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indeed wonderful, the present is deserving of note, but the fute will be big with deeper interest, and more portentous in its o velopments. Behold yonder aged maniac. His history is f. of striking and thrilling scenes, and you hear with horrore record of his adventures and experiences. His disease began : the mildest form; a few trivial aberrations gave token that a was not right. Upon one and another occasion, his malas showed its slowly increasing power, as exhibited in still great deeds of violence and recklessness. He must be threatened af. confined; but he laughs wildly at the warning, and breaks aus from his prison. He is chained; he tears his fetters, and, wi: a bruised body and exasperated mind, he menaces his supposed persecutors. All efforts to reclaim him to the path and posse sion of reason are unavailing. But now his disease approaches its crisis. The raging madness inflames his mind with un usua fury, and the fires of death glow intensely within his heate frame. All former acts of violence and desperation are eclipsed by more recent and extraordinary deeds. He cannot be restrained or softened. Life, to him, becomes but one living death; an the end of it is, that his protracted existence only renders the fina scene of an inevitable dissolution the more horrible; or tha scene is prevented by the infliction of an immediate and viola death. So behold the great religious maniac of the world, whas disease, beginning in a gentle and harmless form, has gone or ward during the progress of ages, from one stage of power and violence to another. Long ago it had become alarming. LON ago it had developed features, and indulged in excesses enoug. to make men tremble. Faithful history has stood by, and set ! down without malice all these events, and her record is pre ! served as our inheritance. Still the maniac lives; death has no ; come to his relief.
His disease has now nearly reached its crisis: ! from year to year its developments have become worse. The past is terrible, the present is full of danger; we now standa the threshold of the future, and in its prospective vistas we see the rampant madman still there, for there is none to chain him. When his long career ends, it will have solved a problem in moral therapeutics, worthy of the study of mankind during all coming ages.
ger; 123 neither case admit any deterioration in its character or its moral
By Rev. JAMES ROWLAND, Circleville, Ohio.
tans, that the American Protestant pulpit is an engine of imbenes
mense power, would be a waste of ink. They who doubt it
triumph of free principles in America, and the constitutional esmiestis establishment of our National confederacy. That the modern pul
pit has become less conspicuous in its bearing upon many of the
tives of the pulpit are superseded by the press. But because an ince the pulpit stands back in the interference with the strife of parale ofte ties, or the discussion of political questions, or measures of pubLless 2.2: lic policy, it need not be inferred that it is less powerful for good one day than in the early days of the Republic, or in those days of strife berme 2 and animosity that preceded our National existence. To whatked in ever we may attribuite its more retiring habits—whether to the F has sau introduction of this new power of the press, or to the fact, as and bay likely to be true as the others, that it has become more modest in niac life. its general claims, and prefers to confine its attention more exnearis recent clusively to its primitive use, when, under Paul's administration, re because its great themes were “Christ and him crucified,” we do in
power. Its character may be shadowed forth under other cir
cumstances; but it was never more pure, more elevated, more e solrend dignified, than at the present moment, though it may have less
of parade, and make less ostentatious display. The American
The pulpit is associated with, and seconded by, so many col
dy of mest
lateral institutions, which, if they do not owe their existence to it, are never found to exist apart from it, that it is impossible to place an exact estimate upon the extent of its moral power. But whatever this may be in its present exercise, there is legitamate room for the inquiry, whether the American pulpit may not be made to wield a far mightier influence in promoting the welfare of the people, both for this world and the next. That it should again have the relative standing which it occupied, when the hearts of the multitude were moved chiefly by oral communications, is not a matter to be desired. We only ask-may not its usefulness be greatly extended ?
The range of topics which are considered as legitimate themes for pulpit discussion, as this is extended or contracted, more than any single consideration, must ever affect the results of this species of intellectual labor. There are boundaries, even in morals, which the pulpit may not cross; but we know of nothing better fitted to destroy its infinence, than the confining of all its efforts to a few common themes. No matter how practical these may be, no matter how important, no matter how Scriptural. It is said that Paul was the most successful preacher, and the most perfect model, with which God has favored his church; and yet, , at Ephesus, it was the burden of all his labors to unfold 'the way of salvation, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. While at Corinth, he determined to know nothing save Jesus Christ and him crucified; a theme, to say the least, quite kindred to that which engaged his attention at Ephesus.
Two things should be taken into the account, before any preacher of the Gospel feels bound to restrict himself to exact conformity to this example of Paul.
1. Does the preacher expect as short a residence in his field of labor, as Paul contemplated either at Corinth or at Ephesus?
