This is a trustworthy saying: If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble task.
proceeds to describe the qualifications of the pastors of congregations, as if to imply that the pastorate did not belong to all men.
I. THE OFFICE OF PASTOR IS A GOOD WORK. "Faithful is the saying, If any one seeketh the office of pastor [or, 'bishop'], he desireth a good work."
1. The office in question was held by persons called by the two names of bishop and elder.
(1) The apostle uses the terms of the same office (Titus 1:5-7).
(2) The terms came from two different quarters. The term "elder," or "presbyter," was of Jewish origin, and was earlier than the other, having been long in use in the synagogue administration. It had respect primarily to the age of those presiding over the religious community, but came by-and-by, and especially in the Christian Church, to signify its head, and was a title of dignity and gravity. The other term, "bishop," came from the Greek world, and was a designation of the duties of the office as involving an oversight of the Churches.
(3) The term "bishop" is, therefore, mostly employed of the Churches in Asia Airier, consisting of converted Greeks, but the Jewish term "elder" had precedence of it at that earlier stage when the Church consisted of a nucleus of converted Jews. In Crete, where the Greek and Jewish elements were about equally powerful, both terms are used.
2. The office in question is a good work. This was one of the faithful sayings of the apostle. It was
(1) a work, not a sinecure, or title of honor, but a laborious office, and therefore pastors are called "laborers in the Word and. doctrine;"
(2) a good work, being excellent in itself, and in its aims as for the good of men and the glory of God.
II. THE PASTORATE IS A WORTHY OBJECT OF AMBITION. "He desireth a good work." It may be laudably desired, not as an office of profit or honor, but with a supreme regard to the glory of God and the welfare of man, and ought not to be undertaken except by those who have a real delight and pleasure in acting upon these great principles. - T.C.
The office of a bishop.
I. It may properly be called a WORK, if we consider the duties of the office, which require the utmost assiduity, and some of which are peculiarly painful and laborious.
II. It is a GOOD WORK, whether you consider, for whom, with whom, or for what you work. The ministers of the gospel work for God, who is carrying on the grand scheme of salvation in our world. His immediate service is the peculiar business of their lives. Ministers also work for Jesus Christ. It was He that originally gave them their commission; it was He that assigned them their work; it is He that is interested in their success. Again, the ministers of the gospel work for the souls of men. To do good to mankind is the great purpose of their office. Let us next consider with whom the ministers of the gospel work; and we shall see how good their employment is. "They are workers together with God." (2 Corinthians 6:1). They are also co-workers with Jesus Christ, promoting the same cause for which He became man; for which He lived the life of a servant, and died the death of a malefactor and a slave. They may also be called fellow-workers with the Holy Spirit, whose great office it is to sanctify depraved creatures, and prepare them for the refined happiness of heaven. They also act in concert with angels; for what are these glorious creatures but "ministering spirits sent forth to minister to them that shall be heirs of salvation"? (Hebrews 1:14). An angel once condescended to call a minister of the gospel his fellow-servant (Revelation 19:10). Ministers also are engaged in that work in which the apostles went before them. The office of a bishop will farther appear a good work, if it be considered for what it is that ministers work. They do not indeed work for a reward upon the footing of personal merit; but they hope for it on the plan of the gospel, through Jesus Christ. In this view, like Moses, they have "a respect to the recompense of reward" (Hebrews 2:26). And thus it appears, their laborious and painful work is good — good in itself, good for the world, and good for themselves.
(S. Davies, M. A.)
I. The MORAL CHARACTERISTICS of the ideal pastor are strongly insisted upon. Strangely enough, nothing is said about his piety, his love to God, his communion with Him, his delight in Him, his devotion to Him; but this is naturally presupposed as the basis of the rest. It is not alluded to here, partly because Timothy did not require to be reminded that personal religion is the first essential in all spiritual work, and partly because he was less able to judge of inward piety in others than of the qualities mentioned here.
1. Self-rule is one of the principal of these, and it is to display itself in all directions. The bishop is to be sober, exercising habitual self-restraint, not only in respect of intoxicating drinks, but also in respect of indulgence in pleasures of all kinds, setting an example of dominion over the carnal and sensuous. But temper is to be as much under control as other passions, for the Christian teacher must be no "brawler," no striker, "but patient."
2. Again, sound judgment is a qualification much needed by every pastor and teacher. This is no doubt one reason of Paul's for urging on Timothy, as he does in the sixth verse, that a pastor in the Church should not be a "novice," i.e., a recent convert. If the young life of a plant be exposed to the glare of the sunshine, death will supervene. And in the life of every creature — insect, and bird, and beast, and most of all in the life of man — the period of development must precede the period of manifestation.
3. Another characteristic of the ideal minister should be open-heartedness and open-handedness. The phrase "given to hospitality" in Authorized Version, or more correctly "a lover of strangers," denotes what was relatively more important then than now.
II. THE RELATIONS OF THE MINISTER TO THOSE AROUND HIM, his right relation with God being pre-supposed.
1. He is to be the husband of one wife.
2. Then allusion is made to the pastor's own house as distinguished from God's house. So it is urged that any leader in the Church should rule well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. On which Dr. Reynolds has beautifully said, "The child-life of the pastor's home should suggest the sacred ness of a temple and the order of a palace." And is not this true for us all? Is it not in the home that we are the most tested, and is it not there we can best glorify God?
3. The relation the pastor should hold towards the world. Much stress is laid in this passage on being "blameless," and having "a good report of them that are without" — those, namely, who are outside the kingdom of Christ. We cannot afford, as Christ's representatives, to defy the world's opinion about us so far as moral reputation is concerned. The world is a poor judge of doctrine, of motive, and of religious hopes and thoughts; but it is a keen and on the whole an accurate judge of character; and when the members and leaders of the Church are recognized by the world as honest, sincere, trusty, pure men and women, Christ will win the day against His foes.
(A. Rowland, LL. B.)
Philadelphia Press.- A remarkable avowal of the late Senator John A. Logan is reported by a clergyman in a letter to us. He says that in talking with the senator not long before his death, Logan said: "I have often thought that I would like to be in the ministry." I replied
Christian Herald.A little while ago, in Calcutta, a native, a Christian merchant, was deeply interested in a community of "outcasts," and he made an offer of £60 a-year to any native Christian who would go and live among these people, and teach them the Word of Life. The offer had no sooner been made than a candidate for the office appeared. Who was he? As humble and devoted and consistent a Christian as you ever met. He was a professor in a missionary college, M.A. and LL.B. of the Calcutta University, and drawing a salary of £200 a year. Such was the candidate for this office of £60 a year!
Christian Herald.Bishop Baring's generosity and munificence were unbounded. One instance may be given out of many. He was spending the Sunday with a vicar blessed with very moderate means and a large family. His lordship noticed the pale faces of the children, and said to their mother, "You must take these little ones to the seaside, and their father, too, must have a complete rest. I will provide his duty for six weeks." The good lady wondered where she was to find the wherewithal to carry out this excel lent scheme. As the bishop, however, shook hands with her on leaving he put a £50 note into her hand in the kindest way, and solved the difficulty. It is not, however, every one who has such hereditary wealth as the late Bishop of Durham.
Apt to teach
1. To meet the claims of a good teacher one must he willing to learn. The apostles, dropping their nets and other worldly craft, went to a school of the prophets, such as never before or since existed on earth. Its sole instructor was the Great Teacher, the Creator of all things. They learned wisdom without a book from the source of all knowledge.
2. If we would be apt to teach, we must have a lesson to impart.
3. To be apt to teach, one must be master of the lesson he would impart.
4. To be apt to teach, a sacred enthusiasm is indispensable.
5. To be apt to teach under the wings of the Eternal Spirit, Holy Dove, we must gather strength and success by prayer.
6. Apt to teach, finally, has the element of faith.
(W. H. Van Doren.)
Take care of the Church of God
Not a novice
The Homilist.I. YOUNG PREACHERS ARE ESPECIALLY SUBJECT TO SUCH VANITY. It is the novice that is liable to be "lifted up with pride."
1. The young are naturally disposed to over-rate their abilities.
2. They are peculiarly susceptible to adulation. The more unenlightened and unreflective men are, the more they are given to flattery.
