What a different world of ministry we live in. Would that the Lord raise up a thousand ministers who held these insights:
The office of the Christian ministry, rightly understood, is the most honourable, and important, that any man in the whole world can ever sustain; and it will be one of the wonders and employments of eternity to consider the reasons why the wisdom and goodness of God assigned this office to the imperfect and guilty man!
It is an office and character that are deeply interested in the highest concerns of God’s perfections and glory. It is an employment that obliges a man to the closest attention, to find out the true mind of God in the Holy Scriptures. It is a work in which we are called, to instruct the minds of men in the noblest knowledge, and to teach them to adore and love God —- The great design and intention of the office of a Christian preacher are to restore the throne and dominion of God in the souls of men; to display in the liveliest of colours, and to proclaim in the clearest language, the wonderful perfections, offices, and grace of the Son of God; and to attract the souls of men into a state of everlasting friendship with him.
–John Ryland, Preface to the republished Student and Preacher by Cotton Mather, pp. iii-iv