posted by Phil Johnson
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from the sermon "Pentecost," delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle Sunday morning, 24 May 1863:ever was there a sermon more commonplace than that of Peter, and let me tell you that it is one of the blessed effects of the Holy Spirit to make ministers preach simply.
You do not want the Holy Spirit to make them ride the high horse and mount up on the wings of the spread-eagle to the stars; what is wanted is to keep them down, dealing with solemn subjects in an intelligible manner.
What was the theme of this sermon? Was it something so intellectual that nobody could comprehend it, or so grand that few could grasp it? No, Peter just rises up and delivers himself somewhat like this"Jesus Christ of Nazareth lived among you; he was the Messias promised of old; you crucified him, but in his name there is salvation, and whosoever among you will repent and be baptized shall find mercy." That is all! I am sure Mr. Charles Simeon in his "Skeleton Sermons" would not have inserted it as a model, and I do not suppose that any college professor alive would ever say to his students"If you want to preach, preach like Peter."
Why, I do not perceive firstly, secondly, thirdly, and fourthly, to which some of us feel compelled to bind ourselves. It is in fact a commonplace talking about sublime thingssublime things which in this age are thought to be foolishness and a stumbling-block. Well then, may the Spirit of God be poured out to teach our ministers to preach plainly, to set our young men talking about Jesus Christ, for this is absolutely necessary.
When the Spirit of God goes away from a Church it is a fine thing for oratory, because then it is much more assiduously cultivated. When the Spirit of God is gone, then all the ministers become exceedingly learned, for not having the Spirit they need to supply the emptiness his absence has made, and then the old-fashioned Bible is not quite good enough; they must touch it up a bit and improve upon it, and the old doctrines which used to rejoice their grandmothers at the fire-side are too stale for them; they must have an improved and a new theology, and young gentlemen now-a-days show their profound erudition by denying everything that is the ground, and prop, and pillar of our hope, and starting some new will-o'- the-wisp which they set their people staring at.
Ah! well, we want the Spirit of God to sweep all that away. Oh that my dear sister who conducts the female class, and all who are in the Sunday-school, may be helped just to talk to you about Christ. When you get the Spirit of God to come upon you like fire and like a rushing mighty wind it will not be to make you doctors of divinity, and scholars, and great elocutionists; it will only be just for this, to make you preach Christ, and preach him more simply than ever you did before.