What Makes for a Good Sermon?
William Romaine (1714-1795) was one of those remarkable clergymen in the Church of England in the eighteenth century who desired to proclaim the truth of the Gospel and the excellencies of Jesus in his preaching. By God’s grace, he was able to do just that. One anonymous hearer gave his impressions of Romaine’s New Year’s sermon preached at Blackfriars on January 1, 1794 from Romans 15:13:
“The sermon was short and good, but without much order or method. The people were very attentive, and to all appearance much affected and comforted. I observed that he did not attempt to prove anything, but took all his doctrine for granted. Like the venerable prophets of old he came with ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ And without endeavouring to convince his hearers that what he advanced was the true and proper sense of the passages he quoted, as though the grand truths of the Gospel were doubtful, he pointed out the suitableness of his doctrine to the people of God, and the utility of believing it upon the testimony of God alone, who not only authorized but commanded their assent and reliance. He adduced several portions of Scripture, in which the word ‘hope’ was contained, and paraphrased them with great earnestness and judgment. This is an easy way of preaching – perhaps the best.”
[The above quotation came from “Evangelical Magazine” (January 1800) and was cited in Tim Shenton, ‘An Iron Pillar’: The Life and Times of William Romaine, (Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, 2004), 396.]
Whether you agree or disagree, we must all confess that sermons of many shapes and forms have been blessed by God to the salvation of sinners and the edification of the Church. Even so, may the Lord of the harvest send out laborers into His harvest.