Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, VERSES ON PREACHING EXTEMPORE, by JOHN BYROM



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VERSES ON PREACHING EXTEMPORE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The hint I gave some time ago
Last Line: But ex Æternitate too.
Subject(s): Advice; Poetry & Poets; Preaching & Preachers; Speech; Talk; Oratory; Orators


THE hint I gave some time ago,
Brethren, about your preaching slow,
You took, it seems;—and thereupon
Could make two Sermons out of one.
Now this regard to former lines
Paid so successfully, inclines
To send my counsel's second part,—
"Try if you cannot preach by heart."

Be not alarm'd, as if regard
To this would prove so very hard.
My first admonishment you fear'd
Would so turn out; till it appear'd
That custom only made to seem
So difficult in your esteem
What, upon trial, now procures
Your hearers' ease, and also yours.

Do but consider how the case
Now stands in fact in ev'ry place,
All Christendom almost around,
Except on our reformed ground,
The greatest part untaught to brook
A preacher's reading from a book,
Would scarce advance within his reach,
Or then acknowledge him to preach.

Long after preaching first began
How unconceiv'd a READING plan!
The rise of which, whatever date
May be assign'd, is very late.
The manuscriptal READING rote
Is from antiquity remote;
No need, no reason prompted then
The pulpit to consult the pen.

However well prepar'd before
By pond'ring or by writing o'er
What he should say, still it was SAID
By him that preach'd,—it was not READ.
Could ancient memory, then, better
Forbear from poring o'er the letter
Than yours? Brethren, if you'll but try,
That fact I'll venture to deny.

Moderns of late give proofs enow,
Too many!—as it seems to you,
That matters of religious kind
Stor'd up within the thoughtful mind,
With any care and caution stor'd,—
Sufficient utterance afford
To tell an audience what they think,
Without the help of pen and ink.

How apt to think, too, is the throng
A preacher short, a reader long!
The people claim to be the book
That should attract a pastor's look.
If you lament a careless age,
Averse to hear the pulpit page,
Speak from within not from without,
And heart to heart will turn about.

Try this,—and if you can't succeed,
'Twill then be right for you to read;
Altho' the heart, if that's your choice,
Must still accompany the voice.
Should you at length succeed, and take
The hint, you must not merely make
Preaching EX TEMPORE the view,
But EX ÆTERNITATE too.





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