Page images

into a new existence till their former selves are well nigh lost. Perverted, it is a dangerous instrument, but employed under the guidance of truth and reason, it is one of the essentials of true eloquence. And it finds one of its most appropriate dwelling places in the pulpit. We do not speak of affected enthusiasm, but of that which is true and real; not of that artificial creation of weak and barren souls, but of that inward vitality which distinguishes the strong and gifted. And if living, burning, creative utterance be any where needed, it is surely there where heedless and slothful souls come to be quickened by immortal and unseen and forgotten things. This it is that will annihilate the chasm between selfishness and duty, between the outward and the spiritual, between man and God.

From this imperfect view of Pulpit Eloquence it will be inferred that the conditions on which it depends are rather internal than external. Men of a certain stamp are, of course, if not of necessity, eloquent in speech when they speak at all. Strong thinkers, good rhetoricians from taste, independent and enthusiastic, they open the lips only to let eloquence find an avenue to the outward world, for it is the native dialect of their being.

And so, too, it may be seen that this power is to be acquired, not so much by an attention to outward forms as by inward culture. He who aims at eloquence merely for its own sake, is not in the true path to the goal. By being artificial, it will part with spontaneity, and in doing so it will lose the locks of its strength. He who is possessing himself of higher and stronger thoughts, who labors effectually to develop them clearly to others, who is nurturing true independence of spirit, and growing enthusiastic in his vocation, is most effectually contributing to the power of his utterance. Such a character will dignify any office, and commend its objects powerfully to the sympathy of all men. And, carrying into the pulpit a character which befits a man, and especially befits a minister,-carrying there that inspiration of the Almighty which giveth understanding,—that direct, lucid speech which becomes the topics and the place,that trueness to intelligent conviction which allows no word to be uttered carelessly, but represses no syllable through fear of the censure of expediency,--and that zealous energy which is the soul of all effort and the offspring of deep and true sympathy,no man can speak as God's ambassador without something of that high order of eloquence which convinces wbile it stirs, and secures benefit while it awakens admiration.

With many of the questions which have been raised over this subject we have no space to deal. But it seems obvious that a confinement to notes must, as a general rule, divest any speaker, and especially the minister, of much of his power. It constrains manner, it takes away the moral power of the eye and of the varying expression of the countenance, while it leaves no opportunity for fresh suggestions from the circumstances, and for the employment of illustrations which may be borrowed from what is before the eye.

We have said nothing respecting the importance of cultivating eloquence in this sphere. But it is universally felt, however little sympathy is sometimes expressed toward it in words. No man can be indifferent to the manner in which instruction is conveyed to him. And they who have sought to depreciate the value of pulpit eloquence, and have declared against its cultivation, have themselves, it may be unwittingly, sought to be eloquent in their warfare against it. Paul was called Mercurius from his ability to speak with force, and the foes of Jesus came away awe-struck by his manner, declaring that never man spake like this man. Over the eloquence of the pulpit is thrown the endorsement of Paul's sanctified genius and the Saviour's infinite authority. And their powerful utterance speaks to us impressively, saying, “Go and do thou likewise."


RESURRECTION means to quicken, to revive, to rise, as from the dead. It is sometimes employed in a civil sense, to denote the restoration of a person or nation in distress, as in the case of Hezekiah and the Jewish nation. It is also used in a spiritual sense, to represent a state of death in sin, from which persons are regenerated. Resurrection is also applied by some to the church, when it shall increase in numbers, strength, and millennial glory, called the first resurrection. But the term resurrection is more commonly understood to be the raising of corporeal bodies from the dead, which is the theme of the present discussion.

The question is sometimes asked, Can the resurrection of the dead be proved from the works of nature ? We

e answer, No! True, there are many things in nature that are suggestive—many analogies, though not parallel, such as the decay and resuscitation of vegetation, the transformation of certain insects, the changes and revolutions in the moral world, etc. Yet these alone are not satisfactory on a subject of such vast importance to the human race. Though nature teaches many practical lessons, and unwise is he who does not profit by them, yet its teachings are not sufficient to settle this point. The doctrine of the resurrection is, therefore, a matter of revelation, and from this source, principally, are we to be guided. What, then, does the word of God teach relative to this subject ?

It teaches, first, the doctrine of a general resurrection from the dead.

It is a doctrine of the Old Testament. Some deny this because comparatively little is said on the subject by the saints and prophets. But this is no real objection; for enough is said to prove

the fact. Christ affirms that Moses preached the doctrine: “Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed in the bush, when he called the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Job who, as some suppose, lived in the days of Moses, expresses a sentiment evidently bearing on this point: “For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth ; and though, after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another ; though my reins be consumed within me.” Says David : “God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave; for he shall receive me.” The prophet Isaiah speaks in the following language: “Thy dead

men shall live, together with my dead body shall they rise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust; for the dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead." Daniel says: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

It was expected by the Jews. " Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." “Women received their dead raised to life again; and others were tortured not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection." True, some were skeptical on the subject, as were the Sadducees, who had departed from the truth and simplicity of the religion of their fathers, and did not give full credence to all the Old Testament writings. But Christ, in answer to a question proposed by them on the resurrection, plainly told them, “ Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” The Pharisees, on the other hand, were professed believers in the resurrection, and in this belief agreed with Christ and the apostles.

It is not incredible. “For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which'are in heaven.” “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead ?”

It is not contrary to reason. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone ;. but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."

It was assumed and proved by our Lord. “And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” “Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." sage proves the doctrine to a demonstration.

It was preached by the apostles. “Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead." “ Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans and of the Stoics encountered him. And some said, What will

The last pas



this babbler say ? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods; because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.” “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust."

The credibility of the resurrection is shown by the resurrection of individuals. Christ enters the ruler's house, and restores life to the body. “And the graves were opened ; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." “ And he came near and touched the bier; and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I

say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him unto his moth

“ And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him and let him go.”

The certainty of the resurrection is proved by the resurrection of Christ. “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ; whom he raised not up, if so be the dead rise not.

For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ. raised. And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only, we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept."

In the four gospels we have a full history of the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the blessed Saviour, upon whom is predicated the faith of the saints. No doctrine of the Bible can be proved by a greater amount of Scripture testimony than that of the resurrection. The passages here brought forward are only a small portion that might be quoted; but these are sufficient to prove the doctrine and satisfy any reasonable

« PreviousContinue »