2 Corinthians 2:15
For we are to God the sweet aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
Sermons
Coming to Troas; Disquietude; Defence of His ApostleshipC. Lipscomb 2 Corinthians 2:12-17
The Effect of the Gospel MinistryT. Moir, M. A.2 Corinthians 2:12-17
God's Triumph and Paul'sJ. Denney, B. D.2 Corinthians 2:14-16
Gratitude PresentedT. B. Baker.2 Corinthians 2:14-16
The Course of TruthF. W. Brown.2 Corinthians 2:14-16
The Minister's ManifestoA. J. Parry.2 Corinthians 2:14-16
The Ministry of the GospelW. Pulsford, D. D.2 Corinthians 2:14-16
The Savour of Divine KnowledgeJ. Denney, B. D.2 Corinthians 2:14-16
The Solemnity of the MinistryJ.R. Thomson 2 Corinthians 2:14-16
The Triumph of the Christian MinisterD. Wilson, M. A.2 Corinthians 2:14-16
The Triumph of the GospelR. Watson.2 Corinthians 2:14-16
The Triumph of the GospelD. Moore, M. A.2 Corinthians 2:14-16
The Triumphal Procession of the ChristA. Maclaren, D. D.2 Corinthians 2:14-16
The Constant Triumph of the Faithful MinisterE. Hurndall 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
Difficulties of the Pastoral OfficeR. Erskine, D. D.2 Corinthians 2:15-16
Dissimilar Effects of the Same ThingScientific Illustrations and Symbols2 Corinthians 2:15-16
God Glorified in the Preaching of the GospelH. Melvill, B. D.2 Corinthians 2:15-16
Gospel a Savour to God in Them that PerishT. G. Selby.2 Corinthians 2:15-16
Savour of Death or of LifeJames Aitken.2 Corinthians 2:15-16
The Fragrance of Christian LifeR. Johnstone, LL. B.2 Corinthians 2:15-16
The Gospel MinistryD. Thomas, D. D.2 Corinthians 2:15-16
The Opposite Effects of the Ministry of the GospelW. Chambers, D. D.2 Corinthians 2:15-16
The Two Effects of the GospelC. H. Spurgeon.2 Corinthians 2:15-16
The Twofold Issues of a Preached GospelR. Tuck 2 Corinthians 2:15, 16
Who is Sufficient for These ThingsDean Vaughan.2 Corinthians 2:15-16
Heroes, in the older days of the apostle, were usually great generals, leaders of mighty armies, conquerors of other nations - men whose "glory" came from desolated cities, down-trodden races, wasted harvests, and crushed and bleeding hearts. And such heroes were permitted to have a "triumph," as it was called. A triumphal procession was arranged in their honour, and to this event the Roman generals looked as to the very goal of their ambition. Magnificent and thrilling scenes they must have been. The general was received, at the gates of the imperial city, by all that was noble and grave and venerable among the officials, and he was led from the gate through the crowded and shouting streets to the Capitol. First marched the ancient men, the grave senators of the Roman council, headed by a body of magistrates. Then came the trumpeters, making the air ring again with their prolonged and joyous blasts. Then followed a long train of carriages and frames laden with the spoils brought from battlefields or plundered from conquered cities, the articles which were most remarkable for their value, or rarity, or beauty being fully exposed to view. There might be seen models of the forts or cities which had been captured; gold and silver statues, pictures, handsome vases, and embroidered stuffs. Then came a band of players on the flute, and then white bulls and oxen destined for sacrifice; and incense bearer, waving to and fro their censers, and sending forth their sweet savour. Then were seen caged lions and tigers, or monstrous elephants, or other strange creatures, brought as specimens from the captive lands. And then the procession filled with pathos, for there followed the leaders of the conquered foe, and the long train of inferior captives, all bound and fettered, and altogether a sad and humiliating sight. At last came the great conqueror, standing in a splendid chariot, drawn by four milk-white horses, magnificently adorned, the conqueror bearing a royal sceptre, and having his brow encircled with a laurel crown. After him marched his great officers, the horse soldiers, and the vast army of foot soldiers, each one holding aloft a spear adorned with laurel boughs. And so the procession moved on through the crowded, shouting streets until it reached the Capitoline hill. There they halted, dragged some of those poor captives aside to be killed, and then offered their sacrifices and began their triumphal feast. St. Paul's mind was evidently full of such a scene as this, and he took his figures from it. He says that God permits us, as apostles and ministers, always to triumph with Christ. We are, through grace, always conquering generals. But St. Paul fixed his thoughts chiefly on those miserable, naked, fettered captives, who were going on to death. He could not help thinking - What was the sound of the clanging trumpet and the piping flute to them - poor hopeless ones? What was the savour of sweet incense in the air to them - poor agitated ones? Some among them may indeed have had the promise of life, and to them the savour of the incense would be sweet; it would be "life unto life." But so many of them knew what their fate must be; they dreaded the worst; they trembled as they came nearer to the ascent of the hill; and as the wind wafted the savour of the incense to them they could but sadly feel that it was a savour of "death unto death." And the apostle thought of his life work of preaching the gospel. It was even thus with the savour of the gospel triumph. To some it was death, to others it was life. Not, indeed, at the arbitrary will of some proud general, but as the necessary issue of the relations in which men stand to a preached gospel; for "he that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."

