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Jesus said, “The workman is worthy of his meat, and the labourer is worthy of his hire.' The Greek word which is rendered meat means not only necessary food, but sustenance or support in general, and the word rendered hire means recompense. Hence, the doctrine taught by the Saviour is plainly that those who are devoted to the ministry are justly entitled to a comfortable living. “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And the labourer is worthy of his reward' (1 Tim. v. 18).

Such declarations imply,' says Dr. Cook, “that to render support to the Christian ministry is a debt of justice, and not a donation of charity; that the devoted minister, who is separated from a worldly calling in order that he may efficiently discharge the duties of his office, is as much entitled to support as the labouring husbandman is entitled to the salary he has earned by the sweat of his brow.' Again, · Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.' To communicate is, in a Scriptural sense, to contribute of our worldly substance. It is, therefore, evident that whoever enjoys the privilege of hearing the Gospel preached is under an obligation to support it. The privilege of hearing and the duty of supporting are inseparable.

St. Paul treats this subject at considerable length in his first letter to the Corinthians. He asks, Who goeth a warfare at any time at his own charges ? Who planteth a vineyard and eateth not of the fruit thereof? Or, who feedeth a flock and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man, or saith not the law the same also ? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn.

Doth God take for oxen, or saith He it altogether for our sakes? For ourselves, no doubt, this is written that he that plougheth shall plough in hope, and he that thrasheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap your carnal things? 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.

The above statements are so clear and impressive that nothing further is needed to demonstrate the right of Christian ministers to a comfortable maintenance and the duty of the church to provide it. Such a claim is founded on the law of simple justice. But the question arises, What is a comfortable maintenance ?

What is reasonable

support ?' Opinions greatly differ. But Dr. Guthrie was not far from the mark when he said that the minimum salary of a Gospel minister should not be less than £150 per annum. It is difficult to manage comfortably on less in these days.

2. The Christian minister has a claim upon the highest esteem and love of the people.

* And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake' (1 Thess. v. 12). Here St. Paul teaches that there should exist a particular love and esteem in the hearts of Christians towards their ministers. The good Shepherd is known by every sheep, the kind teacher is beloved by every scholar, the attentive and obliging physician wins the sympathy of every patient, and the brave and generous commander is cheerfully obeyed by every soldier. Even so Christian ministers are good shepherds, who feed the flock of God; kind teachers, who strive to impart the soundest instruction ; sympathetic physicians, who try to heal the spiritual maladies of the people; and energetic commanders in the great field of moral conflict, leading Israel's host in the thick of the fight until victory is proclaimed on Israel's side. Such ministers are not only beloved by the members of their charge, but by the whole Church of Christ and the world surrounding them.

Dear brethren, yours is a noble calling. You are called to walk on the high places of the earth. But your responsibilities are great. The interests at stake are of vast and infinite importance both to yourselves and others. Be real preachers, pastors, and Christians. Be true men.

He's true to God who's true to man, whatever wrong is done,
To the humblest and the weakest 'neath the all-beholding sun;
That wrong is also done to us, and they are slaves most base
Whose love of right is for themselves, and not for all their race.
God works for all. Ye cannot hem the hope of being free
With parallels of latitudes, with mountain range or sea.
Put golden padlocks on truth's lips, be callous as ye will,

From soul to soul o'er all the world leaps one electric thrill. The most accursed among men is the traitor to humanity. You must evade that curse. The field is the world to work in. From other fields of labour you have been called of God to this particular work. His truth has made you free men. His spirit has enlightened your minds, softened your hearts, and expanded your social and religious sympathies. Noble examples of self-sacrificing zeal you have in the fathers of our connexion. Many of them fell early in the strife and

passed away to the land of rest! You must tread in their footsteps! That will lead you into the thick of the conflict and to the same glorious achievements for Christ. You, too, may fall early in the strife; but what if you do? Many nobler and better than you have fallen already on the high fields of moral conflict. They spent themselves for Christ. Their voices are now hushed in silence and their bodies are slumbering in the grave until the resurrection of the last day. But the truths they preached are living on in the memories and hearts of the people. The fires of holy aspirations which they kindled in many hearts are burning on more brightly than ever. The souls they saved are repenting on, praying on, believing on, singing on, until the day of complete deliverance. Their works do follow them. Even so shall it be with you. In order, therefore, to succeed in your great mission for right and Christ, you must be up and doing. The secret of all real success is hard work. Work hard, then, and work in earnest, and God will bless you!

