What happens when Pride writes your Sermon

This is one of the those paragraphs that hurts in a good way:

“How frequently does pride go with us to our study, and there sit with us and do our work! How often does it choose our subject, and, more frequently still, our words and illustrations! God commands us to be as plain as we can, that we may inform the ignorant; and as convincing and serious as we are able, that we may melt and change their hardened hearts. But pride stands by and contradicts everything, and produces its silly ideas. It pollutes rather than polishes; and, under pretence of gripping illustrations, dishonours our sermons with childish ornaments: as if a prince were to be dressed in the clothes of an actor, or a clown. It persuades us to paint the window, that it may dim the light, and to speak to our people in ways they cannot understand. If we have a plain and cutting passage, it takes off the edge, and dulls the life of our preaching, under pretence of filing off the roughness, unevenness, and excess. When God charges us to deal with men as for their lives, and to beg them with all the desparation that we are able, this cursed sin controls everything, and condemns the most holy commands of God, and says to us, ‘What! Will you make people think you are mad? Will you make them say you rage or rave? Can’t you speak soberly and moderately?’ And so pride makes many men’s sermons; and what pride makes, the devil makes; and what sermons the devil will make and to what end, we may easily guess. Though the subject may be of God, yet if the style, and manner, and purpose is from Satan, we have no great reason to expect success.”

(Slightly paraphrased from Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor)

 

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