Gems of Illustration - preface
THE London Times, in 1860, said "Dr. Guthrie is the most
eloquent orator in Europe."
The celebrated Dr. Candlish, in an address to the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, in May, 1862, said "Dr. Guthries genius has long since placed him at the head of all the gifted and popular preachers of our day."
The late Dr. James N. Alexander, one of the most fastidious of critics, tells us that he pushed into Dr. Guthries church through a crowd that nearly tore his coat from his shoulders in the struggle. He says : "I listened to him for fifty minutes; but they passed like nothing. There was an overflowing unction of passion and compassion which would carry home even one of my sermons. Conceive what it was with Guthries exuberant diction and poetic imagery!
Dr. Guthries sermons, like the addresses of most of the great masters of eloquence in all ages, abounded in picturesque similes and, indeed, few have equalled him either in the number or in the beauty and force of the illustrations employed. There is the same exuberance of graphic similitudes in the books which he wrote after the state of his health compelled him to restrict his pulpit labours and the numerous volumes which bear his name form a perfect storehouse of anecdotes, comparisons, cxamples and incidents.
This book contains what we conceive to be the choicest of illustrations arranged under the subjects which they illustrate. It has been well said that arguments are the pillars and buttresses which support the building, but illustrations are the windows wInch let in the light. There was abundance of light when Dr. Guthrie preached or wrote, and it would be well if ministers, and religious teachers generally, imitated him. We commend to them not only his example but his testimony.
He says "By awakening and gratifying the imagination, the truth finds its way more readily to the heart, and makes a deeper impression on the memory. The story, like a float, keeps it from sinking; like a nail, fastens it in the mind; like the feathers of an arrow, makes it strike, and, like the barb, makes it stick"
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