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* yet did he not glorify himself to be made an high priest," but was so constituted by his heavenly Father, who committed to him that office 66 afier the order of Melchizedec.”
Some call therefore, as from God himself, is to be experienced by all who devote themselves to the serviee of the sanctuary. Of this. our Reformers were convinced; and hence they required the ordaining bishop to put to every candidate that should come before him this solemn interrogation; “ Do you trust that you are inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon you this office ?” to which he answers, * I trust so."*
* The chureh also insists on the necessity of a regular external call, or commission: For the bishop demands of the candidate, “Do you trust that you are truly called, according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, and according to the canons of this church, to the ministry of the same." And the preface to the ordination offices declares, “ No man shall be accounted or taken to be a lawful bishop, priest, or deacon in this church, or suffered to execute any of the said funetions, except he be called, tried, examined and 'admitted thereunto, according to the form hereafter following, or hath had episcopal consecration or ordination." Am. Ed.
Now I am far from intimating that this call, which every candidate for Orders professes to have received, resembles that which was given to the Apostles : it is cer. tainly not to be understood as though it were a voice or suggestion coming directly from the Holy Ghost: for though God may reveal his will in this manner, just as he did in the days of old, yet we have no reason to think that he does. The motion here spoken of is less perceptible: it does not carry its own evidence along with it; (as did that which in an instant prevailed on the Apostles to forsake their worldly business, and to follow Christ ;) but it disposes the mind in a gradual and silent way to en. ter into the service of God; partly from a sense of obligation to him for his redeeming love, partly from a compassion for the ignorant and perishing multitudes around us, and partly from a desire to be an honoured instrument in the Redeemer's hands to establish and enlarge his kingdom in the world.
Less than this cannot reasonably be supposed to be comprehended in that question : and the way to answer it with a good conscience is, to examine ourselves whether we have an eye to our own ease, honour, or preferment; or whether we have really a love to the souls of men, and a desire to promote the honour of our God? The question, in this view of it gives no scope for enthusiasm, nor does it leave any room for doubt upon the mind of him that is to answer it : every man may tell, whether he feels so deeply the value of his own soul, as to be anxious also for the souls of others; and whether, independent of worldly considerations, he has such love to the Lord Jesus Christ, as to desire above all things to advance his glory. These feelings are not liable to be mistaken, because they are always accompanied with corresponding actions, and al. ways productive of appropriate fruits.
Now in all cases where this profession has been made, it may be said, “ They have well said all that they have spoken.”** For this profession is a public acknowledgment that such a call is necessary: and it serves as a barrier to exclude from the sacred office many, who would otherwise have undertaken it from worldly motives. And though it is true, that too many break through this barrier, yet it stands as a wit. ness against them, and in very many instan. ces an effectual witness; testifying to their consciences, that they have come to God with a lie in their right hand, and making them to tremble, lest they should be condemned at the tribunal of their God, for having, like Ananias and Sapphira, lied unto the Holy Ghost. Yes, very many, who have lightly uttered these words when they first entered into the ministry, have been led by them afterwards to examine their motives more attentively, and to humble themselves for the iniquity they have committed, and to surrender up themselves with redoubled energy to the service of their God. Though therefore we regret that any should make this profession on insuficient grounds, we rejoice that it is re
quired of all : and we pray God, that all who have made it, may re-consider it with the attention it deserves; and that all who propose to make it, may pause, till they have maturely weighed the import of their assertion, and can call God himself to attest the truth of it.
Let us next turn our attention to the pro. mises by which we bind ourselves on that occasion.
In the service for the Ordination of Priests, there is an exhortation from the bishop, which every minister would do well to read at least once every year. To give a just view of this part of our Liturgy, we must briefly open to you the contents of that ex. hortation, the different parts of which are afterwards brought before us in the shape of questions, to every one of which a distinct and solemn answer is demanded, as in the presence of the heart-searching God. The exhortation consists of two parts; in the first of which we are enjoined to consider the im.