I. THE PROPER RESULT OF A PREACHED GOSPEL IS LIFE. It was God's gracious purpose that men, "dead in trespasses and sins," should have life, and have. it more abundantly. In his Son Jesus Christ life and immortality are brought to light. In the early days God set before men life and death, and, with all holy persuasions, urged them to choose life and good. This was the one absorbing purpose and endeavour of the Lord Jesus. While he was here he was ever doing one thing - quickening life, restoring life, renewing life: the life of health to those afflicted, of reason to those possessed with devils, of knowledge to ignorant disciples, and even of the body to those smitten and dead. And the apostles carried his gospel forth into all the world as the light and life of men. Dwell upon the significance and interest of the word "life," and explain the new life in Christ Jesus, which the Christian enjoys.

II. THE MOURNFUL RESULT OF A PREACHED GOSPEL OFTEN IS DEATH. Our Lord used forcible but painful figures to express the death of the impenitent and unbelieving: "outer darkness;" "wailing and gnashing of teeth;" "worm that never dies;" "fire that none may quench." We must feel the force of these things, for no man can worthily explain them. This "death" was the mournful issue of a preached gospel when the Son of man was himself the Preacher. Foolish Gadarenes besought him to depart out of their coasts, and leave them to their night and death. Hardened Capernaum, exalted even to heaven in privilege, must be thrust down to hell. St. Paul must turn from bigoted and prejudiced Jews, and go to the Gentiles, leaving the very children of the covenant in a darkness that might be felt. He who came to give life is practically found to be a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offence. Five foolish virgins put their hands about their flickering lamps as they cry against the closed door; and this is the simple, awful ending of their story, "The darkness took them." We do see men hardened under a preached gospel now. Illustrate by the dropping well at Knaresborough. Water ought to soften and melt, but these waters, falling upon things, encrust them with stone, and even turn them into stone. Such may have been the droppings of the "water of life" upon us. There are only these two issues. The gospel must either take us by the hand and lead us up into the sunlight or it must bid us away down into the dark. Only two issues, but what issues they are! Life! As we think of that word, all joy, light, and heaven come into our view. Death! As we speak that word, all darkness, woe, and hell come into our thoughts. "Who indeed is sufficient for these things?" - even for the preaching of a gospel which must prove to be a "savour of life unto life or of death unto death." - R.T.







For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved and in them that perish.
Scientific Illustrations and Symbols.
Consider the totally different effects which the same thing has on different people. An act, simple in itself, will rouse the joys of one and the rage of another. A substance which is food to one man is poison to another. The same medicine which effects a cure in one case will in a similar case in another man aggravate the malady and enhance his sufferings. Look again at the effects of the tempest on creation. & large number of the existences on the globe are terrified. But the seals love above all the tempest, the roaring of the waves, the whistling of the wind, the mighty voice of the thunder, and the vivid flashings of the lightning. They delight to see, rolling along in a sombre sky, the great black clouds which predict torrents of rain. Then it is that they leave the sea in crowds and come and play about on the shore, in the midst of the fury of the elements. They are at home in the tempests. It is in these crises of nature that they give full play to all their faculties, and to all the activity of which they are capable. When the weather is fine and the rest of creation is full of enjoyment they fall asleep, and resign themselves lazily to the dolce far niente.

