Thus Saith the Lord Ezekiel 2:4 -- By: James Petigru Boyce

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 03:2 (Summer 1999)
Article: Thus Saith the Lord Ezekiel 2:4
Author: James Petigru Boyce

Thus Saith the Lord Ezekiel 2:4

James Petigru Boyce

James Petigru Boyce (1827–1888) was the founder and first president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The influence of Boyce is captured well in the biography written by John A. Broadus, Memoir of James Petigru Boyce. Boyce’s most significant work, Abstract of Systematic Theology, remains in print today as does Broadus’s biography. The sermon below was preached by Boyce at the ordination service of the Rev. H. M. Wharton at the Walnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky on May 31, 1874. Reverend Wharton proceeded to take the pulpit of the First Baptist Church in Eufaula, Alabama.


The present is one of the few occasions when we may speak about preaching, the great work of the ministers of Jesus. Such a theme, though only occasionally suitable, should be full of interest to all men, but especially to the people of God. In what way should that work be performed? What constitutes the special qualifications for it? How shall it be made most successful? How shall it best secure the blessing of God, and aid in the advancement of His kingdom? These are inquiries which, while they may be of more special interest in him who is this day to be inducted into the full office of a minister of Jesus, or even to those whose life work is the same as his, are not without special claims upon those who are to look to the ministry as one of the highest sources of their instruction, and who are required to obey in the gospel those whom God has thus put over them.

A great deal is frequently said as to the ministers suited for our age. Some, in pressing the claims for education and culture, would almost seem to ignore the fact that the centuries that have gone were ages of learning and cultivation. Some, in speaking of the need of preparation to refute the forces antagonistic to Christianity, appear to have forgotten that it has had its conflicts with the enemies of the truth in every cycle of the past. Some, in referring to the antagonism of science overlook the fact that science, falsely so called, was its opponent even in the apostolic times. Some, as they are stirred with emotion at the numerous heresies which surround us, fail to remember that such had their place in the early churches, and that indeed the wise historian of the churches of Christ can trace each of these heresies to original germs, which were condemned by those who were the first great witnesses of the truth.

The truth is that no one age is so peculiar that the minister of that age needs to be greatly different from that of any other. Each age has its slight variations which give to it some peculiar characteristics. And each people, too, are marked by peculiarities of thought and mental training. B...

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