Preaching Quotations

Yea … that we shall see the great Head of the Church once more ... raise up unto Himself certain young men whom He may use in this glorious employ. And what manner of men will they be? Men mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty and holiness of God, and their minds and hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace. They will be men who have learned what it is to die to self, to human aims and personal ambitions; men who are willing to be “fools for Christ's sake,” who will bear reproach and falsehood, who will labour and suffer, and whose supreme desire will be, not to gain earth's accolades, but to win the Master's approbation when they appear before His awesome judgement seat. They will be men who will preach with broken hearts and tear-filled eyes, and upon whose ministries God will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit, and who will witness “signs and wonders following” in the transformation of multitudes of human lives. George Whitefield (1714 – 1770)

My reason for preaching is that to me the work of preaching is the highest and the greatest and the most glorious calling to which anyone can ever be called. If you want something in addition to that I would say without hesitation that the most urgent need in the Christian Church is true preaching; and as it is the greatest and the most urgent need in the Church, it is obviously the greatest need of the world also. Martyn Lloyd Jones (1899 – 1981)

The minister should prepare himself inwardly and outwardly. The inward preparation is if his mind and soul be instructed and furnished with godly doctrine and a fervent spirit and zeal to teach his audience, to establish them in the truth, and to exhort them to perpend and mark veil the merits and deservings of Christ. The outward preparation, the more simple it is, the better it is. John Hooper (c. 1495 –1555)

We should persist in duties … Our hearts of themselves are reluctant to give up their liberty, and are only with difficulty brought under the yoke of duty. The more spiritual the duty is, the more reluctance there is. Corruption gains ground, for the most part, in every neglect. It is as in rowing against the tide, one stroke neglected will not be gained in three; and therefore it is good to keep our hearts close to duty, and not to listen to the excuses they are ready to frame. Richard Sibbes (1577 – 1635)

Who is a Gospel Minister, in the full, scriptural sense of the word? He, and he alone, of whatever denomination, that does declare the whole counsel of God; that does preach the whole gospel, even justification and sanctification, preparatory to glory. He that does not put asunder what God has joined, but publishes alike, 'Christ dying for us, and Christ living in us.' He that constantly applies all this to the hearts of the hearers, being willing to spend and be spent for them; having himself the mind which was in Christ, and steadily walking as Christ also walked; he, and he alone, can with propriety be termed a Gospel Minister. John Wesley (1703 – 1791)

Get your texts from God – your thoughts, your words from God. In great measure, according to the purity and perfections of the instrument, will be success. It is not great talents that God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is a weapon of awe in the hand of God. A word spoken by you when your conscience is clear, and your heart full of God's Spirit, is worth ten thousand words spoken in unbelief and sin. Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813 – 1843)

You all have by you a large treasure of divine knowledge, in that you have the Bible in your hands; therefore be not contented in possessing but little of this treasure. God hath spoken much to you in the Scriptures; labour to understand as much of what he saith as you can. God hath made you all reasonable creatures; therefore let not the noble faculty of reason or understanding lie neglected. Content not yourselves with having so much knowledge as is thrown in your way, and receive in some sense unavoidably by the frequent inculcation of divine truth in the preaching of the word, of which you are obliged to be hearers, or accidentally gain in conversation; but let it be very much your business to search for it, and that with the same diligence and labour with which men are wont to dig in mines of silver and gold. Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758)

I said before, clearness of distinction and illustration, and strength of reason, and a good method, in the doctrinal handling of the truths of religion, is many ways needful and profitable, and not to be neglected; yet an increase in speculative knowledge in divinity is not what is so much needed by our people as something else. Men may abound in this sort of light, and have no heat. Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758)

When someone acts weak, negligent, or casual in a duty – performing it carelessly or lifelessly, without any genuine satisfaction, joy, or interest – he has already entered into the spirit that will lead him into trouble. How many we see today who have departed from warmhearted service and have become negligent, careless, and indifferent in their prayer life or in the reading of the Scriptures. For each one who escapes this peril, a hundred others will be ensnared. Then it may be too late to acknowledge, "I neglected private prayer," or "I did not meditate on God's Word," or "I did not hear what I should have listened to." John Owen (1616 – 1683)

