Thursday, March 18, 2010

Eloquent... or persuasive?

It is never worth a minister’s while to go up his pulpit stairs to show his auditors that he is an adept in elocution. Highsounding words and flowery periods, are a mockery of man’s spiritual needs. If a man desireth to display his oratory, let him study for the bar, or enter Parliament, but let him not degrade the cross of Christ into a peg to hang his tawdry rags of speech upon.

The cross is only lifted up aright when we can say, “Not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” Every minister should be able to say with Paul, “Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech.” No, my dear hearers, may it never be in any measure or degree an object of ours to flash and coruscate, and dazzle and astonish; but may we keep this one aim in view, namely, to persuade you to be Christians.

From a sermon entitled "To Those Who Are 'Almost Persuaded,'" delivered May 16, 1869. Image by Ken Bosma under Creative Commons License.

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