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gular, that men should disobey the history of Christ. I might evoke from truth, that he can only ascribe it to the past the miracles of Jesus, and bid sorcery or fascination. You observe you look on, as the sick are healed, and also that he grounds this opinion on the dead raised. I might lead you from the fact, that christianity had been so scene to scene of his last great strug. propounded to these men, that Christ gle with the powers of darkness, and himself might be said to have been cru- summon you to behold him in the garcified among them. We shall invert the den, and at the judgment-seat, on the order of the text, believing that it may cross and in the grave. And then, as be thus most practically considered. In though we were actually standing, as the first place, it will be our endeavor to stood the Israelites, when the fiery sershow you, that there is nothing exag- pents were abroad, round the cross gerated in our declaring of yourselves, which sustained that to which we must that "before your eyes Christ Jesus look for deliverance, might I entreat hath been evidently set forth, crucified you, by the hopes and fears which cen. among you.” In the second place, we tre in eternity, to gaze on the Lamb of shall make this fact a basis on which God as the alone propitiation for sin. to ground a question to those who are This I might do; and this has been ofyet neglectful of the soul, "Who hath ten done from this place. And shall we bewitched you that ye should not obey hesitate to affirm, that, whensoever this the truth ?"
is done, Jesus Christ is " set forth, cruNow we are bold to claim at once a cified among you?” It is not that we high character for the ministrations of can pretend to throw surpassing vividthe Gospel, and shall not attempt to ness into our representations. It is not construct a labored proof of their pow. that we can claim such power of delier. We do not substantiate our claim neation as shall renovate the past, and by any reference to the wisdom or cause it to re-appear as a present ocenergy of the men by whom these mi-currence. It is not, that, by any figure nistrations may be conducted; for Paul of speech, or any hold on your imagimay plant, and Apollos water, but God nations, we can summon back what has alone can give the increasc. It is alto long ago departed, and fix it in the gether as a divinely instituted ordi- midst of you visibly and palpably. It is nance that we uphold the might of only, that as intercession has been appreaching, and contend that it may pointed to perpetuate the crucifixion have such power of annihilating time, of Christ—so that, as our Advocate and reducing the past to present being, with the Father, he has continually that as to set Christ evidently before your sacrifice to present, which he offereyes, crucified among you. We are as- ed once for all upon Calvary—80 has sured, in regard of the public ministra- preaching been appointed to preserve tions of the word, that they are the in the memory of that death which achiev. stituted method by which the events of ed our redemption, and keep the migh. one age are to be kept fresh through ty deed from growing old. every other. And, on this account, we .The virtue therefore which we ascan have no hesitation in using lan- cribe to our public discourses, is deguage with regard to these our weekly rived exclusively from their constituassemblings, which would be wholly ting an ordained instrumentality; and unwarranted, if we ascribed the worth our confidence that the virtue will not of preaching, in any degree, to the be found wanting, flows only from a preacher. When the services of God's conviction that an instrumentality, once house are considered as an instrumen- ordained, will be duly honored, by God. tality through which God's Spirit ope. We believe assuredly that there is at rates, we may safely attribute to those work, in this very place, and at this services extraordinary energy: very moment, an agency independent
We say therefore of preaching, that of all human, but which is accustomed it must be separated as far as possible to make itself felt through finite and from the preacher; for it is only when weak instruments. As the words flow thus separated, that we can apply to it from the lips of him
who addresses you, St. Paul's assertion in our text. I'might Aow apparently in the unaided strength now bring before you a summary of the of mere earthly speech, they may be
endowed by this agency with an ener- and not seem to himself to be traversgy which is wholly from above, and ing the garden and the mount, consethus prevail to the setting christianity crated by a Mediator's agony, whilst before you, with as clear evidence as they witness the fearful struggles was granted to those who saw Jesus in through which was effected our reconthe fesh. So that, if there were no- ciliation to God. thing entrusted to us but the preaching And if we attach weight to the opinof the word, if we had no sacraments ion of the church in her best days, we to administer, we should feel, that, must hold that there is actually a sawithout presumption, we might declare crifice in the Eucharist, though of of our hearers what St. Paul declared course not such as the papists pretend. of the christians at Galatia. Yea, so Christ is offered in this sacrament, but deep is our persuasion of our living only commemoratively. Yet the comunder the dispensation of the Spirit, memoration is not a bare rememberand of preaching being the chief en- ing, or putting ourselves in mind; it is gine which this Spirit employs in trans- strictly a commemoration made to God mitting a knowledge of redemption, the Father. As Christ, by presenting that, after every endeavor, however fee- his death and satisfaction to his father, ble and inadequate to bring under men's continually intercedes for us in heaven, view " the mystery of godliness," we so the church on earth, when celebrafeel that practically as much is done ting the Eucharist, approaches the for them as though they had been spec- throne of grace by representing Christ tators of Christ's expiatory sufferings; unto his father in the holy mysteries and therefore could we boldly wind up of his death and passion.* every such endeavor, by addressing our From the beginning it has been alauditors as individuals, " before whose ways the same awfully solemn rite, eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently which might have attested and taught set forth, crucified among them.” christianity, had every written record
