Quiet Hints, Chapter 26–"Unconscious Decay”

post date: February 16, 2010

Notes taken from Quiet Hints to Growing Preachers by Charles E. Jefferson, Chapter 26, “Unconscious Decay.”

A man growing better does not measure the stages of his progress, nor does a man becoming worse realize the headway of his descent.

Men who live nearest to the heart of God do not prate of their visions nor boast of the light in their face.

A man may lose his heavenly credentials although he continues to write “ Reverend “ in front of his name.

The descent to Sheol is easy and for the minister as for all mortals the way is always open.

The deterioration of spiritual life in men ordained to preach the Gospel is one of the saddest of all the mysteries of sin.

Ministers escape exposure longer than most men because their sins are in general sins of the spirit rather than of the flesh and hence bring only spiritual retribution.

Who does not know ministers of the Gospel who once were favored and mighty men and of whom the world now says, How are the mighty fallen!

They are still in the pulpit but their usefulness has ended. Their sermons are sounding brass and worse. Their prayers are useless as the prayers of the priests of Baal.

They are ministers but they are not good men. They are petty or stingy or lazy or censorious or pretentious or pessimistic or sour.

Only a man genuinely good can be a minister of power to the end of the day.

Nothing is more tragic than the spectacle of a minister who began his career with men eager to hear him, preaching at last to a world unresponsive to his message.

He compares himself with his successful brethren and in no whit does he seem to fall behind the chief of them.

Poor man, he has left out of consideration the one thing essential — the Spirit of God.

It is not by rhetorical might nor by logical power but by the breath of the Spirit that congregations are swayed and the gates of the kingdom thrown open. And this only a good man can have.

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