And I will give you pastors according to my heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
I. WHAT THOSE QUALIFICATIONS ARE WHICH RENDER MEN PASTORS AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART.
1. Their being sent and commissioned by God.
2. Their being thoroughly instructed in the knowledge of God's mind and will.
3. Their being exemplary in their conversation of the goodness and purity of their own doctrine (1 Timothy 3:12).
(1) In word, that is, in observing a decent gravity in discourse.
(2) In conversation; a sweet and obliging deportment.
(3) In charity; a hearty goodwill to all men as we have opportunity.
(4) In spirit; that is, in an active zeal for the glory of God, and the good of souls.
(5) In faith, that is, in an immoveable constancy and fidelity to our religion, in holding fast the form of sound words, and contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.
(6) In purity, that is, in abstaining from all fleshy lusts, from worldly mindedness, intemperance, and wantonness.
II. HOW MUCH SUCH PASTORS DO CONDUCE TO THE GLORY, AND BEAUTY, AND PERFECTION OF THE CHURCH.
1. In soundness of faith, to which there is nothing can more conduce than pious and learned pastors; who being not only purged from vicious affections, and inspired with an hearty zeal for truth; but also accomplished with parts and learning to distinguish between truth and falsehood, and to separate the innovations of false teachers from the ancient truths of Christianity, cannot but be highly instrumental to the restoring the faith of their Churches, wherever they find it corrupted and sophisticated, to its primitive lustre and simplicity.
2. In purity of worship; for the end of all Church assemblies being to worship God, and the worship of God consisting in a devout acknowledgment of the infinite perfections of His nature, by such internal and external acts, as right, reason, and revelation directs: all such as are truly devout, and sincerely affected with the Divine perfections, must look upon themselves, as greatly concerned to worship God, in such manner as is most suitable to His will and nature. And this the pastors of the Church are more peculiarly concerned in, being the guides of the public worship.
3. A Church's glory and perfection consists also in the vigour of its discipline, in the just and vigilant administration of the power of the keys, in admonishing such as go astray, in excluding them the communion of the Church if they continue obstinate, and readmitting them upon their repentance.
4. A Church's glory and perfection consists in unity of communion and affections, so that there be no schisms in the body, but that all its members, being incorporate in the same communion, be knit and fastened to one another by the ligaments of mutual love and charity; to which excellent effect there is nothing in the world can more conduce than learned, prudent, and pious pastors.
5. The glory and perfection of a Church consists also in sanctity of manners; to promote which, also, nothing can be more conducive than pastors according to God's own heart.
(1) Their being commissioned from God to teach and govern His flock must give their doctrine a very great authority in the minds of all that have any reverence for God, and thereby render it more prevalent and effectual(2) Their doctrine, supposing they are pious and learned, will be throughout holy, and in all points tending to promote the interest of piety and virtue.
(3) Their holy doctrine will be enforced by their holy examples, which will preach more effectually than their tongues.
(John Scott, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.