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watch for your souls, as they that which is most precious of all, still must give account.”–17.
tends the rarest, choicest of the flock. “And we beseech you, brethren, to For the true Christian bishop-love is know them which labour among you, the only mitre that he wears; lore, and are over you in the Lord, and ad the only crosier that he wields; and monish you.”—1 Thess. v. 12.
love the only seat on which he sits, “Let the elders that rule well be and rules among the peers of Christ's counted worthy of double honour, | realm. especially they who labour in the The pastor is to visit the flock, a word and doctrine."--1 Tim. v. 17. | point on which misunderstanding
This rule, however--and let every sometimes prevails. “I shall certainly pastor give diligent heed to the same visit you in sickness," says the mine is neither arbitrary nor despotic; but | ister.“ And if you never visit me exa rule of wisdom and of love. Love, cept in sickness," says the hearer, "I especially, is the great qualification shall not care much to see you then." for the pastor's office; and he who To suggest to you any details on this cannot love the people under his care, matter would be folly ; between freand that too despite all their failings quent intercourse, which is incomiand his own, let him betake himself patible with other duties, and none, to another calling; for rule without | except in sickness, the pastor, accordlove he never can. Remember, that! ing to the wisdom that is in him, and to any one who puts himself in the the opportunities that he has, must sphere of your pastoral influence you seek the happy medium. All that we sustain a relationship that should can say is, by some means, if possible, call out the holiest and tenderest know your people; so that your emotions. As a father to his chil presence may not be altogether strange dren, nay, in some sort as a to them in their times of affliction and mother to hers, so should you be to sorrow. Yet even as to this take heed your people. “We were gentle among that such intercourse as you hold as you," says Paul, “as a nurse cherish frank and open. Do not * creep into eth her children.” If you find some houses.” If the door is frankly flung whom you cannot like, still try to love wide open, frankly enter ; but if it them with a patient, all-enduring stands only ajar, or in opening creaks love. This I know is a hard saying. upon its hinges, self-respect will teach Let him hear it who hath ears to hear. you that your time can be better emIn this we need much more of the ployed than in insinuating an entrance spirit of the tender Christ. “The
there. Lord Jesus," said the good old The pastor is to give counsel and Mr. Jay, “is a deal more con- | reproof, a duty requiring such a com. descending than I am, for He bination of tenderness and valour that lives with people I shouldn't like one might well shrink from attempito live with.” Love is the great ing it. It occurs to me that our fitness qualification for the pastor's office. to give counsel may be measured by See it in the charge which the Lord our aptness to receive it. If the gave to Peter, “Simon, lovest thou minister bears himself in high and me? Feed my lambs. Shepherd my lordly fashion, as if such divinity did sheep. Feed the choicest of my hedge him that, like a king, he could sheep.” A gradation each step of do no wrong, he, it seems to me, 19 which love alone can realize. Love, not the man from whom reproof w! with its tender hand, feeds the lambs. be most graciously received; but u Love, with a hand strong as it is gentle, his “ faculties” are meekly borne, then guides the sheep lest they stray from may he be clear even in this great the fold. Love, with its heart filled office. Let us carefully eschew all with ripe experiences of that love pride and bitterness, all sarcasm and scra, in our counsels and reproofs. | a sacred truth. There are times when No gentleman ever sneers.” Tenny- it is not enough to tell to God our tale my beautifully tells us, concerning the of sorrow or of sin. Times when huavalry of the famous round table, | man sympathy must make Divine
sympathy appear credible and real. " In those days
A human hand to grasp, or human o Inight of Arthur's noblest dealt in ear into which to pour the sad conBoorn ;
fession. Should such confidences be at if a man were halt, or hunched, in him
reposed in you, keep them invioig those whom God had made fúll-limb'd
late as the grave. The world, inod tall, Son vas allowed as part of his defect,
deed, barks out its hateful cynicism, Al be was answered softly by the king
“ Tell nothing to thy friend which And 3 his table."
thy enemy may not know.” A proThe pastor, too, must keep in violate | verb which, only to quote, sets one's the confidence reposed in him by his teeth on edge, and which, if I held it pople. Say what you will against the
true, would make the hair of my flesh Rrinish confessional, still, beneath all stand up! to rubbish, refuse, and offal, there lies
(To be concluded in our next.)
WOMAN IN THE CHURCH.
BY MRS. C, L. BALFOUR.
