Do Not Stroke the Ear, Strike the Heart

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The most pernicious and debasing evil of all is, a converting our sacred office into a medium for setting forth our own excellence — prostituting the glories of the cross for the indulgence of our own pride, drawing a veil over the glories of our adorable Master and committing a robbery against him, even in the professed business to exalt him. This is to lose sight of the great end of the Ministry — commending ourselves, instead of our Master, to the regard of our people. . . Our business is to make men think, not of our eloquence, but of their own souls; to attend, not to our fine language, but to their own everlasting interest. Our duty is . . . not to stroke the ear, but to strike the heart.

Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (as published in How Sermons Work by David Murray)