"Holiness unto the Lord" was engraved on the golden plate worn on the forehead of the high priest of old, thus indicating the character expected of him who was to minister before the assembled people of God in holy service. As the golden plate radiated with heavenly light the beautiful words, "Holiness unto the Lord," so the mind of the servant of God was to be in perfect accord therewith. Paul recognized the need of this purity when he wrote, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind;" for the mind is the seat of thought, and as a man "thinketh in his heart, so is he." "The thoughts of the righteous are right."
The Lord has always desired purity of thought in His ministers, and He desires it today. We cannot be reminded of this fact too frequently. Anciently, even outward bodily perfection was required. No one who had a blemish was to "dome nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord." Lev. 21:21. If God was so exact as to the personal appearance of His servants, how much more does He require purity in heart and life! Says the Old Testament evangelist: "Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out from the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord." Isa. 52:11. This has been God's expectation for his ministers in all times, but especially for this very serious time in which we live. God's ministers must be pure in their life-molding thoughts, if they are to bear the vessels of the Lord acceptably.
A mind that begets a pure life, unentangled with tendencies that are contrary to holiness, or whose strict integrity and veracity none can question, is highly essential for the minister. Christ said, "Out of the abundance of the heart [mind] the mouth speaketh" (Matt. 12:34) ; or, as we might say, the life acts. And further,
"By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Verse 37. The mind produces the thought, and the thought produces the words and acts. Therefore the apostle exhorts: "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." James 2:12.
Spurgeon said: "The life of a preacher should be like a magnet drawing souls to Jesus." A magnet has inherent power to draw splinters of steel out of sand. So also the godly preacher, through the power manifest in thought and life, will draw souls out of the sands of the world's sin unto Christ and His beautiful life, and will hold them there.
A thread of carelessness, perhaps bordering on dishonesty, running through his speech and contacts with the circle of believers and fellow workers, will seriously damage any minister's work. Such a condition of mind and heart robs him of the confidence of his people and friends. Instead of bringing many souls to Christ, his efforts are practically nullified; instead of unity and peace reigning in his churches, there is dissatisfaction. Schisms come; the tithe is withheld and fails to bring its intended blessing; mission funds run low; and a general feeling of disappointment and discouragement exists.
God grant that we His ministers may seek purity of mind and honesty of heart, and may do our utmost to instill love for purity and uprightness in the hearts of our people, holding their confidence in us and in the Lord's work by the strictest integrity and veracity.