Reinhard’s Sermons -- By: Edwards A. Park

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 006:23 (Aug 1849)
Article: Reinhard’s Sermons
Author: Edwards A. Park


Reinhard’s Sermons

Edwards A. Park

In the last No. of the Bib. Sac, it was proposed to give some illustrations of the sermons of Francis Volkmar Reinhard, the celebrated Court Preacher at Dresden. Some remarks having been made on his Life and Labors, the Novelty and Variety of his Themes for the Pulpit, the Connection of his Themes with his Texts, and with the Occasions on which they were discussed, the Rhetorical Structure of his Discourses, their Vivacity, and their Fitness to excite the Curiosity of hearers or readers; we now proceed to consider the

§ 9. Historical Character Of His Sermons

The festivals1 of the Romish and some of the Reformed churches, have reference to the external facts of Christianity. Many of the lessons prescribed for these festivals are of course narrative in their character, and lead to the composition of historical discourses. When

Reinhard was appointed, in 1808, to make a new pericope for the Saxon churches, he selected as many narrative lessons as propriety allowed, because such texts “give the preacher an opportunity to vivify his discourses by actual events, and to apply his remarks immediately to the relations of common life.”2 His example is congenial with his theory. Although he never occupies the chief part of a discourse with a continuous narrative, he frequently diffuses the historical element through his entire discussion. It may be called his favorite method, first to expose the principle which underlies some biographical incident, and then apply that principle to our common life. His text presents an individual fact; he briefly develops the moral truth involve! in that fact, and devotes the body of his sermon to the illustration of that truth in the daily conduct of men. Thus his discourses have the interest and the vividness of the historical style, their moral lessons being pictured out in the significant fact which the text records, and have at the same time the unity and directness of the logical arrangement, unfolding a principle in its exact relations, and explaining it incidentally by the text. There is, however, an occasional infelicity, perhaps an apparent irreverence, in applying a record of the divine operations, or a passage of our Saviour’s life, to the habits of men, and thus making the greater merely illustrative of the less. In the lesson Matt. 9:1–8 it is said, that Jesus “entered into a ship and came into his own city” (Capernaum, the place of the Saviour’s frequent residence during his public ministry), “and immediately they brought to him a man sick of the p...

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