But you are to add to this, that not perished from the earth. All along it only is there the preaching of the Gos- has been the Gospel preached by acpel in our churches; there is also the tion, a phenomenon of which you could administration of sacraments. We will give no account, except by admitting confine ourselves to the sacrament of the chief facts of the New Testament the Lord's Supper, as furnishing the history, and which might, in a great more forcible illustration. It is said by degree, have preserved a knowledge of St. Paul, in reference to this sacrament, those facts, had they never been regis"As often as ye eat this bread, and tered by Evangelists. It is like a pillar drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's erected in the waste of centuries, indeath till he come”-an explicit asser delibly inscribed with memorials of our tion that there is in the Lord's supper, faith ; or rather, it is as the cross itsuch a manifestation of the crucifixion seif, presenting to all ages the immolaof Jesus, as will serve to set forth that tion of that victim whore
put away sin event until his second appearing. And by the sacrifice of himself.” And so we scarcely need tell you, that, inas. long as this sacrament is administered much as the bread and the wine repre- in our churches, men shall never be sent the body and blood of the Savior, able to plead that there are presented the administration of this sacrament is to them none but weak and ineffective so commemorative of Christ's having exhibitions of Christ. If the crucifixion been offered as a sacrifice, that we be not vivid, as delineated from the seem to have before us the awful and pulpit, it must be vivid as delineated mysterious transaction, as though again from the altar. And it is nothing that were the cross reared, and the words hundreds absent themselves from the "It is finished” pronounced in our great celebration, and thus never withearing. We have here the represen ness the representation of the crucifixtation by significative action, just as, ion. They are invited to that celebrain the case of preaching, by authorita- tion, they are perfectly aware of its tive announcement. For no man can nature, and their remaining away can partake of this sacrament, with his spiritual sensibilities in free exercise, * See Mede on Malachi, 1:11.
do nothing towards lessening its solem- | for you declare of the means, that they nities, and stripping it of energy as an are not adapted to the end which is exhibition of Christ's death. And whilst proposed. And we wish to maintain, that, men are members of a church in whose situated as fallen men are, the Gospel ordinances the Lord's death is continu- of the crucifixion adapts itself so accually shown forth, we can be bold to ad- rately to their wants, and addresses itdress them, whether they neglect or self so powerfully to their feelings, that whether they partake of those ordi- their rejection of it is a mystery, in the nances, in the very terms in which St. explaining of which we are forced to Paul addressed the Galatians of old. have recourse to the witch's fascina. Yes, whatever our infirmities and defi- tions. We reckon that the great truth ciencies as preachers of the everlast- of christianity, "God so loved the ing Gospel, we take high ground as in- world that he gave his only begotten trusted with dispensing the sacrament Son” for its rescue, is so fitted for of the Eucharist: and whilst we have overcoming the obstinacy, and melting to deliver the bread of which Christ the hearts of humankind, that it must said, " Take, eat, this is my body," and be matter of amazement to higher orthe
cup of which he declared, "this is ders of intelligence, that it should be my blood of the New Testament,” we heard with indifference, or rejected may look an assembly confidently in with scorn. Angels, pondering a fact the face, and affirm that there are prof- which appears to them more surprising fered them such exhibitions of the sa- than the humiliation and death of the crifice of the Mediator, that Jesus everlasting Word-the fact that reChrist is evidently set forth before deemed creatures reject their Redeemtheir eyes, crucified among them. er--may propose amongst themselves
But we have now, in the second the very question of our text, "who place, to assume that the facts of the hath bewitched them that they should Gospel are thus brought vividly before not obey the truth ?" you, and to infer from it that disobedi- We shall not include in our investience to the truth can only be ascribed gations into the fairness of this questo fascination or witchcraft. The question the case of the open infidel, who tion, "Who hath bewitched you ?” in- professedly disbelieves the whole of dicates the persuasion of the apostle, christianity. We omit this case, not that the Gospel of the crucifixion was because we think that it is not to be eminently adapted to make way upon accounted for as the result of some earth. And this is a point which per- species of fascination, but only because haps scarcely receives its due share of it is not one of those directly intended attention. We know so well that there by St. Paul. As to the fascination or is practically a kind of antipathy be witchcraft, it scarce admits debate. For tween the doctrines of christianity and we can never allow, that, where reason the human heart, that, whilst we ad- has fair play, and the intellect is permit the necessity of a supernatural in- mitted to sit in calm judgment on the fluence to procure them reception, we proofs to which christianity appeals, never think of referring to sorcery to there will be aught else but a verdict explain their rejection. It seems so in favor of the divine origin of our renatural to us to disobey the truth, how- ligion. So mighty are the evidences on ever clearly and forcibly propounded, which the faith rests, that, where there that, when disobedience is to be ac. is candor in the inquirer, belief must counted for, there appears no need for be the issue of the inquiry. And wherethe calling in witchcraft.
