(The nature, importance, duties and qualifications
of the pastor. By James Meikle, 1730-1799)
Do not contract many worldly acquaintances.
Learn to be abused without becoming angry.
Do not meddle much with the affairs of this life.
Argue coolly, and from conscience—not for victory.
Do not pretend a 'show of sanctimony' before men.
Do not be ashamed of piety in any company.
Whatever else you read, read a double portion in the scriptures of truth.
Shun familiarity with the men of the world—else celestial truths, as uttered
by you, will be despised.
Do not be much concerned about your own reputation—as long as the truth and
the gospel do not suffer.
Learn daily more of Christ and more of yourself—else your other studies will
Seek not great things for yourself. Seek not great fame, great applause,
great comforts, or a great income. But seek great things for Christ. Seek
for him great glory, many converts, and much fruits of righteousness.
Consider the preciousness of souls, the value of salvation, the weight of
the sacred charge, the terrors of the Almighty, the solemn day of judgment,
and your own utter inability. Then shall you have no vain confidence, but
depend on God alone.
Please all men so long as you are consistent with the truth—but do not wound
the truth to please any.
Set your affections on things above—so shall spiritual things be your
delight, and not your burden.
In company, always study to say something for edification. In this way, you
preach every day—as well as on Sundays.
Be much with God in secret—so shall God be with you
See that the behavior of every person in your family is a pattern to all
observers; and not matter of reproach—to the joy of God's enemies.
Let your flock be continually on your mind. And not only pray with them in
public, and from house to house—but carry them to your closet, and pray for
them in private.
Do not neglect to visit them at all proper times, but especially embrace
those golden opportunities—sickness and affliction.
Have sympathetic feelings with the sufferings of all your flock.
Let your life be consistent with your message. What you preach on
Sunday—practice through the week.
Do not only press charity on the wealthy; but let your example, according to
your ability, show the way.
Lend your ear to reproaches--rather than applauses. Reproaches may let us
see some of our foibles or failings. But commendation is very apt to kindle
self-conceit—of which everyone has enough.
Be temperate in eating and drinking. Do not, when at a feast, though
temperate at other times—be a glutton or a wine-bibber.
With respect to your flock, consider that you are made the steward of a
family, and therefore must, seeing the great Master allows it—provide food
for all—meat for the strong, and milk for the weak.
Keep an exact list or catalogue of your flock—who is pious or profligate;
who is in affluence or poverty; who is in health or sick—and read it often.
Give a pleasant ear when others are commended. But always frown away the
friend that would commend you to your face.
Be scant in exhibiting 'specimens of your learning', or comments on the
Scriptures in their original languages. For a fine grammarian may be but a
novice in piety and the gospel.
In preaching, aim at God's glory and the good of souls. And then, without
deviating from that rule—please all men as much as possible.
Let your sermons be always the fruit of much study and application. And
never dare to serve God or his people with that which cost you nothing.