Writings on Christianity

Review: An Earnest Ministry by John Angell James (Part II)

(This is a continuation from my previous post)

Here’s eight more valuable insights from John Angell James:

  1. Preaching is more than exegesis: “We must therefore rise from exegesis into exhortation, warning, and expostulation” (87).
  2. Pastoral house visits and catechizing are richly beneficial and should not be neglected: “he will make a point of visiting the families connected with his church, to pray with them, and to hold up the hands of the parents in this godly duty.  Deeply is it to be regretted that this part of pastoral occupation, as well as catechizing, has disappeared amidst the bustle and engrossing power of trade, and the public business of modern religious institutions” (156)
  3. Need for an earnest tone in our delivery: “Have we really become so carelessly, so criminally familiar with such topics as salvation and damnation, that we can descant upon them with the same calmness, coolness, not to say indifference, with which a public lecturer will discuss a branch of natural philosophy? O where is our reason, our religion, our consistency?” (187).
  4. Need for our own hearts to feel the weight of the glorious realities we preach: “If our own minds are not much impressed with the awful glories and terrors of eternity, we cannot speak of these things in such a manner as is likely to rescue our hearers from the ruinous fascinations of Mammon” (192-193).
  5. Encouragement for young ministers or those entering the ministry: “Young ministers of the gospel, and students preparing for the ministry, who may read these pages, you can possess and exhibit real earnestness; all its delightful excitement, all its blessed results, and all its eternal consequences, are within your reach.  There is no lion in the street, except such as your own imagination sees there, and your own sloth has placed there.  Make the effort, it is worth the making: try, you can but fail and it is better to fail, than not to make the attempt” (223).
  6. Obstacles to an earnest ministry in an affluent society and age: “our obstacles are the emasculating influences of ease and prosperity; the insidious snares of wealth, knowledge, and fashion; the engrossing power of trade, politics, and secular ambition” (254).
  7. The church encourage certain individuals to enter vocational ministry and fund their education: “To affirm that an individual cannot be supposed to have a very great fitness for the office, unless his love of souls has been strong enough to prompt him to desire the work of the ministry, and that he is not likely to be very earnest in it, if he be sent, instead of his going of his own accord, is assuming too much…If it be the duty of the churches to call out minster, it must of course be no less their duty to provide means for their education.  Among all the objects of Christian benevolence, there is not one which has a prior or a stronger claim than our collegiate institutions, and yet it is too true that they are the last whose demands are properly regarded” (262, 278)
  8. An earnest ministry comes from a praying ministry: “A praying ministry must be an earnest one, and an earnest ministry a praying one” (293).

By Tom Schmidt

Christian, husband of Rach, Church Planter,musician,

2 replies on “Review: An Earnest Ministry by John Angell James (Part II)”

Yeah my pastor Joe Thorn got me reading his work…. May God give us an earnest ministry!

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