Asa Dodge Smith on the simplicity of preaching

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Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
... And the common people, be it remembered, are the great mass of the people, the great majority of our hearers, and withal the most hopeſul subjects of ministerial labour. It was so in the days of Christ. His ministry was chiefly attended by the plain people, and of that class were most of his followers. He had good reason, then, for adapting his preaching to such. And so have his ministers now. He of whom it cannot be said that the common people hear him gladly, may look for little success as a preacher of the gospel. He may be distinguished as a poet, or a critic, as a historian, an antiquarian, or a metaphysician, as deeply versed in theology even—but not as winning souls to Christ.

The wisdom of our Lord’s example, in respect to the point in hand, may be still further evinced. Simplicity of discourse is quite as effective with the truly intellectual, as with the common people. It is no indication of feebleness or poverty of mind, but the very reverse. It is easy enough to make a plain subject dark, by pedantic and profitless distinctions and definitions; but it is one of the highest achievements of intellect to make a dark subject so plain, that all shall wonder it ever seemed otherwise. ...

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