(The Photo above is the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, prior called the “Dutch Calvinistic Presbyterian Church”)
Rev. Bruin Romcas Comingoe was ordained to the ministry of the Gospel on July 3rd, 1770 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was the first Minister of the Gospel Ordained in Canada, and his ordination also accompanied the first Presbytery meeting (with the stated purpose of ordaining him). Comingoe would labour at the Dutch Calvinistic Presbyterian Church in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia until his death at age 96. The “Presbytery” Constituted to Ordain him consisted of two Presbyterians (Rev. James Lyons and Rev. James Murdoch)and two Congregationalists (Rev. John Seccombe and Rev. Phelps). Rev. John Seccombe preached the the Ordination Sermon of Rev. Comingoe on John 21: 15-16. Comingoe, had been a fisherman before being ordained and lacked any seminary training but was deemed fit for a needy Congregation who could not secure a minister from their native Holland. Rev. Seccombe in preaching this sermon brings out though that Comingoe had something just as valuable as a theological education and that was walking with Christ in this life and experiences the Grace of God in His heart.
Rev. Seccombe in the sermon illustrates the Necessity of God’s Grace working in this, quote and it is something that modern Pastors and theology students should take to heart:
“They who are not taught themselves the Truth as it is in Jesus, cannot be fit to teach others. All the useful learning with which men ca be furnished is,(as one well expresses it) but laying a ground of some meaner colour, which afterwards is designed to be overlaid with Gold. Grace is the Gold and Silver, without which all acquirements, though in themselves highly valuable are comparatively as hay and stubble. They who are Pastors after God’s Heart must be furnished with His own Spirit: Ornamented with the fruits and graces of the Spirit: Which inward adorning is in the sight of God of great price. There may be a resemblance of these things in some men, who are yet really destitute of them.”
It is true that without the work of God’s Grace in our lives, all of our human learning is but “Hay and Stubble”. We must remember it is not the theological expertise that makes a minister but rather his love of Christ, Ministers and Theology Students should be interested in knowing if their interest in Christ is true and if the ornaments of God’s Grace follow them in day to day life outside the pulpit. Though Rev. Comingoe did not have a formal education he had a knowledge of Christ, let all remember this as the key to a successful ministry and walk with Christ! It is never our merits, but Christ’s!
The full sermon can be read here, and it is a highly recommended read: