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PREACHING
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[ Also see Advice Churches Eloquence Installation Service Instruction Ministers Occupations Oratory Prayer Religion Sermon Teaching Theology Worship ]

The minister should preach as if he felt that although the congregation own the church, and have bought the pews, they have not bought him. His soul is worth no more than any other man's, but it is all he has, and he cannot be expected to sell it for a salary. The terms are by no means equal. If a parishioner does not like the preaching, he can go elsewhere and get another pew, but the preacher cannot get another soul.
      - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

But Cristes loore, and his Apostles twelve
  He taughte, but first he folowed it hymselfe.
      - Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
         (prologue, l. 527)

You don't want a diction gathered from the newspapers, caught from the air, common and unsuggestive; but you want one whose every word is full-freighted with suggestion and association, with beauty and power.
      - Rufus Choate

Of all sorts of flattery, that which comes from a solemn character and stands before a sermon is the worst-complexioned. Such commendation is a satire upon the author, makes the text look mercenary, and disables the discourse from doing service.
      - Jeremy Collier

In pulpit eloquence, the grand difficulty lies here--to give the subject all the dignity it so fully deserves, without attaching any importance to ourselves. The Christian messenger cannot think too highly of his prince, nor too humbly of himself.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

We must judge religious movements, not by the men who make them, but by the men they make.
      - Joseph Cook

There goes the parson, oh illustrious spark!
  And there, scarce less illustrious, goes the clerk.
      - William Cowper,
        On Observing Some Names of Little Note

I venerate the man whose heart is warm,
  Whose hands are pure, whose doctrine and whose life,
    Coincident, exhibit lucid proof
      That he is honest in the sacred cause.
      - William Cowper, Task (bk. II, l. 372)

Would I describe a preacher,
  . . . .
    I would express him simple, grave, sincere;
      In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain,
        And plain in manner; decent, solemn, chaste,
          And natural in gesture; much impress'd
            Himself, as conscious of his awful charge,
              And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds
                May feel it too; affectionate in look,
                  And tender in address, as well becomes
                    A messenger of grace to guilty men.
      - William Cowper, Task (bk. II, l. 394)

He that negotiates between God and man,
  As God's ambassador, the grand concerns
    Of judgment and of mercy, should beware
      Of lightness in his speech.
      - William Cowper, Task (bk. II, l. 463)

The things that mount the rostrum with a skip,
  And then skip down again, pronounce a text,
    Cry hem; and reading what they never wrote
      Just fifteen minutes, huddle up their work,
        And with a well-bred whisper close the scene!
      - William Cowper, Task (bk. II, l. 463)

A kick that scarce would move a horse,
  May kill a sound divine.
      - William Cowper, Yearly Distress (st. 16)

The priest he merry is, and blithe
  Three-quarters of a year,
    But oh! it cuts him like a scythe
      When tithing time draws near.
      - William Cowper, Yearly Distress (st. 2)

Let him who would move and convince others, be first moved and convinced himself.
      - Theodore Ledyard Cuyler

Go forth and preach impostures to the world,
  But give them truth to build on.
      - Dante ("Dante Alighieri"),
        Vision of Paradise (canto XXIX)

God preaches, a noted clergyman,
  And the sermon is never long;
    So instead of getting to heaven at last,
      I'm going all along.
      - Emily Dickinson, Poems
         (VI, A Service of Song)

The province of the soul is large enough to fill up every cranny of your time, and leave you much to answer for if one wretch be damned by your neglect.
      - John Dryden

The proud he tam'd, the penitent he cheer'd:
  Nor to rebuke the rich offender fear'd.
    His preaching much, but more his practice wrought;
      (A living sermon of the truths he taught:)
        For this by rules severe his life he squar'd:
          That all might see the doctrines which they heard.
      - John Dryden, Character of a Good Parson
         (l. 75)

All things with which we deal preach to us. What is a farm but a mute gospel? The chaff and the wheat, weeds and plants, blight, rain, insects, sun,--it is a sacred emblem from the first furrow of spring to the last stack which the snow of winter overtakes in the fields.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Men of God have always, from time to time, walked among men, and made their commission felt in the heart and soul of the commonest hearer.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The orator is thereby an orator that keeps his feet ever on a fact.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Alas for the unhappy man that is called to stand in the pulpit, and not give the bread of life.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson,
        An Address to the Senior Class in Divinity College, Cambridge

Be short in all religious exercises. Better leave the people longing than loathing.
      - Nathaniel Emmons

Style should be like window-glass, perfectly transparent, and with very little sash.
      - Nathaniel Emmons

A good discourse is that from which one can take nothing without taking the life.
      - Francois de Salignac Fenelon


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