True Christian ministry

 (adapted from Octavius Winslow's, "The
Glory of the Redeemer in His Resurrection")

There may be an undue, idolatrous, if not
superstitious, attachment to, and reverence
for, Christian ministers by churches and by
individuals, the existence and growing extent
of which demand a prompt and effectual check.
The office of the Christian ministry is strangely
misunderstood at the present time. By one
part of the professing Church, the Christian
minister is all but deified; and exalted into
the place of God; so that multitudes, in the
blindness of their superstitious attachment,
worship him as God.

Seek to divest your mind of all unscriptural,
superstitious, and idolatrous views and feelings
in reference to the nature and powers of the
Christian ministry.

Remember it is but a human instrumentality,
possessing no essential, inalienable grace or
holiness of its own.

True Christian ministry disclaims all superstitious
reverence, and rejects all idolatrous attachment
and worship from the creature.

But the evil against which many of the Lord's
people need to be tenderly cautioned is that of
undue exalting of, and the setting of the affections
upon, the pastor. A Church may so vaunt itself
of the talents, the gifts, the attainments, the
popularity, and even the success of its pastor,
as greatly to detract from the glory of God, grieve
the Spirit, and seriously injure both itself and the
object of its adulation.

How keenly is the spiritual mind pained by the
humiliating spectacle of 'man worship' which
sometimes meets the eye! What applauding of
human eloquence; what burning of incense at
the shrine of human intellect and genius; what
vain boasting of profound learning, and brilliant
talent, and popular gifts; while the infinitely
weightier attributes of a holy, powerful, and
useful ministry, are lightly esteemed, if not
totally dispensed with!

The evils which arise from this vain glorying in
'men', and this undue admiration of, and exclusive
attachment to, a particular order of ministerial
character and fitness, are many and various.

The pastor should be received gratefully, as the
Lord's messenger, and esteemed very highly in love
for his work's sake. Yet hold him infinitely subordinate
to Christ, and with a loose and gentle grasp.

Cherish a devout and grateful spirit for the precious
and invaluable gift of a holy, affectionate, and useful
minister; but rest not in him short of Jesus. Give to
him his proper place in your affections and thoughts:
a place infinitely beneath the adorable Son of God,
God's "unspeakable gift."