What is Meant By the Word “Preach?”

Now, what is meant by the word “preach”? I take its meaning in this place to be very extensive. Some can literally preach— that is, act as heralds, proclaiming the gospel as the town crier proclaims in the street the message which he is bidden to cry aloud. The town crier is, in fact, the world’s preacher, and the preacher of the gospel is to be a crier, crying aloud and sparing not, the truth of Christ. I do not believe that Christ tells us to go and play the orator to every creature. Such a command would be impracticable to most of us, and useless to any of us. Of all the things that desecrate the Sabbath and grieve the Spirit, attempts at high-flown oratory and gorgeous eloquence in preaching I believe are about the worst. Our business is just to speak out the gospel simply and plainly to every creature. We do not actually preach the gospel to a man if we do not make him understand what we are talking about. If our language does not come down to his level, it may be the gospel, but it is not the gospel to him. The preacher should adopt language which shall be suitable to all his congregation—in preaching he should strive to instruct, to enforce, to explain, to expound, to plead and to bring home to every man’s heart and conscience, as in the sight of God, as far as his ability goes, the truth which beyond all argument or cavil has the seal and stamp of divine revelation.

“Preach, Preach, Preach Everywhere” (1869)

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