Acts 20 28: Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers to feed the Church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood.
J. G. Breay, BA.
Acts 20, 28: “Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.”
We meet this day, my brethren, with a view to the promotion of our ministerial usefulness. A visitation is an enquiry, by recognised authority, “respecting the state of our Churches, and of those who administer divine ordinances in them.” Associated with this inquiry are solemn devotional engagements. We assemble in the house of prayer. We present our united supplication to Him, in whose service we have resolved to spend our lives. Both fraternal exhortation and authoritative counsel are addressed to us, on some of the numerous and weighty points connected with our high vocation. We have also an opportunity of conferring, as brethren in the ministry, on the duties, discouragements, and supports of our responsible and holy office. When duly improved, it is calculated, under the divine blessing, to refresh our spirits and unite our hearts; and also to render us more zealous and self-denying in the cause of our heavenly Master.
The text is, I conceive, well adapted to such an occasion. It is at once practical and searching, appropriate and comprehensive. It contains no allusion to questions which minister strife rather than godly edifying; but it directs our attention to points, the importance of which will be acknowledged throughout eternity.
You will soon discover that the preacher, in the discussion of this subject, has only a few plain remarks to offer you. He has not attempted originality of plan, novelty of argument, or beauty of illustration. He conceives that, on such an occasion and before such an assembly as the present, pastoral edification, rather than intellectual enjoyment, should be the preacher’s aim. He claims notÂ—for he is well aware that on no account is he entitled to claim Â—any deference to his statements. He asks from his brethren a candid hearing, and from his Master pardon of all that is erroneous, and a blessing on all that is conformable to the divine oracles.
You are aware that the parties who are addressed in the text as Overseers are, in the 17th verse, designated Presbyters. There appears no reason to doubt, that they were the ordinary pastors of the “Church of God,” in the city of Ephesus. St. Paul sent for them to Miletus, in order that he might give them his final charge; and the text is part of that charge.
The duties, the difficulties, and the ends of the Christian ministry are, in all ages, essentially the same. Let him, then, that hath an ear, hear what the Spirit saith to the pastors of the Church; for this is his command to every one of us, “Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” May we, my brethren, obey this solemn injunction, so that when “the chief Shepherd and Bishop of souls shall appear “at His final visitation, we may receive from His hand” a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1 Peter 5, 4).
The text has obviously reference to us individually and officially. Two branches of duty are here inculcated:
I. Personal Christian circumspection.
II. Unwearied Pastoral devotedness.
It is enjoined on us that we exercise,
I. PERSONAL CHRISTIAN CIRCUMSPECTION
“Take heed to yourselves.” Similar counsel is given by Paul to Timothy,” “Take heed unto thyself.” (1 Tim. 4, 16). The caution implies danger: and there is danger lest the official occupations of our sacred calling should practically become the occasion of our neglecting individual watchfulness. Who among us has not found, that it is possible to be much engaged for God, and yet to be very little engaged with God? We may be active, and yet very inadequately furnished for the ministerial work. There may be in the pulpit correct doctrine; and yet, in the life, habits entirely inconsistent with spirituality of mind. Allow me, then, to suggest that the charge, “Take heed to yourselves,” may be viewed as demanding attention to the heart, to the intellect, and to the life. We shall apply it, therefore, as comprehending the duty of maintaining communion with GodÂ—of seeking competent ministerial qualifications, and of exhibiting to the flock a holy example.
In taking “heed of ourselves,” it is essential that we
1. Maintain communion with God.
May I be permitted to assume, that none of us have entered the sacred ministry from carnal motives and with secular views! May I take for granted, that, having been “inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost to take this office “upon us, we are anxious, as we pass onward to the eternal world, to be useful to our fellow sinners! Ministers of a character thus implied will readily admit that their personal religion cannot be sustained, nor their pastoral labours profitably pursued, without much secret prayer. How numerous and how diversified soever may be our public duties, time must be set apart for holding “fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1, 3). How many motives, personal and ministerial, have we for this communion! Is it not by private meditation on the Scriptures, with earnest prayer for spiritual teaching, that we became acquainted with the Divine will?
