As mentioned in my previous post, here are some of my favorite quotes from Charles Bridges’ “Christian Ministry”
1. Summary of Christian ministry: “the sum of our whole labor in this kind is to honor God, and to save men” (8).
2. What our task is not: “It is not our province to prescribe what he might have done, but to mark the consummate wisdom of what he has done, and to exercise the humility of faith, when we cannot discern the reasons of his dispensations” (10).
3. Difficulties of preaching God’s Word: “It is not easy to overcome our natural love of ease, our indisposition to self-denying devotedness, and our false tenderness in flinching from the declaration of unpalatable truths” (14).
4. Two things required when considering whether God has called you ministry: “A constraining desire…special kindling…constraint that rises above all difficulties, takes pleasure in sacrifices for the work’s sake, and quickens to a readiness of mind… and a fitness to the office” (94-102).
5. Fear of Man: “Perhaps no temptation is more specious in its character, or more subtle and diversified in its operation…paralyzing influence upon Ministerial boldness” (122).
6. Self-Denial: “It may be generally remarked, that, unless our work exhibit the self-denying character of the cross of Christ, it is the Christian Ministry in letter only, not in the spirit; it is not the work, that God has engaged to bless” (127).
7. Pastors of the WHOLE flock: “We must be the pastors of the whole flock, not of a select few; not indulging ourselves with the most hopeful and interesting, but laboring for those, whose urgent need cries loudly for our instruction—like the good shepherd—bestowing our primary attention upon the lost sheep…But the grand object of winning their souls will restrain even the appearance of harshness or petulance, which might “turn the lame and diseased out of the way,” when “rather it ought to be healed.” The meanest of our people must have his full share of our consideration” (p130).
8. Preach to ourselves: “A sermon, however well digested, can never be well preached, until has been first preached to ourselves. It is the present experience, nourishment, and enjoyment, that gives a glow of unction far beyond the power of adventitious accomplishment; and makes us not only edifying to our people but (what is more rare and difficult) profitable minister to ourselves” (157-158).
9. Need of personal devotion: “The rest of us probably are far more spiritual in our pulpits that in our closets, and find less effort required to preach against all the sins of our people, than to mortify one of them in our own hearts” (162).
10. Personal Reading of the Bible: “For if we should study the Bible more as Ministers than as Christians—more to find matter for the instruction of our people, than food for the nourishment of our own souls; we neglect to place ourselves at the feet of our Divine Teacher; our communion with him is cut off; and we become mere formalists in our sacred profession” (163).