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the office, very few resign it when it has been accepted and proved by them. The resignation of the trust is a very rare occurrence. Does not this show that facts furnish a confutation of fears? Again, the elders who appear most in love with their labours are generally the first to hail any scheme of enlarged usefulness. And, in a word, the dying attestations of elders to the divine goodness often turn on their official experience. The comforts they have been administering return upon their own heads. The courage they have acquired in action remains with them in suffering; and the grace they had secured to make them useful to others, is the well-spring of their joy in their own time of need. When nature is sinking, and the mind is wandering, the dearest relatives are sometimes overlooked by the departing office-bearer of the church, in the imagined prosecution of his spiritual calling. He is standing by the sickbed, and exhorting the distressed not to be dismayed; or, the accents of prayer ascend from bis tremulous lips, and we discern, in his petitions, the weekly prayer meeting gathered around him, and pouring, through his enfeebled but fervent utterance, their associated supplications! Or, he is in the midst of his brethren, lauding, perhaps, some measure for the furtherance of religion, and promising it his 'best support,’ in accents which leave no doubt of sincerity, and no hope of performance. He has already left his own dwelling. The spirit of his higher calling has carried him to Zion, and he takes his flight from the temple on earth to the temple in heaven!
Such a life may have had its trials: but such a death has no terrors. The worst emotion it awakens is not pity, but envy; and a Balaam may well say over it—Let me die the death of the righteous; and let my last end be like his.' *
From the divine appointment of this office it fol. lows,
5. That a faithful discharge of its duties shall be abundantly recompensed in a future state. We have no merit, and cannot, therefore, receive a meritorious recompense; but, even to redeemed sinners, a gracious recompenso is promised, and accessible. Scripture gives us to understand that there shall be an intimate connexion between present faithfulness and eternal happiness. And this holds true, not only in general, but in respect to particular appointments, and even individual acts; for, 'whosoever shall give to drink,' avers our Lord, Sunto one of these little ones, a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.'t The promise is here made to beneficence: and a very large proportion of the promises have the same application: "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.' † The blissful rewards awaiting official faithfulness are especially enlarged upon in the scriptures: Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed
* Num. xxiii. 10. ¢ Matt. x. 42. # Dan. xii. 3.
is that servant, whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. Of a truth I say
That he will make him ruler over all that he hath.'*
No doubt, where the relation is happy and useful to overseers, it becomes so likewise to the church superintended by them; but the benefit is greatly enhanced in being thus mutual and reciprocal. "What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.' 'Ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.'t The same apostle, after noticing the diversified and extraordinary self-denial which he cheerfully underwent in fulfilling his ministry, tells us, in explanation, * This I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.'s The end is deserving of all
* Luke xii. 42-44. + 1 Thess. ii. 19, 20. 2 Cor. i. 14.
§ 1 Cor. ix. 23. All the explanations which I have seen of this verse in its connexion, appear to me unsatisfactory. 1 Cor. ix. 13–23: “Do ye not know, that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple ? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things; neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me; for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. For thong!ı I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel, is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily, that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that
means save some.
the means. Well may we toil to promote the eternal happiness of others, in which we ourselves are largely to participate. The labours of the spring-time will not appear to have been excessive, when we reap our harvest in the salvation of souls, and meet in the heavenly Canaan with some, or many, whom we hare aided in I abuse not my power in the gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. Aud unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I miglit gain the weak; I am made all things to all men, that I might by all
And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.' Our translation, it will be observed, represents the apostle as saying, (v. 18,) • What is my reward then? Verily, that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.' By this rendering, the apostle's reward was to consist in preaching without charge, that is, in getting nothing! It is only by a supplement that this most improbable sense is brought out of the words. The precise rendering of them is, • What is my reward then, in order that (ivc) when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel?' The apostle then shows, in the succeeding verses, that lie was 'abundantly justified by his conduct in putting such a question. He had not abused his power to obtain money or homage of any sort, but had accommodated himself to prejudices, as if he had been a servant or slave, rather than a free citizen. Having thus shown, parenthetically, the reasonableness of the question, he answers it, I think, in v. 23: For what reward do I pass through all this self-crucifixion? “This I do for the gospel's sako, that I
guiding to that happy country. Whatever, then, may be the trials and discouragements of the journey, its end at least is inspiriting. We serve under Him who brings many sons unto glory; and how shall fears and fightings be forgotten when the whole enterprise shall hare been accomplished—when the outcasts of Israel
inight be partaker thereof with you.' The whole passage, beginning at v. 13, I would thus paraphrase
'Do ye not know, that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple, and they which wait at the altar arc partakers with the altar ?' Provision is made, by the Mosaic economy, for the maintenance of the priesthood whio conduct its ceremonial. “Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.' The support of a gospel ministry, by the New Testament church, is just as much a divine ordinance as was the support of the Aaronic priesthood by the Old Testament church. But I have used none of these things. I have not availed myself of my right to temporal supplies, in requital for my spiritual services. Neither have I written these things that it should be so done unto me. I have 1.0t stated my claiins now with the view of acting upon them any more in time coming than in time past. The enemies of the gospel are eager to wound it through my conduct, and if they found any pretence for saying that I made a gain of you, they would denounce the whole scheme of mercy as a pecuniary speculation. In these circumstances I am determined to forego my rights, and still to preach the gospel gratuitously ; 'for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.' When I speak of glorying, it is not on account of preaching the gospel, by itself considered, but of preaching it without price. • For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!' The case is different as to making the gospel without charge ; 'for if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward. If I spontaneously relinquish pecuniary remuneration, it must be in