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Him a world. And as, therefore, he Gospel to the ignorant, he showed that cannot be mastered by what is vast and God, of his goodness, had prepared for enormous, so he cannot overlook what the poor. is minute and insignificant. There is And that the Gospel should be adaptnot, then, a smile on a poor man's ed, as well as preached, to the poorcheek, and there is not a tear in a poor adapted in credentials as well as in man's eye, either of which is indepen- doctrines—this is one of those ardent on the providence of Him who rangements, which, as devised, show gilds, with the lustre of his coun- infinite love, as executed, infinite wistenance, the unlimited concave, and dom. Who will deny that God hath measures, in the hollow of his hand, the thrown himself into christianity, even waters of fathomless oceans. And that as into the system of the visible uni'the poor have the Gospel preached to verse, since the meanest can trace his them,” Matt. 11:5, is one of the strong- footsteps, and feel themselves environest evidences on the side of christiani- ed with the marchings of the Eternal ty. It was given to John the Baptist One ? Oh, we do think it cause of as a mark by which he might prove mighty gratulation, in days when inChrist the promised Messiah. He might fidelity, no longer confining itself to hence learn that Jesus had come, not literary circles, has gone down to the to make God known, exclusively, to homes and haunts of our peasantry, the learned and great; but that, break- and seeks to prosecute an impious ing loose from the trammels of a figura- crusade amongst the very lowest of tive dispensation, he was dealing with our people--we do think it cause of the mechanic at his wheel, and with mighty gratulation, that God should the slave at his drudgery, and with the have thus garrisoned the poor against beggar in his destitution. Had Christ the inroads of scepticism. We have sent to the imprisoned servant of the no fears for the vital and substantial Lord, and told him he was fascinating christianity of the humbler classes of the philosopher with sublime disclo- society. They may seem, at first sight, sures of the nature of Deity, and draw. unequipped for the combat. On a huing after him the learned of the earth man calculation, it might mount almost by powerful and rhetorical delineations to a certainty, that intidel publications, of the wonders of the invisible world; or infidel men, working their way into that, all the while, he had no communi- the cottages of the land, would gain cations for the poor and commonplace an easy victory, and bear down, withcrowd; why, John might have been out difficulty, the faith and piety of dazzled, for a time, by the splendor of the unprepared inmates. But God has his miracles, and he might have mused, had a care for the poor of the flock. wonderingly, on the displayed ascen- He loves them too well to leave them dancy over diseases and death; but, defenceless. And now-appealing to quickly, he must have thought, this is that witness which every one who benot revealing, God to the ignorant and lieves will find in himself-we can feel destitute, and this cannot be the reli- that the christianity of the illiterate has gion designed for all nations and ranks. in it as much of stamina as the chrisBut when the announcement of won- tianity of the educated; and we can, der workings was followed by the decla- therefore, be confident that the scepration that glad tidings of deliverance ticism which shrinks from the battewere being published to the poor, the ries of the learned theologian, will Baptist would readily perceive, that gain no triumphs at the firesides of the long looked for close to a limited our God-fearing rustics. dispensation was contemplated in the We thank thee, O Father of heaven mission of Jesus; that Jesus, in short, and earth, that thou hast thus made was introducing precisely the system the Gospel of thy Son its own witness, which Messiah might be expected to and its own rampart. We thank thee introduce; and thus, finding that the that thou didst so breathe thyself into doctrines bore out the miracles, he apostles and prophets, that their wriwould admit at once his pretensions, tings are thine utterance, and declare not merely because he gave sight to to all ages thine authorship. And now, the blind, but because, preaching the what have we to ask, but that, if there
be one here who has hitherto been -oh, we ask that the careless one, stouthearted and unbelieving, the de- hearing truths at once so terrifying, livered word may prove itself divine, and so encouraging, may be humbled by "piercing even to the dividing to the dust, and yet animated with asunder of soul and spirit;" Heb. 4: hope ; and that, stirred by the divinity 12; and that, whilst we announce that which embodies itself in the message, "God is angry with the wicked;" he may flee, "poor in spirit,” Mat. 5: Psalm 7:11; that those who forget 3, to Jesus, and, drawing out of his Him shall be turned into hell; but fulness, be enabled to testify to all that, nevertheless, he hath "so loved around, that "thou, O God, hast of the world as to give his only-begotten thy goodness prepared for the poor." Son,” John, 3:16, for its redemption
ST. PAUL ATENT-MAKER.
