A History of Preaching
F. R. Webber

Richard Pearsall, a preacher of evangelical truth in an age of spiritual darkness, was born in 1698 at Kidderminster, Worcestershire. His education was received in an academy in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. He was ordained about the year 1721, and his first congregation was in Bromyard, Herefordshire. In 1731 he went to Warminster, Wilts., and in 1747 to Taunton, Somersetshire, where the last 15 years of his ministry were spent.

Mr. Pearsall was a man of deep piety, and an earnest preacher of sin and salvation. Of his sermons Middleton says: "They are not only evangelical, but ingenious; and though he does not exceed Mr. Hervey in these respects, whose style he seems to have admired and imitated, yet his contemplations may be read with pleasure and profit, especially by younger minds to whom they are particularly adapted."

Just before his death in 1762, Richard Pearsall dictated a long letter to his congregation, requesting it to be read to them "as from the grave," soon after his departure. Among other things he says: "I now (as far as I can) confirm what I have before preached; and would in the most serious manner, as a dying man and minister, recommend the blessed Gospel, and all that system of sacred truths that runs through it. Think of no justification but what is to be had through the righteousness of Christ, accepted by the penitent soul in a way of humble faith. In every kind of approach to God, whether habitual or actual, seek acceptance in the beloved. Let Him be your Mediator and High Priest, by Whom you present yourselves first, and then your various sacrifices to the Lord of all, and think that He could be Priest only as He was and is God Incarnate. As I always maintained the doctrine of original sin, and preached to you as persons that need a regenerating Spirit, so I verily believe, not only from the declarations of our blessed Redeemer, but from the corruption of man's heart, from the nature of sin as the soul's pollution, compared with the purity of the Divine Nature, and of the heavenly world, which are all purity, that verily, except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of Heaven."

Pearsall lived in a day when preachers of evangelical truth "were but thinly scattered over the land, and by the middle of the century it was said that an evangelic minister was hard to be found." His manner of preaching is but proof that even in that day when "our pulpits sounded with morality, deduced from the principles of nature and the fitness of things, with no relation to Christ, or to the Holy Spirit; all which the heathen philosophers have insisted upon and with perhaps more than modern ingenuity," even in such dark days there were men, here and there, who kept the flame of evangelical truth alight. These lights were scattered widely, but it is significant that they were there.

Return to A History of Preaching Page

© Copyright 2019 Rediscovering the Bible. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us | Email Webmaster