Monday, September 08, 2008

How Do We Preach?

As preachers, they were all remarkable. There are some who preach before their people, like actors on the stage, to display themselves and to please their audience. Not such were the self-denied preachers of Ross-shire. There are others who preach over
their people. Studying for the highest, instead of doing so for the
lowest, in intelligence, they elaborate learned treatises, which float
like mist, when delivered, over the heads of their hearers. Not such
were the earnest preachers of Ross-shire. There are some who preach past
their people. Directing their praise or their censure to intangible
abstractions, they never take aim at the views and the conduct of the
individuals before them. They step carefully aside, lest their hearers
should be struck by their shafts, and aim them at phantoms beyond them.
Not such were the faithful preachers of Ross-shire. There are others who preach at
their people, serving out in a sermon the gossip of the week, and
seemingly possessed with the idea that the transgressor can be scolded
out of the ways of iniquity. Not such were the wise preachers of Ross-shire. There are some who preach towards
their people. They aim well, but they are weak. Their eye is along the
arrow towards the hearts of their hearers, but their arm is too feeble
for sending it on to the mark. Superficial in their experience and in
their knowledge, they reach not the cases of God’s people by their
doctrine, and they strike with no vigour at the consciences of the
ungodly. Not such were the powerful preachers of Ross-shire. There are others still, who preach along
their congregation. Instead of standing with their bow in front of the
ranks, these archers take them in line, and, reducing their mark to an
individual, never change the direction of their aim. Not such were the discriminating preachers of Ross-shire. But there are a few who preach to
the people directly and seasonably the mind of God in His Word, with
authority, unction, wisdom, fervour, and love. Such as these last were
the eminent preachers of Ross-shire.

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