Schott’s Treatise On The Structure Of A Sermon -- By: Edwards A. Park

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 005:20 (Nov 1848)
Article: Schott’s Treatise On The Structure Of A Sermon
Author: Edwards A. Park


Schott’s Treatise On The Structure Of A Sermon

Edwards A. Park

[In the Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. II. pp. 12 seq. was given an Abstract of the First Part of Schott’s Theorie der Beredsamkeit. In the Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. III. pp. 461 seq. was given an Abstract of the Second Part of the same work. The First Division of the Third Part is condensed into the present Article. Its German title is: Theorie der rednerischen Anordnung, mit besonderer Anwendung auf die geistliche Rede. It occupies 254 pages of the third volume of Schott’s entire treatise.]

1. Importance Of A Regular Plan For A Sermon

The constructing of a good plan for a discourse requires not merely a general, but also a minute, thorough, profound acquaintance with the subject to which the discourse is devoted. Hence the want of a complete mastery over the theme is a frequent cause of the failure in the plan of presenting it, (and the search for an apposite order of the thoughts is a valuable means of suggesting the right thoughts themselves). As the sermon is designed to bring the hearers into entire sympathy with the preacher, it must exhibit that arrangement of ideas which can be most easily followed. As the preacher is engaged in an important colloquy with his hearers, he must follow it up on his part in a direct and an intelligible method. This method is useful, first to him in preparing his address, and secondly to them in understanding it. He must pursue a business-like course, going straightforward to his object; and this is method. He must adopt the order of progress, of advancement from the less to the greater; for it is a rule in aesthetics as well as morals, that there should be a uniform improvement, and that the last should be the best. He must also adhere constantly and perseveringly to this progressive plan; for it is equally a rule both of rhetoric and of morals, that there be no deviation from the right course, no averting of the aim from the best object of pursuit. The instant that a hearer fails to see the design of a remark, he fails of the requisite union between himself and the speaker. The demand

made upon the orator is, that he first enlighten and convince his audience; and he cannot fulfil this demand by barely presenting ideas; he must present them in the fitting relation to one another. He must next enkindle the imagination, arouse the feelings, and persuade the will; and must exercise no little sagacity in determining the order in which he shall address these different parts of our constitution. He is not exclusively to pursue the method of logic, but also that of an enlarged psychology. He is to consult all the principles of our nature, and to adapt his discourse to them according to the plan ...

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