What Makes A Faithful Pastor?

Nothing but the love of Christ can make a truly faithful pastor, or evangelist, assiduous in all his services, and indefatigable in the most private and self-denying duties of his office. Other motives may lead a man to great diligence in preparing for his labours in the pulpit, where splendid eloquence wins as much applause as anywhere else. Other motives also may stimulate a minister to great public exertion, and give him all the appearance of fervent zeal and devotedness to God, in the eyes of men; but if supreme love to Christ be wanting, he is, after all, nothing; or, at best, a mere ‘sounding brass or tinkling cymbal’. Genius, learning, eloquence, zeal, public exertion, and, great sacrifices, even if it should be of all our goods, and of our lives themselves, will be accounted of no value, in the eyes of the Lord, if love to Christ be wanting. The church is now using laudable exertions to increase the number of ministers; but, we may multiply preachers; we may educate them well, and they may be acceptable to the people; but, alas! if they love not the Lord Jesus Christ, Zion will not be built up. The great harvest will not be gathered.

-A.A. Hodge

from, The Pastoral Office. A Sermon, Preached at Philadelphia,
before the Association of the Alumni of the Theological Seminary at Princeton on
Wednesday Morning, May 21, 1834 (Philadelphia: Henry Perkins, 1834).

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