Wisdom from a 19th century Quaker preacher
The austere entrees on the dinner table of the Rev. John Henry Douglas were not because of a vegetarian or gluten free diet.
“My wife and child lived years in poverty. We tasted not of meat or wheat bread,” Douglas said, a senior pastor, speaking to preachers at the Society of Friends New York annual meeting, The Morning Post of Glens Falls reported on June 4, 1884.
Let’s hope his wages had improved by the time Douglas came to Glens Falls in 1879 as the first full-time pastor of the Glens Falls Society of Friends church on Ridge Street, staying as pastor for about two years.
Douglas said pastors must devote time to prayer.
“It is no child’s play to be a preacher,” he said. “The preacher that is not on his knees a great deal in meeting and out is not worth much.”
One should commune long with God, but preach short sermons.
“Don’t try to preach a long sermon. Just deliver the message that burns in the heart,” he said. “Mind the life, whether the sermon be three minutes or three hours long. Be natural. … Bring the sinners and Christ together.”
The pastor should not be a celebrity.
“Look out that we don’t make disciples to ourselves. While they should have confidence in us, teach them to lean on Jesus.”
Douglas said the job of a pastor may be rough, but it is a blessing.
“If God has called you and given you evidence of his blessing in the exercise of your gift, never turn your back toward any worldly allurement.”
He said pastors should be open to advice from trustworthy Christians.
“Keep in love and unity with the spiritual members of the church. You need help,” he said. “Be careful of your advisers. I would rather ask guidance of a little boy full of spiritual life than of any doctor of divinity who has never been baptized with the Holy Ghost.”