Preaching

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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Pew: Black Protestants, Evangelicals Top Rankings for Longest Sermons

"...an analysis by the Pew Research Center—billed as the first of its kind—of 49,719 sermons delivered in April and May that were shared online by 6,431 churches. Pew described its research as 'the most exhaustive attempt to date to catalogue and analyze American religious sermons.'" - Christianity Today

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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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The Cost of the Kingdom

Reposted from The Cripplegate.

Geoffrey Chaucer wrote his famous Canterbury Tales in the 14th century. One of the stories in this narrative is the Knight’s Tale. As a group of pilgrims is on its way to Canterbury, the knight tells his tale about two rival knights, Arcite and Palamon, both vying for the hand in marriage of a fair maiden, Emily. The knights face each other in a public tournament for her hand. Both seem to want victory, but…

But then come the prayers which reveal their true desires. Emily prays that she will marry the one who truly loves her. Palamon prays that he will marry her. Arcite prays for victory in the tournament.

All three prayers are answered when Arcite wins the tournament, but then he falls off his horse and dies, so Palamon, who truly loves Emily, gets to marry her.

This story shows what happens when true desires are exposed, which is what we see in Matthew 13.

In Matthew 13:44-46 we see two short parables about the Kingdom.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Jesus tells two short stories of men who found something of great value, and whose desire for that object was greater than any other they had. From this we learn…

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Correction from the Pulpit or In Person?

"The practice is more obvious when the message is not expository or the application is not plainly taught from the text. Preaching is used, not to expound the scripture, but to 'send a message' to a specific individual or group of individuals from the pulpit during the sermon." - Proclaim & Defend

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Illustrations in Preaching, Part 7

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 1: Illustrations in Preaching [Continued. Read the series.]

Elaboration into minute points is not commendable when we are using figures. The best light comes in through the clearest glass: too much paint keeps out the sun. God’s altar of old was to be made of earth, or of unhewn stone, “for,” said the word, “if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it:” Ex. xx:25.

A labored, artificial style, upon which the graver’s tool has left abundant marks, is more consistent with human pleadings in courts of law, or in the forum, or in the senate, than with prophetic utterances delivered in the name of God and for the promotion of his glory. Our Lord’s parables were as simple as tales for children, and as naturally beautiful as the lilies which sprang up in the valleys where he taught the people. He borrowed no legend from the Talmud, nor fairy tale from Persia, neither fetched he his emblems from beyond the sea; but he dwelt among his own people, and talked of common things in homely style, as never man spake before, and yet as any observant man should speak. His parables were like himself and his surroundings; and were never strained, fantastic, pedantic, or artificial.

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Is It Wrong to Draw Moral Lessons from OT Figures?

"It’s important to distinguish between 'moralism' and 'morality.' One is anti-gospel, the other is a byproduct of the gospel. Moralism focuses on outward behavior and is generally encouraged for personal profit and reputation. Moral transformation and conformity to the will of God is rooted in the fear of God, the pleasure of God, and is demonstrably tied to the Word of God." - TGC

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