II. THE DEVIL'S DESTINY MUST FOLLOW SUCH VANITY. "Fall into the condemnation of the devil."
Scottish Christian Herald.An aged Scotch divine had occasionally to avail himself of the assistance of probationers. One day, a young man, very vain of his accomplishments as a preacher, officiated, and on descending from the desk, was met by the old gentleman with extended hands, and expecting high praise, he said, "No compliments, I pray." "Na, na, ha, my young friend," said the parson, "nowadays I'm glad o' onybody." Rowland Hill on ministerial work: — No man ever had stronger views than Mr. Rowland Hill of the true nature of the ministerial work, and of the necessity of a humble dependence on the Lord's assistance for a blessing in it. One of his remarks was, "If favoured at any time with what is called a good opportunity, I am too apt to find myself saying, 'Well done!,' when I should lie in the dust, and give God all the glory." Another was, "Lord, make me distrustful of myself, that I may confide in Thee alone; self dependence is the Pharisee's high road to destruction." He was accustomed strongly to urge on all who entered the sacred office the necessity of maintaining Christian and heavenly tempers among their people. "Some folks," he would say, "appear as if they had been bathed in crab verjuice in their infancy, which penetrated through their skins, and has made them sour-blooded ever since; but this will not do for a messenger of the gospel; as he bears a message, so he must manifest a spirit of love." He used to like Dr. Ryland's advice to his young academicians — "Mind, no sermon is of any value, or likely to be useful, which has not the three R's in it, — Ruin by the Fall, Redemption by Christ, Regeneration by the Holy Spirit." Of himself he remarked, "My aim in every sermon is a stout and lusty call to sinners, to quicken the saints, and to be made a universal blessing to all." It was a favourite saying with him, "The nearer we live to God, the better we are enabled to serve Him. Oh how I hate my own noise, when I have nothing to make a noise about! Heavenly wisdom creates heavenly utterance." In a letter to Mr. Jones, he observes, "There is something in preaching the gospel, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, I long to get at. At times I think I feel somewhat like it, and then I bawl almost as bad as the Welshman. If we deal with Divine realities, we ought to feel them such, and the people will in general feel with us, and acknowledge the power that does wonders on the earth; while dry, formal, discussional preaching leaves the hearers just where it found them. Still, they who are thus favoured had need to be favoured with a deal of humility. We are too apt to be proud of that which is not our own. Oh humility, humility, humility!" It is no wonder, with such impressions as to the nature of his work, and the state of his mind, that Mr. Rowland Hill's preaching was so honoured and blessed of God. "Lord, help!" was his constant and earnest prayer, and it was heard.
(Scottish Christian Herald.)
Christian Herald.The Rev. George Gilfillan, who died in 1877, was not only an author of some distinction, but a wit. A congregation to whom he had been preaching presented him, when a probationer, with a suit of clothes; and after he had put them on, the old ones were tied up in a bundle. "Where shall I send them?" said the tailor. "I will take them myself," said Mr. Gilfillan; "I have carried them too long upon my back to be ashamed of carrying them under my arm." There was no false pride about him. He gave due honour to old friends.
Christian Age.The American religious journal, the Independent, relates the following story of rebuked vanity, which was told recently in a gathering of ministers, by the Rev. Dr. Gould, of Worcester. "A certain Rev. Samuel Smith had been discoursing very learnedly and loftily, and was now walking home with his brother, eagerly waiting for some word of commendation. Not finding it forthcoming, he dropped a slender oblique hint, to see what could be drawn out. He was somewhat startled and shocked by the outburst: "I tell you, Sam, what it is. Instead of preaching "Jesus Christ and Him crucified," you seem to have been preaching Samuel Smith and him dignified." How necessary it is for preachers of the gospel to hide themselves in the shadow of Christ's Cross, and to forget themselves in the majesty of the message which they deliver.
I. A minister of good report: — About thirty years ago the present Bishop of Minnesota went to Chicago, and built a church near the business centre of the city. In those days there were no street cars, and it happened that the reverend gentleman took up his residence in West Chicago, convenient to an omnibus line. It frequently occurred that the omnibus would be crowded, and many obliged to take "deck passage." The writer was riding on the seat with the driver one Saturday night, when the conversation turned upon Sunday labour and the consistency of professed Christians, the driver thinking it rather hard that he should be obliged to labour on Sunday, while others should take their rest. It appeared from his conversation that his faith in Christianity was rather weak; but turning to me he said, with considerable emphasis, "There is one clergyman whom I respect and believe to be a consistent Christian." Being a little curious to know who the clergyman was, and upon what evidence he had based his opinion, I asked him for an explanation. "Well," said he, "there is the Rev. Mr. Whipple, who built that church down town; he has a free pass over this line, but walks down and back on Sundays rather than compromise his Christianity; that proves to me that he is a consistent Christian." It sometimes occurs that a clergyman's most eloquent sermon is being preached when he least expects it; and any private Christian may preach the same kind of sermon.
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
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