The Lord Jesus Christ once said, “every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old” (Matt. 13:52). The treasures from “the friends of Old Princeton” contained in this short collection of lectures display afresh the timeless truths related to—and desperately needed in—the Christian ministry. While the biographical sketches at the conclusion of the book are worth the purchase price alone, there is great usefulness in the entire volume.
For a man wrestling with a call to ministry, the opening address from William Plumer serves as an exceedingly helpful catalog of considerations. In my mind, J.W. Alexander’s profound, eleven-part explication of the excellencies of Christ’s character stands above all the entries. Having read that chapter, one will learn more experientially why the hearts of the saints on the road to Emmaus burned so hotly (Lk. 24:32).
Archibald Alexander and Charles Hodge both outline the various and necessary virtues of ministers. These chapters will prove refreshing, convicting, or both, either for the young minister or for one well advanced in years and experience. In our age of doctrinal decline and compromise, both Archibald Alexander and Samuel Miller speak with prophetic relevance in their stirring calls to fidelity to the Holy Scriptures and sound doctrine.
Ashbel Green reminds the reader that the Lord of grace still uses the foolish message of the cross to save the lost and edify the saints. With great eloquence, he explains that to preach Christ crucified is not to restrict proclamation to a naked or narrow fact of history, but rather to announce the whole counsel of God as it relates to and terminates upon the person and work of Jesus. Green said, “the doctrine of Christ crucified, was the sun of the apostle’s theological system, which imparted lustre to every other truth” (187). The final address by Nicholas Murray is a rousing and needful call to piety among those given the privilege of serving as ministers in Christ’s church.
The Pastor is not merely “a word spoken in due season” (Prov. 15:23), but a compendium of words that honor the King and Head of the church and call His ministers to steadfastness and holiness in their eternally significant work. One final note: while especially poignant for pastors, this volume will be of great help to all Christians. Highly recommended.
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