Taken from, True and False Shepherds
Written by Thomas Scott
Adapted from The Protestant Pulpit
Hosted by, Timothy Williams
Edited for thought and sense.
…to exercise their function.
- They believe in him for their own salvation, and
- receive from him those peculiar dispositions and endowments, which fit them for their work. and
- aim to glorify him and to do good to souls;
- preferring this service to more creditable and lucrative employments,
- and prepared to suffer hardship of every kind in performing it.
Thus they ” enter by the Door into the sheepfold”.
But all, who intrude into the pastoral office without these views, dispositions, and purposes…
…which are so many credentials from Christ, to show that he has sent the man who possesses them;
- ”climb up by some other way;”
- perverting human appointments, though good in themselves, and
- even divine institutions, in
- rendering them subservient to their love of ease, wealth, authority, or reputation;
- and employing the influence of rich and powerful connexions, or
- that acquired by natural abilities and human learning,
…as a passport into stations in the church, for which they have not one correspondent disposition or holy qualification.
Such men, like the priests, scribes, and Pharisees, in our Lord’s time, are thieves and robbers…
…who enter the fold in an unauthorized manner,
- to fleece or butcher,
- not to feed, the flock;
- who rob Christ of his honour,
- and starve the souls of his people, in order
- to enrich themselves and
- aggrandize their families,
…by that which was entrusted to them, to be employed in acts of piety, hospitality, and charity; and for the use of which they are responsible to God.
But to them, who enter with a due regard to Christ…
…and with proper endowments, desires, and intentions, “the Porter openeth;” that is,
- God, in his providence and by his Spirit, makes way for them successfully to exercise their ministry: and
- ”the sheep of ” Christ,” his chosen flock, ( Luke 12:32,) “hear their voice” and receive the truth from them.
- And, as in those eastern regions, the sheep, when led forth from the fold to the pasture, follow the shepherd, when they hear his well-known voice, and see him going before them;
- so these pastors get acquainted with the people committed to their care, and
- lead them by their instructions into the knowledge of the truth, and into the ways of peace and holiness:
- they walk before them by their example; and
- the people follow them with confidence, as they know and experience their doctrine to be good, and their exhortations salutary.
But the sheep will not follow those who are strangers to them, to Christ, and to his truth; but will flee from them, fearing lest they should be deceived, and not finding their doctrine suited to their wants and experience, or level to their capacities; and they will seek food for their souls elsewhere. . . .
Mankind indeed generally show some regard to them…
…but, the remnant of God’s chosen people, “the sheep of ” Christ,” have always turned from them as deceivers. Indeed, as every sinner must enter by ” Christ the Door “into the sheep-fold” for safety and sustenance; how can those be qualified to teach the way of salvation, who are themselves strangers to him, and have never “entered by” the Door into” the ministry, but have “climbed up some other way?”
All men, whatever be their rank, employment, or character, who have not, by faith in Christ, as the divine Saviour of sinners, passed “from” death unto life,” from condemnation and alienation from God, into a state of acceptance, and a life of communion with him, and devoted obedience to him, are still in the ”broad road to destruction.”
But that repentance and conversion, by which men pass, as through ”a strait gate,” from the broad to the narrow way, have a special respect to Christ, in all his characters and offices; and every motive and encouragement of those who enter is derived from him.