To My Younger Brethren Chapters on Pastoral Life and Work

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Language: English
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CHAPTER I.

 

THE SECRET WALK WITH GOD (i.).

Pastor, for the round of toil
See the toiling soul is fed;
Shut the chamber, light the oil,
Break and eat the Spirit's bread;
Life to others would'st thou bring?
Live thyself upon thy King.

Let me explain in this first sentence that when in these pages I address "my Younger Brethren," I mean brethren in the Christian Ministry in the Church of England. Let me limit my reference still further, by premising that very much of what I say will be said as to brethren who have lately taken holy Orders, and are engaged in the work of assistant Curacies.

AIM OF THE BOOK.

Day by day, for many years past, my life has lain among men preparing themselves for just that work. As a matter of course my thoughts have run incessantly in that direction. Many a lecture in the library where we work together, and many a conversation in dining-hall, or by study fire, or in college garden, or on country road, has given point to those thoughts and enabled me, I trust, better to understand my younger Brethren, and with more sympathy to make myself, as an elder brother, understood by them. What I here seek to do, with the gracious aid of our blessed Master, is somewhat to extend the range of such talks, and to ask a friendly hearing from younger Brethren in the holy Ministry with whom I have never had the opportunity of speaking personally.

I have not the least intention of writing a treatise on the Christian Pastorate. To talk to young Christian Ministers about some important details of pastoral life and work, but above all of life, inward and outward—this is my simple purpose.

THREE LINES OF PRAYER.

One day in each week, at Ridley Hall, we unite in special prayer, without liturgical form, for those members of the Hall who have gone out into actual ministry. As I lead my dear younger Brethren in that supplication, the heart feels itself full of many, very many, well-remembered faces, characters, lives. It seems to see those many old friends scattered abroad in the Lord's work-field; and it sees, of course, a very large variety among them, in the way of both character and circumstances. But, with all this consciousness of differences, my thoughts and my petitions always, by a deep necessity, run for all alike along three main paths. The first prayer is for the young Clergyman's inner and secret Life and Walk with God. The second is for his daily and hourly general Intercourse with Men. The third is for his official Ministrations of the Word and Ordinances of the Gospel. And in all these directions, after all, one desire, one prayer, has to be offered, the prayer that everywhere and always, from the inmost recesses of life to its largest and most public circumference, the Lord and Master may take, and keep, full possession of the servant. I pray that in secret devotion, and in secret habits, Jesus Christ may be intensely present with the man; and that in common intercourse, in all its parts, He may be the constant and all-influencing Companion, to stimulate, to control, to chasten, to gladden, to empower; and that in the preaching of the Word the servant may really and manifestly speak from, and for, and in, his Lord; and that in ministration of the sacramental and other Ordinances he may truly and unmistakably walk before Him in holy simplicity, holy reverence, and full spiritual reality, "serving the Lord," and serving the flock, "with all humility of mind." [Acts xx....