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some the testimony of the Church is life unto life, to others death
unto death."

Such then, is the mission and the work of the Church - to bear its
witness, to teach and to judge; and in doing this, whether men
will believe or whether men will not believe, it is accomplishing
its triumph in the world. The world forgets that there is not only
salvation, but there is also judgment; and God, the just judge of
all, is putting men on their trial. The Church is fulfilling its
office by proposing the way of salvation to men, visibly to the
eye by its own presence, audibly to the ear by its own teachings,
clearly to the intellect by the evident truth of its doctrines. It
is putting men upon trial and applying the test to their hearts. It
tests their faith to see whether men will believe; it tests their
candor to see whether they will choose God above all things; it
tests their courage to know whether they are ready to take up their
cross and follow their divine Master. The Church says to the men of
this day: "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever
shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel shall save it." And
in saying this God is separating between nation and nation and
between man and man. His "fan is in his hand and he will thoroughly
purge his floor and gather his wheat into the garner, but the chaff
will be burnt with unquenchable fire." "He that believeth and is
baptized will be saved; but he that believeth not is condemned."
"We thank God, who always maketh us to triumph in Christ Jesus and
manifesteth the odor of him by us in every place;" for we now, at
this hour, in the midst of the nineteenth century, in the midst
of science and progress, are the odor of life unto life and the
odor of death unto death. For the purpose of God in the world is
this - to gather out, as He did of old, a people for His name. Among
the Gentiles of the old world He chose Israel; so now amongst the
nations of the new world He chooses those that believe. He knows the
number of His elect and He calls them by their name. He proposes to
them the way of salvation and puts all things necessary - truth and
grace - within their reach. God is putting them on trial, and the
Church in this is fulfilling its mission and accomplishing its work.

The world is on its probation now. It has been for generations
and generations driving God and Christianity out of its public
life. Christianity is cancelled from its public law; Christianity
is silent in the legislature; Christianity at this moment lingers
in education, but men are endeavoring to close the doors of the
schools against it and so to shut Christianity out of the knowledge
of the rising generation. Wo to the people the tradition of whose
Christian education is cut asunder! Wo to your children and to
your posterity, if they are brought up without the knowledge of
Christianity! The world is laboring with all its might, and all
its fraud, and all its riches, and all its public authority, to
accomplish this end. I do not say that the men who are doing it
know what they do; but I affirm that they are doing what I say.
Unbelievers like those who created the infidel revolution of France
in the last century knew well what they were doing. "Let us destroy
the accurst one," was the language in which they frankly spoke of
Jesus Christ. Men are more refined in the present day. They talk
only of the religious difficulty. "Let us evade or get around the
religious difficulty;" and, under this plea of evading the religious
difficulty, Christianity is to be excluded from our schools; that
is to say, because grown men choose to controvert and contradict
each other as to what is the truth of God, the little ones of
Jesus Christ are to be robbed of their faith. Again, the world is
separating its civil powers, its public authority from the unity of
the faith and of the Church everywhere. It is making it a part of
high and perfect legislation, of what we hear called in these days
"progress and modern civilization," to separate the Church from the
State, and the school from the Church. Progress has deposed the Head
of the Church; it has put in derision a crown of thorns upon his
head; and it believes that at last it has the whole world to itself.

This indeed is the triumph of the world. But meanwhile the Church
is triumphing, tho men know it not. The Church was never more
widespread than at this moment; never more luminous in the eyes of
men, never more explicitly known in its faith; never more united,
vigorous, pure, and confident in its work. Its kingdom is not of
this world: that is, it is not derived from it; the foundation of
its jurisdiction is in eternity; the source of its truth is in the
Holy Ghost, and its imperishable Head is the Son of God at the right
hand of the Father. His kingdom is in the world, but not of it. The
world may prosper and go its way; it may stop its ears against the
voice of the divine witness to the truth; nevertheless that witness
will be the odor of death unto death.

