SO much for want of ornaments and ele- 
gancy, nor for letting fall an unhandsome 
word ; but it asketh me, ' How couldst thou 
speak of life and death witu such a heart ? 
How couldst thou preach of heaven and 
hell in such a careless, sleepy manner? 
Dost thou believe what thou sayest ? Art 
thou in earnest, or in jest? How canst 
thou tell people that sin is such a thing, 
and that so much misery is upon them 
and before them, and be no more affected 
with it ? Shouldst thou not weep over such 
a people, and should not thy tears interrupt 
thy words ? Shouldst thou not cry aloud, 
and show them their transgressions ; and 
Entreat and beseech them as for life and 
death ? ' Truly this is the peal that con- 
science doth ring in my ears, and yet my 
drowsy soul will not be awakened. Oh, 
what a thing is a senseless,hardened heart ! 
Lord, save us from the plague of infidelity 
and hard-heartedness ourselves, or else how 



•'-?} 



lUPORTASrCE OF A LrFINO MTKiaTBT. 19 

shall we be fit iustruments of saving others 
from it ? Oh, do that on our souls which 
thou wouldst use us to do on the souls of 
others!" i* 



J 



£^c^i^S^L^^.h^^[^ 



• '. -.i- -~/i-^d-'•fiii4#^^■5ic;ii^;iJSsSl 



CHAPTER n. 

THE MDrtS^ffi'S TBDE LIFE AND WALK. 






' HE true mi»|ter must be a tnie Chris- 
tian. He must be called by God, be- 
fore he can call others to God. The 
Apostle Paul thus states the matter : 
" God hath reconciled us to himself by 
Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the 
ministry of reconciliation." They were 
first reconciled, and then they had given to 
them the ministry of reconciliation. Are 
we reconciled ? It is but reasonable that 
a man who is to act as a spiritual guide to 
others should himself know the way of sal- 
vation. It has been frequently said that 
" the way to heaven is blocked up with 
dead professors ; " but is it not also true 
that the melancholy obstruction is not com- 

20 



TRUE LIFE AND WALK, SI 

posed of members of churches only ? Let us 
take heed unto ourselves ! 

As the minister's life is in more than one 
respect the life of a ministry, let us speak a 
few words on ministerial holy living. 

Let us seek the Lord early. " If my 
heart be early seasoned with his pres- 
ence, it will savor of him all day after." 
(Bishop Hall ; Psa. v. 4, vide Hebrew.) 
Let us see God before man every day. 
" I ought to pray before seeing any one. 
Often when I sleep long, or meet with 
others early, and then 'have family-prayer 
and breakfast and forenoon callers, it is 
eleven or twelve o'clock before I begin 
secret prayer. This is a wretched system. 
It is imscriptural. Christ rose before day» 
and went into a solitary place Family- 
prayer loses much of its power and sweet- 
ness ; and I can do no good to those who 
come to seek for me. The conscience feels 
guilty, the soul unfed, the lamp not trimmed. 



22 WORDS TO wimrEiis of souls. 

Then, when secret prayer comes, the soul is 
often out of tune. I feel it far better to 
begin with God, to see his face first, to get 
my soul near him before it is near another. 
.... It is best to have at least one hour 
alone with God^ before engaging in any- 
thing else. At the same time, I must be 
careful not to reckon communion with 
God by minutes, or hours, or by solitude." 
(M'Cheyne.) 

Hear this true servant of Christ exhort- 
ing a beloved brother : " Take heed to ihy- 
self. Your own soul is your first and great- 
est care. You know a sound body alone 
can work with power, much more a h&jWiy 
soul. Keep a clear conscience through the 
blood of the Lamb. Keep up close com- 
munion with God. Study likeness to him 
in all things. Read the Bible for your own 
growth first, then for your people." 

" With him," says his biographer, " the 
commencement of all labor invariably con- 



TSUS LIFE Aim WALK. f$ 

sisted in the preparation of his own soul. 
The forerunner of each day's visitations 
was a cahn season of private devotion dur« 
iug morning hours. The walls of his 
chamber were witnesses of his prayerful- 
ness — I believe of his tears as well as of 
his cries. The pleasant sound of psalms ot- 
ten issued from his room at an early hour ; 
then followed the reading of the Word for 
his own sanctification : and few have so 
fully realized the blessing of the first 
psalm." Would that it were so with us 
aU ! " Devotion," said Bishop^ Hall, " is 
the life of religion, the very soul of piety, 
the highest employment of grace." It is 
much to be feared that " we are weak in 
the pulpit because we are weak in the 
closet." (James.) 

Let us see communion with €rod as man- 
ifested in a youth of about twenty. James 
Janeway writes of his brother John : " I 
once hid myself that I might take the more 



■.'■.is'ii(.^ki^'-^-:Ai'L^-^Aiisi^ifmi!lim^i:smii^:si,.y.^'^,j :»<■- .i.v. - 1. ';-. ' ,. ,. -.ji, >.'.-#<■ .^■,:^->:: 



24 "^ WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

exact notice of the intercourse that I judged 
was kept up between him and God. But 
oh, what a spectacle did I see ! Surely a 
man walking with God, conversing inti-. 
matelj with his Maker, and maintaining a 
holy familiarity with the great Jehovah. 
Methought I saw one talking with God. 
Methought I saw a spiritual merchant in a 
heavenly exchange, driving a rich trade for 
the treasures of another world. Oh, what a 
glorious sight it was ! Methinks I see him 
still. How sweetly did his face shine ! Oh, 
with what a lovely countenance did he 
walk up and down — his lips going, his 
body oft reaching up^ as if he would have 
taken his flight into heaven ! His looks, 
smiles, and every motion spake him to. be 
upon the very confines of glory. Oh, had 
one but known what he was tiiqn feeding 
on ! S^[rely he had meat to eat which the 
world knew not of ! " This is to live in- 
deed. What a rebuke -to our cold devo- 
tions ! This is walking with Grod. 



-^ 



TBUB LIFE Jm> WALK. 25 

The biographer of the Eev. W. H. Hewit- 
son begins his memoir thus : '^ ' To restore 

"a common-place truth/ writes Mr. Coleridge, 
' to its first uncommon luster, jou need 
only translate it into action.' Walking 
toith Qod is a very conmion-place truth. 
Translate this truth into action — how lus- 
trous it becomes ! The phrase, how hack- 
neyed ! — the thing, how rare ! It is such a 
walk — not an abstract ideal, but a person- 
ality, a life — which the reader is invited 
to contemplate in the subject of this me> 
moir." Oh that we would only set our- 
selves in right earnest to this rare work of 
translation ! 

It is said of the energetic, pious, and suc- 
cessful John Berridge, that " conmiunion 
with (}od was what he enforced in the lat- 
ter stages of his ministry. It was, indeed, 

4 his own meat and drink, and the banquet 
from which he never appeared to rise." 
This shows us the source of his greal^ 



-:i!«y*^.i2^aSiSS&fci£ijjEij*-iia^i*in«UaWi^^^ 'tL.^JiS^lA;^i£i 



26 WORDS TO WINITERS OF SOULS. 



stren^h. If we were always sitting at this 
banquet, then it might be recorded of us ere 
long, as of him, " Ho was in the first year 
visited by about a thousand persons under 
serious impressions." 

To the men even more than to their doc- 
trine we would point the eye of the inquirer 
who asks, Whence came their success ? and 
why may not the same success be ours ? 
We may take the sermons of Whitefield or 
Berridge or Edwards for our study or our 
pattern, but it is the individuals themselves 
that we must mainly set before us ; it is 
with the spirit of the men, more than of their 
works, that we are to be imbued, if we are 
emulous of a ministry as powerful, as victo- 
rious as theirs. They were spiritual men, 
and walked with God. It is living fellow- 
ship with a living Saviour, which^ transform- 
ing us into his image, fits us for being able 
and successful ministers of the gospel. 
Without this nothing else will avail. Nei- 



TRUE LIFE AND WALK. 27 

thcr orthodoxy, nor learning, nor eloquence, 
nor power of argument, nor zeal, nor fervor, 
will accomplish aught without tliis. It is 
this that gives power to our words, and per- 
suasiveness to our arguments ; making them 
either as the balm of Gilead to the wounded 
spirit, or as sharp arrows of the mighty to 
the conscience of the stout-hearted rebel. 
From them that walk with him in holy, 
happy intercourse, a virtue seems to go 
forth, a blessed fragrance seems to compass 
them whithersoever they go. Nearness to 
him, intimacy with him, assimilation to his 
character — these are the elements of a min- 
istry of power. When wc can tell our peo- 
ple, " We beheld his glory, and therefore we 
speak of it ; it is not from report we speak, 

but we have seen the King in his beauty " 
— how lofty the position we occupy ! Our 
power in drawing men to Christ springs 
chiefly from the fullness of our personal joy 
in him, anH the nearness of our persona] 



28 WORDS TO WINirSRS OP SOULS. 

communion with him. The coimtenance 
that reflects most of Christ, and sliines most 
with his love and grace, is most fitted to at- 
tract the gaze of a careless, giddy world, and 
win their restless souls from the fascinations 
of creature-love and ^reature-beautj. A 
ministry of power must be the fruit of a holy, 
peaceful, loving intimacy with the Lord. 

