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Teacher with the courage and decision to say,
" What thou biddest me do I will do ; what thou biddest me teach I will teach." He who is possessed of it is independent of man, and loyal to God ; HONEST BOTH TO GOD AND TO MAN ; and he is so, because he has that abasement of pride which . comes forth in childlike docility looking upward “with all lowliness," and inquiring, “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"
There is a ministerial independence which is bold and reckless; which bids defiance to the preferences of both wonted hearers and of the world at large; which boastingly says, “I will utter my sentiments at whatever cost; no man shall bribe me to silence." This is not the independence of love and loyalty. It is not like that of Paul or of Luther ; it is more Satanic than angelic. The independence of which we speak is of quite another sort. It is the fruit of the Holy Ghost. It wears the stamp of the Saviour's hand. It is appropriate, nay, essential to every true ambassador ; an independence indissolubly bound up with fidelity to his trust, and earnestness in his self-denying work. It is removed farthest possible from a sense of official dignity. It has no prurient desires for authority; no vaporings of selfreliance ; no burnings of self-applauding zeal.
It is quiet, but energetic; disinterested, but firm. It says with Luther at the Diet of Worms, “ I am bound by my conscience and the word of God.” This loyalty to his Saviour King, and humble independence of the preferences of his flock, which lists the minister officially far above them, while he feels himself one with them in the warmest sympathies of his heart, lies at the foundation of every largely successful pastorate.
The persuasion that he possessed this complex characteristic, a bumble, independent honesty in his work, the pastor of IIadley wrote on the hearts of his people as “with a pen of iron.” They never for a moment suspected him of timeserving. They never imagined that he would cater to their vitiated appetites. They never thought that he would con
MUTUAL LOVE OF PASTOR AND PEOPLE.
sult their preferences further than the Scriptures demand. On that rock they saw him standing; and they knew that no consideration would induce him to leave it. consent they felt that he was an honest man, an honest ambassador, an honest minister of the New Testament. Whenever he stood before them as the preacher of righteousness, whether in the house of God or in the conference-room, he carried to their minds the impression that his sole object was to save his hearers, and to honor his Master — opinions of a minister which will prove vital elements in any community.
Another positive ground of this commanding influence of the pastor of IIadley over his people, was the felt permanency of the relation existing between them. His uniform conduct testified that he regarded IIadley as his home ; the field over which God, as well as man, had installed him. He never awakened the suspicion that he was holding out the idea to other churches that he could be had ; much less that he was soliciting calls. They felt that he was their minister by divine appointment; that, should his health be preserved to old age, he would live and die with them, and pillow his head beside theirs in the sacred repository of their dead.
The true affection of a people for their pastor is peculiar. There is none other exactly like it. It is a reflection of that love which the true Christian feels towards Christ himself; and finds, perhaps, its nearest resemblance in that cherished by his disciples and those holy women who ministered to him when on earth. It has much of the tenderness and warmth of the domestic affection, elevated with blendings of reverence, of spiritual dependence and helpfulness, of mutual confidence and varied sympathies ; linked to the conriction of a common oneness in spiritual wants and supplies, and of a common destiny in the presence of God forever. There may be, indeed there often is, a pleasing substitute for this pastoral affection, originating in admiration
for talents and genius, or the pleasantries of social intercourse ; but which, though sometimes dignified and graceful, lending a charm to the relation, is utterly unlike it. However pleasurable to the unregenerate, it wants the purest elements of the genuine, - a consciousness of union to one who is felt to be their teacher and friend in sympathy both with themselves and their endeared Lord; hallowed with some foretaste of that blessedness of holiest love which will be experienced in its fulness by the redeemed when they “shall behold his face in righteousness.”
Such a friendship is no transient production. Though beautiful as the rainbow, it is not, like the rainbow, evanescent. Its radication, its growth, and full unfoldings in graceful proportion, require time. Its richness and beauty are seldom reached in connection with the idea of brevity in the relation. Its counterfeit may, like Jonah's gourd, grow up in a night, and perish in a night; but the genuine plant neither matures nor withers so quickly. In Mr. Woodbridge's manifested purpose to make IIadley his perinanent home, he gave opportunity for this exalted friendship, which is the basis of the highest ministerial usefulness, to take root and bear its ripened fruit.