When called to talk of God’s wondrous works, we ought not to rush upon that exercise at once unfitted and unprepared, but we should wait upon the Lord, that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened, that our stammering tongues may be unloosed, and that our lips may be attuned to tell the noble tale in grateful strains. We must first obtain for ourselves an understanding of the way of the Lord’s precepts before we can make it plain to others. He who tries to teach, but has never been taught himself, will make a sorry mess of it. He who has no understanding, and yet wants to make others understand, must assuredly fail. Some there are who cannot teach and will not learn, and it is because they will not learn that they cannot teach. I believe aptness for being taught is at the bottom of aptness to teach. The psalmist had both. He says, "Make me to understand the way of thy statutes." There he would be taught. "Then," saith he, "I will talk of thy wondrous works." There he would be teaching. C. H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)

We have greater work to do here than merely securing our own salvation. We are members of the world and Church, and we must labour to do good to many. We are trusted with our Master's talents for His service, in our places to do our best to propagate His truth, and grace, and Church, and to bring home souls, and honour His cause, and edify His flock, and further the salvation of as many as we can. All this is to be done on earth, if we will secure the end of all in heaven. Richard Baxter (1615 – 1691)

Heart-work is hard work indeed. To shuffle over religious duties with a loose and careless spirit, will cost no great difficulties; but to set yourself before the Lord, and to tie up your loose and vain thoughts to a constant and serious attendance upon him: this will cost you something. To attain ease and dexterity of language in prayer and to be able to put your meaning into appropriate and fitting expressions is easy; but to get your heart broken for sin while you are actually confessing it; melted with free grace even while you are blessing God for it; to be really ashamed and humbled through the awareness of God's infinite holiness, and to keep your heart in this state not only in, but after these duties, will surely cost you some groans and travailing pain of soul. John Flavel (1627 – 1691)

O ye saints, how you should love the word, for by this you have been converted ... Tie it about your neck, write it upon your hand, lay it in your bosom. When you go let it lead you, when you sleep let it keep you, when you wake let it talk with you (Prov. 6:21–22). You that are unconverted, read the word with diligence; flock to where it is powerfully preached. Pray for the coming of the Spirit in the word. Come from your knees to the sermon, and come from the sermon to your knees. Joseph Alleine (1634 – 1668)

When we find our souls at all declining, it is best to raise them up presently by some awakening meditations, such as of the presence of God, of the strict reckoning we are to make, of the infinite love of God in Christ and the fruits of it, of the excellency of a Christian's calling, of the short and uncertain time of this life, of how little good all those things that steal away our hearts will do us before long, and of how it shall be for ever with us hereafter, as we spend this short time well or ill. The more we make way for such considerations to sink into our hearts, the more we shall rise nearer to that state of soul which we shall enjoy in heaven. Richard Sibbes (1577-1635)

Consider what proportion your thoughts of spiritual things bear unto those about other things … No man is so vain, in earthly things, as to pretend that his principal concern lieth in that whereof he thinks very seldom in comparison of other things. It is not so with men in reference unto their families, their trades, their occasions of life. It is a truth not only consecrated by the testimony of him who is Truth, but evident also in the light of reason, that “where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also;” and the affections of our hearts do act themselves by the thoughts of our minds, Wherefore, if our principal treasure be, as we profess, in things spiritual and heavenly, (and woe unto us if it be not so!) on them will our affections, and consequently our desires and thoughts, be principally fixed. John Owen (1616 – 1683)

Consider what proportion your thoughts of spiritual things bear unto those about other things … No man is so vain, in earthly things, as to pretend that his principal concern lieth in that whereof he thinks very seldom in comparison of other things. It is not so with men in reference unto their families, their trades, their occasions of life. It is a truth not only consecrated by the testimony of him who is Truth, but evident also in the light of reason, that “where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also;” and the affections of our hearts do act themselves by the thoughts of our minds. John Owen (1616 – 1683)

And read it regularly. This is the only way to become "mighty in the Scriptures." A quick glance at the Bible now and then does little good. At that rate you will never become familiar with its treasures, or feel the sword of the Spirit fitted to your hand in the hour of conflict. But store up your mind with Scripture, by diligent reading, and you will soon discover its value and power.  Texts will rise up in your hearts in the moment of temptation. Commands will suggest themselves in times of doubt. Promises will come across your thoughts in the time of discouragement. And thus you will experience the truth of David's words, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Psa. 119:11); and of Solomon's words, "When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you" (Prov. 6:22). J. C. Ryle (1816 – 1900)

