A Minister’s Position & Plea
TAKE HEED TO YOURSELVES
Take heed to yourselves, for you have a depraved nature, and sinful inclinations, as well as
Take heed to yourselves, because the tempter will more ply you with his temptations than other men.
Take heed to yourselves, because there are many eyes upon you, and there will be many to observe your falls.
Take heed to yourselves, for your sins have more heinous aggravations than other men’s.
Take heed to yourselves, because such great works as ours require greater grace than other men’s.
Take heed to yourselves for the honour of your Lord and Master, and of his holy truth and ways, doth lie more on you than on other men.
The souls of your hearers and the success of your labours, do very much depend upon your self-examination.
Lastly, Take heed to yourselves, for the success of all your labours doth very much depend upon this. God useth to fit men for great works, before he employs them as his instruments in accomplishing them. Now, if the work of the Lord be not soundly done upon your own hearts, how can you expect that he will bless your labours for effecting it in others?
Take heed therefore to yourselves, To his faithful servants he hath promised that he will be with them, that he will put his Spirit upon them, and his word into their mouths, and that Satan shall fall before them as lightning from heaven.
(The Reformed Pastor, pp. 72-86, Richard Baxter,The Banner of Truth)
A Minister’s Prayer
O MY LORD,
Let not my ministry be approved only by men,
or merely win the esteem and affections
But do the work of grace in their hearts,
call in thy elect,
seal and edify the regenerate ones,
and command eternal blessings on their souls.
Save me from self-opinion and self-seeking;
Water the hearts of those who hear thy Word,
that seed sown in weakness may be raised
Cause me and those that hear me
to behold thee here in the light of special faith,
and hereafter in the blaze of endless glory;
Make my every sermon a means of grace to myself,
and help me to experience the power
of thy dying love,
for thy blood is balm,
thy presence bliss,
thy smile heaven,
thy cross the place where truth
and mercy meet.
Look upon the doubts and discouragements
of my ministry
and keep me from self-importance;
I beg pardon for my many sins, omissions,
as a man, as a minister;
Command thy blessing on my weak,
and on the message of salvation given;
Stay with thy people,
and may thy presence be their portion
when I preach to others let not my words
be merely elegant and masterly,
my reasoning polished and refined,
my performance powerless and tasteless,
but may I exalt thee and humble sinners.
O Lord of power and grace,
all hearts are in thy hands,
all events at thy disposal,
Set the seal of thy almighty will
upon my ministry.
( The Valley of Vision, pp. 338-39 (Edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth)