I have enjoyed learning about the legacy of Thomas Scott (1747-1821). Scott had been a godless and lazy minister in the Church of England, at a time when many non-evangelical clergy were distinguished by their lukewarm enthusiasm for true religion. His own neglect of his duty provoked him to search the Scriptures and through this study he was brought to genuine repentance.
Scott charts his journey to repentance in an autobiography entitled The Force of Truth. Conscious of his own experience he summons ministers to devote themselves to the study of Scripture. In this extract, Scott laments the wasted time and confused priorities which plague the minister.
We ministers, especially, though at ordination we solemnly promise to turn all our studies [to the Word] are very apt to suffer our time and our thoughts to be engrossed with such studies and employments as are foreign to our profession, and interfere with it, and which leave at most but a secondary attention for the study of the Word of God.
He exhorts his fellow ministers to return to a diligent Word-centered ministry.
The Word of God informs us that true wisdom, the saving, practical, and experimental knowledge of Divine things, is not to be acquired without earnest and diligent seeking . . . If then our wisdom has been acquired without any of that eagerness and painful diligence with which the covetous man desires and seeks for riches, it is a shrewd conjecture that it is not of the genuine sort.1
1 Thomas Scott, The Force of Truth (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1984), 105-109.