In The Desk


     I cannot express to you my burden and distress of mind as the true condition of the cause has been presented before me. There are men working in the capacity of teachers of the truth, who need to learn their first lessons in the school of Christ. The converting power of God must come upon the hearts of the ministers, or they should seek some other calling. If Christ's ambassadors realize the solemnity of presenting the truth to the people, they will be sober, thoughtful men, workers together with God. If they have a true sense of the commission which Christ gave to his disciples, they will with reverence open the word of God, and listen for instruction from the Lord, asking for wisdom from Heaven, that as they stand between the living and the dead, they may realize that they must render an account to God for the work coming forth from their hands.   

     What can the minister do without Jesus? --Verily, nothing. Then if he is a frivolous, joking man, he is not prepared to perform the duty laid upon him by the Lord. "Without me," says Christ, "ye can do nothing," The flippant words that fall from his lips, the trifling anecdotes, the words spoken to create a laugh, are all condemned by the word of God, and are entirely out of place in the sacred desk.    

     I tell you plainly, brethren, unless the ministers are converted, our churches will be sickly and ready to die. God's power alone can change the human heart and  imbue it with the love of Christ. God's power alone can correct and subdue the passions and sanctify the affections. All who minister, must humble their proud hearts, submit their will to the will of God, and hide their life with Christ in God.    

     What is the object of the ministry? Is it to mix the comical with the religious? The theater is the place for such exhibitions. If Christ is formed within, if the truth with its sanctifying power is brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul, you will not have jolly men, neither will you have sour, cross, crabbed men, to teach the precious lessons of Christ to perishing souls.    

     Our ministers need a transformation of character. They should feel that if their works are not wrought in God, if they are left to their own imperfect efforts, they are of all men the most miserable. Christ will be with every minister who, although he may not have attained to perfection of character, is seeking most earnestly to become Christ-like. Such a minister will pray. He will weep between the porch and the altar, crying in soul-anguish for the Lord's presence to be with him; else he cannot stand before the people, with all heaven looking upon him, and the angel's pen taking note of his words, his deportment, and his spirit.    

     O that men would fear the Lord! O that they would love the Lord! O that the messengers of God would feel the burden of perishing souls! Then they would not merely speechify; but they would have the power of God vitalizing their souls, and their hearts would glow with the fire of God's love. Out of weakness they would become strong; for they would be doers of the word. They would hear the voice of Jesus: "Lo: I am with you alway." Jesus would be their teacher; and the word they minister would be quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Just in proportion as the speaker appreciates the divine presence, and honors and trusts the power of God, is he acknowledged as a laborer together with God. Just in this proportion does he become mighty through God.    

     There needs to be an elevating, uplifting power, a constant growth in the knowledge of God and the truth, on the part of one who is seeking the salvation of souls. If the minister utters words drawn from the living oracles of God; if he believes in and expects the co-operation of Christ, whose servant he is; if he hides self and exalts Jesus, the world's Redeemer; his words will reach the hearts of his hearers, and his work will bear the divine credentials. The Holy Spirit must be the living agency to convince of sin. The divine agent presents to the speaker the benefits of the sacrifice made upon the cross; and as the truth is brought in contact with the souls present, Christ wins them to himself, and works to transform their nature. He is ready to help our infirmities, to teach, to lead, to inspire us with ideas that are of heavenly birth. 

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