" The law of truth was in his mouth, and 
iniquity was not found in his lips : He walked 
with me in peace and equity, and did turn 
many away from iniquity" (Mai. ii. 6). 
Let us observe the connection here declared 
to subsist between faithfulness and success 
in the work of the ministry ; between a godly 
life and the " turning away many from in- 
iquity." The end for which we first took 
office, as we declared at ordination, was the 
saving of souls ; the end for which we still 
live and labor is the same ; the means to 
this end are a holy life and a faithful fulfill- 
ment of our ministry. The connection be- 



TRUE LIFE AND WALK. $9 

tween these two things is close and sore. 
' We are entitled to calculate upon it. We 
are called upon to praj and labor with the 
confident expectation of its being realized d 
and where it is not, to examine ourselves 
with all diligence, lest the cause of the fail* 
ure be found in ourselyes ; in our want of 
faith, our want of love, our want of prayer, 
our want of zeal and warmth, our want of 
spirituality and holiness of life ; for it is by 
these that the Holy Spirit is grieved away. 
Success is attainable ; success is desirable ; 
success is promised by God ; and nothing on 
earth can be bitterer to the soul of a faithful 
minister than the want of it. To walk with 
God, and to be faithful to our trust, is de- 
clared to be the certain way of attaining it. 
Oh, how much depends on tlie holiness of 
our life, the consistency of our character, the 
heavenliness of our walk and conversation ! 
Our position is such that we can not remain 
neutral. Our life can not be one of luum- 



'■■.. I '. •/L.i^i^-'x'i ^'•C. '•i^'^iJtjij.J^%i>''-.i<. i '"^. ■•■'!■.• 



so WORDS TO WINNSRS OF SOULS. 

# • 

less obscurity. We must either repel or 
attract — save or ruin souls ! How loud, 
then, the call, how strong the motive, to 
spirituality of soul and circumspectness of 
life! How solemn the warning against 
worldly-mindedness and vanity, — against 
levity and frivolity, — against negligence 
and sloth and cold formality ! 

Of all men, a minister of Christ is espe- 
cially called to walk with God. Everything 
depends on this ; his own peace and joy, his 
own future reward at the coming of the 
Lord. But especially does God point to 
this as the true and sure way of securing 
the blessing. This is the grand secret of 
ministerial success. One who walks with 
God reflects the light of his countenance 
upon a benighted world ; and the closer 
he walks, the more of this light does he 
reflect. One who walks with God carries 
in his very air and countenance a sweet se- 
renity and holy joy that difi^ises tranquillity 



^^>-'-^"*^ 



TBUS ZZFB AJrZ> WALK. 81 

around. One who walks with Grod receires 
and imparts life whithersoever lie goes ; as ^ 
it is written, " Out of him shall flow rivers 
of living water." He is not merely tho 
world's light, but the world's fountain ; dis- 
pensing the water of life on every side, and 
making the barren wastes to blossom as the 
rose. He waters the world's wilderness as 
ho moves along his peaceful course. His 
life is blessed ; his example is blessed ; his 
intercourse is blessed ; his words are blessed ; 
his ministry is blessed ! Souls are saved, 
sinners are converted, and many are turned 
&om their iniquity. 



tilVst-i^J^^^"^-^:' ^kJ^^l^-::^^. 




CHAPTER m. 

PAST DEFECTS. 

" O XT GOD, I AX ASRAXXD ABS XLtrlH TOLmmCTXAOB 
TO THIS, XT GOD: O OUS GOD, WHAT SBAZX WS SAT AJTSB 

TBI8?*' — Ezn ix.6,10. 

'0 deliver sermons on each returning 
Sabbath ; tb administer the Lord's 
Supper stateolj ; to paj an occasional 
visit to those/ who request it; to at- 
tend religious meetings; — this, we fear, 
sums up the ministerial life of multitudes 
who are, by profession, overseers of the 
flock of Christ. An incumbency of thirty, 
forty, or fifty years, often yields no more 
than this. So many sermons, so many bap- 
tisms, so many sacraments, so many visits, 
so many meetings of various kinds — these 
are all the pastoral annals, the parish reo- 




L^viuuui^fiii 



PAST DEFECTS. 38 

ords, the all of a lifetime's ministrj to 
many! Of souls that have been sayed, 
6uch a record could make no mention. 
Multitudes have perished under such a 
ministry ; the judgment only will disclose 
whether so much as one has been saved. 
There might be learning, but there was no 
" tongue of the learned to speak a word in 
season to him that is weary." There might 
be wisdom, but it certainly was not the wis- 
dom that " winnetii souls." There might 
even be the sound of the gospel, but it 
seemed to contain no glad tidings at all ; it 
was not sounded forth from warm lips into 
startled ears as the message of eternal life 
— " the glorious gospel of the blessed God." 
Men lived, and it was never asked of them 
by their minister whether they were born 
again ! Men sickened, sent for the minis- 
ter and received a prayer upon their death- 
beds as their passport into heaven. Men 

died, and were buried where all their fathers 

3 



84 WORDS TO WUmSBS OF SOULS. 

had been laid ; there was a prayer at their 
funeral, and decent rei^cts to their re- 
mains; but their souls went up to the 
judgment-seat unthought of, uncared for ; 
no man, not even the minister who had 
vowed to watch for them, having said to 
them, Are you ready ? — or warned them 
to flee from the wrath to come. 

Is not this description too true of many 
a district and many a minister in our land ? 
We do not speak in anger ; we do not speak 
in scorn : we ask the question solemnly and 
earnestly. It needs an answer. K ever 
there was a time when tiiere should be 
" great searchings of heart," and frank 
acknowledgment of unfaithfulness, it is 
now when God is visiting us — visiting us 
both in judgment and mercy. We speak 
in brotherly-kindness ; surely the answer 
should not be of wrath and bitterness. 
And if this description be true, what siu 
must there be in ministers and people ! 



--'"'- <>iS 



PAST DEFECTS. 85 

How great must be the spiritual desolation 
that prevails! Surely there is something 
in such a case grievously wrong; something 
which calls for solemn self-examination in 
every minister; something which requires 
deep repentance. 

Fields plowed and sown, yet yielding no 
fruit ! Machinery constantly in motion, 
yet all without one particle of produce ! 
Nets cast into the sea, and spread wide, yet 
no fishes inclosed ! All this for years — 
for a lifetime ! How strange ! Tct it is 
true. There is neither fancy nor exagger- 
ation in the matter. Question some minis- 
ters ; — and what other account can they 
give ? They can tell you of sermons 
preached, but of sermons blest they can say 
nothing. They can speak of discourses 
that were admired and praised, but of dis- 
courses that have been made effectual by 
the Holy Spirit, they can not speak. They 
can tell you how many have been baptized, 






86 WORDS TO WnmERS OF SOULS. 

bow mauy communicants admitted ; but of 
souls awakened, converted, ripening in 
grace, they can give no account They can 
enumerate the sacraments they have dis- 
pensed ; but as to whether any of them 
have been " times of refreshing," or times 
of awakening, they can not say. They can 
tell you what and how many cases of dis- 
cipline have passed through their hands ; 
but whether any of these have issued in 
godly sorrow for sin, whether the professed 
penitents, who were absolved by them, gave 
evidence of being " washed and sanctified 
and justified," they can give no informa- 
tion ; they never thought of such an issue ! 
They can tell what is the attendance at 
school, and what are the abilities of the 
teacher ; but how many of these precious 
little ones, whom they have vowed to feed, 
are seeking the Lord, they know not; or 
whether their teacher be a man of prayer 
ar.d piety, they can not say. They can tell 



PAST DEFECTS. I 87 

70U the populatiou of their parish, or the 
uiimberof their congregation, or the tem^ 
poral condition of their flocks; but as to 
their spiritual state, how many have been 
awakened from the sleep of death, how 
many are followers of God as dear children, 
they can not pretend to say. Perhaps they 
would deem it rashness and presumption, 
if not fanaticism, to inquire. And yet they 
have sworn, before men and angels, to 
watch for their souls as they that must give 
account ! But oh, of what use are sermons, 
sacraments, schools, if souls arc left to per- 
ish ; if living religion be lost sight of; if 
the Holy Spirit be not sought ; if men are 
left to grow up and die unpitied, unprayed 
for, unwarned ! 

It was not so in other days. Our fathers 
really watched and preached for souls. 
They asked and they expected a blessing. 
Nor were they denied it. They were blessed 
in turning many to righteousness. Their 



88 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

lives record their successful labors. How 
refreshing the lives of those who lived only 
for the glory of God and the good of souls ! 
There is something in their history that 
compels us to feel that they were ministers 
of Christ — true watchmen. How cheering 
to read of Baxter, and his labors at Kidder- 
minster ! How solemn to hear of Venn 
and his preaching, in regard to which it is 
said that men " fell before him like slaked 
lime ! " And in the much-blest labors of 
that man of God, the apostolic Whitefield, 
is there not much to humble us, as well as 
to stimulate ? Of Tanner, who was him- 
self awakened under Whitefield, we read 
that he " seldom preached one sermon in 
vain." Of Berridge and Hicks we are 
told tiiat, in their missionary tours through- 
out England they were blessed in one year 
to awaken four thousand souls. Oh for 
these days again ! Oh for one day of 
Whitefield again ! 



