George Moyle

A Pastoral Charge

The Charge Delivered By Mr. G. Moyle, Baptist Minister, Of Rye Lane, Peckham, At The Ordination Of Mr. S. K. Bland, Of Cheshunt. 

In the afternoon, Mr. Joseph Hamblin, late of Foot’s Cray, read a portion of scripture, and offered up sincere and earnest prayer for the pastor and people now united. 

Mr. George Moyle, of Peckham, delivered The Charge, from 2 Timothy 2:24,25: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.”

These words were written by an inspired apostle, and must not therefore be considered as the words of man, but as they are, in truth, the words of God; to which we do well that we take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place.

I mention this, in order to shew the divine authority from which the message before us proceeds—an authority which claims our humble subjection, and commands our cheerful submission. It is becoming us, as the servants of God, to yield a ready obedience to him, and take his word, and not the word of man; as our rule in all things. Any departure from this, is a matter for deep humiliation before God; and a consciousness of our liability to err will constrain us all to ask for divine grace to enable us to serve God with fidelity and acceptance.

I would just observe, my brother, at the outset, that I do not assume any authority over you in addressing you on the present occasion. We know of no official superiority among the servants of Jesus Christ; there are no such offices as arch-bishops, or arch-deacons, authorised by the New Testament, in the church of God. You have already heard it repeated today, that One is your Master, and all ye are brethren. The place I occupy is by your particular request; and what I may have to say to you, will be said in love, and with that freedom with which one brother may speak to another at such a time.

In the words of our text you will perceive, 

I. Your office expressed.

II. The qualification specified. And,

III. The object you should keep in view—namely, the present, and future well-being of the church of God; an object which I hope you will ever keep in view; for it is that which God has in view, and which Christ has in view, and which the apostle Paul kept in view in his public ministrations: “I endure all things (he said) for the elect’s sake, that they might obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” O, it is a great thing to have our eyes fixed on the same object as the eye of God is fixed upon. It shews that our hearts are right.

