A word from Thomas Boston on Preaching

I’m reading Thomas Boston’s The Art of Manfishing right now. I thought I’d share a quote from Boston for those who preach.

Following Christ implies a renouncing of our own wisdom

It must not be the guide that we must follow (Matt. 16:24). Paul would not preach with wisdom of words (1 Cor. 1:17), he did not follow the rules of carnal wisdom.

Therefore, O my soul, renounce thine own wisdom. Seek the wisdom that is from above; seek to preach the words of the living God, and not thine own. Since thou wast most set to take this way, and prayed most that thou mightst not preach that which might be the product of thy own wisdom and natural reason, but that which might be given thee of the Holy Ghost, thou hast found that God hath signally countenanced thee.

Take not the way of natural wisdom, follow not the rules of carnal wisdom. Its language will always be, Master, spare thyself; have a care of thy credit and reputation among men. If thou speak freely, they will call thee a railer, and thy preaching reflections; every parish will scare at thee as a monster of men, and one that would preach them all to hell; and so thou shalt not be settled. Such and such a man, that has a great influence in a parish, will never like thee. That way of preaching is not the way to gain people; that startles them at the very first. You may bring them on by little and little, by being somewhat smooth, at least at the first: for this generation is not able to abide such doctrine as that thou preachest.

But hear thou and follow the rules of the wisdom that is from above: for the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God; that which is in high esteem among men, is nought in the sight of God. The wisdom that is from above will tell thee, that thou must be denied to thy credit and reputation, etc. (Matt. 16:24; Luke 14:26). It will tell thee, Let them call thee what they will, that thou must cry aloud, and spare not; lift up thy voice like a trumpet etc. (Isa. 58:1). It will tell thee that God has appointed the bounds of men’s habitation (Acts 17:26). It will tell thee that not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble, are called (1 Cor. 1:26). Whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, thou shalt speak God’s words unto them (Ezek. 2:7). It will shew thee rules quite contrary to those of carnal wisdom.


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