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Such is the Christian prophet in his poor themselves. It is by the preacher furniture, his office, and his aims. If that the purest principles of conduct are time permitted, it would be easy to show kept before the view of the mass of the that his influence upon society has been people that they are impressed upon the always and immensely beneficial-I mean moral sense, and made to exert an influof course when he has continued to be once in the formation of character. It is what he was at first, and what he is in- by the preacher that an element of consotended to be by the system to which he lation, contentment, and joy is made to belongs-neither degraded to the condi- go forth and to diffuse itself over the tion of a political drudge, nor raised and hearts and the habitations of the children corrupted into that of a prince and a po- of toil and poverty, of sorrow and misfortentate. It was the voice of the preacher tune. It is by him that the guilty are that shook the gods of the ancients from called to penitence, the penitent led to the heaven they had usurped—that com- pardon, and the pardoned filled “with pelled them to vacate their thrones and joy and peace in believing.” In short, their temples, and to relinquish the ty- to see what is actually effected by the ranny they had so long exercised over preacher, and to be assisted in calculating the heathen world. It was the Christian the amount of good for which society is preacher that introduced a new stream of indebted to him, only imagine that the ideas into the human mind-ideas that whole race of the Christian prophets gave to morals a higher tone, and to reli- were extinguished—that their places of gion a positive existence. It was the instruction were closed-that their voices efforts of the Christian preacher that were never heard, and their influence changed the character of nations and the never felt: imagine either that they were complexion of literature. Even in the not succeeded by any public teachers at dark ages, when he had become indolent, all-that the whole people were left vicious, silent, and corrupt, it was by without any thing whatever in the form him that the lamp of knowledge was pre- of oral instruction; or imagine that the served from being totally extinguished; preacher was universally succeeded by it was by him that it was trimmed and the advocates of the modern coarse and fed, and brought forth to guide and to vulgar infidelity; and then fancy what gladden the nations, when he aroused would be the consequence the consethem from the sleep and the superstition quence of this change to the virtue and of centuries. It was by the voice of the happiness of the nation—and say, say if preacher that religion was reformed; it you can, that you could contemplate that was by the erudition of the preacher, and result with any feelings but those of me by the effect of his agency on the public lancholy and concern, if not, indeed, with mind, that the revival of learning was apprehension and terror. accelerated and encouraged. In our own I now ask the question, but I shall not country it was by the Christian preacher stay to attempt to answer it; I shall leave —it was in consequence of the spirit pro- that principally to yourselves—I ask the moted by his religion, and the influence question, is the prophet a fool? Can you exerted by his office, that civil liberty really believe it? Can you pretend to was saved—that the tree was planted believe it? When you have brought beand nourished, under whose shade we fore you all that he professes to be, and repose, and whose fruit we gather; and, all that he attempts to accomplish-when in the present day, I do not hesitate to you think of what he has done, and of affirm that it is the preacher who exerts what he is doing-can you seriously unite the greatest influence on the positive vir- either in the depreciation of his pretentue and happiness of the nation; it is by sions, or in ridicule of his office ? Place him that every society is advocated, and upon one side all the evidence in support every agent encouraged, that aims at the of the divinity of the book which the moral education of the children of the preacher is to expound, and all the facts poor, or the religious advantage of the illustrative of his immense and beneficial influence on society and place, upon the national interests and secular professions. other, the incredible propositions which 'The politician, the poet, the painter, the he must of necessity believe who rejects man of science and of literature, or, what the first, and the state of feeling he must is more to the purpose at present, the possess who could view the second with physician and the surgeon, who give coldness and indifference; contrast the themselves to the science and the philoeharacter of both minds—that of the sophy of their profession—who enlarge preacher and that of his opponent: con- its boundaries, unravel its mysteries, and trast them as to their intellectual condi- promote its advancement these men are tion and moral properties; and determine spoken of with rapture for the extravafor yourselves which of the two is best gance and eccentricity of zeal which they entitled to the epithet in the text. consume on the promotion of their fa
