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lave walked as far this morning as
have, you are fully prepared to ympathize with David in his deverance. And so he went on. Iverybody smiled, and after church he young fellows said, 'He's the linister for us! He isn't afraid of is clothes like Mr. A."" “Let me see, then, replied the ainister, “what the qualifications re for a pastor in B. He must ttend and officiate at the meetngs of your secret societies, seure lecturers, give lessons on the dute or fiddle, ride to town in the smoking carriage, and smoke in it, crush his hat under his arm, and uck his trowsers into his boots Before entering into God's house, nd must not preach the same docrines over and over again for ten fears. Really, my dear friend, I a glad, for the honour of my ministerog brethren, to say that I do not know one of this stamp you can get. We have a few such, but they are all engaged now, and so popular in their own spheres that they cannot be spared from them.”
"O, doctor, you must think we want a rowdy. I didn't mention the peculiarities as the chief things, but merely told you how popular the other minister is through them, and how he draws our young men. My sons walk to his church two miles off ' every Sunday night." “How many of the young men in the neighbourhood have been converted under his ministry?”
"Well, he doesn't have revivals much-some ministers don't, you know; but he draws the young to church and gets their attention,” "How many have joined your
"Not more than ten; and only two of them young men,
"Ten immortal souls saved in one year under one man's ministry, and two of them called in youth, having a whole life to glorify God in! Brother A. is an honoured man,
Will you allow me to ask which of these two ministers your sons would call for if brought to a bed of death?"
“Well, for that matter," replied the visitor, with some hesitancy, “I suppose-they would ask for“Mr. A. He is more solemn and more suitable for death-beds and funerals. But for lifetime and for filling a church the other man excels him. And our folks, especially those of us who have borne the burden and heat of the day, both in doing and giving, feel that we must have a man for the times, you know-a people's man. You understand
“ Yes, brother, I'm afraid I do," replied the minister.
“ You want a man to please the world, so that they will come in to your aid and take the cross off your shoulders. But, mind you, they will not bear that cross after Christ; they will trample it underfoot, and then call you hypocrites and time-servers! Go home, I beseech you, and ask your brethren, in my name, and for Christ's sake, to pray over this matter before you let go the man He has blessed among you—the man your children would call on to intercede for them in a dying hour! He is not always the best minister who draws the largest number of hearers. If you ask my advice about a minister, I will recommend him you have already, as one of the most earnest and faithful men of God among us. You may, by a change, get rid of a little money burden, and get another on your shoulders far harder to be borne. It is easier for a Church to sacrifice a little money than to drag an inconsistent minister along with them. It would be a small comfort to you to have your house full, if Christ was to be wounded or His name dishonoured from your pulpit. The more people you had to hear and see what you did not approve, the worse it would be for the cause you love. Go home and think this
said the visitor.
Church this last year?”
all over, and at the end of the week
your advice to the few brethren who write me your decision in brother have talked this matter over, and for I received a letter not
write you." an hour ago from a stronger Church Brother A. never heard that any than yours, asking if I thought they of his people wanted a change, and could call your pastor without
is likely to remain at B. for many grieving you.
years. “Well, I'll go home and repeat
CHOSEN TO FRUITFULNESS.
BY THE REV. J. D. ALFORD.
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain : that whatsoever ye
shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it you.”—John xv. 16.
WHAT Christian's heart does not assent to this claim of Christ: "I have chosen you"? Our choice was sin. We preferred ourselves, and those things which met our desires, tastes, and fancies. The awakening of a desire for Christ suggests the inquiry, Whence this change? By what process has it been brought about? Who originated it? Who carried it on ? We find but one answer, and that the text,-“I have chosen you.” Reason had nothing to do with it. Judgment had nothing to do with it. The Spirit of God has done it, and He alone. Glance we a moment at the process, beginning with the Divine manifestation in Jesus. Here the nature and disposition of God were unfolded to the minds of men ; and “God is love” rose like a sun over our heads, and poured forth its light-beams upon men sitting in darkness
, and in the shadow of death. The life of Jesus was the outshining of that love, His death its strongest expression. By these God stands revealed to us as a God that pardons iniquity, transgression, and sin. But the revelation is made by God. It was God drawing near to man; the Father seeking His lost son; the love of the Father's heart brought to bear on an ice-lump of sin and self. The truth of the Father's nature coming to the darkness of the heart of the child, to give it light; the warmth of the Father's desire in the breath of life, seeking to quicken and enliven a body of death ; coming unasked, exhibiting itself unsought before the eyes of man, wrapped in ignorance and sin; confronting the flood-tide of lust and passion and sin, to turn it back; and make that which was corrupt and foul, lovely with the character of God.
