A work that begins in the heart must be carried on in the closet. If we speak of the closet as the place where a person engages in private prayer, communion with God, and a place of honest soul-searching with God, then we may say, the closet is where heart-work is carried forward. Thomas Murphy elucidates this thought early in his classic work on Pastoral Theology.
The pastor’s own heart is the place in which the work must begin. His closet is the armory in which he must equip himself for the service that may require great hardness. It is the mount where he may tarry in the presence of God, and thence come down with glory beaming in his face. It is the upper room in which he may commune with Christ and obtain that burning love that will ever sweetly constrain. It is the mercy-seat, made so by the divine presence, where the Holy Spirit may overshadow him and imbue him with a wisdom and a might that will be irresistible. It is the secret place in which he may find his God, and then go out fortified to a work from which he might otherwise well shrink, saying, " Who is sufficient for these things?"
If you have not read Thomas Murphy’s Pastoral Theology, it contains much more wisdom that is often just as applicable to the Christian layman as to the minister of the gospel, both for the heart and the head. David C. Lachman, in his introduction to the 1996 Old Paths Publication (reprinted again in 2001), says:
Any pastor who has a measure of godly wisdom and has the spiritual good of his congregation at heart will profit much from a careful study of this work. Avail yourself of the treasure!
Thomas Murphy’s Pastoral Theology can be read online here.