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congregation by the rumour of what was thus going on. When a good man, coming home later than was his wont from these meetings of Leaders, recounts to his wife what has taken place, (and with that sweetness, too, which is the sure evidence of a gracious state of mind,) the worthy woman feels a strange emotion creep over her, and, as she muses on it amidst her daily duties, finds a desire springing up within her to be a sharer in this grace. She will go with her husband to the first week-night preaching, and take three or four of the children ; and she prepares accordingly. This is going on in twenty families at once; and each of these communicates with neighbours and friends, until, less or more, a corresponding interest is excited. Thus the public services, the regular prayer-meetings, the classes, are all more diligently attended, and general expectation is awakened. Although the vestry-services are privileged, the influence there cannot be confined. It oozes out, and presently pervades all the means of grace. People say, “ Well, that is being in earnest indeed; to shut themselves up, and confess their own sins before they come to tell us of ours. That is the right way.
Something must come of all this.” So those without pray for those within ; and a great deal of mysterious feeling of a good sort is abroad, the Holy Spirit thus preparing the “way of the Lord.” At length the feeling within and without becomes of such a character that the parties can be separated no longer. The “special service " passes from the vestry to the public congregation, and free scope is given to the Spirit's operation. Is it any wonder, if now, while Jesus is preached, and testimony is borne to the word of His grace, many are “pricked in their heart,” and say, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Would it be surprising if a work thus commenced should roll on by its own force, and by its continuous successes compel attention through many weeks, or even months; and, communicating itself to other churches, cause many thousands of immortal souls to be “added to the Lord ?”
“Ah!" it is said, “ that is such a long process. We like something short and prompt.” True : something in man's way, more than God’s. But is not such a result worth such a process ? Does not the glorious end stamp a character on the means? Is not the short process which ends in nothing, a very tedious one ? and, when often repeated without decisive result, useless, or even worse ?—for it casts its shadow forward over the regular ordinances. It pleases God, in His greatness, often to perform His work in a prompt and summary manner. He speaks, and it is done ; He commands, and it stands fast. But it may be doubted whether He is pleased that men should attempt to perform His work, or suppose that they can secure its performance, in the same way; going about Divine affairs in a business-like fashion, rough and ready, as though they had the Spirit's grace in store, and could deal it out by measure, at their own time and their own convenience. Yet the true work of the Spirit must not be lightly esteemed because it is sometimes caricatured; the pure gold of the sanctuary, because the same image and superscription may be sometimes found on base metal. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
But why, we ask, should there not be occasionally special services for the extension of religion, as well as for its REVIVAL? Why should zeal exhibit itself only in the decline and adversity of a church? Zeal confined to these times is, at least, in danger of appearing rather ecclesiastical than religious; of seeming to aim more at the recovery of a church, than at the salvation of souls,—or at the latter, only with a view to the former. Does not the season of prosperity call for (yea, and claim) these exertions more than any other? When the chapels are full, the finances abundant, the ministry profitable, and the members “like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind,”-is not this the time of all others for such a church, being in health and strength, to look abroad, in the compassion of Christ, on miserable souls without, and unpardoned sinners within, and to betake itself to some aggressive effort, in the hope that the Spirit, who favours its ordinary means with His blessing, will grant it in unwonted measure to its extraordinary ones? Does not gratitude toward Christ, as well as love toward souls, call for such effort at this time? Surely a church cannot expect continuous and prolonged prosperity, that is never humble, and good, and zealous, but in adversity. There is no rule of conduct more to be regarded than that which calls on a good man to be faithful in prosperity, if he would have it prolonged. Then let him be gentle, humble, spiritual-minded ; then let him watch unto prayer, use with all diligence the means of grace, and fear lest, a promise being left him of entering into that rest, he should seem to come short of it. Thus let him show that he can bear the sun that shines on him; that grace nourishes his root, and that his leaf will not wither; that adversity in any degree is not needful to recall him from indolence, or forgetfulness, or worldly-mindedness. And, as with an individual, so with a church. Let it show that adversity is not indispensable to its goodness : that it will both use and improve whatever God is pleased to give; that it will hold an aggressive aspect to the world, and will still pursue with zealous earnestness the wandering souls of men, when it has no object to serve but their good and Christ's glory. Why then should not a prosperous church have its “ EXTENSION-services," as well as a half-dead church its “REVIVAL-services ?”
