Acts 20:28
Paul, pursuing his path of self-sacrificing devotion, going on to he knew not what dangers ahead, looking a violent death in the face, was calm, tranquil, even joyful. But the apostle, looking forward to a distracted and injured Church, torn by false doctrine, laid waste by sinful men, was grieved at heart, and he uses the language of solemn adjuration and entreaty.

I. HUMAN APPREHENSION. We often go forward with painful apprehension that some ill is about to befall us; therefore with hesitating step, with trembling heart.

1. It has been that men had an intimation from God that evil was in store for them. This was not uncommon in Old Testament times, when the purpose of God was frequently revealed. It was the case with Paul now; it was revealed to him that dark days were ahead in the experience of the Church at Ephesus.

2. It may be the action of individual insight. By the use of a keen and penetrating judgment, a man can often perceive that events are leading up to a disaster.

3. It may be a simple and sound conclusion from the common heritage of man. It is certain that dark shadows must be across the path we tread, and that we shall be entering them before long.

II. THE SPECIAL ANXIETY OF THE CHRISTIAN PASTOR. Paul apprehended:

1. Attack from without: "Grievous wolves entering in... not sparing the flock" (ver. 29).

2. Mischief from within: "Of your own selves shall men arise, etc. (ver. 30). This is what the Church of Christ has now to fear: the attacks of infidelity, the invitation to immorality, from without; and the subtler and more perilous dangers of spiritual decline, of the decay of faith, of injurious doctrines, of the breath of worldliness, within.

III. THE ATTITUDE OF THE RESPONSIBLE. (Vers. 28-31.) Paul solemnly charged these elders, as those to whose care was committed the Church of God - that sacred body which the Lord had redeemed by his own blood - to do these three things.

1. To keep diligently their own hearts: "Take heed to yourselves" (see Proverbs 4:23).

2. To watch carefully the spirit and course of their people: "And to all the flock."

3. To sustain the life of the members by providing spiritual nourishment: "Feed the Church of God." If we would do what the Divine Head of the Church demands of us, and if we would follow in the footsteps of the most devoted of his servants (see ver. 31), we must

(1) cultivate a deep sense of our responsibility;

(2) exercise unremitting vigilance over ourselves and our charge;

(3) supply that kind and measure of sacred truth which is fitted to strengthen and to purify those whom we undertake to teach. - C.







Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock.
I. TO YOURSELVES. To your —

1. Doctrine.

2. Walk.

II. TO THE FLOCK. To its —

1. Divine dignity.

2. Human infirmity.

III. TO THE WOLVES. Those who —

1. Threaten without.

2. Look within its fold.

(W. W. Wythe.)

The logic and the theology of the sentence are equally good. The first care of the spiritual shepherd is for himself, the next for the flock. In some parts they paint garden walls black, that they may absorb more of the sun's heat and so impart more warmth to the fruit trees that lean on them. Those who in any sphere care for souls stand in the position of the garden wall. The more that the teacher absorbs for himself of Christ's love, the more benefit will others obtain from him. It is not the wall which glitters most in the sunshine that does most for the trees that are trained against it: it is the wall which is least seen that takes in most heat for itself: and the wall that has most heat in itself gives out most for the benefit of the trees. So it is not the preacher who flashes out into the greatest flame himself that imparts most benefit to inquirers who sit at his feet. Those who drink in most of the Master's spirit are most useful in the world. Those who first take heed to themselves will be most effective in caring for the spiritual weal of those who look up to them.

(W. Arnot, D. D.)