2. Are the people to whom he preaches as ignorant of the vital points of true Christian faith, as were those whom Paul addressed? With us, the truths of the Gospel are instilled in early childhood, The labors of the pulpit, the instructions of the Sabbath-school, the expositions of the Bible class, united to the wide diffusion of religious truth from the press, impart a knowledge of the Gospel, which renders the whole circle of religious duties in a high degree familiar to even the youth in our congregations. To preach habitually the same truths which Paul preached, in the cases referred to, is the surest method of putting the conscience to sleep. The thunder-storm would have no terrors for one who had spent his entire life amid its roar; the tempest that blanches the check of the raw recruit, is music to the old weather-beaten tar. The peasant who cultivates the rugged sides of Vesuvius, so near to the burning crater as never
to be beyond the glare of its lurid light, is unmoved by the deep rumbling occasioned by its hidden fires, while the stranger is ter
rified at every flash. So faith and repentance, Christ and him ** crucified, may fall upon the sinner's ear, till, like the dull mono
tony of a waterfall, the sound does more to hush him to sleep than to arouse his fears. It is sometimes said that every sermon should have enough of Gospel truth to lead a sinner to Christ, should he never listen again to a discourse from the pulpit. This might do for a preacher, who, like Whitefield, was to be ever on the wing. But let any pastor attempt this course, and he will soon either preach his hearers to sleep, or out of church. It is our solemn conviction, that the frequency with which the pastoral relation has been dissolved, for the last quarter of a century, may be atttributed, more than to any other cause, to the limited range of topics introduced for discussion in the pulpit. It has been the era of revivals, and the churches must have "revival sermons." The new pastor begins his work with the highest expectation on the part of his flock. His manner, his tones, his gestures, his style, are new; and if he take the themes on which his predecessor has annually rung some hundred and four changes, there is still enough of novelty to arrest attention, and the congregation are in raptures with their brightening prospects. But the tones grow monotonous; the manner becomes dull; the gestures are a mere see-saw; the style wearies; and the pastor has a gentle hint, that he might be more useful in some other field. In this stirring age, when old things are everywhere passing away, and all things are becoming new,--and the process is a daily one-there must be something new in the preacher, or he cannot long chain the attention of the same congregation. But the voice, the look, the gestures, the style of most men, may be said to be stereotyped. Few men, possessed of the gravity that becomes the pulpit, can readily adopt the mimic style of a play-actor, and change their whole manner with the scene; nor would it become the dignity and solemnity of the pulpit were the skill posssesed. How then is the preacher to study, and how acquire that variety, which will enlist attention, and secure the listening ear, as the best means of gaining the consent of the heart? Can it be done elsewhere, than in giving variety to the topics selected for discussion? Can it be done in this way? It may be said truth will be sacrificed. Let us see.
In the first place, there may be a great variety in the use of those iruths that are usually classed as experimental and practical. Much may be done in mere adaptation to existing circumstances. It was but the other day we read in a popular quarterly, conducted with great ability, the following sentiment, qucted as an approved apothegm: "People are never so wicked as during a general mortality, or the ravages of the plague: and
, te de Bike
he same S the
sailors get drunk as the vessel sinks.” For aught we knos, remark, as far as it relates to the effects of the Gospel, may out vey a historic truth of common occurrence. We have heard : from our boy hood, and till we were so far persuaded of its true as to cast about for the philosophy of the fact, that sinners bere repent and turn to God in seasons of deep affliction. The jac: may be so, but we believe, if they are, the ministry of reconc. ation is fearfully responsible for their existence. When does a sermon result in the conviction or conversion of a sinner, un. the author of the discourse prepared and preached it in earnestezpectation of such results ? Let it become a part of the philosoph; of any pastor, that sickness and death, and the various calan ties with wbich God visits men, are never to result in their illnediate conversion, and there is the best of all reasons for the failure
We might name the pastor of a church, who has, for a loag series of years, made special efforts to adapt the truth to the ci cumstances, and press it upon
the consciences of the families ai his parish, whenever they have been visited with severe atlie. tion, and almost ever with the happiest success. It is belierei that he has realized more accessions to his church, in connexion with such instrumentalities, than from all other means. Let the pulpit seize upon every stirring incident, upon all distinguished blessings, upon every great calamity, whether individual or public, upon whatever, in passing events, even if it be but an ordinary political election, that enlists the feelings of his parish, and use it to illustrate and enforce divine truth, and man's obligation to God, and it will not be a vain attempt. As proof of the happy tendency of such adaptation of the discussions of the pulpit to awaken interest in the church, we might refer to a most excellent pastor of a church, in one of our large towns, who, immediately in connexion with the excitement of the political canvass of 1840, took occasion to urge upon his hearers the striking inconsistency that Christians exhibited, who manifested so great zeal in the cause of their country, and so little in the service of their God. This was done, with considerable variety of method, on successive Sabbaths. The result was a most interesting revival of religion, occurring under circumstances, and in connexion with a state of public excitement, on a subject quite foreign to vital piety, which probably disheartened most pastors from attempting any close, personal, pungent appeals.
It would be foreign to the design of this article to discuss those questions that are immediately connected with the best means of promoting revivals of religion, or prolonging their continuance. It will, however, be seen, that the remarks already made bear somewhat upon the question, whether the church ought to expect a state of anxiety and inquiry on the part of the impenitent, that shall result in frequent conversions, without interruption?