Monday, 28 December 2009

Advice on the ministry

I have been reading the life of Robert Findlater, a minister who experienced an extensive period of revival in his Perthshire congregation in the second decade of the nineteenth century. He came from Kiltearn, north of Inverness, and knew various evangelical ministers in the area, one of whom was Charles Calder of Ferintosh. Calder sent him the following letter when he was licensed to preach the gospel:

'It gave me sincere pleasure on my return from the Moray-side, where some pressing calls brought me last week, to hear of your being licensed to preach. That in the blessed work to which you are thus called, you may be signally countenanced of God, and become the happy instrument in the hand of His Spirit of winning souls to Christ, and of spreading the savour of His name, is my hearty prayer.

'To a young man in similar circumstances with you, newly licensed to preach the everlasting Gospel, and expressing to the eminent Cadogan, how much he felt burdened in the prospect of the work before him, the reply was, "You have but one thing to do, Exalt Christ, and the promise is, ‘And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.’” This important counsel you will find much benefit from always bearing in mind; and together with it, a saying I met with t’other day in the memoirs of the pious Mr. Pearce, “It is from diligent ploughing in the closet, that successful reaping is to be looked for in the pulpit.”’
I suspect the last sentence explains it all.

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