This chapter is titled “Sermons- Their Matter”.
-“…the true value of a sermon must lie, not in the fashion and manner, but in the truth in which it contains.”
-“Set no store by the quantity of words which you utter, but strive to be esteemed for the quality of your matter.”
-“Rest assured that the most fervid revivalism will wear itslef out in mere smoke, if it be not maintained by the fuel of teaching.”
-On theologically-driven sermons-“I believe the remark is too well grounded that if you attend a lecturer on astronomy or geology, during a short course you will obtain a tolerably clear view of his system; but if you listen, not only for twelve months, but for twelve years, to the common run of preachers, you will not arrive at anything like an idea of their system of theology.”
-On staying with the text- “Some brethren have done with their text as soon as they have read it. Having paid all due honor to that particular passage by announcing it, they feel no necessity further to refer to it…Why do such men take a text at all? Why limit their own glorious liberty? Why make Scripture a horsing-block by which to mount upon their unbridled Pegasus?” That last sentence there immediately reminds me of the greater descriptive abilities of a generation raised on words and not video.
-“It is due to the majesty of inspiration that when you profess to be preaching from a verse you do not thrust it out of sight to make room for your own thinkings.”
-On not keeping select teachings away from the majority of your people-“It is not true that some doctrines are only for the inititiated; there is nothing in the Bible which is ashamed of the light.”
-On keeping doctrinal balance- “A nose is an important feature in the human countenance, but to paint a man’s nose alone is not a satisfactory method of taking his likeness: a doctrine may be very important, but an exaggerated estimate of it may be fatal to an harmonious and complete ministry.”
-On Cross-centered preaching- “Brethren, first and above all things, keep to plain evangelical doctrines; whatever else you do or do not preach, be sure incessantly to bring forth the soul-saving truth of Christ and him crucified.”
“Of all I would wish to say this is the sum; my brethren, preach Christ, always and evermore. He is the whole gospel. His person, offices, and work must be our one great, all-comprehending theme.”
-On a focused sermon- “Do not overload a sermon with too much matter. All truth is not be comprised in one discourse.” “One thought fixed on the mind will be better than fifty thoughts made to flit across the ear.”
-On clarity- “Your doctrinal teaching should be clear and unmistakable. To be so, it must first of all be clear to yourself. Some men think in smoke and preach in a cloud.”
-On heretical writings…(pastors take note!)-“For my part, I believe that the chief readers of heterodox books are ministers, and that if they would not notice them they [the books] would fall still-born from the press. Let a minister keep clear of mystifying himself, and then he is on the road to becoming intelligible to his people.”
-On “prophetic” speculation and End-times drama-“Blessed are they who read and hear the words of the prophecy of the Revelation, but the like blessing has evidently not fallen on those who pretend to expound it, for generation after generation of them have been proved to be in error by the mere lapse of time, and the present race will follow to the same inglorious sepulchre. I would sooner pluck one single brand from the burning than explain all mysteries.”