“And because he was of the same crast, he abode with them and wrought, sor by their occupation
they were tent-makers."-Acts, 18 : 3.
The argument which may be drawn, cles, would be the progress of the chrisin support of christianity, from the tian religion, supposing it untrue. And, humble condition of its earliest teach- assuredly, he who has wrought himself ers, is often, and fairly, insisted on in into the belief that such a wonder has disputations with the sceptic. We been exhibited, can have no right to scarcely know a finer vantage-ground, boast himself shrewder, and more cauon which the champion of truth can tious, than he who holds, that, at huplant himself, than that of the greater man bidding, the sun stood still, or that credulity which must be shown in the tempests were hushed, and graves rirejection, than in the reception, of fied, at the command of one found in christianity. We mean to assert, in fashion” as ourselves. The fact that spite of the tauntings of those most christianity strode onward with a rethorough of all bondsmen, free-think- sistless march, making triumphant way ers, that the faith required from deni- against the banded power, and learners of revelation is far larger than that ing, and prejudices of the world-this demanded from its advocates. He who fact, we say, requires to be accounted thinks that the setting up of christiani- for; and inasmuch as there is no room ty may satisfactorily be accounted for for questioning its accuracy, we ask, on the supposition of its falsehood, in all justice, to be furnished with its taxes credulity a vast deal more than explanation. We turn, naturally, from he who believes all the prodigies, and the result to the engines by which, to all the miracles, recorded in Scripture. all human appearance, the result was The most marvellous of all prodigies, brought round; from the system preachand the most surpassing of all mira- ed to the preachers themselves. Were those who first propounded christiani-| lity of supposing that God had to do ty men who, from station in society, with the institution of christianity; and and influence over their fellows, were then applauds the sobriety of referring likely to succeed in palming falsehood to chance what bears all the marks of on the world? Were they possessed of design-proving himself rational by such machinery of intelligence, and holding that causes are not necessary wealth, and might, and science, that to effects. every allowance being made for human Thus we recur to our position, that, credulity and human infatuation-there if the charge of credulity must be fastwould appear the very lowest proba-ened on either the opponents, or the bility, that, having forged a lie, they advocates, of christianity, then, of the could have caused it speedily to be two, the opponents lie vastly most open venerated as truth, and carried along to the accusation. Men pretend to a the earth's diameter amid the worship- more than ordinary wisdom because pings of thousands of the earth's popu. they reject, as incredible, occurrences lation? We have no intention, on the and transactions which others account present occasion, of pursuing the argu- for as supernatural. But where is their ment. But we are persuaded that no much-vaunted wisdom, when it can be candid mind can observe the speed with shown, to a demonstration, that they which christianity overran the civilized admit things a thousand-fold stranger world, compelling the homage of kings, than those, which, with all the parade and casting down the altars of long- of intellectual superiority, they throw cherished superstitions; and then com- from them as too monstrous for crepare the means with the effect-the dence? We give it you as a truth, susapostles, men of low birth, and poor ceptible of the rigor of mathematical education, backed by no authority, and proof, that the phenomena of christianipossessed of none of those high-wrought ty can only be explained by conceding endowments which mark out the a- its divinity. If christianity came from chievers of difficult enterprise-we are God, there is an agency adequate to persuaded, we say, that no candid mind the result; and you can solve its makcan set what was done side by side with ing way amongst the nations. But if the apparatus through which it was ef- christianity came not from God, no fected, and not confess, that, of all in- agency can be assigned at all commencredible things, the most incredible surate with the result; and you cannot would be, that a few fishermen of Gali- account for its marchings over the face lee vanquished the world, upheaving its of the earth. So that when—setting idolatries, and mastering its prejudices, aside every other consideration-we and yet that their only weapon was a mark the palpable unfitness of the aposlie, their only mechanism jugglery and tles for devising, and carrying into deceit.
