John Albert Broadus.

Sermons and addresses online

. (page 1 of 31)
Online LibraryJohn Albert BroadusSermons and addresses → online text (page 1 of 31)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Division ^^^^^C

Section 0/6 7


/In everything give thanks,— I Tiiess. v. 18 45


Ask, and it shall be given you.— Matt. vii. 7 S7



Wherefore also he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God
through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them — Heb.
vii. 25 '0


Being therefore justified by faith, let us have peace with God through our Lord

Jesus Christ.— KoM. v. 1




wretciied man that I am ! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death ?

1 thauk God through Jesus Christ our Lord.— Kom. vii. 24, 25 97


For I could wish that myself were accui-sed from Christ fur my brethren. — Kom.

ix. 3 110


Mary, the mother of Jesus— Acts i. 14 124


{Preached when chaplain to the University of Virginia.)

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace given, to

preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.— Eph. iii. 8 . 1S9


And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to
make theowise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. —

2 Tim. iii. 15 1,55



Address before the International Convention of Young Men's Christian Associa-
tions at Cleveland, Ohio, 1881 Ifi?


{Sermon before the Baptist Society for Ministerial Education in Missouri. )
Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that necdeth
not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.— 2 Tim. ii. 15 . .




Address at the opening of a session of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary 216




Address before the Society of Alumni of the University of Virginia 268


Read before the Society of Alumni of the University of Virginia 303


Address at a banquet in honor of Dr. J. Lawrence Smith, Louisville, Ky., 1879. 348



{In the Broadway Baptist Church, Louisville, Ky., 1885.)
For none of us liveth to himself, and none dieth to himself. For whether we
live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord-
whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's-EoM. xiv. 7, 8 . . .'352


At Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, 1886 oro


Read before the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, November, 1886 373




God is a Spirit, and they that tvorship him vitist worship him in
spirit and in truth. — Jolin iv. 24.

JESUS was tired. The little that we know of the
history just before, yet enables us to see cause why
He should have been tired.

He had been, for long months, engaged in active
efforts to save men's souls — to lift men out of their
sluggishness and worldliness toward God. That is hard
work for mind and heart. And he had been at work
among many who were hostile. The disciples of John
were some of them envious that their master was de-
creasing and another was increasing, though John said
it was right and good ; and when the Pharisees heard
that Jesus was now making and baptizing more disci-
ples than John, they were jealous. They made it need-
ful that he should withdraw from Judea, as so often
during his brief ministry he had to withdraw from the
jealousy of his enemies or the fanaticism of his friends,
and seek a new field. Worn out and perhaps sad at
heart, the Redeemer sat alone by Jacob's well.

♦ At the dedication of the Second Baptist Church in St. Louis, 1879.



Our artists owe us yet two compaDion pictures, — the
one of Jesns, as the disciples saw him when they turned
back to loolc, on their way to buy food, as he sat and
rested, leaning with limbs relaxed, with face weary, yet
gentle; and the other of Jesus as they found him when
they came back, sitting up nov/ with an animated look
on his face, busily, eagerly talking.

Ah ! there was an opening to do good, and he who
"went about doing good'^ would give up even his
needed rest, and often did, we know, to do good to the
least and the lowest. The disciples wondered not that
he was ready to do good ; they had seen that often al-
ready. They wondered that he was talking with a
woman, for that was contrary to the dignity of a man
according to the ideas of that time and country, — to be
seen talking with a woman in public. They wondered ;
they knew not yet what manner of spirit they were
of, — that they had to deal with high saving truths that
break through all weak conventionalities.

They would have wondered more if they had known
what he knew full well, — that it was a woman of bad
character; and yet he saw in her potencies for good,
and he did win her that day to faith in the INIessiah
who had come, and sent her forth to tell others to come
and see "a man who had told her all things whatsoever
she did.^'

But she shrank in the process. Beautiful and won-
derful it is to see how admirably our Lord led the
casual conversation -with a strangrer so as to introduce


the profoundest s])iritual truths.

