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deaconship is intended as a proba- tion, for the more responsible office tionary period and a preparatory step almost always conferred at the expifor the higher office of the priest, or ration of that period. Under the prepresbyter. It is on the presumption sent entire system of preparation for that a man has used the office of a the ministry, we have seen that very deacon well; and by manifesting bold- little time, and very little distinct and ness and soundness in the faith, com- thoroughly methodical attention, is, or bined with aptness to teach, and cor- can be, given before ordination, to responding purity of life and conver- the acquirement of sound theological sation, that he is judged to have learning, and of that knowledge which purchased for himself another and a is really valuable to the christian minishigher step in the ministry; but how ter and pastor, while after ordination, this theory is found to answer in our especially in our large metropolitan practice, needs not a word of com- parishes, our deacon-curates are so ment. The young deacon of twenty- engaged and called off by the perfour, passes, if he can only get through formance of the purely mechanical the somewhat stiffer episcopal exa- offices of marriages, baptisms, and mination for priest's orders, fit or un- burials, that we have often heard fit, at once and for life, into the ranks them lament they cannot find time of the second and most responsible to study, or to visit the sick. branch of the Church of England We should certainly recommend ministry. .
the extension of the term at least to A remedy, not only efficient in itself two, if not three years, for the purpose for the cure of this unpreparedness for of giving our young deacons a longer a higher and more important office, time to prepare and fit themselves for but at the same time affording no the higher office; and when we come slight and ineffective check to the to our second particular, we shall preintrusion of unfit men into the minis- sume to offer a plan which would set try at all, would, as we think, be at them free from much of that distraconce found in the adoption of two tion of which they at present too justly things;–First. The extension of the complain. term during which all candidates for The extension of the present term the priesthood must remain deacons : would, as we think, not only ensure a Secondly. The ordination of men as more perfectly prepared ministry, but deacons who are not of necessity to would deter many from choosing the be advanced to the office of the priest sacred calling, who now enter upon hood, but whose \claim for such pre- its solemn duties merely as a profesferment should be, that long tried ser- sion wherein they may pass respectavice, and successful ministry amongst bly through life, gain a livelihood, or his own class, which should point him take either the certainty or the chance out as worthy of a more perfect mi- of obtaining large and valuable prenistry.
ferments. We feel certain that the As to the first particular, we feel prolongation of the deaconship, while that it needs little or no argument to it might not altogether prevent, yet shew that the short interval of twelve would in a great measure check, the months is anything but a sufficient evils under which the Church has term, either for probation or prepara- always laboured, in the wholesale or
dination of those who, without any for baptism, for marriage, or for breach of christian charity, we are burial. compelled to regard as far better City Missionaries do great things. fitted and prepared for the service Scripture Readers are too much tied of the world than for that of the by our false and fettering notions of Church.
church order, and hundreds of thouIt is not on account of the compa- sands of immortal souls are passing rative youth of those who so quickly into eternity while we are debating exchange the deaconship for the and demurring as to how far we can priesthood, that we thus write; we sanction a man gathering his fellowremember the Apostle's precept re- men into rooms, and how far that man specting Timothy, and neither despise may go in ininistering to them that or disparage the faithful, though of bread and water of life, without the course inexperienced, efforts of young possession of which they must perish clergymen; but the system itself re- for ever. quires alteration, and it is due to the Let us search out a body of real young clergyman himself that he christian men, with hearts filled with should have longer time for actual the love of God and of the souls of theological preparation and experi- their fellow-creatures; let us see that ence, before he undertakes what, in they are thoroughly trained by deep all but the name and the performance study of the word of God, and with of two or three portions of the service, just so much of that human learning includes the most responsible duties as shall enable them to meet the of the presbyter.