S. S. Times.
The work of a shepherd in the East is in many respects different from a shepherd's work among ourselves. The Oriental flock does not graze within fenced pasturages, but moves hither and thither through the wild pasture lands, following the lead of the shepherd, and often going to a great distance from inhabited places. It therefore takes all the shepherd's vigilance to keep his flock together — to prevent one part of it from straying gradually, in search of pasturage, to the north, another to the south, another to the east, and another to the west. In these remote districts, too, attacks from wild beasts are not uncommon; a wolf or a bear will pounce suddenly upon an unsuspecting sheep, and the shepherd must risk his own life, as David did, to rescue the imperilled sheep. The shepherd, or overseer, is responsible to his employer for the safety of the sheep, and he must render a strict account of that which has been lost, or which has perished. Here is an extract from Oriental law on this point, as quoted by Paxton: "Cattle shall be delivered over to the cowherd in the morning; the cowherd shall tend them during the whole day with grass and water; and in the evening shall re-deliver them to the master, in the same manner as they were entrusted to him. If, by the fault of the cowherd, any of the cattle be lost or stolen, that cowherd shall make it good. When a cowherd has led cattle to any distant place to feed, if any die of distemper, in spite of the fact that the cowherd applied the proper remedy, the cowherd shall carry the head, the tail, the forefoot, or some such convincing proof taken from the animal's body, to the owner of the cattle. Having done this, he shall be no further answerable. If he neglects to act thus, he shall make good the loss." Paul, therefore, compares the Ephesian Church to a flock of sheep, seeking pasturage under the guidance of their shepherds, yet prone of themselves to wander, and constantly exposed to peril from wild beasts. The shepherds, he teaches, are answerable not only for the divisions which occur in the flock through their neglect, but also for the attacks of wild beasts, permitted by the same neglect.

(S. S. Times.)

Over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers.
The word "over" should be rendered "in." The minister is in the flock; he is in no sense extraneous to it. He is part of it. Some have read the word "over" violently and offensively, and have asserted rights of dominion over faith, practice, and ritual such as were contrary to the whole idea of the gospel. "One is your Master even Christ," etc. The minister is "in the flock" —

I. AS TO HIS PERSONAL HOPE.

1. He is a sinner, and if conscientious feels himself even more so than others. Negligence in him is more serious, example for evil more influential.

2. He wants a Saviour, if possible more than his people. If he is to be the "overlooker," he must first be the penitent and the forgiven. It is this which gives pathos, solemnity, and authority, to every part of his ministration — because he is in the flock and partakes with it of the refreshing streams and free pastures.

II. AS TO ALL THE RELATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF HIS LIFE. Before he is anything else he must be a good man. The ministry is not a separate caste, living its whole life by itself, having a tariff of habits, and rules quite different from the ordinary rules and duties of Christian men. The ministry is exemplary before it is episcopal. Its whole idea is that of going before and showing the way in all that is pure and beautiful and of good report.

III. AS TO SYMPATHY. If the minister were "over" the flock he might be sorry for its distresses and sins. Sympathy there can only be where there is insideness to the flock. Even our Lord must incorporate Himself with us if He would make us know and feel that He can sympathise.

IV. AS TO COMFORT. Oh the comfort of being just one of the worshippers, of losing the official in the personal, the minister in the Christian — in communion, in prayer, in preaching.

(Dean Vaughan.)

To feed the Church of God.
is here regarded as a society —

I. OF PRICELESS VALUE.

1. It is a flock, a name given to the Church of the Old Testament (Isaiah 40:11; Isaiah 63:11; Jeremiah 13:17; Jeremiah 23:2; Jeremiah 31:10; Ezekiel 34:3; Micah 7:14, etc., etc.), and which Christ also applied to His disciples (Luke 12:32). It was a favourite figure with the apostle Peter (1 Peter 5:2, 3).

2. This flock is incalculably precious because it has been purchased with "the blood of God," or rather of the Lord, referring to the Lord Jesus Christ. Other societies exist irrespective of Christ's mediation — scientific, political, commercial — but the Church is acquired by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Had He not died, it never would have been.

II. WELL GUARDED.

1. It is put in charge of earthly shepherds. There is here —(1) Self-vigilance; "Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves." The spiritual shepherd must take care of himself first. He must enlighten his own judgment, discipline his own heart, and train his own soul into Christian virtues first. He must save himself before he can save others (1 Timothy 4:14).(2) Church vigilance. "And to all the flock." They are to take heed of the Church, to instruct, guide, guard it, and in every way promote its spiritual welfare.

2. The earthly shepherds are appointed by the Holy Ghost.

III. ASSAILED BY ENEMIES (ver. 29).

1. Those who would come from without — worldly men, malignant persecutors.

2. Those who would spring up from within — professed members. The Church's greatest enemies have sprung from her own bosom.

IV. DEMANDING THE UTMOST ATTENTION. Paul's labour was —

1. Incessant. "Night and day."

2. Earnest. "With tears."

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. THE CLAIMS OF THE CHURCH. These are founded —

1. In the language of Scripture upon the subject of the Church. The Bible ever speaks of the inward as above the outward, elevates the power of godliness above the mere form of it, and tells us of at least one who, without baptism or the Church, went into paradise. Still, the Bible has some very strong language on the subject. Take the statement of the text. Can you imagine that that for which such a price was paid, has no claim upon your allegiance? But take other testimonies (Isaiah 49:15, 16; Ephesians 1:22, 23; Ephesians 5:22-27).

