O sirs, how plainly, how closely, how earnestly, should we deliver a message of such moment as ours. . . .--Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, quoted in J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Crossway, 2010; repr.), 279
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. Remember they must be awakened or damned, and . . . a sleepy preacher will hardly awaken drowsy sinners. Though you give the holy things of God the highest praise in words, yet, if you do it coldly, you will seem by your manner to unsay what you said in the matter. . . .
Though I move you not to constant loudness in your delivery (for that will make your fervency contemptible), yet see that you have a constant seriousness; and when the matter requireth it (as it should do, in the application at least), then lift up your voice, and spare not your spirits. Speak to your people as to men that must be awakened, either here or in hell. Look around upon them with the eye of faith, and with compassion, and think in what a state of joy or torment they must all be for ever; and then, methinks, it will make you earnest, and melt your heart to a sense of their condition.
Oh, speak not one cold or careless word about so great a business as heaven or hell.
12 March 2011
Sleepy Preaching Will Not Awaken Drowsy Sinners
Richard Baxter, Puritan pastor:
Posted by Dane Ortlund at Saturday, March 12, 2011