The Structure Of A Sermon. — The Text -- By: Edwards A. Park

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 030:120 (Oct 1873)
Article: The Structure Of A Sermon. — The Text
Author: Edwards A. Park

The Structure Of A Sermon. — The Text

Prof. Edwards A. Park

[In the present Volume of the Bibliotheca Sacra, pp. 534-573, is the first part of this Article, devoted to the definition of the words, “Sermon,” “Preach,” “Text;” the Advantages of Preaching from Biblical Texts; Objections to the Use of Texts; Different Methods of Selecting Texts; the Fitnesses of Passages of the Bible for Texts of Sermons. Under the last-named head it is stated that passages of the Bible have a fitness to be used as texts, when the passages, I. involve a moral principle; II. most aptly represent the spirit of the Bible; III. have a divine authority; IV. refer, as they stand in the Bible, to the same object which they refer to in the sermon; V. are complete in their grammatical construction and express a complete idea which is the complete idea of the sermon.]

VI. The appropriateness of a biblical passage to the subject, the writer, the hearer, and the occasion1 of a sermon gives it a fitness to be used as a text. This remark may seem tautological; but a passage may be entirely appropriate in some of its relations, while it is, on the whole, unfit to be used as the basis of a sermon.

1. The text should be appropriate to the theme of the discourse.

Where other reasons allow it should be co-extensive with the subject; general, if the subject be so; specific, if the theme be specific. Bishop Latimer was fond of preaching on the words: “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning” (Rom. 15:4), and of introducing under these words a large variety of particular discussions for which he might have found particularly adjusted texts. Devoting his entire sermon to a reprimand of his auditors for their demeanor in the house of worship; their habit of sitting upright with their eyes open in the time

of public devotion; of standing with the face to the choir and the back to the pulpit in the time of singing; of conversing aloud and on secular themes, as soon as the benediction was uttered, a youthful preacher took for his text the imposing announcement: “Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up, by putting you in remembrance” (2 Pet. 1:13). The speaker’s physical aspect gave promise that he would remain a long time in his fleshly tabernacle; but he introduced his discourse with words which sounded like the dying words of an aged counsellor. He was commenting on the minor improprieties of worship; his text was distinctively appropriate to the most solemn duties of our pro...

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