Is it not thus that we attain correct and enlarged views of the wickedness of the heart, the evil of sin, the grace of the Redeemer, the work of the Spirit, the conflicts of the Christian, and the fullness of the “exceeding great and precious promises?” (2 Pet. 1, 4). We learn in secret that which we are to teach in public. Withdrawn from the world and from the family, with no ear open to us, and no eye fastened on us, but that of our Father Who heareth and seeth in secret, we implore pardon, illumination, and holiness; we disclose our wants, acknowledge our mercies, and cast ourselves on the “Lord Jehovah, with whom is everlasting strength.” (Isa. 26,4). Here too we find solace in our ministerial sorrows. When our message is disregarded, and our Master disobeyed; when iniquity rolls among the flock as a torrent, or Satan, in the form of “an angel of light”, seduces them into error; the faithful pastor will often exclaim, “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.” (Jer. 9, 1). Many a Christian minister, wearied with labour, oppressed with anxiety, and wounded by opposition and disappointment, has retired with a sinking heart to be, like Jacob, alone with God (Gen. 32, 24); and then and there has a cheering light burst upon his soul, a tranquillising and elevating influence has been imparted to his heart; waiting on the Lord, he has renewed his strength, and he has returned to his labours with feelings of confidence, almost of triumph, being “strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” (Eph. 6, 10).
Our temptations to the neglect of secret devotion are, indeed, numerous: of these the most plausible is the suggestion that we have not time for it. But this is evidently a device of Satan. As well may the soldier say, that he has not time to put on his armour; or the mariner, that he has not time to spread his sails, as the minister, that he has not time to pray. What can we know without divine teaching? This is obtained by prayer. What can we effect without divine influence? This is vouchsafed to prayer. What can we endure without divine support? This is imparted in answer to prayer. It may be confidently affirmed, brethren, that the minister, who is negligent as to secret intercourse with God, is indifferent respecting the spiritual results of his ministry. He is not intent on “saving them that hear him.” (1 Tim. 4, 16). The maxim of Luther on this subject is well knownÂ—”To pray well is to study well.” The early preachers of the gospel gave themselves “continually to prayer.” (Acts 6, 4). The inspired apostle of the Gentiles bore on his heart the wants of individual converts, as well as those of the whole church, “when he bowed his knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 3, 14-19 ; 2 Tim. 1, 3 ; Philemon 4). He who spake as never man spake, who knew not a single want which His omnipotence could not immediately supply, has left us, in His own example during His ministry on earth, proof of the value of secret prayer. The world will seldom hate, and Satan will never fear, an unpraying minister.
In addition, however, to devotional habits, and a solid
acquaintance both with the human heart and the oracles of God, it is of the deepest importance that our minds should be well furnished for the pastoral work. If we “take heed to ourselves,” we shall
