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because he is crazy,-a fanatic for God, and not merely respectable and lazy, or hazily machinating, he succeeds; he grows like a great tree, although he was no larger than the mustard seed not so very long ago.
Is it too much to hope that overcoming his laziness and using the faith that is truly in him, the "low" may awaken out of his sleep, and, bestirring himself to gain that certain fanaticism which accomplishes God's results, escape the ultimate entombment of dissolution in a constantly agitated emulsion?
The Inner Life of the Clergy
BY THE REV. EDWIN G. WHITE.
HE first question we must ask as we think of ourselves
tivities, is-Why are we ministers at all? What is our motive? What was the cause of our entrance into this pursuit? No doubt it is still possible to enter from mixed motive; but there is nothing today in this calling which appeals from a worldly standpoint. Was it not because we believed God Himself had called us, that we had a vocation, that we were to be set apart as "ministers" or servants of the flock of God-that we were to be pastors or shepherds under the great Master Shepherd? This of course implies leadership-the leadership of the one who steps ahead. It is leadership in religion. It is not the leadership of the "great ones of the earth," bringing with it much praise and subservience (how much we need to watch against the subtle temptation of looking for praise and of being hurt when we hear ourselves criticized instead of eulogized). We must ever be stepping ahead in holiness, in knowledge of God, in suffering, if need be, for Him, and in witnessing for the
truth. Therefore it is very necessary that our inner life should be entirely controlled by the Holy Spirit, and that we should use such means as will best fit us for our work. For we are constantly before our people, who look to us as examples—we must be with them in their sorrows and help them in times of trial and temptation. Truly we say "Who is sufficient for these things?" But we know "our sufficiency is of God." This being so, we must in the first place be "converted men"-i. e. those who have turned to God, and continually turn to Him in penitence and trust. We must have taken our stand at the Cross of Christ and found in the blessed Saviour our Master and Lord. Otherwise, though we may be successful from a worldly point of view of religious work, we can never be true pastors and lead souls into peace. The burden of souls is very heavy, and the responsibility of the one called to be a shepherd is extremely great. We know the awful punishment awaiting those who are false to the trust committed to them. Like our Lord, we must say, "For their sakes I sanctify myself." We may for convenience divide our inner life into four parts:
1. Our private devotional life.
Our intellectual life.
3. Our habits.
4. Our temperament.
I am in no sense a psychologist and may be breaking all scientific rules in my divisions-my endeavor is to present the matter in a simple, everyday manner.
1. Our devotional life. We are Christian ministers, and however much we may differ in regard to our views of what Christianity is, I feel sure we all believe in prayer, and preach to our people the necessity of continual com
munion with God in prayer. This demands that we be men of prayer. Besides leading the prayers of the congregation we must live a life of prayer ourselves. The Church of England requires all her clergy (unless something very important interferes) to say daily Morning and Evening Prayer. Those who follow this rule find it a great help, for these offices provide a regular and ordered reading of the Psalms and Old and New Testament, and prayers for the common, daily needs. Undoubtedly you all in your various ways have a regular daily season of prayer. If not, let me beg you to begin now. I mean of course something more than prayers on rising and retiring, something which we do as ministers, bearing up to God our parish and people. But we need more than this. We need to spend time in earnest prayer. Prayer is hard work. Which of us has not tried to pray-say for fifteen minutes-how hard it has been! We have had to exercise our will, our imagination, our conscience, our affections, and bend our whole being on God. Those who use a book with suggestions of subjects for intercession know what a help it is. Best of all, a private intercession book as part of our stock in trade, used systematically for years. Who can tell the gains in all departments of work when the pastor is known and felt to be a man of prayer?
With prayer goes the devotional use of the Holy Scripture. However some may regard that which all the Christian ages have considered Holy Writ, myriads have found in its pages messages of life and peace. The most helpful exercise for the day is the half-hour spent in meditation on some passage of Scripture. First-on your knees realize the presence of God-invoke the guidance of His Holy Spirit, read the verse or verses, think of it when first spoken-think of it as a message for today-consider your
own life and its bearing upon it. Make a resolution for the future and close with a prayer for strength and of thanksgiving. Thus your soul will grow. But our devotional life finds its center in our blessed Lord. We think of St. Peter as his Master tests him after his second conversion: "Lovest thou Me?" He requires the very highest devotion-"He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me." It is passion for Him which has inspired the great army of saints and martyrs who from the beginning have followed the Cross. And we are Christ's men-His ministers (servants or slaves). Because of our love for Him the Gospels will be our constant study; we shall wish to see Him, to follow His steps day by day, to hear His words and to learn of Him.
Personally I want continually to worship Him and receive Him in the Holy Communion, and as a priest it is my tremendous privilege and responsibility to celebrate the Holy Eucharist every Lord's Day at least. My brethren, the center of our devotional life must be Jesus Christ if we would be true ministers. And the more we set our hearts on Him, the less we shall be disturbed by the things which are otherwise the most fruitful causes of vexation. What does it matter if the world despises us? We have Him. What matter that our field is small, and we are poor? He knows and all is well.
II. The intellectual life. God has given us minds, and those minds we have consecrated to Him. This does not mean we are to neglect them; on the contrary, we must develop them. We are obliged to study for our sermons and the various classes we teach. And we should do more; we should try to have a definite scheme of reading, to be in touch with the thought of our times, and that we may the more readily meet the needs of the day in our work with
souls. I have a rule which requires me to spend at least three hours a week in the study of theology in addition to the regular meditation and reading of Holy Scripture in the daily offices. The common failing of today which makes our holy religion a sort of philosophy-as though it were merely a matter of thought and debate of ethics and nothing more, is to be guarded against. It is very easy to become intellectualists at the expense of our spiritual power and to the detriment of our people. While we need to be armed at every point, and hence have our minds prepared, our purpose is not to be simply intellectual giants. We must see to it that study, which perhaps we love, does not oust us from prayer. Then, too, we must be careful what we study. There are some subjects, like some things, which we only touch at peril to our souls. St. Paul's rule should be ours in regard to our intellectual life. "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
III. Our habits. As Christian ministers we are servants of a great master and our office is of first importance. This should result in a desire for real efficiency, a striving to be always at our best. Nothing which will in any way weaken us for fulfilling our task must be allowed in our lives; anything which does so is sin. Therefore any indulgence which lessens our usefulness must be very sternly dealt with. I know I am treading on dangerous ground, and with no intention of judging another; but it is a serious fact that many good and earnest ministers are injuring their health, deadening their powers, hurting their friends, setting a bad example to the boys and young men who look