soever there is a different result, we Yet there is, we believe, a mistake can be certain that there has been some in this, and one calculated to bring dis- fatal bias on the reasoning faculties; credit on the Gospel. If you represent and that, whether it have been the sorit as a thing quite to be expected, that cery of his own passions, or of "the men would disobey the Gospel-just prince of the power of the air,” the as though the Gospel were so con- man has been as verily spell-bound structed as to be necessarily repulsive throughout hisinvestigations, as though -you invest it with a character at va- with Saul he had gone down to the riance with the wisdom of its Author; cave of the enchantress, and yielded
himself to her unhallowed dominion. I have the flesh which can quiver, and
But we pass by this case, and come at the hearts which can quake; and we once to the considering, whether the call it unnatural, that there should be Gospel of Christ be not admirably cal no trembling, and no misgiving, when culated for making way to the con- the wrath of the Almighty is being science and the heart, so that the mar- opened before them, and directed avel is not that it should here and there gainst them. win a convert, but rather that it does And if unnatural, what account can not meet with universal success. we give of their disobeying the truth?
Let it, first, be observed with how Oh, there have been brought to bear on surpassing an energy this Gospel ap- them the arts of fascination and sorcepeals to the fears of mankind. We say, ry. I know not, in each particular case, to the fears-for it were indeed to take what hath woven the spell, and breatha contracted view of christianity, to ed the incantation. But there must survey it as proffering mercy, and to have been some species of moral witchoverlook its demonstrations of wrath. craft, by which they have been steeled If Jesus Christ have been "evidently against impressions which would otherset forth, crucified among you,” there wise have been necessarily produced. has been exhibited to you so stern a Has the magician been with them, who manifestation of God's hatred of sin, presides over the gold and silver, and that, if you can still live in violation persuaded them that wealth is so preof his laws, some fascinating power cious that it should be amassed at all must have made you reckless of con- risks? Has the enchantress who minsequences. There is this marvellous gles the wine-cup, and wreathes the combination in the Gospel scheme, dance, been with them, beguiling them that we cannot preach of pardon with- with the music of her blandishments, out preaching of judgment. Every ho- and assuring them that the pleasures mily as to how sinners may be forgiv. of the world are worth every penalty en, is equally a homily as to the fear- they incur? Has the wizard, who, by fulness of their doom, if they continue the circlings of his wand, can cause impenitent. We speak to men of Christ the glories of empire to pass before as bearing their sins in his own body men's view, as they passed, in mysterion the tree," and the speech seems to ous but magnificent phantoms, before breathe nothing but unmeasured lov. that of Christ in his hour of temptaing-kindness. Yet who, on hearing it, tion, been with them, cajoling them can repress the thoughts, what must with dreams of honor and distinction, sin be, if no finite being could make till he have made them reckless of atonement; what must its curse be, if everlasting infamy? We say again, we Deity alone could exhaust it? And yet, know not what the enchantment may with the great mass of men, this appeal have been. We know not the draught to their fears is wholly ineffectual. Is by whose fumes men have been stupiit that the appeal is not sufficiently en-fied, nor the voice by whose tones they ergetic ? is it that it is not framed into have been infatuated. But we know so such shape as to be adapted to beings thoroughly that the Gospel, published with the passions and feelings of men ? in their hearing, is exactly adapted for Is it that there is nothing in our na- the acting on their fears, for the filling ture, which responds to a warning and them with dread, and moving them to summons thus constructed and con- energy, that, whe we behold them inveyed? We cannot admit the explana- different to the high things of futurity, tion. The crucifixion is a proclamation, and yet remember that Christ Jesus than which there cannot be imagined a hath been evidently set forth, crucified clearer and more thrilling, that an eter- among them,” we can but resolve the nity of inconceivable wretchedness will phenomenon into some species or anbe awarded to all who continue in sin. other of magical