Your office, then, is that of a servant of the Lord: and it relates, not to a servant in a political sense, but to the sacred office of a gospel minister. Men without the grace of God, have been called the servants of the Lord, in a political sense—as Cyrus, Nebuchadnezzar, and others, who were raised up by God to perform a certain work in his providence, and when they had done it they were discharged. But your’s is an office which requires great grace in your heart to enable you to do your work as the Lord’s servant, with comfort to yourself, with profit to your people, and to the glory of God. A true gospel minister, therefore, is not only a servant of the Lord, but a son of God, by adoption and grace; so that when his service in this world is ended, and his ministerial labour is finished, he is called home to his Father’s house above, to “receive his crown of free reward, and dwell for ever there.” The Lord Jesus Christ is your Master, my brother; the dignity of his Person confers an honour upon the name of his servants. If it be considered an honour to be a servant of the justly esteemed sovereign of our realm, how much greater to be a servant of the King of kings, and Lord of lords! The greatest of men that have ever lived, felt it to be their high honour to be the servants of the Lord, as the ancient apostles, who placed thier name in the forefront of their epistles, because it was the Master they served which gave weight and authority to the message of the servant. I hope you will ever remember that the name of such a Master confers a lasting honour upon such dust and ashes as we are. Moreover, the dignity of the Master you serve, may suggest a word of caution unto you, that you should call no man your master in matters of religion; because One is your Master—even Christ. You will feel a pleasure, I have no doubt, in your intercourse with your brother ministers, and fellow servants of the Lord, and it will be becoming of you, to shew your esteem towards men of age, ability and usefulness in the church of God; but we must not servilely imitate the example of any man, or submit ourselves implicitly to their opinions. He acts wisely that will receive advice and instruction from the gifted and the good, while he yields his mind to the authority of Christ alone. We are not tied up to sectarianism as to what books we should read, but are at full liberty to gather information wherever we can find it. I do not approve of that opinion which I have heard from some, that we ought to read the Bible only, and not the works of men. My brother, read all you can that is good, and gather all you can that will afford you good and wholesome food for the people of your charge. But you must bring all books and opinions of men to the Word of the Lord; for “this is the law and the testimony,” which must ever be esteemed the sole guide and rule of your ministry and life. Whatever is not compatible with the Word of God, lay aside, as the opinion of fallible man. May it be always your endeavour to please the Lord, and not men; for the apostle has told us plainly, if we seek to please man, we shall not be the servants of Christ. The ability of your Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, will afford you an ample source of encouragement in your work as a servant. If you feel insufficient for your work, marvel not at it; since the apostle confesses that he was not sufficient to think anything of himself, and exclaims, “Who is sufficient for these things?” His great source of encouragement was, that his sufficient was of God. In Christ, my brother, are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and as he has, I believe, called you into his service, he stands pledged to bear all your charges; consequently, you have the sacred privilege to go to him at all times, for whatever supplies you need to enable you to do your work. Servants, you know, are expected to look to their masters for the supplies which are needful to carry on their work; and Christ once said to a needy servant, once for all, “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” O, there is a boundless store of grace in Christ. He is full of grace and full of truth. “Yea, in him dwelleth all the fulness of the God-Head bodily.” Your name, as the servant of the Lord, will remind you of your sacred work and service, which goes under various names. You are called a pastor, or shepherd; and your business is to feed the flock of or church of God. Living souls will hunger and thirst after righteousness, and they will need feeding with the pure and wholesome truths of the everlasting gospel, which I hope you will always set before them in rich abundance, that they may feed thereon and grow; “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” I was once told of a good man, who considered that the main object of his ministry was the conversion of sinners; thinking, when they were once called, they were safe enough; but I said to the person that told me, “Did you think it enough when your children were born? Did they not want feeding, instruction and clothing?” O yes; there is much to be done in this way. If the church with which you are united should increase and multiply—and I pray it ma, with the increase of God—they will require feeding. May you aim at both these things, my brother: the conversion of sinners, and the feeding of those who are converted. You are called an ambassador; this office will bring you frequently into the presence of your royal master, to receive your message from his lips for the people of your charge. Your work is not to make a message of your own, but faithfully deliver it. Preach the preaching which the Lord bids you; and in order to do so happily, you must be frequent in your visits to the eternal throne, that you mat receive your messages fresh from the Lord. We want no new gospel; but for myself, I feel that I do want the old gospel opened up afresh, and afresh, by the Spirit of God to my mind, so that a freshness may attend my ministrations to the people. A faithful ambassador is health; and I believe that faithfulness to God and truth will promote both the health of your own soul, and that of the people’s. Proclaim, my brother, whether men will hear or forbear; and then, as the apostle speaks, “you will be pure from the blood of all men.” Endeavour to put things in their proper place; do not mix up law and gospel together, or there will be confusion; nor teach people to look at the gospel through the medium of the law; or the gospel will appear conditional. Rather shew the law through the medium of the gospel; and then, as a covenant, it will appear fulfilled and magnified, by the doing and dying of the great Mediator. If you attempt to look at Mount Zion from Mount Sinai, the blackness, and darkness, and tempest will hide the cross from view. But if you look at Mount Sinai from Mount Zion, then the coruscations will appear glorious, and the thunder will be music. The gospel I take to be a revelation of the pure grace of God; and all the blessings thereof are freely bestowed upon us without money or price; and the law, a divine revelation of moral duties, by which I am taught the necessity of the gospel, and by which I am directed to make a right use of whatever property the Lord graciously gives me in the gospel; for we do not make void the law by faith, but establish and honor it. As a servant of the Lord, you are called a builder; for the church of God is compared to a temple; and this will remind you, that your work is, instrumentally, to set forth Christ, as the only sure foundation of a sinner’s hope, and that the materials are spiritually-minded persons; and then to encourage them to repose their souls entirely upon him by faith; for other “foundation can no man lay that that is laid, which is Christ;” “and if any man build upon this foundation,” &c., (see 1 Cor 3:11-14). Living souls united to Christ will abide the fiery test, when the wood, hay and stubble are burned up. You may, my brother, have some deep exercises in this work; your hopes may be disappointed, and your prospects beclouded; while you may exclaim, “Lord, who hath believed our report?” But commit your way unto the Lord, and look to him for help to prosecute your sacred work with renewed vigor, and you will find, I doubt not, as I have found, that the gospel ministry, with all its care, is a sweet and holy work. 

You are also called a steward, and you know that it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful, and in proportion to the value of the property entrusted to his care, so is the weight of his responsibility. You are a steward of the mysteries of God, and therefore your responsibility is weighty indeed. May you be enabled by the Spirit of God, to bring out of your master’s treasury; things new and old, with fidelity and affection, that there may be a portion for seven and also for eight: that is, a suitable portion for all classes of persons that may come under your ministry. Allow me affectionately to remind you that you are called to watch for souls as those that must give an account. But you are not accountable for what do not belong to you, or for what you never had committed to your trust; you are not accountable for the success of your ministry, nor for a large congregation; “Paul may plant, and Apollos water, but God alone can give the increase.” The man with one talent, was not accountable for two; nor was he with two, accountable for five; but each one was accountable for the number of talents committed to his trust; so it is with you, my brother, you are accountable to God for the outlay of the time, the gifts, and property which God has committed to your trust. May you ever be found faithful, and then at the close of your labour, hear the voice of your Master saying unto you, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

II. I shall next invite your attention to the qualifications specified in the text. “The servant of the Lord must not strive.” Yet in some sense you must strive—you must strive to preach the Lord Jesus Christ to the people as the All in All; for in this way we find the apostle striving; “Whom we preach,” he says, “warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, &c. Whereunto I also labour, striving according to His working which worketh in me mightily.” Col. 1:28,29. And he exhorts, or entreats, the members of the church at Philippi in general to strive together for the faith of the gospel. Now these are holy and lawful strivings, which sooner or later will end in the possession of the crown. But the striving prohibited in our text is a mere strife of words about foolish and unlearned, or unprofitable, questions—questions that do not profit the soul, promote spirituality of mind, and a practical knowledge of the word of God. May you avoid this sort of striving, my brother, always endeavouring to preach the gospel of the grace of God in the spirit of LOVE. God is love, and the gospel is a reflection of him; and as it is brought to bear upon our souls, it has an overcoming power and a transforming influence. Some time ago I visited the ragged school at Peckham, when the venerable Dr. Collyer occupied the chair. Pointing to the scholars he said, “I have been among them, and spoken to them all, with which they were much pleased. O sir, there is nothing like love to gain access to the heart.” This is, no doubt, true; for as strife and contention will stir up strife and contention, so love will provoke to love and good feeling. The apostle says furthermore, “Be gentle unto all men.” At the same time I pray you may be bold in your Master’s cause, firm and decided in your attachment to truth, and by no means be pusillanimous in the proclamation of those truths which you have professed today in the name of the Lord. Gentleness I take to be a kind and peaceable disposition; endeavour to shew a kind and peaceable disposition, with a firmness and boldness in your dealings with all men. It is the disposition which a nurse requires in the training of children, as the apostle expresses it, “We were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children.” You know what it is to be a teacher in a Sunday school as well as myself. I could always get on best with the children by kind and gentle means. The same principle holds good in relation to men and women, for they are but children of a greater growth. You may meet with unkindness from persons which you never expected; but if the Lord shall enable you with gentleness of disposition to render them good for evil, you will be the gainer in your own soul, and be most likely to do good to them. Allow me to relate a little incident in my own experience. A man to whom I had given some offence, because I would not do as he wished me at a church-meeting, met me some time after at a friend’s house, and with clenched fist, said, “You shall remember it.” “My good brother,” I said, “if you do me all the mischief you can, I will do you all the good I can; if you curse me, I will bless you, and we shall see who will be the gainer.” He said no more but he hung down his head and went away, and did me no harm at all as I know of. “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Another qualification is, “apt to teach.” Preaching and teaching are leading branches of the gospel ministry, and the instrumentality which the Lord has appointed, and which he blesses to the salvation of them that believe. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” It is therefore said of a bishop that he must be apt to teach; teaching and preaching are his work and business. Now an aptness to teach I take to mean a readiness and willingness to unfold the mysteries of the gospel to the edification of others; and in order to this, my brother, you will be required to read and meditate on the word of God constantly, carefully, and prayerfully; you will need the Spirit of God as the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, for it is from him your gifts and your grace, your comfort and your success proceeds. I hope you will always come forth in dependence upon him; and then, although you may not be prepared to shine before your fellow men, you will always ready at a minute’s notice to show to poor sinners the way of salvation through Christ.