2. In the relation of Christ to the Church. It is true that there is much in the Church for which Christ gave no warrant. Church vestments and ceremonies, and the minute ramifications of Church creeds, all come under this head. As upon an old vessel, so upon the Church in her navigation of the sea of Time, many barnacles have fastened, and these, so far from being a necessary part of the Church, do but oppose her power and impede her progress. But we must take Christ's idea of the Church. He called His followers out from among men into a special relationship to Himself and to each other. "One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren." And by these words He constituted a Church. And this brotherhood, which He so organised in the world, He arranged to perpetuate, by inaugurating two rites, which, for all time, should separate His people from the world, and bind them together in a compact and visible body. Now the Church being Christ's own arrangement, to reject it is to reject Him.

3. In the conduct of the apostles, who, under the direction of Christ, and in possession of the Spirit, at once set up the Church and began to use it as the school, the home, the sanctuary of the disciples whom they called. That little band in the upper room was the Church. And no sooner did others, through their words, believe on Christ than they were formally added to this organisation (Acts 2:47). And when Peter went to preach to Cornelius he baptized him. The believer in Jesus he enrolled as a member of the Church. So, when Paul kneeled to Jesus, he was also baptized. And so throughout all that early period. And shall anyone in view of this fact say, "I will be a Christian outside of the Church"? The apostles knew of no such thing as a Christian willingly outside the Church.

4. In the fact that there is nothing so distinctly characteristic of the Christian life as the spirit of obedience. "What wilt Thou have me to do?" is the voice which comes out of the very essence of every Christian life. "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." And here is the duty of Church membership, about which the Bible speaks most plainly.

5. In the principle that Christ gains men through men. This is in its widest sense the ordinance of preaching. And the widest, the most continuous, and the most forcible preaching, is by example. But how can we thus testify for Christ if we refuse to place ourselves in a Christian attitude before the eyes of the world?

II. THE OBJECTIONS WITH WHICH IT IS COMMON TO MEET THESE CLAIMS.

1. There are in the Church many who give no evidence of Christian character. This is sadly true. But —(1) Christ never declared that His Church was to be a perfect body, but said that the tares would grow with the wheat until harvest.(2) Because another makes a mock of duty it is no reason why you should neglect it.

2. I can live a good life outside the Church. Perhaps so. But if your hope for eternity is in Christ, then to despise the Church is to despise the blood with which it was purchased; and surely no one can do this, and, at the same time, rest upon Christ for salvation.

3. I cannot agree with all the doctrines of the Church. But no Church makes the reception of all the articles of its creed a condition of membership.. Trust in Christ for salvation and a Christian life, make up the one condition of Church membership. And what is there here which you cannot receive?

4. I am not fit to be a Church member. This —(1) May be a fact. There are those who are determined to live just as they please, without regard to Christ or conscience, and who do not care what lies beyond. Such, of course, are fit only for membership with devils. In such communion they are even now.(2) May be a plea of simulated humility in order to get rid of duty. The man says, "I am not fit," because he is not willing.(3) May be the expression of a true consciousness of imperfection. And here it is a mistake. Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners.Conclusion:

1. The amazing character of men's indifference here. Christ says, "Behold My Church, for which I gave My blood!" And men pass the Church by without notice.

2. These are words of invitation. Again the Church, through the blood by which she has been purchased, speaks unto you, asking for your attention, for your allegiance. What shall be your answer?

(S. S. Mitchell, D. D.)

Which He hath purchased with His own blood.
I. THE CHURCH OF GOD.

1. The body of His people in all ages, whom He has called out and separated from the world.

2. Always has been, and always will be, represented by a visible organisation in the world.

3. In God's apprehension not bounded by, nor identified with, the visible organisation by which it is represented.

II. THE RELATION OF THE CHURCH TO GOD.

1. Belongs to Him as His purchased possession. His peculiar, not His odd or eccentric people, but the people who belong to Him.

2. Under His government and instruction through officers Divinely appointed. "Over which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers."

