Here's a short clip from the biography of AUGUSTUS TOPLADY I am writing for Evangelical Press in the UK.
Arguably one of the most valuable instructions that Toplady left for Christian ministers today is his record of a visit to Exeter and the succinct instruction he received from “that excellent Christian, Mr. Brewer, the old ambassador of Christ.” The venerable minister recounted to young Toplady the charge he had given to another young minister in his installation service.
1. Preach Christ crucified, and dwell chiefly on the blessings resulting from his righteousness, atonement, and intercession.
2. Avoid all needless controversies in the pulpit; except it be when your subject necessarily requires it, or when the truths of God are likely to suffer by your silence.
3. When you ascend the pulpit, leave your learning behind you: endeavor to preach more to the hearts of your people that to their heads.
4. Do not affect too much oratory. Seek rather to profit than to be admired.
Toplady, who hereafter preached Christ crucified, seems to have been much impressed and affected by this wise minister’s advice, and embraced the admonition as his own.
What would happen if every generation of new preachers heeded these four straightforward guidelines as Toplady did? The Apostle Paul knew the danger that lurks for preachers to impress their congregation with their learning and oratory. “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power (I Corinthians 1:17).