1888, English, Book edition: Official charge addressed to David Buckley Bridgwood, James Fletcher Briggs, Alexander M'Callum, Samuel James Serpell, John Gladwell Wheen and Frederick Harvey Williams on their ordination to the Christian ministry : delivered in Wesley Church, Melbourne, ...1888 / by the Rev. William P. Wells. Wells, William P.

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Official charge addressed to David Buckley Bridgwood, James Fletcher Briggs, Alexander M'Callum, Samuel James Serpell, John Gladwell Wheen and Frederick Harvey Williams on their ordination to the Christian ministry : delivered in Wesley Church, Melbourne, ...1888 / by the Rev. William P. Wells
 
Bookmark: https://trove.nla.gov.au/version/28865448
Physical Description
  • 6661 words
  • Book
  • 18 pages ; 19 cm.
Published
  • vra, Wesleyan Book Depot, 1888
  • Melbourne : Wesleyan Book Depot, 1888.
Language
  • English

Edition details

Title
  • Official charge addressed to David Buckley Bridgwood, James Fletcher Briggs, Alexander M'Callum, Samuel James Serpell, John Gladwell Wheen and Frederick Harvey Williams on their ordination to the Christian ministry : delivered in Wesley Church, Melbourne, ...1888 /​ by the Rev. William P. Wells.
Also Titled
  • Official charge addressed to David Buckley Bridgwood, James Fletcher Briggs, Alexander M'Callum, Samuel James Serpell, John Gladwell Wheen and Frederick Harvey Williams on their ordination to the Christian ministry : delivered in Wesley Church, Melbourne, ...1888
  • Official charge to young ministers
Author
  • Wells, William P.
Published
  • vra, Wesleyan Book Depot, 1888
  • Melbourne : Wesleyan Book Depot, 1888.
Physical Description
  • 6661 words
  • Book
  • 18 pages ; 19 cm.
Subjects
Summary
  • OFFICIAL CHARGE TO YOUNG MINISTERS. BY THE REV. WILLIAM P. WELLS. EX-PRESIDENT. VICTORIA AND TASMANIA CONFERENCE, 1888. OFFICIAL CHARGE ADDRESSED TO DAVID BUCKLEY BBIDGWOOD, JAMES FLETCHER BRIGGS, ALEXANDER M‘CALLUM, SAMUEL JAMES SERPELL, JOHN GLADWELL WHEEN, AND FREDERICK HARVEY WILLIAMS, ON THEIR to t(|e Cljtfistutii DELIVERED IN WESLEY CHURCH, MELBOURNE, JUESDAY, jJ ANUAKJ 24, 1888, BY THE REV. WILLIAM P. WELLS. Ex-President. WESLEYAN BOOK DEPOT, LONSDALE STREET. ORDINATION CHARGE Delivered in Wesley Church on Tuesday, January 24 th, 1888, by the Rev. W. P. Wells, and published by request of the Conference. “ For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” —2 Tim. i. 8. MY DEAR BRETHREN — I should have been glad had the duty I have now to discharge fallen to some one else, but as it has been placed on me I must endeavour to do it as best I can. I congratulate you on the position you occupy. You commended yourselves, as men renewed in the spirit of your minds, to the officers of our church in the several circuits in which you laboured as local preachers; you so impressed them by your gifts that with their approval you appeared before our higher courts. For four years you have been usefully and honourably employed in our work, and now by the vote of the Conference you are placed in full connexion with our ministry. In accordance with our usage, a few words are to be spoken to you this evening for your encouragement ment and your guidance. The text I have selected as the basis of those words is in 2 Tim. i. 8: “ For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." These words specify certain gifts of God to true Christian ministers; certain marks by which the Christian ministry should ever be distinguished. Let no one ever shake your confidence that you have to-day, by a true ordination, entered the ranks of this blessed ministry. You may be told that no one has a valid ordination who has not been ordained by the laying on of the hands of a bishop. Be it so. This need never disturb you, for by men who, in the New Testament sense, are true bishops have you been ordained. A bishop as now understood in the Church of England or the Church of Rome—a diocesan bishop, an overseer seer of presbyters—you cannot find in the New Testament. This is an office which, under this title, did not exist in New Testament times. Then, as you find both from the Acts of the Apostles and the apostolic epistles, bishops and presbyters were two different names for the same officer and the same office. A presbyter was a bishop, and a bishop was a presbyter; so that if a bishop and none but a bishop had power to ordain, seeing that all who have ordained you are, in the scriptural sense of the word, bishops, you have been scripturally ordained. If any one raise another objection, viz., that no ordination is valid which does not come in the line or chain of apostolical tolical succession, then you have another answer. You ask, what were the first links in the chain? and no man living can tell; for the last seventeen hundred years no one has known. But supposing they could tell, then what about other links ? All is uncertainty. This we know, that many ordinations have come through bishops of Rome who were heretical, and even shamefully immoral; and any chain containing taining such links as these is a chain on which we do not and cannot rely. The whole theory of apostolical succession is, to say the very least, unreliable. Ho wonder, therefore, that John Wesley said : “ I firmly believe I am a scriptural bishop as much as any man in England or in Europe. For the uninterrupted succession I know to be a fable, which no man ever did or can prove.” And