Charles Bridges (1794-1869): Preaching from the heart

Charles Bridges

“The Minister, that does not manifestly put his heart into his sermon, will never put his sermon into the hearts of his people. Pompous elocution, attempts at theatrical display, or affected emotions, are indeed most repugnant to the simple dignity of our office. A painted fire may glare, but will not warm. Violent agitations, without correspondent tenderness of feeling, will disgust instead of arresting the mind. Preaching is not (as some appear to think it) the work of the lungs, or the mimicry of gesture, or the impulse of uncontrollable feeling; but the spiritual energy of a heart constrained by the love of Christ, and devoted to the care of those immortal souls, for whom Christ died.”

– Charles Bridges (1794-1869), The Christian Ministry, p. 320

Charles Bridges (1794-1869) on preaching Christ and him crucified


“Our rule [of preaching]…will frame itself into the determination of the Apostle – ‘not to know anything among our people, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified’ (2 Cor. 2.2). This is the one mode of preaching that God has promised to bless; when ‘all our sermons’ (according to the Archbishop of Cologne) are ‘made to set forth and magnify Christ the Lord.’ Uniformity of sentiment upon this cardinal point has always marked the labor of faithful ministers, and secured the divine blessing upon their work; while a deficiency in this particular is attended invariable with proportionate inefficiency…

We might as well speak of a village that has no road to the metropolis as of a point of Christian doctrine, privilege, or practice that has no reference to Christ crucified. How does the first chapter to the Ephesians endear this beloved name, as the medium of ‘all spiritual blessings!’ How does every heavenly doctrine and privilege throughout the Epistle…draw its quickening influence from this source! How naturally do the Apostles introduce their Master into the midst of discussions apparently the most irrelevant!…

The resolution, therefore, to know nothing – to preach nothing – and to glory in nothing else, marks a mind equally enlarged in its compass, and scriptural in its apprehension. It sets forth Christ to our people as a remedy commensurate with the evil – enough for all, and proposed to all. And skillfully to accommodate all our various topics to this one point, is a lesson we must be learning all our lives. And truly it is worth all our labor to learn it more perfectly, and to practice it more effectually”.

– Charles Bridges (1794-1869), The Christian Ministry, p. 239-241