Series - CHS Anecdotes

Anecdotes from the Pulpit, Part 2

Third Series of Lectures to My Students

The Art of Illustration: Being Addresses Delivered to the students of The Pastor’s College, Metropolitan Tabernacle

By C. H. Spurgeon, 1905

Lecture 2: Anecdotes from the Pulpit (continued; read the series)

I shall make up this present address by quoting the examples of great preachers, beginning with the era of the Reformation, and following on without any very rigid chronological order down to our own day. Examples are more powerful than precepts; hence I quote them.

First, let me mention that grand old preacher, Hugh Latimer, the most English of all our divines; and one whose influence over our land was undoubtedly most powerful. Southey says, “Latimer more than any other man promoted the Reformation by his preaching”; and in this he echoes the more important utterance of Ridley, who wrote from his prison, “I do think that the Lord hath placed old father Latimer to be his standard-bearer in our age and country against his mortal foe, Antichrist.”

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Anecdotes from the Pulpit, Part 1

Third Series of Lectures to My Students

The Art of Illustration: Being Addresses Delivered to the students of The Pastor’s College, Metropolitan Tabernacle

By C. H. Spurgeon, 1905

Lecture 2: Anecdotes from the Pulpit

It is pretty generally admitted that sermons may wisely be adorned with a fair share of illustrations; but anecdotes used to that end are still regarded by the prudes of the pulpit with a measure of suspicion. They will come down low enough to quote an emblem, they will deign to use poet’s imagery; but they cannot stoop to tell a simple, homely story. They would probably say in confidence to their younger brethren, “Beware how you lower yourselves and your sacred office by repeating anecdotes, which are best appreciated by the vulgar and uneducated.”

We would not retort by exhorting all men to abound in stories, for there ought to be discrimination. It is freely admitted that there are useful and admirable styles of oratory which would be disfigured by a rustic tale; and there are honored brethren whose genius would never allow them to relate a story, for it would not appear suitable to their mode of thought.

Upon these we would not even by implication hint at a censure; but when we are dealing with others. who seem to be somewhat, and are not what they seem, we feel no tenderness; nay, we are even moved to assail their stilted greatness. If they sneer at anecdotes, we smile at them and their sneers, and wish them more sense and less starch.

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