no wonder that Archbishop Whately wrote : “ There is not a minister in all Christendom who is able to trace up with any approach to certainty his own spiritual pedigree.” What, then, is the true apostolic succession, as far as there can be any such succession? We answer, in preaching the apostolic doctrine, in possessing the apostolic spirit, and in achieving apostolic results. And in all these respects we claim for Wesleyan ministers that they are in the apostolic succession as much as any ministers on the face of the earth, including those of the Church of England, some of whom deny validity to our orders. Do they receive the three ancient creeds —the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Atlianasian ? So do we. Do they subscribe to the thirty-nine Articles ? With but few unimportant exceptions, so do we. Are they devout, fervent, holy, loving ? They themselves will not contradict us when we humbly declare—so are we. Have they witnessed saving results of their labours in different parts of the world ? So have we. And looking at thousands and hundreds of thousands of saintly men and women, in various parts of the earth, we can say, as said Paul, “The seal of our apostleship are ye in the Lord.” Hold fast, then, to the validity of the ordination you have received, and do not forget the grand succession into which you enter. Ho one will deny that Wesley was a genuine presbyter of the Church of England, and as such, in the Hew Testament sense, a bishop. Your credentials come through him, and through successive generations of holy men who have followed him. In the line of succession are such men as Dr. Coke, Henry Moore, John Pawson, Joseph Benson, Dr. Clarke, Richard Watson, Dr. Bunting, Dr. Hewton, John Rattenbury, Dr. Punshon, William Butters, Daniel Draper, John Eggleston, Dr. Dare, and others of similar character, and excellence, and usefulness. Hoble men! Hever shame them. Ever emulate them. “In all things, approving yourselves selves as the-ministers of God—by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and the left.” Do all this and you will be able to say, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” I. God hath not given us the Spirit of Fear. 1. Many a one serves God from fear, rather than from filial love. Mr. Wesley speaks of such as servants of God, not sons. But you have in the good confession that you have confessed before many witnesses told us that you have experienced that change which has brought you into the blessed relationship of sons. “Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby ‘ ye’ cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with * your’ spirits that ye are the children of God.” For you the prayer has been answered— “ If I have only known Thy fear, And followed with a heart sincere Thy drawings from above ; How, now, the further grace bestow, And let my sprinkled conscience know Thy sweet forgiving love.” You now, therefore, serve, not from fear, but from love. You are not slaves, you are sons. Your religious duty is not discharged charged from fear of the lash or the torture : it springs from a loving, joyous impulse, which throbs within your breast and thrills you into activity. Ever keep this, I beseech you. Guard it with assiduous care. So live as never to lose the Spirit’s witness to your adoption. Keep that and it will keep you. If from sloth, or half-heartedness, or worldly-mindedness, or sin of any kind, you lose that precious gift of God, you lose that which makes your life a song, and your ministry a joy. Without the sunshine of His love in your hearts your preaching and service will be to you a drudgery. Never, I beseech you, by any tampering with sin, take the bloom off this fruit of the Spirit in your soul. 2. God hath not given us the spirit of fear. —It is sometimes said that it is good for a man to have a fear of falling, that he may daily keep on the alert, and be quickened into activity. I greatly doubt this. On the contrary, as I read my Bible, I find that what stimulated the activity of the early Christians was the confident hope of victory and immortal reward. True we read, “Be not liighminded, but fear.” “Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest any of you should seem to come short of it.” “ Let us work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” But what do these injunctions mean '? Not that we are to fear as to whether we shall conquer—of that we are to be well assured ; but that we are to fear to do that which would prevent us from conquering, and fear to neglect what is necessary to enable us to conquer. They are injunctions, not against confidence in God, but against confidence in self. As Mr. Wesley says: “ This fear is not opposed to trust, but to pride and [self] security.” An army dispirited has hardly ever won a battle. “He conquers who believes he can.” Let me commend to you the blessed confidence fidence expressed by St. Paul in the twelfth verse of this chapter: “For the which cause,” says he, “I also suffer these things. Nevertheless, lam not ashamed.” He was in prison and in chains, but he was not ashamed—expecting martyrdom, but he was not ashamed. He had complete confidence for his future, both in time and eternity. “ For,” said he, “ I know Whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” 3. God hath not given us the spirit of fear. —We are not to fear for the success of our principles. You have spent the last four years in