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himself—to draw all their consolation from the
treasures of his
grace. For this purpose they are
led into a dry and thirsty land, where no water
is. Had Moses, when first he came with his
divine commission to deliver the captive Hebrews,
begun by smiting a rock on the plains of Egypt,
and summoning the people thither, to drink from
the issuing stream, few would have heeded his
call. Having enough in their own houses, they
would have treated his invitation with indiffer-
ence and neglect. In the desert they needed no
invitation. Their suffering whetted their appe-
tite. The thirst which they were enduring made
them crowd closely round the appointed rock, and
eagerly receive the first outflowing of the refresh-
ing stream.

The God of Israel is our God; to his children the same love he beareth still.' Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? If he leads us into a wilderness, why should we complain? If in the course of his holy providence, he leads us into a land where no water is—a land where the streams of Egypt cannot follow us; if he bring us into a land where no springs rise from earth, and no rains distil from the clouds, it is not that we may be left to perish there. No, our God is gracious; his plans are wise-his purpose love. If he allows us to be thirsty, it is that, feeling the pain, we may come to the fountain of living water. It is a blessed thing to be made to feel that all created things are broken cisterns that

through which these strong desires may freely vent themselves. One who yearns for the salvation of a brother or sister, or wife or child, or father or mother, would soon grow weary with holding in. You are not able to save from death the soul of your beloved, and the pent up grief would consume your spirit. Here is an opening for your struggling emotions. God from heaven has opened it up, and brought it down to you. He hath said, I will pour out my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thy offspring. The promise has been sent down from heaven to earth, just to open up a way for your prayer to rise from earth to heaven. Take hold of it—for that very purpose it has been given-and on the strength of it plead, O that my father, or brother, or child, might live before thee.'

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It is a blessed thirst that leads our souls to the open fountain. Welcome those troubles that drive us to Christ. Welcome those bereavements that leave in our bosoms a void to be filled only with the love of Christ. Welcome the scorching, and the parching, and the fainting, in a dry and thirsty land, if our weary souls are thereby induced to cry what have we any more to do with idols, and to wait on him who hath promised to be 'as the dew unto Israel.'

TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY.-MORNING.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets ; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,' Eph. iv. 11, 12. WE have much need to get our conceptions of the ministerial office raised and purified. In this matter the tone of the church is low. These verses are well fitted to instruct and reprove us. The former tells who is the Author of the office

hold no water. It is a blessed thing, though painful, to experience the psalmist's vehement longing for the living God. This pain draws or drives the needy near to the fountain of all grace. Thirsty!' that is a painful thing; but out of its very darkness, the light of hope arises. This is the very description of the man for whom the blessing is laid up-to whom the promise is given. This man has a strong argument to plead. God himself has filled that man's mouth with arguments. Let him that is thirsty' plead in hope, for to him expressly the promise is given. of the ministry; the latter tells what is its design. Remember thy holy covenant, O God! 'Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.' I am thirsty, pour thy Spirit upon me.

The promise is very rich, and very full. It is not only refreshing to individual believers, but an encouragement to them in their desire and prayer for the world; for the church; for their relatives; for their offspring. Godly parents long for the salvation of their children. A brother, already in Christ, longs vehemently for a brother according to the flesh, who is still in the bond of iniquity. The promise of the text throws open a channel

The former raises our eye to the Mediator's throne as the source whence this gift emanates; the latter turns our eye abroad upon the world to contemplate the end which the gift is fitted to serve.

He gave. The Lord our Redeemer gave; and not till he had ascended up on high did he thus fully equip the church for her combat with the powers of darkness. The gift is the purchase of his pain; one result of his victory; one fruit of his finished work. It was when he ascended up on high that he gave these gifts to men; nay, it was for this very purpose that he did ascend

that he might fill, or fulfil, 'all things-that he difficult. It needs a hand skilful, delicate, pure, might finish the work he had undertaken, and to meddle with this matter at all-to interfere fulfil the promises he had made. It should in any way between Christ the Saviour and shame us out of our low carnal conceptions of the sinners seeking him. Who is sufficient for these ministerial office, to remember whose gift it is, things? God only, by his Spirit, can apply the and the travail to which his soul was subjected benefits of the redemption wrought by Christ; ere it could be obtained for us. yet it has pleased him to appoint some from among their brethren to be pastors and teachers of his people. He has committed this trust to earthen vessels, just that the excellency of the power, when the work is accomplished, may appear to be of God.

All these enumerated offices are given by Christ, and all for the same great purpose; but the pastors and teachers are the ordinary officebearers of the church, and with them we are more immediately concerned. The two offices, whether vested in one person, or separated, are, the private care of the pastor, and the public preaching of the word.

