Images de page
PDF
ePub

THE PREACHING OF A MINISTER OF CHRIST. His address should be simple, affectionate, and grave; his matter solid, his method clear, his expressions chaste and select, neither soaring to a false sublime, nor sinking to a mean familiarity. He should speak so plainly, that the most ignorant may understand ; so seriously, that the most careless may feel; so rationally, that the most fastidious may have no room to cavil; and yet so spiritually, that the most pious may be provided with the bread of life. It is not enough that his flock be taught to know what is true, and exhorted to practise what is right. The heart must be addressed, and the affections must be awakened, or no effectual progress will be made : for all knowledge will be sterile, and all performances unprofitable, unless affection interpose, to give vitality to the one, and sterling value to the other. To preach thus, it may be imagined, requires a rare assemblage of qualifications: and indeed it would be so, were any thing but Christianity the subject. But the word of God both furnishes a perfect model, and, when impressed by the Spirit of God, gives its devoted student a power, which no natural talent, no secular study, no familiarity with the masters of human eloquence, ever did, or ever could, confer. He that, with a well-prepared heart and rightly harmonised affections, drinks in the divine wisdom of our Lord's discourses, will almost infallibly attain a ready, unlaboured fluency of religious sentiment, which can hardly fail to awaken, to convince, to animate, to influence his hearers. And if he wish to enliven his discourse with irreproachable beauties both of thought and diction, he can enlist, in the service of evangelic truth, the sublimity of Isaiah, the pathetic tenderness of Jeremiah, the deep-toned energy of Job, and the varied excellences of the sweet Psalmist of Israel. Nor, be it deemed enthusiasm to say, that fervent prayer will make a more impressive preacher than all the rules of rhetoric; and that he who speaks what he doth know, and testifies what he doth feel, as in the presence of his gracious God, will win more souls to heaven than if he wielded at will the eloquence of men and angels.-Bp. Jebb.

PUBLICATION OF THE GOSPEL IN CITIES. TEXT.--" I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barba

rians ; both to the wise and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at

Rome also."-Rom. i. 14, 15. The sentiment of the text is, I am under obligations to preach the Gospel to all; but am especially desirous to preach it at this seat of wickedness.

I. Why should the Gospel be preached to all?

II. Why, especially, should the Gospel be preached in places of great wickedness?

III. What should be the measure of our effort? I. Why should the Gospel be preached to all ? 1. The Gospel is needed by all.

2. It is the dictate of a common humanity, that we should send the Gospel to all.

3. God has made it our duty to give the Gospel to all, II. Why should we desire to preach the Gospel in places pre-eminently wicked.

1. Such places are generally seats of great influence. 2. In cities sin is strongly entrenched.

3. Cities are, therefore, a grand theatre for the exhibition of the power of the Gospel.

4. Such places are peculiarly exposed to the divine displeasure.

III. What should be the measure of our duty ?

The rule of the Apostle was, as much as in me is ; and such should be our rule, according to our utmost ability. Conscience will assign no other; the law of expediency will assign no other ; the general precepts of the Gospel combine to enforce the same rule.

God's providence admonishes us, that what is expected to be done, should be done quickly; as much work is yet to be done, and the labourers are constantly dying.– Red. W. Hague, Boston, U.S.

LONDON: PUBLISIIED BY W. HARDING, 11,

Red Lion COURT, AND 14, Gray's Inn TERRACE.

Printed by C. Roworth and Sons, Bell-yard, Temple-bar.

THE

CHURCH OF ENGLAND PREACHER.

Patronized by the Clergy and others.

THE PRESENT DEMORALIZED STATE OF THE COUNTRY.

A SERMON

PREACHED BY

THE REV. JOHN HARDING,

Rector of St. Ann's, Blackfriars,
AT THE EPISCOPAL CHAPEL, GRAY'S INN LANE,

ON BEHALF OF THE

CHURCH PASTORAL AID SOCIETY.

