A HISTORY OF PREACHING
The following work is the fruit of studies pursued and judgments formed during eleven years of service as professor of Homiletics in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, at Louisville, Kentucky. It was the custom of the distinguished and lamented Dr. John A. Broadus, the first incumbent of that chair, to give every year instructive and delightful lectures on the History of Preaching. Under his inspiring teaching my interest as a student was awakened in the subject, and when years afterwards it fell to me first to share his labors of instruction and then to succeed to them, I became more and more deeply interested in the historical part of the course in Homiletics.
The remarkable lack of treatises on the History of Preaching, especially in English, early impressed me, and aroused a desire to do something, however little, towards supplying the need. The difficulty of the task and the pressure of other and heavy burdens have occasioned many misgivings and delays, and there have been of necessity changes of plan in the execution of the work. As now planned the present volume is the first of three proposed books. It deals with the history up to and including the Reformation, the next will treat of Modern European preaching, and the last will present a History of Preaching in the United States. Some material is in hand for these later works, and should this one be fortunate enough to find a public, and should life and leisure be granted me, I hope in time to produce them.
For the completion of the present volume opportunity was kindly afforded by the Trustees of the Seminary in granting me leave of absence for some months to visit Europe. While abroad from June, 1902, to January, 1903, I had time not only to write up much material already gathered, but to visit some of the places made famous in the history of the pulpit, and to read somewhat in a member of the great libraries, including those in Berlin, Leipzig, Rome, Zurich, Geneva, and Paris. I am indebted for courtesies to the managers at these and other places.
In the use of the materials which I had to study, both at home and abroad, three methods have found place: (1) Much of the work done and critical judgments reached is based on personal and independent study of the original sources; (2) Much more, however, is of the mingled sort which rests partly and often chiefly on the work of others, and yet has been confirmed, enlarged or modified by contact with the sources; (3) In a few cases, where circumstances warranted or seemed to require it, I have simply adopted information obtained or views expressed by others. I have endeavored, either in the text or footnotes, to give the requisite indications as to which method has been used. But every one who has attempted this kind of writing, knows how utterly impossible it is tin all cases to distinguish sharply between what may be properly regarded as the author's own work, and that which he owes to others. I can only say that I have tried to make an honest book, and hereby cheerfully acknowledge my great indebtedness to many excellent workers in this field. I trust the book may find both among my brethren of the Christian ministry and among others, readers who in their turn may find some pleasure and profit in perusing even so imperfect a presentation of the History of Preaching.
Edwin Charles Dargan, Louisville, Kentucky, December, 1904.