The next rule I shall lay down is, master those books you have. Read them thoroughly. Bathe in them until they saturate you. Read and re-read them, masticate them, and digest them. Let them go into your very self. Peruse a good book several times, and make notes and analyses of it. A student will find that his mental constitution is more affected by one book thoroughly mastered than by twenty books which he has merely skimmed, lapping at them, as the classic proverb puts it "as the dogs drink of Nilus." Little learning and much pride come of hasty reading. Books may be piled on the brain till it cannot work. Some men are disabled from thinking by their putting meditation away for the sake of much reading. They gorge themselves with book-matter, and become mentally dyspeptic. C. H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)

Sermons should have real teaching in them, and their doctrine should be solid, substantial, and abundant. We do not enter the pulpit to talk for talk’s sake; we have instructions to convey important to the last degree, and we cannot afford to utter pretty nothings. Our range of subjects is all but boundless, and we cannot, therefore, be excused if our discourses are threadbare and devoid of substance. If we speak as ambassadors for God, we need never complain of want of matter, for our message is full to overflowing. C. H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)

See that the work of saving grace be thoroughly wrought in your own souls. Take heed to yourselves, lest you be void of that saving grace of God which you offer to others, and be strangers to the effectual working of that gospel which you preach; and lest, while you proclaim to the world the necessity of a Saviour, your own hearts should neglect him, and you should miss of an interest in him and his saving benefits. Take heed to yourselves, lest you perish, while you call upon others to take heed of perishing; and lest you famish yourselves while you prepare food for them. Richard Baxter (1615 – 1691)

Spiritual worship is performed with a spiritual activity, and sensibleness of God; with an active understanding to meditate on his excellency, and an active will to embrace him when he drops upon the soul. If we understand the amiableness of God, our affections will be ravished; if we understand the immensity of his goodness, our spirits will be enlarged. We are to act with the highest intention suitable to the greatness of that God with whom we have to do (Psa. 150:2): "Praise him according to his excellent greatness”; not that we can worship him equally, but in some proportion the frame of the heart is to be suited to the excellency of the object; our spiritual strength is to be put out to the utmost, as creatures that act naturally do. Stephen Charnock (1628 - 1680)

How shall we know that we love the reproofs of the word? (1) When we desire to sit under a heart-searching ministry. Who cares for medicines that will not work? A godly man does not choose to sit under a ministry that will not work upon his conscience. (2) When we pray that the word may meet with our sins. If there is any traitorous lust in our heart, we would have it found out and executed. We do not want sin covered, but cured. We can open our breast to the bullet of the word and say, “Lord, smite this sin.” Thomas Watson (c. 1620 – 1686)

Men may have a multitude of thoughts about the affairs of their callings and the occasions of life, which yet may give no due measure of the inward frame of their hearts. So men whose calling and work it is to study the Scripture, or the things revealed therein, and to preach them unto others, cannot but have many thoughts about spiritual things, and yet may be, and oftentimes are, most remote from being spiritually minded. They may be forced by their work and calling to think of them early and late, evening and morning, and yet their minds be no way rendered or proved spiritual thereby. It were well if all of us who are preachers would diligently examine ourselves herein. John Owen (1616 – 1683)

Wood that is capable of burning is not set alight unless fire is put to it. Similarly anyone who would encourage godly affections and desires in others must first have godly affections himself. Thus, whatever responses a particular sermon requires should first be stirred up privately in our own minds, so that we can kindle the same flame in our hearers. William Perkins (1558 – 1602)

If you have undertaken the work of the ministry, you must be meditating on it. Unless you are in these things continually, you will not make faithful dispensers of the word. A man may preach a very good sermon, who is otherwise himself; but he will never make a good minister of Jesus Christ, whose heart and mind is not always in the work. Spiritual gifts will require continual ruminating on the things of the gospel in our minds; which makes it a difficult ministry, that our hearts and minds may be cast into the mould and form of those things which we are to deliver to others. And it is surprising how a little necessary diversion will unfit the mind for this work. John Owen (1616 – 1683)

