On November 20, 1717, Thomas Foxcroft presented a message on faithful gospel ministry and was strongly petitioned to have it published as a book. However, Foxcroft had not delivered this message at a conference for pastors, but at his own ordination. His intention was not so much to show his congregation what a proper minister should be like, but rather to attempt to press upon himself the importance and responsibility of the ministry for which he was being set aside. What proved a profitable exercise for him became a blessed gift for the church at large!
In this book, Foxcroft exhorts ministers to make Christ the focal point of their preaching. He shows the importance of character in ministry, calling for pastors to be wise and prudent in every aspect of their lives. Likewise, ministers are urged to visit with and know their flock, and busy themselves with attending the needs of their souls. Furthermore, ministers are reminded how their service to the Lord requires great diligence and should be supremely governed by a pursuit for the conversion and edification of men in Christ. This is a pertinent reminder that pastors are called to wait on the needs of the souls of men with the good news of Christ.
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Thomas Foxcroft (1697-1769) was a Harvard graduate and pastor of the First Congregational Church in Boston, Massachusetts, where he ministered till his death.