MR. W. IN HIS STUDY; THE SPIRIT WITH WHICH HE STUDIED ;
HIS HABIT OF, AND GIFT IN, PUBLIC PRAYER, AND HIS
Mr. Woodbridge was a hard student. IIe loved study. IIe thirsted for knowledge. Following alone the bent of his inquisitive tendencies, lie would have made his library his home. But nobler aspirations than personal predilections pointed in the same direction. Having clear conceptions of the design and grandeur of his vocation, — the
END OF PREACHING ; PREPARATION FOR THE WORK. 125
production of holiness, and the final result — salvation, “unto the glory and praise of God,” he felt that the ministry of reconciliation was the most momentous of all work ; that he was not placed in charge of an important church to show his oratory or awaken personal admiration, but to preach what God commanded ; not to amuse the fancy, to titillate with witticisms, or to surprise with eccentricities, but to instruct the reason, to probe the conscience, to stir the heart; not to electrify the aesthetic sensibilities, but to inspire his hearers with hungerings "after righteousness ;” not to make them pleased with themselves, but PLEASED WITH GOD.
To achieve a work thus momentous in endless results he saw the necessity of great resources. His experience of six years of pastoral life had already shown him that incessant drafts would be made on his wealth of thought. A few good sermons would not answer his purpose. They might be a sufficient supply for an itinerating evangelist, or a Methodist preacher, who needs at most only an outfit for a three years' cruise.
But such would be a very meagre provision for a stated pastor, who must bring forth from his treasury things new and old, year after year, Sabbath after Sabbath, and on numberless other occasions demanding ministerial service, so as to instruct and edify an intelligent and cultivated auditory, capable of digesting strong meat. Agreeing with the maxim of Bacon, he saw the necessity of being “a full man” and a "ready man,” and therefore determined to do hard mental work; not only to read, but to read thoughtfully, understandingly; to lay up treasures of thought, of facts and incidents ; of illustration and poetic imagery; of whatever, in short, would enable him to elucidate and enforce the gospel of Christ. It was no part of his purpose to put off his people with crudities of scriptural thought, speculative vagaries, or empty declamation ; but, if close study, profound meditation, and severe discipline would enable him to do it, to provide them with substantial food.
He was not only determined to accomplish this task, but
to discipline himself for it. IIis body must be made the handmaid of his mind, and not his mind the slave of his body. Consequently, he was rigidly abstemious. Not because he was not fond of the luxuries and delicacies of the table, but because he would not yield to the clamors of appetite when it stood in the way of his great life-purpose. Perceiving that the overtasking of his digestive organs checked his mental activity, he was conscientiously careful not to burden them. Says one of his family, “ He was the most abstemious man in the matter of eating and drinking I ever knew. He would not eat injurious food; and could hardly be persuaded to take intoxicating drink even when ordered by a physician:''
It was his usual practice to go into his library soon after breakfast, and there remain, if particularly absorbed in any theme demanding investigation, till called to tea. At noon, a waiter with two slices of bread or a bowl of gruel and a cup of tea was sent in to him, which sufficed for his midday meal. It seemed as if he must live among his books or " bear no life.” Dr. Wm. Robertson's youthful motto, “Vita sine literis mors est,” was practically adopted as his
Even when out of his study he could scarcely be said to take relaxation, his mind being still employed in thought.
It is the yet higher praise of Mr. Woodbridge that he was not only a hard student, but a hard student in the right direction. Many ministers study as diligently as he did ; they are as closely confined to their books; their lives seem as much bound up with the acquisition of knowledge. But they follow too much their selfish inclinations. They study the languages, and enrich themselves with classic lore ; they study philosophy, the natural sciences, history, general literature or politics, perhaps become vehement politicians. They prepare lyceum lectures, or write literary reviews. They are far from bringing all their powers to bear exclusively on their work as ambassadors for Christ. They may