The Dignity of the Christian Ministry
1 Timothy 3:1-7
This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.…

Moreover, if we weigh all things in the balances of justice, we shall see that there is no king, whatever may be the pomp that surrounds him, who as a king is not in dignity below, I will not say a bishop only, but even a simple village pastor, regarded as a pastor. We have only, in order to realize the fact, to cast our eyes on the functions of the pastor and of the king respectively. What do the labours of princes regard? Is it not that evil-doers may be kept down by the vigilance of the law, and that the good may not be disturbed? That is to say, so to act that the persons and property of the citizens of the state shall be in safety? But how much more excellent is the aim of the minister of the gospel, who desires to establish in each individual soul the serenest tranquility by quieting and subduing the lusts of the world! The king's labours are intended to secure that the state shall live at peace with its neighbours; the priest's aim is that every one may be at peace with God, that each may possess peace within, and that no one may have it in his heart to injure another. The prince designs to protect the house, lands, and cattle of particular persons from the violence of depredators. But what does the priest design? To defend the property of the souls entrusted to him, their faith, their charity, their temperance, their purity against the assaults of the devil; property which confers happiness on those who possess it, and the loss of which plunges them into the direst misfortune... In one word, all that comes under the management of the prince is earthly and transient; but that which occupies the pastor is divine, celestial, eternal. And, therefore, as much difference as there is between the heaven and the earth, between the body and the soul, between temporal goods and eternal possessions, so much difference is there between the functions committed to the king and the trust devolved on the priest.


Parallel Verses
KJV: This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

WEB: This is a faithful saying: if a man seeks the office of an overseer, he desires a good work.

The Christian Pastorate a Good Work
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