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HISTORY OF PREACHING
BY THE LATE
REV. JOHN KER, D. D.,
REV. A. R. MACEWEN, M. A., BALLIOL, B. D., GLASGOW.
INTRODUCTION BY REV. WM. M. TAYLOR, D. D., LL. D.
New York :
THE author of these Lectures stood in the very front rank of the preachers both of his country and
His first volume of Sermons, republished on this side of the Atlantic under the title of “ The Day Dawn and the Rain,” and originally issued in Edinburgh in 1869, as "Sermons by
“ Rev. John Ker," is now in its thirteenth edition in Great Britain, and has attracted the attention and called forth the commendation of the best critics. The discourses which it contains are characterized by originality of thought, simplicity of style, and a certain quiet power that carries conviction without any straining after effect. His lines of method are all natural without being obvious, and his movement along these is always singularly easy and delightful. The same qualities distinguish his second volume, which, though published after his death in 1886, is a worthy companion of the first, and has already taken its place among the homiletic models of our times.
For many years before his death a nervous break-down in health incapacitated him for regular pulpit work. But, at the reorganization of the Theological Seminary of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland, he consented to attempt the
performance of the duties of the chair of Practical Training for the Ministry, and these he continued to perform, with marked acceptance, till his sudden and lamented decease.
As a man he possessed large stores of varied information, ample scholarship, thorough acquaintance with literature, a true poetic temperament, and sound common sense, while these were all pervaded by the devoutest piety and the sweetest modesty. There was always about him a great amount of reserve force. He never seemed to be making an effort, and, eloquent as his discourses were, they were delivered in a pleasant, conversational manner, which won its way and did its work almost before the hearer was aware. These qualities appeared in his work in the professor's chair, as well as in that which he did in the pulpit. His department was new, and he had to act in it the part of a pioneer. But it was one for which his whole previous history had been a preparation, and to which he devoted the maturity of his powers. He went into it with all his heart, and in this volume we have a specimen of the manner in which he dealt with, at least, one part of the field which had been intrusted to him. The opening Historical Lectures, without being exhaustive, are eminently rich, and his treatment of the German Pulpit, which forms the main part of the work, is, so far as we know, the fullest which has yet been given in the English language. It is not, strictly
speaking, a work on Homiletics, but the purpose of the Professor is never once lost sight of, and his criticisms on the men who come up before him for review are often more valuable than direct disquisitions on the making of sermons would have been, while his obiter dicta are always both incisive and suggestive ; so that, as a recent critic has said, “For thoughtful preachers, this volume would prove more helpful than most helps for the pulpit.” To the careful study of all such, we heartily commend the work.
WM. M. TAYLOR.