TO A YOUNG MAN UPON ENTERING THE MINISTRY OF THE GOSPEL
Having heard of your going out to speak in the Lord’s Great Name I wish to say:
First, As to any man going to preach that is a matter between his own soul and God, Who sends whom He will. After the new birth, an absolutely essential matter, the leadings of the mind, the many and varied exercises relating to standing in a pulpit, all these no relative can fully enter into; for they all are meant by God to be for the soul of the man concerned. So, no man can say absolutely and definitely and infallibly whether this or that person is sent to preach ; but the individual knows himself the leadings. Time will prove the Divine sending or not.
Well do I remember my own exercises on this point over 63 years ago now, but I never could and never did speak of them to a soul, not even to my parents or your Grandfather. I just could not speak of them. But God found a way! That is all that matters.
Second, wherever God sends a man, with all my heart and soul I seek His blessing upon that man’s labours, for Zion needs real men of God today sorely.
Now, there are many human sides to the work. Where God sends, it does not do away with that man using all lawful means to equip himself for the tremendous work by concentrating on the word written. I found enormous help by entering for, and eventually taking, an examination on many subjects as the MSS. of the Bible, the Canon of Scripture, the Varied Versions, translations, figurative language, the whole life of Christ as recorded by the four Evangelists, technical theology, Bible theology, pastoral theology, etc., etc. It took me four years, with other work, but many, many times since have I thanked God that He enabled me to do it. “Give attention to reading”Â— and everything that throws light on that word a man tries to preach it is his bounden duty to work at.
Alas! I know only too sadly that many, many who pretend to be wonderfully knowing, sneer at this work, but that is because they do not know even their own ignorance! You may not be able to find time for much of this ground work, but use as much as you can.
Beware of conversation with those you may meet with on Sundays. Alas! you may find most of it will empty your soul of any melting, and take away any savour after speaking in the pulpit, and put your soul in perfect misery. Do beware of the talkers before and after services, unless you meet with real vital godly talkersÂ—then, the more the better! Also, beware of any flattererÂ— such will ruin you and your work. God knows you and that fact keeps one down!
And, if in time, any place should ask you re. taking a pastorate do not jump to it! That demands a very special call from God for, today, few indeed can, or will, keep a man; and you have a wife
and family now; so should this arise, tread very quietly.
Above all elseÂ—you needÂ—and may God give it to you. His constant help inside and outside; few may receive what you say, and many may oppose in some form, but this is what every God-sent man receives and what he has been promised to expect.
You will remember also: “A prophet is not without honour except among his own kinsfolk”, etc. Well do I remember my first speaking at “Providence,” March; to me it was just agony, for in the galleries were many men who knew me at Whitemoor Junction, and to speak to your ownÂ—wellÂ—it is hard work. I did it once but never again.
If God be with you all will be well, come what may; if He is not, thenÂ—well, what is any man without God ?
May you be favoured with inward teaching concerning your own soul day by dayÂ—that will be a good groundwork for your pulpit work; and as God may shine upon the work that, and that alone, will give, what we both sincerely desire for you, true and lasting prosperity.