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THE CHURCH SHOULD SEEK MORE EMINENT PIETY IN THE
THE CHURCH SHOULD SEEK MORE EMINENT PIETY IN THE MINISTRY.
By: REV. CHARLES G. FINNEY
From: Revivals. How To Promote
From: Revivals. How To Promote
And if such are the essential qualifications on the part of the ministry in order to great success in winning souls to Christ, we may infer that there is need of a great reformation on the part of the churches in seeking, as of the first importance, deeply spiritual and effective ministers.
Now we have reason to believe that eminent piety and a reputation for marked success in promoting the prayerful activity and holiness of professing Christians, and the conversion of sinners are, to a great extent, made entirely subordinate to merely pleasing manners.. and a popular and attractive style of preaching, which shall specially interest the young people, and increase the size of the congregation.
But if the edification and sanctification of Christians that they may be fitted for admission to heaven, and the awakening and salvation of perishing sinners is of transcendent importance, while an acceptable delivery and style are to be prized, deep piety and effectiveness in preaching are vastly more indispensable to a good minister of Jesus Christ, and a useful pastor to a Christian church.
Therefore, whatever other qualifications ministers may have to recommend them, if their record does not show that they are "endued with power from on high" so as to render them truly effective in promoting the piety of the church and the conversion of sinners, they should be considered disqualified in a fundamental point.
It used to be the custom of churches, and I believe in some places is so still, in presenting a call to the pastorate, to certify, that having witnessed the spiritual fruits of his labors, they deem him qualified and called of God to the work of the ministry. And now if the churches desire to be restored to their former "refreshing from the presence of the Lord," they must reform their present practice, and prayerfully seek for, and sustain a ministry possessing spiritual unction, and which is successful in saving men, rather than a ministry which may excel merely in an attractive and pleasing essay-style of preaching, with but little adaptation to the promotion of true revivals of pure and undefiled religion.
And in order to secure such a preeminently desirable ministry, without which the churches must be doomed to perpetual barrenness, they must hold the Theological Seminaries to a strict account in fulfilling their duty in this matter. They should be impressed by the imperative demands of the churches, that it is necessary for them to make more special and direct efforts in striving to develop a much higher type of piety on the part of their students.
Some years since one branch of the Scotch Church was so tried with the want of unction and power in the ministers furnished them by their Theological Seminary, that they passed a resolution, that until the Seminary reformed in this respect, they would not employ the ministers educated there.
Hence we believe that if the excellent and learned Professors of the Seminaries should perceive that the churches were earnestly seeking a ministry of truly earnest piety and effectiveness, as well as fair gifts and scholarship, they would give more attention to cultivating devotional and fervid piety among their students.
They would be more deeply impressed with the importance of making the seminaries schools for developing Christian experience and true holiness, and skill in soul saving, as well as sound learning in the doctrines and precepts of the sacred scriptures. And then the seminaries should avoid as far as practicable, recommending candidates for settlement over the churches who are 'not "endued with power from on high," and are striving for very high attainments in personal holiness. For however learned and eloquent their students may be, without these higher qualifications they cannot be "good ministers of Jesus Christ."