After the advent of the written word, the masses who could not - or were not permitted to - read, were given sermons by the few who could.
Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.
Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees. Their sermons on the mountains go to our hearts . . .
Few know how to be old.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld
Sermons remain one of the last forms of public discourse where it is culturally forbidden to talk back.