Preaching and Reading

“Ordinarily, reading sermons is like listening to an echo. The words there, but the personal intonation is gone out of them and there is an unreality about it all . . . In general it is true that the sermon which is good to preach is poor to read and the sermon which is good to read is poor to preach.”

Phillips Brooks, The Joy of Preaching, p. 91

On Not Preaching the Dregs

“The man is not doing his best . . . he writes his sermons on Saturday nights. That last I could the crowning disgrace of a man’s ministry. It is dishonest. It is giving but the last flicker of the week as it sinks in its socket, to those who, simply to talk about it as a bargain, have paid for the full light burning at its brightest. And yet men boast of it. They tell you in how short time they write their sermons, and when you hear them preach you only wonder that it took so long”

Phillips Brooks, The Joy of Preaching, pp. 84-85

On the Calendar

“The great procession of the year, sacred to our best human instincts with the accumulated reverence of ages—Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, Whitsunday—leads those who walk in it, at least once every year, past all the great Christian facts, and, however careless and selfish be the preacher, will not leave it in his power to keep them from his people”

Phillips Brooks, The Joy of Preaching, p. 79