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

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 029:116 (Oct 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

(Continued from p. 383).

IV. Reasons for Preaching Extempore.

If a military commander conduct a battle without previously forming a plan of it, or if he forms an exact and inflexible plan, extending to all the minutiae of the battle, he may have reason to fear a defeat. If, on the contrary, he devise a general scheme of operations, and hold himself ready to change it in order to meet the unexpected details of the conflict, he may have good reason to anticipate a victory. So if an ex temporizer begin his discourse without any preceding arrangement of his subject-matter-, or if he make a definite and unalterable arrangement of even its minutest details, he may not be justified in anticipating success. But if he make a general schedule of his thoughts, and leave it to be filled out and modified as the incidents of the delivery suggest, he may reasonably hope to speak well. For the sake of convenience the method of preaching without any antecedent plan of thought is called the unpremeditated; the method of preaching with a merely general, but flexible plan, is called the premeditated; the method of preaching with a definite, fixed, unbending plan, which includes the minutest details, is called the predetermined. Having already considered the rules for extemporaneous discourse, we are prepared to consider the reasons for it. Of course these reasons apply to the second of the above named modes of preaching extempore; not to the first, which, however, may be commended when there is no time for the second; nor to the third, which corresponds to the “exact” mode of preparing

a discourse,1 and which may be sanctioned when the preacher is undisciplined for anything more free and natural.

1. Several of the reasons for preaching extempore are suggested as soon as we examine the nature of sacred eloquence. If a minister speak according to the principles of oratory; he speaks according to the constitution of the soul, and if he harmonize with the constitution of the soul, he discourses in unison with the laws of nature; and if he utter the truth in consonance with these laws, he obeys the Author of these laws, and may expect aid from on high. The nature of a sermon is the same as the nature of a dialogue. The interlocution being public is of course conducted with a peculiar reserve and decorum. Mere prose is designed merely to instruct the intellect; a sermon is therefore not mere prose. Neither is it a lyric poem; for such a poem is the outgushing of the emotions of a man who utters what pleases him, and does not watch for the effect of his words on ...

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