Socinian, the Romanist, the Infidel, But the Church cries out for a class and the Socialist; and let us give to of ministers for our poorer brethren; them that ecclesiastical character, and men who, as we hinted in a previous that proper position in the Church, number, shall act as ordained mis- which shall entitle them to go forth sionaries to a population in a state of as accredited ministers of our beloved almost heathen darkness; men who, Church, amongst the masses of our while ministering as regularly recog- people, to the bulk of whom the nized preaching Deacons amongst the Church of England, as well as any poor in the courts and alleys of our other section of the Christian Church, metropolitan and provincial towns, is powerless in effecting any imporshall act as pioneers for the parochial tant or commensurate good. clergy; men who shall go in and Funds would not be wanting for an out amongst the people, and gain agency of this kind. Our churches that access to their homes, their have only to be told by our ministers hearts, and their consciences, which that they want help—ministerial help; it is too often impossible, from a va- that they want Deacons who shall go riety of causes, for the present order forth clothed with power and responof our clergy to effect. The thought sibility, to act where they themselves is saddening and overwhelming, how cannot do so, for want of time, or with few of the hundreds of thousands of the like efficiency. As we said before, our labouring poor know a minister, these Deacons might greatly relieve ever hear his voice, or enter the the present clergy, by officiating at church where he ministers, except baptisms and burials, the frequent ad
ministration of which services call off At all events, we must try what can the present Curates from parochial be done to effect a more thoroughly visiting and private study.
efficient pastoral agency amongst our Another advantage would be gained poor, or, in these times of Romish by this class of ministry. Such men, activity, they will fall a prey to the if a week's notice were required for seducing doctrines of a priesthood the administration of the sacrament of which train and use their converts baptism, might exercise a most im- with greedy alacrity in a warfare not portant influence, by personally visit- only against the Protestant Church, ing the parties who propose to offer but against that Protestant good order their infants at the baptismal font, and government which it is one of and might bring before the parents the objects of the former to uphold and sponsors the solemn and respon- and support. sible nature of the engagement then We think that what we have adto be entered into. Who can tell what vanced, though its purport has been benefit this might entail upon the but hastily sketched and rudely put Church? It might produce some alte- together, may nevertheless have the ration in the present wretched state effect of attracting wiser heads and of things, where infants are presented abler pens to the consideration and in dozens by unknown parents, and more ample development of its imanswered for by unknown sponsors. portant subject.
Divinity. LIFE IN CHRIST, THE ONE THING NEEDFUL. When we look into the world, we be, that if we are willing to take adsee different men esteeming different vice, that advice is not wanting. The things as of the first importance. One wisdom of the Son of God, who visited man values wealth; another, fame, this world for our salvation, deterand reputation; another, pleasure; and mines the question for us, and sets another, vice. And if we look further definitely before us the object which into their history, we shall find that is most worthy of our regard. towards the close of their career, these It appears that Jesus went into the are, most of them, disappointed men. house of Martha and Mary, where He They fail in obtaining their object; was hospitably entertained; but, while or if they gain it, it fails of imparting Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and heard the wished-for gratification. They His word, Martha was cumbered about lie down in disappointment and in much serving, busied and anxious sorrow.
about the treatment of her distinIt is then of the first importance guished Guest. Wearied at length that we should be rightly directed as with her exertions, and perhaps a litto what is really worthy of pursuittle fretted at Mary's evident indifferand as to the true mode of obtaining ence to those minor objects, she said it; and thankful indeed ought we to to Jesus, “Lord, dost thou not care
that my sister hath left me to serve which Mary chose is the one thing alone ? bid her therefore that she help which was needful to Martha and to me. And Jesus answered,” by a re all others. And what is the good part proof given in faithfulness and in which Mary had chosen ? She had simplicity to her whose heart was chosen to sit at the feet of Jesus, warm in His service, and whose whole and to hear His word. Now it is labour had respect to His comfort, written in John v. 24, “He that hear“Martha, Martha, thou art careful eth my word, and believeth on Him and troubled about many things; but that sent me, hath everlasting life, and one thing is needful.” Here is a plain shall not come into condemnation : piece of advice, in which the Saviour but is passed from death unto life;"endeavours to lead away the mind of i.e. a vital change takes place in conMartha from the many subordinate sequence of sincerely hearing and beand needless cares about which she lieving the words of Jesus Christ. The was so much perplexed, and to induce believing hearer passes from death her to seek one thing which was su unto life. This, then, is the good part premely and exclusively needful. which Mary had chosen. This was
The words of our Saviour are the the one thing needful. It was spiriwords of wisdom. They are given to tual life arising from faith in Jesus be permanently and perpetually the Christ. He that believeth, “is passed instruction of poor misguided human from death unto life." And this it is nature; and the course which Jesus which is offered to all who hear the suggested to Martha is the wise course Gospel, and which is pointed out there for all the children of men. This as absolutely necessary to all the chilshort sentence still says to all the dren of transgression. busy occupants of this changing scene, The great object of the incarnation You are careful and troubled about of the Second Person of the Trinity many things; your heart is distracted as Jesus Christ the Son of Mary, was with needless cares about the things to impart this spiritual life to the sons of this present world; they rise with of men. Experience proves
that they apparent importance before you, as if are without this spiritual life; that they were necessary to happiness; naturally they are destitute of a holy, “but one thing is needful,” one thing godly influence. The state of man in is indispensable, and if you seek this, general, the state of the human affecand secure this, all others are matters tions and passions in every individual of comparative indifference. Let us yet unaltered by faith in the Redeemer, then inquire into this matter further, is this of spiritual death; whatever be and endeavour to ascertain,
his moral rectitude towards his fellow 1. What this one thing needful is. creature, he is the subject of an entire 2. Why it is needful.