-^'?^^a^^=:'^SS^-5ggt; 



PAST DEFECTS. flJt 

'■'**, 

Thus one has written — *^The language 
we have been accustomed to adopt is this ; 
we must use the means, and leave the event 
to Gk>d ; we can do no more than employ 
the means: this is our duty, and, having 
done this, we must leave the rest to Him 
who is the disposer of all things." Such 
language soimds well, for it seems to be an 
acknowledgment of our own nothingness, 
and to savor of submission to God*8 sov- 
^reignty ; but it is only sound : it has not 
^l-eally any substance in it, for thou^ there 
is truth stamped on Uteface of it, there is 
Msehood at (he root of it. To talk of sub- 
Imission to God's sovereignty is one thing ; 
ybut really to submit to it is another and 
quite a dififerent tiling. Really to submit 
to God*8 sovereign disposal, does always 
necessarily involve the deep renunciation 
of our own will in the matter concerned ; 
and such a renunciation of the will can 
^ never be effected without a soul being 



40 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

brought through very severe and trying 
exercises of an inward and most humbling 
nature. Therefore, if whilst we are quietly 
satisfied in using the means without obtain- 
ing the end, and this costs us no such pain- 
ful inward exercises and deep humbling 
as that alluded to, we think that we are 
leaving the affair to God's disposal— we 
deceive ourselves, and the truth in this 
matter is not in us. No ; really to give 
anything to Grod, implies that the mU, which 
is emphatically ^e hearty has been set on 
that thing; and if the heart has indeed been 
set on the salvation of sinners, as the end 
to be answered by the means we use, we 
can not possibly give up that end, without, 
as was before observed, liie heart being 
severely exercised and deeply pained by the 
renunciation of the will involved in it. 
When, therefore, we can be quietly content 
to use the means for saving souls, without 
seeing them saved thereby, it is because 



PAST DEFECTS. "■■ ' 4t 

there is no renunciation of the will ; that is, 
no real giving up to God in the affiur. The 
fact is, the will — that is, the heart — had ney- 
er really been set upon this end ; if it had, 
it could not possibly give up such an end 
without being hrdken by the sacrifice. When 
we can thus be satisfied to use the means 
without obtaining the end, and speak of it 
as though we were submitting to the Lord's 
disposal, we use a truth to hide a falsehood, 
exactly in the same way that those fonn* 
alists in religion do, who continue in forms 
and duties without going beyond them, 
though they know they will not save them, 
and who, when they are warned of their 
danger, and earnestly entreated to seek the 
Lord with all the heart, reply by telling \i8 
they know they must repent and believe, 
but that they can not do either the one or 
the other of themselves, and that they must 
wait tiU God gives them grace to do so. 
Now, this is a truth, absolutely considered ^ 



42 WORDS TO wnnrsBs of souls. 

jet most of us can see that they are usin; 
it as a falsehood to coVer and excuse a great 
insincerity of heart. We can readily per- 
ceive that if their hearts were really set 
upon salvation, they could not rest satisfied 
without it. Their contentedness is the re- 
sult, not of heart-submission to God, but in 
reality of heart-dndifference io the acUvcdion 
of iheir ovm souls. Exactly so it is with us 
as ministers : when we can rest satisfied with 
using the means for saving souls without 
seeing them really saved, or we ourselves 
being broken-hearted by it, and at the same 
time quietly talk of leaving the event to 
God's disposal, we make use of a truth to 
cover and excuse a falsehood ; for our abil- 
ity to leave the matter thus is not, as we 
imagine, the result of heart-submission to 
God, but of heart-indifference to the salva- 
tion of the souls we deal with. No, truly ; 
if the heart is really set on such an end, it 
must gain that end or break in losing it."' 



PAST DEFECTS. 43 

He that saved our souls has taught us 
to weep oyer the unsaved. Lord, let that 
mind be in us that was in thee ! Give us 
thy tears to weep ; for, Lord, our hearts 
are hard toward our fellows. Wo can see 
thousands perish around us, and our sleep 
never be disturbed ; no vision of their awful 
doom ever scaring us, no cry from their 
lost souls ever turning our peace into bit- 
terness. ii.^*S ^^ 

It is told of Archbishop Usher that, at 
one period of his life, he used on Saturday 
afternoon to go alone to a river-dde, and 
there sorrowfully recount his sins, and 
confess and bewail th^n to the Lord with 
floods of tears. Is this not fitting to reprove 
many, many of us ? And even where we 
lament our sins, how many of us go apart 
oftentimes to weep over lost souls, to ciy to 
the Lord for them, to implore, to beseech, 
to agonize with him in their behalf? Where 
is the water-side beside which our eyes have 



44 WORDS TO wnfNBsa of souls. 

poured out streams in our intense compas- 
sion for the perishing ? 
Do we believe there is an everlasting hell I 
^.'-^==^^ca-~^3^erla8ti7ig heU for every Christless 
soul? And yet we are languid, formal, 
easy in dealing with and for the multitudes 
that are near the gate of that tremendous 
furnace of wrath ! Our families, our schools, 
our congregations, not to speak of our cities 
at large, our land, our world, might well 
send us daily to our knees ; for the loss of 
even one soul is terrible beyond conception. 
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has 
entered the heart of man, what a soul in 
hell must suffer forever. Lord, give us 
bowels of mercies ! " What a mystery ? 
The soul and eternity of one man depends 
upon the voice of another ! " 



CHAPTER IV. 

MINISTEHIAL CONFESSION. 

vaox WHXHCK mou abt VAXxar, 

ASD KKPKBT, XVD DOTBS WtBBT WOBKB; OR ZUB Z WILL 
OOXK TTSTO TKEB QCTOKLT, AVD BXXOVS THT CAn>L»° 

STICK OUT or HIS rLACB, BxcxPT THOU iizpx3rr." — Ber. 

N the year 1651, the Church of Scotiaiid, 
feeling in regard to her ministers " how 
deep their hand was in the transgression, 
and that ministers had no small acces* 
sion to the drawing on of the judgments 
that were upon the land," drew up what 
thej called a humble acknowledgment of the 
sins of the ministry. This document is a 
sinking £uid searching one. It is perhaps 
one of the fullest, most faithftd, and most 
impartial confessions of ministerial sin ever 
made. A few extracts from it will suitably 

46 



i:.--&^A>»:4 



£i.*:l.t ' , ; ifeS^AV* ?. 



46 WORDS TO WJNKBRS OP SOULS. 

introduce this chapter on ministerial confes- 
sion. It begins with confessing sins before 
entrance on the ministry : — 

" Lightness and profanity in conversation, 
unsuitable to that holy calling which they 
did intend, not thoroughly repented of. 
Not studying to be in Christ, before th^ be 
in the ministry ; nor to have the practical 
knowledge and experience of the mystery of 
the gospel in themselves, before they preach 
it to otiiers. Neglecting to fit themselves 
for the work of the ministry, in not improv- 
ing prayer and fellowship with God, and 
opportunities of a lively ministry, and other 
means ; and not mourning for these neglects. 
Not studying self-denial, nor resolving to 
take up the cross of Christ. Negligence to 
entertain a sight and sense of sin and mis- 
ery; not wrestling against corruption, nor 
studying of mortification and subduedness 
of spirit (Rom. vii. 14, 16)." 

Of entrance on the ministry it thus speaks : 



i.,^siiiim 



MINISTERIAL COSFESSIOX. 47 

" Eutcring to the ministry without respect 
to a commission &om Jesus Christ ; by which 
it hath come to pass, that many have run 
unsent. Entering to the ministry not &om 
the love of Christ, nor from a desire to 
honor Grod in gaining of souls, but for by« 
ends, for a name, and for a liTelihood in the 
world, notwithstanding a solenm declaration 
to the contrary at admission. Too much 
weighed with inclination to be called to the 
ministry in a place where we haye carnal 
relations (Bom. i. 8-16)." 

Of the sins after entrance on the ministry, 
it thus searchingly enumerates : — 

** Ignorance of God ; want of nearness 
with him, and taking up little of God in 
reading, meditating, and speaking of him. 
Exceeding great selfishness in all that we 
do ; acting from ourselres, for ourselves, and 
to ourselves. Not caring how unfaithfrd 
and negligent others were, so being it might 
contribute a testimony to our fn.ithfri1nftBa 



'xatii.''.,^-i-.sf^. 



48 WORDS TO WINNEIiS OF SOULS. 

and diligence, but being ratlicr content, if 
not rejoicing at their faults. Least delight 
in those things wherein lieth our nearest 
communion with God ; great inconstancy [ 
in our walk witli God, and neglect of ac- 
knowledging him in all our ways. In 
going about duties, least careful of those 
things which are most remote from the eyes 
of men. Seldom in secret prayer with God, 
except to fit for public performances ; and 
even that much neglected, or gone about 
very superficially. Glad to find excuses for 
the neglect of duties. Neglecting the read- 
ing of Scriptures in secret, for edifying our- 
selves as Christians ; only reading them in 
so far as may fit us for our duty as ministers, 
and ofttimes neglecting that. Not given to 
reflect upon our own ways, nor suffering 
conviction to have a thorough work upon 
us ; deceiving ourselves, by resting upon 
absence fi:om, and aWiorrence of evils, from 
the light of a natural conscience, and look- 



'....-. :: - -^^'-^•-"•^firtaiaitt 



MINISTERIAL CONFESSIOHT. 49 

ing upon tho same as an evidence of a real 
change of state and nature. EtU guarding 
of, and watching over the heart, and care- 
lessness in self-searching ; wliich makes 
much unacquaintedness with ourselves, and 
estrangedness from God. Not guarding nor 
wrestling against seen and known evils, 
especially our predominants. A facility to 
be drawn away with tho temptations of tho 
time, and other particular temptations, ac- 
cording to our inclmations and fellowship. 
Instability and wavering in the ways of God, 
through the fears of persecutions, hazard, or 
loss of esteem ; and declining duties because 
of the fear of jealousies and reproaches. 
Not esteeming the cross of Christ, and suf* 
feiings for liis name, honorable, but rather 
shifting sufferings, from self-love. Deadness 
of spirit, after all the sore strokes of God 
upon the land. Little conscience made of 
secret humiliation and fasting, by ourselves 

apart, and in our families, that we might 

4 



50 WORDS TO WINITERS OF SOULS. 

mourn for our own and the land's guiltinesB 
and great backslidings ; and little applying of 
public humiliation to our own hearts. Find- 
ing of our own pleasui^, wheil the Lord calls 
for our humiliation. Not laying to heart 
the sad and heavy sufferings of the people 
of God abroad, and the not thriving of the 
kingdom of Jesus Clirist, and the power of 
godliness among them. Refined hypocrisy ; 
desiring to appear what, indeed, we are not. 
Studying more to learn the langui^ of 
God's people than their exercise. Artificial 
confessing of sin, witliout repentance ; pro- 
fessing to declare iniquity, and not resolving 
to be sorry for sin. Confession in secret 
much slighted, even of those things whereof 
we are convinced. No reformation, after 
solemn acknowledgments and private vows ; 
thinking ourselves exonerated after confes- 
sion. Readier to search out and censure 
faults in others than to see or ^ake with 
them in ourselves. Accoxmting of our es- 



■''5^ 



MINISTERIAL COKFESSIOIT. %\ 

tate and waj according to tlio cstimatioa 
that otlicrs have of us. Estimation of men, 
as they agree with or disagree from us. 
Not fearing to meet with trials, but presum- 
ing, in our own strength, to go through 
them imshakeu. Not learning to fear, by 
the falls of gracious men ; nor mourning 
and praying for them. Not observing par- 
ticular deliverances and rods ; not improv- 
ing of them, for the honor of God, and the 
edification of ourselves and others. Little 
or no mourning for the corruption of our 
nature, and less groaning under, and long- 
ing to be delivered from, tliat body of death, 
the bitter root of aU our other evils. 