(Scientific Illustrations and Symbols.)

The life of every Christian should be like the fragrant breeze which, in tropical waters, tells the mariner, while still far out at sea, that the land from which it comes is a land of pleasant forests and gardens, where "the spices flow forth." It should testify, truthfully and clearly, of the sweetness and grace of heaven.

(R. Johnstone, LL. B.)

Round about the very perdition of the impenitent there is a circle and influences and associations that are acceptable to God. If you have lost a child by death, you know what a satisfaction it is to you to remember that all the medical skill that money could command was brought to bear, all that kind and unceasing ministrations of tenderness could do to save the precious life was done. Friends were hour by hour coming to the door ready to help, to sympathise, to pray; by and by thoughts of these things became a great solace to you, and you could bow yourself to the inevitable. Your life might have been shadowed to the very end, if there had been carelessness, neglect, indifference at any single point; if friends had been slow to help, advise, condole; if expedients for the salvation of the child could have been afterwards devised that you never thought of at the time. And so with God, as He looks upon the second death of those created in His own image. There is no sting of regretful reflection. The possible was done to its very last detail. All is quiet contentment and satisfaction. God did more than He had ever done for His universe before. The Son thought no sacrifice too great. The servants and disciples of the Son forgot all thoughts of self in their endeavours to save men. The perdition of the impenitent man is a terrible fact, but round about that fact there ever gather unselfish ministries and services upon which God looks with contentment, and which maintain the unbroken tenor of His blessedness.

(T. G. Selby.)