2. Aim at competent mental qualifications.
The Christian minister should be a studious, as well as an active man. He is to give “attendance to reading,” as well as “to exhortation and to doctrine.” (1 Tim. 4, 13). But what should be the character of his studies? May he devote his hours of seclusion to the pursuits of literature, or to the investigations of philosophy? Unquestionably learning and science are never employed so honourably as when they lay their richest treasures on the altar of God; they never shine so brightly, as when they are irradiated by that light which emanates from the cross. But, my brethren, permit me to ask, whether, when we have crossed the threshold of the sanctuary, and become men consecrated to God, we can conscientiously find leisure for merely literary pleasures and secular study? It will be at once conceded, that general knowledge, valuable as it is, if it be acquired at the expense of that which is spiritual, is purchased at too high a price. Suffer me, then, to inquire, whether the circumstances of the present day do not impose on us, if we would be “throughly furnished,” a range and depth of theological reading, which even the most studious find it difficult to attain? “The priest’s lips cannot keep knowledge,” (see Malachi 2, 7), unless his mind is stored with it. Numerous forms of error are abroad. Infidelity, with its bold assertions, and startling objections to the truth of God, is active among the flock. The “man of sin,” professing to hold the keys of the kingdom of heaven, is traversing our land with gigantic strides, demanding universal homage; and he has overthrown the faith of many. The “God-denying apostacy,” with its ensnaring subtleties, ostensibly enthroning reason on a revelation which it practically rejects, is labouring to undermine the very foundation of a Christian’s hope, and to tear the crown of redemption from the Saviour’s brow. In addition to these dangers, which are common to the universal Church, there are some by which our own Zion is more especially assailed. Her enemies, hostile to each other on many points, but united in their opposition to her, are concentrating their forces, and labouring to effect her overthrow. Nor can we shut our eyes to the alarming fact Â—a source of more imminent peril to our Church than all the dangers by which she is menaced from without,Â—that from among ourselves also “men arise,” high in office, renowned for learning, and exemplary in deportment, “speaking perverse things and drawing away disciples after them.” My brethren, on such a subject, and before so grave an assembly, I would speak with diffidence; but I shall be allowed to express my own conviction, that the Christian minister who can, in the present day, spend much time in the fields of literature and science, must be either ignorant of the dangers by which the flock is threatened, or heedless of the
responsibilities by which he himself is bound. Are not the vows of God upon us? Are we not the appointed guides of the people? Ought we not, therefore, to be well acquainted with the modes by which the truth is most successfully assailed, and the flock most frequently injured? We surely have reason to be much dissatisfied with ourselves, unless we are competent, under the divine blessing, to roll away the obstructions by which the full flowing of the water of life is hindered; to disentangle the toils by which the pilgrims to Zion are impeded and distressed; to go readily with the light of truth into the very midst of error; and, clad with “the whole armour of God,” fearlessly to encounter the hosts of the aliens. And are these qualifications easily attained? Possibly, there may be among us some men of God, who are “throughly furnished unto all good works”; who never see ” the sword they cannot wield”; who have again and again suspended their armour in the temple of Victory, with “Glory to God” inscribed upon it. But these high attainments are the fruit of much patient toil; and comparatively few possess them. Many there doubtless are in this assembly who, contemplating the qualifications which an able and faithful minister of Jesus Christ requires at the present crisisÂ—evidenced more especially by an ability to confute error and to enforce and adorn truthÂ—would desire that on the doors of their study, and, as it were, on every exercise of their understanding, and on every movement of their conscience, should be written, “Take heed to yourselves.” He who would “do the work of an evangelist, and make full proof of his ministry”; he who sees it to be important that he should be able to offer, not merely an opinion, but a solid reason for that opinion, either to the inquiring or to the deluded, will, I am persuaded, be able to find but little time for pursuits which are merely secular. ” Meditate on these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear unto all.” (1 Tim. 4, 15).
But if we would “take heed to ourselves,” we must also
3. Exhibit an edifying example.
A minister’s life should be a comment on his scriptural preaching; for the people have eyes to see how we live, as well as ears to hear what we say. It is not enough that we be as exemplary as the rest of mankind. The command is, “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works.” (Titus 2, 7). “Be thou an example to the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Tim. 4, 12). On us, especially, it is incumbent to be “epistles of Christ, known and read of all men.” Our families should be regulated by the principles of the gospel. The frivolities of the world should receive no sanction from our practice, and find no place in our domestic circle; for, “if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God?” (1 Tim. 3, 5). In general society our ministerial character should never be laid aside. In our intercourse with the people of our charge, their edification must be kept steadily in view. Though it may not
be always practicable to converse on things pertaining to the “kingdom of God,” yet ought we to watch for opportunities of usefulness. In short, are we “the salt of the earth?” (Matt. 5, 13). Then should our conversation season every company to which we have access. Are we “the light of the world?” (Matt, 5, 14). Then should our knowledge of the holy scriptures be diffused, that others may be assisted by it in the way to heaven. Kind to all, without compromise of principle to any; firm on points of duty, but ready to yield where personal feeling only is concerned; lifting up our “voice like a trumpet,” when we are rebuking sin, and letting our doctrine, “distil as the dew,” when we are comforting the troubled mind; living above the world, as to our spirit, while we endeavour to profit it by our labours; separated from its frivolities, but anxious to promote its real welfare; “in all things,” and in all places “approving ourselves as the ministers of God,” we shall, through Him Whose “grace is sufficient” for us, “take heed to ourselves.” By a course of conduct thus decided, we may possibly incur the censure of many; our motives may be misunderstood, and our actions misrepresented; but thus we shall glorify God and edify man; “our rejoicing will be this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world.” (2 Cor. 1, 12). I have perused the biography of many ministers of Christ; but I have never read of one who, at the hour of death, felt that his standard of practical godliness had been too high.