alienation from God, and a destitution 3. When it is needful.
of godly influence. The incarnation First. What is this one thing need- and the doings of our Divine Imful? This is evident from the context. manuel were a gracious interference, Jesus says, “One thing is needful : purely for the purpose of remedying and Mary hath chosen that good part,
this evil. The Son of God became which shall not be taken away from man, and died upon the cross for sin, her.” Here, evidently, the good part
that the law might not be broken, and
that Divine justice might be satisfied, by contact, and the whole building and that, consistently with the vera- might become one living temple,-a city and purity of God, sinners might beautiful, symmetrical, and everlastbe pardoned. And now, in conse- ing, building, composed of living quence of what Jesus Christ has done, stones, who have spiritual life in the Divine life which is in Him with- themselves to serve God, because out measure, as an inexhaustible foun- there is that communicable spiritual tain, is communicable from Him to life in the foundation stone, Jesus all who will receive it. He says, “This Christ. So it is written, “ To whom is the will of Him that sent me, that coming, as unto a living stone, disalevery one which seeth the Son, and lowed indeed of men, but chosen of believeth on Him, may have everlast- God and precious, ye also, as lively ing life.” This truth is represented stones, are built up a spiritual house, to us in Scripture by many strong an holy priesthood, to offer up spirifigures. Christ is thus spoken of in tual sacrifices, acceptable to God by John vi., as “living bread," as a sus- Jesus Christ." If we come to Christ, tenance actually endued with life, so believing that He is able to give us that he who partakes of it receives life this spiritual life, we shall assuredly from it, as he would receive strength receive it. from partaking of natural bread. So And what is the essential difference it is said, “I am the living bread which between those who have received this came down from heaven: if any man blessing and those who have not? It eat of this bread, he shall live for is a moral difference of the most imever; and the bread that I will give portant kind, shewing itself in the is my flesh, which I will give for the whole character and conduct. Wholife of the world.” In John xv. Christ ever he is, who has so received a is spoken of as a “vine," or living blessing by a faithful hearing of stock of a tree; and the communica- Christ's word, is quickened from a tion of life to His members is taught death in sin, from a state of deadness by the illustration of the process of to God and godliness, in which he was grafting. There is to be such a con- not aware of his guilt and danger, but nexion between the stock and every was utterly indifferent to the safety of scion inserted into it, as that the his soul, and the honour and glory of vital principle should flow from the God; but now, as receiving life from root to that branch, and where this Christ, he partakes of the holy nature fails, it is shewn that the branch re- of the Mediator by whom he is remains dead, and withers. Then, in deemed, and his desire is thenceforth 1 Peter ii. Christ is described as “a to live to God, to offer continually living stone,” a foundation stone, laid spiritual sacrifices,—the sacrifices of for the erection of a temple upon it; praise, and love, and obedience. Bebut having in itself, not merely the fore he loved sin ; now he hates it, principles of firmness and durability, shrinks from it, strives against it. so that other stones might be safely Before he was in different to God; laid upon it till the building is com- now he yearns after Him, longs to plete, but having in it also the prin- know and love Him better, and to see ciple of life, so that every stone laid more deeply into the mysteries of His upon it might receive that life from it will, and to realize a more powerful