To stand in God's presence, to enter into the holy of holies, to go between God and His people, to be God's mouth to His people, and the people's to God; to be the interpreter of the eternal law of the Old Testament and the everlasting gospel of the New; to stand in the place and even bear the office of Christ Himself, to take the care and charge of souls – these considerations overwhelm the consciences of men who approach the sacred seat of the preacher with reverence and not with rashness. William Perkins (1558 – 1602)

Again, the more knowledge you have of divine things, the better will you know your duty; your knowledge will be of great use to direct you as to your duty in particular cases. You will also be the better furnished against the temptations of the devil. For the devil often takes the advantage of persons' ignorance to ply them with temptations which otherwise would have no hold of them. By having much knowledge, you will be under greater advantages to conduct yourselves with prudence and discretion in your Christian course, and so to live much more to the honor of God and religion. Many who mean well, and are full of a good spirit, yet, for want of prudence, conduct themselves so as to wound religion. Many have a zeal of God, which doth more hurt than good, because it is not according to knowledge, Rom. 10:2. The reason why many good men behave no better in many instances, is not so much that they want grace, as that they want knowledge. Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758)

Content not yourselves with only a cursory reading, without regarding the sense. This is an ill way of reading, to which, however, many accustom themselves all their days. When you read, observe what you read. Observe how things come in. Take notice of the drift of the discourse, and compare one Scripture with another. For the Scripture, by the harmony of the different parts of it, casts great light upon itself. We are expressly directed by Christ to search the Scriptures, which evidently intends something more than a mere cursory reading. And use means to find out the meaning of the Scripture. When you have it explained in the preaching of the word, take notice of it; and if at any time a Scripture that you did not understand be cleared up to your satisfaction, mark it, lay it up, and if possible remember it. Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758)

According to the example of the apostles, they are to free themselves from all encumbrances, that they may give themselves wholly unto the word and prayer, Acts 6:1-4. Their work is "to labour in the word and doctrine," 1 Tim. 5:17; and thereby to "feed the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made them overseers," Acts 20:28: and it is that which is everywhere given them in charge. This work and duty, therefore, as was said, is essential unto the office of a pastor. A man is a pastor unto them whom he leads by pastoral teaching, and to no more; and he that doth not so feed is no pastor. Nor is it required only that he preach now and then at his leisure, but that he lay aside all other employments, though lawful, all other duties in the church, as unto such a constant attendance on them as would divert him from this work, that he give himself unto it, – that he be in these things labouring to the utmost of his ability. Without this no man will be able to give a comfortable account of the pastoral office at the last day. John Owen (1616 – 1683)

The gospel is preached in the ears of all. It only comes with power to some. The power that is in the gospel does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher, otherwise men would be converters of souls. Nor does it lie in the preacher's learning, otherwise it would consist in the wisdom of men. We might preach 'til our tongues rotted, 'til we should exhaust our lungs and die, but never a soul would be converted unless there were mysterious power going with it – the Holy Ghost changing the will of men. Oh sirs, we might as well preach to stone walls as preach to humanity unless the Holy Ghost be with the word to give it power to convert the soul. C. H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)

If we wish to obtain the knowledge of Christ, we must seek it from the Scriptures; for they who imagine whatever they choose concerning Christ will ultimately have nothing of him but a shadowy phantom. First, then, we ought to believe that Christ cannot be properly known in any other way than from the Scriptures; and if it be so, it follows that we ought to read the Scriptures with the express design of finding Christ in them. Whoever shall turn aside from this object, though he may weary himself throughout his whole life in learning, will never attain the knowledge of the truth; for what wisdom can we have without the wisdom of God? Next, as we are commanded to seek Christ in the Scriptures, so he declares in this passage that our labours shall not be fruitless; for the Father testifies in them concerning his Son in such a manner that He will manifest him to us beyond all doubt. But what hinders the greater part of men from profiting is that they give to the subject nothing more than a superficial and cursory glance. Yet it requires the utmost attention, and, therefore, Christ enjoins us to search diligently for this hidden treasure. John Calvin (1509 – 1564)