It is a melancholy fact, admitted by all pious thoughtful observers, that in the present day the world is encroaching on the Church. That in numbers, in earnestness, and in spirituality, the Church, instead of increasing, decreases. This statement, which is not a matter of opinion, but of demonstration, cannot fail to be a subject of the deepest concern to all who desire the prosperity of Zion; but more particularly should it arouse the sympathies and awaken the energies of women, seeing that they constitute the majority in the Church, and that, therefore, all charges of want of vital pety, of diminution of numbers, of stagnation of zeal, as they necessarily refer to the majority in the Church, must forcibly apply to woman, as undoubtedly constituting that majority.
The world in the present day not only confesses the influence of woman on social, moral, and mental advancement, but displays some amount of anxiety that an engine manifestly so powerful should be carefully directed, so as to subserve the cause of human improvement. The Church never denied either the spiritual or intellectual influence of woman. Christianity, in contradistinction from every other system of religious belief, recognises the spiritual equality of the sexes; and by this means has elevated woman to a position of dignity, influence, and responsibility, never elsewhere conceded to her. But a great practical mistake has arisen from this circumstance, that woman herself bas too often been either ignorant of, or ndifferent to, her own responsibilities. Her susceptibility to religious impressions, the comparative tenderness of her conscience, and the fervour of
her spiritual aspirations, have all been active instruments in fulfilling the beneficent will of her Creator, by conducing to her individual conversion, and bringing her sex in greatest numbers into the visible Church. But when there, it is too often the case that woman believes that every end has been attained by her own personal salvation, and that very little relative duty tests upon her. She argues, that because men should labour as ministers, as deacons, as prayer-leaders, that the spiritual and secular concerns of the Church, and consequently its extension, rest alone with them, and that woman, occe in the Church, may be at ease in Zion. These may not be the actually spoken opinions of the female members of the Church; but it is too often the argument manifested by actions—the sentiment embodied in the practice.
It surely is not too much to assert, that the Church will never be trium phant until all its members feel the deep conviction that it is their duty to labour, as much as it is their privilege to enjoy. It is a great error to suppo that the extension of the cause of Christ rests only with those who fill publi and official stations. The law manifest in the realm of nature and of ari. applies with equal force to the operations of mind ; that the efficiency of every instrumentality depends as much on the wise arrangement of subordinate agency, of careful detail, and elaborate minutia, as on the leading and more apparent powers employed. There are a multitude of minute springs connected with the machinery of the Church, the working of which may either retard or promote its efficiency, as they are rightly or wrongly directed by woman.
The first of these is domestic piety. Pious homes are the storehouses of the Church. There the materials are garnered up—the treasures are accumulated that are to make Zion a praise in the earth. Over these homes woman is the presiding genius. In the apostolic phrase, she is " guide the house." The pious matron, “who openeth her mouth with me dom, and on whose tongue was the law of kindness," is there a teache of divinity, both by precept and practice. Oh! happy for the Church i every mother were like Hannah of old, resolved to consecrate her bes beloved earthly treasure to the service of the Lord! If every mother, lik Eunice and Lois, so taught her offspring, that it might be said of each o them, when arrived at maturity, “from a child thou hast known the Scrip tures !” Happy would it be for the Church, if every mother, looking on her sons, remembered that the most faithful ministers, the most devota missionaries, and the most conscientious teachers that the Church has evel possessed, have been found among those who learned their divinity, wt acquired their principles, and who gained their habits, from the precepts as practice of their mothers !
Domestic piety does not refer only to the training of children,-it com prehends dependants and servants. All enlightened persons in the peu sent day must rejoice in the diffusion of knowledge. But knowleds without piety is only a partial good. It is the duty of pious women endeavour to diffuse religious instruction to all within the circle of the influence. And here it must be remembered, that as she has not thu hold on the affections, nor that natural sympathy with the objects of Le superintendence, which she possesses in the maternal relation, there is a necessity for the utmost care and caution, that her conduct be consistent, that her actions make Christianity loveable, by showing in her deportment that it is really lovely. If a mistress of a family, professing to be a Christian, is exacting, harsh, unsympathizing, selfish,-if she is careless, indifferent, indolent, how can she recommend the Gospel of Christ? Is she not a stumbling-block, a hindrance ? for it must ever be remembered, that the inconverted, the uninformed, will judge of Christianity, not by its abstract principles, but by the conduct of those who profess it. Oh for the possession
i that gentle charity that is not easily offended, that seeketh not her own, that, while firm in the maintenance of order and propriety, still ever etrives to overcome evil with good !” A mistress imbued with this spirit, is purely likely to be instrumental in winning souls.
