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TRAIT XXVII.

His perfect Disinterestedness.

Ir 6 charity seeketh not her own;' and if it is re. quired, that the conversation of the faithful should be without covetousness; it becomes the true minister, in an especial manner, to maintain an upright and disinterested conduct in the world.

Though it be true, that they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar ;' yet nothing is so detestable to the faithful pastor, as the idea of enriching him

self with the sacred spoils of that altar. Observe how E St. Paul expresses himself upon this subject. “We

brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. Having, therefore, food and raiment, let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: Which while some have coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God,' who art set apart as a minister of the everlasting gospel, • flee these things : and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.' (1 Tim. vi. 7-11.) With regard to myself, “I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content. Every where, and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.' (Phil. iv. 11, 12.) Neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covet. ousness ; God is witness. For ye remember our labour and travail, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you. Ye are our witnesses, and God also, ho

Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have be. gotten in my bonds : Who in time past was unto thee unprofitable, but now profitable unto thee and me, whom I have sent again. Thou therefore receive him, that is mine own bowels. Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord; refresh my bowels in the Lord.' (Philemon v. 8, 12, 20.) Such was the tenderness and affection, with which St. Paul was accustomed to ad. dress his believing brethren. But the language of this apostle was very different when he spoke of himself, and of that body of sin, which constrained him to cry out, 0 wretched man that am !'

It is the character of too many persons to be severe toward the failings of others, while they shew the utmost lenity toward themselves, with respect both to their infirmities and their vices. Always ready to place the faults of their neighbours in an odious light, and their own in the most favourable point of view, they seem to be made up of nothing, but partiality and self-love ; while the true minister reserves his greatest indulgence for others, and exercises the greatest severity toward him. self. • All things are lawful for me,' writes St. Paul, • but I will not be brought under the power of any.' (1 Cor. vi. 12.) Know ye not, that they which run in a race, run all, but one receiveth the prize ? And every one that striveth for the mastery, is temperate in all things: Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as un. certainly ; so tight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection : Lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away.” (1 Cor. ix. 24—27.)

One reflection naturally finishes this trait of the character of St. Paul. If this spiritual man, if this great apostle, thought himself obliged to use such strenuous efforts, that he might not be rejected before God at the last ; in how great danger are those careless pastors and Christians, who, far from accustoming them. selves to holy acts of self-denial, satisfy their natural desires, without any apprehension, and treat those as enthusiasts, who begin to imitate St. Paul, by regard. ing their baptismal vow, and renouncing their sensual appetites.

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TRAIT XXVI.

His Love never degenerated into Cowardice, but

reproved and consoled, as Occasion required.

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The charity of the true minister bears no resem. blance to that phantom of a virtue, that mean complaisance, that unmanly pliancy, that unchristian cowardice, or that affected generosity, which the ministers of this day delight to honour with the name of charity. According to these insufficient judges, to be charitable—is only to give some trifling alms out of our abundant superfluities, to tolerate the most dangerous errors, without daring to lift up the standard of truth, and to behold the overflowings of vice, without attempting to oppose the threatening torrent. Such would be the mistaken charity of a surgeon, who, to spare the mortifying arm of his friend, should suffer the gangrene to spread over his whole body. Such was the charity of the high priest Eli toward Hophni and Phinehas ; an impious charity, which permitted him to behold their shameful debaucheries with too favourable an eye; a fatal charity which opened that abyss of evil, which finally swallowed them up, and into which they dragged with them their father, their children, the people of Israel, and the church, over which they had been appointed to preside.

The good pastor, conscious that he shall save a sou from death, if he can but prevail with a sinner to forsake his evil way, uses every effort to accomplish so im

Know ye

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which he employs on the occasion, he tries the force of severe reprehension, rebuking the wicked with a holy authority; and, if it be necessary, returning to the charge with a spark of that glowing zeal, with which his Master waz influenced, when he forced from the temple those infamous buyers and sellers, who had profaned it with their carnal merchandise. Thus, St. Paul, on re. ceiving information that scandalous errors had been discovered in the conduct of a member of the Corinthian church, immediately wrote to that church in the follow. ing severe and solemn manner :- It is reported, that there is fornication among you. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. not, that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,' and that the plague in any single member of a society is sufficient to infect the whole company? Purge out therefore the old leaven, and put away from among your. selves that wicked person. If any that is called a brother be a fornicator, keep not company with such a one, no not to eat. Be not deceived : Fornicators shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Know ye not, that your bodies are the members of Christ ? Flee fornication, therefore, and avoid the company of fornicators. For ye are bought with a price: Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. Further, I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already concerning the lascivious person that is among you, to deliver such a one unto Sa. tan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Cor. v. vi.)

When the true minister has passed the severest cen. sures upon sinners, and beholds those censures attended with the desired effect, he turns to the persons he lately rebuked with testimonies of that unbounded charity, that “ beareth all things, and hopeth all things.' More ready, if possible, to relieve the dejected than to humble the

presumptuous, after having manifested the courage of a lion, he puts on the gentleness of a lamb, consoling

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and encouraging the penitent offender, and never ceasing to intercede for him, till his pardon is obtained both from God and man. Thus St. Paul, who had so sharply rebuked the Corinthians in his first Epistle, gave them abundant consolation in his second, and exhorted them to receive with kindness the person, whom he had be.

fore enjoined them to excommunicate. It is easy to a) recognise the tenderness of Christ in the following lan

guage of this benevolent apostle. 'I wrote unto you my first Epistle out of much affliction and anguish of heart, with many tears, not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.' (2 Cor. ii. 4.) Great is my glorying of you, I am filled with comfort, I am exceed. ing joyful in all our tribulation. God, that comforteth them that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus, my messenger, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, and your fervent mind toward

For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repent

For ye were made sorry after a godly manner. -For behold, what carefulness it wrought in you ! What clearing of yourselves! What holy indignation ! What fear! What vehement desire ! What zeal ! What revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. Moreover, we were comforted in your comfort. Yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, and how you received him, together with my reproof, with fear and trembling. I rejoice therefore, that I have confidence in you in all things.' (2 Cor. vii.) And with respect to the person who has caused uş so much distress, sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that now ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with over

ance.

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