effect, a grand scheme of imposture, And this it is which the sceptic be- we feel that we do right in retorting lieves. Yea, on his belief of this he on the sceptic the often-urged charge grounds claims to a sounder, and of credulity. We tell him, that, if it shrewder, and less fettered understand- prove a clear-sighted intellect, to being, than belongs to the mass of his lieve that unsupported men would fellows. He deems it the mark of a league in an enterprise which was noweak and ill-disciplined intellect to ad- thing less than a crusade against the mit the truth of Christ's raising the world; that ignorant men could condead; but appeals, in proof of a stanch coct a system overpassing, confessedly, and well-informed mind, to his belief the wisdom of the noblest of the heathat this whole planet was convulsed then; and that the insignificant and by the blow of an infant. He scorns unequipped band would go through fire the narrow-mindedness of submission and water, brave the lion and dare the to what he calls priestcraft; but counts stake, knowing, all the while, that they himself large-minded, because he ad- battled for a lie, and crowned, all the mits that a priesterast, only worthy his while, with overpowering successcontempt, ground into powder every ay, we tell the sceptic, that, if a belief system which he thinks worthy of his such as this prove a clear-sighted inadmiration. He laughs at the credu- tellect, he is welcome to the laurels of
reason : and we, for our part, shall con- tianity. Our general reasoning, theretentedly herd with the irrational, who fore, remains quite anaffected, whatare weak enough to think it credible ever be urged in regard to a particular that the apostles were messengers from case. God; and only incredible that moun- But we have already said, that the tains fell when there was nothing to main business of our discourse is to shake them, and oceans dried up when derive other lessons from our text than there was nothing to drain them, and that which refers to the evidences of that there passed over a creation an un- christianity. We wave, therefore, furmeasured revolution, without a cause, ther inquiry into that proof of the diand without a mover, and without a vinity of the system which is furnished Deity.
by the poverty of the teachers. We Now we have advanced these hur- will sit down, as it were, by St. Paul ried remarks on a well-known topic of whilst busied with his tent-making; christian advocacy, because our text and, considering who and what the inleads us, as it were, into the work. dividual is who thus lives by his artishop of the first teachers of our faith, sanship, draw that instruction from the and thus forces on us the contem- scene which we may suppose it intendplation of their lowly and destitute ed to furnish. estate. It is not, however, our design Now called as St. Paul had been by to pursue further the argument. We miracle to the apostleship of Christ, so may derive other, and not less impor- that he was suddenly transformed from tant, lessons from the simple exhibi- a persecutor into a preacher of the tion of Paul, and Aquila, and Priscilla, faith, we might well look to find in him plying their occupation as tent-makers. a pre-eminent zeal; just as though the It should just be premised, that, so far unearthly light, which flashed across as Paul himself is concerned, we must his path, had entered into his heart, set down his laboring for a living as and lit up there a fire inextinguishable actually a consequence on his preach by the deepest waters of trouble. And ing christianity. Before he engaged in it is beyond all peradventure, that there the service of Christ, he had occupied never moved upon our earth a heartier, a station in the upper walks of society, more unwearied, more energetic, disciand was not, we may believe, depen- ple of Jesus. His motto was to count dent on his industry for his bread. It all things but loss for the excellency of was, however, the custom of the Jews the knowledge of Christ;" Phil. 2:8; to teach children, whatever the rank and crossing seas, and exhausting conof their parents, some kind of handi- tinents, till a vast portion of the known craft; so that, in case of a reverse of world had heard from his lips the ticircumstances, they might have a re- dings of redemption, he proved the source to which to betake themselves. motto engraven on his soul, and showWe conclude that, in accordance with ed that the desire of bringing the perthis custom, St. Paul, as a boy, had ishing into acquaintance with a Savior learned the art of tent-making; though was nothing less than the life's-blood he may not have exercised it for a sub- of his system. And we are bound to sistence until he had spent all in the suppose, that, where there existed so service of Jesus. We appeal not, there- glowing a zeal, prompting him to be fore, to the instance of this great apos
instant in season, out of season,” 2 tle to the Gentiles as confirming, in Tim. 4 : 2, the irksomeness of mechanievery respect, our foregoing argument. cal labor must have been greater than St. Paul was eminent both for learning it is easy to compute. Since the whole and talent. And it would not, therefore, soul was wrapped up in the work of the be just to reason from his presumed ministry, it could not have been with. incompetency to carry on a difficult out a feeling, amounting almost to painscheme, since, at the least, he was not fulness, that the apostle abstracted himdisqualified for undertakings which self from the business of his embassage, crave a master-spirit at their head. and toiled at providing for his own boIt is certain, however, that, in these dily necessities. We see, at once, that respects, St. Paul was an exception to so far as any appointment of God could the rest of the first preachers of chris- be grievous to a man of St. Paul's cxemplary holiness, this appointment must practically given, that we remove all have been hard to endure: and we can- occasions of offence. St. Paul gave up not contemplate the great apostle, with- even his rights, fearing lest their endrawn from the spirit-stirring scenes of forcement might possibly impede the his combats with idolatry, and earning progress of the Gospel. So single-eyed a meal like a common artificer, and not was this great teacher of the Gentiles, feel, that the effort of addressing the that when the reception of the mes. Athenians, congregated on Areopagus, sage, and the maintenance of the meswas as nothing to that of sitting down senger, seemed at all likely to clash, patiently to all the drudgery of the he would gladly devote the day to the craftsman.
