24 Points on Piety

Piety in the Ministry

“Piety,” is one of those words I’d love to recover and restore to a prominent place in gospel ministry.

I love how it rolls rhetorically, but my affection for it is ultimately biblical. Paul told Timothy, “Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Pastors must be practitioners of piety.

Old Princeton to the Rescue

The founders of Princeton Theological Seminary established the school with the ambition that it be “a nursery of vital piety.” Archibald Alexander embodied this dream in the seminary’s earliest years. He insisted, “Eminent piety should be earnestly sought after and assiduously cultivated.” To help his ministerial students see the treasure of piety, Alexander—in a lecture entitled “Qualifications for Pastoral Office—offered the following advantages of pursuing piety and helps to maintaining piety.

14 Advantages of Pursuing Piety

  1. Some degree of eminence in piety is requisite for our own satisfaction.
  2. The work is so great and sacred, and the consequences so awful, that none will duly feel and act under the responsibilities of the office, but one whose heart is warmed with the fervent love to Christ and the souls of men.
  3. The duties of the ministry will never be faithfully performed by any one but he who is deeply under the influence of divine truth. He will become indolent and careless or will sink into discouragement—or will become entangled with worldly engagements.
  4. He will not be able to converse with edification to the people without this.
  5. It is necessary to preserve the minister from ambition and vain glory.
  6. Necessary to make him speak with confidence of the excellency and comforts of true piety.
  7. Eminent piety is requisite to enable a minister to compose sermons induced with the right spirit. To feed the devotions of the people, etc.
  8. Without a good degree of eminence in piety, the minsters example will not be savory and consistent. it is necessary to preserve him from sin. He should be higher than all the people in spiritual attainments.
  9. It will greatly increase his influence.
  10. Will enable him to bear with patience the persecution of enemies.
  11. It will be better than all rules of rhetoric in the delivery of sermons.
  12. It will make the work of the ministry delightful.
  13. Will prepare for sickness and death.
  14. Eminent piety will diffuse a solemn seriousness, over the manners. Gravity, composure of countenance—dignity of demeanor—propriety in every word, look and gesture.

10 Helps to Maintaining Piety

  1. You should set yourselves to correct your own faults and imperfections.
  2. You should set before you a high standard of moral excellence.
  3. There must be no procrastination of this business.
  4. You must live under the habitual influence of eternal things.
  5. You must be deeply sensible of your own inability to attain this excellence by your own efforts alone.
  6. You must not despond, or despair of success if you seem for a long time to make no progress.
  7. Avail yourself of your imperfections & faults to measure your humility & caution.
  8. Let the good example and spirit of other ministers enrich you but beware of catching from them a worldly spirit.
  9. Read frequently the memoirs of the most devoted & pious servants of Jesus Christ.
  10. Pray without ceasing for aid from above.

In the Spiritual Gym

I say, “Let the recovery and restoration of piety to its place of necessity continue.” Of particular encouragement, for me at least, is Alexander’s realism about the whole endeavor: “You must not despond, or despair of success if you seem for a long time to make no progress.” I often despair, especially at the end of another year, of my small growth in holiness. I find myself in these days freshly stirred to pray fervently for greater holiness in 2016.

Will you join me?

Preaching Nourished by Prayer

The Pastor and Prayer

It’s a perennial question, “Where should you start a book on preaching?” You could give a brief theology of Scripture, survey its primacy in church history, or you could do something totally different like write a chapter on prayer. That’s exactly where Gary Millar and Phil Campbell begin their book Saving Eutychus: How to Preach God’s Word and Keep People Awake. That emphasis seems just right. That apostles did say they would devote themselves “to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). So, when a book self-consciously reflects this order my interest is automatically piqued.

Gary Millar takes five pages and fills them with punch and pith on the necessity of prayer if we are ever going to keep Eutychus awake. His sage counsel is summarized with these points: 1) resolve now to pray fervently for your own preach, and 2) make sure that your church prays together for the preaching.

Putting It Into Practice

To illustrate the power of the second point Millar recounts his experience at Gilcomston South Church. I found the example of this community stirring. May it do the same for you and lead to you place greater emphasis on prayer in your preaching ministry. Millar writes,

From 1988-1991 (when I was a theological student), I was part of a remarkable church family. Gilcomston South Church of Scotland in Aberdeen wasn’t a huge church. Nor was it a particularly ‘happening’ church. We met twice on a Sunday, had a midweek central Bible study and a Saturday night prayer meeting—and that was it. There was an organ, and we sang five hymns or psalms (often to Germanic minor tunes). The pastor, William Still, preached steadily through the Bible (this was still relatively novel at the time, even though he had been doing it for 40 years). But what set that church family apart was its very simple commitment to ‘the ministry of the word nourished by prayer’ (as Mr. Still would repeatedly say). I have never been part of a church family that had a greater sense of expectancy when we gathered to hear the Bible explained. And I have never been part of a church family where prayer was so obviously the heartbeat of everything that went on. And I have never been part of a church family where God was so obviously present week by week as he spoke through his word. And, it seems to me, there might just be a connection.

Of course ‘Gilc’ was, and is, just like any church family—full of flawed, messed-up people like you and me. But those of us who had the privilege of ‘passing through’ went on from there with an indelible sense that preaching and praying go together. It was just part of the DNA of the church family. The precious group of 50 or 60 people who met week by week at the Saturday night prayer meeting spend most of the two hours praying for the proclamation of the gospel elsewhere—in other churches in our city, in Scotland, and on every continent around the world, one by one. Eventually, someone would pray, ‘And Lord, spare a though for us in our own place tomorrow . . .’ and the others, who had been praying faithfully on their own all through the week for the preaching at Gilc, would murmur a heartfelt ‘Amen.’

Helps for Private Prayer

200px-Thomas_BrooksI first read Thomas Brooks’ The Privy Key to Heaven in December 2011. After completing the book I wrote on the bottom of the last page, “One of the most life changing books I’ve read.” I finished the book again yesterday and I made a strikingly similar remark, “No book moves me to private prayer like this one.” Every reading reawakens fervency for the closet and faithfulness to Christ. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Taking Matthew 6:6 as his text, Brooks’ offers this summary doctrine: That closet or private prayer is an indispensable duty, that Christ himself hath laid upon all that are not willing to lie under the woeful brand of being hypocrites.

In typical Puritan fashion he proceeds to meditate on his main point with a laser focus and a warm heart. The bulk of the book gives twenty arguments for closet prayer—things like “Christ did it,” “Life is the only time for it,” and “Christ is much delighted by it.” My interest in this post, however, are the final “rules” he offers to encourage Christians unto faithfulness and consistency in private prayer.

8 Rules to Apply for Persistent Private Prayer

1) Lament greatly and mourn bitterly over the neglect of this choice duty. He who does not make conscience of mourning over the neglect of this duty, will never make conscience of performing this duty. Oh that your heads were waters, and your eyes a fountain of tears—that you might weep day and night for the great neglect of closet-prayer, Jer 9:1. He who mourns most for the neglect of this duty, will be found most in the practice of this duty.

2) Habituate yourselves, accustom yourselves, to closet-prayer. Make private prayer your constant trade. Frequency begets familiarity, and familiarity confidence. We can go freely and boldly into that friend’s house whom we often visit. What we are habituated to, we do with ease and delight.

3) Keep a diary of all your closet-experiences. Oh, carefully record and book down all your closet mercies! Oh, be often in reading over your closet experiences, and be often in meditating and in pondering upon your closet experiences! There is no way like this, to inflame your love to closet-prayer, and to engage your hearts in this secret trade of private prayer.

4) Be sure that you do not spend so much of your precious time in public duties and ordinances, as that you can spare none for private duties, for secret services. Ah! how many are there that spend so much time in hearing of this man and that, and in running up and down from meeting to meeting, that they have no time to meet with God in their closets. O sirs! your duties are never so amiable and lovely, they are never so sweet and beautiful, as when they are seasonably and orderly performed.

5) Love Christ with a more inflamed love. Oh strengthen your love to Christ, and your love to closet-duties. Lovers love much to be alone, to be in a corner together, Song 7:10-12. Certainly the more any man loves the Lord Jesus, the more he will delight to be with Christ in a corner.

