CHARLES G. FINNEY'S
XVIII. PREPARATION FOR THE PULPIT.
1. The object is to win souls to Christ by instruction.
2. The condition of preparation is a single eye to this end.
3. This should be made a constant subject of prayer.
4. Also of thought and study. Study the wants of the people.
5. Settle it in your mind what your people most need.
6. Also, what class you most need to instruct now.
7. Constantly seek to know the wants of all classes.
8. Visit for this purpose. Mark what is revealed in prayer, conference meetings, and conversation.
9. Also, in every development.
10. Mark the leadings of the Holy Spirit. Pray for divine illumination.
11. Get a suitable text from God by prayer.
12. Pray until some subject opens up by the Spirit. But don't be mistaken by Satan, nor by anyone.
13. Pray, and think, on your knees.
14. Have a definite aim in regard to impression.
15. Plan your sermon accordingly.
16. Aim at unity.
17. Accustom your people to method, and yourself.
18. Consider and settle the order of your propositions.
19. Aim always at perspicuity. This is indispensable.
20. Consider the capacity of your hearers.
21. Do not assume that they know more than they do.
22. You seldom need to fear that you shall simplify too much.
23. State your propositions most intelligently and briefly.
24. See that they are logically arranged.
25. Also, thoroughly explained and understood.
26. To what class they belong. Intuition first admitted.
27. If they need proof, how to be proved.
28. Don't fail to prove the very proposition stated.
29. Don't rest short of rational proof.
30. Don't attempt to prove what needs no proof.
31. Also, what cannot from its nature be proved.
32. Don't claim to demonstrate when the nature of the subject precludes demonstration.
33. Consider and state what kind of proof is demanded, if need be, the best in existence.
34. Don't take stronger ground than you can sustain.
35. On the contrary, don't be weak and appear dissatisfied with your proof, as if you had not convinced yourself.
36. Don't say "perhaps" and "probably" and the like, when you have a right to be positive.
37. Don't be dogmatical and assertive, when you have no right to be.
38. Make a fair and legitimate use of your text.
39. Let all your sermons be heart sermons.
40. Don't spread your sermons over more ground than you can sufficiently discuss; or continue it.
41. Appeal to experience, consciousness, facts.
42. Illustrate in a familiar way, beware of deception.
43. See that your illustrations are in point.
44. Leave no place for the escape of cavilers.
45. Nothing to stumble or embarrass honest enquirers.
46. Make all as plain and conclusive, or forcible, as possible.
47. Make skeleton, whenever a train of thought is sprung.
48. Make skeletons first, even if you write your sermons.
49. Be sure to use intelligible terms in your propositions.
50. State your propositions in the fewest words.
51. Be sure that your propositions are mutually consistent.
52. Also, that they are not ambiguous.
53. That they are not involved and intricate.
54. See that your subject and propositions have a practical bearing.
55. When your propositions are established, what follows?
56. This is the great practical question.
57. Your propositions should furnish the needed conclusion.
58. Use your advantage wisely, kindly, thoroughly.
59. Having obtained assent to the doctrine, insist upon obedience.
60. Don't insist upon a doubtful inference.
61. Nor fail to perceive and claim what is your due.
62. Beware of appearing rather ingenius than earnest.
63. Be in solemn earnest, and you will appear so.
64. Remember, men are converted through instruction.
65. Then don't be sparing of thought. (Beman, others).
66. Be so earnest as to interest people to hear you through.
67. If the subject is well chosen and handled, they won't think the sermon too long.
68. Sermons must be short that are not suited to the present wants of the people who hear.
69. Let all your sermons be occasional. (Prof. Dewey).
70. There are great advantages of orderly propositions, else the people can't take it home with them. (Margin).
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