If you consult the Acts of the Apostles, you will perceive that St. Paul's course, as a preacher of Christianity, was very diversified; that in some places he rapidly formed a flourishing Church, while in others he encountered fierce persecution, or could make little or no impression on the reigning idolatry. It is very remarkable that, although defeat was thus mingled with success, the apostle could nevertheless break into the exclamation, "Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place." You would think from his tone that he had only to enter a city and its idols trembled and falsehood gave place to truth. There is no great difficulty in understanding what St. Paul means when he describes himself and his fellow-labourers as being "unto God a sweet savour of Christ." He alludes to a notion common among the heathen, that God was pleased with the smoke which ascended from the sacrifice burnt on His altars. Indeed, the Scriptures frequently speak of Jehovah in language borrowed from this prevalent opinion. Thus when the waters of the Deluge had subsided, and Noah standing on a baptized earth, had offered burnt-offerings of every clean beast and fowl, we read — "And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake." When, therefore, St. Paul speaks of a "sweet savour of Christ," we should understand him as referring to the acceptableness of the sacrifice of Christ, and to its prevalence with God as a propitiatory offering. And when he speaks of preaching as being "unto God a sweet savour of Christ," he means that by setting forth the sacrifice and causing it to be known, he was instrumental in bringing to God more and more of that glory which arises from the sin-offering which He provided for the world. He knew that he preached the gospel to many who would perish, as well as to many who would be saved; but, nevertheless, he would not admit that in any case he preached in vain. He contended, on the contrary, that wherever the sacrifice of Christ was made known, there ascended fragrant incense unto God; that God obtained honour from the display of His attributes, whether men received or whether they rejected the Redeemer. Now, we may observe to you, of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, that it is a revelation of all which is most illustrious in Godhead, and of all that as sinful creatures we are most concerned in ascertaining. It is a revelation of those attributes and properties of God which natural theology could but dimly conjecture, or which it could not at all satisfactorily combine. He would not allow that it could at all depend upon the reception with which the gospel may meet, whether or not God could be glorified by its publication. Why should it? Suppose it were the pleasure of the Almighty to give some new and striking exhibition of His existence and majesty to a people that had been indifferent to those previously and uniformly furnished; suppose that the vault of heaven were to be spangled with fresh characters of the handwriting of the everlasting God, far outshining in their brilliancy and beauty the already magnificent tracery of a thousand constellations, would not God have splendidly shown forth His being and His power? Would He not have given such a demonstration of His greatness as must triumphantly contribute to His own glory, even if the people for whose sake the overhead canopy had been thus gorgeously decked were to close their eyes against it. We read, that when God rested from the work of creation, He saw everything that He had made, and He beheld that it was very good; and He surveyed His own work with unspeakable pleasure. He saw, He knew it to be good; and if no anthem of lofty gratulation had ascended to His throne from intelligent creatures, He would have reposed in majestic contentment in His vast performances, and have felt Himself so praised in His deeds, that neither angel nor man could break the mighty chorus. And why should we not hold the same in regard of the gospel? We may acknowledge or despise a manifestation of God; but this is the utmost we have in our power; we cannot obscure that manifestation; we cannot despoil it of one of its beams. But St. Paul wished to put his meaning somewhat more explicitly, and therefore he went on to speak of two separate classes, or to show with greater precision how his position held good in regard equally of the saved and the lost. To the one, saith he, "we are a savour of death unto death," to the other "a savour of life unto life." We do not think it necessary to speak at any length of the preacher as a "savour of life unto life," to those who flee at his warning from thee wrath which is to come. But what are we to say to the preacher being "a savour of death unto death" to those who perish in their sins? It is implied in such saying, that the gospel did but in some way or another prove injurious — "a savour of death" unto those by whom it is heard and rejected; and, nevertheless, that this proclamation, even when thus injurious, brought glory to Christ, or contributed to the display of His perfections. Now, are these things so? Is the gospel indeed ever injurious to the hearer? and if injurious, can those who proclaim it be indeed unto God "a sweet savour of Christ"? Yes, the gospel may prove injurious to the hearer; but it cannot prove otherwise than glorious to its Author. You are not to think that the gospel can be a neutral thing, operating neither for evil nor for good. It is easy to come to regard that as an ordinary or unimportant thing, which is of such frequent occurrence, and to attach no solemn, no responsible character to these our weekly assemblings. But we have every warrant for asserting that the gospel which he is permitted to hear either improves a man or makes him worse, so that none of you can go away from God's house precisely what you were when you entered it. You have had a fresh call from God, and if you have again refused, you have made yourselves less accessible than ever to the message. There is a self-propagating power in all kinds of evil; and every resistance to God's Spirit, operating through the instrumentality of the Word, makes resistance easier. This is not the only case in which the gospel is "a savour of death unto death." It is so whenever men abuse Scripture doctrines, whenever they pervert them, whenever they wrest them to the giving encouragement to unrighteousness, or use them as an argument for procrastination. It was this view of the office of the preacher which extorted from the apostle those words, "Who is sufficient for these things?" We are sure that it ought to be perfectly overcoming to a man, to see himself with an office, in performing which he thus makes himself a witness against multitudes.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

I. THE GOSPEL PRODUCES DIFFERENT EFFECTS. There is scarcely ever a good thing in the world of which some little evil is not the consequence. Let the sun pour down floods of light on the tropics, and the choicest fruits shall ripen, and the fairest flowers shall bloom, but who does not know that there the most venomous reptiles are also brought forth? So the gospel, although it is God's best gift.

1. The gospel is to some men "a savour of death unto death."(1) Many men are hardened in their sins by hearing it. Those who can dive deepest into sin, and have the most quiet consciences, are some who are to be found in God's own house. There are many who make even God's truth a stalking-horse for the devil, and abuse God's grace to palliate their sin. There is nothing more liable to lead men astray than a perverted gospel. A truth perverted is generally worse than a doctrine which all know to be false.(2) It will increase some men's damnation at the last great day.(a) Because men sin against greater light; and the light we have is an excellent measure of our guilt. What a Hottentot might do without a crime would be the greatest sin to me, because I am taught better. If he who is blind falls into the ditch we can pity him, but if a man with the light on his eyeballs dashes himself from the precipice and loses his own soul, is not pity out of the question?(b) It must increase your condemnation if you oppose the gospel. If God devises a scheme of mercy and man rises up against it, how great must be his sin!(3) It makes some men in this world more miserable than they would be. How happily could the libertine drive on his mad career, if he were not told, "The wages of sin is death, and after death the judgment!"The gospel is to others "a savour of life unto life."

