A PRAYER FOR PREACHERS

‘O sirs, how plainly, how closely, how earnestly, should we deliver a message of such moment as ours, when the everlasting life or everlasting death of our fellow-men is involved in it! …There [is] nothing more unsuitable to such a business, than to be slight and dull. What! speak coldly for God, and for men’s salvation? Can we believe that our people must be converted or condemned, and yet speak in a drowsy tone? In the name of God, brethren, labour to awaken your own hearts, before you go to the pulpit, that you may be fit to awaken the hearts of sinners…Oh, speak not one cold or careless word about so great a business as heaven or hell. Whatever you do, let the people see that you are in good earnest…A sermon full of mere words, how neatly so ever it be composed, while it want the light of evidence, and the life of zeal, is but an image or a well-dress carcass.’

Richard Baxter in The Reformed Pastor (1656)

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