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land, and that, too, by no means an insignificant one, is the wide-spread ignorance of our people, in relation to the exclusively spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom.
The force of these remarks may perhaps be met by the admission that the distinctive principles of dissent may be preached as a part of christianity, and by the declaration that they are so preached, without involving the necessity of showing their specific application to existing national institutions. Be it so, we reply. Then the specific application is either understood or it is not. If it be generally understood, which, however, we are not apt to believe, then there can be no valid objection to clothe it in language, for their sakes at least, who are unskilled in drawing inferences. If not understood, which slight observation, we think, will show to be the real state of the case, then whatever may be the range of truths formally exhibited, that gospel which is to overturn antichrist, cannot be said to be preached. Practically, the difference is small between the deliberate suppression of truth and the studied display of it in such a form as may prevent its bearings from being clearly seen. Every doctrine has its correspondent duty. Every new instruction which lays hold upon the mind sends it upon some special errand. It is of small use to enlighten men upon the subject of the spirituality of our Lord's kingdom, unless with that light there go forth also a power which shall bind the conscience to maintain that spirituality against all gainsayers. Otherwise, how is the simple preaching of the gospel, insisted upon by many as the most prompt and powerful agency by which to sever the union between church and state, to work out the accomplishment of the anticipated end? There stands the ancient fortress of nominalism in all its pride and glory. How is it to be shaken to the ground, so that not a single vestige of it shall remain? No one can expect that it will fall without hands, or that preaching alone will preach it away. Surely the end of preaching in reference to this matter is to convince the whole body of Christ's disciples in the land that it is a fatal obstacle to the success of divine truth, and that it is their duty to combine against it as such, and by the zealous use of all legitimate means, to raze it even to its foundations. And if this be the result which, is looked for and intended, then that method of exhibiting truth which, designedly adopted, falls short of the end, is not what it assumes to be—and, in reality, is but a vain show which
“keeps the word of promise to the ear, But breaks it to the hope.”
To those who advocate this esoteric method of proclaiming God’s truth, this leaving others to draw inferences which we are nevertheless convinced are never drawn, this exposition of abstract truth, the particular point and bearing of which are carefully concealed, and who dignify it by the name of 'preaching the gospel,' we commend the study of apostolic language— Even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped ? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken ? for ye shall speak into the air.'
In our view, moreover, that preaching of the gospel which will prove 'mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds,' must be not only full and unreserved, plain and specific in its application, but proportional also, and with a frequency and zeal in the handling of particular topics, correspondent with the urgency of any present and pressing evil. And here it may be well to explain once for all, that we use the term 'preaching'in its widest sense-comprehending within itself not merely the delivery of formal pulpit harangues, but the use of all those means, private and public, the living voice and the press, by which truth may be put in contact with the minds and hearts of our fellow-men. Every disease has its own allotted remedyevery poison its antidote. In natural matters we regulate effort by the occasion which calls it forth. In a climate visited by many and terrific thunderstorms, prudence and benevolence will urge again and again on its inhabitants the importance of securing their habitations by metal conductors. When the smallpox rages, we incessantly recommend an immediate resort to vaccination. Should not the same law govern us in reference to higher and more sacred duties? Have we not examples enough that the church of Christ, in the periods of its greatest activity, aimed the heaviest and most frequent blows against that form of error which happened to be most prevalent and fatal. In the days of the apostle of the gentiles, at least if we may gather up our conclusion from his own practice, the
preaching of the gospel which God honoured with triumphant success, struck directly, repeatedly, and with uncompromising hostility, at the then popular perversion of it-judaism. When Martin Luther, moved unquestionably by divine impulse, entered the lists, single-handed, against the power of Antichrist, such a proclamation of truth by his followers as shirked all allusion to the deadly errors, and blasphemous pretensions of Rome, would have been held, and justly held, to be indicative, not of the superior spirituality of the preacher, but of his desire
sporios para presente
to avoid “the offence of the cross.' Look at that strange combination of learning and puerility, of conscientiousness and impiety, which, in our own day, goes under the name of Puseyism. How were its appearance and its rapid growth treated by the very class of objectors to whom we are now addressing our remarks? They assailed it with every weapon with which the armoury of revelation could furnish them. They resorted to every method of staying the plague which wit could invent, earnestness employ, and christianity sanction. They saw a special danger, and they betook themselves to special means. Grave argument and laughing raillery—profound research, happy quotation, and scriptural reproof-analogy, common sense, logic, eloquence, genius—all were instantly brought into play against the novel form of popery. The pulpit resounded with admonitions and exhortations. The press panted beneath its burden of pamphlets, sermons, treatises, and volumes. Periodical literature was saturated with the subject. Lectures were delivered in all parts of the empire. Men felt themselves to be contending “for the faith once delivered to the saints.” This zeal, this energy, this adaptation of the means to the end, they looked upon as included in their obligation to ‘preach the gospel.” And, substantially, they were right. Whether it had not been wiser in them to have struck at the root of the evil, is another question, one upon the discussion of which we do not feel ourselves called to enter. It is sufficient for our purpose to remark, that in the presence of