But it is time that we direct our attention to the other part of this solemn apostolic charge. It is enjoined on us that we exercise,
II. UNWEARIED PASTORAL DEVOTEDNESS
The term Overseers implies much. It imports that attention to the flock is our main business. It is not a work that is to occupy merely our hours of leisure, or to be prosecuted only at such seasons as may suit our convenience; but it is one which demands the consecration of our time, the exertion of our strength, and the sacrifice of much personal comfort. Not only should we encourage the flock to attend our public ministrations and to consult us privately; but we should also, as opportunity can be found, go after them. We must be willing oftentimes to give up the enjoyment of our evening family circle, in order to go forth and instruct the illiterate and poor, if, from the nature of their occupations, as is frequently the case, they are not accessible to us at other times. Nor can we neglect the flock without offending God. It is the Holy Ghost who, having made us overseers, has commanded us to “feed the Church of God.” This duty is to be fulfilled by teaching them publicly, and as we are able “from house to house,” the revealed will of God. “We,” say the apostles, “will give ourselves continually to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6, 4).
In fulfilling our ministry,
1. We must preach the truth faithfully.
The pastor is to “preach the word.” (2 Tim. 4, 2). This is the
only food of the soul (Jer. 3, 15). To the opinions of men, whether the decision of councils or the dicta of fathers, neither our understanding or our conscience owes any allegiance. We acknowledge no other standard either of doctrine or duty, than “the law and the testimony.” (Isa. 8, 20).** The torch of revelation is the only safe light by which we can walk through this dark world. As, on the one hand, we dare not advance, as an article of faith, any sentiment which is not revealed, how much soever it may be applauded by men; so neither, on the other hand, are we allowed to keep back, as an article of faith, any truth which is revealed, how much soever it may be disliked by men. We cannot be “pure from the blood of all men”, if we shun “to declare all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20, 26-27). The injunction is, “Whatsoever I command thee, thou shalt speak.” (Jer. 1, 7). There are truths, and on these the Scriptures are explicit and full, which are the very essentials of the Christian system, the elements of all spiritual sustenance, the basis of all practical godliness; and these should be affirmed constantly. The depravity of man; the godhead, incarnation, and atonement of the Saviour; justification by faith only; the clear distinction, and yet the close connection, between faith and works; the renewal of the heart, and the sanctification of the life, by the Spirit of GodÂ—should be unceasingly inculcated. But that which will be especially dear to the faithful pastor is the all-commanding doctrine of Christ crucified. His motto will be, “We preach Christ crucified.” (1 Cor. 1, 23). All the perfections of the divine character are concentrated in the cross. All the dispensations of divine mercy converge to the cross. All preceding time looked forward, all succeeding time will look backward, to the cross. Here the spiritual diseases of man find a remedy; the contrite heart a balm; the trembling penitent a promise; and the conflicting believer a pledge of final victory. Here the feeblest understanding may find something which it can seize, and the loftiest intellect a sphere in which it may for ever expatiate. He who “takes heed to the flock” will determine with Paul, “not to know any thing among them save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2,2). We may declaim incessantly on mere morality, and no spiritual results will follow; but let the cross, and the love of Him Who died upon it, be faithfully and affectionately exhibited, and then, as at the lifting up of the serpent by Moses, dying sinners will be restored to health, and Christ will be magnified in their eternal salvation. By this weapon, the early preachers of Christianity won their splendid triumphs. It is still “the power of God unto salvation.” Cast your eyes around the Church in the present day, and observe who, as instruments in the divine hand, are most honoured in accomplishing the chief end for which the Christian ministry was institutedÂ—the conversion of sinners to God. It is undeniable, that those ministers are the most successful,
who most fully preach Christ crucified; this is in accordance with our Saviour’s declaration, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12, 32).
