A friend and I were recently discussing several parts of Charles Bridges’ The Christian Ministry. One section I have marked and underlined quite a bit has to do on how a preacher should rebuke with love. This also has to do with preaching the law: it should be done with love.
“The spirit of love must deeply imbue the language of reproof. We must ‘exhort,’ but ‘with all longsuffering’ (2 Tim. 4:2); bearing with the frowardness that will often resist the most affectionate pleading. Meekness, gentleness, and patience must stamp our instruction of the opponents of the Gospel. We must wound their consciences as sinners, not their feelings as men; carefully avoiding unnecessary excitement of enmity; and showing the faithfulness that lays open their sins, to be the ‘wounds of a friend’ (Prov. 27:6), the chastening to be that of a father (2 Cor. 2:4).”
“The recollection of our former state (not to speak of our present sympathy with them as their fellow-sinners) will give a considerate tenderness to our reproof, which without weakening its application, will powerfully soften the heart to receive it: so that it falls, ‘as a wise reprover upon an obedient ear’ (Prov 25:12). Indeed it is when we most deeply feel our own sinfulness, that we speak most closely and powerfully to the consciences of our people.”
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)