The phraseology of a church may, in general, be taken as indicative of its current of thought. At times, however, through inadvertence, it may adopt modes of speaking which convey to strangers what is not meant. Its phraseology, therefore, is not a matter of indifference. When we wish to speak of something peculiar to our own church-organization, or to indicate some particular sense which we put on the teaching of Scripture, it is no doubt very proper to use the epithet“ Methodist,” or“ Wesleyan;" but it is not necessary, and scarcely wise, to be frequently introducing these distinctive terms, where nothing distinctive is ineant, and where the general and greater epithet, “CARISTIAN," would convey all the sense intended. Thus certain parties among us say, “ Methodist truth,” and “Wesleyan teaching,”—when Christian truth, and Christian teaching,
would exactly convey all that is meant. At these times we do not intend to fix attention on ourselves as a body, or on what is peculiar in our religious teaching ; but on what is Christian truth, and Christian teaching, as held by orthodox churches. We are speaking of something we hold in common with our fellow-Christians : and why should we not be too glad to seize all such opportunities to look away from ourselves, and from all sectarianism, and apply the grand designations, Christian and CHRISTIANITY,—which are common to the loving followers of our adorable Lord ?
This careless use of sectarian terms and designations is not wise ; for it should be an object with us to indicate, by our mode of speaking, that in our judgment Methodism and Christianity are identical, and that it is needful but occasionally to use the inferior denominations to signify the few points of difference between ourselves and our fellow-Christians. It has also the appearance of not being modest. Temperateness in this matter does not betray a want of feeling, but a depth of it,-a tender partiality, which the public will presume, and count on, but which it would not be becoming to exhibit. And the modesty that conceals this latent feeling, but cannot conceal itself, wins that sympathy and good-will which the warmest and most eloquent eulogium would fail to acquire.
Be it for us, then, as catholic-minded Methodists, true to our ancient colours, to put away from our feelings, aims, and modes of speech, everything that implies the ascendency of denominationalism over Christianity; accounting always, that Christianity is not an agency wherewith of set purpose to create and nourish a denomination, but that a denomination is an agency born of Christianity for the extension of saving truth, and ever to be used chiefly for this end. Of CHRISTIANITY, then, be the advancement and universal diffusion our grand object. Forgetful of ourselves, (except in so far as to keep the instrument bright and sharp, and well fit for use,) let us in simplicity of mind, and holy, God-honouring zeal, ply Christianity, might and main, to the sinful race of mankind ; assured that, whilst successful in this, our denomination will never perish, nor become feeble, nor imbecile, nor run to waste. The vity of the service will keep us in health, and the favour of the Master will supply all our need. And as for honour, what honour can we desire beyond that of winning souls to Christ? Is not this honour enough? If we have this, all else may come or go, as may happen. This is enough. This is Christ's honour. If there be none in heaven, surely there can be nothing on earth, we desire beside Him. Let us but glorify Christ, and He will “glorify the house of His glory ;” and, for us, that will be honour sufficient. “ Them that honour Me, I will honour.” Something to this purpose may have been said before : if so, we repeat it for the greater impressiveness.
“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord.”
(To be continued.)
HINTS TO THOSE WHO PREACH TO VILLAGE
You said, I recollect, that “as you were going to a remote country village, it would be easy to satisfy your rustic congregation; that you did not apprehend they would make large demands on preparation ; and that simple truth, expressed in simple language, would be quite enough for them.”
Enough, I am sure, if the words be rightly understood; only I fancy that, if that be the case, it will be found that “simple truth, expressed in simple language," must involve very careful preparation. “Simple truth" must not mean commonplace, nor “simple language” any plain words that come to hand. If you would produce any lively or durable impression on any audience, (rustic or polished matters not,) you must give them thoughts that strike, and these must be expressed in apt words; and to speak in this fashion will require, depend on it, very careful study. Take heed of the fallacies lurking in the terms “simple truth” and “simple language;" for they are rocks on which many a man has struck.