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The specific design of this ordinance-the object for which this gift has been procured and bestowed, is first of all, for the perfecting of the saints.' It is literally, fitting in-uniting each member to Christ the living head, and binding them all into one. There is enough in Christ to satisfy the wants of all his people. In him all fulness dwells: yet many of his redeemed are wandering on in weariness and want. They have a title to the inheritance; and yet they are not like the children of a king; they are lean from day to day. There is enough in Christ their Saviour, and his grace is offered free; they are invited to take freely; they come and try, but go away mourning. Believers do not get what their Saviour has to bestow. They err through ignorance in making their application; their faith fails, and they cannot lay hold on the promise. They need help, and reproof, and instruction. They need one to point out to them the particular provision in the covenant which contains the cure for their pains. One is needed, standing by the ark of the covenant, to tell this mourning inquirer that he is searching too much into his own heart and looking too little to Jesus; or to warn that too confident professor that he is putting his own repentance and faith into the foundation of his hopes. Ministers are needed to direct inquirers as they come, and point out to them the appropriate remedy for every disease, lest they pine and die beside the fountain of all grace, for want of skill to appropriate the blessing which they need. There is also a fitting of believers into each other; so that they shall be one in the bonds of love, thus helping each other, and glorifying their Saviour. Whether it be fitting an individual believer into the covenant with Christ, so that he shall have peace and joy; or fitting together the different members of the church, so that their unity shall be a blessing to them that are without-the work is great and

It is farther said that pastors and teachers are given for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. They are labourers sent into the vineyard. They must work while it is day. They must labour in season and out of season, that they may not be ashamed when their Lord calls them to give an account of their stewardship. The special design of this work is the edifying of Christ's body; each believer is a living stone, and all together grow into an holy temple in the Lord. The work of a minister is, to confirm each and unite all. It is his duty to watch over the flock; to repress the outbreaking of sin, and stimulate the exercise of every Christian grace—to watch for the souls of his brethren as one that must give an account.

The members of the church have much to learn

about the origin and uses of the ministry. It cannot be their duty to look with superstitious reverence on the office, or the person who holds it. Every several believer must try the Spirit of his teacher by the word. But those who avoid the error on this extreme, are apt to fall into another equally dangerous. The human spirit, when freed from the trammels of superstition, is ready to bound over into the opposite region of religious liberalism, which is equally fatal to the life of the soul. Let not the members of the church rudely judge him who is over them in the Lord. Let them not rashly measure his worth, by the estimate they may form of his talent or his learning. If he has been enabled to enter upon his office in the fear of God and in dependence on his Spirit, the members of the flock should learn to look on the pastoral office as the gift of their risen Lord, and the means by himself appointed to keep them unto the end. If in this way they receive it, they will be blessed in their deed.

Has Christ, for these great purposes, given his church pastors and teachers? Woe to them who are called to the ministry, if by their unfaithfulness they frustrate his grace. Woe to the pastors if the flock are allowed to turn aside un

warned and fall into the snare of the devil! Woe to the teachers, if they leave the people to perish for lack of knowledge-if they do not teach them to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. Who is sufficient for these things? Brethren, pray for us.'

Those who hear the word must give in their account. Hearers must meet their ministers before the great white throne. Woe to those who hear for the purpose of praising or blaming the speaker. The sermon was good, or it was bad; I liked, or I disliked it? Is this all? was it for this that Christ gave his church stated pastors? Nay, verily. Those who make this use of them only, abuse to their own condemnation, one of the merciful ordinances of God. To get you bound up in the covenant with Christ as one of his redeemed; to get you confirmed in the faith; to get you made meet for the inheritance; for this purpose the ministerial office was given; if that work is not proceeding-if these effects are not flowing from it, you have received this grace of God in vain.

TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY.-EVENING.

'And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron,' Heb. v. 4.

THE work of the ministry may be laborious; but it is honourable. There is no higher honour placed within the reach of man. It is indeed a 'high calling,' to stand by the altar and direct the eye of approaching worshippers to the sacrifice offered there to stand in the sanctuary and guide the steps of a repentant prodigal back to his father's house. The 'pastor and teacher' in the Christian church has even a greater honour than that of the priest who ministered in the temple of old. The least in the kingdom of heaven, as it is now come, is greater than the most highly favoured prophets and priests of the former dispensation. The work of a minister is more spiritual now; it enters farther into that which is within the vail. He is called to serve God in the gospel of his Son. He is an ambassador for Christ. By him God beseeches sinners to be reconciled to himself. He is allowed to be the channel of communication between the living lifegiving Spirit, and the spiritually dead around him. When his work prospers, it is glory to God in the highest. When the judgment is set, he shall inherit the blessing of those who have turned many to righteousness, and shall shine as a star in the kingdom of the Father.

