Ministerial Confessions -- By: Horatius Bonar

Journal: Puritan Reformed Journal
Volume: PRJ 06:1 (Jan 2014)
Article: Ministerial Confessions
Author: Horatius Bonar


Ministerial Confessions

Horatius Bonar

The following reflections aim to assist seminary students and ministers in self-examination and confession of sin.1

We have been carnal and unspiritual. The tone of our life has been low and earthly. Associating too much and too intimately with the world, we have in a great measure become accustomed to its ways. Hence our spiritual tastes have been vitiated, our consciences blunted, and that sensitive tenderness of feeling has worn off and given place to an amount of callousness of which we once, in fresher days, believed ourselves incapable.

We have been selfish. We have shrunk from toil, difficulty, and endurance. We have counted only our lives and our temporal ease and comfort dear unto us. We have sought to please ourselves. We have been worldly and covetous. We have not presented ourselves unto God as “living sacrifices,” laying ourselves, our lives, our substance, our time, our strength, our faculties, our all, upon His altar. We seem altogether to have lost sight of this self-sacrificing principle on which even as Christians, but much more as ministers, we are called upon to act. We have had little idea of anything like sacrifice at all. Up to the point where a sacrifice was demanded, we may have been willing to go, but there we stood, counting it unnecessary, perhaps calling it imprudent and unadvised, to proceed further. Yet ought not the life of every Christian, especially of every minister, to be a life of

self-sacrifice and self-denial throughout, even as was the life of Him who “pleased not himself”?

We have been slothful. We have been sparing of our toil. We have not endured hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. We have not sought to gather up the fragments of our time, that not a moment might be thrown idly or unprofitably away. Precious hours and days have been wasted in sloth, in idle company, in pleasure, in idle or worthless reading, that might have been devoted to the closet, the study, the pulpit, or the meeting! Indolence, self-indulgence, fickleness, flesh pleasing have eaten like a canker into our ministry, arresting the blessing and marring our success. We have manifested but little of the unwearied, self-denying love with which, as shepherds, we ought to have watched over the flocks committed to our care. We have fed ourselves and not the flock. We have dealt deceitfully with God, whose servants we profess to be.

We have been cold. Even when diligent, how little warmth and glow! The whole soul is not poured into the duty, and hence it wears too often the repulsive air of “routine...

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