The next essay I have to write is a review of Richard Baxter's The Reformed Pastor. So in this last week I set about reading it. It actually filled me with a sense of grief, as I thought about how negligent I have been in praying for the congregation (and adherents) that I serve and how aimless so much of my visiting has been. While there are elements of this book that might not easily transfer to our time (for example his systematic visiting is hindered in our age by the fact that so many homes are empty during the day) this is well worth a read by anyone who wants to take the pastoral ministry seriously. I am of a growing opinion that reading books from outside of our own time helps us examine things more objectively (we find it easier to see what prejudices their age may have left them with and they in turn are free from some of the biases and weaknesses of our time).
Our whole work must be carried on under a deep sense of our own insufficiency, and of our entire dependence on Christ.