And England also is on its probation. I bear witness that in England
errors are vanishing away, as the snow melts before the sun - passing
away, as the hard frosts before the coming of the spring. The errors
which were once dominant, lordly, confident, and persecuting - where
are they now? At this day men are proclaiming that they are not
certain of what their forefathers bequeathed to them; that they
cannot precisely tell what was the doctrine which was intended in
the Thirty-nine Articles, and was incorporated in statute laws.
They are no longer certain of these things; and I bear them witness
that a gentler spirit and a kindlier disposition is working in the
hearts of many. In the midst of this darkness, truth is rising
again, and the old Catholic Church and faith, for which Ireland has
stood inflexible as a martyr, with the aureola upon her head, at
this day is multiplying the children of faith here and throughout
the world. Here too in Lancashire, where the faith of England has
never been extinct - where to this day the little children of our
flock are the descendants of those who were martyrs and confessors
some three hundred years ago - the lingering tradition of faith once
more is embodied in the perfect hierarchy of the Church of God, in
its perfect order, perfect unity, perfect jurisdiction, perfect
authority. And, what is more, the men of England have learned to
know it better. They have heard it speak; they have seen it worship;
they have even knelt together with us before the same altar, perhaps
hardly knowing what they did; and that because the Spirit of God is
working for His truth, and multitudes will be saved. We are only in
the twilight of the morning; but we can see Jesus standing on the
shore, and there is a net in the hands of His apostles let down in
the water. But when we are long gone to our rest, who can say what
shall be the great draft of souls which shall be miraculously taken
in England?

I must bear witness that in England there are tokens full of hope.
England never rejected the holy Catholic faith. A tyrannous and
guilty king, a corrupt and covetous court, men full of the conceit
of false learning, schemers and intriguers, men that hungered to
spoil the Church for their own enrichment - these tyrannized over
the people of England. The people of England held to their faith
and died for it. The people of England never rejected it. They were
robbed of it; they were deprived of their inheritance, and their
children were born disinherited of their faith; every century from
that hour to this they have gone farther and farther from the light
of the one truth. Poor English people! Bear with them - I speak as an
Englishman - bear with them; they know not what they do in believing
that we worship images, that we imbrued our hands in the massacre of
St. Bartholomew. Let the men who write these things look at their
own hands; there is blood enough upon them. But the English people
do not believe these things now; they are passed away. And there has
come in the place of these impostures a desire after truth - "Only
let me find it;" a craving after unity - "Can we never make an end
of these divisions?" a thirsting for the presence of Jesus Christ
upon the altar - "Where can I find Him?" And what are all these
aspirations? They are the evidences of the good odor of life unto

And if so, then, dear brethren, you that have the inheritance of
faith are on your probation too. You are called to let the light of
your faith shine like the day. The silent, penetrating, convincing
light of a man who, knowing the faith, speaks it calmly, without
controversy, without bickering, without contention, sheds a grace
around him. As men that possess the greatest gift of God, and who
desire to make everybody else share it to the full, so let your
faith shine. And next, as you have faith, so you ought to have
the warmth of charity. Where there is light, there is warmth; and
where there is greater light there is greater warmth. Where there
is perfect truth, there ought to be perfect charity. You who have
the whole revelation of God ought to have the whole charity of God
in you. Let your neighbors who are round about, even those who are
not of the faith, feel that there is something in you - a warmth,
a kindness, a sympathy and generosity which they find in no other
man. And, lastly, let there be the fragrance of a holy life. This is
the good odor of Christ unto God, and this diffuses life unto life
wherever you go. You are upon this probation. Be worthy of the great
gift which has been given to you. You have it in its fulness. Be
then, worthy of its fulness, in faith and in charity.

