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sober second thought of the people has carried away the misplaced foundations of their creed and policy. The sober judgment of man will not suffer him to condemn the limited and conditional right to use wine granted in the Scriptures. That sober second thought will infallibly settle down, as its final results, on the conclusions of the Word of God. "Every plant which our heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up." If it is not in the place in which he planted it, he will transfer it. Human reason, in its calmest and deepest judgment, will invariably return, like the needle to the pole, and rest on the teachings of God in his Word. The sooner we learn this, as a practical rule of universal conduct, accepting at first the lessons of revelation, the sooner we shall find our action guided by the broadest of all intellects, the most perfect of all reasons. Let the principle of total abstinence be put into its true scriptural position, and it becomes instinct with power over the judgments and consciences of men, and is endowed with immortality. Remove it from this position, it excites suspicion of its soundness, it loses power over the intellect and conscience, it becomes a minister of evil as well as of good, and is doomed to expire in the wreck of its influence. "The weakness of God is stronger than man, and the foolishness of God is mightier by far than the wisdom of man." It is indispensably necessary, in the great agitations and conflicts of men, that there should be a constant recurrence to original principles. If no allowance is thus practically made for the weakness and infirmities of human nature, qualities which insensibly and inevitably will urge men into some false position, particularly on a point of controversy and in the heat of debate, if no recurrence is made to original principles, it will be impossible to ascertain the existence or degree of the deflection from the line of truth. In the vehemence of their conflict with the evils of intemperance, when their hearts are full of a realising sense of the wretchedness it entails on the life of man, there is a powerful tendency operating on the minds of the advocates of total abstinence as a universal law, to take extreme ground, and to forget the moderation of truth and the principles of the Word of God. It is so much easier to advocate the application of a single maxim which seems to reach the whole case, than to draw the distinctions and define the principles which are set forth in the Scriptures, that there is a powerful temptation to choose the first of these as the policy to be pursued. This is greatly aided by the fear that the people cannot be made to comprehend these principles and distinctions; and by the belief that the single maxim will be more effective, and that it will soonest accomplish the end. But these views are too partial: we are still satisfied that the Word of God has
enunciated the grounds which are best and safest in the end. It may take more labour to expound them, they may be more susceptible of perversion; but they are the only principles upon which the sober and deliberate judgment of men will ultimately rest. What the maxim of total and universal abstinence gains by cutting off the necessity for the discrimination of principles, and in its immediate effect, it loses by not meeting the real demands of the reason of man, and of the revelation of God. In the long run, at the close of the immense experiments which are now going on, it will be seen clearly, on this as well as on other great topics of social welfare, that the lessons of the Bible, taken in the simplest and most direct teachings of that wonderful book, are the lessons of the deepest philosophy, the purest wisdom, the most extensive benevolence, and the most permanent application.
We would say in conclusion, we do hope that none will pervert the teachings of this review. If they do, they will do it at their peril; for they are the teachings of the Word of God. If any harm comes from them, it can only be because they are perverted from their true implications; and for this, he who perverts them is alone responsible. Indeed, so great is the fear of many persons of wisdom and excellence that such perversions will be made, that they cannot agree to the propriety of a perfectly direct and unequivocal statement of the real teachings of the Bible on this subject. But this only reminds us that human wisdom and virtue are not infallible. The conditions under which the voice of God is not to be heard on questions like this are excessively rare in occurrence, and of very brief duration when they occur. We have no apology to make for an unequivocal and complete statement of what He has been pleased to state on this issue. He has made it the duty of his ministers to declare his counsel fearlessly, and we dare not suppress it. We had infinitely rather encounter the responsibility of being an occasion of evil, by reason of the infirmity or wickedness of man in perverting the truth, than the responsibility of violating the first duty of the ministerial office, and either silencing, or incompletely reechoing the voice of God on the issues on which he has chosen to speak in his Word. If he has seen fit to enunciate these principles, we can see no reason why we should impeach the propriety of his doctrine,-why we should be either ashamed to receive or afraid to avow them.
ART. III.-Success in the Ministry.
THE first call to the gospel ministry exhibits in a striking manner the true spirit of this work, especially with reference to the important element of success. It was given to Simon Peter at the shore of Galilee. The Saviour had just before directed him to "launch out into the deep, and let down the net for a draught." In doing this he was not unaware of the fruitless toil of the night previous, but he designed to try the spirit of his new disciple." And Simon answering, said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing; nevertheless, at thy word, I will let down the net." This reply evinced strong confidence in Christ, and a spirit of obedience to his will. The result not only justified, but also increased his confidence in the Master's omniscience and power, and deeply impressed him with a sense of his own unworthiness. It was just as he had been brought to this point that our Saviour gave him the promise of employing him in the gospel ministry," Henceforth thou shalt catch men." We are forced to believe that he had this ministerial call in view from the first of this transaction, and that he regarded the spirit of Peter's answer as the true spirit of the ministry. He saw that the man who, after a night of fruitless though skilful and earnest toil, was yet ready to renew that toil, simply at his word, was the man who would, in the labours of the ministry, be ever ready to repeat exertions for his cause, even after protracted and discouraging labour,-provided only he had the word of his Master for so doing. This incident, as we conceive, exhibits the true relation between our responsibility and our success.
