The best sermon is that which
is fullest of Christ. A Welsh minister, when preaching at the chapel
of my dear brother Jonathan George, was saying that Christ was the
sum and substance of the gospel, and he broke out into the following
A young man had been
preaching in the presence of a venerable divine, and after he had
done, he foolishly went to the old minister and inquired, "What do you
think of my sermon, sir?" "A very poor sermon
indeed," said he. "A poor sermon!" said the young man, "it
took me a long time to study it." "Ay, no doubt of it."
"Why, then, do you say it was poor; did you not think my explanation
of the text to be accurate?" "Oh, yes," said the old
preacher, "very correct indeed." "Well, then, why do you say it
was a poor sermon? Didn't you think the metaphors were appropriate,
and the arguments conclusive?" "Yes," they were very good,
as far as that goes, but still it was a very poor sermon." "Will
you tell me why you think it a poor sermon?" "Because,"
said he, "there was no Christ in it." "Well," said the
young man, "Christ was not in the text; we are not to be preaching
Christ always, we must preach what is in the text." So the old man
said, "Don't you know, young man, that from every town, and every
village, and every little hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is
a road to London?" "Yes," said the young man. "Ah!"
said the old divine, "and so from every text in the Scripture there
is a road to the metropolis of the Scriptures, that is Christ. And, my
dear brother, your business is, when you get to a text, to say, 'Now, what
is the road to Christ?' and then preach a sermon, running along the road
towards the great metropolis Christ. And," said he, "I have
never yet found a text that had not a plain and direct road to Christ in
it; and if ever I should find one that has no such road, I will make a
road, I would go over hedge and ditch but I would get at my Master, for a
sermon is . . . [useless], unless there is a savour of Christ in it."