John Flavel:

A prudent minister will study the souls of his people more than the best human books in his library, and not chose what is easiest for him, but what is most necessary for them. Ministers that are acquainted with the state of their flocks, as they ought to be, will be seldom at a loss in the choice of the next subject. Their people’s needs will choose their text for them…This will direct us to the great doctrines of convictions, regenerations, and faith, and will make us sit thoughtfully in our studies, asking “Lord, what course shall we take, and what words shall we use that we may best convey the sense of their sin and danger, with the fullness and necessity of Christ, to their hearts?”

The Character of a True Evangelical Pastor, Drawn by Christ, in The Works of John Flavel, 6 vols. 6:571 as quoted in The Preacher’s Catechism, p. 63

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