Friday, April 30, 2010

How may a young man know...(Part 4)

...whether he is called or not (Part 4)?

Another exceedingly large class of men seek[s] the pulpit [yet] they know not why. They cannot teach and will not learn, and yet must fain be ministers. Like the man who slept on Parnassus, and ever after imagined himself a poet, they have had impudence enough once to thrust a sermon upon an audience, and now nothing will do but preaching. They are so hasty to leave off sewing garments, that they will make a rent in the church of which they are members to accomplish their design. The encounter is distasteful, and a pulpit cushion is coveted; the scales and weights they are weary of, and must needs try their hands at the balances of the sanctuary. Such men, like raging waves of the sea usually foam forth their own shame, and we are happy when we bid them adieu.

How may a young man know...(Part 3)

…whether he is called or not? (Part 3)

Men who since conversion have betrayed great feebleness of mind and are readily led to embrace strange doctrines or to fall into evil company and gross sin, I never can find it in my heart to encourage to enter the ministry, let their professions be what they may. Let them, if truly penitent, keep in the rear ranks. Unstable as water they will not excel.

So, too, those who cannot endure harness, but are of the kid-gloved order, I refer elsewhere. We want soldiers, not fops, earnest laborers, not genteel loiterers. Men who have done nothing up to their time of application to the college are told to earn their spurs before they are publicly dubbed as knights. Fervent lovers of souls do not wait till they are trained; they serve their Lord at once.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

How may a young man know...(Part 2)

...whether he is called or not?

How diligently the Calvary officer keeps his sabre clean and sharp; every stain he rubs off with the greatest care. Remember you are God's sword, His instrument - I trust, a chosen vessel unto Him to bear His name.

It is not great talents God blesses so much as likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God. For the herald of the gospel to be spiritually out of order in his own proper person is, both to himself and to his work, a most serious calamity; and yet my brethren, how easily is such an evil produced, and with what watchfulness must it be guarded against!

Travelling one day by express from Perth to Edinburgh, on a sudden we came to a dead stop, because a very small screw in one of the engines - every railway locomotive consisting virtually of two engines - had been broken, and when we started again we were obliged to crawl along with one piston-rod at work instead of two. Only a small screw was gone. If that had been right the train would have rushed along its iron road, but the absence of that insignificant piece of iron disarranged the whole. A train is said to have stopped on one of the United States' railways by flies in the grease-boxes of the carriage wheels.

The analogy is perfect; a man in all other respects fitted to be useful, may by some small defect be exceedingly hindered, or even rendered utterly useless. Such a result is all the more grievous, because it is associated with the gospel, which in the highest sense is adapted to effect the grandest results. It is a terrible thing when the healing balm loses its efficacy through the blunderer who administers it.

You know the injurious effects frequently produced upon water through flowing along leaded pipes; even so the gospel itself, in flowing through men who are spiritually unhealthy, may be debased until it grows injurious to the hearers. (8)

Source: Lectures to My Students by Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, April 10, 2010

How may a young man know... (Pt 1)

...whether he is called or not?

An intensely helpful and contemplative allocution by Charles Spurgeon regarding the call to Pastoral Ministry. The following excerpts and series is taken from his book, Lectures to My Students.

1 Timothy 4:16
"Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you."

Every workman knows the necessity of keeping his tools in a good state of repair, for "if the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength. Though Michael Angelo, the elect of fine arts, understood the importance of his tools, that he always made his own brushes with his own hands, and in this he gives us an illustration of the God of grace, who with special care fashions for Himself all true ministers.

It is true that the Lord...can work with the the faultiest kind of instrumentality, as He does when He occasionally makes very foolish preaching to be useful in conversion; and He can even work without agents, as He does when He saves men without a preacher at all, applying the word directly by His Holy Spirit; but we cannot regard God's absolutely sovereign acts as a rule for our action. He may, in His own absoluteness, do as pleases Him best, but we must act as His plainer dispensations instruct us.

We shall usually do our Lord's work best when our gifts and graces are in good order, and we shall do worst when our gifts and graces are out of trim.

We are, in a certain sense, our own tools, and therefore must keep ourselves in order. If I want to preach the gospel, I can only use my own voice; therefore I must rain my vocal powers. (7)