More of Hall on Beddome's preaching
In George Winfred Harvey's Manual of Revivals of 1881 he says:
In his "Forewords," the author says, "Veteran preachers, who have distinguished themselves as sermonizers as well as original thinkers, concur in the opinion that texts, titles, partitions, skeletons and brief reports of sermons are more suggestive of new lines of thought than are sermons which have been fully composed or printed without condensation. In this regard the experience of the famous Robert Hall was not unique. While on a short visit to his friend, Mr Greene, he read a volume of the sketches of Beddome's sermons. Though little more than skeletons, he liked them all the better for their compactness; they supplied him materials for thinking. The result was that the dry and unpopular book suggested to him the subject of one of his most original and useful sermons, preached first at Leicester and afterward at Bristol.
If we turn to the "Reminiscences of the Rev. Robert Hall," by Mr Greene, we find the following reference to this sermon. "As we were walking home, I said to Mr Hall, 'What an astonishing sermon you have given us this morning. Sir!' (The text was — "As the truth is in Jesus.)" 'I never heard you deliver a sermon with so much rapidity.' 'Why, Sir,' he replied, 'my only chance of getting through was by galloping on as fast as I could; I was thrown on my resources, and had no conception of its being the assizes till I entered the pulpit and saw the counsellors. I never preached from that subject before.' 'Sir' I said, ' But when could you prepare the sermon, Sir? for we have been together all the week, and you have had no time.' 'Why, Sir, I will tell you, I thought of it at intervals, and during the night. Beddome's Sermons, which you lent me, suggested the subject, and I fixed the outline in my mind, and, perhaps, was excited by the unexpected appearance of men of talent.'
Thus we see that the great preacher was indebted to Beddome only for the suggestion of the subject, which his intensely active and original mind had laboured on "at intervals, and during the night," and wrought out a discourse wholly his own. But not all preachers are Robert Halls, and if they have always at hand "Outlines of sermons," by able preachers, there is danger that some of them in the stress of work that often comes upon them, will take not simply a theme, but an entire "outline" of a subject, and will resort more and more frequently to this source of supply until by this system of homiletic pilfering, they will lose both the respect of themselves, and, if detected - as they are almost sure to be in the end, - the respect of their people. (See "Hall's Works, vol. iv. 54 57, 116.")