A Minister of the Word

From The Sum of the Four Evangelists (ca. 1565)

The three first evangelists more often handle the doings of Christ then declare his sayings… Matthew in the beginning used a natural order… He seems to have a care not so much to set forth faithfully that which was said and done by the Lord as to place everything in his own place and order, and fitly to teach by order…

Matthew reports a certain abridgement of all the doctrine of Christ the Lord, whereby he plentifully instructed his worshippers in true godliness: hereunto he joined certain of his greatest miracles, even divine and wonderful works, whereby he has declared that he is the mighty and gentle Lord of all things, which can make you also, who stick to him by true faith, lords of sin, of death, of Satan, and of all things else.

In this business Christ had chosen to himself witnesses, whom hitherto he made both beholders and hearers of all his matters, as well of his sayings, as of his doings, to the end truly that they might afterwards bring forth into all the world the charge of common salvation, now conceived and laid up in their minds. And now they seemed sufficiently instructed in the rudiments and principles of faith and of Christian religion, therefore it was convenient that they should be further exercised therein, and by the means thereof prepared to greater matters.

And therefore the Lord himself sent them forth to preach the Gospel now to the people of Israel only, and are instructed in certain commandments. For the Lord diligently prescribes what they ought to do and what their office is. And he shows them also what they shall suffer, yes how perilous a thing it is to be a minister of the word in a corrupt and unthankful age. Therefore, he comforts his disciples worthily and finely with furnished talk, teaching them how they ought to continue constantly in all adversities in true godliness, and to overcome all evils.

Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575) was a Swiss Reformed pastor and theologian, the principal leader of the Church in Zurich for over forty years. He was among the primary drafters of the First and Second Helvetic Confessions, and worked with John Calvin to establish a common basis of teaching on the Eucharist among the Swiss Reformed Churches.


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