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This hindering cause may not be in the people alone. No pastor will watch for souls, who does not possess, in some good measure, the spirit of Christ. Doubtless one of the principal reasons why there is so little truly pastoral labor is, that there is so little real love for perishing souls. Brcthren, if the salvation of souls be our end, "we shall certainly intend it out of the pulpit as well as in it." Do our pastors really “watch for souls as those who must give account ?”
I conclude by saying: The power of the pulpit for good is fully conceded : the faithful preaching of the cross is God's own chosen means of saving the world; and ministers in these times cannot study too hard or too much, and they must seek an increasingly high standard of qualification as public teachers of the Word. But while this is obviously true, it is none the less true that pastoral labor is indispensable to the highest efficiency and usefulness of the pulpit. No matter what strength of intellect, or brilliancy of genius, or power of eloquence, may be exhibited in the preacher, if he is wanting as a pastor in sympathy, or watchfulness, or tender care and solicitude for his rock, his ministry will not be eminently suceessful in winning souls to Christ. The sowing of the seed is far from being the whole of the labor of the spiritual husbandman; the ground must first be broken up and prepared; and there must be constant watching with great anxiety and much prayer for the springing up of the seed and its growth to maturity. The work of preaching, though first in importance and never to be neglected or poorly performed, is but half the work of the Christian ministry. This may be done, and done well, and yet but meager results follow. The pastor may be usefol and his visits blessed to the salvation of the soul, when the preacher has failed to awaken, and his best sermons been as water poured forth. May God endow his ministers with wisdom and power as preachers of the everlasting gospel, and impart to them all the grace and virtues needful to a faithful discharge of all their pastoral duties, that they may “watch for souls as they who must give account.”
FEELING IN RELIGION.
BY THE EDITOR.
The religion of Jesus Christ is more than a doctrinal belief-more than an intellectual exercise: to be a Christian is to be any thing but a stoic. It has to do primarily and continually with the moral feelings, the sensibili tes and affections of our nature. It appeals as really and as earnestly to all that feels as to all that thinks in man. Depravity is a terrible state as well as a doctrinal error-an alienation of the affections and passions from their true and proper object, as well as the perversion and blight of the mental faculties ; and a religion that would recover man from his apostacy must, while it enlightens and corrects his understanding, lay a Divine hand upon his heart, as the seat of emotion, and invoke its sensibilities, and through it electrify and quicken the soul, and pour into it the tide of life everlasting.
We have no sympathy with those who make religion all feeling and no doctrine-a passion only or natural excitement, instead of an inward and all-pervading life. Still we hold that religion demands and justifies, and is adapted to produce feeling the most intense and profound that ever glowed in the beart of man, or seraph, or found expression in language or life. No man, we think, can know what religion is as a Divine Doctrine and Life in the soul, and not be moved to the very depths of his intellectual and moral being.
Men feel enough on every subject but that of religion. In the pursuit of wealth, fame, power and pleasure—any of the objects of earthly desire and love, their whole being is alive; their passions blaze ; earnestness looks out in ero y feature ; decision, intense interest, all-absorbing devotion, mark all their conduct. They feel intensely; they show it in their manner and lite: and who calls them inad? The world justifies their intensest feeling, in the pursuit and enjoyment of its transient good. Must a man show feeling on every subject, save religion? Has the world such power to fascinate, electrify, energize its votaries in every line of thought, pursuit and experience ; and yet religion, with its infinite range of incoinparable objects and worlds of truth and fact, must awaken or elicit no emotion?
Religion is pre-eminently adapted to produce feeling. As a Doctrine, it stands out beforo the mind as a grand, living, sublime embodiment of Jehovab, in the perfections of his being, and the enactments of His law, and the wonders of His grace. It heralds the awful realities of the future; it is the voice of immortality speaking to all the hopes and aspirations of the immortal within. It fastens on the soul the idea of an all-perfect and everywhere present God; it reveals the stupendous fact of man's apostacy and the method of his salvation : in the distance, looming up with fearful distinctness, we get a sight of a world on fire, the judgment seat of Jesus Christ, the resurrection scene, the final gathering and separation, the glory of the blessed and the doom eternal of the damned. As a matter of Doctrine, religion is the most important, desirable, soul-moving thing in the universe.
How is it possible for a man to avoid feeling, who receives the doctrines of religion? In the language of Foster, “ There they stand before me not in a deceptive vision, but in an absolute reality, the most important things that can be in the view of any being on this globe, or that has left it: the Redeemer of man, salvation, perdition, death, judgment, eternity! They stand confronting me, that there may be in me something corresponding to them. It is in the presence of God that I thus stand with these most awful objects before me; it is by his light that I see them; it is his authority in its utmost fullness, that insists on their demand of a corresponding state of mind; it is his voice that pronounces me lost, if that answerable state be not here. And yet, is it the fact, that I am indifferent still ? Here is the soul that can acknowledge all this, and still not tremble, nor care, nor pray, nor strive ! can be at liberty for any pursuit, or gayety, or amusement. One could almost imagine that realizing such a state of things in a man's own soul might produce an amazement enough to suspend for a while even the sense of personal interest; that a man migh be absorbed awhile before he came again to the consciousness of being himself the subject; as we should look at some strange and dreadful phenomenon in the natural world. In truth there is no phenomenon in the world so portentous.”
Religion is a Life as well as a Doctrine; and that life is from God himself. To experience religion, therefore, is to experience a thorough renovation of nature, radical change of character and living; to put off a sinful and corrupt nature, and put on a holy one ; to forsake all the old paths of thought, and habit, and experience, and go in a new and opposite direction. And this change is produced by the mighty workings of the Word and Spirit of God; no other agency is adequate to produce it. Now is it reasonable to suppose that a man can undergo so great a moral change, be shaken by the powers of the world to come, and wrought upon by the Divine Spirit; experience in his soul conviction and penitence for sin, the hopes and joys and fears of religion, and show no feeling?
Religion has also a grand Historic interest. The Incarnation, with its marvelous attending circumstances : the history of the Old Testament church, and the conflicts and triumphs of the New: the stirring examples of patriarchs and prophets, apostles and martyrs; the brightening page of prophecy, and the illustrating and corresponding wonders of Providence, a hastening death, a decaying world, and probation just ready to issue in glory or misery eternal; surely here is enough that is interesting and moving, to awaken pur drowsy powers and thrill the soul with emotion. Religion is, indeed, no
trifle. God has not made the mighty heart of man to be sluggish or cold on the infinite and sublime matter of religion. Religion as a doctrine, a life, an historic embodiment of trath, piety and wortb, may well make us feel as nothing else can.
PENALTY AS A MOTIVE IN PREACHING
The case before us (the preaching of Jonah) legitimately assigns a high importance to penalty as a motive in preaching: There is, however, a great deal said against it at the present time; strong efforts are made to raise prejudice against it. It is sometimes called preaching terror. It is said by many, "we do not hold to this frightening people into religion.” And how was it with Jonah ? So far as it appears he preached nothing but terrorutter and speedy ruin, with no indicated way of escape ; and the effect was universal and simultaneous, a humbled and reformed nation. It was a true message, written in their very hearts, that they were guilty, and that a fearful retribution was before them; hence the effect these words had upon them.