The after-agency and means employed for bringing about this end—what were they? Go preach the gospel to every creature, proclaim to them repentance and forgiveness of sin; through my death,—Tarry in Jerusalem till ye be endued with
power on high, for not many days hence ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost,'-were the commands of Christ. Who is this Holy Spirit ? God. Still God in the forefront; God taking the things
of Christ, who was the manifestation of God, and revealing them ; convincing the world of sin, of the righteousness of Jesus, of judgment; visiting men in the preacher of the gospel, and by him beseeching them to be reconciled to God. He enlightened the mind of the Christian, touched his heart, even when he was reaching after sin ; produced in him a feeling of trembling and fear and anxiety; and without his will, and in opposition to it, carried on a moulding operation, until that will yielded to the light and love of the gospel. So was conversion effected, and the gospel-rejector became a believer. Faith led to regeneration, justification, adoption, grafting into the living vine. Who cut the twigs out of the tree wild by nature ? Whose work is it to cut off from the one and graft into the other? Who selects the twig? Does the twig select itself ? Does it choose whether it shall remain in the wild tree, or be grafted into the good ? These things are the work of the gardener. Here it is the work of Christ: “I have chosen you." Our choice was to resist, and we did resist; but notwithstanding, Jesus followed us, and His light in our minds became so strong, and the feelings of heart so intense, that we were constrained to cry out, “I yield, I yield; I can hold out no more. I sink by dying love compelled, and own Thee Conqueror.”
Now Jesus urges His disciples, whom He hath chosen, to seek the attainment of that life of obedience which is the will of God. He reminded them of their relationship, “ branches in the vine," He Himself being the vine. He reminded them of the object of that relationship -fruitfulness. “I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should bring forth” much fruit, all to the glory of God the Father. All to be attained by discipleship with Jesus. The nature of the discipleship and its law is love. “This is my commandment that ye love one another. If ye do this, ye shall abide in my love." It shall be with you as it has been with me, “I kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love." The obligation of this discipleship,-“I have loved you." “ As I have loved you, so do ye love one another.” I have loved you in the most unmistakable manner, by death. Dying for you, my enemies, as though you were my friends. I could not have given you a greater proof of my love, for “ greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for His friends," and my friends ye are if ye do what I command you. As friends, not as servants, I will henceforth deal with you, and show you all things that I have heard of
Let us note the position we occupy. “I have chosen you." What
the value of this choice ? Choice may be gauged by many things. une gauge is, What are we chosen to ? Her Majesty may appoint two en to occupy certain positions in her household. The one shall be ys near her person, waiting immediately upon her; the other
attend on her Majesty's servants, say her cooks. Both hold their positions by her Majesty's choice and favour; but is there no erence between them? Is not the man that stands in her presence, awaits on her directly, more favoured than he who serves her so
far away as in her kitchen ? Assuredly the difference is great. Then there is a great difference between the person chosen to attend on the kitchen, and he that has not been chosen to anything. So that choice is good, but the higher the position we are chosen to occupy, the greater the grace and the greater the honour.
“I have chosen you,” says Christ. What unto? To be branches in the vine. To be branches in me with a view to fruit-bearing. Branches are usually outgrowths of the tree. It is not so here. Sometimes a branch is grafted into a tree; this is the mode of connection here. We were branches in a tree that was wild by nature, but now we are branches in a tree that is good by nature,-cultivated with a view to fruitfulness of a lasting character.