6) Be highly, thoroughly, and fixedly resolved, in the strength of Christ, to keep close to closet-duties, in the face of all difficulties and discouragements which you may meet with (Psa. 44:17-20). A man of no resolution, or of weak resolution, will be won with a nut, and lost with an apple. Satan, and the world, and carnal relations, and your own hearts, will cast in many things to discourage you, and take you off from closet prayer; but be nobly and firmly resolved to keep close to your closets, let the world, the flesh, and the devil, do and say what they can.

Of all the duties of religion, Satan is the most deadly enemy to this duty of secret prayer; partly because secret prayer spoils him in his most secret designs, plots, and contrivances against the soul; and partly because secret prayer is so musical and delightful to God; and partly because secret prayer is of such rare use and advantage to the soul; and partly because it keeps the soul far from pride, vain glory, and worldly applause. Therefore he had rather that a man should pray a thousand times in public in the church, or in the corner of the streets—than that he should pray once in his closet. Therefore you had need to steel your hearts with holy courage and resolution, that whatever suggestions, temptations, oppositions, or objections you may encounter with, that yet you will keep close to closet prayer.

7) Labor for a greater effusion of the Holy Spirit. The greater measure any man has of the Spirit of God, the more that man will delight to be with God in secret.

There are many people who say, they would be more in their closets than they are—but that they meet with many hindrances, many occasions, many diversions, many temptations, many oppositions, many difficulties, many discouragements, which prevent them. Ah, friends! had you a greater measure of the Holy Spirit upon you, none of these things would ever be able to hinder your secret trade heavenward

8) Be frequent in the serious consideration of eternity. Oh see eternity standing at the end of every closet-prayer, and this will make you pray to purpose in your closets.  O sirs! every work you do, is a step to a blessed, or to a cursed, eternity. Every motion, every action in this life, is a step toward eternity.

If there be any way or means on earth to bring us upon our knees before God in secret, it is the serious and solemn thoughts of eternity. Oh that the fear of eternity might fall upon all your souls! Oh that you would all seriously consider, that after a short time is expired, you must all enter upon an eternal estate!

Quite Convicting

“Certainly that minister that in private prayer lies most at the feet of Jesus Christ, he shall understand most of the mind of Christ in the gospel, and he shall have most of heaven and the things of his own peace brought down into his heart.” – Thomas Brooks, The Privy Key to Heaven.

Don’t Rush

“My tendency to neglect or shorten prayer and reading of Scripture, in order to hurry on to study, is another subject of humiliation. [I should pray] also that I may preach not myself but Christ Jesus alone in the Spirit.” – Andrew Bonar

The Woes of Gospel Ministry

Woeful Ministry

In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul tells the church at Corinth it is quite right to pay ministers of the gospel. Gospel heralds are oxen that ought not be muzzled. But, so that the churches would not be burdened and that he would have his reward, Paul preaches the gospel free of charge. Such selflessness offers no ground for boasting for God’s will compels him to preach. He declares, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

I’ve thought often about that word, “woe.” It carries the sense of eschatological judgment. Perhaps James gives us the best brief exposition when he ways, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” If the Great Apostle does not preach the gospel he believes he will be fiercely judged.

A Woeful Service

In older times pastors spoke of gospel ministry as an “awful ministry.” The ministry is full of eternal weight and so one must enter into it full of awe. In what surely is the best book ever written on pastoral ministry Charles Bridges puts his finger on this very point as he considers the proper view of Christian ministry. He writes,

“[Is it any wonder] to see ‘the chiefest of apostles’ unable to express his overwhelming sense of his responsibility — ‘Who is sufficient for such things (2 Cor 2:6)?’ Who, whether man or angel, ‘is sufficient’ to open ‘the wisdom of God in a mystery’ — to speak what in its full extent is ‘unspeakable’ — to make known that which ‘passeth knowledge’ — to bear the fearful weight of the care of souls?  Who hath skill and strength proportionate?  Who has a mind and temper to direct and sustain so vast a work?  If our Great Master and not himself answered the appalling questions by his promise — ‘My grace is sufficient for thee (2 Cor. 12:9);’ and if the experience of faith did not demonstrably prove, that ‘our sufficiency is of God (2 Cor 3:5);’ who, with an enlightened apprehension, could enter upon such an awful service; or, if entered, continue in it?”

