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Nature Sermons

Nature Sermons

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 14, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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ATURE SERMOSBy CHARLES E. JEFFERSO, D.D., LL.D.Fleming H. Revell CompanyCOTETSI. ITRODUCTORY ..'... 7II.. THE RAIBOW . . / . , 17III. - DESERTS . . .- . .26IV. BIRDS . . . . * . . 40V. SUSETS . .. . ., .. . 54VI. STORMS . . . . . .70VII. ^HADOWS . . . . ' . 83VIII/ SOUDS . * . * . . 95IX. MISTS . . .... .. 108X. SPRIG . . , . . . 125XL ODOURS . . . . . . 135XII. THE LADSCAPE . . . . 15 1XIILITRODUCTORYTHIS is a volume of ature sermons. Byature sermons, I mean a sermon which
draws its substance from some phenomenonor feature or aspect of the physical creation. Itdiffers, chiefly, from the conventional sermon in twopoints. The traditional sermon has a text taken fromthe Bible ; the ature sermon needs no text at all. Itstheme is an object or a fact or a picture set forth in thebook of ature. In the second place, the materials of the ordinary sermon are collected for the most partfrom books, whereas the materials made use of in aature sermon are largely drawn from the physicaluniverse. In preparing his usual sermon, the preachertakes down his various versions of the Bible, his com-mentaries, dictionaries and encyclopedias ; he consults,perhaps, various volumes of history and biographyand ethics and sociology ; sometimes he quotes a novelor a stanza of poetry, a magazine or a newspaper. Itis not uncommon for a preacher to make use of ascore of volumes in the creation of a single sermon.But in writing a ature sermon, the preacher locks hislibrary door and takes a stroll through God's Out-of-Doors. He endeavours to get near to ature's heart.She supplies him with hints and suggestions, ideas andillustrations, and becomes to him a medium of revela-tion of the mind of God.If a critic should intimate that a sermon is not asermon without a text, the reply is that Amos andHosea were great preachers, and both of them preached78 ATURE SERMOSeffective sermons without texts. Isaiah and Jeremiahwere mighty spokesmen for God, but neither one of them was in the habit of going to a book for a text.The Hebrew prophets were the great preachers of pre-Christian times, and it was their custom to organize
their sermons around facts and events. In the experi-ences of their own heart or of their nation, they foundthe material which it was their mission to interpretand apply. In the victories and defeats, the joys andthe tribulations of their people, they read the will of the Eternal. In their teaching they were always fall-ing back on suggestions and inspirations which sweptin upon them from the heavens and the earth. Adrought, an earthquake, a famine, a fruitful season,were to them words of the Lord. o Old Testamentsermon has the smell of the lamp.The Apostles followed the example of the prophets,dealing in their sermons, not with sentences taken froma book, but with facts and events and experiences,especially the experiences of Jesus. The Founder of our religion did not preach from texts. The Sermonon the Mount has no text, nor has any other recordeddiscourse of our Lord. He drew His sermons out of His heart, refusing to preach after the fashion of thdscribes-* preachers who got their sermons out of books.He made use of the Old Testament, occasionally, whenby doing it He could answer an objection of His foes,or flash light upon an idea which He was endeavouringto drive home ; but He seldom went to a book in searchof sentences with which to begin His discourses. Hekept the eyes of His hearers, not on the pages of abook, but on the book of Life, as that life was unfold-ing itself all around Him, and on the book of aturewhose paragraphs it was His delight to read. " Look ITRODUCTORY 9at the flowers ! " He was wont to say, " Look at thebirds!" "Look at the fields. of waving grain!"" Look at the sunbeams and the passing showers ! " Itwas His joy to preach tinder the open sky, seated onthe grass, with the songs of birds in His ear, and

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