The Distinctive Idea Of Preaching -- By: Calvin Pease
BSac 10:38 (April 1853) p. 366
The Distinctive Idea Of Preaching
All powerful and convincing utterance of religious truth is marked by these three things, viz. it comes from the heart and personal experience of him who utters it; it is fresh and new like water from the spring; it is, moreover, that old and “sure word of prophecy? which has been tested and confirmed in the experience of all Christians in all ages of the church. There is, therefore, equal accuracy and beauty in our Saviour’s comparison of the well-instructed scribe to “a house-holder who bringeth forth out of his own1 treasure things new and old.” Matt. 13:52, The most effective and stirring thing which any man can utter, is that which he knows most clearly and feels most deeply. All laborious straining and painful reaching after something more and better and deeper, than one’s own proper thoughts and sentiments, must always, inevitably, defeat itself, and bring out only that which is far weaker and far poorer than those familiar sentiments, which lie on the very surface of the mind. These, as far as they go, are real. But the strain to produce more than one has, and to do more and better than one can, will bring forth nothing but wind; mere resemblances to some pattern, which it would fain imitate; shadow without substance; form without life. And so nature and truth get their revenge upon the mind, by justifying its poor opinion of itself. The depths of human thought and
BSac 10:38 (April 1853) p. 367
feeling find their outlet, only through the channels of our most familiar thoughts and most habitual feelings. These must first be set in motion, before the pent-up waters beneath can get vent, and come up to the surface, and flow forth in a full and gushing stream. Let a man be true to his own mind; and set a generous value upon his own sentiments and affections, and he will soon find his confidence justified, and his generosity rewarded. They will soon furnish him with the finest and richest products of which his nature is capable. And we actually find that the very greatest productions of literature are characterized, more than by any other thing, by a simple, natural, fresh and appropriate utterance of truth, so seemingly familiar, that we are surprised less at their magnitude and weight, than that they should never have occurred to us in the same light before. Thus, too, it often happens, when men have been diving as deep as they can, that they find the pearls which they bring up, to be nothing more than thoughts and convictions which had escaped their notice, only because they were so familiar. It is, therefore, from no far-sought foreign region, that we are to bring the best and...
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