網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

worthy undertaking of the cure of souls. First of all, God is insulted by such irreverent approaches to His spotless mysteries : and secondly, the Lord's enemies are made to blaspheme, while His people, so dearly purchased, are alienated from. Him and taught to transgress : and lastly, the necessary consequence and righteous recompense of all this, a damnation is heaped by the hands of the unworthy pastor upon his own soul, too great to be conceived.

The Church may now congratulate herself that by the establishment of theological colleges, in which candidates for the ministry may learn the nature of their future calling, she is doing away with every pretext for that careless hurrying into her holy offices, which has been, alas, her shame and curse. She can now supply as good a preparation as can be desired to all that care to avail themselves of it. But, after all, the aspirant to the clerical office will find his greatest strength in that godly principle laid down by a devout father, Bene orâsse est bene studuisse; he will learn more of what he requires to know, upon his knees, than in the posture of the deepest

study: and to assist sincere and earnest men in this most important branch of preparation, is the object of this humble Manual.

I have attempted a great thing, not because I feel myself peculiarly competent for it, but lest it should be left undone ; and in my attempts to rise heavenwards in the following prayers and meditations, I have used no waxen wings of my own framing, but I have chosen rather to lay hold upon the hands of higher and better fliers than myself, using, as much as possible, either their very words, or the pattern of them, as the vehicle of devotion. It matters nothing to me how little originality is in the work, so that it answers its design; only let cavillers beware, lest when they think to censure me, they be condemning some whom they would not willingly blame: a Taylor, or a Tillotson; a Horneck, a Sherlock, or a Wilson : indeed I have taken that which I thought suitable, without requiring anything more than that it should be the expression of a devout soul.

As regards the lections of the appendix, if they offend any from their quaintness, or any other cause, they are such as I could command, and though I do not deny that better might be found, I am certain that he that makes the most he can of them will be abundantly edified. And now, having thus brought out of the good treasures of the Church things new and old, I beseech the blessed Spirit of grace, that these holy thoughts and prayers may be as incense in the censers of multitudes of the sons of Levi, and in edifying them may be blessed to the edifying of their flocks, to the glory of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

HAST THOU WELL CONSIDERED

How great is the Lord's harvest and how few are the labourers !

How many souls perish for lack of knowledge, and yet

How costly is one soul in the eyes of its Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier !

How great is the call on God's people to help these poor souls !

How great the damnation of those that care not that they perish!

How great the blessedness of those that turn many to righteousness !

How unworthy is even the best of men to fill the ministerial office!

How difficult and dangerous is the discharge of it!

How great discouragements are met with in it!

How full of wisdom from above the preachers of the everlasting Gospel should be !

How full of love and self-devotion the feeders of the flock of God!

6

THRESHOLD OF THE SANCTUARY.

How clean the bearers of the vessels of the Lord !

How humble the followers of the Son of Man!

How prudent and learned the gainsayers of the wisdom of this world!

How perfect an example must they set the people! and to this end

How closely must they follow Christ's example!

How wonderfully enduring effects must follow their ministry !

How surely their own souls must be involved in the fate of those they have in charge

If thou hast duly considered all this, go, and the Lord be with thee.

« 上一頁繼續 »