means an inferior person, in opposition to magister, a
superior. One is connected with the Latin minus, and the other
with magis. Our Lord says, “Whosoever will be great among you,
let him be your minister,” where the antithesis is well preserved. The
minister of a church is a man who serves the parish or
congregation; and the minister of the Crown is the sovereign's servant.
Florimond de Remond, speaking of Albert Babinot, one of the
disciples of Calvin, says, “He was a student of the Institutes, read at
the hall of the Equity school in Poitiers, and was called la
” Calvin, in allusion thereto, used to call him “Mr.
Minister,” whence not only Babinot but all the other clergy of the
Calvinistic church were called ministers
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894