Saturday, May 31, 2014

Calling men to Christ should be like crying: "Fire!"

Calling men to Christ should be like crying: "Fire!"

October 23, 2013 at 1:07pm

Vincent's little book “God's terrible Voice in the City,” is a description of the preaching of the few faithful ministers who staid at their post during the great plague and fire in London. These men lifted up their voices like a trumpet, and spared not. Every sermon might be their last. Graves were lying open around them ; life seemed now not merely a hand-breadth, but a hairbreadth ; death was nearer now than ever ; eternity stood out in all its vast reality ; souls were felt to be precious ; opportunities were no longer to be trifled away ; every hour possessed a value beyond the wealth of kingdoms ; the world was now a passing, vanishing shadow ; and man's days on earth had been cut down from three-score years and ten into the twinkling of an eye.

“Oh, how they preached! No polished periods, no learned arguments, no labored paragraphs chilled their appeals, or rendered their discourses unintelligible. No fear of man, no love of popular applause, no unscrupulous dread of strong expressions, no fear of excitement or enthusiasm, prevented them from pouring out the whole fervor of their hearts, that yearned with tenderness unutterable over dying souls.”

“Old Time,” says Vincent, “ seemed to stand at the head of the pulpit, with his great scythe, saying, with a hoarse voice, ''Work while it is called today : at night I will mow thee down! ' Grim Death seemed to stand at the side of the pulpit with his sharp arrow, saying, ' Do thou shoot God's arrows, or will I shoot mine! ' The Grave seemed to lie open at the foot of the pulpit, saying – 

“Here thou must lie – 
Mouth stopped,
Breath gone,
And silent in the dust.”

Truly were ministers in earnest then – no coldness, no languor, no studied oratory.
They preached as dying men to dying men, in every deed.
And what an added power there would be in our pulpits if all ministers preached like this!

excerpts from Thomas Vincent (1665)
'God's Terrible Voice in the City'

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