Punishment, as the desert of sin, and its sure award, is to be preached because it is true—it is in the Bible. If it be not here, if God's statute-book holds not forth penalty, the positive infliction of punishment upon the evildoer, then no statute-book has it; nor can any reach or combination of language get out the idea, that a wicked man shall be punished for his wickedness. But the question comes round, why preach it? Because God reveals it, and commands the utterance. “ Preach the preaching I bid thee.” Why preach it? Because men are made with fears, and the doctrine in question starts those fears, and stirs up their souls to think about an escape from the impending ruin. There is a part of man's nature, which nothing else will reach ; bere, of course, a work, nothing else will do, Let the preacher throw away this consideration, this stern feature of truth, this crowning sanction of Heaven, or decline to use it, and his authority, his power, his hold upon ungodly men goes with it. Preachers do tell us, as matter of experience, that this is the doctrine, this terrible aspect of truth is the one, which awakens the sinner, whenever he is awakened; he begins to consider by beginning to be afraid. It, certainly, cannot be expedieni to drop this disturbing element, and hush every whisper of a reckoning to come, as a tbreatened doom. Then, there is nothing left but promise, and the cry of peace; peace to the wicked-overy road ends in heaven--all kinds of conduct alike crowned with glory and blessedness. Will this do? In a world like this, of high-handed wrong, peopled everywhere with the daring and the rile, and where the tendency of all hearts is to evil, is there a sober man who believes it will do, to blot out penalty and cover up the pit ? Then you may do what you please, commit any crime in the long and gory catalogue; only keep clear of human justice, there is no other fear; and, if perchance, you are too hard-pushed by the human avenger, and are likely to suffer, you can take the friendly steel and open the vital passage, and your imprisoned soul shall go clear, and go up where the Being who rules over all awaits it, and who will open Heaven to your blood-stained spirit, and kindly say, “thou persecuted one, come in hither, I will protect you, for I am the friend of liars, and murderers, and all such.” Is God such a being ? Is such a message true? Will it do good: Will it restrain men ? Will it humble them and make them feel that sinning is bad business, and that sin is an abominable thing, and bring them to repentance, and reform them, and make them holy? There is no need of any words on this point. There is power in fear, in the fear of hell: and ministers must be allowed to preach the doctrine of hell, or all their preacbing will be vain and nugatory. Let it be done in the just proportion; above all, let it be with the right spirit, a tender spirit. The denouncing prophet ought to be a weeping prophet; his warnings and uttered woes accompanied with his tears ; then will there be a melting and subduing efficacy.
And here we strike upon one of the great difficulties of preaching on these old foundations. It lies in the fact, that preaching has been so long, and frequent, and faithful. Jonah's was a new message ; uttered in unaccustomed ears; at the first sound of it those ears were eager and erect, and those limbs shook with the fear of the coming woe. It was so well adapted, and all so fresh, that the people were arrested and most deeply affected. But, now, truth, which came down divinely arrayed, has grown threadbare from age and use, is cast out and goes begging. The people have had so much of it: that thev do not caro much about it; they have come to hold it very cheap. They have heard it till hearing is mere habit, or decency, or ceremony. It has been heard, till it has lost much of its power to interest and amuse the mind. That oft-used phrase-gospel-hardened, is, perhaps, rhetorically barbarous, but it is terribiy significant---gospel hardened.---hardened by such an instrument, by such a manifestation, a revelation of God's love, solicitude for the soul, His invitations and earnest wooings to win it, His melting influence upon it, how could these harden but by perversion and resistance ? The guilt of such a course, who can tell ? And the condemnation, who can describe or indicate its severity and weight ?----Dr. Shepard in Biblical Repository.
MANY who fully believe the doctrine of future retributions, appear to lose sight of the continuity of our existence, They look upon death as a sort of chemistry which destroys our personal identity, and transforms us into beings essentially different from what we are in the present life, Thus the intimate connection between probation and retribution is practically dissolved. The doctrine of future rewards and punishments loses its power, unless we keep in mind that we are to carry into the eternal world the same souls, with all their faculties, which we possess here. This truth is taught with terrible distinctness and power, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. These two individuals are followed—the one from his poverty and sufferings to his rest in Abraham's bosom ; the other from his lordly palace and sumptuous fare to his place of torment. The latter, though occupied with his present agonies, still remembers the past, summoning before him the scenes of his earthly career, and Abraham says to him “ Son, remember that thou, in thy life-time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented
We have here presented for our consideration the office of memory in the retributions of the future world. Let us inquire
I. Whether there is satisfactory evidence that the memory of earthly scenes will be retained in eternity. The text, it may be acknowledged, is a parable, and does not necesa