The year was 1768. A twenty-eight year old preacher by the name of Augustus Toplady, who wrote many of our best hymns, including “Rock of Ages”, spent the afternoon in London with Mr. Brewer — an older, veteran Gospel preacher, whom he greatly admired and from whom he learned much. This is what Mr. Brewer said to the young Toplady, as Toplady later recorded in his diary:
I cannot conclude without reminding you, my young brother, of some things that may be of use to you in the course of your ministry:
1. Preach Christ crucified, and dwell chiefly on the blessings resulting from His righteousness, atonement, and intercession.
2. Avoid all needless controversies in the pulpit; except it be when your subject necessarily requires it; or when the truths of God are likely to suffer by your silence.
3. When you ascend the pulpit, leave your learning behind you. Endeavor to preach more to the hearts of your people — than to their heads.
4. Do not affect too much oratory. Seek rather to profit your hearers — than to be admired by them.
N.B. Christian ministers would do well to print out these four simple principles, tuck them in their Bibles, are refer to them every time they preach!