Channeling Paul, Bridges calls gospel ministry a “fearful weight” and “an awful service.” Now, that’s a view of the ministry worth attention in our day. Does anyone talk like this today? We need more people talking about how fearful ministry is, not simply how fun it is. For the purposes of this post I’d like to channel Paul in another direction—by thinking of gospel ministry “a woeful service.” Paul gives all ministers one woe in 1 Corinthians 9:15, but are there others we can pull out from Scripture? It seems to me that by clear reasoning or good and necessary consequence there are at least six woes in gospel ministry.

6 Woes in Gospel Ministry

Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! The gospel ministry is precisely that: a ministry dedicated to declaring the gospel. God commissions pastors as heralds and woe be upon us if we do not earnestly and persistently proclaim, “Hear ye! Hear ye! Thus saith the Lord . . .” Paul doesn’t say, “Woe to me if I don’t preach.” He says he must preach the gospel. If the announcement that Christ died for sin, was buried and then raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures doesn’t permeate our ministry we are in desperate trouble. The command is clear enough, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2).

Woe to me if I do not pray! Every Christian is to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17), yet there ought to be peculiarly strong callouses on the knees of faithful pastors. With sweat and tears we must wrestle with God to bless our congregation and our ministry. James says we are men just like Elijah and look what he was able to do in prayer—hold up rain in Israel for three and a half years! Without prayer we have no reason to expect God will move in power through our churches. The Prince says it best, “Of course the preacher is above all others distinguished as a man of prayer. He prays as an ordinary Christian, else he were a hypocrite. He prays more than ordinary Christians, else he were disqualified for the office which he has undertaken.”

Woe to me if I do not shepherd the sheep! The Fiery Apostle’s word to elders is keen on this point as he writes, “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you” (1 Pet. 5:2). Here we must be careful to have a complete view of shepherding. True shepherds know, feed, lead, and protect the sheep. Every pastor will uniquely gravitate toward a few particulars of the four-fold work of shepherding. He must thus labor diligently in those areas where he is naturally weak lest he sow and reap judgment on our sheep.

Woe to me if I do not evangelize! Timothy, and all pastors ever since, are commanded to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5). If a pastor is preaching the gospel with faithfulness he undoubtedly evangelizes in every sermon. But is the pulpit the only place where evangelism should happen? Clearly not. The great evangelists of old held huge rallies where plenty of lost people would come. Their revivals were there evangelism. Furthermore, in many centuries it was the lawful duty of all town citizens to gather for worship on the Lord’s Day. Thus many Puritan preachers, for example, had scads of nominally religious attenders in every service to evangelize. Yet, in our day of shifting cultural sand many preachers cannot expect to automatically have large swaths of lost people in gathered worship. We must thus hit the streets, restaurants, and communal gathering places to reach those apart from Christ.

Woe to me if I do not disciple! Christ’s marching orders tell all believers to make disciples, yet there is a unique discipling work Paul gives to pastors. He writes, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). A major thread in the tapestry of gospel ministry is the training of future leaders. This might come through regular discipling relationships or in church officer training. Let every local church labor for the Spirit’s help in becoming a godly leadership factory. May we all have a company of pastors birthed from our ministry.

Woe to me if do not pursue holiness! Oh, how we must exercise the soul. The Great Apostle famously writes, “Train yourself for godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7). Proper pastors watch their life and their doctrine closely. What our people do indeed need more than anything else is our personal holiness. We need gifts and graces. May there be a renewed understanding in our time that holiness weaponizes—in a wondrous way—gospel ministry. M’Cheyne, that holy man of old, said, “A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.”

Who is Sufficient?

Are there more woes in gospel ministry? Undoubtedly. I’m sure I’ve neglected something. But you might be like me and think, “Those six are sufficient to provide fear and awe in the Lord’s service.” We probably see them and cry with Paul, “Who is sufficient for such things?” The answer is oh so sweet, “Those who have tasted and seen God’s grace.” Just before he commands his young protege to train leaders Paul gives the secret to success in gospel ministry, “Be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” There are unsearchable riches of grace found in Christ. May we sense them anew as we labor under an awful, woe-filled ministry.

