2 Corinthians 2:15-16
For we are to God a sweet smell of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:…
I. I shall briefly survey SOME OF THE MANY AND IMPORTANT DUTIES OF THE PASTORAL OFFICE. Christ crucified, and salvation through Him; the law, as a schoolmaster, to bring men to Christ; and exhorting the disciples of Jesus to adorn His doctrine ought to be our chief themes. A comprehensive knowledge of Christian faith and practice. Great skill is requisite to explain the sublime mysteries of our holy faith, to unfold their mutual connections and dependencies, and so to demonstrate their certainty, that the sincere lover of truth may be convinced, and even the captious silenced. Our task, however, would be comparatively easy were men lovers of truth and holiness. Add to all this that the genius, spiritual condition, and outward circumstances of our hearers are various; and a manner of address proper for some would be improper for others. But our services are not confined to the pulpit, or to closet preparation for it. It is one important branch of our work, to instruct and catechise the young and ignorant in the first principles of religion. Parochial visitation, if managed in a way easy to plan, I will not say easy to execute, would be equally useful. Reconciling differences is a work highly suitable to the character of ambassadors of the Prince of Peace. In private reproof, what zeal for God, and what tender compassion for perishing souls are needful to overcome that aversion every good-natured man must feel, to tell another he has done amiss. There is another duty incumbent on ministers as such, more difficult than any I have yet mentioned, and that is, to show themselves patterns of good works (Titus 2:7).
II. I shall now complete the argument by considering THE TEMPTATIONS AND OPPOSITION WHICH MAY PROBABLY ARISE TO DIVERT US FROM THE RIGHT DISCHARGE OF THE DUTIES OF OUR OFFICE. Ministers, though bound to exemplary holiness, are men of like passions and infirmities with others, and equally exposed to be seduced by Satan, the world, and the flesh. But our chief danger arises from indwelling corruption. Our office obliges us to preach and pray on many occasions when our frames are dull and languid. Discouragement may have a fatal influence. Once more. As we grow older aversion to fatigue and love of ease grow upon us. Judge from the whole of what has been said, if the work of the ministry is so easy, as many, through ignorance or inadvertency, are apt to imagine.
(R. Erskine, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: