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position—that the sight of the dead and the living has so moved and melted us that we have been constrained to devote the life of earth for the good of souls, to consecrate our saved existence in Christ to strive to bring men to receive reconciliation and live. Every Christian is called, is pledged to this, as a witness for Christ; every minister of Christ has been specially summoned to this, and has specially given himself to this work; it is one great end of our conversion-it is the chief purpose of the very existence of the ministry -it gives to it à meaning, stamps on it a character and a directive force—it guards it with a preservative influence, it inspires it as with a living breath, and it impels it with a motive energy.
But is there not danger of having such a familiarity with the sight as practically to deprive it of some of its reality or impressivenessto exert a benumbing influence on our sensibilities, to lead us to get an official mode of looking at the scene—to deal with it until all becomes unreal, visionary, too familiar to be deeply regarded, too much a matter of course to stimulate or to affect us ? Do we not all need to take ever fresh views of the sight-to gaze at it in the light of eternity-in view of its relation to the woe of hell and the bliss of heaven, of nearness and conformity to the blessed God, with enjoyment of His favour, and with some sense of the dreadfulness of alienation and condemnation from Him ? Our families, friends, neighbours, fellow-worshippers without Christ are unsaved and in peril of eternal death ; shall we, can we ever be oblivious of the fact; shall it ever cease to engage our prime regard; can we be true to our calling as imitators of Christ if we do not live and labour with the burden of souls upon us? ..
Do we not need solemnly to charge our own souls on these high themes? Do we belong to the living? Is it not possible that we may break the bread of life to others and ourselves be perishing with hunger—be pointing to the way of life in Christ and be walking in the
way of death—be proclaiming a salvation we have not received, a salvation we do not enjoy—be preaching of blessings and of bliss we practically neglect? Is it not possible that we may in warning others be proclaiming our own doom, and be descanting eloquently on the glories of heaven we may never see !
If it be otherwise, then how great the privilege, how blessed the portion of the saved who proclaim that which they have tasted, felt, and handled of the good word of life. How affecting does this reflection make our work to appear! Shall it ever be forgotten, shall
it ever be subordinated, shall it ever cease to stimulate and to energise? Sooner may our hand forget its cunning ; sooner may our tongue cleave to the roof of our mouth!
Having referred to many indications of a new spirit and a revived piety in our Churches, Mr. Bendall concluded : May we not hope that these movements and aspirations are from above, that they point to better days at hand, that the time to favour Zion, yea the set time, is near. Shall we not arise and plead with God, and at the same time diligently employ all our instrumentalities? Shall we not enter into the glorious anticipations, and earnestly desire, pray, and labour for their fulfilment ? Shall we not enter into the sublime extravagance or exaggeration of prophetic language, and “give God no rest” until He arise and bless us, until the Spirit be poured out from on high, until He make the wilderness like Eden, and the desert like the garden of the Lord.
"JUST, BEFORE YOU ARE GENEROUS." “WELL, Mr. Thornton, how did you like Mr. Barker yesterday?'
Mr. Thornton is a manufacturer in somewhat extensive business, who is in the habit of travelling occasionally on his own account. One of the places he visits is a pleasant town of about 13,000 inhabitants, which, as it is the centre of a large outlying district where he has business connections, he makes his headquarters for the greater part of a week. He always arranges, when he can, to spend a Sunday there, partly because the town is quiet and beautiful, but much more because he has a great respect for Mr. Barker, who is the pastor of the Congregational Church, and because he greatly enjoys his ministerial services. Going so regularly twice a year he has made the acquaintance of a small circle of friends, for the most part connected with the church and congregation, who always welcome him with great cordiality. On this occasion he had been asked to spend an evening at the house of one of them, and he had consented to do so. Mr. Barker had been invited to be of the party, but a standing engagement prevented his going till late in the evening. As matters turned out, it was just as well he could not go earlier.
The question reported above was addressed to Mr. Thornton by Mr. Grey, one of the deacons. Mr. Grey was a prosperous tradesman, who, in addition to his own business, was a director of the District Bank, and of course a large shareholder. If the rest of the party were not equally prosperous, they were all in comfortable circumstances.
“Well,” replied Mr. Thornton, “ to say the truth, I hardly thought Mr. Barker quite up to his usual mark. The sermons were excellent. I can tell you this, that there are congregations four times as large as yours, and which think themselves on every account far more important, whose ministers give them nothing better. His prayers, too, were beautiful and devout. Still, to my feeling, there was a lack of the old buoyancy, and in the morning especially it seemed as though he were conscious of the want of life, and as though he were making an effort to rise above it. But after all, perhaps I was mistaken."
"No," said Mr. Grey, “I hardly think you were. The fact is we have all noticed it, more or less, for some time past."
“Yes,” said Mr. Bolton, another of the deacons ; “people are complaining about it, and if it continues I am afraid some of them will go elsewhere.”