And now, dear brethren, in the midst of all the lordly triumph of
the world, of all that which no doubt we shall hear to-morrow, be
of good heart. As they said to the apostles so they will say to us:
"If this be triumph, what can be defeat? We do not quarrel if you
are content with these victories." Overhead there is a throne, and
round about it are those whom no man can number; the powers and
prerogatives of Him who sits upon that throne are working mightily
in the world. There is one who sits above the water-flood, with all
its confusions, whose voice penetrates through all the jangling
contradictions of men. He is bringing to its fulfilment the purpose
which from all eternity He has predestined. He knows His own by
number and by name, and He will gather them out as the shepherd
gathers his flock, and He will separate the goats from the sheep.
He will reign until the whole of that work is accomplished. When
it is done, and when the last of His elect has been gathered in,
and the last of His redeemed has been made perfect, then He will
manifest Himself to all men, and the world shall then know that He
has triumphed always and in every place.




EDWARDS AMASA PARK was born at Providence, R. I., in 1808. After a
short pastorate of two years he became professor at Amherst, and
subsequently at Andover Theological Seminary. He was one of the
well-known exponents of the New England Calvinism, and his teachings
had a wide influence over the ministers of his generation. His
sermons, frequently rewritten, were marked by elegance of style
and great moral force. Both as a preacher and teacher he showed
largeness of view, depth of thought, and a rare facility of clear
and powerful expression. He wrote a number of biographies and other
works. He died in 1900.




[1] Printed here by kind permission of Messrs. W. F. Draper & Co.,
Andover Publishing House, Andover, Mass.

_For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ,
and him crucified._ - 1 Corinthians ii., 2.

Should the apostle who penned this eloquent expression resume his
ministry on earth, and should he deign to hold converse with us on
the principles of his high calling, and should he repeat his strong
words, I am now, as of old, determined not to know anything among
you save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, some of us would feel an
impulse to ask him:

"Can your words mean what they appear to imply? You are learned in
Rabbinical literature; you have read the Grecian poets, and even
quoted from Aratus; you have examined the statuary of Greece, and
have made a permanent record of an inscription upon an altar in
ancient Athens; you have reasoned on the principles of Aristotle
from effect to cause, and have taken rank with the philosophers,
as well as orators of the world; and now, you seem to utter your
determination to abandon all knowledge save that which concerns the
Jew who was crucified. You once said that you had rather speak five
words with the understanding, than ten thousand words in an unknown
tongue; and here, lest the pithy language of this text should fail
of being truly apprehended, we desire to learn its precise meaning
in three particulars:

"In the first place, do you intend to assert that our knowledge is
controlled by our will? You determined not to know anything save
one. Can you by mere choice expel all but one of your old ideas, and
make your mind like a chart of white paper in reference to the vast
majority of your familiar objects of thought?"

"I am ready to concede," is the reply, "that much of our knowledge
is involuntary; still a part of it is dependent on our will. In some
degree, at some times, we may attend to a theme or not attend to
it, as we choose, and thus our choice may influence our belief, and
thus are we responsible, in a certain measure, for our knowledge.
Besides, the word 'know' is used by us Hebraistic writers to include
not only a mental apprehension, but also a moral feeling. When we
know Christ, we feel a hearty complacence in Him. Again, to 'know'
often signifies to manifest, as well as to possess, both knowledge
and love. We do not know an old acquaintance when we of set purpose
withhold all public recognition of him, and act outwardly as if
we were inwardly ignorant of his being. But I, Paul, say to you,
as I said to the Corinthians, that I shall make the atonement of
Christ, and nothing but the atonement of Christ, the main theme of
my regard, of my loving regard, and such loving regard as is openly

Thus our first query is answered; but there is a second inquiry
which some of us would propose to the apostle, were he uttering to
us personally the words which he wrote to the Corinthians. It is

"Should a Christian minister out of the pulpit, as well as in the
pulpit, know nothing save the Crucified One? Did you not know how to
sustain yourself by the manufacture of tents; and did you not say to
the circle of elders at Ephesus, 'These hands have ministered to my
necessities'? Did you not dispute with the Roman sergeants, plead
your cause before the Roman courts? Must not every minister cease
for a time to converse on the word of Jesus; and must he not think
of providing for his own household, lest he become worse than an

