Pastoral character

In a few days time I have the privilege of being one of the preachers at "The Call" Conference in Edinburgh. (I believe that there are still opportunities to book a place if you wish.) The theme of my sermon - and one which I feel the weight of - is "The shepherd's soul," addressing "the necessity of any leader to daily and intimately walk with God to be a qualified, effective leader in the church."

It ties in fairly neatly with the whole matter of pastoral character: the man of God must walk with God if he is to know the sustained blessing of God in accordance with the promises of God. So from time to time over the next few days I hope to offer as supporting evidence for our primary contention some apposite quotes from the great and the good on pastoral character and piety, beginning with Wilhelmus à Brakel, who said that the man of God
must have the heart of a preacher; that is, he must stand in awe of the God in whose Name he preaches, and with love seek the welfare of the souls to whom he preaches. He must know himself to be entirely undone in himself and have a lively impression of his own inability, so that he will not trust too much in having studied properly. He ought to pray much beforehand, not so much to get through the sermon, but for a sanctified heart, for a continual sense of the presence of God, for suitable expressions, and for a blessing upon his preaching to the conversion, comfort, and edification of souls. His concern ought not to be whether the congregation will be pleased with him and will praise the sermon, but his motive must rather be a love for the welfare of the congregation.
It is, perhaps, worth pointing out that our author goes on to offer some pretty stern words to those who make a show of their learning in the pulpit, but we might save that one for another time . . .