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Jonathan Edwards – Humility and Gospel Preaching

12 Nov

The eminently humble Christian is as it were clothed with lowliness, mildness, meekness, gentleness of spirit and behaviour, and with a soft, sweet, condescending, winning air and deportment; these things are just like garments to him, he is clothed all over with them. 1 Pet. v. 5. “And be clothed with humility.” Col. iii. 12. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering.” Pure Christian humility has no such thing as roughness, or contempt, or fierceness, or bitterness in its nature; it makes a person like a little child, harmless and innocent, that none need to be afraid of, or like a lamb, destitute of all bitterness, wrath, anger, and clamour; agreeable to Eph. iv. 31. With such a spirit as this ought especially zealous ministers of the gospel to be clothed, and those that God is pleased to employ as instruments in his hands of promoting his work. They ought indeed to be thorough in preaching the word of God, without mincing the matter at all; in handling the sword of the Spirit, as the ministers of the Lord of hosts, they ought not to be mild and gentle; they are not to be gentle and moderate in searching and awakening the conscience, but should be sons of thunder. The word of God, which is in itself sharper than any two-edged sword, ought not to be sheathed by its ministers, but so used that its sharp edges may have their full effect, even to the dividing asunder soul and spirit, joints and marrow. Yet they should do it without judging particular persons, leaving it to conscience and the Spirit of God to make the particular application. But all their conversation should savour of nothing but lowliness and good-will, love and pity to all mankind; so that such a spirit should be like a sweet odour diffused around them wherever they go. They should be like lions to guilty consciences, but like lambs to men’s persons. This would have no tendency to prevent the awakening of men’s consciences, but on the contrary would have a very great tendency to awaken them. It would make way for the sharp sword to enter; it would remove the obstacles, and make a naked breast for the arrow.—Yea, the amiable Christ-like conversation of such ministers in itself, would terrify the consciences of men, as well as their terrible preaching; both would co-operate to subdue the hard, and bring down the proud heart.

~Jonathan Edwards~

The Works of Jonathan Edwards Vol. 1 (Peabody, MA; Hendrikson Publishers, Inc; 2007) p. 401. Thoughts on Revival – Undiscerned Spiritual Pride

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Charles Spurgeon – Pastors, Drive the Gospel Plough

27 Oct

We [pastors] depend entirely upon the Spirit of God to produce actual effect from the gospel, and at this effect we must always aim. We do not stand up in our pulpits to display our skill in spiritual sword play, but We come to actual fighting: our object is to drive the sword of the Spirit through men’s hearts. If preaching can ever in any sense be viewed as a public exhibition, it should be like the exhibition of a ploughing match, which consists in actual ploughing. The competition does not lie in the appearance of the ploughs, but in the work done; so let ministers be judged by the way in which they drive the gospel plough, and cut the furrow from end to end of the field.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Lectures to My Students (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2008) Vol. 3. Lecture 1: The Holy Spirit in Connection With Our Ministry.

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Charles Bridges – The Grand Secret for Pastors

2 Sep

Unbelief looks at the difficulty. Faith regards the promise. Unbelief therefore makes our work a service of bondage. Faith realizes it as a “labour of love.” Unbelief drags on in sullen despondency. Faith makes the patience, with which it content to wait for success, “the patience of hope.” As every difficulty (as we have hinted,) is the fruit of unbelief; so will they all ultimately be overcome by the perseverance of faith. To gain therefore an active and powerful spring of renewed exertion, we must strike our roots deeper into the soil of faith. For the work will ever prosper or decline, as we depend upon an Almighty arm, or an arm of flesh. Few, probably, even of the most devoted servants of God, had duly counted the cost before they put their hand to the plough; and from the want of these preparatory exercises of faith, arises that oppressive faintness which gives the enemy such an advantage in distressing our peace, and enfeebling our exertions. But after all, the grand secret is habitually to have eye upon Christ. Peter–looking at the waves instead of the Saviour–“began to sink.” We too–if we look at the difficulties of our work, and forget the upholding arm of our ever-present Head–shall sink in despondency. Believe–wait–work–are the watchwords of the Ministry. Believing the promise, gives the power to wait. Waiting supplies strength for work, and such working “is not in vain in the Lord.

~Charles Bridges~

The Christian Ministry (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 1958) p. 166-167.

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Charles Spurgeon – Content with Being a Mere Repeater of Scripture

2 Aug

I have no sympathy with the preaching which degrades the Truth of God into a hobbyhorse for its own thought and only looks upon Scripture as a kind of pulpit from which it may thunder out its own opinions! No, if I have gone beyond what that Book has taught, may God blot out everything that I have said! I beseech you, never believe me if I go an atom beyond what is plainly taught there. I am content to live and to die as the mere repeater of Scriptural teaching—as a person who has thought out nothing and invented nothing—as one who never thought invention to be any part of his calling, but who concluded that he was to take the message from the lips of God to the best of his ability and simply to be a mouth for God to the people—mourning much that anything of his own should come between—but never thinking that he was somehow to refine the message or to adapt it to the brilliance of this wonderful century and then to hand it out as being so much his own that he might take some share of the glory of it.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Spurgeon’s Sermons – A Memorable Milestone (; ebook) A sermon published on Thursday, December 29, 1904 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. Vol. 51 No. 2916 p. 3.

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Richard Baxter – Preach the Gospel Publicly and Privately

22 Jun

I know that preaching the gospel publicly is the most excellent means, because we speak to many at once. But it is usually far more effectual to preach it privately to a particular sinner.

~Richard Baxter~

The Reformed Pastor (Edinburgh, Scotland; Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 196

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