Paul, in the eleventh chapter of Romans, says something about the grafting process. He says, spiritual grafting into Christ is a process contrary to nature. Naturally the graft brings its own principle of life with it, and its connection with the root on which it is grafted leads to the development of its own life. An apple twig, cut from the very best apple-tree, and grafted on the stem of a crab apple-tree, will bear the same fruit as the tree from which it was taken. But not so in grace: the twig cut from the wild olive-tree of the old Adam, and grafted into the good olive-tree Christ, becomes a partaker of the root and fatness, the life and nature, of the tree into which the grafting is effected. The old life of sin is destroyed when a man comes into Jesus. The new life of God is imparted to it from Christ, into whom he comes.
We are not grafted into Jesus that the old life may be developed, but that it may be supplanted by the life of Jesus. "The object of grafting is not the propagation of sinners, or the extension of sin, but the multiplication of Christ, and the extension of His holi
In Christ, therefore, we are new creatures. The results of this new life are worthy of the name of fruit. Not that men were fruitless before they came to Christ; they were fruitful, but that which they brought forth was corrupt and perishing. Thewild apple has sometimes a tempting appearance, but one taste of it is sufficient. The wild plum, when ripe, has a rich colour, but it is not good for food. The wild rose is bold and bright, and gives beauty to the hedge-rows, but it is ephemeral and comparatively despised.. Here, however, are both fruit and flowers, but they are useless, and therefore left to perish. Even so with man; growing on the wild olive-tree, he is fruitful, and has a measure of beauty, but where will these be found in that great future that rises before our faith? Where will the wealth be that was gained by so much anxiety and pain, and at the cost of so much intel. lectual and physical expenditure ?' Left to rottenness and decay. Where will that name be that was gained by sleepless nights and the toil of days ? Perished also. Pride and 'pleasure all gone. They contained elements that were corruptible, and consequently perished. Even in the use and enjoyment of them there was nothing that was manly and strong, but everything effeminate and surfeiting, and tending to produce sickness and weariness, and their possessors felt desires these could not satisfy.
The life of Christ now partaken of will be productive of fruits worthy of the name. Fruits that will display the nature and glory of God. There is love for instance, what is it? Why, God is love, and love is the nature of God. When this fruit is borne in man, there is God in the essential feature of His nature, brought forth in him. That love is of God, the outgrowth of the God-man that has been formed in him, and of that eternal life that was with the Father, and was manifested in Jesus, and is possessed by all those who believe in Him. A fruit, produced by the Spirit of God, who dwells in man, and supplies him with living water, unto everlasting life. Love is the nature of God, and love is the nature of this man, grafted into Christ. The man is, therefore, God-like; in nature, God and he are one.
One feature to be observed in this fruit is its immortality, its incorruptibleness, imperishableness. Love cannot decay ; eternal as God, Who is its source and strength. It shall be found in the future life. The bearing fruits of love is the laying up treasure in heaven, where it will be found eternally vital and always glorious. It possesses the life of God, for it is the production of that life, the manifestation thereof, and will therefore eternally remain. Jesus sought to produce abiding fruit. Paul shows that fruit to be love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance : against these there is no law. Where there is no law there is no transgression; where there is no transgression there is no sin; where there is no sin there is no death. The eternal life of the branches, rising from the tree, immortalizes them. It passes through the branches to the fruit, and immortalizes it. So the fruit borne, remains the glory and joy of the branches; the glory and honour of Jesus, and the glory and delight of God.
Love is the first-fruit of Christ in the Christian. This is the essential nature of God. A disposition to promote the good and happiness of all, takes possession of the heart, and commands the whole life. Its first manifestations are towards God. It finds out the will of God and His purposes. It sympathises with them; sees their infinite excel. lence; the marvellous blessings they contemplate for men ; the immense issues involved in their triumph, and the peace and blessings that will follow their establishment. It discovers what God has done, and what He is doing, to make them supreme in the world. It sees with surprise and delight, the incarnation of Christ; the manifestation of God in the flesh; the character and heart of God, as unfolded in the gentleness and kindness of His life; the death He died; the coming forth of the Divine Spirit, to work on the minds and hearts of men, as He does ; to raise up such an agency as He has sent into the field; to multiplý instruments—as He is doing in Bibles and tracts and
Always acting, ever working, never still, for the establishment of God's purpose and will in the earth. What love and interest and zeal are here manifested! And when a man hears their appeal to his heart, sees their action for his benefit, realises the deep love of God towards him, perceives the efforts put forth to draw him in