It is a great honour this; but from its very greatness one might gather that it is not at the disposal of man. No man taketh it to himself. In the former dispensation, it pleased God to visit with the most terrible judgments those who usurped the office of the priesthood. Aaron and his family were called of God' to minister at the altar, and the appointment was sanctioned by the summary vengeance that fell on usurpers as they rose. No one who considers the nature of the two dispensations will think intrusion into the sacred office now is less displeasing to God, or less dangerous to the guilty offender. Already that sovereign Lord has manifested the principles of his government, and they who in these the most sacred matters, contravene his law, must abide his righteous indignation. Judgment against this evil work is not executed speedily, but though hand join in hand it shall not go unpunished.

It is certain that the call' to the ministerial office in the Christian church, is conducted upon the same principle as the call to the priesthood of old. Ministers yet are called of God, as certainly, and sometimes as evidently, as was Aaron. The appointment of this high office is retained in the Sovereign's hands. It is he who reigns in the palaces of Zion, that sets a watchman on each of her towers. He who gave himself for the church, continues to be head over all things for the church which he bought with his blood. He who died and rose again, and ascended up on high, gave to his church pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. The apostle Paul, while he magnified his office, and rejoiced in the high station to which he had been raised, was ever ready to acknowledge the free grace of God in the choice and appointment of his instrument. Whereof (of the gospel) I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power,' Eph. iii. 7. This is the way in which ministers are made. The first requisite is, that they have experienced the effectual working of his power renewing their own souls. It is not till they are themselves reconciled, that the word of reconciliation is committed to them. When, bought with a price, they feel a necessity lying upon them to glorify God in the ministry of the gospel; and when that impulse is seconded by the arrangement of providence and the invitation of the church, there is a call to the office which no man is entitled to disregard. Those who yield to these concurrent motives, and consecrate themselves to the preach

ing of the word, do not take this honour unto | preached righteousness,' says he, in the great themselves; they are called of God as was Aaron. congregation; lo, I have not refrained my lips, O The world affords no more melancholy sight Lord; thou knowest I have not hid thy rightethan that of a man invested with the authority ousness within my heart; I have declared thy and reaping the emoluments of the ministerial faithfulness and thy salvation; I have not conoffice, while he knows not the truth he professes cealed thy loving-kindness and thy truth from to preach. There is not a more loathsome blot the great congregation.' He preached the word. lying on the face of the visible church, than a He taught that doctrine of righteousness, whereof man ministering at the altar whom God has he was himself the great theme; he published neither called by his providence, nor quickened that good news of salvation which related to and by his Spirit. Miserable and dangerous is the sprang out of his own Messiahship; he declared position of that man, who, neither sent by Christ, the fact of that divine loving-kindness, which nor welcomed by his people, has literally been appeared in his own descent from the heights of put into the priest's office for a bit of bread. glory to the depths of abasement for the sake of No man taketh this honour unto himself; sinners, in his mission to seek and to save the lost, neither has any man a right, from his own personal and to give eternal life to the perishing. Christ fancy, to confer it on another. Men who believe preached the truc, but unwelcome word respectthat there is a God, and stand in awe of his judg-ing the spiritual condition of man. He preached ment, should beware how they put forth their the word relating to the gracious power and hands to touch the ark of the covenant-how operations of the Holy Ghost. they intermeddle between Christ and his people. There has been much sin somewhere in connection with the exercise of patronage. If there is no leading in providence, and no call from the members of the church, woe to him who takes, and to him who gives it! To their Master they must stand or fall. The Lord is judge himself. It behoves them to have their answer ready. Rather let my right hand forget its cunning, than that it should be impiously stretched out to block up, or turn aside the channel through which the grace of the Saviour exalted flows down to his suffering church.

Christ was instant in season, and out of season.' To the Father he could profess and declare, the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up;' and to his astonished and bewildered friends his explanation was, 'Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?' Both in public, and in private; among friends, and among foes; in the temple, in the synagogues, in the open air; on the land, on the sea; on the feast-days, on the sabbath days, on the days of secular employment; the Lord Jesus was busy, incessant, in his work as a Teacher sent from God, beseeching men to repent and believe the gospel. With all longsuffering and doctrine also did our Lord reason, rebuke, and exhort. Witness Bethsaida, Chorazin, and Capernaum. Witness Jerusalem, the highly favoured, guilty city, over which he poured the melting lamentation;-O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!' And witness the disciples whom he so patiently instructed, whom he admonished so affectionately-the disciples, whose weakness, folly, and prejudice, never wearied him-the disciples, whom he chid indeed, but never cast off; to whom he would say, 'O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken,' but to whom at the same time, 'begin'Preach the word; be instant in season, out of ning at Moses and all the prophets,' he could season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-with all long-suffering and doctrine,' go on to suffering and doctrine,' 2 Tim. iv. 2 'expound in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.'

