Samuel Miller – An Able and Faithful Ministry

The following article by Samuel Miller was made available by Presbyterian Heritage Publications. As the website hosting this article expired, I’ve copied it here. The archived webpage may be accessed here.

This sermon was published under the title of The Duty of the Church to Take Measures for Providing an Able and Faithful Ministry, included in a larger publication, The Sermon, Delivered at the Inauguration of the Rev. Archibald Alexander, D.D. Professor of Didactic and Polemic Theology, in the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church, in the United States of America: to Which are Added, the Professor’s Inauguration Address, and the Charge to the Professor and Students (New York: Whiting and Watson, 1812).

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Second Edition, 1994

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An Able and Faithful Ministry

Samuel Miller

“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
2 Timothy 2:2

The apostle Paul received both his knowledge of the gospel, and his commission to preach it, immediately from the great Head of the church. Yet, notwithstanding the extraordinary circumstances which attended his theological instruction, and his official investiture, that “all things might be done decently and in order” (cf. 1 Cor. 14:40), he submitted to “the laying on of the hands of the presbytery” (1 Tim. 4:14; cf. Acts 13:3), before he went forth on his great mission to the Gentiles. In like manner, Timothy, his “own son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2), to whom the exhortation before us is addressed, was set apart to the work of the holy ministry, by the presbytery,­ in which body, on that occasion, the apostle himself seems to have presided (cf. 2 Tim. 1:6).

Timothy was now at Ephesus; and being the most active and influential member of the presbytery which was constituted in that part of the church, his spiritual father directed to him, as such (and in him to the church in all succeeding times), the rules and instructions contained in the epistles which bear his name. Among these we find the passage which has just been read: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (cf. 2 Tim. 1:6) Continue reading