My Christian friends, let me not fail to point your


attention to this. I know no art of social life more
needful to be cultivated in our time and country than
the art of skilfully introducing religion into general
conversation. It is a difficult task. It requires tact
and skill to do this in such a way as to accomplish
much good and no harm ; but it is worth all your ef-
forts. Old and young, men and women, yea — shall I
say it? — especially young ladies, who are Christians,
with that control which young ladies have in our Amer-
ican society, need to cultivate few things so much as
just that power which the Saviour Ik le sliowed. Oh !
beautiful, blessed example of Jesus! How it shines
more and more as we study and strive to imitate it!
And not only did he lead on toward religious truth,
but he knew how, in a quiet, skilful way, to awaken
her consciousness to a realization of her sinfulness, so
that she might come near to spiritual truth. She shrank
from it, I said, as people will often shrink from us
when we try to bring truth home to their souls. She
shrank, and while not wishing to turn the conversation
entirely away from religious things, she would turn it
away to something not so uncomfortably close, and so
she asked him about a great question much discussed.

" Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers
did worship in this mountain,'' and right up the steep
slopes of Mount Gerizim she would point to the mount
high above them, where were the ruins of the old tem-
ple of the Samaritans, destroyed a century and a half
before. " Our fathers worshipped in this mountain ; and
ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought
to worship. O prophet, which is it?" Again the


Redeemer, while he answers her question, will turn it
away from all matters of form and outward service, and
strike deep by a blow into the spiritual heart of things.
" AVoman, believe me, the hour is coming, when neither
in this mountain nor in Jerusalem shall ye worship the
Father." He will not fail to imply in passing that
Jerusalem had been the right place. " Ye worship that
which ye know not. We worship that which we know,
for salvation is from the Jews '^ — he only mentions that
in passing — ^^ but the hour cometh and now is, when
the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit
and truth, for such doth the Father seek to be his Avor-

Only spiritual worship will be acceptable to God ; this
is what he seeks, and, more than that, this is what the
very nature of the case requires. " For God is a spirit,
and they that worship him must worship him in spirit
and in truth.''

I wish to speak of the worship of God, and I shall
ask two very simple questions about it, and try to some
little extent to answer each of them.

Why should we worship God ? How should we wor-
ship God ?

I. A man might well draw back and fear to say one
word as to reasons why we should worship God. Oh !
how high, and wide, and deep, that theme ! And yet it
may be useful just to remind you of some things in-
cluded in these expressions. Why ought we to worship
God ? Because it is due to him ; and because it is good
for us.

(1.) That we should render to God worship is due


to him. My dear friends, if we were but unconcerned
spectators of the glorious God and his wonderful
works, it ought to draw out our hearts to admiration
and adoration and loving worship. The German philoso-
pher, Kant, probably the greatest philosopher of modern
times, said : " There are two things that always awaken
in me, when I contemplate them, the sentiment of the
sublime. They are the starry heavens and the moral
nature of man." Oh ! God made them both, and all
there is of the sublime in either or in both is but a dim,
poor reflection of the glory of Him who made them.
Whatever there is in this world that is suited to lift up
men's souls at all ought to lift them towards God.

Kobert Hall said that the idea of God subordinates to
itself all that is great, borrows splendor from all that is
fair, and sits enthroned on the riches of the universe.
More than that is true. I repeat, all that exalts our
souls ought to lift them up toward God. Especially
ought we to adore the holiness of God.

O sinful human beings, still you know that holiness is
the crown of existence. There is not a human heart
that does not somehow, sometimes love goodness. Find
me the most wicked man in all your great city, and
there are times when that man admires goodness.
Yea, I imagine ihevG are times when he hopes that
somehow or other he may yet be good himself. When
a man we love has died, we are prone to exaggerate in
our funeral discourse, in our inscriptions on tomb-stones
and the like — to exaggerate what ? We seldom exagger-
ate much in speaking of a man's talents, or learning, or
possessions, or influence, but we are always ready to ex-


aggerate his goodness. We want to make the best of
the man in that solemn hour. We feel that goodness is
the great thing for a human being when he has gone out
of our view into the world unseen. And what is it that
the Scriptures teach us is one of the great themes of the
high worship of God, where worship is perfect ? Long
ago a prophet saw the Lord seated high on a throne in
the temple, Avith flowing robes of majesty, and on either
side adoring seraphs did bend and worship, and oh !
what was it that was the theme of their worship? Was
it God's power ? Was it God's wisdom ? You know
what they said — "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of
hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory." And
there do come times, O my friends, to you and me,
though we lift not holy hands, for we are sinful, though
we dwell among a people of unclean lips, there come
times to you and me when we want to adore the holiness
of God.

