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Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection
Preaching: Need of Prayer and Unction
In a Romish book by Father Faber of the Oratory, we find the following:: 'Do you remember the story of that religious, a Jesuit I think, who was a famous preacher, and whose sermons converted men by scores? It was revealed to him that not one of the conversions was owing to his talents or eloquence, but all to the prayers of an illiterate lay-brother who sat on the pulpit steps praying all the time for the success of the sermon. There is another story, a very strange one. I will not vouch for its being true, but I will quote it for the sake of the wise teaching it contains. A certain religious, a very popular preacher, was expected one day in a convent of his order, where he was a stranger. In the afternoon he arrived, or rather an evil spirit who personated him, arrived, to see what mischief he could do. It so happened that there was to be a sermon on hell preached that day by one of the monks, but he was ill and unable to preach. So they asked this devil to preach on hell, which he did; and, as may be supposed from his experience, a most wonderful sermon was. However, on the arrival of the real preacher, the evil one was discovered, and was obliged to disclose himself, and his malicious designs. Among other things he was asked how it was not against his interests to preach such a frightening sermon about hell, as it would keep people from sin. 'Not at all,' he replied, 'there was no unction with it, so it could do no harm!'
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Spurgeon, Charles. Entry for 'Preaching: Need of Prayer and Unction'. Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fff/p/preaching-need-of-prayer-and-unction.html. 1870.
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26