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On Preaching

On Preaching

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY JOHN HOWARD HINTON



"For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not
God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that
believe.' 1 Corinthians L 21.
BY JOHN HOWARD HINTON



"For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not
God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that
believe.' 1 Corinthians L 21.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 15, 2013
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O PREACHIG BY JOH HOWARD HITO"For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.' 1 Corinthians L 21. WITHOUT disparaging its cognate activities, it may be laid down, I suppose, with universal assent, that preaching is the great labour of the missionary enterprise ; a labour to which Christian schools, the circulation of tracts, the translation of the Scriptures, and even the formation and care of churches, however important, are but auxiliary. The passage before us, therefore, has an immediate interest in relation to the object of our present assembling, since preaching is the subject of it ; and a brief consideration of the topics it presents to us may, under the divine blessing, be conducive to our edification. "After that," says the apostle, "in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." Our subject being preaching, it is important that, in the outset, the true idea of preaching should be ascertained. It might seem, indeed, that a practice of such frequent and familiar occurrence could scarcely need to be defined ; and yet the practice may be found to have departed so far from the original design, as to render a recurrence to it neither useless nor unnecessary. In truth, there are two things which preaching is commonly supposed to be, which we are inclined to say it is not. On the one hand, preaching is not an ecclesiastical act, pi-esupposing office ; neither, on the other, is it a formal act, implying order. Both these views are, as is well known, extensively held. It is tena- ciously maintained by some that to pi-each is a clerical
 
* Preached at Bloomsbury Chapel, London, April 27th, 1859, on behalf of the Baptist Missionary Society. I, 146 O PREACHIG. prerogative, which no layman has a right to assume, or can properly exercise ; while by others it is supposed that the act of preaching must constitute a portion of a regular service, a more familiar address amounting only to a few words of exhortation. We repudiate equally both these notions. Throwing aside the conventional meanings which ages of ecclesiastical usage have generated, and reverting to the sole authority in matters of this class, the import of the scriptural term, we shall be led to a widely different idea. The original preacher, Kijpv^, was a herald, charged with negotiation, or a common crier a public officer, whose business it was to proclaim, or to make publicly known, matters which he had in commission. Thus to preach, Kripvffffeiv, was either to negotiate or to make proclamation. From this latter use of the term was gradually derived a meaning of congruous, but reduced, import to announce, or orally to diffuse intelligence. In its sacred association, to preach is orally to disseminate religious knowledge, whether with or without a clerical office, whether in a formal or a familiar manner, whether in public or in private channels, whether to groups or to individuals. Preaching, in a word, is a name for any oral mode of making known evangelical truth ; and, as descriptive of a divine institution, it denotes an appointed service of religious instruction. Having thus ascertained the true idea of preaching, and carefully keeping it before us, let us proceed to such observa- tions concerning it as the words of the apostle suggest.
 
I. Our first observation is, that preaching was not from the beginning ; that is to say, not immediately consequent on the sin and ruin of mankind. It did not please God to institute it until " after" a certain portion of the world's history had transpired. ot that at any time the actual business of the world's religious instruction had been neglected by its Maker. ever had God left himself " without witness." From the begin- ning, and through every age, the heavens had declared his glory, and the firmament had shown his handiwork; day unto day had uttered speech, and night unto night had taught knowledge; while he had never ceased to manifest his bounty by giving rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling men's hearts with food and gladness. In addition to these external testimonies, God had placed O PRKACHIG. 147 within man's bosom a living witness to his claims, whose voice, faithful according to its light, spoke to every man intelligibly, and, perhaps, to many men powerfully, of duty and of sin, of obligation and of judgment. or had the great facts of redeeming mercy, which have since become the burden of the preacher's tongue, been altogether withheld from the earliest generations. Scarcely had the enemy of man accomplished his first and most fatal triumph, when gracious announcement was made of a deliverer, the seed of the woman, who, with a bruised heel, should crush the serpent's head ; while the institution of the rite of sanguinary sacrifice, strikingly significant by anticipa- tion of the great atonement, threw the prophetic announce- ment into a substantive embodiment, which has been pre- served by all nations as a perpetual monument of it, although the terms in which it was proclaimed may have

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