service of others, and then toil through But we go on to infer from these un- the night to make provision for himself. questionable facts, that, unless there If ever, therefore, it happen, either to had been great ends which St. Paul's minister or to people, to find that the laboring subserved, God would not have pushing a claim, or the insisting on a permitted this sore exercise of his ser- right would bring discredit, though unvant. There is allotted to no christian justly and wrongfully, on the cause of a trial without a reason. And if then religion; let it be remembered that our we are once certified, that the working prime business, as professors of godlifor his bread was a trial to St. Paul, we ness, is with the glory of God and the must go forward and investigate the advance of the Gospel; that the avoidreasons of the appointment.
ing evil is a great thing, but that the Now we learn from the epistles of scriptural requisition is, that we avoid St. Paul, that when he refused to be even the" appearance of evil.” 1 Thess. maintained by the churches which he 5 : 22. And if there seem to us a hardplanted, it was through fear that the ness in this, so that we count it too success of his preaching might be in- much of concession, that we fall back terfered with by suspicions of his dis- from demands which strict justice interestedness. He chose to give the would warrant, let us betake ourselves, Gospel without cost, in order that his for an instant, to the workshop of St. enemies might have no plea for repre- Paul; and there remembering, whilst senting him as an hireling, and thus de- this servant of Christ is fashioning the preciating his message. In this respect canvass, that he labors for bread, which, he appears to have acted differently by an indisputable title, is already his from the other apostles, since we find own, we may learn it a christian's duty him thus expostulating with the Corin- to allow himself to be wronged, when, thians : "have we not power to eat and by stanch standing to his rights, Christ's to drink? or I only and Barnabas, have cause may be injured. not we power to forbear working ?" 1 But as yet we are only on the outCor. 9 :4,6. He evidently argues, that, skirts of our subject. The grand field had he so pleased, he might justly have of inquiry still remains to be traversed. done what his fellow-apostles did, re- We have seen, that, in order to foreceive temporal benefits from those to close all question of his sincerity and whom they were the instruments of disinterestedness, St. Paul chose to ply communicating spiritual. It was a law, at his tent-making rather than derive a whose justice admitted not of contro- maintenance from his preaching. We versy, that "the laborer is worthy of next observe, that, had not his poverty his hire.” 1 Tim. 5 : 18. And, there- been on other accounts advantageous, fore, however circumstances might we can scarcely think that this single arise, rendering it advisable that the reason would have procured its permisright should be waved, St. Paul desired sion. He might have refused to draw the Corinthians to understand, that, had an income from his converts, and yet he chosen, he might have claimed the not have been necessitated to betake sustenance for which he was contented himself to handicraft. We know that to toil. It was a right, and not a favor, God could have poured in upon him, which he waved. And if there were no through a thousand channels, the means other lesson deducible from the manual of subsistence; and we believe, there. occupation of the apostle, we should fore, that had his toiling subserved no do well to ponder the direction thus end but the removal of causes of of