Are we there yet?
That's what I remember saying to my Mum and Dad as a little boy during a long car journey. Often we weren't far into it.
Listening to preaching can be like that. I remember a preacher tackling a 20-odd-verse passage and taking them one verse at a time. The first two verses took five minutes each, and the preacher managed to make it dull. Soon I was extrapolating to a hundred minutes of slow death-by-preaching. Thankfully, it only ended up half that length. But the childhood desire to cry out, "Are we there yet?" was almost irrepressible.
M'Cheyne did not have this problem. Here is Bonar on M'Cheyne's preaching:
"The heads of his sermons", said a friend, "were not the mile-stones that tell you how near you are to your journey's end, but they were nails which fixed and fastened all he said."O to preach like that! Preparation of the soul, orderly structure, prayer, the blessing of the Spirit of God.
- Memoir, Bonar, p.72