A Personal Prayer List


M’Cheyne’s personal prayer diary consisted of five lists. The second list offered eight “heads for prayer.” These headings can easily be adapted for modern ministry and would be quite helpful, I’m sure, to many a pastor’s prayer life.

  1. For an abundant gift of the Holy Spirit.
  2. For the purity and unity of the Church of Christ.
  3. For her majesty the Queen and all in authority under her and for a special blessing upon our country.
  4. That God may raise up in great numbers fit persons to serve in the ministry of his church.
  5. That a blessing may accompany the ministrations of the Word of God, in order that it may have free course and be glorified.
  6. For the propagation of the gospel among the heathen.
  7. For the fulfillment of God’s promises to his ancient people.
  8. For a special blessing on all the members of the Assembly and Church.

Pleading for Thickness & Tenderness

Thick Tenderness

A pastor’s prayer life is often one of praying the same things over and over. And this is just fine. It’s nothing less than faithfully ministering in light of Jesus’ parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18. It promotes dogged persistence. I’m sure every pastor would offer an, “Aye,” to the motion for more persistence in our pastoral labor.

I personally am helped, when it comes to my prayer life, to have a list of items for which I’m always prayer. I pray for holiness, love, and wisdom (1 Tim. 3:1-7). I pray my preaching would be clear and bold, for this it must be (Eph. 6:20; Col. 4:4). I pray I would be ceaseless in prayer (1 Thess. 5:17). I pray for spiritual strength to minister the whole counsel of God from house to house (Acts 20:27). And I pray for the Spirit to enable me to do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5).

The list, as you might expect, is one that keeps bulging. I recently added two items and thought they might be ones you might also consider for your life and ministry.

Praying for a Thick Skin

I still remember the email I got from a guest about my preaching. Actually, it would be better to say I remember the email I received that included an attached document about a sermon I’d just preached. The letter started well enough, expressing surprisingly kind words about the message. Yet, soon enough it devolved into a personal rant on how I’d mucked it all up on one key point, so much so that my orthodoxy was in doubt.

While this is an admittedly extreme example, faithful pastors are well acquainted with criticism. We are by nature “feather rufflers.” If we believe God’s word is absolutely true and preach as though eternity hangs in the balance, inevitably there will be disagreement over something we believe is certain. Some will disagree with songs we choose to sing or not to sing. Some will lob arrows of dissension when our church doesn’t equal their personal vision of the perfect church. Others will sarcastically barb a vision for church life we’d well near die for.

The prayer here is for thick skin in the face of such assault. The practical import of it is that whenever silly criticism comes our soul would say say, “No worries. Moving along.” This doesn’t mean the pastor shouldn’t learn from his those who critique him. Banish forever such nonsense. Kernels of truth are found in even the most thick-headed of assessments. Thick skin means not letting such assessments unduly distract or lead to despair.

Thick skin prevents thick heads from winning trite battles. A thick skin guards the heart. And we all know how important such guard work is (see Prov. 4:23).

Praying for a Tender Heart

Lest we become Bible bastions incapable of more than one feeling—thickness—we must pray for another thing: tenderness. Tenderness means we feel, deeply. The Fiery Apostle calls us to all have “a tender heart” (1 Pet. 3:8) and pastors must embody this, for they are examples to the flock (1 Pet. 5:3).

Tenderness, of course, is a broad word and so we must apply it broadly. By pleading with God for a tender heart we’re effectually asking for things like:

  • Tenderness toward the love of Christ
  • Tenderness toward the penalty of sin and the plight of sinners, a tenderness that compels evangelism
  • Tenderness toward our church members as we desire to see them grow in holiness
  • Tenderness toward the creeping power of worldliness
  • Tenderness toward the majesty of God’s glory revealed in creation
  • Tenderness toward the Spirit’s leading
  • Tenderness toward the church Jesus bought with his blood
  • Tenderness toward our wife as we wash her with the water of the Word
  • Tenderness toward our children as we discipline and instruct
  • Tenderness toward God’s word as we submit ourselves to its truth
  • Tenderness toward the poor, orphan, and widow who cry out for justice

You catch my drift.