delusion; we can but And yet men do continue in sin. The ply them with the question," who hath proclamation is practically as power-bewitched you, that ye should not obey less as though it were the threat of an the truth ?" infant or an idiot. And we are bold to But it is saying little, to say that the say of this, that it is unnatural. Men Gospel addresses itself to the fears of mankind; it is equally adapted for act. trance into their household, we could ing on feelings of a gentler and more carry them to a bed on which lay one generous description. The effect of racked by the terrible malady; and the fall was not to banish from man's tell them that this individual had vobreast " whatsoever things are lovely luntarily taken the fearful infection, and of good report;" but rather-and and was going down in agony to the this is far more melancholy, as proving grave, because complying, of his own alienation from God—that, whilst there choice, with a mysterious decree which can yet be the play of fine and noble assured him, that, if he would thus sufemotions between man and man, there fer, the disease should have no power is nothing of the kind from man to- over their familiesmis it credible that wards his Maker.
they would look on the dying man with Those sympathies, which are readily indifference; or that, as they hearkencalled into exercise by the kindnessed to his last requests, they would feel and disinterestedness of a fellow-crea- other than a resolve to undertake, as ture, seem incapable of responding to the most sacred of duties, the fulfilling the love and compassion of our benevo- the injunctions of one who, by so costlent Creator. That statue, so famed in ly a sacrifice, warded off the evil with antiquity, which breathed melody only which they were threatened? And yet, when gilded by the sunbeams, was just what would this be, compared with our the opposite to man in his exile and leading them to the scene of crucifixalienation. No lesser rays, whether ion, and showing them the Redeemer from the moon or stars, could wake the dying in their stead? You cannot say, music that was sepulchred in a stone. that, if the sufferer on his death-bed The sun must come forth, "as a gi- would be a spectacle to excite emoant to run his race," and then the tions of gratitude, and resolutions of statue responded to his shinings, and obedience, the spectacle of Christ on hymned his praises. But not so with the cross might be expected to be surman. The lesser rays can wake some veyed with carelessness and coldness. melody. The claims of country, or of Yet such is undeniably the fact. The kindred, can excite him to correspon- result which would naturally be produdent duties. But the sun shineth upon ced is not produced. Men would nahim in vain. The claims of God call turally feel gratitude, but they do not forth no devotedness : and the stone feel gratitude. They would naturally which can discourse musically in an- be softened into love and submission, swer to the glimmerings of philosophy, and they manifest only insensibility and the glow of friendship, is silent as and hard-heartedness. the grave to the revelation of God and And what are we to say to this? his Christ.
Here are beings who are capable of We declare of the Gospel, that it certain feelings, and who show nothing addresses itself directly to those feel of those feelings when there is most ings, which, for the most part, are in- to excite them; beings who can disstantly wakened by kindness and be-play love to every friend but their neficence. Take away the divinity best, and gratitude to every benefacfrom this Gospel, reduce it into a re- tor but their greatest. Ob, we saycord of what one man hath done for and it is the unnaturalness of the exothers, and it relates a generous inter hibition which forces us to say, that position, whose objects, if they evinc. enchantment has been at work, stealed no gratitude, would be denounced ing away the senses, and deadening as disgracing humanity. If it be true the feelings. In all other cases the that we naturally entertain sentiments heart has free play; but in this it is of the warmest affection towards those trammelled, as by some magical cords, who have done, or suffered, some great and cannot beat generously. Satan, the thing on our behalf, it would seem great deceiver, who seduced the first of quite to be expected that such senti-humankind, has been busy with one sort ments would be called into most vigor. or another of illusion, and has so bound ous exercise by the Mediator's work. men with his spells that they are morIf in a day when pestilence was abroad ally entranced. We know not, as we on the earth, and men dreaded its en-said in the former case, what may