Excerpt from A Charge Delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Salisbury
Let us not then, my brethren, deem this our Visi tation solely an enquiry into the outward exercise of our ministry, and its effects; but a season too, when each is especially called upon to examine what his state is as regards that life, which is hid with Christ in God. It is as this is healthful and vigorous, that all will be well. The real springs alike of personal acceptance, and of ministerial usefulness, are those which are hidden from the eyes of men, thoughknown to God; and which centre in and issue forth from that Saviour, who is the sole source of our spiritual life; and from whom, by the inﬂuences of the Holy Ghost, our comfort, and strength, and use fulness must be derived. In proportion as we are sensible of our sinfulness and weakness, as we live by faith in intimate communion with Him, seeking the help of his Spirit by earnest prayer, and cherish ing his grace by heavenly meditation, and steady obedience, his life will be ours his strength will be made perfect in our weakness: his ordinances will be to us the sure and effectual channels of his grace: and our ministry, being pervaded with his life-giving Spirit, will be made the means of turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; and of building up in faith and righteousness a people acceptable unto God.
Our first, therefore, and chief enquiry regards our hidden life, whether this be indeed with Christ, and whether it be continually so more and more, as we advance in our trial. But this examination is to be made by each man for himself. The outward and visible marks and tokens of his ministry, though ordinarily they will in some measure correspond with the inward character, are yet no certain indications of its state: for the exercise of mere gifts may be made by God useful to others, though it is only when they are sanctified, and so made graces, that they can be truly blessed to ourselves.
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