3. He was without guile. “For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile; but as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the Gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”
He was frank and open. He spoke right out of his heart. He was transparently simple and straightforward. Since God had honoured him with this infinite trust of preaching the Gospel, he sought to so preach it that he should please God regardless of men. And yet that is the surest way to please men. People who listen to such a man feel his honesty, and realise that he is seeking to do them good, to save them rather than to tickle their ears and win their applause, and in their hearts they are pleased.
But, anyway, whether or not they are pleased, he is to deliver his message as an ambassador, and look to his home government for his reward. He gets his commission from God, and it is God who will try his heart and prove his ministry. Oh, to please Jesus! Oh, to stand perfect before God after preaching His Gospel!
4. He was not a time-server nor a covetous man. “Neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness,” he adds.
There are three ways of reaching a man’s purse: (1) Directly. (2) By way of his head with flattering words. (3) By way of his heart with manly, honest, saving words. The first way is robbery. The second way is robbery, with the poison of a deadly, but pleasing, opiate added, which may damn his soul. The third reaches his purse by saving his soul and opening in his heart an unfailing fountain of benevolence to bless himself and the world.
It were better for a preacher to turn highwayman, and rob men with a club and a strong hand, than, with smiles and smooth words and feigned and fawning affection, to rob them with flattery, while their poor souls, neglected and deceived, go down to Hell. How will he meet them in the Day of Judgment, and look into their horrorstricken faces, realising that he played and toyed with their fancies and affections and pride to get money, and, instead of faithfully warning them and seeking to save them, with flattering words fattened their souls for destruction!
Not so did Paul. “I seek not yours, but you,” he wrote the Corinthians. It was not their money, but their souls he wanted.
But such faithful love will be able to command all men have to give. Why, to some of his converts he wrote: “I bear you record, that if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me” (Gal. iv. 15). But he sought not to please them with flattering words, only to save them.
So faithful was he in this matter, and so conscious of his integrity, that he called God Himself into the witness-box. “God is witness,” says he.
Blessed is the man who can call on God to witness for him; and that man in whom the Holy Spirit dwells in fullness can do this. Can you, my brother?
Characteristics of the Anointed Preacher (Pt. 3)
These past few days I've been sharing parts of Samuel Logan Brengle's chapter on the Apostle Paul as a preacher in his book, When the Holy Ghost is Come, with the readers of the Desperate Pastor blog. Here's more, in which he says, speaking of Paul: