Jonathan_Edwards_engravingIn this masterful sermon, Jonathan Edwards sets forth what sets apart
a minister of the gospel.

He establishes his doctrine at the beginning of the sermon:

‘Tis the excellency of a minister of the gospel to be both a burning and a shining light.

Six propositions guide the doctrinal assertion:

  1. I would show that Christ’s design, in the appointment of the order and office of ministers of the gospel is, that they may be lights to the souls of men.
  2. I would show what is implied in their being “burning lights.”
  3. I would show what is implied in their being “burning lights.”
  4. I would show that it is the proper excellency of ministers of the gospel to have these things united in them, to be both burning and shining lights.
  5. I would apply these things to all that Christ has called to the work of the gospel ministry, showing how much it concerns them earnestly to endeavor that they may be burning and shining lights.
  6. Show what ministers of the gospel ought to do that they may be so.

The sermon shines brightest in the first proposition as the Puritan divine explains the three-fold use of light, namely – to discover, to refresh, and to direct.

Indeed, pastors have a weighty responsibility, especially in the preaching task to show forth the light of the gospel in ways that are understandable, and in keeping with the truth of God’s Word.


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