That which we ought to desire, namely, our food and nourishment in Christ, which is called in the text “the milk of the word”, to this our Saviour calls us from our dainties: "Labour, not for the meat which perisheth; but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life" (John 6:27). The word is everlasting nourishment, and immortal seed, because it keeps the one who eats it from famine and death (1 Pet. 1:23-25). We desire many things but not the milk of the word. Some desire money, but it is the root of all evil; there is a desire of the flesh, but it wars against the soul; there is also a desire of pre-eminence, but it swells the proud; there is also a desire of revenge, but it arises from a rash and carnal spirit; there is also a desire of praise, but it stems from a Pharisaic desire; but the blessed and godly desire is, to desire the milk of the word. When Jonathan saw the honey dropping, he licked it; so when we see the milk of the word, we ought to suck it. Daniel Rowland (1713 – 1790)

We want again Luthers, Calvins, Bunyans, Whitefields, men fit to mark eras, whose names breathe terror in our foemen's ears. We have dire need of such. Whence will they come to us? They are the gifts of Jesus Christ to the Church, and will come in due time. He has power to give us back again a golden age of preachers, and when the good old truth is once more preached by men whose lips are touched as with a live coal from off the altar, this shall be the instrument in the hand of the Spirit for bringing about a great and thorough revival of religion in the land. I do not look for any other means of converting men beyond the simple preaching of the gospel and the opening of men's ear to hear it. The moment the Church of God shall despise the pulpit, God will despise her. It has been through the ministry that the Lord has always been pleased to revive and bless His Churches. C. H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)

The Lord is pleased, in a measure, to show me the suitableness and necessity of a humble, dependent frame of heart, a ceasing from self, and a reliance upon Him in the due use of appointed means; I am far from having attained, but I hope I am pressing, at least seeking, after it. I wish to speak the word simply and experimentally, and to be so engaged with the importance of the subject, the worth of souls, and the thought that I am speaking in the name and presence of the Most High God, as that I might, if possible, forget everything else. This would be an attainment, indeed! More good might be expected from a broken discourse, delivered in such a frame, than from the most advantageous display of knowledge and gifts without it. Not that I would undervalue propriety and pertinence of expression: it is our duty to study to find out acceptable words, and to endeavour to appear as workmen that need not be ashamed; but those who have most ability in this way, have need of a double guard of grace and wisdom, lest they be tempted to trust in it, or to value themselves upon it. John Newton (1725 – 1807)

The writings of divines are nothing else but a preaching of the gospel to the eye, as the voice preaches it to the ear. Vocal preaching has the pre-eminence in moving the affections, and being diversified according to the state of the congregation which attend it: this way the milk comes warmest from the breast. But books have the advantage in many other respects: you may read an able preacher when you have but an average one to hear. Every congregation cannot hear the most judicious or powerful preachers: but every single person may read the books of the most powerful and judicious; preachers may be silenced or banished, when books may be at hand: books may be kept at a smaller charge than preachers: we may choose books which treat of that very subject which we desire to hear of; but we cannot choose what subject the preacher shall treat of. Books we may have at hand every day and hour; when we can have sermons but seldom, and at set times. If sermons be forgotten, they are gone; but a book we may read over and over, till we remember it: and if we forget it, may again peruse it at our pleasure, or at our leisure. Richard Baxter (1615 – 1691)

Christians should not always remain babes, but should grow in Christian knowledge; and, leaving the food of babes, which is milk, should learn to digest strong meat. Every Christian should make a business of endeavouring to grow in knowledge in divinity. This is indeed esteemed the business of divines and ministers: it is commonly thought to be their work, by the study of the Scriptures, and other instructive books, to gain knowledge; and most seem to think that it may be left to them, as what belongeth not to others. But if the apostle had entertained this notion, he would never have blamed the Christian Hebrews for not having acquired knowledge enough to be teachers: or if he had thought, that this concerned Christians in general, only as a thing by the by, and that their time should not, in a considerable measure, be taken up with this business; he never would have so much blamed them, that their proficiency in knowledge had not been answerable to the time which they had had to learn. Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758)

If I am a miller, and I have a sack brought to my door, and am asked to fill that sack with good fine flour within the next five minutes, the only way in which I can do it, is by keeping the flour-bin of my mill always full … So, brethren, you must have been grinding, or you will not have the flour. You will not be able to extemporise good thinking unless you have been in the habit of thinking and feeding your mind with abundant and nourishing food. Work hard at every available moment. Store your minds very richly, and then, like merchants with crowded warehouses, you will have goods ready for your customers, and having arranged your good things upon the shelves of your mind, you will be able to hand them down at any time without the laborious process of going to market, sorting, folding, and preparing. I do not believe that any man can be successful in continuously maintaining the gift of extemporaneous speech, except by ordinarily using far more labour than is usual with those who write and commit their discourses to memory. Take it as a rule without exception, that to be able to overflow spontaneously you must be full. C. H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)

