Choosing a Text For a Sermon

I found upon the vestry table this morning a letter requesting me to preach from a certain text, “Jesus wept.”

The writer of that letter must know very little of the perplexities and exercises that I and every minister of truth have with respect to the texts that we preach from.

I cannot take a text, and speak from it in the mere exercise of my judgment.

Before I can take a text, and preach from it, I must have three things.

First, I must see a vein of experience in it; in other words, I must have light upon it.

secondly, I must find a measure of sweetness and savour in it; I must know something personally of the experience contained in it, and feel a measure of dew and unction to rest upon it; in other words, I must have life from it.

And thirdly, I must find in it sufficient matter to form a tolerably full and connected discourse. I cannot run here, there, and everywhere all through the scriptures, nor deal in vague, loose generalities: but as far as the Lord gives me wisdom, strength, and ability, my path is to unfold the mind of the Spirit in such portions of the Scripture as are commended with some savour to my conscience.

In making these remarks, I wish not to condemn other gracious men who are led differently. Each has his own path and his own work: and God will bless each according to that line in which he leads him.

By J.C. Philpot

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