In "Lycidas," lines 108-31, John Milton included a scathing condemnation of false ministers of the gospel through a speaker, "The Pilot of the Galilean lake," a cipher for Peter, the leading apostle. I encourage my brethren in the gospel ministry to read carefully the accounts regarding false prophets in Deuteronomy 18:20-22; 1 Kings 22:13-35; Jeremiah 23:9-40 and 28:1-17; and Ezekiel 13:1-23 and 34:1-22. Consider also the Lord's warning about false teachers and messiahs in Matthew 24:4-5, 11, as well as Paul's anathemas against perverting the gospel in Galatians 1:6-9, and Peter's searing description of the false prophets in 2 Peter 2:1-22, or John's withering denunciation of deceptive teachers who deny Jesus is God come in the flesh in 1 John 2:18-22. We teachers of the gospel are held to a higher standard, and that is a cause for intense inspection of one's message and demeanor.
Last came, and last did go,May the Lord preserve us from false teachers and grant us true preachers of the gospel of life.
The Pilot of the Galilean lake,
Two massy Keyes he bore of metals twain,
(The Golden opes, the Iron shuts amain)
He shook his Miter'd locks, and stern bespake,
How well could I have spar'd for thee young swain,
Anow of such as for their bellies sake,
Creep and intrude, and climb into the fold?
Of other care they little reck'ning make,
Then how to scramble at the shearers feast,
And shove away the worthy bidden guest.
Blind mouthes! that scarce themselves know how to hold
A Sheep-hook, or have learn'd ought els the least
That to the faithfull Herdmans art belongs!
What recks it them? What need they? They are sped;
And when they list, their lean and flashy songs
Grate on their scrannel Pipes of wretched straw,
The hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed,
But swoln with wind, and the rank mist they draw,
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread:
Besides what the grim Woolf with privy paw
Daily devours apace, and nothing sed,
But that two-handed engine at the door,
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.