" Fruitless conversing ordinarily witli 
others, for the worse rather than for thQ 
better. Foolish jesting away of time with 
impertinent and useless discourse, very un- 
becoming the ministers of the gospel. Spir- 
itual purposes often dying in our hands, 
when they are begun by others. Carnal 



52 WORDS TO WINNERS OP SOULS. 

familiarity with natural, wicked, and ma- 
lignant men, whereby they are hardened, 
the people of God stumbled, and we our- 
selves blunted. Slighting of fellowship 
with those by whom we might profit. De- 
siring more to converse with those that 
might better us by their parts than with 
such as might edify us by their graces. 
Not studying opportunities of doing good 
to others. Shifting of prayer and other du- 
ties, when called thereto — choosing rather 
to omit the same than that we should be 
put to them ourselves. Abusing of time in 
frequent recreation and pastimes, and lov- 
ing our pleasures more than God. Taking 
little or no time to Christian discourse with 
young men trained up for the ministry. 
Common and ordinary discourse on the 
Lord's Day. Slighting Cliristian. admoni- 
tion from any of our flocks or others, as 
being below us ; and ashamed to take light 
and warning from private Christians. Dis- 



MINISTEUIAL CONFESSIOir. 53 

like of, or bitterness a^inst, such as dea] 
freely with us by admonition or reproof, 
and not dealing faithfully with others who 
would welcome it off our hands. Not 

making conscience to take pains on the 

• 

ignorant and profane, for their good. Our 
not mourning for the ignorance, unbelief, 
and miscarriages of the flocks committed 
luito us. Impatient bearing of the infirmi- 
ties of others ; raslily breaking out against 
their persons, more than studying to gain 
them from their sins. Not using freedom 
with those of our charge ; and for most 
paii; spending our time with them in com- 
mon discourses, not tending to edification. 
Neglecting admonition to friends and oth- 
ers in an evil course. Reservedness m 
laying out our condition to others. Not 
praying for men of a contrary judgment, 
but usmg reservedness and distance from 
them ; being more ready to speak of them 
than to them or to €rod for them. Not 



!H..-iic^.: 



54 WORDS TO WINKERS OF SOULS. 

v.X'iglicd with the faihiigs and miscarriages 
of others, but rather taking advantage 
thereof for justify mg ourselves. Talking 
of and sporting at the faults of others, 
rather than compassionating of them. No 
due painstaking in religious ordering of 
our families, nor studying to be patterns to 
other families in the government of ours, 
flasty anger and passion in our famiUes 
and conversation with others. Covetous- 
ness, worldly-mindedness, and an inordi- 
nate desire after the things of this life, 
upon which followeth a neglect of the du- 
ties of our calling, and our being taken up 
for the most part with the things of the 
world. Want of hospitality and charity to 
the members of Christ. Not cherishing 
godliness in the people ; and some being 
afraid of it and hating the people of God 
for piety," and studying to bear down and 
quench the work of the Spirit amongst 
them (2 Cor. i. 6-12, 14, 24)." 



MI2fI8TERJAL CONFESSION. 55 

It next takes up ministerial duties more 
especially, and then solemnly proceeds : — 
*' Not entertaining that edge of spirit in 
ministerial dilties which we found at tho 
first entry to the ministry. Great neglect 
of reading, and other preparation ; or prep- 
aration merely literal and bookish, making 
an idol of a book, which hindereth commu- 
nion with God, or presuming on bygone 
assistance, and praying little. Trusting to 
gifts, parts, and pains taken for preparar 
tion, whereby God is provoked to blast 
good matter, well ordered and worded. 
Careless in employing Christ, and drawing 
virtue out of him, for enabling us to preach 
in the Spirit and in power. In praying for 
assistance we pray more for assistance to 
the messenger than to the message which 
we carry ; not caring what becomes of the 
^ord, if wo be with some nieasure of assist- 
ance carried on in tlie duty. The niatte^ 
we bring forth is not seriously recon^ende^ 



56 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

to God by prayer, to bo quickened to his 
people. Neglect of prayer after the Word 
is preached, that it may receive the first 
and latter rain ; and that the Lord would 
put in the hearts of his people what we 
speak to them in his name. Neglect to 
warn, in preaching, of snares and sins in 
public affairs by some ; and too. mucl], too 
frequent, and unnecessary speaking by 
others of public business and transactions. 
Exceeding great neglect and unskillfulness 
to set forth the excellences and usefulness 
of [and the necessity of an interest in] 
Jesus Christ, and the ne\7 covenant, which 
ought to be the great subject of a minister's 
study and preaching. Speaking of Christ 
more by hearsay than from knowledge and 
experience, or any real impression of him 
upon the heart. The way of most minis- 
ters' preaching too legal. "Want of sobriety 
ill preaching the gospel ; not savoring any- 
thing but what is new ; so that tlie substan- 



MimSTERIAL CONFSSSIOir. 57 

tials of religion bear but little bulk. Not 
preaching Christ in the simplicitj of the 
gospel, nor ourselves the people's servants, 
for Christ's sake. Preaching of Christ, not 
that the people may know him, but that 
they may think we know much of him. 
Preaching anent Christ's leaving of the 
land, without brokenness of heart, or stir- 
ring up of ourselves to take hold of him. 
Not preaching with bowels of compassion 
to them that are in hazard to perish. 
Preaching against public sins, neither in 
such a way, nor for such an end, as we 
ought, — for the gaining of souls, and 
drawing men out of their sins ; but rather 
because it is of our concernment to say 
something of tlieso evils. Bitterness, in- 
stead of zeal, in speaking against malignants, 
sectaries, and other scandalous persons ; 
and unfaithfulness therein. Not studying 
to know the particular condition of the 
souls of the people, that we may speak to 



58" WORDS TO WHSTNBBS OF SOULS. 

them accordingly ; nor keeping a particular 
record thereof, though convinced of the 
usefulness of this. Not carefully choosing 
what may be most profitable i and edifying ; 
and want of wisdom in application to the 
several conditions of souls ; not so careful 
to bring home the point by application as 
to find out the doctrine, nor speaking the 
same with that reverence which becomes 
his word and message. Choosing texts 
whereon we have something to say, rather 
than suiting to the condition of soids and 
times, and frequent preaching of the same 
things, that we may not be put to the pains 
of new study. Such a way of reading, 
preaching, and prayer as puts us in these 
duties farther from God. Too soon satis- 
fied in the discharge of duties, and holding 
off challenges of conscience with excuses. 
Indulging the body, and wasting much 
time idly. Too much eyeing our own 
credit and applause ; and being taken with 



MUXriSTERIAL CONFESSION. 59 

it when we get it, and unsatisfied when it 
is wanting. Timorousness in delivering 
God's message ; letting people die in reign- 
ing sins without warning. Studying the 
discharge of duties, rather to free ourselyes 
from censure than to approve ourselves to 
€k)d. Not making all the counsel of God 
known to bis people ; and particularly, not 
giving testimony in times of defection. 
Not studying to profit by our own doctrine, 
nor the doctrine of others. For most part, 
preaching as if we ourselves were not con- 
cerned in the message which we carry to 
the people. Not rejoicing at the conversion 
of sinners ; but content with the untludving 
of the Lord's work amongst his people, as 
suiting best with our minds ; fearing, if 
they should thrive better, we should be 
more put to it, and less esteemed of hj 
them, — many, in preaching and practice, 
bearing down the power of godliness. We 
preach not as before God, but as to men ; 



60 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

as doth appear by the diflferent paius in our 
preparation to speak to our ordinary hear- 
ers, and to others to whom we would ap- 
prove ourselves. Not making the ministry 
a work in earnest, as a thing to be accounted 
for in every duty ; which makes much lazi- 
ness and unfruitfulness : doing duties ex 
officio, not ex conscientia officii, rather to 
discharge our calling than our conscience 
(Phil. i. 3-8). 

" Negligent, lazy, and partial visiting of 
the sick. If they be poor, we go once, and 
only when sent for ; if they be rich, and of 
better note, we go oftener, and unsent for. 
Not knowing how to speak with the tongue 
of the learned ^ word in season to the 
weary, and exercised in conscience ; nor to 
such as are under the loss of husband, wife, 
children, friends, or goods, for the improv- 
ing of these trials to their spmtual advan- 
tage ; nor to dying persons. lu visiting, 
wearying or shunning to go to such as we 



MimSTEniAL CONFESSIOir. 61 

esteem graceless. Not visiting the people 
from house to house ; nor praying with 
them at fit opportunities (2 Tim. ir. 1-5). 

