CHRISTIAN MINISTRY, THE
The revival of the Church seems to be closely connected with the condition of its ministry. Bridges sub-titled the study of theChristian Ministry, ‘An Inquiry into the Causes of its Inefficiency’, and, rightly used, it is well suited to promote a faithful and effective ministry.
The Christian Ministry is Bridges’ best known literary work, but his expositions of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Psalm 119 are also highly valued.
Bridges begins by considering the general and personal cause of ministerial ineffectiveness, and goes on to examine comprehensively preaching and pastoral work. This book was one of the few which the godly Robert Murray M’Cheyne took with him to the Holy Land, and, in its field, it is without an equal.
‘To enlighten the mind and affect the heart are the two main ends of the Christian ministry. The first demands wisdom and plainness, the second fervency, as the spirit of scriptural preaching. This combination exhibits the minister as “a burning and a shining light” … imparting the spiritual light of divine truth, as well as the spiritual heat of divine fervour … Nothing, says Baxter, is more indecent than a dead preacher speaking to dead sinners the living truth of the living God.’ — CHARLES BRIDGES, in The Christian Ministry, p. 318.