The first and altogether indispensable qualification for the work of the minister of Religion is, and must ever be, that his heart and soul are absorbed in his work. All the learning of the schools would be of no avail, and yet all possible knowledge of both men and things could find ample scope in that interesting and all-embracing field of service, the very “labour of love!” But if the heart-service of any religious minister of the Gospel is so all-important a requisite for the due performance of the daily duties of the ordinary parish priest, yet more is it so in the case of him whose daily duty, nay, whose great privilege it is to “minister to the mind diseased,” and unless the heart be really and truly in his work he can be of little, if any, good service to the mentally afflicted. Such a sad condition would prove a most prolific source of unhappiness and unprofitableness all round. “Can the blind lead the blind?” It is an old-established truth that no two persons are totally and unmistakably alike! Even so is it a moral fact that no two characters agree in every particular; and yet more, this thought brings me to the most interesting consideration of the whole matter, viz., the psychical condition of the insane, which is as varied as the physical and moral states of ordinary mortals. Quot homines tot sententió. The asylum chaplain, whose heart and soul are really and truly in the work, will make it his daily study to fathom the psychical conditions of his afflicted flock, so as to find ways and means and opportunities for the soothing balm of comfort and consolation! Very deep and sincere has been the gratitude of many a poor man or woman thus lovingly dealt with, and great the chaplain's encouragement and reward! Nisi dominus frustra.
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