Once more. The servant of the Lord must be patient. Patience is a very useful grace, my brother; and your work and position will call for the exercise of much patience. You will require it in instructing the ignorant; in dealing with those of a doubtful and perplexed mind; in bearing and forbearing with the tempers and dispositions of persons with whom you have to do; in a steady perseverance in well-doing through all difficulties; in waiting upon the Lord for the renewing of your strength; and in waiting, like the husbandman, to see the fruit of your labours. O, my brother, you have need of patience, that after you have done the will of the Lord, you may receive the promise. You have told us of your labours in Wales, and that for some considerable time after, you heard of no good effects thereof, but at last the fruit appeared. Does not this say, be patient and you shall receive the promised good? May the God of patience and consolation enable you so to do. Therefore, 

III. Observe the object you should keep in view. Our text says, “In meekness instructing those who oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance, &c.” Men oppose themselves, and their own interest when they oppose the word of God, and the object in preaching the word of God, in christian meekness, is their deliverance and well being. Sin and error are the snares of the devil, by which men are bound and led captive by him at his will. Now, it is God’s work to break these snares asunder and give liberty tn the captive; by his spirit and grace he gives his people repentance unto life, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, so that they come to him with weeping and with supplication, confessing their sins, and seeking an interest in his salvation, which is never sought in vain, for “he that cometh to me,” he says, “I will in no wise cast out.” As this is brought about by the instrumentality of the truth taught, your object is plain, and your course is clear; you should aim in meekness to instruct them by the truth, who oppose themselves to the truth, prayerfully hoping that God may bless the word spoken to their salvation. Seek, dear brother, the peace and prosperity of the church; keep your eye upon her, she is the beloved of the Lord, and should be loved by you; endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory; and therefore seek the conversion of sinners; use every legitimate means to that end: pray for them, appeal to their consciences, and warn them of their danger; but do not call upon dead men to do living men’s work. The apostle warned every man, and taught every man; but I do not find him offering Christ to any man. You will no doubt have persons of various opinions come to hear you, some from one motive, and some from another. But let me advise you not to insult the opinion of any one, for you will only confirm men in their errors thereby; instruct them meekly and faithfully in all the word of the Lord, and leave the result with God. If you really seek the good of men, they will sooner or later see it.

Lastly, Seek the acknowledgment of the truth; for when truth is taught, and received into the heart, and repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus is effected, then the same should be honestly, and openly acknowledged. It should be confessed with the mouth and practised in the life, walk, and conversation. Such persons should walk in the ordinances, and commandments of the Lord, blameless. If you keep this object in view, my brother, you will not give up any doctrine or ordinance to please men; but you will, as a faithful servant of your Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, feel bound to keep, and administer his laws and ordinances, as they were delivered by the inspiration of the Spirit. Do not forget that you are dependent upon an agency over which you have no control, but seek his guidance and presence in all things; and may he keep you and bless you, and make you an able minister of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. Amen.

Mr. George Wyard preached to the church and congregation in the evening. We intended to have given an outline of it this month; but did not receive the MS.S. until our space was filled.

Earthen Vessel 1854

George Moyle (1803-1877) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. He served a seventeen year pastorate of a church in London. In 1848, he was appointed pastor of the church meeting at Rye-Lane, Peckham, a position he held for thirty-five years.