The Leading Principle of a Faithful Minister (Newton)

One of John Newton’s lesser known works is called “A Review of Ecclesiastical History.” It’s a book that basicaly summarizes church history from Christ’s birth until the end of the apostolic era. I’ve really enjoyed it so far, and I do recommend it.

In one section, Newton discusses the character of the apostle Paul (book 2, chapter 2). This is a great chapter for pastors to read! Here’s a helpful quote by Newton on Paul’s love for Christ – applied to Christian pastors today:

Supported and animated by this love [for Christ], he [Paul] exerted himself to the utmost, in promoting the knowledge of Him whom he loved, and bearing testimony of His power and grace. Nothing could dishearted, or weary or terrify, or bribe him from his duty: and this must and will be universally the leading principle of a faithful minister.

Should a man possess the tongue of men and angels, the finest genius, and the most admired accomplishments, if he is not constrained and directed by the love of Christ, he will either do nothing, or nothing to the purpose; he will be unable to support either the frowns or the smiles of the world. His studies and endeavors will certainly be influenced by low and selfish views. Interest or a desire of applause may stimulate him to shine as a scholar, a critic, or a philosopher – but til the love of Christ rules in his heart, he will neither have inclination nor power to exert himself for the glory of God or the good of souls.

The inseparable effect, and one of the surest evidences of love to Christ, is a love to his people. Of this likewise our apostle exhibits an instructive and an affecting example….”

John Newton, Works, III, p. 220-221

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

One comment on “The Leading Principle of a Faithful Minister (Newton)

  1. […] Orthodox Presbyterian Church and serves as pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Hammond, Wis. This article is used with […]

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