The following pages do not appear to need any extended preface; their topic is set forth in the first lines of the first chapter. With what success it has been handled is another matter.
But as a writer reviews his own words, it is inevitable that some sort of envoi should present itself to his mind. In this case the envoi seems to me to be the vital necessity of personal holiness in the Christian Minister, in order to the right working of the Christian Ministry; a personal holiness which shall be no mere form moulded from without but a life developed into manifestation and action from within.
Never did the Church of Christ more need to remember this than at the present day. The strongest surface currents of the age are against it; alike that of unregulated, hurrying, indiscriminate enterprize, and that of an exaggerated ecclesiasticism. In the one case the worker's communion with God tends to be sacrificed to the work, the fountain choked for the sake of the stream. In the other case there is a serious risk that |the Church| may come to be regarded as an almost substitute for the Lord in matters affecting the life and growth of the Christian man, and of course of the Christian Minister. Sacred are the claims of order and cohesion, but more sacred and more vital still is the call to the individual constituent of the community to come to the living Personal Christ, |nothing between,| and to abide in innermost intercourse with Him, and to draw every hour by faith on His great grace.
If these simple pages may at all, in His most merciful hands, promote the holy cause of such a hidden life and its fruitful issues, it will indeed be happiness to the writer. In these days of stifling materialism in philosophy, and withering naturalism in theology, but in which also the Holy Spirit, far and wide, is breathing upon us in special mercy from above, there is no duty more pressing on the Christian than to seek, in the world of work, after that life which is |lived in the flesh by faith in the Son of God,| and which is manifested in the strong and patient |meekness of wisdom.|
RIDLEY HALL, CAMBRIDGE,
April 22nd, 1892.
Servant of God, be fill'd
With Jesu's love alone;
Upon a sure foundation build,
On Christ the corner-stone;
By faith in Him abide,
Rejoicing with His saints;
To Him with confidence, when tried,
Make known all thy complaints.|