The Three Fundamental Methods Of Preaching — The Writing Of Sermons -- By: Edwards A. Park
BSac 28:112 (Oct 1871) p. 707
The Three Fundamental Methods Of Preaching — The Writing Of Sermons
[Continued from p. 598.]
II. Rules for the Writer of Sermons. —“There was a politic sermon, that had no divinity in it, was preached before the king. The king, as he came forth, said to Bishop Andrews: ‘Call you this a sermon?’ The bishop answered: ‘And it please your majesty, by a charitable construction it may be a sermon.’”1 A man may easily write what is charitably called a sermon, and “make nothing of it”; but in writing what is actually a sermon, he must carefully train both his body and his mind. The following suggestions are expressed in the form of rules, because they are generally and more conveniently made in this form, and are adopted as rules by eminent authors, whose remarks will be quoted in illustration of them. Some of the suggestions refer to the minister’s discipline in preparing to write, more than in his actual writing; some, to the general habit of composition, more than to the act of composing a single discourse.
1. Strive to make your external circumstances, and especially your physical state, conducive to your facility in writing. The associations and conveniences of a place may be made thus conducive. Moving under the shades of “Addison’s walk” at Oxford, a man comes as near being a poet as he ever will come. Sitting in Sir Walter Scott’s chair at Abbotsford, with his noble library easily accessible,
BSac 28:112 (Oct 1871) p. 708
a student catches the inspiration of genius as fully as he ever will receive it. Bishop Berkeley wrote parts of his “Minute Philosopher” at the Paradise Rock on Rhode Island, and could never have written them so well elsewhere. We may smile at the whims of Kant and Neander in regard to their positions in their lecture-rooms; but there are certain reminiscences and fitnesses of a study which will facilitate the work of almost any writer. It is a singular, if not a mortifying, fact, that if his lexicon or concordance be on a high shelf at a distance of ten feet from him, he will not consult it as often as he should; if it lie within reach of his arm, he will be more rigid in his fidelity. A minister would be ridiculed as whimsical, if he should be so dependent on outward circumstances as Goethe was; yet Goethe is regarded as the model of a mind acting healthily in a healthy body. He says of himself, when composing his Faust: “I daily think and invent more and more upon it. I have now had the whole manuscript of the second part sewed into books, that it may be a palpable mass before my eye. The place of the yet wanting fourth act is filled with white paper; and, undoubtedly, what is finished will...
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