the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Hearing: for Others
Spurgeon's Illustration Collection
The negro preachers are often marked by great shrewdness and mother wit; and will not only point the truth, but barb it, so that if once in it will stick fast. One of these was once descanting with much earnestness on different ways in which men lose their souls. Under one head of remark, he said that men often lose their souls through excessive generosity. 'What!' he exclaimed, 'you tell me you never heard of that before? You say, ministers often tell us we lose our souls for our stinginess, and for being covetous: but who ever heard of a man that hurt himself by going too far t'other way? I tell you how they do it. They sit down under the sermon, and when the preacher touch upon this sin or that sin, they no-take it to themselves, but give this part of the sermon to one brother, and that part to another brother. And so they give away the whole sermon, and it do them no good. And that's the way they lose their souls by being too generous.'
There is great truth in this remark. The want of a self-applying conscience causes much of the best of preaching to fall like rain upon a rock, from which it soon runs off; or if a little is caught in a hollow, it only stagnates, and then dries away, leaving no blessing behind. A sermon, however true and forcible, thus disposed of, does no good to those among whom it is so silently distributed, while it leaves him who squanders its treasures to perish at last in the poverty and emptiness of his soul.
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Spurgeon, Charles. Entry for 'Hearing: for Others'. Spurgeon's Illustration Collection. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​fff/​h/hearing-for-others.html. 1870.