« FöregåendeFortsätt »
trickery and subterfuge, we maintain that it is the decided part of the Minister of the Gospel, to demolish such unhallowed structures, and to erect the building of Truth, against which the gates of hell shall never prevail. These observations will equally apply to the various systems and schemes of novelty, that are continually introduced in palpable opposition to the word of God. When we hear of them, it is our duty to examine them by our Bibles; and unless they bear the test,—unless they can endure the probe,-if there be the least flinching, or the slightest tottering of the very first principles, that are to be derived from the word of Truth, we must discard them as worthless; we must regard them as subversive of the hallowed institutions by which our revered religion is preserved. Thus only can prosperity and happiness be maintained, and the bonds of social intercourse be held together. By such a procedure only, society-yea, the very existence of all relationship,-the love and affection between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters,
can be preserved inviolate; for these depend for their purity upon a determined adherence to the Bible. And not only are the temporal movements of the world dependent upon this resolution, but our eternally happy existence hereafter. These observations cannot be accounted ill-timed and still less illiberal, when attempts are sedulously made to subvert established customs, and to root out long-received ordinances; when marriage is degraded by a civil contract, the Church laid open to the spoiler, and, to use the strong language of the Psalmist, "the wild boar out of the wood is invited to devastate God's vineyard ;"—if they be, be they rather laid to the zeal of the preacher than to any other imaginary cause. For the truths which we preach are from the Bible, and all false and unprincipled theories must receive our earnest and decided opposition.
Vain indeed are the attempts of man to wrestle with the powers of heaven; there is a line over which he can never pass, and all his strugglings are rendered the more foolish by a continuance in his wicked pur
pose. It must be remembered that the religion of one, despised and rejected of men, overthrew the philosophy of the world -that a few ignorant fishermen and craftsmen converted thousands in a day, and added them to the Church of the Lord. Then the wisdom of the wise, and the understanding of the prudent were brought to nothing. Then God made foolish the wisdom of the Grecian philosophers, of the Jewish instructors of the law and the disputers of the world-" it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." “The Jews required a sign, and the Greeks sought after wisdom." But the preaching of Christ crucified was unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.
As yet, we have taken but a general view of our subject-but the text is one that demands an especial notice, which we at once propose to give, rather than enlarge upon the previous observations.
To fully understand the text, we must consider the expectations and condition of the people to whom Christ appeared. The
context is sufficiently clear. The Jews required "a sign" before they would believe in the Son of God, and our Saviour by miracles repeatedly displayed the signs of his power-but it was 'a sign from heaven" that they demanded. They expected that the Messiah would have come in the clouds of glory and majesty, and would have bestowed on them the empire of the world. But their expectations were disappointed; Christ came as the meek and lowly Jesus, to heal and to save that which was lost; and thus became a stumbling-block to the once peculiar people of Heaven. The Greeks required the Gospel to be conveyed in language after their own wisdom, full of curious speculations and difficult points of doctrine, whereon they could build their philosophical imageries, and hold their endless disputations; but the Gospel was delivered in terms so plain that the poorest in intellect could understand it,- and so universal that the whole world could derive consolation from it; hence the Greeks imagined the preaching of Christ foolishness. But
St. Paul declared to the Corinthians, that "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men," and that "the world by wisdom knew not God," but that "it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching (for thus the Greeks termed it) to save them that believe."
Thus we perceive that man's wisdom, however profound, cannot by searching find out God. To the wisest of philosophers the Gospel appeared foolishness-to the peculiar people of heaven the joyful tidings became a stumbling-block. It was so in the first ages of Christianity, it is so in the present, it will be so in the last. Thus you must perceive how closely our previous observations bear upon the text, however foreign to the subject they may have appeared, when they were delivered.
If the Gospel of Jesus confounded the sages of Greece, is it surprising that it should also appear foolishness to the earthly wisdom of the present generation? That it does so is very evident, from the conclusions at which our self-styled philoso