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said Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan 3.' The same feeling was evinced in his conveying himself away from the multitude who would have made him a king; and in the manner in which he profited by the remarks of the disciples on the stones of the temple, the beauty of which they had pointed out to bim. But Christ, as Fenelon remarks, had seen his Father's house, and could not, therefore, be taken with the glory of the earthly structure. He seizes the *opportunity of leading their minds from the admiration of its exterior splendour, to contem-plate the certainty of its approaching destruetion. "There shall not be left here one stone upon another, which shall not be thrown down“. Such was the holy consistency of him who left us an example that we should follow his steps, and, at the same time, à command chat we should walk as he also walked.
This subject suggests important practical inferences.
3 Matt. iv. 8-10.
4 Matt. xxiv. 2.
1. The ministers and stewards of Christ's
mysteries have need daily to pray their Lord, that the same mind may be in them which was in Christ Jesus.' The question of our Saviour to Nicodemus,-Art thou a master in Israel, , and knowest not these things'— teaches the responsibility which attaches to the clergy in this respect. It is expected of them beyond all others, that they should not be ignorant of those spiritual truths--for it is to them that the context particularly refers—which the revelation of the Gospel has disclosed to man, and which they are set apart for the especial purpose of enforcing.
Our own church has been formerly charged with remissness in this matter. Leighton, says Burnet, thought the Church of England looked like the fair carcase of a body without a spirit, -without that zeal, that strictness of life, and that laboriousness in the clergy that became them 5. This made him study to excite in his clergy a greater sense of spiritual feelings and of the care of souls. In another place where Burnet bears witness to the learning and labours of the reformed pastors, he laments the decay of the vitals of Christianity". Indeed, the whole of the account of his own times presents a melancholy picture of the prevailing temper of the English clergy in his day. Political sourness seems to have been the characteristic of the church. Parties ran so bigh during these unsettled times, that it would have been, perhaps, difficult for any set of men to have prevented the intrusion of secular feelings and partialities into the sacred office. Milner has, with much justice, compared this period with the state of the primitive church, from the death of Dionysius to the end of the third century". There was in both these periods the same declension in spiritual feeling, the same prevalence of private animosities, the same unsubdued love of the world, accompanied with much learning and external morality in the public ministrations of the pastors. He whose lot is cast in times when the succession is undisputed, bas great reason to be thankful that Providence has exempted him from the entanglements of disturbed nations, whenever he reflects on the struggles for ecclesiastical power—the unchristian dislike shewn to Papists and dissenters— the want of cordiality even among the members of the same church, which so shamefully distinguished the clergy about the period of the Revolution.
5 Hist. of His Own Times, i. 589.
But the failings of the fathers may at least serve to teach their children wisdom. They may remind those who have the charge of the flock of Christ to examine well the state of their spiritual affections, and to see whether they are animated by that deep sense of the importance of religious truth, which can alone produce a corresponding impression on their people. The experience of all who are acquainted with the nature of parochial ministrations will agree in the necessity of labouring to excite a serious spirit in a congregation, without which even increased knowledge and purer morality are but unsatisfactory proofs of a real progress in vital religion. A systematic delivery of the doctrines of the Gospel is essentially requisite to the formation and gradual development of Christian principles ; but it must be accompanied by many an earnest prayer for the effusion of some portion of that divine grace which in primitive times added to the church in one day three thousand souls. Knowledge, if not rightly directed, and rendered influential, frequently becomes destructive. Its inutility for the advancement of true religion was never more strongly exemplified than in the times of the Commonwealth. The really useful person in winning souls to Christ, is he who is so penetrated with the value of the doctrines of the Gospel, as to persuade by the zeal and sincerity of his manner, when a less earnest mode of teaching would have failed to convince. When prejudices are to be overcome, or ignorance to be removed, it is necessary first to shew that the man who labours to introduce new modes of feeling and thinking is not only the convert of his own opi