(1)Here it confers spiritual life on the dead in trespasses and sins.

(2)In heaven it issues in eternal life.

II. THE MINISTER IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS SUCCESS. He is responsible for what he preaches; he is accountable for his life and actions, but he is not responsible for other people. "We are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, as well in them that perish as in the saved." An ambassador is not responsible for the failure of his embassy of peace, nor a fisherman for the quantity of fish he catches, nor a sower for the harvest, but only for the faithful discharge of their respective duties. So the gospel minister is only responsible for the faithful delivery of his message, for the due lowering of the gospel net, for the industrious sowing of the gospel seed.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

In the language of the text we have a description of the very opposite effects of the ministry of the gospel, and of the consequences to which they lead. The same cloud which was dark to the Egyptians was bright to the Israelites.

1. As ministers, we are ordained to be unto God "a sweet savour of Christ," in duly administering His sacraments, faithfully preaching His gospel, and in exemplifying it in our conduct.

2. It is then, instrumentally, by our life and doctrine, that we must diffuse in our respective spheres of duty the savour of the knowledge of Christ. In doctrine we must show incorruptness, gravity, sincerity.

3. It is by our manner of life also that we must spread the savour of His name and truth among these who are within the sphere of our influence.

(W. Chambers, D. D.)

I. ITS MANWARD ASPECT. Consider —

1. Its vivifying influence. It produces new spiritual life in the souls of men.

2. Its deadly influence. There are principles which render it certain that the men who reject it will be injured by it. One is founded in eternal justice, and the other two in the moral constitution of man.(1) The greater the mercy abused the greater the condemnation. The Bible is full of this truth. "Unto whomsoever much is given," etc. "If I had not come and spoken unto them," etc. "Woe unto thee, Chorazin," etc. "And thou Capernaum," etc. "He that despised Moses' law," etc.(2) Man's susceptibility of virtuous impressions decreases in proportion to his resistance of them.(3) Man's moral suffering will always be increased in proportion to the consciousness he has that he once had the means of being happy. From these principles the gospel must prove "the savour of death unto death" to those who reject it. The hearing of the gospel puts a man on a new level in the universe. To have heard its accents is the most momentous fact in the history of man. Do you say you will hear it no more? But you have heard it. This is a fact which you will ever remember and feel. If the gospel does not save you, better you had never been born.

II. ITS GODWARD ASPECT. In both cases, if we are true to it, "we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ." The true ministry is pleasing to God, whatever may be its results on humanity. If this be so, two inferences seem irresistible.

1. If the gospel ministry is in itself grateful to God, it must be in itself an institution for good, and for good exclusively. Never could an institution in itself calculated to deaden and destroy the soul of men be grateful to the heart of infinite love.(1) While the true gospel ministry saves by design, it destroys in spite of its design. That it is designed to save, who can doubt? "God so loved the world," etc. Men can, men do, pervert Divine things. Did God give steel to be brought into weapons for the destruction of human life? Did He give corn to be transmuted into a substance to drown the reason and to brutalise the man? No! But man, by his perverting power, turns God's blessings to an improper and pernicious use. So it is with the gospel. He wrests it to his own destruction.(2) The true gospel ministry saves by its inherent tendency; it injures in spite of that tendency. Is there anything in the doctrines, precepts, provisions, promises, and warnings, of the gospel adapted to destroy souls? Was the ocean made to injure man, because it has terrified many a mariner and engulfed many a barque? Was the sun created to injure man, because by leading to the discovery of the robber and the assassin, it has proved their ruin? Was food created to injure health, because by intemperance and gluttony, it has brought on disease and death?(3) That the gospel ministry saves by Divine agency; it destroys in spite of that agency. "Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost."