3. To the Church God has committed the truth and treasure of the gospel, together with the sacraments, and all the means of grace, as instruments for the conquest of the world.

III. THE PRICE GOD PAID FOR THE CHURCH EVEN HIS OWN BLOOD.

1. The blood of Christ is the blood of God.

2. In the person of Christ the Divine and human natures, though distinct, are so united, that His one Person may be designated and described by the attributes of either nature.

3. The sacrifice of Christ derives an infinite value from His Divine nature. It was "the Lord of glory" who was crucified (1 Corinthians 2:8). Application: We are bound to belong to the visible Church as the representative of the invisible; to love it, and to labour for its advancement. It is not the gospel, but the Church, by means of the gospel, which is to conquer and reform the world.

(H. J. Van Dyke, D. D.)

I. THE GREAT RESPONSIBILITY (ver. 28). "To feed the Church of God."

1. Nourish, strengthen, and build up the souls of men with the doctrines of grace. But before souls can be fed they must be converted. This can only be done by the Holy Ghost applying the atonement of Jesus Christ. The Church is composed of men and women who have been purchased with the "blood of the Lord."

2. To do this work we must "Take heed" —

(1)To ourselves; our own souls must first of all each day be cared for.

(2)To the flock.

II. THE REASONS OF THE RESPONSIBILITY (vers. 29, 30). There is great danger ahead. Grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

1. External foes — infidelity, intemperance, etc., are wolves.

2. Internal foes — black sheep in the flock — selfish, designing men, speaking perverse things. Oh how Sabbath schools and churches are destroyed by "grievous wolves" and black sheep!

III. THE MEANS BY WHICH THIS RESPONSIBILITY IS TO BE DISCHARGED (vers. 31-45).

1. By watchfulness "Therefore watch." "Watch and pray" was one of the Master's greatest exhortations.

2. Perseverance — a night and day toil and anxiety (ver. 31).

3. An unswerving trust in God and in the Word of His grace (ver. 32).

4. Self-sacrifice — we must not covet money, fame, ease, or anything that man can bestow. We must be — like our Master and like Paul — givers, not receivers (vers. 33-35). The concluding verses (36-38) are most suggestive of the spirit we all need — prayer, love, gratitude, deep sorrow in parting with friends, and especially with those who have blessed us in the Lord!

(A. H. Moment, D. D.)

S. S. Times.
I. FAITHFUL COUNSELLING. Lessons: Take heed —

1. Unto yourselves, for you can do little for others until your own heart is set right.

2. To all the flock, for you cannot be a faithful shepherd of the Lord's sheep unless you value their safety as your own.

3. To feed the Church of God. Christ was glad to purchase the sheep at the cost of His own life; ought you not willingly to make the slight sacrifice of caring for those whom He purchased at such a price.

4. Against the wolves. The bark of materialism and spiritualism and destructive criticism is a good deal worse than their bite, still you need to be watchful lest it drive some of the more timid souls out of the fold.

5. For from among yourselves men will arise with all sorts of perverse religious notions, and you will have to combat them. Do it discreetly.

6. And take courage, remembering how much easier is your testifying than was Paul's, and that your helping words and deeds, as well as his, all receive God's approval.

II. TRUSTFUL COMMENDING. Lessons:

1. Paul commended the Ephesians unto God, and God commended Paul for the zeal with which he laboured for the welfare of the Ephesians.

2. Paul did not covet gold or silver, but he did long for something vastly more precious. What could have exceeded his eagerness to save souls.

3. Paul laboured for the necessities, not for the luxuries of life.

4. Paul laboured not only for himself, but also for those who were with him. "Every one for himself" is a motto of the devil. "Bear ye one another's burdens" is the law of Christ.

5. Paul gave to the Ephesians an active living example of what a Christian worker should be. So doing, he gave to his words a tremendous vital force.

6. Paul worked with his hands, and was rather proud than ashamed of the fact. Hands hardened by honest toil are a much nobler possession than a soft head, or a heart hardened by an empty pride of birth.

III. PRAYERFUL PARTING. Lessons: Parting —

1. Loses half its bitterness when those who are about to be separated feel that they will remain united in love for the same Saviour.

2. With a beloved pastor is a sad trial, but it is one to be borne as cheerfully as possible, if Providence is evidently calling him elsewhere.

3. Becomes easier to those who approach the hour of separation on their knees.

4. Is greatly saddened if we feel that the bodily separation is to be forever, but there may be something bitterer than that.

