In this address J.C. Ryle, in his usual forthright style states that - 'to attain simplicity in preaching is of the uttmost importance to every minister who wishes to be useful to souls. Unless you are simple in your sermons you will never be understood, and unless you are understood you cannot do good to those who hear you.'
'.... to attain simplicity in preaching is by no means an easy matter', says the Bishop. He goes on to explain that the 'simplicity' which he commends to his hearers is not to be thought of as 'childish preaching', nor is it to be 'coarse or vulgar.'
He gives five hints to preachers to help them attain simplicity in their sermons. In summary these hints are: 1) 'Take care that you have a clear view of the subject on which you are going to preach.' 2) 'Try to use in all your sermons, as far as you can, simple words.' 3) 'Take care to aim at a simple style of composition.' 4) 'If you wish to preach simply, use a direct style.' 5) 'If you would attain simplicity in preaching, you must use plenty of anecdotes and illustrations.'
The Bishop says that - 'We ought to aim not merely at letting off fireworks, but at preaching that which will do lasting good to souls.'
In conclusion, he remarks that - '... all the simplicity in the world is useless without prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the grant of God's blessing, and a life corresponding in some measure to what we preach.'
John Charles Ryle was born in the English town of Macclesfield, in the County of Cheshire, on the 10th of May, 1816. His education took him to the prestigious college at Eton, followed by time spent at the great University of Oxford. His conversion can be traced to a time when...