“Simple truth,”—the simple truth of the Gospel,-I trust, will ever be the basis of your preaching, as I am sure you desire it to be. Apart from that assemblage of doctrines and precepts which can alone make Christianity a thing worth listening to by sorrowful and guilty humanity, all pulpit-eloquence will be but "sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.” I hope, too, that these truths (as you propose) will be expressed in “simple language.” But truth-the most important truth a Preacher can enforce -may be easy of comprehension, and it may be expressed in forms none can misunderstand, and yet its advocate may have utterly neglected his entire duty notwithstanding. His business is, by apt method, arrangement, illustration, imagery, vivacity of language, animation both of style and manner, to render truth, not simply understood, assented to with a drowsy nod, then slept over,—but felt; not only known, which, by the way, it generally is before he opens his lips--but the object of sympathetic intelligence, and the source of emotion; to animate it with life, to clothe it with beauty, and make it worthy of “all acceptation.”
Now, to do all this for your rustic audience, will demand (take my word for it) not less study and effort than if you were preaching to the most polished audience in the land : in some respects more, for you might legitimately speak to these last (and perhaps more easily to yourself) on many subjects which would be mere Hebrew and Greek to the parishioners of your Ultima Thule ; and, for similar reasons,
diction will also be more limited. On the other hand, rely on it, (and I say it after much observation of the effects of public speaking,) if the topics are such as your audience can deal with, (and let me tell you they can deal
* Greyson Letters.
with a good deal more than is generally thought,) none of the pains you may bestow on your discourses on the arrangement of your thoughts, and on your modes of illustrating and expressing them—will be thrown away. Your audience, however rustic, will show that they appreciate excellence of style, though they may not be conscious of the why, and perhaps never dream-simple souls !-that you are eloquent at all. So much the better, my dear Sir;-and better still, if, which is much more difficult, you can forget it too.
However, though they know nothing of “analytical criticism,” nothing of the “principles of logic and rhetoric,” you do; and you will see that if you comply with the genuine “ rules of art,” by truly adapting your discourse to your audience, your audience will show that they naturally obey the laws of criticism, though they do not comprehend them. They will show here, as in other cases, the characters “ of the law written on their hearts,” though never studied in the codes of rhetoricians. Among your rustic hearers, as well as among the most refined of our species, pathos will exact its tears; affection and earnestness, sympathy. With them, as with their betters, vivacious imagery and force of diction will light up the eye, and awaken intelligence, attention, and emotion.*
CEMETERY CROCODILES. was about two feet wide at the mouth, We have not much to say about the and opened to the surface without anypresent site of Crocodilopolis ; but there thing to mark it on the plain. The is a curious excavation near the ruins, entrance was nearly choked up with sand, and this cavern is found to have been and looked like the hole a rabbit makes used as a mausoleum for thousands of for its burrow. As we cleared out the crocodiles, whose bodies, carefully pre rubbish with our hands, the black Nyserved, are there interred, and may be bians who had brought us to the place seen at this day. The soil around this stood around, muttering and raising their crocodile-pit is sandy, and all above it is hands in astonishment at the strange now a bleak, fiery desert. Yet here there proceedings of the “ Inglees,” who could were thousands of our fellow-creatures, take such trouble to go underground. in days long gone by, who were busy But when we asked one of them to from morning to night, as if nobody had accompany us as a guide, they all shook lived before them, and nobody was to live their heads and laughed at the very idea. after them. While the bodies of these Perhaps there is a superstition among men and women have all disappeared, them; for the Egyptians of our own and become mere piles of dust, it is times still retain some of the feelings of wonderful to see how carefully preserved their ancestors. They still carry their have been the mummied carcases of the dead across the water to bury them, and crocodiles worshipped by this ancient look with awe upon the “ timsah” (cro
codile)-the monster worshipped here It is no easy matter to get down to the two thousand years ago. cemetery of the crocodiles. Probably Fastening a long rope about our waist, there are several entrances to the pit; and well provided with wax-tapers and but that which we chose to descend by lucifer-matches, we slowly entered the
* “SELECT LITERARY NOTICES" in our next Number.