a danger really felt to be appalling, there is no great difference of opinion as to what constitutes an efficient and faithful ministration of divine truth, and that the kind of warfare we are anxious to wage against the secularization of christianity by the civil power, is one which is sanctioned by the practice even of those who denounce it. By the leave of our readers, we will look at the subject in another light. God who gave us truth, gave us also an instituted system for the promulgation of it. He made known to us not only what to teach, but how to teach it—and, for aught we can tell, the last is not less important than the first. At all events, humble piety, we think, will make light of nothing which the Father of mercies has seen fit to reveal. His perfect knowledge of man's heart—his familiarity (if we may be pardoned the use of language in reference to Him which necessarily shows a tinge of our imperfections) with every principle of his own moral administration—the clear view which he has of all the contingent results of human tendencies—the openness to his eye of the most secret and subtle springs of action—his exact measurement and appreciation of all the influences which can operate upon the will, and of all the modifications of power which the endlessly various combinations of those influences will develop—these things duly considered might compel the conclusion, that if he does communicate to mankind any instructions as to the mode in which his truth is to be dealt with, and how best it may be brought in contact with the hearts of rebels, there must be consequences dependent upon our obedience to those instructions, of infinitely larger moment than we are able to comprehend. That haste of ours which, from a knowledge that sinners have been and are brought home to God by instrumentalities within the pale of the establishment, leaps to the conclusion that so long as gospel truth be exhibited, it matters little upon what system of means, is a haste which neither reason nor religion can commend. It is sternly rebuked by the fact that a system of means has been ordained by God, and bears upon it the stamp of “So I will it. Why did he give it, why set his seal upon it, if it imported little to the interests of our race? What, if in the feebleness of our minds, we cannot, after even the most intense and protracted gazing, catch sight of the reasons which justify the divine choice, nor imagine how any deviation from his prescribed method can diminish the intrinsic efficacy of christian doctrine, does it become our ignorance to infer that He, the all-wise, acted, in this respect, unlike himself? Is it not more seemly, more in tone with the intelligent veneration which should distinguish his worshippers, to take it for granted that every act of the Supreme is but an outward shape into which his wisdom has passed-is the bodying forth of his unspeakable goodness ? and that the act proclaims the God? And although it may be very far beyond the compass of our thoughts to determine the pitch of moral power which christianity might by this time have attained had God's plan for exhibiting and enforcing it been uninterruptedly adhered to—what triumphs it might have achieved over human ignorance and depravity-to what extent it might have assimilated to itself the various institutions of society, or in what degree called out the energy of spiritual character; we are able in some measure to interpret the records of the past, and by the light of history to read the lesson, worthy of being deeply pondered, that no ordinance of the church's Head can be set aside without entailing the most lamentable consequences upon mankind. That some souls, perhaps many, have been reclaimed to holiness by the agency of a church which deliberately tramples upon one of Christ's laws, is only one more illustration, added to the ten thousand others, of his exuberant mercy, which will sometimes break through all the obstructions of our disobedience to accomplish his ever benevolent designs-but assuredly it does not warrant us in casting an imputation upon
the wisdom of his appointments. In the terrible influence ererywhere exerted by the compulsory system upon ministerial character- in the prevalence of nominalism-in the desolating ravages of infidelity-we have a deplorable set off against the amount of good which has been done in connection with establishments. All things considered, we have small reason for regarding as a matter of secondary and trivial importance the mode in which the truth as it is in Jesus' is brought to bear upon a lapsed and ruined world.
Now we beg to put it in all seriousness to the class of objectors for whom our remarks are especially intended, whether it be or be not, in their judgment, a duty binding upon all devout christians, to adhere with conscientious and scrupulous obedience to the method revealed by God for promulgating his own truth. We ask them whether the neglect of that duty be not sin—whether the erasure of it from the code of christian ethics be not presumption—and whether that sin and that presumption do not draw after them a train of moral results such as every enlightened friend of religion must deeply deplore. But do they not see that forth from these admissions there leaps a fire to consume their own sophistries? Will they defend that mode of preaching the gospel, which avowedly and of set purpose refuses to enforce one of its most solemn duties ? Are men ignorant in this matter—who is to enlighten them, save those who are themselves enlightened ? Are they wilfully blind —who is to rebuke them but the simple-hearted and the conscientious ? What partial anti-nomianism is this which, like a one-sided paralysis, seizes upon the church of Christ, and in reference to one whole sphere of doctrine and of discipline, destrovs it vitality? Does it then belong to us to select, out of the whole circle of duties which christianity imposes, those which we will enforce, and those upon which we will maintain a studied silence? Where drunkenness is prevalent, is any disciple of our Lord at liberty, under the pretence of preaching • Christ crucified,' to disclaim all intention of denouncing the sin of inebriety? When lust runs riot, entangling its myriads, is it for him to decline all reference to the obligations of chastity? Why, in any case, is it given him to overcome temptations by which others have fallen? Why is he favoured with clearer views of what truth requires of him than other men? Is he not a steward? Does not he hold every advantage in trust? Can he, consistently with his relationship to his fellow-probationers, and to Him who has provided grace for both himself and them, decide that he will leave the world in hopeless error, so far as bis own exertions are concerned, and see it deluded by a lie which he can expose, but will not? If this may be done in reference