Do not cultivate or practice gestures. Everything that is histrionic should be avoided… be natural; forget yourself; be so absorbed in what you are doing and in the realisation of the presence of God, and in the glory and the greatness of the Truth that you are preaching, and the occasion that brings you together, that you are so taken up by all this that you forget yourself completely. That is the right condition, that is the only place of safety; that is the only way in which you can honour God. Martyn Lloyd Jones (1899 – 1981)

Take care, O preacher, that you do not blunt the word, or try to cover over its edge; for that would be treason to the Lord who made it to be sharp and cutting. There is much about the true gospel which offends, and it should be our desire never to tamper with it, or tone it down, lest we become enemies to the Lord’s truth. Truth which is meant to offend human pride must be stated in its own way, even though seen to produce anger, and annoy self-righteousness. Doctrine which is cutting and killing must not be concealed or softened down. C. H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)

The true preaching of the Gospel of salvation by grace alone always leads to the impossibility of this charge [of antinomianism] being brought against it. There is no better test as to whether a man is really preaching the New Testament gospel of salvation than this, that some people might misunderstand it and misinterpret it to mean that it really amounts to this, that because you are saved by grace alone it does not matter at all what you do; you can go on sinning as much as you like because it will redound all the more to the glory of grace. That is a very good test of gospel preaching. If my preaching and presentation of the gospel of salvation does not expose it to that misunderstanding, then it is not the gospel. Martyn Lloyd Jones (1899 – 1981)

There is a group of people who accept the wrath of God in theory, but they deny it in practice. "Oh, yes", they say, "we believe in the wrath of God, but you have to be careful. You don’t put that first." So, in the interests of evangelism, in the interests of attracting people, they deliberately do not start, as Paul does with the wrath of God [Rom. 1:18]. The tragedy is that we do not believe in the power of the Holy Ghost as the Apostle Paul did. Paul did not stop to ask, ‘Will the Romans like this doctrine?’ He knew it all depended on the Holy Ghost. Martyn Lloyd Jones (1899 – 1981)

Brethren, we should cultivate a clear style. When a man does not make me understand what he means, it is because he does not himself know what he means. An average hearer, who is unable to follow the course of thought of the preacher, ought not to worry himself, but to blame the preacher, whose business it is to make the matter clear ... At any rate, labour to be plain, so that the truths you teach may be easily received by your hearers. We must cultivate a cogent as well as a clear style; we must be forceful. Some imagine that this consists in speaking loudly, but I can assure them they are in error. Nonsense does not improve by being bellowed. C. H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are attacking at that moment, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the solider is proved, and to be steady on all battlefields besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point. Martin Luther (1483 – 1546)

We have already seen that the weight of ministerial responsibilities renders the work apparently more fitting to the shoulders of angels than of men. It is therefore a matter of the deepest regret, that any should intrude upon it, equally unqualified for its duties, and unimpressed with its obligations. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. But though many see little necessity for preparation; here, if ever, labour, diligence, observation and intelligence, are needful to produce a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. Charles Bridges (1794–1869)

I can forgive a man for a bad sermon, I can forgive the preacher almost anything if he gives me a sense of God, if he gives me something for my soul, if he gives me the sense that, though he is inadequate himself, he is handling something which is very great and very glorious, if he gives me some dim glimpse of the majesty and the glory of God, the love of Christ my Saviour, and the magnificence of the Gospel. If he does that I am his debtor, and I am profoundly grateful to him.  Martyn Lloyd Jones (1899 –1981)

Be well instructed in theology, and do not regard the sneers of those who rail at it because they are ignorant of it. Many preachers are not theologians, and hence the mistakes which they make. It cannot do any hurt to the most lively evangelist to be also a sound theologian, and it may often be the means of saving him from gross blunders. Nowadays, we hear men tear a single sentence of Scripture from its connection, and cry, "Eureka! Eureka!" as if they had found a new truth; and yet they have not discovered a diamond, but only a piece of broken glass. C. H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)