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gone he remarked to a Major, whose turn it was to see him next on busi
“What odd kinds of people come in to see me; and what odd ideas they must have about office !"
This led to a somewhat general conversation, in which the Major expressed surprise, that he did not adopt the plan in force at all military headquarters, under which every applicant to see the General Commanding had to be filtered through a sieve of officers—assistant Adjutant-Generals, and so forth; who allowed none in to take up the General's time, save such as they were satisfied had business of sufficient importance, and which could be transacted in no other manner than by a personal interview.
“Of every hundred people who come to see the General-in-Chief daily,” the Major explained, “not ten have any sufficient business with him, nor are they admitted. On being asked to explain for what purpose they desire to see him, and stating it, it is found, in nine cases out of ten, that the business properly belongs to some one or other of the subordinate bureaus. They are then referred, as the case may be, to the Quartermaster, Commissary, Medical, Adjutant-General, or other departments, with an assurance that-even if they saw the General-in-chief-he could do nothing more for them than give them the same direction. With these points courteously explained,” he added, " they go away quite content, although refused admittance.”
“Ah, yes,” said Mr. Lincoln, gravely—and his words on this matter are important as illustrating a rule of his action, and, to some extent, perhaps, the essentially representative character of his mind and of his administration. "Ah, yes! such things do very well for you military people, with your arbitrary rule, and in your camps; but the office of President is essentially a civil one, and the affair is very different. For myself, I feel though the tax on my time is heavy—that no hours of my day are better employed than those which thus bring me again within the direct contact and atmosphere of the average of our whole people. Men moving only in an official circle are apt to become merely official—not to say arbitraryin their ideas, and are apter and apter, with each passing day, to forget that they only hold power in a representative capacity. Now this is all wrong. I go into these promiscuous receptions of all, who claim to have business with me, twice each week, and every applicant for audience has to take his turn as if waiting to be shaved in a barber's shop. Many of the matters brought to my notice are utterly frivolous, but others are of more or less importance, and all serve to renew in me a clearer and more vivid image of that great popular assemblage out of which I sprang, and to which, at the end of two years, I must return. I tell you, Major,” he said-appearing at this point to recollect I was in the room, for the former part of these remarks had been made with half-shut eyes, as if in soliloquy, * I tell you I call these receptions my public-opinion baths—for I have but little time to read the papers and gather public opinion that way;
and though they may not be pleasant in all their particulars, the effect, as a whole
, is renovating and invigorating to my perceptions of responsibility and duty. It would never do for a President to have guards with drawn sabres at his door, as if he fancied he were, or trying to be, or were assuming to be, an emperor."
These remarks of the President beautifully illustrate the idea we are setting forth. They show not only that the official may still remain a man, but they also aptly illustrate how the official is really benefited and better fitted for his official work by keeping up all his sympathies as a man. If the civil officer needs constant "public-opinion baths,” as the President so laconically expresses it, the pastor needs no less to have his whole spirit repeatedly and perpetually immersed in the very life of his people—so that their peculiar state forms the very element around him, in which all his official activities obtain their truly humane character, and thus come really near to men's business and bosoms, and receive their true adaptation to all their needs. It is only thus that the official activities flow truly in and through the individual, and that the pastor becomes not merely a priest for and to the people, but really a minister among them and with them.
What if many things with which the pastor meets, in his free and friendly intercourse with the humblest of his parishioners, seem trite and trivial to him, they are not so to them. Little things are great to little men, is a truth which the pastor of all men must be last to forget. Some one has beautifully said, " that Jesus Christ, even now, in heaven, as truly sympathizes with the sorrows of a child, which grieves over a broken toy's as He does with the millionaire who mourns over a broken fortune.” In the same spirit does the true pastor enter into the small griefs and cares of the humble of his flock. If he does not learn science from them, he learns what is equally important to him in his work, namely—what the material is, into which he is to infuse the elevating, sanctifying and comforting life of grace divine. It is only in this way that his life, and through his ministerial activities, the life of grace, can flow out beyond his official acts, and take true hold on the lives of the people. In his life the grace of the Gospel must become incarnate anew, living afresh among the people, and go about among them doing them good.
