“Preaching With Downright Solemn Earnest” – Charles Spurgeon

June 19, 2007

There is nothing more profound than waking on a Sunday morning with the heartbeat of a sermon pounding loudly within you. There is nothing worse than feeling a ‘lightness’ about the task you’re about to perform. For today’s Classic Materials, Charles H Spurgeon speaks about the need for a “downright solemn earnestness” as preachers not only approach the pulpit, but plead with the congregation. The quote is taken from his dynamite work “The Soul Winner.”


“So, my brethren, when it is not so much that you have got hold of your subject, but that it has got a hold of you, and you feel its grip with a terrible reality yourself, that is the kind of sermon that is most likely to impress others with it; so mind that your sermons always have something in them which shall really impress both yourself and the hearers whom you are addressing.

I think also that there should be an impressive delivery of our discourses.The delivery of some preachers is very bad; if yours is so, try to improve it in all possible ways. One young man wanted to learn singing, but he was told by the teacher ‘ You have only one tone to your voice, and that is outside the scale.’ So, there are ministers’ voices that have only the one tone, and there is no music in that one.

Do try, as far as you can, to make the very way in which you speak minister to the great end you have in view. Preach, for instance, as you would plead if you were standing before a judge, and begging for the life of a friend, or as if you were appealing to the Queen herself on behalf of someone very dear to you. Use such a tone in pleading with sinners as you would use if a gibbet were erected in this room, and you were to be hanged on it unless you could persuade the person in authority to release you. That is the sort of earnestness you need in pleading with men as ambassadors for God.

Try and make every sermon such that the most flippant shall see without any doubt that, if it be an amusement for them to hear you, it is no amusement for you to speak to them, but that you are pleading with them in downright solemn earnest about eternal matters.”



  1. Excellent quote, Colin. Next week I’ll be preaching twice a day Monday through Friday to about 100 teens, and this is exactly the encouragement I needed, especially in a day when we’re so tempted to resort to entertaining instead of “pleading with them in downright solemn earnest about eternal matters.”

    You’re doing great work on the blog, it’s truly a blessing. I would be helpful to me, leading a single-pastor church, if you would devote some posts to pastoral care, although this might be somewhat outside your immediate agenda. I’m weak in that area, I think.

  2. Mike,

    Thanks for that suggestion. One of the things I’ve been thinking about doing is devoting a day each week to blogging about pastoral work beyond the pulpit. Without question we pastor the flock “from” the pulpit, but it cannot be the full extent of our pastoral care!

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