Phillips Brooks is the author of the carol O Little Town Of Bethlehem.
A series of lectures on preaching, delivered by Brooks in 1877, are published in book form as The Joy Of Preaching.
The book seems pretty timeless; but then the communication of Christian truth, and the substance of Christian truth, are timeless.
I suppose that all preachers pass through some fantastic period when a strange text fascinates them; when they like to find what can be said for an hour on some little topic on which most men could only talk two minutes; when they are eager for subtlety more than force, and for originality more than truth. But as a preacher grows more full of the conception of the sermon as a message, he gets clear of those brambles. He comes out on to open ground. His work grows freer, and bolder, and broader. He loves the simplest texts, and the greatest truths with run like rivers through all life. God’s sovereignty, Christ’s redemption, man’s hope in the Spirit, the privilege of duty, the love of man in the Saviour, makes strong music which his soul tries to catch.
And then another result of this conception of preaching as the telling of a message is that it puts us into right relations with all historic Christianity. The message never can be told as if we were the first to tell it. It is the same message which the church has told in all the ages. He who tells it today is backed by all the multitude who have told it in the past. He is companied by all those who are telling it now. The message is his witness; but a part of the assurance which which he has received it, comes from the fact of its being the identical message which has come down fro the beginning.
Phillips Brooks, The Joy Of Preaching, Kregel Classics, 1989, pg. 33.