5. Becomes well nigh despairing to those who must harbour the fear that it is final, bodily and spiritually. But such separations were very scarce among those with whom such as Paul have been labouring.

(S. S. Times.)

The Persian had conquered here, and the story of his triumphs, as the tragedian pictured it, had caused an Athenian audience to burst into tears. There are wet eyes on this Miletian shore, over a capture far more significant than Darius ever made. Hearts have been won here and knit, so as no ties of relationship can unite. They are soon to be separated. Spite of the excitement of the scene, this servant of Jesus Christ is self-possessed; his vision is clear; his advice well considered. There is review and outlook. Lessons of humility, fidelity, courage, and charity are taught by a master here, in a few graphic sentences, which the Christian Church still needs to ponder. They are condensed Epistles. There is —

I. ADMONITION. These were prominent members of the Church, and very dear to him. Their trials had been his, as were their victories. Knowing that they were in the world, he can but be solicitous now that he can no longer personally aid them.

1. They must first "take heed unto themselves." The Church is made up of individuals. Strength or weakness in them is power or feebleness in it. Christ had redeemed them, but they must each work out their own salvation. The Holy Ghost had renewed them, but they must each say with the apostle, "I am pure from the blood of all men." Only the saved can save them that hear him. The prayerless cannot inspire others to pray; nor can the ignorant, sceptical, or trifling lead any to knowledge, faith and soberness. After the close of the service in which George Herbert was inducted into the charge of Bemerton Church, a friend, wondering at his delay in leaving the building, looked in at a window and found him prostrate on the ground before the altar. Then and there he made the vow, "I will be sure to live well, because the virtuous life of a clergyman is the most powerful eloquence, to persuade all that see it, to reverence and love, and at least to desire to live like him." The more precious the treasure, the more does its keeper arm himself. The Church in its collective capacity must have guardianship. Our Lord's figure for it is taken from the timid sheep. The shepherd is essential to the flock. Did these brethren realise the vast responsibility? Being right themselves, they might hope rightly to perform it. They were "to feed the Church." This was to be with food adapted to it. No more than the shepherd is obliged to make the grass grow upon which the flock lives, were they to create spiritual supplies. The minister has never to produce the truth for his people. He has only to find it, in its richness and freshness, and bring them to it, or it to them. To try to satisfy the cravings of the soul with mere moralities, humanities, philosophies, speculations, socialities, amusements, is to enfeeble and make it ready to perish. The Church is sound and strong, only as it incarnates the Christ.

II. PROPHECY.

1. He saw not far away "grievous wolves." Persecution and error were only biding their time to waste and destroy the flock. The bloody vision was realised when Aurelius and: Diocletian published the edict that the Christian name be blotted out; and before a century had passed, seducers appeared. If to be forewarned is to be forearmed, then might these Christians be secure.

2. Is it not still true that cruelty and sophistry are the enemy's chosen methods of subverting the Church? Whenever it interferes with the schemes of wicked men they will attack it. Inquisitorial tortures are their resort when strong enough. Ostracism, slander, and ridicule are their milder weapons.

III. CONFIDENCE. Though such severe trials might be in store, he knew where they would be safe and prosperous. As was his habit he commends them unto One, by whom he himself in full view of bonds and affliction was able to say, "None of these things move me." The "gracious Word" which He had given was the only means of their sanctification. Through this only did they get wisdom to read their title and secure the heavenly inheritance. Has the method changed? Over against all guesses and denials, changing as the lights and shadows of a spring day, stands now as then this rock of the truth, at once a refuge and an inspiration.

IV. SELF-DEVOTION. It is a brief rehearsal — how earnestly and honestly he had toiled, asking nothing of them in return. It had been reward enough for him to preach the gospel. And it had all been in full realisation of that matchless saying of the Lord, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Till so profound a law has been discovered and honoured by the Christian, the advance of the heavenly kingdom must be slow.

V. PRAYER. Through this intercourse with God they had first really found each other. At His feet their partings must be made. How very like to that scene, sixteen hundred years after, on the shore of Holland, where another company of pilgrims were assembled, when, as the chronicler says, "Ye tide (which stays for no man) calling them away ye were thus loathe to departe, their Reverd pastor falling down on his knees (and they all with him) with watrie cheeks commended them, with most fervent prairers to the Lord and his blessing." So do we clasp hands with our children, with our youth departing for their life work, with our missionaries, with our dying ones.