“ The prophet is a fool.” This lan-vourite pursuits; they are thus spoken of guage might be further illustrated, not as by the very men who, when a mere tithe the sentiment the infidel objector, but of such zeal appears in the professors of as that of the man who professes him- a science in comparison with which every self a Christian, but who is offended by other sinks into insignificance, are ever the earnestness and enthusiasm with ready to express their pity, in the lanwhich the preacher exhibits his theme, guage of contempt—the prophet is a fool, and urges its acceptance. On this, how- or the preacher is mad! Now, conduct like ever, we shall merely remark, that either this is just any thing but wisdom. To on the admission of the truth of what the use a familiar comparison, which, with preacher promulgates, or on the suppo- your professional predilections, you will sition of its falsehood, but with the ad- readily understand, it is like the feeling mission that the preacher himself believes of a man who, on seeing the successful it to be true in either case the charge of application of medicine in suddenly raisimbecility and folly must rest with the ing an individual from the bed of sickman who could make such admissions, ness, and bringing him forth into society and yet be willing to witness, in the ad- in vigour and in health, should fix his vocate of this truth, or this supposed admiration, not upon the skill of the phytruth, any thing but the most fervid zeal, sician who had restored the patient, but and impassioned enthusiasm. In the es- upon the skill of the operatives who setimation of the preacher, he is in posses- lected the fashion of his coat, or the figure sion of the grand secret by which alone of his shoe. Any extravagance, in fact, humanity can be permanently benefited on the subject of religion is more rational that secret which God himself has reveal- and more dignified than indifference; and ed, for the very purpose of saving an apos- any folly is tolerable and innocent but tate species, and restoring the harmony of that which admires the enthusiasm often the world; he believes that the highest absurdly devoted to present interests and happiness of the present life, and the temporary claims, and condemns that very possibility of happiness in the next, which belongs to the eternal, the infinite, depends on the reception of the truth and the future. which he is concerned to teach; he who It is time, however, to advance to the considers that this must be the feeling of illustration of the second clause, “the the Christian prophet, on the supposition spiritual man is mad.” of his moral sincerity, instead of wonder- “ The spiritual man is mad!" This ing at the warmth with which the duties we take to be the language of the man of of the office are occasionally discharged, mere secular virtue, who indeed may prowill rather wonder at the tameness and fess himself a Christian, and who may apathy by which those who sustain it are be distinguished for much that is amiable too frequently distinguished. Enthusi- in manners, and excellent in character. asm is a term employed in a good sense, This is his language in allusion to the and is used to describe the feeling with methodist ; that is, to the consistent disciwhich inen often devote themselves to ple of the preacher-one who carries his principles into practice, and who becomes racteristics by which the spiritual man is distinguished by the peculiarities and distinguished, and for which he is ridihabits of the religious life.
culed and stigmatized as deserving the In order to judge of the justice of the contemptuous application of the epithet. epithet, let us take the lowest form of the in the text. men of spiritual attainment, and the high- Observe, then, in the next place, the est form of the men of secular virtue, and conduct and the character of the man by let us ascertain which of the two deserves whom this epithet is so freely bestowed. most to be admired and approved, upon This man you may suppose to be as exthe principles of enlightened and purified cellent and distinguished, in the moral reason. The spiritual or religious man and intellectual properties of his characmay be one of but little grasp of intel- ter, as it is possible for a human being to lect, with limited abilities, circumscribed be. He may possess genius, talents, and knowledge, and even distinguished by sensibility; he may be amiable, honourasome mental weaknesses, which excite, ble, and benevolent; may have acquired in those who know his worth and respect the highest rank in his profession; he him most, deep and durable regret; yet, may be loved for his modesty, and venewith all this, he is sincerely and consist-rated for his worth : yet, with all this, ently a Christian—that is the point, he is he may be chargeable with such immense sincerely and consistently a Christian : deficiencies of character as amount 10 that is, he is conscious of sin, and he nothing short of that very madness which therefore indulges the feelings of con- he attributes to others. There is another trition and repentance: he desires for- world as well as the present-a world for giveness, and he seeks it by humble which, though professing to expect it, faith in the propitiatory sacrifice; he is this man has made no preparation; there sensible of depravity, and he there is a God, but he neglects him—perhaps fore asks the influence of that Spirit profanes his name, and dishonours his which the Scriptures reveal to purify his sabbaths. He professes to believe the affections; he is convinced of the exist- Bible, but he never opens it—to believe ence of God, and the claims which he in Christ, but he practically rejects him has on his veneration and regard, and he to have committed sin, but he never therefore cultivates the habit of devotion, repents