The year was 1768. A twenty-eight year old preacher by the name of Augustus Toplady, who wrote many hymns, including “Rock of Ages”, spent the afternoon in London with a Mr. Brewer, an older, veteran Gospel preacher, whom he greatly admired and from whom he learned much. This is what Mr. Brewer said to the young Toplady, as Toplady later recorded in his diary:
I cannot conclude without reminding you, my young brother, of some things that may be of use to you in the course of your ministry:
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 when your subject necessarily requires it or when the truths of God are likely to suffer by your silence.
3. When you enter the pulpit, leave your learning behind you. Endeavor to preach more to the hearts of your people than to their heads.
4. Do not be tempted toward much oratory. Seek rather to profit your hearers than to be admired by them.