The study of preaching in England in the 16th and 17th centuries is a fascinating subject. I will be teaching a PhD seminar this fall on “History and Theology of British Preaching – 1534-1689.”
Thomas Playfere was Lady Margret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge in Queen Elizabeth’s time, and afterwards court preacher to King James I in England. He was known for his eloquence in the pulpit.
He preached a sermon on Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord” entitled “Heart’s Delight.” I particularly like the following–it speaks to the heart:
“Nay, I cannot hold my heart for my joy; yea, I cannot hold my joy for my heart; to think that He which is my Lord is become my Father, and so that He which was offended with me for my sin’s sake, is now reconciled to me for His Son’s sake.
To think that the High Majesty of God will one day raise me out of the dust, and so that I who am now a poor worm upon earth shall hereafter be a glorious saint in heaven. This, this makes me delight myself in the Lord, saying, O Thou that art the delight of my delight, the life of my life, the soul of my soul, I delight myself in Thee, I live only for Thee, I offer myself unto Thee, wholly to Thee wholly, one to Thee one, only to Thee only.
For suppose now, as St. John speaks, the whole world were full of books, and all the creatures in the world were writers, and all the grass piles upon the earth were pens, and all the waters in the sea were ink; yet I assure you faithfully all these books, all these writers, all these pens, all this ink would not be sufficient to describe the very least part, either of the goodness of the Lord in himself, or of the lovingkindness of the Lord toward thee.”