of it—to expect death, but he and studies to honour him by conscien- lives as if he were immortal. He says tious obedience; he is ignorant, and he that he believes there is a heaven, but to therefore aims at enlarging his acquaint- be fitted for its enjoyments excites none ance with truth, by the daily perusal of of his solicitude—that there is a hell, but the written word : he believes the pro- he makes no efforts, in humble accordance mises of Scripture, he therefore pleads with the dictates of revelation, to escape them in prayer, and confides in them in the penalty it is intended to inflict. Now, practice; he considers himself as ad- let any person of common sense just revancing rapidly to eternity, and hence he flect for a moment on the characters in lives in diligent preparation for the cir- question, and let him honestly say which cumstance of death; he reads of heaven, of the two is to be “accounted mad ;"'and of hell, and he is anxious to be fitted he who, with all his ignorance and weakfor the one, and to escape the other; he ness, is alive to the sublime relations he finds himself required to glorify God, by sustains to eternity; or he who, whatacting under the influence of religious ever may be his abilities, is confining motives, by the exercise of faith, and by them to the concerns and the advantages benevolent regard to the interests of of a moment, and losing the distinctions others—and he attempts all this in hum- of that endless existence which, all the ble dependence on divine assistance, and time, he professes to expect !—The eteryet with watchfulness and vigour in the nal God has determined the matter, by voluntary employment of his faculties telling us that to the man who cares only and powers.
Such are a few of the cha- to be rich in relation to earth, whether
that consist in wealth or in talent, sepa- | the habits of a pious family still about rate from religion, that to that man, the you, let nothing shame you out of their epithet of " fool” is applied in the vo- continued cultivation ; if any of you have cabulary of heaven!
begun to feel the pernicious influence of The subject might be further illustrated evil communications, break instantly with by taking an individual who, after years the criminal seducers ; if any of you have passed in moral insensibility, or criminal proceeded far in the absurd career of indulgence, should suddenly be affected scepticism or of vice, be persuaded to by religious truth, and should rise into return, in spite of the insane ridicule you the character of a religious man. We may receive from your companions; if might take such a person, and, consider- any of you are scouted as saints, and have ing the scorn, and ridicule, and laughter to sustain indignity or contempt for your with which he would be assailed by his steady attachment to God and to truth, former associates, we might contrast his be not discouraged ; remember that on conduct with theirs—his who awakes, as your side are the wise and the virtuous it were, to the voice of reason, and to the of all worlds—the excellent of earth, and suggestions and impulses of his better the perfect in heaven; if any of you are nature and theirs who continue imbruted disposed to think lightly of the Holy in the bondage of the flesh, degraded and Scriptures—to neglect the instructions of chained by the slavery of the senses. the Christian preacher, and to associate The thing, however, is too absurd to be religion with weakness and fanaticism, patiently pursued; for the impure and recollect that the probability is that you the profligate to talk of the madness of are very ignorant of the subjects on which the man who breaks from their confede- you are about to dare to dogmatize—that, racy, and to laugh at him as if he had by doing so, you will only betray to the forsaken a company of philosophers, intelligent your intellectual poverty, and, would only excite one's indignant con- which will be more galling perhaps, extempt, if it were not that the poor idiots pose yourselves to the commiseration and are entitled to compassion. The ridicule pity of the pious. Let me beseech all of or the hatred of such characters is always you to fortify your minds against the to be considered as approbation and praise. dangers of your position, by studying To turn from iniquity, and to be account- both the Christian evidences and the ed mad, is the way to be regarded as Christian record ; make it a point of conrational and wise by the angels in heaven science to attend regularly on the ordi-those sages of eternity, who under- nances of Christian worship; and ever stand the nature and the province of in- cultivate a reverential regard to that tellect, and who rejoice over every sinner Being of whose wisdom and benevolence that repenteth. For those who, thus you witness so many proofs in the probeing led to repentance, become “wise gress of your studies; forget not that He unto salvation," and for those who are knows the wants of the mind, and has honoured to be the instruments of pro- provided for those wants, just as he moting this result-for both are reserved, knows the wants of the body, and has by the mercy of God, some of the high- provided for them ,—that, with this view, est honours which eternity can confer :- he has addressed to you the gospel of his “They that be wise shall shine as the Son, and commanded you to receive it, brightness of the firmament; and they because he knows that you have need that turn many to righteousness as the both of the pardon of sin, and the renova. stars, for ever and ever."
