Methods Of Perpetuating An Interest In Hearing The Gospel -- By: Edwards A. Park
BSac 28:110 (April 1871) p. 334
Methods Of Perpetuating An Interest In Hearing The Gospel
One of the most suggestive criticisms on the preaching of Paul was made by Luke, when he said that Paul and Barnabas “so spake that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.” He preached with power. Another criticism made by the same historian on the preaching of Paul is: “When the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.” He spoke not only with power, but also in such a way that his congregation desired to hear him again, and soon. How shall a man preach so as to retain the interest of his hearers in his discourses?
The design of the present Essay is to enumerate some of the methods in which we may perpetuate the interest of men in the preaching of divine truth. Several of these methods have been enumerated in a previous Essay on Power in the Pulpit.1 The same qualities which make a sermon effective may also make the hearers desire to be addressed again, and yet again, in the same way. There are other qualities, however, which are more distinctively appropriate to the minister’s perpetuating an interest in his sermons, than to his making them instinct with power.
The first of these methods is that of unfolding the peculiar doctrines of revelation. One of the most active desires of man is the desire of learning what is new. “Did the Almighty,” says Lessing, “holding in his right hand Truth, and in his left, Search after truth, deign to tender me the
BSac 28:110 (April 1871) p. 335
one I might prefer,—in all humility, but without hesitation, I should request Search after truth” Goethe is represented as saying: “I must confess that I should not know what to do with eternal bliss, if it did not offer me new problems and new difficulties to be mastered.” Now, the doctrines of religion not only gratify this ever-growing desire to learn what is new, but they are fitted to retain their freshness of interest; they never become old in the sense of stale. The mind was made for these doctrines. It can never be at entire ease until it is in harmony with them. They exercise the reasoning faculty; they are, indeed, the profoundest themes on which we can task it. They lift up the imagination; for this is the power that delights in doctrines immense and infinite. They grapple with the hopes and fears, the joys and sorrows of man. They arouse his will, and start it on a course which it will pursue with grief or gladness forever and ever. All other sciences are but tributary to the science of the Bible. In illustrating it botany and geology, ch...
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