Call to the Ministry

CALL TO THE MINISTRY. Every Candidate for Deacon's Orders (see Ordinal) has this question put to him by the Bishop,—"Do you trust that you are inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon you this Office and Ministration, to serve God for the promoting of His glory and the edifying of His people?"

In the "Ordering of Priests" a similar question is put in this form,—"Do you think in your heart that you be truly called, according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the order of this Church of England, to the Order and Ministry of Priesthood?" And in the "Consecration of Bishops" the question is put thus,—"Are you persuaded that you be truly called to this Ministration, according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the order of this realm?"

It should be noticed that the question is not "Are you sure?" but (a ) "Do you trust?" (b ) "Do you think?" (c ) "Are you persuaded?" If a man deals earnestly and truly with his own heart, he can scarcely be deceived as to whether he answers these solemn questions truly or not. He need not wait for some miraculous intimation from the Holy Spirit. By ordinary signs he may safely judge: primarily, from his own sincere inward conviction; and in an inferior degree from the advice of his parents, or of God's ministers, or of other godly persons qualified to advise in such a matter. These are all ways of learning God's will.

Bishop Oxenden, in his "Pastoral Office," says to the Candidate for Holy Orders, "If, after looking well at your motive, you find it pure,—if you are entering the Ministry in a serious, thoughtful spirit,—if the love of souls, and an earnest desire to save them, impels you—if you feel the work is one in which your soul will find delight, and that you are heartily willing to labour in the service of your Heavenly Master,—then I hesitate not to say that you have chosen for yourself the best and most delightful of all professions." This consciousness of purity of motive is a true indication that a candidate is called of God.