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

The clergy are at present divided into three sections: an immense body who are ignorant; a small proportion who know and are silent; and a minute minority who know and speak according to their knowledge.
      - Thomas Henry Huxley

Let us never forget that, to be profited, that is, to be spiritually improved in knowledge, faith, holiness, joy and love, is the end of hearing sermons, and not merely to have our taste gratified by genius, eloquence and oratory.
      - John Angell James

Sir, a woman preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well: but you are surprised to find it done at all.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature"),
        Boswell's Life of Johnson

Man makes up his mind he will preach, and he preaches.
      - Jean de la Bruyere

O that our prelates would be as diligent to sow the corn of good doctrine, as Satan is to sow cockle and darnel!
      - Hugh Latimer

And he played on a harp of a thousand strings,
  Spirits of just men made perfect.
      - ascribed to Rev. Henry Taliaferro Lewis,
        Burlesque Sermon,
        in the Brandon (Miss.) "Republic"

Intelligible discourses are spoiled by too much subtlety in nice divisions.
      - John Locke (1)

As pleasant songs, at morning sung,
  The words that dropped from his sweet tongue
    Strengthened our hearts; or, heard at night,
      Made all our slumbers soft and light.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
        Christus--The Golden Legend (pt. I)

Skilful alike with tongue and pen,
  He preached to all men everywhere
    The Gospel of the Golden Rule,
      The New Commandment given to men,
        Thinking the deed, and not the creed,
          Would help us in out utmost need.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
        Prelude to Tales of a Wayside Inn
         (l. 217)

It is by the Vicar's skirts that the
  Devil climbs into the Belfry.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
        The Spanish Student (act I, sc. 2)

A preacher should have the skill to teach the unlearned simply roundly, and plainly; for teaching is of more importance than exhorting.
      - Martin Luther

I would not have preachers torment their hearers, and detain them with long and tedious preaching.
      - Martin Luther

Let all your preaching be in the most simple and plainest manner; look not to the prince, but to the plain, simple, gross, unlearned people, of which cloth the prince also himself is made. If I, in my preaching, should have regard to Philip Melancthon and other learned doctors, then should I do but little good. I preach in the simplest manner to the unskillful, and that giveth content to all. Hebrew, Greek and Latin I spare until we learned ones come together.
      - Martin Luther

Some plague the people with too long sermons; for the faculty of listening is a tender thing, and soon becomes weary and satiated.
      - Martin Luther

Language the most forcible proceeds from the man who is most sincere. The way to speak with power, or to write words that pierce mankind to the quick, is to speak and write honestly.
      - Elias L. Magoon

I love a serious preacher, who speaks for my sake and not for his own; who seeks my salvation, and not his own vainglory. He best deserves to be heard who uses speech only to clothe his thoughts, and his thoughts only to promote truth and virtue.
      - Jean Baptiste Massillon

So clomb the first grand their into God's fold;
  So since into his church lewd hirelings climb.
      - John Milton, Paradise Lost
         (bk. IV, l. 192)

He of their wicked ways
  Shall them admonish, and before them set
    The paths of righteousness.
      - John Milton, Paradise Lost
         (bk. XI, l. 812)

Whatever is preached to us, and whatever we learn, we should still remember that it is man that gives, and man that receives; it is a mortal hand that presents it to us, it is a mortal hand that accepts it.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

The Christian ministry is the worst of all trades, but the best of all professions.
      - Sir Isaac Newton

If the truth were known, many sermons are prepared and preached with more regard for the sermon than the souls of the hearers.
      - George F. Pentecost

To endeavor to move by the same discourse hearers who differ in age, sex, position and education is to attempt to open all locks with the same key.
      - Jean-Antoine Petit-Senn

The most intelligent hearers are those who enjoy most heartily the simplest preaching. It is not they who clamor for superlatively intellectual or aesthetic sermons. Daniel Webster used to complain of some of the preaching to which he listened. "In the house of God" he wanted to meditate "upon the simple varieties, and the undoubted facts of religion;" not upon mysteries and abstractions.
      - Austin Phelps

And truths divine came mended from that tongue.
      - Alexander Pope, Eloisa to Abelard (l. 66)

The gracious Dew of Pulpit Eloquence,
  And all the well-whip'd Cream of Courtly Sense.
      - Alexander Pope,
        Epilogue to Satires--Dialogue I (l. 70)

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