All this lies in the very idea of the ministry. It is not an office merely for the performance of certain divinely prescribed official duties at stated times and places, but a free flexible ministry, which reaches out into all the circumstances and relations of individual and family life. It looks not merely to the flock in general and in its assembled capacity in the church, but to every individual member in his individual circumstances. It lies in its nature, that it should make itself felt in all the details of life. The pastor is what the shepherd is to his flock, and the father to his familyin both of which lies far more than the mere functions of office.
The very nature of the pastoral office implies, that the pastor's life must flow out in sympathy with the people. His consenting to accept the office means that he loves the people. It means, moreover, that he loves them as they are, not merely as they ought to be. It is not merely the love of an equal which is required, but the love of compassion-the love that condescends—the love that sees what the degraded may become—the love which, from love to Christ, seeks to make them what they may be and ought to be. In this respect also Christ is our pattern. His sympathies went out toward us as we were. As sinners, ignorant and vile, He died for us; and as sinners still, through weakness and temptation, He still deals mercifully and tenderly with us. To Him our low and wretched estate is no reason for official isolation, but a reason only for a nearer and tenderer approach.
When this sympathy is wanting in any pastor, it is evidence that he has sought the ministry, if not from wrong motives, still surely in the wrong spirit. There is a radical defect in his qualifications for its sacred work. It is a defect more serious than lack of learning or mental ability; and just as one who, from lack of mental abilities, finds himself unable to acquire the necessary knowledge, may safely take that fact as an evidence that he has mistaken his calling, so one who feels that he does not really sympathize with the people, ought to see in that deficiency an equally great barrier to his usefulness in the sacred ministry.
We must, however, not forget, that there may be true sympathy with men, where there is not the full free ability always to externalize it. There is constitutional reticence and backwardness-a natural repression or introversion of life, which is neither selfishness nor official isolation. The truth that what is in man manifests itself, has its limitations and exceptions. Some men are constitutionally more friendly, genial and approachable than others. But this is still a defect and a hinderance, just like want of talents, which must as far as possible be overcome. It is a defect, moreover, which the earnest pastor will overcome more and more by grace and practice.
Such a pastor, though with disadvantage, will still reveal his true sympathy with the people. But he will do it only by time. His faithfulness and devotedness, even without all the common outward manifestations of love, will gradually reveal his true life and love to his people. When they learn, by time, to love him in this way, it will be often a deeper and more lasting love. But a settled, incorrigible, incurable misanthrope can only be, in the eyes of the people, an imperious official tyrant, never a true pastor. He has mistaken his calling.
From what we have said of the necessity of thus mingling the office into the personal life and activities of the man in the proper pastoral work, it must not be concluded that the unction of the sacred office does not enter into these activities. Ministerial
grace go with all the private sacred acts of the pastor. If there is special virtue attending the word proclaimed from the pulpit as the official, prophetic function of the minister :-or in the administration of the sacraments as priestly functions, so also in like manner does virtue attend his words of instruction, warning and comfort at all times in his more private pastoral ministrations; and just as truly have his priestly activities in prayer at the bed-side of the sick the unction of his sacred office. Hence, while any Christian ought to
pray with the sick when no ordained ministry is within reach, the true and proper
order is that when any one is sick the elders of the church are to be sent for, that they may minister to the sick as the specially anointed ministry of the Lord.
A solemn sense of the abiding presence of this unction the pastor must bear with him always. He must be always conscious of his ordination and the virtue of his office, and not feel as if it were left behind-or as though it belonged only to the pulpit and altar, and attached to him only when he stands in those places, and is engaged with those particular official acts. It is this that will give him confidence and assurance in all his more private sacred acts and ministrations. Thus the office is in all the sacred acts of the man.
In these acts the divine and heavenly again become flesh and blood, dwell with men,
and form the medium and means through which, and by which, Christ with His life and grace enters and lives in all the life of men. To him, not only in the pulpit and altar where word and sacraments are dispensed, but also in all his personal interviews with the ignorant, the wayward, the sinful, the sick, and the distressed, the word applies: “He that heareth you, heareth me.”
BY THE EDITOR.
Some duties lately brought us to Clearspring, Md., a beautiful village on the great National turnpike. which leads from Baltimore to Wheeling. Clearspring lies at the foot of the Blue Mountains, about eleven miles west of Hagerstown, and about four miles from the Potomac, right opposite the memorable Dam No. 5, which Stonewall Jackson in vain attempted to break with powder and artillery in the early part of the war. This vil. lage has received its name from a beautiful and clear spring in the middle of the town, now nicely walled and shaded, the property of the town.
