The Three Fundamental Methods Of Preaching — Preaching Extempore -- By: Edwards A. Park

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 029:114 (Apr 1872)
Article: The Three Fundamental Methods Of Preaching — Preaching Extempore
Author: Edwards A. Park


The Three Fundamental Methods Of Preaching — Preaching Extempore

Edwards A. Park

§ 5. Preaching Extempore

When a stranger stands before a noted cylinder-machine in the Ardwick Print Works at Manchester, England, he is bewildered by its complicated processes. The yellow or purple cloth is applied to one part of the machine; it is drawn between the main cylinder and the rollers; and, in a few minutes, from another part of the machine it comes forth, not the plain yellow or purple fabric, but variegated with eighteen or twenty different colors, arranged in festoons of leaves and flowers, in crimson arches or scarlet curves. One textile fabric is ornamented so as to gratify the taste of a European princess, another to captivate an Asiatic king; this fabric is modestly adorned for a Fellow at the university, that is highly colored for a half-civilized African. While the stranger walks around this apparatus, he regards it as almost a work of magic. He examines the mordant, the color-boxes filled with brilliant or rich or modest dyes,— more fascinating, some of them, than the Tyrian purple, — the rollers engraved in intaglio and colored by those various dyes, the wheels and bands drawing the fabric when saturated with the base under those sharply-engraved rollers; then he sees that all this apparent magic is the result of explicable laws.

The process of extemporaneous oratory has been compared to the working of such a complicated machine. A man who was not intending to utter a word is suddenly called to address an assembly. He understands the subject which he is to discuss, and his thoughts rise, one after another, in a

fit arrangement. These thoughts awaken within him the appropriate feelings; and the thoughts and the feelings suggest the proper words in their proper places. They affect the tones of his voice; they prompt the expressive gestures. The sound of his own words and the meaning of his own attitudes react upon him and heighten his excitement. New images crowd upon him; illustrations before unthought of occur to him and startle him. The thoughts which had a plain base when he began his address come out now adorned with blooming metaphors. He fears that he may conceal the main idea under the similes which are flowering out as he speaks; he culls some of the flowers, and rejects others. He sees the danger of covering up the great principle by a multiplicity of details; he selects a few of the details, and dismisses the many. He watches his auditors, as well as his theme; he finds that one argument has not produced its intended effect; he introduces new proof which he had designed to omit. He perceives that his appeals to the sensibilities of his audience are more effective than he anticipat...

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