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To Preach the Gospel is High and Solemn Work

III. But yet, in the last place, TO PREACH THE GOSPEL IS HIGH AND SOLEMN WORK. The ministry has been very often degraded into a trade. In these days men are taken and made into ministers who would have made good captains at sea, who could have waited well at the counter, but who were never intended for the pulpit. They are selected by man, they are crammed with literature, they are educated up to a certain point, they are turned out ready dressed; and persons call them ministers. I wish them all God-speed, every one of them, for as good Joseph Irons used to say, “God be with many of them if it be only to make them hold their tongues.” Manmade ministers are of no use in this world, and the sooner we get rid of them the better. Their way is this: they prepare their manuscripts very carefully, then read it on the Sunday most sweetly in sotto voce, and so the people go away pleased. But that is not God’s way of preaching. If so, I am sufficient to preach forever, I can buy manuscript sermons for a shilling, that is to say, provided they have been preached fifty times before, but if I use them for the first time the price is a guinea, or more. But that is not the way. Preaching God’s word is not what some seem to think, mere child’s play-a mere business or trade to be taken up by any one. A man ought to feel first that he has a solemn call to it, next, he ought to know that be really possesses the Spirit of God, and that when he speaks there is an influence Upon him that enables him to speak as God would have him, otherwise out of the pulpit he should go directly; he has no right to be there, even if the living is his own property. He has not been called to preach God’s truth, and unto him God says, “What hast thou to do, to declare my statutes?”

But you say “What is there difficult about preaching God’s gospel?” Well it must be somewhat hard for Paul said, “Who is sufficient for these things?” And first I will tell you, it is difficult because it is so hard as not to be warped by your own prejudices in preaching the word. You want to say a stern thing, and your heart says, “Master! in so doing thou wilt condemn thyself;” then the temptation is not to say it. Another trial is, you are afraid of displeasing the rich in your congregations. Your think, “If I say suchand-such a thing, so-and-so will be offended; such an one does not approve of that doctrine; I had better leave it out.” Or perhaps you will happen to win the applause of the multitude, and you must not say anything that will displease them, for if they cry, “Hosanna “to day, they will cry, “Crucify, crucify,” to-morrow. All these things work on a minister’s heart. He is a man like yourselves; and he feels it. Then comes again the sharp knife of criticism, and the arrows of those who hate him and hate his Lord; and he cannot help feeling it sometimes. He may put on his armor, and cry, “I care not for your malice,” but there were seasons when the archers sorely grieved even Joseph. Then be stands in another danger, lest he should come out and defend himself; for he is a great fool whoever tries to do it. He who lets his detractors alone, and like the eagle cares not for the chattering of the sparrows, or like the lion will not turn aside to rend the snarling jackal-he is the man, and he shall be honored. But the danger is, we want to set ourselves right. And oh! who is sufficient to steer clear from these rocks of danger? “Who is sufficient,” my brethren, “for these things?”-To stand up, and to proclaim, Sabbath after Sabbath, and weekday after week day, “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- The Two Effects of the Gospel- A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 27, 1855

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  1. May 22, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Amen

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