" Lazy and negligent in catechising. Not 
preparing our hearts before^ nor wrestling 
with God for a blessing to it, because of the 
ordinariness and apprehended easiness of it ; 
whereby the Lord's name is much taken in 
Tain, and the people little profited. Look- 
ing on that exercise as a work below us, 
and not condescending to study a right and 
profitable way of instructing the Lord's 
people. Partial in catechising, passing by 
those that are rich, and of better quality, 
though many of such stand ordinarily m 
great need of instruction. Not waiting 
upon, and following the ignorant ; but of- 
ten passionately upbraiding them ^Gral. iv. 
11-20)." 

These are solenm confessions, — the con- 
fessions of men who knew the nature of 
that ministry on which they had entered, 



-,al 



G2 WORDS, TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

and who were desirous of approving them- 
selves to Him who had called them, that 
they might give in their account with joy 
and not with grief. 

Let lis, as they did, deal honestly witli 
ourselves. Our confessions ought to be no 
less ample and searching. 

1. We have been unfaithfid. The fear 
of man and the love of his applause have 
often made us afraid. We have been un- 
faithful to our own souls, to our flocks, and 
to our brethren ; unfaithful in the pulpit, 
in visiting, in discipline, in the church. In 
the discharge of every one of the duties of 
our stewardship there has been grievous 
unfaithfulness. Instead of the special par- 
ticularization of the sin reproved, there has 
been the vague allusion. Instead of the 
bold reproof, there has been the timid hint. 
Instead of the uncompromising condemna- 
tion, there has been the feeble disapproval. 
Instead of the unswerving ccWistency of a 



MmiSTEItlAL CONFESSIOK. t^ 

holj life whose uniform tenor should he a 
protest against the world and a rebnke of 
sin, there has been such an amount of un- 
■ faithfulness in our walk and conversation, 
in our daUy deportment and intercourse 
with others, that anj degree of faithfulness 
we have been enabled to manifest on the 
LDrd's Day is almost neutralized bj the 
want of circumspection which our week- 
day life exhibits. 

Few men ever lived a life so busy, and 
so devoted to God, as Usher, Archbishop of 
Armagh. His learning, habits of business, 
station, friends, all contributed to keep his 
hands every moment full ; and then his was 
a soul that seemed continually to hear a 
voice sapng: "Redeem the time, for the 
days are evil." Early, too, did he begin, 
for at ten years of age he was hopefully 
converted by a sermon preiichad on Bom. 
xii. 1: '^I beseech you, therefore, bj tlie 
mercies of God, that ye present youi bodies 



64 WORDS TO WINirBRS OF SOULS. 

a living sacrifice." He was a , painstaking, 
laborious preacher of the Word for fifty-five 
years. 

Yet hear him on his death-bed ! How 
he clings to Christ's righteousness alone, 
and sees in himself, even after such a life, 
only sin and want. The last words he was 
heard to utter were about one o'clock in 
the afternoon, and these words were uttered 
in a loud voice, — " But^ Lord, in apecud 
forgive me my sins of omission." It was 
omissions, says his biographer, he begged 
forgiveness of with his most fervent last 
breath ! — he who was never known to omit 
an hour, but who employed the shred ends 
of his life for his great Lord and Master ! 
The very day he took his last sickness, he 
rose up from writing one of his great works, 
and went out to visit a sick woman, to 
whom he spoke so fitly and fully, that you 
would have taken him to have spoken of 
heaven before he came there. Yet this 



MINISTERIAL CONFESSIOS. 65 

man was oppressed with a sense of his 
OMISSIONS ! 

Reader, what think you of yoxirself, — 
yoiir undone duties ; your unimproved 
hours ; times of prayer omitted ; your 
shrinking from unpleasant work, and put- 
ting it on others ; your being content to sit 
under your vine and fig tree without using 
all efiforts for the souls of others ? Oh sins 
of omission ! " Lord, in special forgive me 
my sins of omission 1 " 

Hear tlie confession of Edwards, in re- 
gard both to personal and ministerial sins : 
" Often I have had very affecting views of 
my own sinfulness and vileness ; very fre- 
quently to such a degree as to hold me in 
a kind of loud weeping, sometimes for a 
considerable time together, so that I have 
often been forced to shut myself up. I 
have had a vastly greater sense of my own 
wickedness, and the badness of my heart, 
than ever I had before my conversion. My 

5 



66 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

wickedness, as I am in myself, has long 
appeared to me perfectly ineffable, swallow- 
ing up all thought and imagination. I 
know not how to express better what my 
sins appear to me to be, than by heaping 
infinite upon infinite, and multiplying in- 
finite by infinite. When I look into my 
heart, and take a view of my wickedness, it 
looks like an abyss infinitely deeper than 
hell. And yet it seems to me that my con- 
viction of sin is exceedingly small and faint : 
it is enough to amaze me that I have no 
more sense of my sin. I have greatly^ 
longed of late for a broken heart, and to 
lie low before God." 

2. We have been atmal and unspirihudA 
The tone of our life has been low and 
earthly. Associating too much, and too 



1 " Oor want of nseftilness is mnoh oflener to be aaeribed to 
onr want of epiritnaUty than to any want of natnral ability.'* 
—Fuller. " I see that ipirituality of mind is the main quail- 
Heation for the work of the miniatiy."— Urquliart. 



'■^m 



MimSTERlAL CONFESSION. 67 

iutimately with the world, wc have m u 
great measure become assimilated to its 
ways. Hence our tastes have been vitiated, 
our consciences blunted, and that sensitive 
tenderness of feeling which, while it turns 
not back from suffering yet shrinks from 
the remotest contact with sin, has worn off, 
and given place to an amount of callous- 
ness of which we once, in fresher days, 
believed ourselves incapable. Perhaps we 
can call to mind a time when our views 
and aims were fixed upon a standard of 
almost unearthly elevation ; and, contrast- 
ing these with our present state, we are 
startled at the painful change. And besides 
intimacy with the world, other causes have 
operated in producing this deterioration in 
the spirituality of our minds. The study 
of truth in its jiogmatical more than in its 
devotional form, has robbed it of its fresh> 
ness and power ; daily, hourly occupation 
in the routine of ministerial labor has en- 



68 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

gendered formality aud coldness ; continual 
employment in the most solemn duties of 
our oflBce, such as dealing with souls in pri- 
vate about their immortal welfare, or guid- 
ing the meditations and devotions of God's 
assembled people, or handling the sacra- 
mental symbols — this, gone about often 
with so little prayer and mixed with so 
little faith, has tended grievously to divest 
us of that profound reverence and godly 
fear which ever ought to possess and per- 
vade us. How truly, and with what em- 
phasis we may say : " We are carnal, sold 
under sin." The world has not been cru- 
cified to us, nor we unto the world ; the 
flesh, with its members, has not been morti- 
fied. What a sad eflfect all this has had, 
not only upon our peace of soul, on our 
growth in grace, but upon, the success of 
our ministry ! 

3. We have been sdfiaJi. We have shrxmk 
from toil, from, difficulty, from endurance, 



UlNISTERIAL CONFESSION. C9 

counting not ouly our lives dear unto us, 
but even our temporal ease and comfort. 
" We have sought to please ourselves," 
instead of " pleasing every one his neighbor, 
for his good to edification." We have not 
" borne one another's burdens ; so fulfilling 
the law of Christ." We have been worldly 
and covetous. We have not presented our- 
selves unto Grod as " living sacrifices," lay- 
ing ourselves, our lives, our substance, our 
time, our strength, our faculties — our all, 
upon his altar. We seem altogether to 
have lost sight of this self-sacrificing prin- 
ciple on which even as Christians, but much 
more as ministers, we are called upon to 
act. We have had little idea of anything 
like sacrifice at all. Up to the point where 
a sacrifice was demanded, we may have been 
willing to go, but there we stood ; counting 
it unnecessary, perhaps calling it imprudent 
and unadvised, to proceed further. Yet, 
ought not the life of every Christian, espe- 



70 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

cially of every minister, to be a life of self- 
sacrifice and self-denial throughout, even as 
was the life of Him who " pleased not him- 
self?" 

4. We have been slothful. We have been 
sparing of our toil. We have not endured 
hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. 
Even when we have been instant in season, 
we have not been so ovi of season ; neither 
have we sought to gather up the fragments 
of our time, that not a moment might be 
thrown idly or improfitably away. Precious 
hours and da^s have been wasted in sloth; 
in company, in pleasure, in idle or desultory 
reading, that might have been devoted to 
the closet or the study or the pulpit or tlie 
meeting! Indolence, self-indulgence, fick- 
leness, flesh-pleasing, have edten like a can- 
ker into our ministry, arresting the blessing, 
and marring our success. It can not be said 
of us, " For my name's sake thou hast la- 
bored, and hast not fainted." Alas ! we have 



UmiSTERIAL CONFESSIOir. 7i 

fainted, or at least grown " weary in well- 
doing." We have not made conscience of 
our work. We have not dealt honestly 
with the church to whom we pledged the 
vows of ordination. We have dealt deceit* 
fully with God, whose servants we profess 
to be. We have manifested but little of 
the unwearied, self-denying love with which, 
is shepherds, we ought to have watched 
over the flocks committed to our care. We 
have fed ourselves, and not the flock.^ 



1 Hear Biehard Baxter's atatement of his usaal ministeriai 
dnties, in answer to some enemies who tannted him with idle> 
ness: <* The worst I wish yon is, that jron had my ease instead 
of yonr labor. I bare reason to taiie myself for the least of all 
saints, and yet I fear not to tell the aeeoser that I take the labor 
of most tradesmen in the town to be a pleasare to the body in 
comparison with mine, thonjih I would not ezebaoga tt witii 
the greatest prince.. Their labor preserveth health, and mine 
eongnmeth it; tbey work in ease, and I in continnal pain; they 
bare boors and days of recreation, I hare scarce time to eat 
and drink. Nobody molestetb them for their labor, bnt the 
more I do, the more hatred and trouble I draw upon me." 
This is " speudingand laeing spent; •* this is an example wor. 
thy of iaitaUon. 