2. If the gospel ministry is in itself grateful to God, it must be an institution from which a much larger amount of good than of evil will result. If greater evil resulted from it than good, I cannot believe that it would be grateful to infinite love. Remember —(1) That the rejection of the gospel does not make the hell of the rejector; it only modifies and aggravates it. As a sinner he would have found a hell, had the sound of the gospel never greeted his ears.(2) The restorative influence which the gospel ministry haft already exerted upon the race, It has swept from the world innumerable evils; it has planted institutions amongst us to mitigate human woe, abolish human oppression, heal human diseases, remove human ignorance, and correct human errors; and it has conducted millions to heaven.(3) That what the gospel has done is but a very small instalment of the good it is destined to achieve. It is to bless a nation in a day. There are millennial ages awaiting it, and in the coming centuries it will be found that the evil which the gospel ministry has occasioned is no more to be compared with the good which it will cause than the pain which the light of the sun gives to the few tender eyes, with the streams of blessedness it pours into every part of nature.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

In thought stand near those three crosses on Calvary, and see how near to each other are blessing and cursing. As you gaze on that sacred, awful scene, how plainly are revealed to you life and death. Now, wherever the gospel message is made known the effect will be the same as on Calvary — to some it will be the savour of life unto life, and to others the savour of death unto death.

I. Let us look at THE TWO SIDES OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE. The word gospel we associate with all that is lovely, tender, merciful. Now, all this is quite true; but it is not the whole message. Honestly read your Bibles, and you will find that it makes known to you salvation and damnation — heaven and hell. The gospel message is, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."

II. Now, consider THE DOUBLE WORKING OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE. The gift of God must be either accepted or rejected; there is no alternative. Thus was it in the days of the apostles; their preaching was either a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death. But there are some who would raise objections to the gospel because it is thus the savour of death as well as of life. Better, say they, not to preach the gospel at all. To them we reply, Because some abuse God's greatest gift, would it be better that the gift had never been offered? Because fire sometimes destroys, would it be better that a fire never were kindled?

(James Aitken.)

Who is sufficient for these things?
? (Inaugural Sermon) —

1. St. Paul asked this question with a miraculous conversion in memory, with all the signs of a chiefest apostle in possession, with a crown of righteousness laid up for him in prospect.

2. That which weighed upon St. Paul was —(1) The recollection of the issues for immortal souls, of having the revelation of grace offered to them (vers. 15, 16).(2) The difficulty of fidelity (ver. 17). It would be easy, he says, to discharge this great office, if we might make traffic of the Word of God; if we might throw in here a grain of flattery, and there a scruple of indulgence; adapt it to the taste of the audience, or take counsel concerning it of the genius of the age. But to preach the gospel in its fourfold completeness — "as of sincerity," "as of God," "in the sight of God," "in Christ" — this demands of the messenger that loftiest grace of an incorruptible fidelity.

3. It is easy to say, easier to think, that the first days of the gospel were more anxious than our own. We can understand how important, difficult, and perilous it was for the new faith to gain a hearing. And so men sympathise with the apostles as engaged in an enterprise disproportioned to their strength; but they have nothing but pity or ridicule for the ministers of to-day, especially if a minister should bewail his insufficiency, or recognise the need of Divine help to qualify him for his work. Thoughts such as these throw a very real stumbling-block in the way of the gospel. The minister himself has to dread their infection. "Against these things," he has to ask himself, "who is sufficient?"

4. The difficulties which faced St. Paul were open and tangible. On the one side there was Jewish bigotry, and on the other side Greek speculation; here the charge of apostasy from ancestral sanctities, there of insubordination to existing authorities; here some definite risk of persecution, there some insidious corruption of gospel simplicity by Judaizing admixture or Alexandrian refinement.

