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
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
4) 'If you wish to preach simply, use a direct
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 his own...