.J 



72 WORDS TO wnmBRs of souls. 

6. We have been cdd. Even when dil- 
igent, how little warmth and glow! The 
whole soul is not poured into the duty, and 
hence it wears too often the repulsive air of 
routine and form. We do not speak and 
act like men in earnest. Our words are 
feeble, even when sound and true ; our 
looks are careless, even when our words are 
weighty ; and our tones betray the apat -ly 
which both words and looks disguise. Love 
is wanting, deep love, love strong as death, 
love such as made Jeremiah weep in secret 
places for the pride of Israel, and Paul 
speak, " even weeping," of the enemies of 
the cross of Christ. In preaching and vis- 
iting, in counseling and reproving, what 
formality, what coldness, how little tender- 
ness and affection ! " Oh that I was all 
heart," said Rowland Hill, " and soul, and 
spirit, to tell the glorious gospel of Christ 
to perishing multitudes ! " 

6. We have been timid. Fear has often 



MINISTERIAL COHrFESSIOlT. 78* 

led us to smooth down or generalize truths, 
which, if broadly stated, must have brought 
hatred and reproach upon us. We have 
thus often failed to declare to our people 
the whole counsel of God. We have shrunk 
from reproving, rebuking, and exhorting 
with all long-suffering and doctrine. We 
have feared to alienate friends, or to awaken 
the wrath of enemies. Hence our preach- 
ing of the law has been feeble and -strait- 
ened ; and hence our preaching of a free 
gospel has been yet more vague, uncertain, 
and timorous. We are greatly deficient in 
that majestic boldness and nobility of spirit 
which pecrdiarly marked Luther and Cal- 
vin and E[nox, and the mighty men of the 
Eeformation. "Of Luther it was said, " ev- 
ery word was a thunderbolt." 

7. WehaveheenwantiTiginsc^^mnity. La 
reading the lives of Howe or Baxter, of 
Brainerd or Edwards, we are in company 
•with men who, in solemnity of deportment, 



74 WORDS TO WIXy^ERS OF SOULS. 

and gravity of demeanor, were truly of tho 
apostolic school. We feel that these men 
must have carried weight with them, both 
in their words and lives. We see also the 
contrast between ourselves and them in re- 
spect of that deep solemnity of air and 
tone which made men feel that they walked 
with God. How deeply ought wc to be 
abased at our levity, frivolity, flippancy, 
vain mirth, foolish talking and jesting, by 
which grievous injury has been done to 

souls, the progress of the saints retarded, 
and the world countenanced in its wretched 
vanities. 

8. We have preached ourselves, not Christ. 
We have sought applause, courted honor, 
been avaricious of fame, and jealous of our 
reputation. -We have preached too often 
so as to exalt ourselves instead of magnify- 
ing Christ ; so as to draw men's eyes to 
ourselves instead of fixing them on him 
and his cross. Nay, and have we not oftea 



MINISTBBTAL CONFBSSlOy. 75 

preached Christ for the yerj purpose of 
getting honor to ourselves ? Christ, in the 
sufferings of his first coming and the glory 
of his second, has not been the Alpha and 
Omega, the first and the last, of all our ser- 
mons. 

9. We have used words ofmarCs wisdom. 
We have forgotten Paul's resolution to avoid 
the enticing words of man's wisdom, lest 
he should make the cross of Christ of none 
effect. We have reversed his reasoning as 
well as his resolution, and acted as if by 
well-studied, well-polished, well-reasoned 
discourses, we could so gild and beautify 
the cross as to make it no longer repulsive, 
but irresistibly attractive to the carnal eye ! 
Hence^we have often sent men home well 
satisfied with themselves, convinced that 
they were religious because affected by 
our eloquence, touched by our appeals, or 
persuaded by our arguments. In this way 
we have made the cross of Christ of none 



76 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

effect, and sent souls to hell with a lie in 
their right hand. Thus, by avoiding the 
offense of the cross and the foolishness of 
preaching, we have had to labor in vain, 
and mourn over an unblest, unfiniitful min- 
istry. 

10. We have not fvUy preacked a free 
gospel. "We have been afraid of making it 
too free, lest men should be led into licen- 
tiousness ; as if it were possible to preach 
/ too free a gospel, or as if its freeness could 
lead men into sin. It is only a free gospel 
that can bring men peace, and it is only a 
free gospel that can make men holy. Lu- 
ther's preaching was summed up in these 
two points, — " that we are justified by 
faith alone, and that we must be assured 
that we are justified ; " aud it was this that 
he urged on his brother Brentius to preach 
itsque ad fastidium ; and it was by such 
free, full, bold preaching of the glorious gos- 
pel, untrammeled by works, merits, terms, 



MINrSTERIAL CONFESSION. 77 

conditions, and unclouded bj the fancied 
humilitj of doubts, fears, uncertainties, 
that such blessed success accompanied his 
labors. Let us go and do likewise. Allied 
to tliis is the necessity of insisting on the 
sinner's immediate turning to God, and de- 
manding in the Master's name the sinner's 
immediate surrender of heart to Christ. 
Strange that sudden conversions should be 
so much disliked by some ministers. They 
are the most scriptural of all conversions. 
11. We have not dvly studied and hon- 
ored the Word of God. We have given a 
greater prominence to man's writings, man's 
opinions, man's systemsip our studies than 
to the WoBD. We have drunk more out of 
human cisterns than divine. We have held 
more conununion with man than Grod. 
Hence the mold and fashion of our spirits, 
our lives, our words, have been derived 
more from man than Grod. We must study 
the Bible more. We must steep our souls 



73 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

in it. We must not only lay it up within 
us, but transfuse it through the whole tex- 
ture of the soul. 

12. We have not been men of pi'ayer. 
The spirit of prayer has slumbered amongst 
us. The closet has been too little frequent- 
ed and delighted in. We have allowed bus- 
iness, or study, or active labor to interfere 
with our closet-hours. And how much has 
the feverish atmosphere in which, for some 
years past, both the church and nation have 
been enveloped, found its way into our 
closet, disturbing the sweet calm of its 
blessed solitude. Sleep, company, idly vis- 
iting, foolish talking and jesting, idle read- 
ing, unprofitable occupations, engross time 
that might have been redeemed for prayer. 
Why is there so little anxiety to get time 
to pray ? Why is there so little forethought 
in the laying out of time and employments, 
so as to secure a large portion of each day 
for prayer ? Why is there so much speak- 



MINISTERIAL CONFESSIOHT. 79 

ing, yet so little prayer ? Why is there so 
much ninning to and fro, yet so little 
prayer ? Why so much bustle and business, 
yet 80 little prayer ? Why so many meet- 
ings with our fellow-men, yet so few meet- 
ings with God ? Why so little being alone, 
so little thirsting of the soul for the calm, 
sweet hours of unbroken solitude, when 
God and his child hold fellowship together, 
as if they could neyer part ? It is the want 
of these solitary hours that not only injures 
our own growth in grace, but makes us 
such improfitable members of the church 
of Christ; that renders our lives useless. 
' In order to grow in grace, we must be much 
alone. It is not in society — eyen Ghnstian 
society — that the soul grows most rapidly 
and vigorously. In one single quiet hour 
of prayer it will often make more progress 
than in days of company with others. It is 
in the desert that the dew falls freshest, 
and the air is purest. So with the soul. 



80 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

It is when none but Grod is nigh ; when his 
presence alone, like the desert air in which 
there is mingled uo uoxious breath of man, 
FiuTounds and pervades the soul ; it is then 
ihat the eje gets the clearest, simplest view 
ofjieternal certainties ; it is then that the 
soul gathers in wondrous refreshment and 
power and energy. And so it is also in 
this way that we become truly useful to 
others. It is when coming out fresh from 
commimion with God that we go forth to 
do his work successfully. It is in the closet 
that we get our vessels so filled with bless- 
ing, that, when we come forth, we can not 
contain it to ourselves, but must, as by a 
blessed necessity, pour it out whithersoever 
we go. " We have not stood continually 
iipon our watchtower in the daytime, nor 
have we been set in our ward whole nights." 
Our life has not been a lying-in-wait for 
the voice of God. " Speak, Lord, for thy 
servant heareth," hath not been the attitude 



"■-•:? i?-<r/=v^*?- 



MINISTERIAL CONFESSION. 81 

of our souls, the guiding principle of our 
lives. Nearness to God, fellowship with 
God, waiting upon God, resting in God, 
have been too little the characteristic either 
of our private or our ministerial walk. 
Hence our example has been so powerless, 
our labors so imsuccessful, our sermons so 
meagre, our whole ministry so fruitless and 
feeble. 

13. We have not honored the Spirit of 
God. It may be that in words we have rec- 
ognized his agency, but we have not kept 
tliis continually before our eyes, and the 
eyes of the people. We have not given him 
the glory that is due unto his name. We 
have not sought his teaching, ^^ his anoint- 
ing," — the " unction from the Holy One, 
whereby we know all things." Neither in 
the study of the Word, nor the preaching 
of it to others, have we duly acknowledged 
his office, as the enlightener of the under- 
standing, the revealer of the truth, the tes- 

6 



82 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

tifier and glorifier of Christ. We have 
grieved him hy the dishonor done to his 
person as the third person of the glorious 
Trinity ; and we have grieved him by the 
slight put upon his office as the teacher, 
the convincer, the comforter, the sanctifier. 
Hence he has almost departed from us, and 
left us to reap the fi^it of our own perver- 
sity and unbelief. Besides, we have grieved 
him by oiir inconsistent walk, by our want 
of circumspection, by our worldly-minded- 
ness, by our unholiness, by our prayerless- 
ness, by our unfaithfulness, our want of 
solemnity, by a life and conversation so 
little in conformity with the character of a 
disciple, or the office of embassador. 