We had not seen this town since 1810, twenty-five years ago, when we passed through it in the celebrated stage line of “Reesides & Co.” What a thoroughfare this road was at that time! And how changed the scene now! Six or seven stages passed along this road daily at that day; whilst white-covered wagons were visible from every hill, plodding and rolling over the well-worn pike. Hotels every mile or two, all astir with arriving and departing teams and stages, and all the towns and villages along the road full of life and motion. Railroads have long since changed all this busy scene to a ghastly quiet. Stages and wagons are gone, and the grass is intruding from both sides upon the old, well-worn, and dusty great National Road. The company of “Reesides & Co.,” who at that time occupied a place in the public mind something like the Baltimore and Ohio, or the Pennsylvania Central Rail Road Company, is fast passing into the silent land of forgetfulness, legend, and myth.
But we must not forget our caption-the Potomac. We were about to say that, after our business was attended to, a friend proposed to us the pleasure of paying a visit to the Potomac. It is only a short and pleasant drive; and the road we took, led us right to the memorable Dam No. 5. This is a beautiful river. The truly massive works of the Dam itself, with the splendid Lock in the canal on the Maryland side, and the ruins of a five story mill, burnt during the war, on the “sacred soil” just opposite, together with the steep and craggy banks up and down covered with venerable trees, constitute a rare scenery. To add to the interest of the spot, the imagination calls up again the serried hosts who contended with each other in earnest warfare across this historic stream, and especially at this spot, where large and solid trees bored clear through by shell, still speak in silent eloquence, of danger and heroism witnessed here by the now silent hills.
How changed the scene now on this river! When meditatively sitting and looking across upon the peaceful and green hills of Virginia, one can hardly realize that there treason should have run so wildly mad as to attempt the separation of lands, which this noble river so pleasantly unites. But now—thanks to the God of our fathers, who has given us victory and peace-gleaming bayonets, thundering cannon, and the rush and rest of armies are all
gone. With the exception of the lock-tender, and now and then a boat driver on the tow-path, and a steers-man at the helm of a canal-boat, we saw no man during the half day we spent on the spot. Unconsciously we found ourselves humming,
“All quiet along the Potomac to-day.”
Our pen would fain linger amid these memories of the great struggle, which has so happily ended in the restoration of the glorious old Uniona Union now not old, but young again, having passed through the baptism and regeneration of suffering, sacrifice and blood. But it is not this feature of our visit to the Potomac, that allured us into the writing of our present article.
We may as well confess, that it was as a disciple of the good old Izaak Walton, that we went to the Potomac. Most persons have the weakness of being fond of some kind of recreation, especially in the heat of
Claudius says, “Every bird whistles according as its bill has grown.” On this principle, therefore, it happens, that our weakness has always been a fondness for the hook and line; and as fishing is an apostolic practice, we claim that our taste in this direction may be treated with due respect. We confess that to feel the bite, and to bring out the fish, is to us one of the greatest luxuries. It is the only recreation that is able fully to decoy our thoughts from the graver channels in which they are wont to run. It is so intensely absorbing, that we are able to forget completely all that we ever learned, or ought yet to learn from men and books. The
very best evidence of this is, that, after having watched the motions of the cork all day, we can still see it bobbing after we close our eyes at night. This kind of recreation makes our thoughts simplereduces our whole life to one point, and hence is philosophically a complete enjoyment.
The only thing that ever interfered with our pleasure in this thing was, that the fish, when removed from the water, did not only seem to show signs of unwillingness, but even of positive pain. But this the fish that the apostles caught must have manifested, and we would not by our sentimentalism indirectly charge them with lack of humane feelings. But what chiefly relieved our minds in regard to this lingering unpleasantness was, that we once read in a very learned and scientific book that fish, having no nerves, are incapable of suffering pain. We hope the learned man who wrote this understood the experiences of fish. Yet, even after science has thus relieved us of our trouble, we confess ourselves still somewhat under the power of the vulgar prejudice, that fish can suffer pain. They have, when flung out, to say the least, a striking way of imitating man when his relations to things which interfere with him are not exactly normal.
But what does the reader care for our troubles in regard to this point. We are making no progress in the main business of our present article. We may as well begin the principal story at once.
We went to the Potomac to catch Bass. For there are plenty of Bass in this river at present. We say at present, because there was a time