C. H. Spurgeon, as recorded in Lectures to My Students: Second Series (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1877), page 146:
The pulpit is the Thermopylae of Christendom: there the fight will be lost or won.
To us ministers the maintenance of our power in the pulpit should be our great concern, we must occupy that spiritual watch-tower with our hearts and minds awake and in full vigor. It will not avail us to be laborious pastors if we are not earnest preachers.
We shall be forgiven a great many sins in the matter of pastoral visitation if the people’s souls are really fed on the Sabbath-day; but fed they must be, and nothing else will make up for it.
The failures of most ministers who drift down the stream may be traced to inefficiency in the pulpit. The chief business of a captain is to know how to handle his vessel, nothing can compensate for deficiency there, and so our pulpits must be our main care, or all will go awry.
HT: Tony Reinke