It is a painful but undoubted truth, that we are not warranted in expecting universal, even apparent, success, in the employment of the means of grace. It is true God has said, that his word shall not return unto him void,—that it shall accomplish that which he pleases, and shall prosper in the thing whereunto he sends it." No one can doubt that God succeeds perfectly and invariably in all that he really attempts. What we say is, that while the means of grace are adapted to save the souls of men, and are employed by the faithful servants of God to that end, yet neither the Bible nor experience warrants us in expecting that all, or even a large proportion, of those on whom they are brought to bear, will be savedeven when the efforts used are most scriptural in form and most Christian and faithful in spirit. Many are called, but few are chosen."
However desirable it be to labour in confidence of success, and however discouraging this truth may be to which we refer, it has nevertheless been realised by God's servants in all ages of the world. "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" was the complaining and desponding inquiry of the prophet Isaiah. A similar experience was realised by many others, if not all, of the prophets of the old dispensation, who seemed to "stretch out their hands all day long to a disobedient and gainsaying people." But the most remarkable fact illustrative of this truth, was the want of apparent success in the ministry of our Lord. It was in anticipation of this the prophet represents him in saying, "I have laboured in vain; I have spent my strength for nought and in vain." Though " he spake as never man spake," yet how few regarded "the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth!" Though he performed so many and such wonderful miracles, yet how few were convinced of his claims ! At the close of his ministry, so abundant in labours, so instructive, and solemn, and faithful, so glorious and impressive in the manifestations of divine power, and withal so tender and persuasive in its spirit,-at the close of that ministry he was called to weep over infatuated Jerusalem, which refused, with only slight exceptions, to be gathered under his wings. And how many of God's ministers have found sad occasion to recall, for their own comfort, this remarkable example! The disproportion between the efforts employed and the results achieved has, in almost every age of the world, constituted a painful illustration of the fact of which we speak. Nearly every youthful preacher is doomed to have the buoyant anticipations of his early ministry disappointed, as were those of the gifted and enthusiastic Melancthon. Many Many a godly minister has been compelled to labour through long years of anxiety and desire, without being permitted to see the work of the Lord prosper in his hands, in the known conversion of a single soul. The distinguished Samuel Rutherford, one of the holiest and most faithful ministers of the seventeenth century, writes to a friend, "I see exceeding small fruit of my ministry, and would be glad to know of one soul to be my crown and rejoicing in the day of Christ." And even at the present day, when the accessions to the church are greater than at any previous time since the apostolic age, there are doubtless many similar instances. Indeed, to a greater or less extent, at one period or another, every minister of Christ, and every labourer in his vineyard, is called to encounter this discouraging experience,-to behold month after month, and some, year after year, of earnest and prayerful labour pass away, unrelieved by any marked indications of success in the conversion of souls. And
no doubt even the most successful are ready to join in this lamentation, when they contrast the few who are gathered in with the multitudes who remain in the way of death.
We propose to consider this general fact as a source of temptation to all who are enlisted in the cause of Christ. Not only is it adapted to test the reality and strength of our zeal,-it is also a source of serious danger, leading, in some instances to injurious, and in some to disastrous results.
The first class of these dangers to which we advert, arises from improper views of the causes of this want of success. It is not our purpose to discuss the question, what are these causes. We take it for granted that our readers recognise the distinction between those which are secondary and that which is the grand ultimate cause. With us there is no doubt that all the varied results of gospel preaching and Christian effort, whether successful or unsuccessful, are to be referred to the sovereign determination of Him "who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will," and "who will - have mercy on whom he will have mercy." There being in the hearts of men no natural nor self-originated disposition to yield to the calls of the gospel; and neither the word, nor sacraments, nor ministers of Christ, having any independent power to produce such disposition, the work of conversion must be, in the most literal sense, the work of God,-and as such, must be wrought where and when, on the persons, and to the extent, which God chooses. "So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." Our Saviour referred to this very discrimination in God's dealing with "the wise and prudent' on the one hand, and with "babes" on the other, when he uttered the words,-" Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight." Here, then, we are unquestionably to look for the ultimate cause of both failure and success. In the one case, depraved man is left in his sins,-in the other, man equally depraved is made willing in the day of God's power. We are never to forget or undervalue this fundamental truth. It lies at the very basis of our Christianity. It is the most precious source of consolation and encouragement to the ministry and the church, and it should have a conspicuous place and a controlling influence in all our motives, efforts, and anticipations.
Assuming then, that we all, habitually, ascribe our want both of real and apparent success to the sovereignty of God, we remark that one danger arising from this want of success, is that of falling into a spirit of indifference. It is one mark of that selfishness which cleaves even to the renewed mind, that our interest in any result is generally in proportion to our
VOL, V.-NO. XV.