"I am willing to admit," is the reply, "that the pulpit is the
place where the minister should speak of Christ with more uniform
distinctness than in other places; but there are no places, and no
times, in which he should fail to manifest, more or less obviously,
his interest in his Redeemer. Wherever he goes he has a pulpit.
Whether he eat, or drink, or whatever he do, he must do all for
the glory of God, and the highest glory of God is Christ, and the
highest honor of Christ is in Him crucified. A minister must always
respect the proprieties of life; in honoring them he knows that
appropriate model Man who, rising from the tomb, wrapped up the
napkin that was about His head, and laid it in a place by itself.
Now the proprieties of life do require a minister to speak in the
pulpit on themes more plainly and more easily connected with the
atonement, than are various themes on which he must speak in the
market-place or in the schools. But all subjects on which he may
discourse do lead, sooner or later, more or less obviously and
easily, to the great work of Jesus; and he should converse on them
with the intent of seizing every hint they give him, following out
every line to which they point him, in the direction of the cross. I
have been in many synagogues, and in the temple, and on Mars' Hill,
and on a Mediterranean ship-deck; and once I was hurried along in a
night ride from Jerusalem to C├Žsarea with four hundred and seventy
soldiers, horsemen and spearmen. I have resided at leisure with my
arm chained to a Roman guard in a prison at the capital of the Roman
Empire; but in all such places I have felt, and everywhere I do
feel, bound to speak out, and to act out, all the interest which
the fitness of the occasion admits, in the atonement of Jesus; and
not to manifest, and not to feel, any interest in any theme which
may lessen my regard for this, the chiefest among ten thousand!"

But there is a third question which some of us would propose to the
apostle, were he to speak in our hearing the words of the text:

"Should every man, as well as every minister, cherish and exhibit no
interest in anything but Christ? Should a sailor at the masthead,
a surgeon in the extirpation of the clavicle, a warrior in the
critical moment of the last charge, look at nothing, and hear of
nothing, but the cross? Must not everyone conduct business, and
sustain cares, which draw his mind away from the atonement?"

"I am ready to grant," is the reply, "that some duties are less
plainly and less intimately connected than others with the work of
Jesus; but all of them are connected with it in some degree, and
this connection may be seen by all who choose to gain the fitting
insight. The great principle of duty belonging to the minister in
the pulpit, belongs to him everywhere; and the great principle of
duty belonging to the minister, belongs to every man, woman, and
child. There is not one religion for the man when he is in the
temple, and another religion for the man when he is in the parlor
or in the street. There is not one law for ordained pastor, and
another law for the tradesman or the mechanic. The same law and no
different one, the same religion and no different one, are the law
and religion for the apostles, and publicans, and prophets, and tax
gatherers, and patriarchs, and children, and nobles, and beggars.
Every man is bidden to refuse everything, if it be the nearest
friend, who interferes with the claims of the Messiah; and therefore
every man, layman as well as clergyman, must keep his eye fixed
primarily upon the cross. He may see other things within the range
of that cross, but he must keep the cross directly at the angle of
his vision, and allow nothing else, when placed side by side with
the tree of Calvary, to allure his eye away from that central,
engrossing object."

Here, then, is our third question answered; and in these three
replies to these three queries, we perceive the meaning of our text
to be: that not on the first day only, but on every day likewise,
not in the religious assembly only, but in all assemblies, and
in all solitudes likewise, not the preacher only, but the hearer
likewise, every man must adopt the rule, to give his voluntary, his
loving, his secret and open regard to nothing so much as to the
character and work of his Redeemer.

Having inquired into the meaning of the apostle's words, let us
proceed, in the next place, to inquire into the importance of
making the atonement of Christ the only great object of our
thought, speech and action.