Domestic piety comprehends the duties of a christian wife. Happy, thrice happy, honoured, and useful, are those blest abodes where husband and wife are heirs together of the grace of life; their sorrows are lightened, their joys are enhanced, their duties made delights, by participation. The manly reason gives direction and permanence to the feminine plans, the Fomanly tenderness softens and refines the masculine rule, piety throws its halo of light around them, the Church rejoices in their joy, the world takes knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus.
But there are multitudes of christian wives whose nearest earthly con. nexion does not participate with them in the pure enjoyments of religion, . and hence sorrows, difficulties, trials, persecutions, which tongue or pen can never describe. Yet droop not, gentle mourner, “ be strong and of good courage,” for blessed promises are yours. It may be that hope deferred has ling made the heart sick; still continue earnest in prayer. The apostle
, “If any (husbands) obey not the word, they also may, without the Ford, be won by the conversation of the wives ; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” (1 Peter iii. 1, 2.) Surely, perverse is human nature is, it must be influenced by a consistent practice. Strive to maintain a cheerful demeanour, a serene temper. Religion, to be made Wractive, must be free from gloom, repining, and complaint. A murmuring guit must repel; a cheerful spirit can scarcely fail to allure.
Next to domestic piety, as an efficient means of promoting the extension of the Church, there is the intellectual and benevolent activity of woman. Though home is the first and dearest sphere of woman's labours, society has its just claims on her time and talents. The Sabbath school demands her aid. Ah! when our gentle christian sisters behold some poor neglected child left destitute in the mud and slime of iniquity, ready to be destroyed by the swelling tide of profligacy, how can they refrain from thinking of those sweet words, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give lize thy wages.” The hopes of the Church must rest on the young ; not merely on the favoured youth who are growing up like goodly plants under
i domestic culture, but on the poor wildings who would probably thrive di vigorously if transplanted to the garden of the Lord. Who can tell Fhich shall flourish, this or that? Though it is God alone who causeth to grow, it is the duty of the Church to plant and water continually.
Woman's intimate acquaintance with childhood, her aptitude to teach, point her out as especially the educator of the young; but, in order to instruct efficiently, she must herself be instructed. The mind must imbibe or it cannot impart. This is too much lost sight of by female teachers. There must be a systematic course of reading, a careful preparation of lessons, a habit of attention and punctuality, a discipline of the mind, or there will be no efficient teaching. It is not always those who know the most who are the best teachers, but those who arrange what they know.
Then Tract distribution is an important department of christian labour. It means something more than carrying round tracts one week and changing them the next. It requires friendliness of deportment, urbanity of manner.
. There must be no indifference to the feelings of the poor, nor neglect of the delicate attentions of christian courtesy, none of that lofty, laboured condescension that wounds, offends, and estranges, those visited ; but a most careful laying aside of all assumption, a constant remembrance that in the cyes of God “ rich and poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all.” Opportunities for conversation must be sought diligently and discreetly. There must not only be the word “ fitly spoken;" but it must be spoken “ in season.” When to speak is as much a matter for anxious reflection as what to speak. And on all occasions there must be that law of kindness which is so powerful, that might of gentleness which is so irresistible.
Then there is the Visitation of the sick ; not those only of the household of faith, but the world. This is especially woman's office. As a christian she should not be content to delegate this to the home missionary only. I forms an important part of her mission in society to minister to the afflicted; what an opportunity of usefulness opens to her here ! How her own spiritual gifts and graces will abound by the exercise of her devotional and benevolent feelings! How many a sick chamber would prove a vestibule to the Church, if christian women would be earnest in their vocation as visitors of the sick. Not only the afflicted, but their friends, would feel constrained to yield to the appeal, “ Come with us, and we will do thee good." This department of duty, equally with the foregoing, requires the cultivation of the intellect. No christian should be content with present attainments, either of mind or soul. No age of the world's history has ever afforded such opportunities for intellectual improvement: and therefore in no age has so great a responsibility rested on christians. It is imperative that women, in order to be useful, should be able to “give a reason for the hope that is in them.” They should struy the word of God most diligently. They should, above all things, exercise themselves in prayer. Remembering that though the holy women of old were celebrated for a great diversity of gifts and graces, yet they all were alike in one particular—they were all women of prayer. Miriam the poet, Deborah the judge, Hannah the prophet, Esther the queen-were all women of prayer. There is no such thing as a christian who cannot think ind feel a prayer, and all should strive to be able at suitable times to utter rith propriety and reverence what they think and feel. Prayer is the