“There must be some reason for it,” said Mr. Thornton.“ Have you no idea what it is ? "
“No, not at all,” replied Mr. Grey. Several of the others chimed in, and one of the party hinted that if Mr. Barker were troubled about anything there was no need for him to take his trouble into the pulpit with him.
“That may be all very well,” said Mr. Thornton, “but there are some sensitive minds which can scarcely help it. I have an idea, too, that if you had a minister who preached and prayed all the same, whatever his own state of mind, you would soon begin to think he was very unreal, which would be one of the worst things you could think of him. But, seriously, as my minister's friend—which every deacon ought to be-I should deem myself very remiss if, seeing there was anything on his mind, I did not try to find out what it was, that if possible it might be removed. Now I fancy I know what troubles Mr. Barker, and if I am right it is something you can
The fact is I had a hint of it from our minister, Mr. Norris, who, you know, is very friendly with Mr. Barker." “What is it, Mr. Thornton ?” asked Mr. Grey.
I will answer your question, Mr. Grey,” replied Mr. Thornton, " by putting another. What salary do you give your minister?
"£130 a-year,” said Mr. Grey.
“ £130 a-year!” exclaimed Mr. Thornton," for such a minister, with a family of four children, and from such a congregation; with the cost of living, too, at the rate it is! However do you think that house-rent, and servant's wages, and food, and clothing, and children's education and books, and medical attendance, are to be paid for out of that? I should like to know which of you gentlemen would be willing to keep house on such a sum."
“But,” said Mr. Elliott, another of the deacons, “it is more by £10 than we ever paid before. Good old Mr. Gathorne brought up his family well on £120.”
“And how long is it," asked Mr. Thornton,“ since Mr. Gathorne died ?"
Well,” replied Mr. Elliott, “it is nearly five and twenty years.” “And five and twenty years ago," said Mr. Thornton, “£120 would go nearly as far as £160 now. Besides, five and twenty years ago you were in a very different position from what you are now. There was,
I have been told, hardly a single man of property in the church. Another thing I can tell you. One of Mr. Gathorne's sons is, as you know, deacon of our church, and he has told me many a time what a hard struggle it was for his father and mother to bring them
Well, but,” said Mr. Bolton, “what we give Mr. Barker is not all he has to live upon."
Indeed,” replied Mr. Thornton. “He has private property, then, has he?"
“Not exactly that-not that I know of, at least,” said Mr. Bolton; “ but he has some pupils—in fact he is engaged with them now; and I should think they pay him pretty well. I believe he fills up every evening he has to spare in that way.”
“Pupils ! and every evening he has to spare !' and all because you don't give him salary enough to live upon !” said Mr. Thornton. • No wonder his preaching is not as lively and glowing as you would like it to be. To my mind the wonder is he preaches so well.”
But,” said Mr. Ellis, a fourth deącon, “ I think ministers ought to be willing to make sacrifices."
“ So they should,” replied Mr. Thornton, “and for that matter so should we all. But is there a single reason why ministers should make sacrifices more than deacons, or anybody else ? Least of all, do you think they should be expected to make sacrifices in order to spare
the pockets of people who are well able to support them as they ought to be supported ? I have an idea, however, that even though you were to give your minister twice as much as you do, he would still, considering what he might have done in business, be making a sacrifice to serve you. Would it be right to ask,” he continued, after a short pause, turning to Mr. Grey, “what salaries you give your clerks in the bank ?”
“Our junior,” replied Mr. Grey, “gets £70 a-year, the cashier £150, the ledger-clerk £200, the accountant £250."
“And the manager ?" asked Mr. Thornton.
“Oh!" replied Mr. Grey, “we give him £400, and his house, and rates and taxes, and gas and fire.”
“ And they advance yearly, or every two or three years at least, don't they?"
All except the manager,” said Mr. Grey. “And you give your minister, whose work requires greater ability than any of them, and who must keep up as good an appearance, £130! But don't you know that there are actually working men who are getting even more than your minister ?”
"Well,” said Mr. Dixon, “there's no denying it is very little ; but then that is not all we give."
“I should hope not,” said Mr. Thornton; “or you would have a poor account to render to God of the stewardship He has entrusted to you. But may I ask what you do give besides ?"
There are, of course, the incidental expenses of the chapel,” replied Mr. Dixon, who was the treasurer, " and then we do well for the London Missionary Society. We sent above £50 last year, and we raised £20 for the County Union. Besides, we collected £15 for the Infirmary. There were some other things, too, which will amount to at least £100. Then our friends who have money are appealed to in other ways, and I don't think they are stingy. The people at Morton are building a new chapel, and we have been helping them. Mr. Grey put his name down for £20. None of us else gave so much as that, but we did what we could.”
“ Above £130 for outside objects,” said Mr. Thornton. “Well, I can't deny that's pretty good. But now put those two things together: £130 for your minister, and rather more than that for other things. Now, don't you
should be just before you are generous ? I should be sorry to say a word to diminish by a single penny what you are doing for such good objects as you have named; but I say