Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Preaching in plain language

“He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him but blessing shall be
upon the head of him that selleth it.” — Proverbs 11:26.

Oh, dear friends, when we preach the gospel plainly, I am sure we have our reward! When preaching in some village chapel, or from a wagon in a field, it is no small delight to watch the faces of the men in smockfrocks and the women in their print gowns, as they catch or feel the force of an inspired truth; plain speech wins their blessing. But to stand and talk right over the people’s heads - what is it but having the corn and keeping it from those who want it? Simplicity is the authorized style of true gospel ministry. “Having this ministry,” says the apostle, “we use great plainness of speech.” The common people heard the Master gladly, which they would not have done if he had spoken in highflown language. Whitfield, the prince of preachers, was mainly so because of the market language which he used. Let all of us who have the bread of life try to be very plain. You who write tracts, or preach in the street, or you that teach children, break the large slices of truth into small pieces, and crack the shells of the hard nuts. Take away the crust for the babes, and pick out the stones from the fruit. Beware lest in seeking an excess of refinement you withhold the corn and win the people’s curse.

From a sermon entitled "Withholding Corn," delivered July 30, 1865. Image by Calum Davidson under Creative Commons License.

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