A Minister to His Congregation

James Smith

My Dear Friends,
As you have placed yourselves under my ministry, I feel intense concern for your spiritual welfare, both as individuals and as a body. Allow me, therefore, with all affection to address a few lines to you. We are united together for a particular object, let us therefore, realize that object and keep it constantly in view.

Our OBJECT is--to honor the Lord Jesus, to seek the advancement of our own personal piety, and to be a blessing to all who may come within the reach of our influence. We need deeper spirituality, more exact conformity to the Lord Jesus; let us daily, ardently, and importunately seek it. Our brethren need the same inestimable blessings; let us seek it also for them. We are surrounded by thousands who are total strangers to saving experimental religion; let us seek by all means to win them for Christ. Let each one try every Lord's day to bring someone to the house of God, and then make that one the object of special prayer. Let each one aim to bring sinners to Christ, and when they are brought to Christ to introduce them into the Church.

My friends, every one of us should feel, that much depends on me: on my prayers, on my efforts, on my example, on my contributions to the cause. I encourage or discourage my brethren continually. I am constantly exerting an influence for good--or evil. I am doing good, or I am doing mischief, as a professor of religion, every day. Much, very much, depends on each one, whether he realizes it or not.

Brethren, I want each one of you to come to this conclusion: I have been too cold, too careless, too indifferent. I have lived too much to myself, and for myself; I will now endeavor to live more to and for the Lord. I will feel more for the cause of God, rejoicing in its prosperity, or mourning over its decline. I will work more for the cause, in order to increase the congregation, or add to the efficiency of the Church. I will pray more for the cause, setting apart special seasons to pray for my Pastor, my fellow members, the congregation, the teachers, and the school. I will daily endeavor to realize that the cause may flourish, and will, if the members seek its good: that the cause may decline, and will, if the members are negligent, selfish, or worldly.

God has promised his Holy Spirit if we ask him, and when the Holy Spirit is poured out, there is brotherly love, spiritual union, well directed efforts, sympathy with suffering saints, powerful prayer, and great success. Without the Holy Spirit--we are powerless; with the Spirit--nothing is impossible. Let the presence, power, and operation of the Holy Spirit therefore be daily, heartily, importunately sought.

Friend, having read this paper, do not put it away and forget it; but ponder its contents, place it where your eye will often rest upon it, once a week at least read it over, and come to this reasonable, this holy, this honorable determination: "Nothing on my part shall be lacking to promote the peace, harmony, increase, and general prosperity of the cause with which I have connected myself."

Nothing on Satan's part will be lacking to hinder it, therefore let nothing on your part be lacking to promote it. God has promised--but having promised, and promised most positively, he has added, "I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them." Let us therefore be often found upon our knees before God, pleading for the peace, purity, and increase of the Church. Then will he open the windows of heaven, and pour out a blessing upon us!