There are two ways of handling divine truth. The one uses it as a mere subject of discourse, the mere theme of a beautiful and splendid oration, the mere block of marble on which the sculptor displays his art. The other uses it as a sharp threshing instrument having teeth, to produce the broken and contrite heart. Let one propose to himself the true end of preaching — not the charming of his hearers by the beauty of his discourses, not the convincing of them that he is a splendid preacher, but the awakening in their minds of views and feelings answering to the truths which he utters; then let him employ whatever arts of eloquence, whatever powers of persuasion, whatever resources of learning, whatever impulses of genius, may pertain to him, to secure this single end. Then his splendid gifts, if he has them, assume a new lustre from the heavenly spirit and aim of their application. In such preaching, the wisdom of God and the power of God come forth. Such a ministry is in the highest degree eloquent, speaking as of the ability which God giveth, that God in all things may be glorified. – Recollections of Rev. E.D. Griffin, or, Incidents Illustrating His Character, 141.
Let your chief attention be directed to your style and address, and the soul of your conversation has evaporated. Let your attention be engrossed by your subject or by an earnest desire to impart instruction or pleasure to those around you, and you are a different man….
The operation which takes place in a Christian church by the power of truth and the divine Spirit, is wholly different from that which took place in a Roman forum by the influence of Cicero’s elequence…. Pelagians may do the same in the pulpit: but Calvinists know that here the victory is to be won, ‘not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord’; and they rely on the energy of truth in the hands of the Spirit to produce, not natural and transient effects, but supernatural and permanent transformations of heart and life. – “A Sermon on the Art of Preaching,: Delivered Before the Pastoral Association of Massachusetts, in Boston, May 25, 1825,” (Boston, T. R. Marvin, 1825), 6-7.