Popularity is yet more dangerous: the few, who escape its influence unhurt, have been exercised in painful conflicts, such as have shown their deliverance from this fiery trial to have been nearly miraculous.
It is not easy to overcome our natural love of ease, our indisposition to self-denying devotedness, and our false tenderness in flinching from the declaration of unpalatable truths.
I‘ve only recently discovered the surprising relevance of Charles Bridges’ writing. As a preacher and church planter, I can understand why his The Christian Ministry, from which the above quotes are pulled, went through nine editions in 20 years, and is still highly valued among pastors. As I scoured over quotes from the book, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t come across this book before.
Learn from a lost favorite
A contemporary of Thomas Chalmers and J.C. Ryle, Charles Bridges was a pastor and leader of the Evangelical party in the nineteenth-century Church of England. While well respected as a preacher during his lifetime, he is most remembered today for his literary work.
In addition to his popular The Christian Ministry, Bridges’ commentaries on Proverbs and Psalm 119 have had enduring impact. His detailed Exposition of Psalm 119 consists of sermons on all 22 stanza’s of the psalm and was claimed by Charles Spurgeon to be “worth its weight in gold.” It went through an astounding 24 editions during Bridges’ lifetime alone.
Similarly, his Proverbs commentary is still among the highest-rated commentaries and is referenced liberally in Bruce Waltke’s NICOT volumes on Proverbs and many other modern commentaries. Spurgeon was fond of this work as well, calling it, “The best work on the Proverbs.”
If you’ve yet to benefit from the wisdom and passion of Charles Bridges, the best way to get started is with the eight-volume Charles Bridges Collection.
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