In Praise of Thickly Tender Pastors

A thick-skinned, tender-hearted pastor sounds oxymoronic. But, brothers, this should not be so. The model is always Jesus Christ. His is the firstborn of thick tenderness. So let us imitate our Lord.

Having a thick skin means knowing when not to feel, while having a tender heart means knowing when to feel. So often in ministry we don’t feel when we should and we do feel when we shouldn’t. If ever there was a matter to take to the Lord in prayer, this is it. Let us be like the widow in Luke 18 and not give up until God grants us a thick skin and tender heart.

“Until God grants . . .” It thus seems to me these two items will reside on my prayer list until I see Christ in glory.

How to Plead with God Before Preaching

Pray Constantly

Yesterday I finished Alexander Smellie’s excellent biography of M’Cheyne and in the course of reading I was reminded of a story about Robert Bruce, the famous Scottish pastor around the turn of the 17th century.

Bruce was well known for his earnest prayer before preaching. An old book on Christian rhetoric says “his chief preparation [for preaching] was lifting up his mind into a holy reverential mood, and pouring out his heart before God in wrestling prayer.”

Perhaps no story about Bruce’s mighty storming of the mercy seat is better than this one.

At this place it was his custom after the first sermon to retire by himself some time for private prayer, and on a time some noblemen who had far to ride, sent the beadle to learn if there was any appearance of his coming in; — the man returned, saying, I think he shall not come out this day, for I overheard him say to another, “I protest, I will not go unless thou goest with me.” However, in a little time he came, accompanied by no man, but in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ; for his very speech was with much evidence and demonstration of the Spirit. It was easy for his hearers to perceive that he had been in the mount with God, and that indeed he had brought that God whom had met in private. – John Howie, Biographia Scoticana

Brothers of the pulpit, let us resolve never to enter the pulpit without the power of God attending our work. Yearn for it, plead for it, and expect it.

What Should a Pastor Be?


No man has influenced my pastoral life and vision more than Robert Murray M’Cheyne. He was a man of ordinary gifting, but of tenacious love for the sufficiency and beauty of Jesus Christ. The more I read him the more I’m convinced few pastors of old are as worthy to hear today as Mr. M’Cheyne (hence why I hope to do my PhD research on him).

26 Traits of a Faithful Pastor

In one morning’s bible reading M’Cheyne meditated on 1 Thessalonians 2 and Paul’s example of ministry to the church at Thessalonica. In a manuscript quarto—think “journal”—M’Cheyne answered the question, “What should a minister be?” from Paul’s instruction. He came up with twenty-six different characteristics of healthy gospel ministry. May these encourage and challenge you:

  1. Bold in our God. Having the courage of one who is near and dear to God, and who has God dwelling in him.
  2. To speak the Gospel. He should be a voice to speak the gospel, an angel of glad tidings.
  3. With much agony. He should wrestle with God, and wrestle with men.
  4. Not of uncleanness. He should be chaste in heart, in eye, in speech.
  5. Not of deceit or guile. He should be open, having only one end in view, the glory of Christ.
  6. Allowed of God to be put in trust. He should feel a steward, entrusted of God.
  7. Not as pleasing men, but God. He should speak what God will approve, who tries the heart.
  8. Neither flattering words. He should never flatter men, even to win them.
  9. Nor a cloke of covetousness. Not seeking money or presents, devoted to his work with a single eye.
  10. Nor of men sought we glory. Not seeking praise.
  11. Gentle even as a nurse.
  12. Affectionately desirous of you. Having an inward affection and desire for the salvation and growth of his people.
  13. Willing to impart our own souls. Willing to suffer loss, even of life, in their cause.
  14. Laboriousness night and day.
  15. To preach without being chargeable, to any of his people.
  16. Holily.
  17. Justly.
  18. Unblameably we behaved among believers.
  19. The daily walk.
  20. Exhorted every one. Individuality of ministry.
  21. As a father. Authority and love.
  22. Thank we God. He should be full of thanksgiving without ceasing.
  23. Should be with his people in heart, when not in presence.
  24. Endeavoured to see you. His people his hope. That which animates him.
  25. And joy. Immediate delight.
  26. And crown of rejoicing. When he looks beyond the grave.