Thoughts on Preaching
J. W. Alexander
"He with whom the ministry is a secondary thing, may be a correct, a learned, an elegant, even an oratorical, but will never be a powerful preacher."
"I preached as never sure to preach again and as a dying man to dying men."
"Nothing will give such power to our sermons, as when they are the sermons of many prayers. The best sermons are lost, except they be watered by prayer. It is easy to bring to our people the product of our own study; but the blessing belongs to the message delivered to them, as from the mouth of God."
R. L. Dabney
"The state of the pulpit may always be taken as an index of that of the church. Whenever the pulpit is evangelical, the piety of the people is in some degree healthy; a perversion of the pulpit is surely followed by spiritual apostasy in the church."
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"I would say that a 'dull preacher' is a contradiction in terms; if he is dull he is not a preacher. He may stand in a pulpit and talk, but he is certainly not a preacher."
"The man who is called by God is a man who realizes what he is called to do, and he so realizes the awefulness of the task that he shrinks from it. Nothing but this overwhelming sense of being called, and of compulsion, should ever lead anyone to preach."
Robert Murray M'Cheyne
"It is not so much great talents that God blesses, as great likeness to Christ."
"In preaching (or spiritual training of any sort) there is the need for an experience of the power of the truth in our won souls; if it does not dwell in power in us, it will not pass in power from us."
Charles H. Spurgeon
"The power that is in the gospel does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher; otherwise men would be the converters of souls. Nor does it lie in the preacherís learning; otherwise it would consist in the wisdom of men. We might preach until our tongues rotted, till we would exhaust our lungs and die, but never a soul would be converted unless the Holy Spirit be with the Word of God to give it the power to convert the soul."
"Preach not calmly and quietly as though you were asleep, but preach with fire and pathos and passion."
"The great reason why we have so little good preaching is that we have so little piety. To be eloquent one must be in earnest; he must not only act as if he were in earnest, or try to be in earnest, but be in earnest."
"Our ministry must be emphatic, or it will never affect these thoughtless times; and to this end our hearts must be habitually fervent, and our whole nature must be fired with an all-consuming passion for the glory of God and the good of men."
"Unless we have the spirit of the prophets resting upon us, the mantle which we wear is nothing but a rough garment to deceive. We ought to be driven forth with abhorrence from the society of honest men for daring to speak in the name of the Lord if the Spirit of God rests not upon us."
"There are also many expressions which may provoke a smile: but let it be remembered that every man has his moments when his lighter feelings indulge themselves, and the preacher must be allowed to have the same passions as his fellow-men; and since he lives in the pulpit more than anywhere else, it is but natural that his whole man should be there developed; besides, he is not quite sure about a smile being a sin, and, at any rate, he thinks it less a crime to cause a momentary laughter than a half-hour's profound slumber."
(from the preface to the first volume of The New Park Street Pulpit.)
"If some men were sentenced to hear their own sermons, it would be a righteous judgment upon them; but they would soon cry out with Cain, "My punishment is greater than I can bear."
"Would ministers preach for eternity! They would then act the part of true Christian orators, and not only calmly and cooly inform the understanding, but, by persuasive, pathetic address, endeavour to move the affections and warm the heart."