In reading through a section of "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ" by Brooks, he addresses the importance of a genuine, living faith in the heart of the preacher. The entire chapter is good but I will just share a few nuggets tucked within.
"Talk not of a good life," said the heathen, "but let thy life speak." Ministers should be like musk among linen, which casts a fragrant smell, or like that box of spikenard, which being broken open, filled the house with its odor.
Gregory saith of Anthanasius, that his life was a continual sermon and wooing men to Christ.
A painter being blamed by a cardinal for putting too much red upon the visages of Peter and Paul, tartly replied, that he painted them so, as blushing at the lives of those men who styled themselves their successors. Ah how do lewd and wicked lives of many that are called and accounted ministers, make others to blush!
The highest mystery in the divine rhetoric, is to feel what a man speaks, and then speak what a man feels.
Praxiteles exquisitely drew love, taking the pattern from that passion which he felt in his own heart.
It was said of Luther, that he spake as if he had been within a man. Ministers must so speak to the people, as if they lived in the very hearts of the people; as if they had been told all their wants, and all their ways, all their sins, and all their doubts.
And lastly -- "Ministers must preach feelingly, experimentally, as well as exemplarily. They must speak from the heart to the heart; they must feel the worth, the weight, the sweet of those things upon their own souls that they give out to others." 1 John 1: 1-3
Well that's a tall order and in these days they may be more rare than ever, but I can't disagree.
Photo by Steiner