tion of your nature; by repentance and In conclusion, I would urge upon those faith seek the enjoyment of these inwhom I have the privilege to address, the comparable blessings-blessings without important lessons which the present sub- which you may certainly be successfil ject involves, and which they will readi- in the world, but can never be properly ly detect. If any of you have just left the prepared for leaving it; and leave it you parental roof, and have arrived here with must, whether prepared for the tremertdous transition or not. And now, one Tracing, at a glance, the margin of this word in relation to a subject on which simple lake, on the opposite or eastern one word will be sufficient, and then I side, the eye rests on the inhospitable have done. I beseech you, then, by all country of the Gadarenes—inhospitable the feelings you possess as sons and as to this day. But that which awakens brothers—by the recollections you retain the tenderest emotions in viewing a scene of your father's houseby a mother's like this, is the remembrance of ONE intense and irrepressible anxiety, and by who, formerly, so often passed this way; a sister's pure and angelic affection—as and never passed without leaving, by his you desire to be respected, and ought to words and actions, some memorial of his desire to be worthy of respect—as you divine wisdom and love. Here, or in would wish to possess, in future years, this neighbourhood, most of his mighty internal serenity in looking back to the works were done : and in our daily relihabits of the present period—in the name gious services we have read, with the of God-by the reality of judgment, of most intense interest, those passages of heaven, and of hell-by all that is author- the gospel which refer to these regions. itative in truth, and all that is tender in However uncertain other traditional geofriendship, I beseech you "to flee youth- graphical notices may be, here no doubt ful lusts that war against the soul !”—to interrupts our enjoyment in tracing the study, in this respect, to maintain a con- Redeemer's footsteps. This, and no science and a character void of offence !
-other, is the sea of Galilee-in its dimento erect yourselves above yourselves, and sions, as I should judge, resembling exto exercise, by reason and religion, an actly the size of the isle of Malta, about abiding control over the appetites and twenty miles in length, twelve in breadth, passions !-let the man govern the ani- and sixty in circumference. Here Jesus mal, and let God govern the man! Sup- called the sons of Zebedee, from mendplicate gracious aid to assist and to ing their nets, to become “fishers of strengthen; and, as humble and consist- men.” Here he preached to the multiont disciples of his Son, aim at the at-tudes crowding to the water's edge, himtainment of elevated excellence, and seek self putting off a little from the shore in for glory, honour, immortality, and eter- Simon Peter's boat. But there is not nal life!
now a single boat upon the lake to remind us of its former use. Yonder, on
the right, must have been the very spot The composure which came over my where, in the middle of their passage feverish spirits at this hour was inex- from this side toward Bethsaida and pressibly refreshing : I laid myself down Capernaum, the disciples were affrighted upon the ground, and, resting my head at seeing Jesus upon the water—when he upon a stone near me, drew a little cool- gently upbraided the sinking faith of ness from the soil : while the simple train Peter—when he said to the winds and of reflections which naturally sprung up waves, “ Be still!”—and the sweet serefrom the scene around me added much to nity which now rests upon the surface is my enjoyment. At a great distance to the very same stillness which then sucthe north was the mountainous horizon, ceeded. Here, finally, it was that Jesus on the summit of which stands Safet, appeared, the third time after his resurglistening with its noble castle: it is not rection, to his disciples, (John xxi.) and improbably supposed that our Saviour put that question to the zealous, backhad this spot in his eye, and directed the slidden, but repentant Peter, “Simon, attention of his disciples to it, when he son of Jonas, lovest thou me?"-one said, “A city that is set on a hill cannot question thrice repeated ; plainly denotbe hid;" for it is in full view from the ing what the Saviour requires of all who Mount of Beatitudes, as well as from this profess to be his; and followed up by place; and, indeed, seems to command that solemn charge, “ Feed my lambsall the country round to a great extent. feed my sheep."- Jowett's Res. in Syria.
REFLECTIONS AT TIBERIAS.