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discharged by laymen. Especially might there be effected a separation of the monetary interests of these various institutions from those which are religious, so that when a minister is constrained to take part in their management, he should be relieved from all care as to their financial position. It is not reasonable that the clergy should be burdened with more anxiety than that which attaches to the ministry of the word, and the feeding of the flock; and a great wrong is inflicted upon the Redeemer's cause when the spiritual duties which attach to the churches of which they are “overseers,” have to be neglected for any financial interest whatever.
Over and above this caring for the flock and this teaching of the word, a pastor must take heed to himself. The claims of personal religious duties are more urgent in his case than in that of the ordinary Christian. Whether we regard his own safety, or the benefit of his labors among his people, it is of the last importance that he cultivate high attainments in personal religion. As to his people, the savor of the services which he conducts, almost wholly depends on the intimacy of his fellowship with God in Christ, on the power which—after conflicts with sin, and wrestlings with God—he acquires over his own heart, and on the nearness of his private access to the throne of grace. As to himself, he is assailed by temptations to personal religious negligence, of which other professors are wholly ignorant; he is exposed to snares unknown in the path trodden by ordinary Christians; and his trials of faith, of endurance, of meekness; his temptation to despondency, and the danger in which he lives of substituting official excitements for a living religious experience, call for a watchfulness, a constancy of prayer, a faithfulness, a self-scrutiny, and an energy in heart-conflict, far in advance of any other Christian man. A minister has much to do as to the personal and secret obligations of religion; and of all other disciples, he cannot " fight the good fight without “giving himself continually unto prayer.” He must have time for these things, or he will fail in efficiency.
Let us add that he must have time also for those earnest supplications on behalf of his people, to which no faithful minister can possibly be a stranger. How can he who is not instant in supplications, “ cease not to pray" for his people, and to desire God that they might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding," that they might “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness ?” Thus prayed Paul for the churches of which he had the apostolic oversight. Who does not remember in this connection, those deep and mysterious utterances which, upon his bended kn zes, he poured into the ears of “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he would grant” the Ephesians, “according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ might dwell in their hearts by faith ; that they, being rooted and grounded in love, might be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that they might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
The Church needs ministers who will thus plead in prayer for the flocks over which the Holy Ghost hath made them overseers. But we repeat, they must have time to carry on these wrestlings with God, to seek the aid of the Holy Spirit, who helpeth the infirmities of the saints in prayer, who suggests to them proper utterances when they know not what they should pray for as they ought, who maketh intercession for them, and within them oftentimes with unutterable groanings. This Holy Spirit must be sought, that he might discharge this mysterious office. If our brethren in Christ's ministry desire efficiency in their labors, if they would that the word of truth be spoken by them with power, if they would see the churches growing up into the vigor of a sanctified manhood, if they would that the unregenerate be converted and reformed through their instrumentality, they must more and more fully give themselves to their proper work,-prayer and the ministry of the word.
If our brethren in the membership of the churches desire a
pastorate thus successful, they must look out among them men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost, and of wisdom, whom the ministry shall appoint and set apart over every plan and detail which relate to secular ecclesiastical business.
It may be that through apathy in the cause of the Redeemer, that through an unwillingness on the part of the laity, that through a want of appreciation of their responsibility, as laid upon them by Christ, the ministry may be driven to do as they have heretofore done, to take upon themselves cares which so distract and harass their otherwise anxious souls, as to unfit them for the efficient discharge of their spiritual functions; but be this as it may, we contend, and we will contend, even with our latest breath, in view of the responsibilities of their high office, that “it is not reason that they should leave the word of God, and serve tables.”
It is a subject of serious reflection, that the painful difficulties adverted to in this Article appear to spring from an attempt to be wiser than God. The secular affairs of the Church are by the Scriptures and our Confession committed to ordained officers, “men full of faith and of the Holy Ghost," set apart by the laying on of hands. We commit them to a corporation, composed, to a great extent, of men not members of the Church; and their lack of service, because there are no suitable persons to bear it, falls upon the ministry. Might it not be well to consider whether the plan of the Almighty is not wiser than ours ?
THEORY OF PUBLIC WORSHIP.
TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN OF PROFESSOR SCHÖBERLEIN IN THE
STUDIEN UND KRITIKEN.
[We published in No. XXI of the Review an Article by Professor Schöberlein on the History of Public Worship. The object of that history, the author states, was especially to educe therefrom the Theory of Public Wor. ship. This is accordingly given in the present Article. We have translated these Articles because the subject is awakening much interest, and a philosophical view of it would, we supposed, be acceptable to our readers.]
The meaning of the phrase Divine Service is variously understood. Some take it in a literal sense; they see in public service a transaction in which man renders a service to God, either such as God has required or such as is freely rendered. They see in it a work which, as such, is acceptable to God, and which has the value of a spiritual merit. In this view, it makes little difference whether we regard it as a mere homage addressed to the Deity, to honor him by our praise,-a view which is not unfrequently avowed by the adherents of rationalism,—or whether, contemplating the estrangement caused by sin between God and man, we design by this means to offer a satisfaction for our own sins and to procure a reconciliation,an idea which is found associated with the Catholic conception of worship.
These views are both false, and both contrary to the evangelical principles. For by our work,—this is a radical idea in the Evangelical Church, we cannot gain the Divine favor nor appease his anger. God needs no service from us, as says the Apostle, Acts xvii, 25: “Neither is worshipped with men's hands as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life and breath and all things.” Nor does He need our homage in order to his glory. For He is the Lord of glory; and heaven and earth are full of his glory. Nor does He need our offerings in order to be made gracious towards us; for He is the Father of mercy, who himself gave up his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Consequently, Divine service is not a service by which God is served by us.
On the other hand, it might seem as if in the performance of worship we rather do ourselves a service, whether the profit consists in enlightenment and improvement in morals, or in the stirring up of our religious feelings, or in the promotion of our growth in grace, or in all at once, in our edification. And without doubt this view, regarded from one point, is entirely correct. It is essential to public worship that it serve for our edification, for the upbuilding of the Church upon the one foundation that is laid. And our Lord appointed Word and Sacrament to be the foundations of public worship, to the end that we, by these means, should be more deeply grounded and more vitally united with himself. Regarded, therefore, from the point of view of the Divine consciousness, public worship has for its aim the edification of the Church. And starting from this ground, we have the degree of edification as a standard for pronouncing upon the truth and soundness of a system of worship.
But the matter assumes a different aspect if we proceed to examine it from a human point of view, i. e. from the consciousness of the Church. The Church, in establishing and frequenting these services, is not led by such aims, although for attaining them she chooses public worship as the most suitable means. Even the object of edification, itself the purest and most comprehensive that could have been contemplated, did not originate public worship. Or is not prayer an essential part of worship? Do I pray, praise God, and give thanks, in order to edify myself ? Such express design throws the soul into a position and state injurious to the simple, childlike feeling of worship, and so hinders real edification. Even the sermon, in which the character of design is specially prominent, has primarily the significance of a witnessing for Christ, which & cordial faith constrains us to deliver (Acts iv, 20; 2 Cor. iv, 13); although here, from the nature of the case, the element of design appears in intimate connection. Design and effect should