Alexander Campbell’s Rules for Preaching


Editor’s Note:

One of the great minds of the Restoration Movement was Alexander Campbell. Much has been written about him, possibly because so much was written by him. Robert Richardson, the author of the definitive autobiography of Campbell, recorded the following “Rules” saying that the `following qualifications,” were ” . . , necessary to attain excellence in the composing and pronouncing of sermons:’ ‘ Since these works are so hard to obtain, we reproduce these rules here for your reading.

” `1. The preacher must be a man of piety, and one who has the instruction and salvation of mankind sincerely at heart.

” `2. A man of modest and simple manners, and in his public performances and general behavior must conduct himself so as to make his people sensible that he has their temporal and eternal welfare more at heart than anything else.

” ‘3. He must be well instructed in morality and religion, and in the original tongues in which the Scriptures are written, for without them he can hardly be qualified to explain Scripture or teach religion and morality.

” ‘4. He must be such a proficient in his own language, as to be able to express every doctrine and precept with the utmost simplicity, and without anything in his diction either finical on the one hand or vulgar on the other.

” `5. A sermon should be composed with regularity and unity of design, so that all its parts may have a mutual and natural connection, and it should not consist of many heads, neither should it be very long.

” `6. A sermon ought to be pronounced with gravity, modesty and meekness, and so as to be distinctly heard by all the audience.

” `Let the preacher, therefore, accustom himself to articulate slowly and deliver the words with a distinct voice, and without artificial attitudes or motions or any other affectation.’ “

(Robert Richardson, Memoirs of Alexander Campbell. (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippingcott and Co.) Vol. I, p. 138.)

Truth Magazine XIX: 50, p. 786
October 30, 1975