The Most Diligent Preacher
In January 1548, Hugh Latimer confronted preachers who were more engaged in business and pleasure than on preaching. He preached a famous sermon at St. Paul’s Cathedral in which he named the most diligent preacher in England:
And now I would ask a strange question: who is the most diligent bishop and prelate in all England, that passes all the rest in doing his office? I can tell, for I know him who it is; I know him well. But now I think I see you listening and hearkening that I should name him. There is one that passes all the other, and is the most diligent prelate and preacher in all England. And will ye know who it is? I will tell you: it is the devil.
He is the most diligent preacher of all other; he is never out of his diocese; he is never from his cure; ye shall never find him unoccupied; he is ever in his parish; he keeps residence at all times; ye shall never find him out of the way, call for him when you will he is ever at home; the most diligent preacher in all the realm; he is ever at his plough: no lording nor loitering can hinder him; he is ever applying his business, ye shall never find him idle, I warrant you…
Oh that our prelates would be as diligent to sow the corn of good doctrine, as Satan is to sow cockle and darnel!…
Therefore, ye unpreaching prelates, learn of the devil: to be diligent in doing of your office, learn of the devil: and if you will not learn of God, nor good men; for shame learn of the devil.
I wonder how that sermon went over! I need to read this challenge once in a while. When it comes to diligence in preaching, the devil is doing better than some of us.