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he cannot so feel and think as to bend all subjects naturally and gracefully to Christ, he must seek his remedy in selecting such as are more evangelical.
5. God puts peculiar honour on the preaching of Christ crucified. A philosopher may philosophize his hearers, but the preaching of Christ must convert them. John the Baptist will make his hearers tremble; but, if the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he, let him exhibit that peculiar feature of his superiority-- Jesus Christ. Men may preach Christ ignorantly-blunderingly ---absurdly: yet God will give it efficacy, because He is determined to magnify his own ordinance.
6. God seems, in the doctrine of the Cross, to design the destruction of man's pride. Even the murderer and the adulterer sometimes become subjects of the grace of the Gospel, because the murderer and adulterer are more easily convinced and humbled: but the man of virtue is seldom reached, because the man of virtue disdains to descend. Remember me, saved a dying malefactor! -God, I thank Thee, condemned a proud Pharisee!
Every Minister should therefore enquire, "WHAT
of a wise way, there lurks always a TRIMMING disposition. There ARE men, doubtless, who will sacrifice to Self, even Christ Jesus the Lord: but they, of all men, are farthest from the thing. There is a secret in doing it, which none but an honest man can discover. The knave is not half wise enough.
We are not to judge one another in these things, Sufficient it is to us, to know what we have to do. There are different ways of doing the same thing, and that with success and acceptance. We see this in the Apostles themselves. They not only preached Christ in different ways; but, what is more, they could not do this like one another. They declare this fact themselves; and acknowledge the grace of God in their respective gifts. Our beloved brother Paul, writes, says St. Peter, according to the wisdom given unto him. But there are Peters, in our days, who would say“ Paul is too learned. Away with these things, which are hard to be understood. He should be more simple. I dislike all this reasoning.” And there are Pauls, who would say, “ Peter is rash and unguarded. He should put a curb on his impetuosity.” And there are Johns, who would say,
They should both discharge their office in my soft and winning manner. No good will come of this fire and noise.". Nothing of this sort! Each hath his proper gift of God; one after this manner, and another after that: and each seems only
desirous to occupy faithfully till his Master come, leaving his brethren to stand or fall to their own Master.
Too much dependence is often placed on a system of RATIONAL CONTRIVÀNCE. An ingenious man thinks he can so manage to preach Christ, that his hearers will say—“ Here is nothing of Methodism! This has nothing to do with that system !” I will venture to say, if this is the sentiment communicated by his ministry, that he has not delivered his message. The people do not know what he means, or he has kept back part of God's truth. He has fallen on a carnal contrivance, to avoid a cross; and he does no good to souls. The WHOLE MESSAGE must be delivered ; and it is better it should be delivered even coarsely, than not at all. We may lay it down as a principle-That if the Gospel be a MEDICINE, and a SPECIFIC too-as it is-it must be got down sucH AS IT IS. Any attempt to sophisticate and adulterate will deprive it of its efficacy; and will often recoil on the man who makes the attempt, to his shame and confusion. The Jesuits tried to render Christianity palatable to the Chinese by adulterating it, but the Jesuits were driven with abhorrence from the empire.
If we have to deal with men' of learning, let us shew learning so far as to demonstrate that it bears its testimony to the Truth. But accommodation in manner must often spring from .humility. We must condescend to the capacities of men, and make the truth intelligible to them.
If this be our manner of preaching Christ, we must make up our minds not to regard the little caviller, who will judge us by the standard of his favourite author or preacher. We must be cautious, too, since men of God have been and ever will be the butt and scorn of the world, of thinking that we can escape its sneers and censures. It is a foolish project-TO AVOID GIVING OFFENCE; but it is our duty, To avoid giving UNNECESSARY offence. It is necessary offence, if it is given by the Truth; but it is unnecessary, if our own spirit occasion it.
I have often thought that St. Paul was raised up peculiarly to be an example to others, in labouring to discover the wisest way of exhibiting the Gospel: not only that he was to be a great pattern in other points, but designedly raised up for this very thing. How does he labour to make the truth REASONABLY PLAIN! How does he strain every nerve and ransack every corner of the heart, to make it REASONABLY PALATABLE! We need not be instructed in his particular meaning when he says, I became all things to all men, if by any means I might save some. His history is a comment on the declaration.
The knowledge of Jesus Christ is a wonderful mystery. Some men think they preach Christ gloriously, because they name him every two
minutes in their Sermons. But that is not preaching Christ. To understand, and enter into, and open his various offices and characters--the glories of his
person and work-his relation to us, and ours to Him, and to God the Father and God the Spirit through him—this is the knowledge of Christ. The Divines of the present day are stunted dwarfs in this knowledge, compared with the great men of the last age. To know Jesus Christ for ourselves, is to make him a CONSOLATION, -DELIGHT,--STRENGTH, -RIGHTEOUSNESS, -COMPANION,-and END.
This is the aspect in which religion should be presented to mankind: it is suited, above all other, to produce effect; and Effect is our object. We must take human nature, as we find human nature. We must take human nature in great cities, as we find human nature in great cities. We may say" THIS or That is the aspect which OUGHT to have most effect: we must illuminate the mind : we must enlist the reason: we must attack the conscience.” We may do all this, and yet our comparative want of success in begetting and educating the Sons of Glory, may demonstrate to us that there is some more Effective way; and that sound sense and philosophy call on us to adopt that way, BECAUSE it is most Effective.
Our system of preaching must meet mankind : they must find it POSSIBLE to live in the bustle of the world, and yet serve God: after being