There is, however, a mode of preaching even the truth, which appears but little calculated to arrest attention, or to produce impression. If we deal in loose generalities; if we do not bring up the consciences of men to contact and collision with the word, we do not feed the flock. We remark, therefore, if we would “take heed to the ministry which we have received in the Lord, that we fulfil it.” (Col. 4, 17), it is important that,
2. We should apply the truth skilfully.
It is in this department of his labour especially, that the wise and holy pastor will be different from others. A great part of the usefulness of preaching consists in the discrimination of character. The “faithful and wise steward” will endeavour to give to every man his “portion of meat in due season.” (Luke 12, 42). He will “take heed to all the flock”, the young as well as the old; the rich as well as the poor: the converted and the unconverted. To know when to rebuke, and when to console; when to use “milk”, which is the food of babes, and when to furnish “strong meat”, which “belongeth to them that are of full age,” (Heb. 5, 12-14), though by no means easy, is indispensable. We must come close to the hearts of the people if we wish to do them good. We must delineate their feelings, and arrest their consciences, and lay upon their consciences thus arrested, some part, and that the appropriate part, of the word of God. Our teaching must be specific. We must endeavour to strip the mask from the hypocrite, to drag the formalist from his entrenchment, to demolish the hiding-place of the licentious Antinomian, and to isolate each individual by causing him to stand naked and alone before the truth of God, that he may be compelled to pass sentence on himself. The marks of true grace must also be exhibited; the character of the real Christian delineated; his inward conflict described; his temptations, with the means of avoiding and conquering them, unfolded; the sympathy of Christ with his people explained; and the consolations of the gospel, gathered from the covenant of grace, affectionately administered. The enumeration would be almost endless. Suffice to say, we know of no abstract principle in the gospel. The whole of revelation is to be applied, but with judgment. If we offer the promises indiscriminately, we encourage presumption; if we use the threatenings indiscriminately, we create despair.
We are indeed aware, that skilfully to apply the truth is a matter of no small difficulty. It is far more easy to write a doctrinal or moral essay, than to dissect the character of men, and bring specific truth to bear upon it. But if at any time we are tempted to think that the labour imposed on us is excessive, it may be profitable to reflect on,
3. The price at which the Church has been purchased.
“Feed the Church of God, which He has purchased with His
own blood.” Perhaps the whole extent of Scripture does not afford a more astonishing expression than this “the blood of God.” The peculiarity, however, lies in the expression only, not in the idea. The blood was of the “Word made flesh,” and the “Word was God.” (John 1, 1). The value which Christ put upon the Church may be estimated by the sacrifice which it cost Him. If from love of ease or fear of opposition we neglect the flock; if we are not earnest in prayer; diligent in seeking due qualification; careful to exhibit a holy example; faithful in proclaiming and skilful in applying the truth; not only will the blood of souls be required at our hands, but we shall also incur the guilt of despising that by which the Church was purchased, even the blood of God.
On reviewing the subject, inadequately as it has been discussed, on looking at the personal circumspection and pastoral devotedness which are required of the Christian minister, well may we exclaim, “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2, 16). If we were left alone in this mighty labour, neither mental vigour nor physical energy could be sustained; we must fold our arms in despair. But the faithful pastor rejoices in this, that his “sufficiency is of God.” (2 Cor. 3, 5). The Master whom we serve has “all power in heaven and in earth,” and He has engaged to be with His ministering servants “always, even to the end of the world.” (Matt. 28, 18-20). He has not vested in us the power of commanding, nor laid on us the responsibility of ensuring success. Results are with Him. But for diligence and fidelity He has made us responsible; “therefore let us take heed to ourselves and to all the flock.” Let us work while it is called today. Life is receding. Eternity is advancing. Sinners are dying. Have any of our flock whom we might have warned, but whom we did not warn, passed, without knowledge of Christ, into the unseen world? While Satan is unceasing in his activity to ruin the souls of men, can we be negligent in our efforts to save them? Can we, my brethren, fritter away our precious time in questionable amusements, or secular studies, while the ignorance which is around us is undisturbed, vice unrebuked, consciences not alarmed, and Christ not proclaimed.
