Beecher, H.W. – Lectures on Preaching

Lectures on Preaching

By Henry Ward Beecher 1872.

This excellent work on preaching is set up with 10 chapters with each chapter have about 20 sections. The Chapters are: What is Preaching? Qualifications of the Preacher. The Personal Element in Oratory. The Study of Human Nature. The Psychological Working-Elements. Rhetorical Drill and General Training. Rhetorical Illustrations. Health as related to Preaching. Sermon-making. Love the Central element of the Christian ministry.



The Scope of Preaching
The Pauline Method
A Bit of Experience
The Power of Personal Christian Vitality
Sermons and Liturgies
General Advantages of Directness
Man-Building the Preacher’s Business
Questions and Answers


Sympathy with Men
Personal Character of the Preacher
Fertility in Subjects
Qualifications for the Profession
Questions and Answers


Different Classes of Hearers
How to Meet Differing Minds
An Easy Danger
Demands of Variety Upon the Preacher
How to Use One S Own Special Forces
Self-Training an Education
Preaching the Preacher S Whole Business
External Hindrances
Nearness to the Audience
Questions and Answers


Necessities of the Future
Relation of Bible Truth to Christianity in the World
Example of the Apostles
Weakness of Gospel-Preaching in the Past
Special Reasons For Studying Human Nature
The World S Advancement in Thought
How to Study Human Nature
Metaphysical Studies
Phrenology as a Convenient Basis
Social Habits
Questions and Answers


Circumstances Alter Cases
Writing and Extemporizing
Variations of Denominational Service
The Power of Imagination
Questions and Answers

The Voice
Various Vocal Elements
Necessity of Drill
Health of the Voice
Bodily Carriage Posture
Seminary Training
Study of the Bible
A Small Parish at First
An Early Experience in the West
General Hints
Questions and Answers


The Nature of Illustration
Reasons for Illustrations in Preaching
They Assist Argument
They Help Hearers to Remember
They Stimulate Imagination
The Art of Resting Audiences
Illustrations Provide For Various Hearers
Modes of Presenting Argument
Illustrations Bridge Difficult Places
They Educate the People
Necessity of Variety
Homely Illustrations
Illustrations Must Be Apt
How to Get Information
Illustrations Must Be Prompt
The Habit of Illustrating
Questions and Answers


What is Health?
Health and Thought
Health in Speaking
Popular Orators
Health as a Cheering Influence
Healthful Views of Christianity
Health as a Sweetener of Work
Practical Hints
Muscular Strength Not Enough
The Art of Eating
Quantity of Sleep
Badly Regulated Work
Sleep After Work
Questions and Answers


The Discourses of Jesus
Mode of the Apostles
Characteristics of Modern Preaching
Laboriousness of the Ministry
Preparation of the Sermon
Advantages and Dangers of Written Sermons
Advantages of Unwritten Discourse
Points to Be Guarded in Extempore Preaching
Ideal Sermonizing
General Variety of Sermon-Plans
The Natural Method
Suggestive Preaching
Expository Preaching
Great Sermons
General Hints Professional Manners
Professional Association
Length of Sermons
Trust Your Audiences
Questions and Answers


What is Love?
Love the Central Power Op the Ministry
Love Not Mere Good-Nature
Love of the Work
The Healthfulness of Benevolence
Love a Power-Giving Element
The Sustaining Power of Love
Love the Key-Note of Pulpit-Work
Love Makes a Free Preacher
Questions and Answers


I. Choosing the Field 11

The Foundation Principle 13
Parish or Mission 14
Ideas Vernu Folks 14
Pleas For Soft Places 15
The Secret of Success 17
Building in a New Field 19
What is a Church? 20
The First Step
The Preacher’s Personality
Reflex Influence and Education 24
Elements of Power Gained Creativeness- -Reality 25
Individuality 26
Work from the Bottom Upward 27
An Apostolic Exemplar
The Power of Christian Heroism 30
The Need of to-Day 31
Mission-Work the Best Training
Questions and Answers

II. Prayer 30

Changed Position of the Church 37
Growth of Other Professions in Learning 37
The Spread of Letters 38
The Church One Force Among Many 40
The Function of the Pulpit 42
The Minister S Power 44
Spiritual Perspective 45
Prayer as an Element of Preaching 47
What is Prayer? 4u
Teaching Men to Pray
The Elements of Prayer
Making Prayer Attract1vr
Liberty in Prayer
Exaltation in Prayer
Personal Habit and Public Duty
Prayer the Secret of Strength
Questions and Answers

III. The Prayer-Meeting : Its Methods and Benefits

The Democratic Theory
The Voice of the Church
The Prayer-Meeting Promotes Fellowship
It Discourages Censorious Judgment
It Discovers Mutual Needs
It Develops Power in the Congregation
It Discloses Gifts and Graces
The Folly of Scolding
Summing Up
Questions and Answers
Power of Individual Experiences 68
It Cherishes Mutual Helpfulness 75
Women to Take Part
The Prayer-Meeting Makes Truth Personal
It Attracts Outsiders
The Effect On Spectators
Questions and Answers

IV. The Prayer-Meeting : Its Helps and Hindrances 95

Hard Work For the Minister
Difficulty of Gathering the People 97
How to Start Prayer-Meetings
Poverty of Material
Need of Wise Leadership
Stale Speakers and Speeches
The Minister to Train Himself 104
Let Every Meeting Take Its Own Shape
Feeling Cannot Be Forced
How Feeling is Developed
Uselessness of Mere Exhortation
Flies in the Ointment
Do Not Be Fastidious
The Need of Catholicity H5
Begin and End Promptly H7
Cultivate the Social Element H8
Small Rooms the Best 119
Let There Be Variety 120
Importance of Singing 121

V. Relations of Music to Worship 130

The Minister’s Duty 131
Music the Preacher’s Prime Minister 132
Church Music the Organ 134
Function of the Okoan the Opening 130
The Hymn Accompaniment 138
The Closing Voluntary 140
Organists 140
True Organ Music 141
The Choir 143
Congregational Singing 145
Plymouth Church 147
How to Promote General Singing 148
Fellowship and Song Help Each Othkk 149
The Choice of Hymns 150
Prayer-Meeting Music 154
Questions and Answers 157

VI. Development of Social Elements 103

Pastoral Visiting 163
Modern Reason S For it 164
Importance of Knowing the People 160
Freedom from Class Influences 1(50
Gaining the Confidence of People 168
Two Special Conditions For Visiting 169
Hard Fields 169
Heart-Work Instead of Head-Work 171
General Social Amenity Among Church Members 172
Imperfect Kinds 174
The True Practical Plane 175
Provision For Social Gatherings 176
Picnics 178
The Church Should Be a Hou3khold 179
The Right Uhe of Theology 180
The Supremacy of Spiritual Qualities 181
Sunday Schools 182
How Children Should Be Taught 133
Make Religion Joyful to Children 18 R I
Questions and Answers 189

VII. Bible Classes Mission Schools Lay Work 198

Importance of Bible Classes 200
Studying the Bible as a Whole 201
Various Methods of Bible Study 202
Advantage of Personal Teaching 203
Cause of the Prosperity of Plymouth Church 210
Mission Schools 210
Where to Establish Missions
The School Not to Become a Church
Lay Preaching
Questions and Answers
Benefit to Teachers
Church Selfishness 214
Work in One’s Own Field
Young Men’s Christian Associations

VIII. The Philosophy of Revivals

Two Extremes of Opinion 231
The Historic View 232
The Revival Element in Judaism
Revivals in Christ S Ministry
Revivals in Modern Time 235
The Psychological Explanation 236
Accepting Nature S Laws 240
Regular Institutions Inadequate 241
Churches Themselves Need Reviving 242
Needs of Those Without the Church
Fanaticism: How Prevented 244
Life Better Than Death 245
Religious Excitement Not Dangerous 247
High Feeling and Clear Seeing 250
Religious Insanity 251
Revivals Raise the Tone of Church Piety 252
Questions and Answers 254

IX. Revivals Subject to Law 263

The Divine Spirit Not Capricious 267
Revivals Under the Law of Cause and Effect 271
What is Nature? 273
Physical Nature Not Ignoble 274
The Science of Religion 278
Dependence On God Not Given Up 279
What 18 a Revival? 280
The Awakening of Conscience 281
The Sense of Danger 282
The Struggle 283
The Victory 285
How to Produce These Results 285
Questions and Answers 288

X. The Conduct of Revivals 297

Effect of Revivals Within the Church 298
Born Again 299
Where to Begin Revival Work 302
Contents IX
Preparation in the Preacher 304
Special Kind of Preaching Required 307
Frequency of Services 3qg
Courage Gives 8trength W
Do Not Work by Authority 313
Variety of Methods 314
Protracted Meetings 315
Inquiry-Meetings 3jg
Conduct of Revivals 319
Evangelists 320
Questions and Answers 390

XI. Bringing Men to Christ 327

The Old and the New Practice 323
Diverse Personal Elements 3 U
Degrees of Intensity 333
Practical Influences to Be Used 334
The Apostolic Theory 333
Change of Life the Real Aim 337
Differences of Disposition 333
Conviction Only a Means to Conversion 340
Present Christ as the Standard 341
Help Men to Actively Choose 340
Be Specific Not Vague 343
The Two Elements of Action 344
The Ideal Manhood 347
Varied Experiences 343
After Conversion 352


ABOUT thirty-five years ago Mr. Beecher grouped his “Six Lectures to Young Men,” and allowed them to be published for the benefit of a young friend who was about beginning business; and although more than fifty thousand copies of that book have been printed, until recently it brought no income to its author.

Since that time, in one way and another, various books from Mr. Beecher’s pen have been issued by different publishers, and, while welcomed by the reading public, have been treated by their author with more or less indifference. The “Lectures to Young Men,” two series of “ Star Papers,” “ Fruit, Flowers, and Farming,” “ Eyes and Ears,” “ Royal Truths,” “ Norwood,”

“Lecture-Room Talks,” and other works, are widely known, but have hitherto been printed in different cities, in varying styles, by separate houses.

The American house having in hand the publication of the regular authorized weekly reports of Mr. Beecher’s Sermons (issued thus far in six uniform octavo volumes), and of his most elaborate and important literary work, the “ Life of Jesus the Christ,” have thought it due to him that his works should be gathered together by them, and as many as could conveniently be put forth in the size and style of the present book should be issued in a “ Uniform Author’s Copyright Edition.” This edition will be issued in Great Britain by the undersigned.

In pursuance of this design, the “ Lectures on Preaching” are herewith presented to the public, to be followed at brief inter vals by others of Mr. Beecher’s works.


LONDON*, July 1872.

Beecher, Henry W  - Lectures On Preaching
Beecher, Henry W - Lectures On Preaching
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