April 2, 2013

George Whitefield (1714–1770) on Preaching to Self-Righteous Sinners, or Sinai Before Zion

For the law must be preached to self-righteous sinners. We must take care of healing, before we see sinners wounded, lest we should say, 'Peace, peace,' where there is no peace. Secure sinners must hear the thundering of Mount Sinai, before we bring him to Mount Zion. They who never preach up the law, it is to be feared, are unskillful in delivering the glad tidings of the gospel. Every minister should be a Boanerges, a sun of thunder, as well as a Barnabas, a son of consolation. There was an earthquake and a whirlwind, before the small still voice came to Elijah: we must first show people that they are condemned, and then show them how they must be saved. But how and when to preach the law, and when to apply the promises of the gospel, wisdom is profitable to direct.
George Whitefield, Select Sermons of George Whitefield (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1990), 151.

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