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the Church to find useful and suitable employment as soul-winners for every member of the Church, our Christian wits would be much sharpened, and our Christian activity much enlarged and diversified, and the wants of individual cases would not receive so little special attention as they do now. There is too much disposition to restrict Church work to that which is done in meetings and classes, to the neglect of that individual dealing which is likely to be the most effective of all. We take the promise," Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them," as an encouragement when a meeting is small which ought to be large; but is there any reason why it should not be. applied to the smallest possible meeting, when it is neither expected nor desired to have more present than the two who claim the first share in the promise? The minister is supposed to endeavour to reach his people individually; but this is possible only to a most limited extent when the congregation is a large one. The Sabbath-school teacher also is supposed to deal with individual members of his class as well as with the class as a whole. But beyond this, there is little done in the way of individual dealing under the auspices of the Church. Now, why should not the ministry to individuals be divided among Christian people? Consider how much more a minister has accomplished by setting others to this work than by merely doing it himself. Suppose he has, as every minister ought to have, a number of inquirers, who are anxious for spiritual guidance, and that instead of taking the cases one after another himself, and hurrying through them, as he must needs do, he distributes them, not hastily, but with much thought and care, among several earnest and prudent members of his flock, laying upon them the responsibility of dealing with them in detail, and only keeping the

general direction and guidance in his own hands, what may be expected as the result? First, there will be brought to bear far more force of thought and sympathy and prayer, as well as of personal attention and effort; and these, be it remembered, are the great forces on which we have to rely. The minister does not relinquish his own responsibility, and probably gives as much thought and prayer to the whole number as if he had kept them in his own hand. And then each one of those who work under his directions gives his own thought and prayer to it, and will probably write letters and watch for opportunities of doing good which would be impossible for the minister under the pressure of other claims. Whatever value there is in official authority is retained; for those who do the work do it, not in their own name, but in the name of the minister or elder, and thus are free from the imputation of intrusion; and, on the other hand, the work is secured from the disadvantage of officialism; for it cannot be set down to the mere discharge of duty, but must be accepted as evidence of real, warm, human. interest. It avoids the Scylla of the officious on the one hand, and the Charybdis of the official on the other. And then, to crown all, not only is the work done, and done in the best way, but it brings rich blessings to those through whom it is done, giving them the very exercise they need for their spiritual growth. The same principle manifestly applies to the visitation of the sick, and to all cases requiring individual attention.

But the subject widens out, so that the limits imposed demand the most rigid compression; and, therefore, we shall content ourselves with giving specimens of questions that would come up for consideration and decision in all our congregations if only it were distinctly understood and acknowledged that there ought to be work found

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for everybody in the congregation to do. Ought not the ministry of the Word to be as varied as it evidently was in apostolic times, so that not only ministers and elders, but deacons and private members, should all share in "holding forth the word of life?" Should not much more use be made of the musical talent in our congregations, not only inside, in leading the praise, but outside, in commending the Gospel? And in outside employment of our musical talent, would not teaching and admonishing in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" be a much more noble and dignified service than that of giving concerts to raise money? In view of the importance of winning men to church as a means of winning them to Christ, is it really the best thing to leave to official doorkeepers and pew-openers the duty and privilege of acting as hosts in the Lord's House? Would it not be better if some of our best men had the pleasant duty assigned them of giving a hearty welcome to those who come as strangers to dine with us at our diet of worship on the Lord's Day or to lunch with us in the middle of the week? Ought not medical mission work to be a distinct branch in the congregation, superintended and guided by the medical men who are members of the congregation, and calling out in the most sympathetic way the loving helpfulness of those who are willing to watch by the bed of the sick for Jesus' sake? Ought not training-classes for the different departments of Christian work to be instituted and kept up; and ought not teachers in the Sabbath-school, and visitors, to be drawn as much as possible from those who have been so trained? And ought there not to be an evangelistic department in connection with our colleges for training students for the ministry? Ought not the office of the deacons, and the work of those who have to do with money matters, to be

specially guarded from the secular spirit, as in the days of the apostles, not only by insisting on high spiritual qualifications on the part of all who are selected for the purpose, but also by associating with it some such share in the ministry of the Word as the primitive deacons manifestly had? And ought not the office of the deaconess to be revived, without any further separation from the duties of ordinary life than in the case of the elder, but with the right and privilege and duty of attending to that large portion of the ordinary district visitation which neither minister nor elder can well overtake?

As I have been led into a series of questions, I shall put in the same form all that I have left myself time to say on that part of the subject of woman's work which gives rise to the keenest discussion, namely, her sphere in the ministry of the Word. Since woman has an acknowledged sphere in teaching children and youth, at what age must the scholars have arrived when it shall cease to be proper that she should continue to instruct and guide them? And since she has an acknowledged liberty to speak about Christ and His love in the presence of two three, four, or more, so long as the company is a small one, at what particular point does the company cease to be small enough? And seeing that there is evidently some little difficulty in settling definitely these simple questions, the further question is suggested-What other line can be drawn than that which the Providence of God without, and the Spirit of God within, seem to indicate in each particular case?

XVII.

THE MISSIONARY OUTLOOK.

(A Sermon preached on behalf of the Baptist Missionary Society,
April 25, 1888.)

"The Lord hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations: and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God."ISA. lii. 10.

WHAT

́HAT a marvel are these missionary chapters of Isaiah ! Almost every sentence is a wonder. To us it is no longer so, because it is so old a story now, and so much has happened since it was first told. But think of words like these being spoken then. If the traditional date is correct, it was the time when Israel had just been overthrown, and Judah was hastening to its fall. And yet this prophet of Judah declares, with absolute assurance, and in the most majestic language, that the God of Israel and His salvation shall be known to the uttermost parts of the earth; and time has proved that what he said was true. This is miracle enough. But the wonder is greater still if those modern critics be correct who bring down the date of these chapters to the days of the exile; for in that case the voice comes to us, not from the sunset of the nation, but from its midnight; it is a shout of victory out of Judah's grave.

What utter nonsense these glowing periods must have seemed to the politicians of the day-to all the people,

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