And here, did we hold a personal interview with the author of our
text, we should be prompted to put three additional queries before
him. Our first inquiry would be:

"Is not your theme too contracted? It is well to know Christ, but
in all the varying scenes of life is it well not to know anything
else? Will not the pulpit become wearisome if, spring and autumn,
summer and winter, it confine itself to a single topic? We have
known men preach themselves out by incessant repetitions of the
scene at Calvary, - a scene thrilling in itself, and on that very
account not bearing to be presented in its details, every Sabbath
day. How much less will the varying sensibilities of the soul
endure the reiteration of this tragic tale every day and at every
interview! Such extreme familiarity induces irreverence. The
Bible is not confined to this theme. It is rich in ecclesiastical
history, political history, ethical rules, metaphysical discussion,
comprehensive theology. It contains one book of ten chapters which
has not a single allusion to God, and several books which do not
mention Christ; why then do you shut us up to a doctrine which will
circumscribe the minds of good men, and result in making their
conversation insipid?"

"Contracted!" - this is the reply - "and you consider this topic a
limited one, whose height, depth, length, breadth, no finite mind
can measure? Of what would you speak?"

"We would speak of the divine existence."

"But Christ is the 'I am.'"

"We would speak of the divine attributes."

"But Christ is the Alpha and Omega; He searcheth the reins and
trieth the hearts of men; He is the same yesterday, to-day, and
forever; full of grace and truth; to Him belong wisdom and power and
glory and honor; of His dominion is no end. Of what, then, would you

"We would speak of the divine sovereignty."

"But Christ taught us to say: Even so, Father, for so it seemed good
in Thy sight - and He and His Father are one."

"We would converse on the divine decrees."

"But all things are planned for His praise who was in Christ, and in
whom Christ was at the beginning."

"We would discourse on electing love."

"But the saints are elect in Christ Jesus."

"We would utter many words on the creation of men and angels."

"Now by our Redeemer were all things created that are in heaven and
that are in the earth, visible and invisible."

"We would converse on the preservation of what has been created."

"Now Christ upholdeth all things by the word of His power. What
would you have, then, for your theme?"

"We would take the flowers of the field for our theme."

"But they are the delight, as well as the contrivance of the

"We would take for our theme the globes in space."

"But they are the work of His fingers."

"Then we would take the very winds of heaven for our theme, lawless
and erratic as they are."

"But Jesus taught us to comment upon these as an illustration of
His truth. His poetic mind gave us the conception that the wind
bloweth where it chooseth to blow; and we look on, wondering whence
it cometh, and whither it goeth, knowing only that it is the breath
of the wonderful, the counselor, who arouseth it as He listeth, or
saith, Peace, be still. What else, then, do you prefer for your
topic of conversation?"

"We prefer the laws of nature for our topic."

"But in them the Father worketh and Christ worketh equally."

"If it be so, we will select the fine and useful arts for our

"But all the materials of these arts and all the laws which
compact them, and all the ingenuity which arranges them are of
His architectonic plan. He is the guide of the sculptor, painter,
musician, poet. He is the contriver of all the graces which we
in our idolatry ascribe to the human discoverer, as if man had
originally invented them. The history of the arts is the history of
Christ's government on earth. Will you propose, then, some other
theme for your remark?"

"Do let us converse on the moral law."

"You may; but Christ gave this law and came to magnify it."

"Then let us comment on the ceremonial law."

"You may; but all its types are prophecies of Jesus."

"Then we will expatiate on virtue in the general."

"Do so; but Christ is the first exemplar, the brightest
representative of all abstract goodness, of all your virtue in the

"Then we will take up the ethical maxims."

"Take them up; but they are embodied in Him who is the way, the
truth, the life."

"We will resort, then, to human responsibility for our subject of

"But we must all appear before the judgment seat of that fair-minded
arbiter who is man as well as God."

"May we not speak of eternal blessedness?"

"Yes; but it is Christ who welcomes His chosen into life."

"Shall we not converse, then, on endless misery?"

"Yes; but it is Christ who will proclaim: Depart, ye cursed."

"The human body; we would utter some words on that."

"But your present body is the image of what your Lord wore once, and

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Online LibraryVariousThe World's Great Sermons, Volume 5: Guthrie to Mozley → online text (page 5 of 13)