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-They loved the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. (Matt. xxiii. 1, &c.) Thus they assumed to themselves an arrogant pre-eminence, which set them wholly apart from the people, and therefore was detrimental to the cause of edification. And as our Saviour, whilst he confirms the lawful authority of these teachers, forbids his disciples to copy their domineering pattern, so we may understand St. Peter's exhortation to this effect.
Feed the flock of God, exercising a superintending authority as faithful stewards, but not as arbitrary lords. When ye recom-mend the duties of religion to others, forget
not that they are also your own duties, and that ye ought to excel in them, for examples' sake. If ye preach humility, be humble; if ye preach charity, open wide your hand; if ye preach patience and forbearance, be not rash or soon angry. Remember that ye are promoted to your station, not for your own personal aggrandisement, but for the spiritual edification of the church,
I shall not at this time consider the va
rious cases of undue assumption which may arise from vanity or self-indulgence; yet it may be proper to mark that domineering spirit which the apostle has censured in one of its properties, which not only deforms the private character, but, in a great measure, frustrates the very intention of the ministry.
This spirit is never more odious, or less edifying, than when it manifests itself in a proud, haughty, and disdainful carriage, which repels the modest and timid, and glances over the heads of the humble and the poor. Should such a deformity ever disgrace a Christian pastor, it must necessarily withdraw him from that improving intercourse which it is his duty to maintain with every order of his flock.
The elder of the church has, indeed, a becoming dignity to support. It is not re quired of him to demean himself below his rank, by assimilating with the manners of the inferior classes, by taking his place at their tables, claiming his part in their trivial discourse, and adopting many habits unbeseeming his character, but which their
occupations may have rendered innocent, perhaps necessary.
But true dignity is easy and unconcerned. It is not harassed with the perpetual jealousy of its own rights. It withholds neither the smile of benevolence, the ear, the eye, the hand of charity, nor the word of consolation. From kindness, affability, and open, unembarrassed condescension, it receives its strongest support, its most graceful ornament. And the pastor who refuses these attentions to the very lowest member of the church, cannot be said to exhibit a good example to the flock: he domineers over God's heritage, of which he is not the master, but the minister, appointed for their good, not for the display of his own pomp and vanity.
And how can the church be benefited by the ministry of the proud man? He is not beloved he does not engage the affection and esteem of his hearers: he is, therefore, heard with coldness and indifference, if not with aversion and disgust. He may recommend the duties of Christianity with the most persuasive eloquence; but his oratory
only reminds the audience, that his own temper is utterly unchristian. For inordin ate pride of superior rank, superior wealth, or superior attainments, and an insolent contempt of those to whom God has been less bountiful of temporal good, and of the means of distinction, imply a practical censure on the dispensations of divine Providence.
To men of this temper, the apostle of our Lord addresses the following language:Who maketh thee to differ from another And what hast thou, that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst RECEIVE it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it? (1 Cor. iv. 7.)
The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord: the proud man, therefore, behaves himself indecently, as the disciple and servant of the meek, humble, and condescending Jesus. The great Master saith to all his disciples-Learn of mé, for I am meek and lowly in heart. (Matt. xi. 29.)
When he condescended to perform an humble office, for the poorest of his followers, it was with a practical design: for he tells them, I have given you an example,
that ye should do as I have done unto you. (John, xiii. 15.)
In another place, having reminded his disciples that heathen princes exercised a haughty dominion over those who were, subject to their jurisdiction, he proceeds to forbid the imitation of these despots, and to inculcate his own example. It shall not be so among you; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant; even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, (Matt. xx. 26-28.) That is-be not proud; be not tyrannical; but let it be your great distinction, your chief excellence, to become eminently subservient to the edification of your brethren.
He who gave this precept condescended to call the meanest believer his brother, and to treat him as such. He also declared, that the refusal of a charitable and Christian office, to one of the least of these his brethren, will be a cause of rejection in the last and awful day.
How, then, can the congregation believe that the man who surveys it with a proud,