O that the time to favour Zion were come-a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Let us pray the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth labourers, and fit them for their work; 'that he would purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord as in the days of old, and as in former years,' Mal. iii. 3, 4. Lord, 'let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy,' Psal. cxxxii. 9.

TWENTY-NINTH DAY.-MORNING.

CHRIST did all this. His proceedings as an instructor were in exact conformity with the rule which his apostle here lays down. I have

The example of our great Prophet, then, speaks the same language to ministers as the apostolic

precept before us. It strongly tells them to exhortations which we use, are all by authority preach the word; to be instant in season, out of of him who made and governs the creation, in season; to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-whose hand your breath is, and whose are all suffering and doctrine. your ways!

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4. Let us not forget the co-relative duty and responsibility of those to whom the Christian message is carried. Preaching is the ordinance of God. Wo to them that set it at nought! Theirs is the sin of despising and mocking God. For the advantage of sinners has the ministry been established. It is the fruit of that pity, which gave rise to the wonderful protestation— As I live,' saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.' To disregard, then, the doctrine and reproof of God's servants, is in effect to tell God that his mercy has been un

1. A view of ministerial duty is here given us. There are three things which it is said to be their duty to do. First-They must declare the truth of God. Preach the word;' see that it be the word, the true word, the revealed word, God's word, that you preach. Preach the word, and the word only; let there be no intermixture of that which is man's. Preach the word in its integrity; keep back no part of the counsel of God. Secondly-Ministers must be fervent and assiduous in their preaching. 'Be instant in season, out of season.' Let sinners be plied with the saving message of God at all times. Seize necessarily active, that his love to a dying world every opportunity for communicating the glad tidings of love and peace. Thirdly-Ministers must preach with special application to the cases of their hearers. They must reason or convince, rebuke, and exhort. And to do this well and successfully, they must do it with all long-suffering and doctrine;' that is to say, they must exercise patience, and give line upon line.

2. Consider the responsibility of ministers. The apostle is very urgent. Be instant in season, out of season.' And he enjoins ministers to be very earnest. Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine.' Can we not divine the reason? Yea, the reason is that the salvation of men is the aim of ministerial work. The word must be preached, not merely that the human race may be civilised, that social order may be maintained, or that the more complete enjoyment of this life may be secured, but that souls may escape perdition, that sinners may be delivered from going down to that pit, whereof the smoke goeth up for ever and ever! The work of ruining souls is going forward rapidly; Satan and his emissaries are 'instant in season, out of season;' how then shall ministers answer it, if, through their neglect, the work of saving souls stand still?

3. Learn also with what authority ministers are clothed. They have their commission from God. They have no inherent right to demand an audience from their fellow-men, or to exercise the functions of public reprovers. But the right has been given them; and to the challenge, 'Who made you our instructors and censors?' they can reply, It was God; we come before you in his name, and in virtue of his commandment: he tells us to speak, and you to listen; of his word we are the bearers; and the warnings we utter, the rebukes we administer, the entreaties and

has been needlessly strong! Can we wonder that the fearful doom of such despisers should be, Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded—I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh!"

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TWENTY-NINTH DAY.-EVENING.

This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and, being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord,' Acts xviii. 25.

APOLLOS was a man instructed in the way of the Lord.' He had knowledge-knowledge of a special kind-knowledge of religion. He was acquainted with the way of the Lord.'

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What are we to understand by the way of the Lord? We read, in scripture, of 'the narrow way,' the way of holiness,' the way of life,' and the way of salvation.' Each of these is the way of the Lord. The expression has, strictly speaking, two interpretations; namely, the way in which he himself walks, and the way in which he commands us to walk. Taking the first view, we say that Apollos was instructed in the way of the divine procedure, in the goings of Jehovah from of old with reference to the sons of men. The starting point of that illustrious way is in the purpose of free, electing love, which was formed by the Lord before the foundation of the world. Onwards we trace it in the setting up of the new covenant dispensation, and in the announcement of an approaching redemption from the curse, and of the pre-determined overthrow of the tyranny and power of the devil. Onward still, it appears in the mediation of Christ-in

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