If appalled by difficulty, or seduced by pleasure, we neglect the flock, what will be our position when the great day of God shall come? “We shall give account with grief and not with joy.” For surely, if in that day of scrutiny and decision, when He, Whose eyes are as a flame of fire, shall penetrate every heart, and make manifest every character, there shall be one unhappy being rather than another, in whom misery will be concentrated, it will be the idle, treacherous shepherd who did not feed the flock. What though in unfolding the records of time, it should appear that his brow had been encircled by an admiring community, with the laurels of literary fame; what though the thunder of his eloquence astounded, or the brilliancy of his imagination dazzled, or the soft persuasiveness of his speech captivated the listening crowds that thronged around him; if he neglected his soul, his flock, and his God, what
will all these avail him? Not a whisper of human approbation will then be heard. He will look around him in unutterable agony; and the mandate of the Omnipotent will rend his very soul; “Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25, 30); and in that darkness he must dwell for ever; and dwell with those whom his negligence left uninstructed, or his unfaithfulness deluded, or his unholy example confirmed in worldliness and sin. And is it possible, my brethren, that this can be the lot of any one of us? It is. And is it likely that it will be so? How can this be known? If, in any way whatever, we are neglecting to take heed either to ourselves or to the flock, we know who hath said, “Behold I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand.” (Ezek. 34, 10). Well, then, does it become us to watch, to search, and to inquire, “Lord, is it I?Â—Lord, is it I?”
But let us turn from the contemplation of a scene so awful, and which is calculated even now to arouse the slothful shepherd from his slumbers, and let us view the faithful pastor as he will appear in “the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” On earth, perhaps, he was calumniated; the shafts of ridicule were directed against his zeal, the tongue of slander was moved against his doctrine, and the finger of scorn pointed at the preciseness of his character. But none of these things moved him. He drew his motives from the cross, and there he found his consolation. Taught the value of his soul, and knowing something of his responsibility, he took “heed to the flock.” With many tears he bewailed his imperfections; but his delight was to exalt the “name which is above every name,” and to win souls to Christ. And what think you, brethren, will be his sensations, when he beholds around him saved from sin, and saved for ever, those who were gathered under his ministry into the Redeemer’s fold? He will ascribe to the Lamb that was slain all the glory; but these will be “his joy and crown of rejoicing in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming.” (1 Thess. 2,19). He will be confessed by that Saviour whom on earth he delighted to honour. He will bask in the unclouded sunshine of that love, in which on earth he delighted to walk. When the distinctions of time shall have vanished for ever, unwithering honours shall adorn his brow. He shall tune the harp, he shall bear the palm, he shall wear the crown; “for they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.” (Dan. xii, 3).
And are such, my brethren, the prospects which are presented to the view of the faithful, feeble minister of Christ? Is such the bliss which awaits him at the termination of his earthly toils? “Then let us work while it is day.” To unshrinking fidelity and unwearied assiduity we have every imaginable motive. I turn my eyes to Calvary; I see the Son of God expire; and I hear a voice proceeding from the cross, commanding me to feed the flock. I pass the barriers of the invisible world; and looking into
the abyss, I am warned by all that is terrible in eternal woe, to feed the flock. I ascend to the throne of God; I hear the thrilling harmonies of the redeemed from among men, and I am animated, by all that is delightful in eternal bliss, to FEED THE FLOCK. I return to earth; I look around me and see souls perishing in sin;
I look forward to the judgment-seat, when the pastor and the flock shall meet face to face; and I hear the charge reiterated to feed the flock. “Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.”
Â•Preached at Coleshill, July 2, 1838, at the visitation of the Archdeacon of Coventry by John George Breay, B.A., Prebendary of Lichfield, and Minister of Christ Church, Birmingham.
** “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.”Â—Article VI, of the Church of England.