The Religious Life of Theological Students, by Princeton Professor Dr. B. B. Warfield

A minister must be learned, on pain of being utterly incompetent for his work. But before and above being learned, a minister must be godly.

`Vocation’—it is the call of God, addressed to every man, whoever he may be, to lay upon him a particular work, no matter what. And the calls, and therefore also the called, stand on a complete equality with one another.

It cannot be: you cannot build up a religious life except you begin by performing faithfully your simple, daily duties.

“Devotion” to be taken in both its senses—in the sense of “zealous application,” and in the sense of “a religious exercise,” theology has as its unique end to make God known: the student of theology is brought by his daily task into the presence of God, and is kept there.

“Put your heart into your studies…”

Put your heart into your studies; do not merely occupy your mind with them, but put your heart into them. They bring you daily and hourly into the very presence of God; his ways, his dealing with men, the infinite majesty of his Being form their very subject-matter. Put the shoes from off your feet in this holy presence!

Do you know what this danger is? Or, rather, let us turn the question—are you alive to what your privileges are? Are you making full use of them? Are you, by this constant contact with divine things, growing in holiness, becoming every day more and more men of God?

And when he adds, “As the custom of some is,” he means to put a lash into his command. We can see his lip curl as he says it. Who are these people, who are so vastly strong, so supremely holy, that they do not need the assistance of the common worship for themselves; and who, being so strong and holy, will not give their assistance to the common worship?

In my own mind, I am quite clear that in an institution like this the whole body of students

The chapel at Princeton

should come together, both morning and evening, every day, for common prayer; and should join twice on every Sabbath in formal worship.

That if you do not find Christ in the conference room it is because you do not take him there with you….

Their function was to teach the saving truth of God, and, if they did that, it was frivolous for people in danger of perishing for want of the truth to object to the vessel in which it was offered to them.

Have we not the example of our Lord Jesus Christ? Are we better than he? Surely, if ever there was one who might justly plead that the common worship of the community had nothing to offer him it was the Lord Jesus Christ. But every Sabbath found him seated in his place among the worshiping people, and there was no act of stated worship which he felt himself entitled to discard. Even in his most exalted moods, and after his most elevating experiences, he quietly took his place with the rest of God’s people, sharing with them in the common worship of the community. Jesus Christ made it his habitual practice to be found in his place on the Sabbath day at the stated place of worship to which he belonged.

“Keep always before your mind the greatness of your calling…: the immensity of the task before you, the infinitude of the resources at your disposal.”

Every soul seeking God honestly and earnestly finds him, and, in finding him, finds the way to him. One hint I may give you, particularly adapted to you as students for the ministry: Keep always before your mind the greatness of your calling, that is to say, these two things: the immensity of the task before you, the infinitude of the resources at your disposal. I think it has not been idly said, that if we face the tremendous difficulty of the work before us, it will certainly throw us back upon our knees; and if we worthily gauge the power of the gospel committed to us, that will certainly keep us on our knees.

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One Response to The Religious Life of Theological Students, by Princeton Professor Dr. B. B. Warfield

  1. Halfhearted or insincere praise does not honor god, and He will not then honor us with His presence. God is holy and will not pretend that we are honoring Him when we really are not. This was one of the great repeated sins of the nation of Israel. Praise and worship degenerated into meaningless and hypocritical ritual where the so-called “praise” on their lips was completely detached from the attitude in their hearts, because true praise comes from a humble heart looking that is focused on God, (Isaiah 29:13).

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