5. But St. Paul was spared some experiences, belonging to an age not his. When he wrote 2 Timothy 3:1, etc., he scarcely sounded the depths of our sea of trouble, and nowhere quite prepares us for those developments which are the phenomena of this latter part of our century, and which draw forth from our hearts half the cry of the text, viz. —(1) The restless reckless impatience of the old, even when the old is God's truth; the insolent disdain of Christ's ordinance of preaching, except in so far as the preacher will fling away his Bible, and prophesy out of his own spirit; the light bandying of sacred subjects at every social table; the choosing and rejecting amongst the plain sayings of Scripture, as though each particular revelation were an open question.(2) The schism of thought, where not of feeling, between the teachers of the Church and those who ought to be among the taught.(3) The opposite experience, the surrender of all that is distinctive in the ministerial office, or the abandonment of all that is at first sight difficult in the Divine revelation. Not thus will the breach between clergy and laity be effectually healed — as though the Church's commission were a thing to be ashamed of, or as though the one object were to show men that the Bible contained nothing which they might not have known without it.(4) The timidity of the believing in the face of free thought and scientific discovery. I count it a great evil when true believers betray an uneasiness in the presence of true seekers. Truth and the truth can never really be at variance. Let not the evangelical doctrine ever fear lest the God of creation should betray it, or leave it naked to its enemies. Least of all let faith think that by hiding its head in the sand it can elude pursuit, or that by a clamorous outcry, "The gospel in danger," it can breathe either confidence into its troops or panic into its foes. Let us be brave, with a courage at once of man and of God. Conclusion: Men have said to me, in the prospect of this ministry —

1. "You must be careful what you advance. Say nothing which is not sound in logic, whatever it be in rhetoric. Assume nothing — prove your points." Is the gospel itself to be, as between me and you, an open question? Am I bound, every time I mention the Incarnation, the Resurrection, the Divinity of Christ, to prove each to you by some novel argument? Honestly do I say this to you, If that was what you wanted, I am not the man. If you believe not the gospel, I cannot hope to prove it to you. I am here, a steward of God's mysteries, to bring out to you from His storehouse something profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for discipline in righteousness.

2. "You will have a critical audience. Everything will be discussed." "'A fair field and no favour' will be the motto of your congregation." The caution falls chillingly upon the ear. I believe not one word of it. Not to judge the preacher, .but to hear the Word; not to say "The sermon was long," but to say, "On this day God has provided me with a sweet solace of heavenly hope and spiritual communion; and now I depart, warmed, cheered, edified for another week's labour, and for the everlasting rest beyond" — this shall be the attitude of your ear and heart as you listen to the voice of your minister.

(Dean Vaughan.)

I. I shall briefly survey SOME OF THE MANY AND IMPORTANT DUTIES OF THE PASTORAL OFFICE. Christ crucified, and salvation through Him; the law, as a schoolmaster, to bring men to Christ; and exhorting the disciples of Jesus to adorn His doctrine ought to be our chief themes. A comprehensive knowledge of Christian faith and practice. Great skill is requisite to explain the sublime mysteries of our holy faith, to unfold their mutual connections and dependencies, and so to demonstrate their certainty, that the sincere lover of truth may be convinced, and even the captious silenced. Our task, however, would be comparatively easy were men lovers of truth and holiness. Add to all this that the genius, spiritual condition, and outward circumstances of our hearers are various; and a manner of address proper for some would be improper for others. But our services are not confined to the pulpit, or to closet preparation for it. It is one important branch of our work, to instruct and catechise the young and ignorant in the first principles of religion. Parochial visitation, if managed in a way easy to plan, I will not say easy to execute, would be equally useful. Reconciling differences is a work highly suitable to the character of ambassadors of the Prince of Peace. In private reproof, what zeal for God, and what tender compassion for perishing souls are needful to overcome that aversion every good-natured man must feel, to tell another he has done amiss. There is another duty incumbent on ministers as such, more difficult than any I have yet mentioned, and that is, to show themselves patterns of good works (Titus 2:7).

II. I shall now complete the argument by considering THE TEMPTATIONS AND OPPOSITION WHICH MAY PROBABLY ARISE TO DIVERT US FROM THE RIGHT DISCHARGE OF THE DUTIES OF OUR OFFICE. Ministers, though bound to exemplary holiness, are men of like passions and infirmities with others, and equally exposed to be seduced by Satan, the world, and the flesh. But our chief danger arises from indwelling corruption. Our office obliges us to preach and pray on many occasions when our frames are dull and languid. Discouragement may have a fatal influence. Once more. As we grow older aversion to fatigue and love of ease grow upon us. Judge from the whole of what has been said, if the work of the ministry is so easy, as many, through ignorance or inadvertency, are apt to imagine.

(R. Erskine, D. D.)

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