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The Message And The Man by J. Dodd Jackson

PREFACE.

It would be strange, indeed, if in the procession of annual volumes of which this lecture is an unit, there did not arrive a book about preaching. The work of the preacher holds so large a place in the service and worship of God; it is, to all appearance, so essential to the accomplishment of the purposes of the Redeemer; its content and quality mean so much to the life and health of the Church; it has played -- and is destined to play -- so great a part in the saving of mankind, that, sooner or later, it was bound to come within the purview of this lectureship.

Now that, at last, the inevitable has happened, it may be said that the following pages have been written under the conviction that one of the greatest needs of the present day is a pulpit revival -- a revival which will issue in a new endeavour to realise the highest possibilities of the divinest of callings. Many of late years have wandered from the fold of the Church; mighty is the multitude of those who have never been within her fellowship. The author is more than convinced that any attempt to claim and reclaim must, to be successful on a large scale, commence in a renaissance of Gospel preaching. With the preacher, more than with the ecclesiastic or the musician or the theologian, not to mention the Biblical critic and the religio-social worker, rests the task of solving the great problem of twentieth century Christianity. This problem is neither a critical nor a theological one, but simply that of the age-long campaign: -- How shall we so commend the Christ as to draw the world to His feet?

To this avowal, the writer would venture to add a brief personal explanation. Strongly convinced, though he is, of the soundness of the view expressed above, he did not enter willingly upon the task of this book. His brother preachers will know what it is to be captured by a text which comes uninvited and persistently demands to be preached upon. How often such an arrest finds its subject unwilling, doubtful of his powers, afraid to be obedient to the unsought command! So came the subject of this essay to the writer thereof. For long he tried strenuously, though vainly, to make his escape to the refuge of some other topic wherein he might, less daringly, discharge the responsibilities of this lectureship. He disclaims, therefore, any presumption of which he may be accused in attempting an enterprise which some may think is outside his province or beyond his powers. This book embodies not a challenge, but a surrender!

One word more may be allowed. Surely, no one will need to be told that the |Hartley Lecture| is delivered under the auspices of the Primitive Methodist Church, or that its delivery is included in the programme of its Annual Conference. This will explain why the reader will find, here and there, in the chapters here assembled, certain denominational allusions of a historic and biographical character. Primitive Methodists will readily understand them and, we hope, discover that they add force to argument -- strength to appeal. Readers of other denominations will not find that the meaning of the writer is obscured by any one of these references. As for the principles sought to be commended and emphasised, any application they may have is not limited by denominational boundaries.

LONDON,
June 1st, 1912.

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