And then think of his love and mercy ! If you were
only unconcerned spectators I said — thiiik of his love
and mercy !

He hates sin. We know not how to hate sin as the
holy God must hate it. And yet how he loves the
sinner ! How he yearns over the sinful ! How he
longs to save him ! Oh, heaven and earth, God so loved
the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever will have it so, might through him be saved.

I know where that great provision, that mighty mercy
is adored. I know from God's word that those high
and glorious ones, who know far more than we do of the
glorious attributes of the Creator and the wide wonders


of his works, when they have sung their highest song
of praise for God^s character and for creation, will then
strike a higher note as they sing the praises of redemp-
tion, for holiness and redemption are the great themes
which the Scriptures make known to us of the worship
in heaven. John saw in his vision how the four living
creatures, representing the powers of nature, and the four
and twenty elders, representing the saved of God, bowed
in worship, and how a wide and encircling host of angels
caught the sound, and how it spread wider still, till in
all the universe it rolls, " Salvation and honor and glory
and power be unto him that sitteth on the throne and
unto the Lamb forever and ever/^

Holiness and redemption ! We ought to adore if we
had nothing to do with it, for we have a moral nature
to appreciate it. And oh ! are we unconcerned spectators ?
That most wonderful manifestation of God's mercy and
love has been made towards us. And, if the angels find
their highest theme of praise in what the gracious God
has done for us, how ought we to feel about it ? Yea,
there is a sense in which, amid the infirmities of earth,
we can pay God a worship that the angels cannot them-
selves offer.

" Earth has a joy unknown in heaven ;
The new-born bliss of sins forgiven."

And sinful beings here may strike, out of grateful
hearts for sins forgiven, a note of praise to God that
shall pierce through all the high anthems of the skies
and enter into the ear of the Lord God of Hosts.

(2.) But I said we ought to worship God, not only


because it is due to Him, but because it is good for us.
Only the worship of God can satisfy, O my friends, the
highest and noblest aspirations of our natures.

When anything lifts us up, then we want God as the
climax of our exalted thought, and our thought itself is
imperfect without it. If you will look, as I looked this
morning, in the early light, upon the glory of the
autumn woods, faded now, yet still bright, and so
beautiful ; if you gaze upon the splendor, as you will do
when this service is ended, of the nightly skies ; if you
stand in awe before the great mountains, snow-clad and
towering, before Hermon, before the wonderful mount-
ains of our own wonderful West ; if you go and gaze in
the silence of night upon the rush of your own imperial
river, or stand by the sea-shore, and hear the mighty
waters rolling evermore, there swells in the breast some-
thing that wants God for its crown and for its complete-
ness. There are aspirations in these strange natures of
ours that only God can satisfy. Our thinking is a
mutilated fragment without God, and our hearts can
never rest unless they rest in God.

And worship, oh, how it can soothe ! Yea, sometimes
worship alone can soothe our sorrows and our anxieties.
There come times with all of us when ever}i:hing else
does fail us ; there come times when we go to speak with
sorrowing friends and feel that all other themes are weak
and vain. You, wicked man yonder — ^)'ou have gone
sometimes to visit a friend that was in great distress,
who had lost a dear child, it may be, or husband or
wife ; and as you have sat down by your friend and
wanted to say something comforting, you have felt


that eveiything else was vain but to point the poor sor-
rowing heart to God ; and you felt ashamed of yourself
that you did not dare to do that. How often have devout
hearts found comfort in sorrow, found support in anxiety,
by the worship of God ; by the thought of submission to
God and trust in God ; a belief that God knows what
he is doing ; that God sees the end from the beginning ;
that God makes '^ all things work together for good to
those that love him ?'

