The Foundation of Ministerial Faithfulness

Charles Bridges was vicar of Old Newton, Suffolk, from 1823 to 1849, and later of Weymouth and Hinton Martell in Dorset. Bridges was so gifted in exegesis that Charles Spurgeon called his commentary on Proverbs “the best” and his work on Psalm 119 “worth its weight in gold.”  I own the commentary on Proverbs and can testify to its usefulness.

Bridges’ best-known writing, however, is The Christian Ministry, first published in 1830. In the following selections from that book, he offers a strong word of encouragement to pastors. In the first, he lists the Church’s “three grand repositories of truth.” In the second, he offers three blessed implications of the closing words of the Great Commission – “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20b KJV). In both selections, the message to the faithful minister is clear: “Fear not!”

The Great Head of the Church has ordained three grand repositories of his truth. In the Scriptures he has preserved it by his Providence against hostile attacks. In the hearts of Christians he has maintained it by the Almighty energy of his Spirit—even under every outward token of general apostasy. And in the Christian Ministry he has deposited “the treasure in earthen vessels” for the edification and enriching of the Church in successive ages . . .

We are called to difficult and costly service; yet have we abundant cause to be satisfied with the sustaining support and consolation provided for every emergency. . . Remain believingly attentive to this “always”—Lo, I am with you, to qualify and succeed you in whatever work I call you to. “Lo, I am with you,” to comfort you by my presence and Spirit, when your hearts are grieved, “Lo, I am with you,” to defend and strengthen you in trials, though all men forsake you. While he stands with you, there can be no just cause of fear or faintness. You need no other encouragement. This you shall never want, if you continue faithful . . .

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