What a lesson is here for ministers!

(J. C. Philpot, "The Wisdom of Men and the Power
of God
" Please forward this 'gem' to your pastors!)

"And my speech and my preaching were not
 with enticing words of man's wisdom
, but
 in demonstration of the Spirit and of power"
   1 Cor. 2:4

The word "enticing" is as we now say, "persuasive."
It includes, therefore, every branch of skillful oratory,
whether it be logical reasoning to convince our
understanding—or appeals to our feelings to stir up
our passions—or new and striking ideas to delight
our intellect—or beautiful and eloquent language to
please and captivate our imagination.

All these "enticing words" of man's wisdom—the very
things which our popular preachers most speak and aim
—this great apostle renounced, discarded, and rejected!

He might have used them all if he liked. He possessed
an almost unequalled share of natural ability and great
learning—a singularly keen, penetrating intellect—a
wonderful command of the Greek language—a flow of
ideas most varied, striking, and original—and powers of
oratory and eloquence such as have been given to few.
He might therefore have used enticing words of man's
wisdom, had he wished or thought it right to do so—but
he would not. He saw what deceptiveness was in them,
and at best they were mere arts of oratory. He saw that
these enticing words—though they might . . .
  touch the natural feelings,
  work upon the passions,
  captivate the imagination,
  convince the understanding,
  persuade the judgment, and to a certain extent force
their way into men's minds—yet when all was done that
could thus be done, it was merely man's wisdom which
had done it.

Earthly wisdom cannot communicate heavenly faith.
Paul would not therefore use enticing words of man's
wisdom, whether it were force of logical argument, or
appeal to natural passions, or the charms of vivid
eloquence, or the beauty of poetical composition, or
the subtle nicety of well arranged sentences. He would
not use any of these enticing words of man's wisdom
to draw people into a profession of religion—when their
heart was not really touched by God's grace, or their
consciences wrought upon by a divine power.

He came to win souls for Jesus Christ, not converts
to his own powers of oratorical persuasion—to turn
men from darkness to light, and from the power of
Satan unto God—not to charm their ears by poetry
and eloquence—but to bring them out of the vilest
of sins that they might be washed, sanctified, and
justified by the Spirit of God—and not entertain
or amuse
their minds while sin and Satan still
maintained dominion in their hearts!

All the labor spent in bringing together a church
and congregation of professing people by the power
of logical argument and appeals to their natural
consciences would be utterly lost, as regards fruit
for eternity—for a profession so induced by him and
so made by them would leave them just as they were . . .
  in all the depths of unregeneracy,
  with their sins unpardoned,
  their persons unjustified,
  and their souls unsanctified.

He therefore discarded all these ways of winning
over converts—as deceitful to the souls of men,
and as dishonoring to God.

It required much grace to do this—to throw aside
what he might have used, and renounce what most
men, as gifted as he, would have gladly used.

What a lesson is here for ministers!

How anxious are some men to shine as great
preachers! How they covet and often aim at
some grand display of what they call eloquence
to charm their hearers—and win praise and honor
to self!

How others try to argue men into religion, or by
appealing to their natural feelings, sometimes to
frighten them with pictures of hell, and sometimes
to allure them by descriptions of heaven.

But all such arts, for they are no better, must be
discarded by a true servant of God. Only the Spirit
can reveal Christ, taking of the things of Christ, and
showing them unto us, applying the word with power
to our hearts, and bringing the sweetness, reality,
and blessedness of divine things into our soul.

"And my speech and my preaching were not
 with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in
 demonstration of the Spirit and of power

Unless we have a measure of the same demonstration
of the Spirit, all that is said by us in the pulpit drops to
the ground—it has no real effect—there is no true or
abiding fruit—no fruit unto eternal life. If there be in it
some enticing words of man's wisdom, it may please
the mind of those who are gratified by such arts—it may
stimulate and occupy the attention for the time—but
there it ceases, and all that has been heard fades away
like a dream of the night.