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I am thrilled about the forthcoming publication of Francis J.Grimké’s “Meditations on Preaching” by Log College Press.
In the third volume of his collected works, Grimké (1852-1937) spoke frankly about the minister’s moral character:
A minister who is but poorly equipped intellectually, educationally, but who is of good moral character, and of real piety, is greatly to be preferred to the man, however well equipped intellectually and educationally, but who is of questionable character, whose ways are crooked. The one may have to be tolerated, the other should never be: the ministry of the one may result in good, of the other only harm can come. Such a minister discredits the gospel, and becomes an obstacle in the way of the progress of the kingdom of God. A godless minister, an immoral minister, should be nowhere tolerated, should be driven out of all of the churches. We need in the ministry, intelligent men, educated men, but above all God-fearing men,—morally clean men. Where such is not the case, the responsibility rests upon the officials of the churches, and ultimately upon the people who fill the pews and who furnish the means for carrying on the work in the churches. The toleration of immoral, godless ministers is always, therefore, a reflection upon the character of the people themselves, and is a pretty good index of their own characters.*
Grimké served as pastor of Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C . First year preaching students at Reformed Theological Seminary Jackson are introduced to his life, ministry, and writings through Thabiti Anywabile’s The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors.
*Francis J. Grimké, The Works of Francis J. Grimké, vol. 3, ed. by Carter G. Woodson (Washington, D.C.: The Associated Publishers, Inc., 1942), 121.
Talkative: “What difference is there between crying out against, and abhorring of Sin?Faithful: Oh! a great deal: A man may cry out against Sin, of Policy, but he cannot abhor it but by virtue of a godly antipathy against it: I have heard many cry out again Sin in the Pulpit, who yet can abide it well enough in the Heart, House, and Conversation.
“There’s a word missing from the presentation of our modern gospel. It’s the word repent . . . If we want to give people a message that saves, instead of one that only soothes, we must preach more like Jesus and less like our pop stars.”
“True piety consists in a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences him as Lord, embraces his righteousness, and dreads offending him worse than death.”
How is piety obtained? “Piety is always built on knowledge of the true God and knowledge requires instruction.” “That which can educate a man’s piety demands sane doctrine.”
– Quoted in David B. Calhoun, Knowing God and Ourselves: Reading Calvin’s Institutes Devotionally (Banner of Truth: Edinburgh, 2016), 16-17.
On Christ’s Gethsemane prayer:
“Though we may pray to God to prevent and remove an affliction, yet our chief errand and that which we should most insist upon, must be, that he will give us grace to bear it well. It should be more our care to get our troubles sanctified, and our hearts satisfied under them, than to get them taken way. [Jesus] prayed, saying, Thy will be done.”
– Matthew Henry on Matthew 26:36-46
“Sometimes truth is lost first in a church, and then holiness, and sometimes the decay or hatred of holiness is the cause of the loss of truth; but where either is rejected, the other will not abide.”
– John Owen, The Works of John Owen (ed. William H. Goold; vol. 7; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 199.
“For a minister to preach the word without constant prayer for its success is a likely means to cherish and strengthen secret atheism in his own heart, and very unlikely to work holiness in the lives of others.”
– John Owen, The Works of John Owen (ed. William H. Goold; vol. 7; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 190.