WILSON BARRETT.

VI.-AGNOSTICISM.

THE universe and its phenomena have ever constituted a problem difficult of solution, and, as might be expected, the theories based upon them have been remarkably conflicting. All are agreed that the universe presents itself to us as an object of consciousness; but when the inquiring mind asks, What is it?' and, “How did it begin to be ?" it is found that no affirmation can be made that may not be debated. The great body of thinkers have adopted one of two views. Theists have affirmed and sought to prove that the universe is constituted of mind and matter, and is the product of an intelligent First Cause. Atheists have held the opinion that it is either self-existent or selfcreated, many of them further affirming that mind is not a separate existence, but a modification of matter. Between these two theories there is a broad distinction; and, perhaps, if the issue had rested here, we might have hoped for a complete settlement of the question sooner than we can in the present circumstances. But there is a third class of thinkers, who call themselves Agnostics, whose position demands the attention of those who theorise on the what ? the 6 whence ?' and the "how?' of the universe-a class which probably has always had some representatives, and which in these days of refined doubt is rapidly increasing. Appalled by the mistakes of both Atheist and Theist, anxious to give credence to nothing of which they cannot be absolutely certain, made timid by their experience of the fallibility of the human understanding, and aware of the fact that every positive theory of the universe must involve great difficulties and some apparent contradictions, Agnostics shrink alike from affirmation and denial of the unseen,' venturing only on the negative assertion that we have no positive knowledge, and can have none, of anything that is not either cognisant to the senses or capable of logical demonstration. Whilst this view cannot be said to be flattering to man's natural pride of intellect, it is in some respects decidedly fascinating. The Theist is prepared to admit the existence of profound intellectual and moral difficulties in his theory, and, therefore, at first sight, that of the Agnostic will partially commend itself to his judgment, inasmuch as it offers him the chance of freedom from some of his difficulties, without committing him to the doctrines of his old foeman, the Atheist, which he has been accustomed to regard as both

unreasonable and irreverent. And seeing that the Atheist is aware that he has not scored very many indisputable victories, he, too, is not altogether unwilling to accept the compromising position of the Agnostic. The consequence is, a state of things described by Professor Upton as follows:— A large and increasing number of thoughtful people are being carried into that vague condition of theological opinion called Agnosticism-a condition in which the mind oscillates between the two opposite poles of religious belief, at one time touching the confines of Atheism, at another time approaching equally near to definite Theistic convictions. This extract will serve to show that the degree of doubt in all who call themselves Agnostics is not the same.

A reference to the names of the exponents of this creed, if creed it may be called, will reveal how very vague' it is, and how completely Professor Upton is justified in making use of language implying that the Agnostic may be either almost an Atheist or almost a Theist; in fact, the approaches he makes are so close that, roughly speaking, he might be called altogether either the one or the other. It is a somewhat broad school of religious belief that admits within its ranks the names of persons so divergent in their opinions as Professors Tyndall, Huxley, and Clifford, Miss Bevington, Sir William Hamilton, Dean Mansel, Mr. Herbert Spencer, and Mr. Matthew Arnold. It would, perhaps, be unfair to give the names of these popular leaders of thought without referring to some of their writings to show that they have really adopted the thesis that the main objects of religious belief are removed beyond the sphere of human knowledge; but such references must necessarily be brief. We find the first-named, Professor Tyndall, expressing himself as follows:- The sense of moral responsibility in man gives to the scientific investigator an association with a power which gives fulness and tone to his existence, but which he can neither analyse nor comprehend.' When the same writer is placed in the dilemma of accepting one of the two theories, that mind is either an entity, or the result of molecular motion, the former of which, of course, is necessary to prove both the existence of an infinite mind and the possibility of man's immortality, we find him saying :' I reject neither position, and thus stand in the presence of two incomprehensibles instead of one.' Professor Huxley has stated that the theology of the present time has not only renounced idols of wood and idols of stone, but begins to see the necessity of breaking in pieces the idols built up of books and traditions and ecclesiastical cobwebs, and of cherishing the noblest and most human of man's emotions by worship, for the most part of the silent sort,' at the altar of the Un

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