And I add that the worship of God nourishes the
deepest root of morality — individual and social. Moral-
ity cannot live upon mere ideas of expediency and
utility. We have some philosophers in our day (and
they show abilities and earnestness tliat command our
respect, though they may seem to us to go so sadly and
so far astray) who have persuaded themselves, alas ! that
Christianity must be flung aside ; that belief in God even
must be abandoned ; but they are beginning to recognize
the necessity for trying to tell the world wdiat they are
going to put in place of that, for the conservation of in-
dividual and social morality ; and so the great English
philosopher of the present time tells us in a recent work,
and the gifted author of " Theophrastus Such," who is
one of his followers, has told us, that natural sympathy
will lead us to recognize that we owe duties to others as
well as ourselves. Natural sympathy is going to do
that. Ah, I trow not. Sometimes it will, if there be
something mightier that can help. Often natural sym-
pathy will fail. The root of morality is the sentiment
of moral obligation. What does it mean when your
little child first begins to say '^ I ought to do this '' and


I ought not to do that ?'' What does it mean ? " I ought."
The beasts around us are some of them very intelligent.
They seem to think in a crude fashion. They seem to
reason in a rudimentary way. Our intellect is not
peculiar to us. They have something of it, but they
show no sign of having the rudiments of the notion that
" I ought" and '^ I ought not." It is the glory of man.
It marks him in the image of the spiritual one that
made him. And what is to nourish and keep alive and
make strong that sentiment of moral obligation in our
souls, unless it be the recognition of the fact that there
is a God who gave us this high, moral, spiritual being ;
who made us for himself; to whom we belong, because
he made us, and because he made us to love him until
the sentiment of obligation to him shall nourish in us
the feeling of obligation to our fellow-men, who, like us,
are made in his image.

But we are told that there is going to be a moral
interregnum shortly ; that so many cultivated men in
England and in some parts of our country are rejecting
all religion ; that now there is danger that society will
suffer until the new ideas can work themselves into
popular favor. Yes, indeed, society would suffer but for
one thing, and that is that still there are and still there
will be not a few among the cultivated, and many, thank
God ! among those who are not blessed with cultivation,
who hold fast their faith in the only true God and in
Jesus Christ Avhom he has sent, and that will conserve
society and hold up the very men who fancy they can do
without Christianity.

For this reason, if there were no other, it would be


worth while to build great and noble churches in our
great cities, as we build monuments for other things to
remind men of grand events and heroic deeds ; so that
if churches were never entered, they would be worth
building as memorials, as reminders of God and eternity.
Amid the homes of wealth and luxury, amid the splen-
did centres of commerce, and amid, alas ! the palaces of
vice, our churches stand serene and still, pointing up,
like the Christianas hope, toward heaven. The thought-
less, the wayward, worldly and wicked will sometimes
look as they pass, and as from the monuments over some
heroic dead man, they catch a moment's impression for
good, so from the church edifice itself they will catch a
momentary impression of higher things, and be at least
a little restrained from what is wrong and a little incited
towards what is right.

And that is but the least of it. The great nourisher
of morality in the individual and the community is not
the mere outward symbol ; it is the worship that is paid
within. But I shall say no more oi\ this theme. All
that I can say is weak, poor and vain. How can a man
tell the reasons why we should worship God ? They are
as high as heaven, as wide as the world, as vast as the
universe ; all existence and all conception — everything is
a reason why we should worship God ; and I turn to the
other question, to which the text especially points.

II. How should we worship God? I wish here to
speak only of that line of thought which the text pre-
sents, How shall we worship God with spiritual wor-

The spiritual worship the text points out to us is


essentially independent of localities. Time was when it
was not so : when the best worship that Avas to be
expected in the world depended upon holy places and
impressive rites. In the childhood of the race these
ideas were necessary, but Christianity came as the matu-
rity of revealed religion, and declared that those ideas
should prevail no longer ; that true Christian spiritual
worship is essentially independent of localities.

My friends, under the Christian system you cannot
make holy places ; you cannot make a holy house. We
speak very naturally and properly enough, if with due
limitation, in the language of the Ohl Testament, about
our places of worship, but we ought to remember con-
stantly the limitations. You cannot consecrate a building
in the light of Christianity. You can dedicate the
building ; you can set it apart to be used only for the
worship of God ; but you cannot make the house a holy
house ; it is an idea foreign to the intense spirituality
which Jesus has taught us belongs to the Christian idea
of worship. Why, then, one might say, why should we
have houses of worship ? not merely because if there is
to be the worship of assemblies at all, with all the
strange power that sympathy gives to aggregated wor-
ship, then there must be places of assembly ; bat because
these soon become associated with the solemn worship we
hold in them and sacred by their associations, and if we
do not disturb those associations, if from the places where
we are wont to hold solemn worship, we keep carefully
away all that tends to violate those associations, they

Online LibraryJohn Albert BroadusSermons and addresses → online text (page 1 of 31)