Directory For The Publick Worship Of God
Of the Preaching of the Word. (Part 2.)
Question 1.—Is the minister not to rest in general doctrine but to proceed to special use, by application to his hearers?
Answer.—Yes. Eccl. 12:9-11. The Word of God is likened unto a hammer and ought to be wielded with precision, Jer. 23:29. Its message should be pointed, not dulled, Matt. 3:7.
Question 2.—Ought he to do this, though it prove to be a work of great difficulty to himself?
Answer.—Yes. 2 Tim. 2:15; Jude 3. The Apostle Paul holds forth the great difficulty of fulfilling the ministry, 1 Cor. 9:24-27. He proved himself an exemplar of this selfless approach to the ministry, for he thought it a small thing to be even in chains for the advancement of the Gospel, Eph. 6:20; Col. 4:3; Philemon 10.
Question 3.—Should this be done in such a manner, that his auditors may feel the Word of God to be piercing and discerning?
Answer.—Yes. Heb. 4:12. It is the duty of the preacher to press the matter at hand so that the auditors are cut to the quick by the Word of God, Acts 2:37; 5:33; 7:54.
Question 4.—Should he seek to do it in such a way that any unbelievers or ignorant persons present may give glory to God?
Answer.—Yes. 1 Cor. 14:8, 9, 16, 23-25. The minister ought to seek to study great plainness of words that will convince and convict those who hear, 2 Cor. 3:12; Tit. 1:9.
Question 5.—May he in the use of information in the knowledge of some truth, confirm it by a few arguments from the text in hand, and other places of Scripture?
Answer.—Yes. Rom. 3:10-18. Christ and the apostles often begin in one place of Scripture and find out more places to expound and confirm the doctrine being taught, Luke 4:17-27; Acts 2:14-16, 25; 13:16-21, 33, 35.
Question 6.—Should he, in the confutation of false doctrines, raise old heresies or mention blasphemous opinions unnecessarily?
Answer.—No. 1 Tim. 6:20. While it is the duty of the minister to confute false doctrines and corrupt practices, Tit. 1:9-14; it should be done apart from raising unprofitable questions anew, Tit. 3:9.
Question 7.—Should he, in exhorting to duties, teach also the means to help in the performance of them?
Answer.—Yes. Ps. 25:4, 5. God’s people not only need to know what is the right way, but they have great need of being shown the means to help them in it, 1 Cor. 4:14-17; 11:1.
Question 8.—Should he, in dehortation, reprehension and public admonition, not only discover the nature and greatness of sin and its misery, but the remedies and best ways to avoid it?
Answer.—Yes. Dan. 4:27. Preaching requires the discovery of the exceeding sinfulness of sin and its attendant miseries, Ezek. 9:9; Rev. 21:8. It also requires the remedy for sin to be proclaimed, 1 Cor. 2:2-5; Eph. 1:7; as well as, to set forth the best ways to avoid sin, Ps. 119:9.
Question 9.—Should the minister, in applying comfort, be careful to answer the objections of troubled hearts and afflicted spirits?
Answer.—Yes. Eph. 6:21, 22; 1 Thess. 3:2. Christ himself was very careful in this matter of great concern, John 14:1-3. So too, were his apostles concerned that comfort be applied to those in need, 1 Thess. 5:14.
Question 10.—Is it sometimes requisite to give some notes of trial, whereby the hearers may be able to examine themselves whether they have attained those graces, and performed those duties, which he exhorts, or be guilty of the sin reprehended?
Answer.—Yes. 2 Pet. 1:4-10. Oftentimes it proves a help to those hearers to make a trial by holding forth such notes or marks of graces attained or duties to be performed or sins to be reprehended that those who hear may examine themselves, 2 Cor. 13:5.
Question 11.—Should he wisely make choice of which doctrines to prosecute based upon the need of the flock?
Answer.—Yes. Heb. 5:13, 14. Consideration ought to be had both to the audience, and to the times, Prov. 15:23. Paul addressed the Jews in the synagogues in one manner and those on Mars’ hill in another altogether, Acts 13:16 with 17:22.
Question 12.—How should the servant of Christ, whatever his method be, perform his whole ministry?
Answer.—The minister of Christ should perform his work: 1.) Painfully, not doing the work of the Lord negligently, Jer. 48:10. 2.) Plainly, that those of meanest capacity may understand, John 16:25, 29. 3.) Faithfully, looking to the honour of Christ, the conversion, edification, and salvation of the people, not to his own gain or glory, 1 Cor. 4:2; 1 Thess. 2:5, 6. 4.) Wisely, framing all his doctrines, exhortations, and especially his reproofs, in such a manner as may be most likely to prevail, Prov. 16:20; Luke 16:8. 5.) Gravely, as becomes the word of God, 1 Tim. 3:2; Tit. 2:7. 6.) With loving affection, that the people may see all coming from his godly zeal, and hearty desire to do them good, Acts 20:18-25, 31; Gal. 4:18. 7.) As taught of God, and persuaded in his own heart, that all that he teaches is the truth of Christ, Gal. 1:12; Eph. 4:21; Tit. 1:9.
Question 13.—Where there are more ministers in a congregation than one, and they of different gifts, may each more especially apply himself according to the gift wherein he does most excel?
Answer.—Yes. 1 Cor. 12:1, 4-7. The symmetry of the Church consists of a manifold unity when the variety of gifts is directed to the same object. Hence it is befitting that there should be a distinction of gifts as well as of offices, and yet all harmonize in one, Rom. 12:6-8.