An old Scottish minister thus writes con- 
cerning himself : " I find a want of the 
Spirit — of the power and demonstration of 
the Spurit— in praying, speaking, and ex- 
horting ; that whereby men are mainly con- 
vinced, and whereby they see more in the 



MINISTEBIAL CONFESSIOX. 9f 

Lord's people than in others ; whereby they 
are a terror and a wonder unto others, so 
as they stand m awe of them ; that glory 
and majesty whereby respect and reverence 
are procured ; that whereby Christ's ser- 
mons were differenced from those of the 
scribes and Pharisees ; which I judge to be 
the beams of God's majesty and of the 
Spirit of holiness breaking out and shining 
through his people. But my foul garments 
are on ! Woe is me ! — the crown of glory 
and majesty is fallen off my head ; my words 
are weak and carnal, not mighty ; whereby 
contempt is bred. No remedy for this but 
humility, self-loathing, and a striving to 
maintain fellowship with God." 

14. We have had UtUe of the mind of 
Chrid. We have come far short of the ex- 
ample of the apostles, much more of Christ ; 
we are far behind the servants, much far- 
ther behind the Master. We have had lit- 
tle of the grace, the compassion, the meek- 



84 WORDS TO fFIXXERS OF SOULS. 

ness, the lowliness, the love of God's eternal 
Son. His weeping over JciTisalem is a 
feeling in which we have but little heart- 
felt sympathy. His " seeking of the lost " 
is little imitated by us. His unwearied 
"teaching of the multitudes" we shrink 
from, as too much for flesh and blood. His 
days of fasting, his nights of watchfulness 
and prayer, are not fully realized as models 
for us to copy. His counting not his life 
dear unto him that he might glorify the Fa- 
ther, and finish the work given him to do, is 
but little remembered by us as the principle 
on which we arc to act. Yet surely we are 
to foUow his steps ; the servant is to walk 
where his Master has led the way ; tlie un- 
der shepherd is to be what the Chief Shep- 
herd was. We must not seek rest or ease 
in a w.orld where he whom we love had 
none. 



/ 



CHAPTER V. 

BEVIVAL IN THE MINISTBT. 

"TAKX HKKD XJVtO TBTBKLF." — 1 Hm. it. 16. 

jT is easier to speak or write about revi- 
val than to set about it. There is so 
TK much rubbish tq be swept out; so 
many self-raised hinderances to be dealt 
with ; so many old habits to be overcome ; 
so much sloth and casy-mindedness to be 
contended with ; so much of ministerial 
routine to be broken through ; and so much 
crucifixion, both of self and of the worlds 
to be undergone. As Christ said of the 
unclean spirit which the disciples could not 
cast out, so we may say of these ; " This 
kind goeth not out but by prayer and fast- 
ing." 

So thought a minister in the seventeenth 

86 



86 WORDS TO WINDERS OF sTTVLS. 

century ; for, after lamenting the evils both 
of his life and his ministry, he thus resolves 
to set about their renewal. (1) " In imita- 
tion of Clirist and his apostles, and to get 
good done, I purpose to rise timely every 
morning, Job i. 5 ; 2 Chron. xxxvi. 15. (2) 
To prepare as soon as I am up some work 
to be done, and how and when to do it; 
to engage my heart to it, 1 Tim. iv. 7, 
and at even to call myself to account, 
and to mourn over my failings. (3) 
To spend a competent portion of time 
every day in prayer, reading, meditating, 
spiritual exercises ; morning, mid-day, even- 
ing, and ere I go to bed. (4) Once in the 
month, either the end or middle of it, I keep 
a day of humiliation for the public condi- 
tion ; for the Lord's people and their sad 
condition ; for the raising up the work aiid^^ 
people of God. (5) I spend, besides this, 
one day for my own private condition, in 
conflicting with spiritual evils, and to get 



REVIVAL or THB MINISTRY. 87 

my heart more holy, or to get some special 
exercise accomplished, once in six months. 
(6) I spend every week, once, four hours 
over and above my daily portion in private, 
for some special causes relating either to 
myself or others. (7) To spend some time 
on Saturday, towards night, for preparation 
for the Sabbath. (8) To spend six or seven 
days together, once a year, when I have 
greatest conveniency, wholly and only on 
spiritual accounts." 

Such was the way in which he set about 
personal and ministerial revival. Let us 
take an example from him. If he needed 
it much, we need it more. 

In the fifth and sixth centuries, Gildas 
and Salvian arose to alarm and arouse a 
careless church and a formal ministry. In 
the sixteenth, such was the task which de- 
volved on the Reformers. In the seven- 
teenth, Baxter, among others, too^ a prom- 
inent part in stimulating the languid piety 



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88 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

aud dormant energies of his fellow-inim&> 
ters. In the eighteenth, God raised up some 
choice and noble men to awaken the church, 
and lead the way to a higher and bolder 
career of ministerial duty. The nineteenth 
stands no less in need of some such stimu- 
lating influence. We have experienced 
many symptoms of life, but still the mass is 
not quickened. We require some new 
Baxter to arouse us by his voice and his 
example. It is melancholy to see the 
amount of ministerial languor and ineffi- 
ciency that still overspreads our land. How 
long, O Lord, how long ! 

The infusion of new life into the ministry 
ought to be the object of more direct and 
special effort, as well as of more united and 
fervent prayer. To the students, the 
preachers, the ministers of the Christian 
church, the prayers of the Christians ought 
more largely to be directed. It is a LiviNa 
ministry that our couutiy needs ; and with- 



£t>^£H 



REVIVAL nr THB MIKI8TRT. M 

out such a ministry it can not long expect 
to escape the judgments of God. We need 

MEN THAT WILL SPEND AND BE SPENT — THAT 

WILL LABOS AND PRAY THAT WILL WATCH 

AND WEEP FOR SOULS. 

In the life of Mjconius, the friend of 
Luther, as given by Melchior Adam, we 
have the following beautiful and striking 
account of an event which proved the turn- 
ing point in his history, and led him to 
devote his energies to the cause of Christ. 
The first night that he entered the mon- 
astery, intending to become a monk, he 
dreamed ; and it seemed as if he was rang- 
ing a vast wilderness alone. Suddenly a 
guide appeared, and led him onwards to 
a most lovely vale, watered by a pleasant 
stream ; but of that he was not permitted 
to taste : then to a marble fountain of pure 
water. He tried to kneel and drink ; when, 
lo ! a crucified Saviour stood forth to view, 
from whose wounds gushed the copious 



— --• '^■•'^-■i^iyjiirfliifini-iiiiifPi-ir ~ar -' 



90 WORDS TO WmNERS OF SOULS. 



stream. In a moment his guide flung him 
into the fountain. His mouth met the flow- 
ing wounds, and he drank most sweetly, 
never to thirst again ! No sooner was he 
refreshed himself than he was led away by 
his guide to be taught what great things he 
was yet to do for the crucified One whose 
precious wounds had poured the living 
water into his soul. He came to a wide 
stretching plain covered with waving grain. 
His guide orders him to reap. He excuses 
himseK by saying that he is wholly un- 
skilled in such labor. "What you know 
not you shall learn," was the reply. They 
came nearer, and he saw a solitary reaper 
toiling at the sickle with such prodigious 
effort, as if he were determined to reap the 
whole field himself. The guide orders him 
to join this laborer, and, seizing a sickle, 
shows him how to proceed. Again, the 
guide led him to a hill. He surveys the 
vast plain beneath him, and, wondering, 



BSriVAL m THE MimSTRT. 91 

asks how long it will take to reap such a 
field with so few laborers ? " Before winter 
the last sickle must be thrust in," replied 
his guide. " Proceed with all your might. 
The Lord of the harrest will send more 
reapers soon." Wearied with his labor, 
Myconius rested for a little. Again the 
crucified One was at his side, wasted and 
marred in form. ,The guide laid his hand 
on Myconius, saying : " You must be con- 
formed to him." With these words the 
dreamer awoke. But he awoke to a life of 
zeal and love. He found the Saviour for 
his own soul, and he went forth to preach 
of him to others. He took his place by the 
side of that noble reaper, Martin Luther. 
He was stimulated by his example, and 
toUed with him in the vast field, till labor- 
ers arose on every side, and the harvest 
was reaped before the winter came. The 
lesson to us is, thrust in your sickles. The 
fields are white, and they are wide in com- 



i_»L.'i-'«fii*':',^ ."ut.. <=■:* :>r,^'.13ii'i-CiW^!;:"ii!lrtJ;S 



92 WORDS TO WZNUTERS OF SOULS, 

pass ; the laborers are few, but there are 
some devoted ones toiling there already. 
In other years we have seen Whitefield and 
HiU putting forth their enormous efforts, as 
if they would reap the whole field alone. 
Let us join ourselves to such men, and the 
Lord of the harvest will not leave us to toil 
alone. 

" When do you intend to stop ? " was the 
question once put by a friend to Rowland 
Hill. " Not till we have carried all before 
us," was the prompt reply. Such is our 
answer too. The fields are vast, the grain 
whitens, the harvest waves ; and through 
grace we shall go forth with our sickles, 
never to rest till we shall lie down where 
the Lamb himself shall lead us, by the liv- 
ing fountains of waters, and where God 
shall wipe ofi" the sweat of toil from our 
weary foreheads, and dry up all the tears 
of eailii from our weeping eyes. Some of 
us are young and- fresh; many days may 



o 



"K 



KErivAL ly THE Mixismr. rs 

yet be, in tlic providence of God, bcforo iis. 
rhcse must be days of strenuous, ceaseless, 
persevering, and, if God bless us, successful 
toil. We shall labor till we are worn out 
and laid to rest. 