Text—" Is there no balm in Gilead ? is there no physician

there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered ?"-Jeremiah, viii. 22. The condition of the Jewish people at the time of Jeremiah's prophecies, was one of deplorable ignorance and depravity. Nationally, indeed, they were still the people of the Lord, but notwithstanding all his mercies and their own professions they had grievously departed from his faith and fear, they had “ slidden back with a perpetual backsliding.". The contemplation of their guilt, and of that wretchedness which never fails sooner or later to follow, as well on national as on individual sin, had filled the Prophet's soul with lamentation, and mourning, and woe. " For the hurt of the daughter of my people,” said he, "am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold

Is there no balm in Gilead ? is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? Oh, that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! Oh, that I had in the wilderness a lodging-place of wayfaring

I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, and assembly of treacherous men.

[No. 14.]

on me.

men, th

[ocr errors]

And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies ; but they are not valiant for the truth

upon

the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Lord.”

Such was the state of moral degradation into which the mass of the people were plunged. Sin abounding in the midst of them, like a raging pestilence overspread and threatened the speedy destruction of their peace and security. But was there then no remedy? Were there no means existing by the vigorous use of which the plague might yet be stayed ? The words of our text imply in the strongest manner possible, that such means did exist, and that it was only because they were not employed as they should be, that the condition of the people had become so bad :

“ Is there no balm in Gilead ? is there no physician there ?" In other words, had not God provided all that was needful to correct and remove that evil which was desolating his heritage? Had he not made known to Israel his truth? Had he not appointed civil and ecclesiastical rulers among them, charged with the duty of teaching and influencing the people to know and to do his will ? Had he not caused his worship to be set up in the midst of the land, and established such public means of grace, as should furnish to the people sufficient opportunities of spiritual instruction and improvement? And, if all these provisions were but used aright —if the king, and the priest, and the prophet, and the governors of the land, had set themselves to the work of reforming and instructing the people according to the law of God, could the aspect of the country ever have been so deplorable? No; the means of health and cure were at hand; it was not for lack of these that things had come to such a pass. Why then,” asks the Prophet, " why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered ?" And thus it was, because the remedy which God had provided had been too neglected. The people had been allowed to grow estranged from the word and worship of God, and ignorance and vice together were ripening the whole nation for the speedy judgment of the Most High. The rulers, both in Church and State, had failed of their duties, the people had become accustomed to every species of iniquity, and the vengeance

66

of heaven was about to descend on them all, in just and awful punishment of their common transgression.

Now these things, my brethren, were written for our admonition. In very many respects this our nominally Christian land, now occupies the place which the Jews in ancient times possessed. "Favoured pre-eminently by the mercies of God, and acknowledging ourselves only as his people, we are under obligations to his fear and service no less binding than those of Israel in her best days. May the Lord of his goodness forbid that we should ever become like Israel in their provocation and sin! And yet, is there no cause to fear the possibility of this ? Can we look abroad upon our people, and see no signs of a moral degradation too much resembling that which ruined them? and might not the prophet Jeremiah, if now he were here to stand up in our midst, ask again the very same questions as those of our text, and inquire whether all had been done which should be done, to check and to suppress the spreading evil? Might he not appeal to our ample possession of the Word of God, and to the long established institution of a national Church—means so graciously supplied by Divine Providence for the welfare of our population—and demand why it is that the health of the daughter of our people has not been preserved? and why, if now impaired, it is not recovered? Alas, I fear such questions might be urged with too much cause upon the conscience of our Church and nation. For there is a pestilence abroad among our people, and multitudes are perishing under its ravages, and the moral tone and feeling of our whole population is in danger of being infected; the spiritual health of the rising generation is in peril; and unless we make some effort to stop the progress of the disease, applying for that end those means which God in his mercy has already furnished to us, who shall say how soon we, like Israel, may be found guilty of such sins in our national capacity, as shall draw down on ourselves, even as they did on them, the righteous and terrible wrath of an offended God?

Now I stand here this night, my brethren, to urge the claims of a Christian institution which, as well in its origin as in its plans and operations, stands in close connection

« PrécédentContinuer »