VI. PARTING. Intelligent souls are alone capable of profound emotion. The more brutal men become, the more indifferent are they to the breaking of companionship; the more saintly the more sensitive.

(D. S. Clark.)

1. When the apostle goes, will not the whole fabric which he seemed to represent and sustain go along with him? Is Christianity the heroism of one personality? If Paul's estimation of himself had been that of an idolater or of a superstitious person, he would have reminded the Ephesian elders that in the removal of his personality they had themselves no longer any official standing, or any claim upon public attention.

2. When Paul goes, what will be left? The Church! and the Church is greater than any member of it; the Word! and the Word is infinitely greater than all the ministers that preach it. The blood that bought the Church! and that blood is alone in its meaning, energy, and grace. Then everything will be left when Paul goes. That is the mystery of Divine love. We can take nothing away from Christ's Church. The firstborn dies, but the Church is as strong as ever; the most eloquent tongue is silent, but the music of the Cross loses no note of its enchantment. It is even good for us that the apostle should be taken away: it was expedient for us that Christ Himself did not remain upon the earth in visible presence. Christianity does not depend upon its great or its little men. Like its Lord, it is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

3. Paul's charge is Paul himself, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves." Paul was a severe disciplinarian. He was always undergoing the discipline of an athlete; he kept his body under lest he himself should become a "castaway." Self-heed is the secret of public power. "Take heed unto yourselves," and you will be gentle to other people. "Take heed" also "to all the flock." That is the balancing consideration. The minister is not a monk, he is a public, a social man with a great shepherdly heart, that can understand and love a thousand varieties of men. Paul's conception of the ministry was regulated and inspired by his conception of the Church. Was the Church a club, a little gathering of men called together for superficial purposes or for transient enjoyment? It was a flock; it was purchased with the blood of God. Then the Church makes the ministry. The ministry has no existence apart from the Church. The minister — be he Paul or Apollos or Cephas — is but an upper seat holder.

4. Paul uses language full of suggestion and pathos. "The Church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood." What grander word is there than "blood"? Until we contaminated it, it stood next to "love." "The blood is the life"; the life is the blood. God purchased the Church with His own life. When you understand sin you Will understand blood. When you see the hell which sin deserves you will see the Cross which God built.

5. Why should a man care anything about the world he is going to leave? That depends upon the quality of the man. There are those who want peace in their time, and want to leave all thorny questions to he determined by those who come after them. But Paul was anxious for the fortunes of the Church at Ephesus, though he would himself see that Church no more. Christianity is not a new way of sneaking out of responsibility; Christianity is not a cunning method of leaving posterity to take care of itself. Christian love claims all time, all ages, all lands. Paul — great economist, great statesman, supreme prince of the legions of Christ — could not leave Ephesus saying, "I am glad I shall suffer no more there"; but he cared for Ephesus as much as if he were going to spend the remainder of his days in the endeavour to convert its citizens. Paul knew that after his departing "grievous wolves" should enter into the Church, "not sparing the flock." The "wolves" could not come in so long as Paul was there. God takes away from us our mighty men that He may train us as much by their absence as He did by their presence. Who would not long to have a whole year with John Bunyan, or the greater Milton, or the fiery Baxter, or the profound Howe and Owen? Yet God is training us by their withdrawal, and God's greatest men are always the men who are still to come. The ages do not live backward.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

As I recall my own ministerial experience I can testify that nearly all the converting work done has been by personal contact with souls. For example, I once recognised in the congregation a newcomer, and at my first visit to his house was strongly drawn to him as a very noble-hearted, manly character. A long talk with him seemed to produce little impression; but before I left, he took me upstairs to see his three or four rosy children in their cribs. As we stood looking at the sleeping cherubs, I said to him, "My friend, what sort of father are you going to be to these children? Are you going to lead them towards heaven, or — the other way!" That arrow lodged. He gave himself to Christ, and at our next communion season he was at the Master's table, and soon became a most useful officer in the church."

(T. L. Cuyler.)

Thomas Toller, of Kettering, exerted an extraordinary influence over the feelings of his audience, while he himself remained apparently unmoved. Being once asked, "How is it possible for you to remain calm yourself while the people are weeping before you?" he replied, with evident emotion, "My weeping time was yesterday."

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