Originally Published in The Southern Presbyterian ReviewOctober, 1879.
When the claim is made that the church must concede the ministerial function to the Christian woman who sincerely supposes she feels the call to it, we have a perilous perversion of the true doctrine of vocation. True, this vocation is spiritual, but it is also scriptural. The same Spirit who really calls the true minister also dictated the Holy Scriptures. When even a good man says that he thinks the Spirit calls him to preach, there may be room for doubt; but there can be no doubt whatever that the Spirit calls no person to do what the word dictated by him, forbids. The Spirit cannot contradict himself.
WHILE we are led to acknowledge the sovereign grace of
GOD, manifested in raising to himself a people out of the ruins
of the fall; we have also the highest occasion to adore the wisdom
and goodness of the great head of the church, in forming those,
whom he has thus made the happy subjects of his grace, into
particular societies, whereby they become subservient to each
other’s welfare, and are instrumental in promoting the common cause of the dear Redeemer.
THE church of CHRIST is fitly represented by the similitude of a body. As a body is composed of different members, and each member hath not the same office; so the church of CHRIST consists of a number of persons, who are designed to answer various purposes, each of which is connected with the good of the whole.
THE WANT OF A DIVINE CALL A MAIN CAUSE OF FAILURE IN THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.
We may sometimes trace Ministerial failure to the very threshold of the entrance into the work. Was the call to thesacred office clear in the order of the church, and according to the will of God? This question bears with vast importance upon the subject. Where the call is manifest, the promise is assured.1 But if we run unsent, our labours must prove unblest. Many, we fear, have never exercised their minds upon this inquiry. But do not we see thestanding ordinance of the church written upon their unfruitful Ministrations—” I sent them not, nor commanded them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the lord?”‘ The blast was not, that their doctrine was unsound, but that they preached unsent.