Many of our readers have seen, we doubt 
not, a small volume of Vincent, the Non- 
conformist minister, respecting the great 
plague and fire in' London. Its title is 
« God's Terrible Voice in the City." In 
it there is a description of the manner in 
which the faithful ministers who remained 
amid the danger discharged their solemn 
duties to the dying inhabitants, and of the 
manner in which the terror-stricken multi- 
tudes hung with breathless eagerness upon 
their lips, to drink in salvation ere the 
dreaded pestilence had swept them away to 
tlie tomb. Churches were flung open, but 
the pulpits were silent, for there was none 
to occupy them ; the hirelings had fled. 
Then did God's faithful band of persecuted 






94 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

oues come forth from their hiding-places to 
fill the forsaken pulpits. Then did they 
stand up in the midst of the dying and the 
dead, t^r proclaim eternal life to men who 
were expecting death before the morrow. 
They preached in season and out of season. 
Week-day or Sabbath was the same to them. 
The hour might be canonical or un canoni- 
cal, it mattered not ; they did not stand 
upon nice points of ecclesiastical regularity 
or irregularity ; they lifted up their voices 
like a trumpet, and spared not. Every 
sermon might be their last. Graves were 
lying open around them ; life seemed now 
not merely a handbreadth, but a hair- 
breadth ; death was nearer now than ever ; 
eternity stood out in all its vast reality ; 
souls were felt to be precious ; opportunities 
were no longer to be trifled away ; every 
hour possessed a value beyond the wealth 
of kingdoms ; the world was now a passing, 
vanishing shadow, and man's days on earth 



BBVIVAL I2T THE MINISTUT. 95 

had been cut down from threescore years 
and ten into the twmkliug of an eye ! Qh, 
how they preached ! No polished periods, 
}uo learned argnments, no labored para- 
graphs, chilled their appeals, or rendered 
their discourses unintelligible. No fear of 
man, no love of popular applause, no over- 
scrupulous dread of strong expressions, no 
fear of excitement or enthusiasm, prevented 
them from pouring out the whole fervor of 
their hearts, that yearned" with tenderness 
unutterable over dying souls. " Old, Time," 
says Yincent, " seemed to stand at the head 
of the pulpit, with his great scythe, saying, 
with a hoarse voice, * Work while it is called 
to-day: at night I will mow thee down.' 
Grim Death seemed to stand at the side of 
the pulpit, with its sharp arrow, saying,* Do 
thDu shoot God*s arrows, and I will shoot 
mine.* The grave seemed to lie open at the 
foot of the pulpit, with dust in her bosom, 
saying — 



j^j.-^-ii^ 



06 WORDS TO iriIf2fEnS OF SOULS. 

'Louden thy cry 

To God, 

To men, 
And now ftilfill thy trust; 
Hero thou must lie — 

Mouth stopped. 

Breath gone. 
And sQent in the dust.' 

" Ministers had now awakening calls to 
seriousness and fervor in their ministerial 
work ; to preach on the side and brink of 
the pit into which thousands were tumbling. 
Now there is such a vast concourse of peo- 
ple in the churches where these ministers 
are to be found that they can not many 
times come near the pulpit doors for the 
press, but are forced to climb over the pews 
to them ; and such a face was seen in the 
assemblies as seldom was seen before in 
London ; such eager looks, such open ears, 
such greedy attention, as if every word ! 
would be eaten which dropped from the 
mouths of the ministers." 



REVIVAL IN TBS MIITI8TRT. 97 

Thus did they preach, and thus did they 
hear in those days of terror and death. 
Men were in earnest then, both in speaking 
and hearing. Tliere was no coldness, no 
languor, no studied oratory. Truly they 
preached as dying men to dying men. But 
the question is. Should it ever be other- 
wise ? Should there ever be less fervor in 
preacliiDg or less eagerness in hearing than 
there was then? True, life was a Uttte 
shorter then, but that was all. Death and 
its issues are still the same. Eternity is 
still the same. The soul is still the same. 
Salvation is still the same. Heaven and 
hell are still the same. Only one small 
element was thrown in then which does not 
always exist to such an extent; namely, 
the increased shortness of life. But that 
was all the difference. Why then^ should 
our preaching be less fervent, our appeals 
less affectionate, our importunity less ur- 
gent? We are a few steps farther from 



98 WORDS TO wimrxRs of souls. 

the shore of- eternity; that is all. Time 
may be a little longer than it was tiien, yet 
only a very little. Its everlasting issues 
are still as momentous, as unchangeable. 
Surely it is our unbeliep that makes the 
difference ! It is unbelief that makes min- 
isters so cold in their preaching, so slothful 
in visiting, and so remiss in aU their sacred 
duties. It is unbelief that chills the life, 
and straitens the heart. It is unbelief that 
makes ministers handle eternal realities 
with such irreverence. It is unbelief that 
makes them ascend with so light a step, 
" that awful place the pulpit,"^ to deal with 
inmiortal beings about heaven and hell. 
Hear one of Richard Baxter's appeals : — 

I A late minister med to nj that he alwajs liked to go bom 
hifl tcnees to that awibl place — the pnlpit. Traly an awftil place, 
— a place where anj degi^ of warmth is excosable, and wher* 
coldness is not only mOostifiable, bat horrible. " I love those 
that thnnder out the Word," said Whitefield. " The Christiaa 
world is in a deep sleep. Nothing bat a load roiee can awaken 
them oat of it." 



BxrivAL nr thb mwistrt. 99 

** I hare been ready to wonder, when I have' 
heard such weighty things delivered, how 
people can forbear crying out in the con- 
gregation ; much more how they can rest 
till they have gone to their ministers, and 
learned what they should do. Oh that 
heaven and hell should work no more upon 
men ! Oh that everlastingness should work 
no more ! Oh, how can you forbear when 
you are 'done to think with yourselves what 
( it is to be everlastingly in joy or in tor- 
' ment! I wonder that such thoughts do 
nnt break your sleep ; and that they come 
not in your mind when you are about your 
labor ! I wonder how you can almost do 
anything else ; how you can have any quiet- 
ness in your minds; how you can eat or 
drink or rest till you have got some ground 
of everlasting consolations ! Is that a man 
or a corpse that is not affected with matters 
of this moment? that can be readier to 

sleep than to tremble when he heareth how 

I 



100 WORDS TO WINNERS OF SOULS. 

he must stand at the bar of God ? Is that 
a man, or a clod of clay, that can rise or 
lie down without being deeply affected with 
his everlasting estate ? that can follow his 
worldly business, and make nothing of the 
great business of salvation or damnation ; 
and tliat, when they know it is hard at 
hand ? Truly, Sirs, when I think of the 
weight of the matter, I wonder at the very 
best of God's saints upon earth, that they 
are iio better, and do no more in so weighty 
a case. I wonder at those whom the world 
accounteth more holy than needs, and scorns 
for making too much ado, that they can 
put ofiF Christ and their souls with so little ; 
that they pour not out their souls in every 
supplication ; that they are not more taken 
up with God ; that their thoughts be not 
more serious in preparation of their ac- 
counts. I wonder that they be not an hun- 
dred times more strict in their lives, and 
more laborious and unwearied in striving 



BBVIVAL m THE MINISTRT. 101 

for the crown than they are. And for my- 
self, as I am ashamed of my dull and care- 
less heart, and of my slow and unprofitahle 
course of life ; so, the Lord knows, I am 
ashamed of every sermon I preach ; when I 
think what I have heen speaking of, and 
who sent me, and that men's salvation or 
damnation is so much concerned in it, I 
am ready to tremble, lest God should judge 
me as a slighter of his truths and the souls 
of men, and lest in the best sermon I should 
be guilty of their blood. Methinks we 
should not speak a word to men, in matters 
of such consequence, without tears, or the 
greatest earnestness that possibly we can ; 
were not we too much guilty of the sin 
which we reprove, it would be so. Whether 
we ai*e alone or in company, methinks our 

end, and such an end, should still be in our 
mind, and as before our eyes; and we 
should sooner forget anything, and set 
light by anything, or by all things, than by 
this." 



102 WORDS TO WINNERS Or SOULS. 

We are not iu earnest either in preaching 
or in hearing. If we were, could we be so 
cold, so prayerless, so inconsistent, so sloth- 
ful, so worldly, so unlike men, whose busi- 
ness is all about eternity ? We must be 
more iu earnest, if we would win souls. 
We must be more in earnest, if we would 
walk in the footsteps of our beloved Lord, 
or if we would fulfill the vows that are upon 
us. We must be more in earnest, if we 
would be less than hypocrites. We must 
be more in earnest, if we would finish our 
course with joy, and obtam the crown at 
the Master's coming. We must work 
whUe it is day ; the night cometh when 

NO MAN CAN WORK. 



/ 



102 WORDS TO WlNXTEnS OP' SOULS. 

We are not iu earnest either in preaching 
or in hearing. If we were, could we be so 
cold, so prayerless, so inconsistent, so sloth- 
ful, so worldly, so unlike men, whose busi- 
ness is all about eternity ? We must be 
more iu earnest, if we would win souls. 
We must be more in earnest, if we would 
walk in the footsteps of our beloved Lord, 
or if we would fulfill the vows that are upon 
us. We must be more in earnest, if we 
would be less than hypocrites. We must 
be more in earnest, if we would finish our 
course with joy, and obtam the crown at 
the Master's coming. We must work 
while it is day ; the night cometh when 

NO MAN CAN WORK. 



/ 



sr-cy^ 



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