Of all the things that desecrate the Sabbath and grieve the Spirit, attempt at high-flown oratory and gorgeous eloquence in preaching I believe are about the worst. Our business is just to speak out the gospel simply and plainly to every creature. We do not actually preach the gospel to a man if we do not make him understand what we are talking about. If our language does not come down to his level, it may be the gospel, but it is not the gospel to him. The preacher should adopt language which shall be suitable to all his congregation — In preaching he should strive to instruct, to enforce, to explain, to expound, to plead and to bring home to every man’s heart and conscience, as in the sight of God, as far as his ability goes, the truth which beyond all argument or cavil has the seal and stamp of divine revelation....
Some must preach by their holy lives. Others must preach by their talking to the ones and twos, like the Master at the well, who was as much preaching when he conversed with the woman of Samaria as when he addressed the multitude on the banks of the lake of Gennesaret, and uttered doctrine as sublime in that little village of Sychar as he proclaimed at the beautiful gate of the temple. Others must preach by distributing the truth printed for circulation; and a right noble service this is, especially when the pure word of life, the Bible itself, is sown broadcast in this and other lands. If we cannot speak with our own tongue, we must borrow other men’s tongues; and if we cannot write with our own pens, we must borrow other men’s pens; but we must do it in some way or other.
...we must make the gospel known to every creature by some means or other — throw it in his way, make him know that there is a gospel, and challenge his very curiosity to learn what it means. You cannot make him accept it, or believe; it — that is God’s work but you can and must make him know of it, and plead with him to receive it, and do not let it be your fault if he does not welcome it. Do all, as much as within you lies, to make every creature know what the gospel is, so that if he will not accept it yet he shall have had the kingdom of God brought nigh to him. The responsibility of his accepting or rejecting it shall then be his business, and none of yours.
From a sermon entitled "Preach, Preach, Preach Everywhere." Image by Maciej Lewandowski under Creative Commons License.