Thursday, November 19, 2009

Taylor on call to preach

From John Taylor's History of Ten Baptist Churches:
"The next winter I travelled to South Carolina, either to live there, or get him to return with me. We returned in the spring, and the church called me forward to preach, at which I have continued for more than fifty years...I have said above I could get no satisfactory answer, as to my call to the ministry. My present impressions are, that the call lies in a good man's motives to the work, and the call of the church. If a christian has preaching talents, and the church says preach, he may go on safely. This is my call, and for no other do I look at present, though in my youth I laboured long for evidences of my call, of which a visionary something would then have satisfied me.

"I have said, a good motive to the work, and the call of the church, is all sufficient as to a man's authority to preach the gospel. By a good motive to the work, I understand, the man's own soul must be converted, for except he is born again, he cannot have a spiritually good motive, and is what Paul designs, by 'the husbandman that laboureth must first be partaker of the fruit.'

"It is this produces a desire in him, after what Paul calls a good work -- this is a feeling sensibility in him, that 'one man's soul is worth more than all the world,' and while the love of Christ constrains him, he will very gladly, or readily, spend and be spent, for the salvation of his fellow men. All this I felt for many months, to the amount of robbing me both of sleep and food; and adding to that the voice of the church -- but all did not satisfy me, for I was not called as the ancient prophets and apostles were, but to glorify God, and benefit men, is the sole ground of the ministerial motive, and there is no self serving, in all this sacred business -- in all this I have felt conscious for more than half a century.

"My own belief is, that none properly understands the gospel or voice of the shepherd, but his sheep, or the true christian. Therefore the voice of the church is very essential; in the call to the ministry, the bridegroom is out of the way; what the bride does in his absence, should be valid. The church ought to act under great responsibility, being accountable to the chief shepherd at his return; so help us Lord, that we may all have boldness in the day of judgement [sic]. The instruments of my encouragement, in my early days. I had three gospel fathers, to-wit : William Marshall, the instrument of my first awakening and convertion; James Ireland, the man who baptized me, and under whose pastoral care I lived for some time; and Joseph Reding, under whose care, and with whom I travelled near ten years, before I was a married man; all these men seemed tender towards me, as if I was their natural Son.

"But the greatest instrument of my encouragement after all, was the Bible itself -- there I saw the whole will of God at once; in point of both practice and opinion, what I saw in this heaven born book, I received as the voice of God to me, and was the invaluable guide of my whole man, both in motive and acctions; to this I appeal in all controversy, and by this I expect to be judged at the last day."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The brother touched on an often overlooked aspect of ministry. It was that of motives. Does the old human flesh get in the way of performing the work of a minister? Have some resorted to making a name for themselves by putting the title Phd. after their name on a marquee? So many in the electronic ministry especially will spend just as much time giving their address as they will expounding on the Word of God.