studying the Gospel, its evidences, doctrines, duties, and institutions. You have surveyed the field of Divine truth both in its subjects and its history. You have seen how, from small beginnings, it grew into a majestic tree. The handful of corn sown in the top of the mountains has shaken like Lebanon. The little stone is becoming a mountain, tain, and is filling the earth. You hare seen the attacks of emperors, and persecutors, and heretics : how they have sought to check, and even destroy, the Word of God. But you have seen the Gospel, in spite of them all, like the phoenix rising from its ashes, taking a wider and a grander flight. ou have seen it triumphing over sovereign and subject, over savage and sage. And can you in view of all this have fear for the result? Never! You will rather sing— “ The gates of hell cannot prevail, The church on earth shall never fail.” Be sure, then, that you never allow your faith to yield to fear. If you enter upon your work in a circuit doubtful of success you will be stricken wtih paralysis. Go in the strength of God. •Remember you wield a weapon which has been victorious in millions of instances, and shall be in millions more. Expect it to be so in your hands. If God has called you He will be with you, and if He be with you He will be more than all that are against you. Never preach a sermon God cannot use, and being satisfied He can use it, believe He will. Of John Rattenbury one said : “ His confidence in the Gospel message was strong; he looked for saving effects under every sermon.” And be not only hopeful in regard to your own work, but equally so as to the work of the denomination to which you belong. An excellent minister, speaking in England a few weeks ago, said : “ Some say Methodism is declining, and it is time to dig her grave. Dig her grave !” said he. “No ! Gather wicker to make cradles for the thousands of her future children.” 4. God hath not given us the spirit of fear. —Green renders this “ a craven spirit;” Alford, i( a spirit of cowardice;” the Revised Version, “a spirit of fearfulness;” Wesley’s note is, ■“a spirit of fear or cowardice.” Perhaps Paul knew that Timothyjust then was timid and trembling, lacking in courage, in danger of shrinking from the combat, and the toil, and the peril. Hence he adds, “Therefore be not thou ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel according to the power of God.” A Christian minister is to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ, and what would you think of a soldier who was cowardly and craven? TSTo matter what the danger, you must face it; no matter what the foe, you must meet it—meet it, not in the spirit of terror, but in the spirit of valour. “ Bold to take up, firm to sustain the consecrated Cross.” The enemies you may have to meet will sometimes be many, and strong, and fierce, and unscrupulous. But you must not grow timid. You may have to do battle for Christ, sometimes in favour of the Sabbath, sometimes temperance, sometimes social morality, sometimes fundamental truth. Be sure you fail not of your duty in the day of conflict. “ Quit you like men, be strong.” “ The minister,” says Dr. Punshon, “ who is fearless to declare the truth, who does not smooth it down that it may fall blandly upon courtly ears, nor cease from it when its announcement produces unpleasant muscular twinges in the faces of those who hear him, who maintains the right when friends turn craven, and the timid blush and cower, he has been girt with courage from heaven.” With this courage may Heaven gird every one of you ! 11. God hath given us the Spirit of Power. “ The glory of young men is their strength” physical strength, mental strength, moral strength, spiritual strength. And no one needs all these kinds of strength more than does the young minister of Jesus Christ. But it is not to any one of these the apostle specifically refers, though the power he means may embrace some of them. The power of which he speaks is power for the work given them to do, the power promised by Christ when He said : “ Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto Me.” What, then, is this power? 1. It is not the power of working miracles. —That power they had already. They had been able to heal the sick, and to cleanse the lepers. But this was a power of another kind. Suppose you had power to work miracles ; that would not necessarily make you soul-winners. You need power othei than that, higher than that. 2. It is not eloquence. —The apostles, after they were endued with this power, were not what we call eloquent. Paul probably had as much eloquence as any of the apostles, yet he said: “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” Eloquence is a wonderful power. We have seen it sometimes captivate an audience, sometimes arouse it to enthusiasm, sometimes melt it into tenderness; but eloquence alone, however great its splendour, never converted a soul. 3. It is 'power to understand the Gospel. —The Gospel has mysteries—heights, depths, and, I may add, simplicities, which, without the power imparted by the Divine Spirit, no one can ever understand. “ The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. cerned. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things—yea, the deep things of God.” It is by the Spirit of Truth that we are to be guided into all truth. Believe me, you will never be effective preachers of the truth unless you master the truth yourselves. If you would have others through you obtain a grip of the Gospel, you must have a grip of it yourselves. “We believe,” said the apostle, “ and therefore speak.” It is not merely that we are to speak what we believe: we are to speak because we believe, feeling, as did Peter and John, that “ we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Thus speak, and speak with the whole force of your soul, and you will speak as the nun who, having seen the holy grail, addressed the knight — “ And, as she spoke, She sent the deathless passion in her eyes Through him, and made him hers, and laid her mind On him, and he believed in her belief.” Spare no pains, I beseech you, shirk no study, regret no time, that may be necessary for you to become mighty in the Scriptures. “ Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” You urge your people to search the Scriptures; but if they are to do this, how much more you 9 “All Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, tion, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God,” especially the minister of God, “ may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Brethren, be hungry for the word of God. Study it under the Spirit’s light till it shines with resplendent radiance through your soul, and fills you with divine ecstasy. Let your life-long prayer be, “ Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” 4. Power to 'preach the Gospel. —The great work of the preacher is to preach. Never think anything else can compensate pensate for lack of power to preach. There are many things very important to you. Learning is important—secure as much of it as you can. Style is important—study to form a style clear, correct, concise, forceful. Science is important, and so is philosophy. But whatever you may acquire of any or of all of these, if you have not preaching power you are not fit for the position you are to occupy. Power to preach means that you ha ye power to preach clearly. So put the truth that those who attend shall understand what you mean. Never get into a fog; never be misty. Let every sentence have a meaning—a meaning easily perceived, perceived even by young people. If the point is not clear to yourself you cannot make it clear to others. Think it out and pray about it till it is clear to you as sunlight. As Mr. Wesley says, See that you make out the point in hand.” Power to preach means that you have power to preach forcefully. Where this power is, the truth comes with a force that makes its way to the mind and conscience. “Our Gospel,” said Paul to the Thessalonians, “ came not unto you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Ghost and in much assurance,” words which tell not of how the Thessalonians received the Gospel, but how the apostles delivered it. Be sure you speak so that your words shall come with power. Let there be, for example, the power of earnestness. John Angell James wrote a book entitled “An Earnest Ministry the Want of the Times.” And he is right. A preacher who is not in earnest belies his position. I sometimes think that the Irish minister was right who proposed to add to the three questions “ Has he gifts ?” “ Has he grace?” “ Has he fruit?” this one, “ Has he fire?” To deal with such themes as those of the evangelical pulpit in a careless, unsympathetic, half-hearted manner or spirit is unworthy of any man. Put soul, fervour, fire, into everything you say, and this will give your message force. Power to preacli means 'power to preach successfully. No one will say that preaching will always, and to the extent of every one that hears it, be crowned with success. Christ taught that there are four classes of hearers, only one of which brings forth fruit to perfection. The apostles often preached with but partial success. But let us remember that one of four kinds of soil represented successful sowing, and that though many rejected the message of the apostles some almost everywhere where received it. So now if the word be clearly and forcefully fully preached, preached in the Holy Ghost, depend upon it some success will be attained both in the building up of believers and in the conversion of sinners. What we have to deprecate and dread above everything is a fruitless ministry. Never be satisfied without fruit. If you were in business it would not satisfy you to open out your goods and make your proposals ; you would only be satisfied by effecting bargains and securing gain. And, my brethren, souls are our gain, our profit, our wages. “What,” says Paul, “is our hope or joy or crown of rejoicing ? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming ? For ye are our glory and joy.” Again I say, never be satisfied without fruit. “ Make the passion to save men the master-key of every sermon and of every prayer.” Power ! —Remember the seat of this power is within you. It is not the m
Contents
  • OFFICIAL CHARGE TO YOUNG MINISTERS.
  • OFFICIAL CHARGE
  • ORDINATION CHARGE
Notes
  • Cover title: Official charge to young ministers /​ by the Rev. William P. Wells. Victoria and Tasmania Conference, 1888.
  • "Published by request of the Victoria and Tasmania Conference."
  • Also available online http:/​/​nla.gov.au/​nla.obj-753911130
Cited In
  • Ferguson, J.A. Bibliography of Australia, 18318
Terms of Use
Language
  • English
Dewey Number
  • 287.909945
Identifier
  • 287.909945 (DDC)
Libraries Australia ID
Contributed by
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