Samuel M. (Samuel Melancthon) Worcester.

Sermons / by Samuel M. Worcester online

. (page 11 of 11)
Online LibrarySamuel M. (Samuel Melancthon) WorcesterSermons / by Samuel M. Worcester → online text (page 11 of 11)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


he exhorted the Ephesians "to pray always with all prayer and sup-
plication in the Spirit, that utterance might be given" to him, for a
bold and faithful proclamation of " the mystery of the Gospel," —
may here be instructively recalled to memory, in connection with
his words to the Colossians. "Continue in prayer, and watch unto
the same with thanksgiving. At the same time also praying for us,
that God would open to us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery
of Christ, for which I am also in bonds. That I may make it mani-
fest as I ought to speak!'

10. I will notice but one other means, by which Paul labored to
promote the Gospel. It has been repeatedly implied. He spoke
the truth in love.

Love to God, to Christ, to the brethren, and to sinners, was, be-
yond all dispute, the predominant, and all-controlling passion of
the great apostle to the Gentiles. It glows in every sermon. It
beams with celestial brightness in every epistle. I should be glad,
if thetim-e permitted, to illustrate each of the modes or elements of
the love in the constant exercise of which Paul preached and ex-
emplified " the faith once delivered to the saints." But I will only
refer to the " charity," which he has so inimitably portrayed in the
13th chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthians. That chapter
was written, it must be borne in mind, when he was in those cir-
cumstances of most unreasonable, aggravated, cruel provocation !
And where in all the writings of the apostles, is there one chapter
more beautiful and tender, in sentiment, feeling, and expression ?

When the apostle thus wrote of the " charity" that " suffereth
long and is kind. . . . Seeketh not her own, is not easily
provoked ; thinketh no evil. . . . Beareth all things, be-
lieveth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things ;" can it
be doubted by any one among us, that they who had seen the most
of the real spirit and the true life of Paul, would at once recognize
his own moral likeness ? It was because of his own " charity,"
that he could say of his course among the Thessalonians, — " We
were gentle among you even as a nurse cherisheth her children ;
so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have
imparted unto you, not the Gospel of God only, but also our own



184 THE NATIONAL PREACHER.

souls, because you were dear unto us." In the same spirit it was,
that at Ephesus, " by the space of three years" he " ceased not to
warn every man day and night with tears." But even this deeply
affecting record is far from doing full justice to him, vv^ho could
testify of himself, in the Epistle to the Romans : — " I say the truth
in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy
Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my
heart ; for I could wish myself were accursed from Christ, for my
brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh."

It is not strange, then, that a man of such spirit should have been
so distinguished for his courtesy and urbanity, in his treatment of
men of all ranks and conditions ; and that he " became all things
to all men," consistently with truth and faithfulness, — " that by all
means he might save some." In this connection, however, some
may call to mind certain examples of denunciation of opposers of
the truth. They must not forget that the apostle refers to the con-
duct of subtle and malignant, mischievous and incorrigible enemies
of all righteousness. And an anathema from one inspired of the
Holy Ghost, is no more repugnant to the spirit of love unfeigned,
than divine justice is irreconcilable with divine benevolence. Our
Lord Jesus denounced the most dreadful woes upon the Scribes
and Pharisees, yet wept over the devoted city. And Paul, while
warning the disciples of the Lord against the character and the
doom of opposers and apostates, breathed none other than the spirit
of Christ. " Brethren, be ye followers of me, and mark them which
walk so as ye have us for an easample. For many walk, of whom
I have told you often, and now tell you, even iveeping, that they
are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction.''

I must not enlarge. Much have I omitted, lest I should inex-
cusably presume upon your indulgence. But I could hardly feel
warranted to say less, in exposition of the nature of the " weapons
of our warfare," — our own warfare, my brethren, if " we do not
war according to the flesh," and if, like Paul, we labor to promote
the Gospel, by publishing it as a definite and distinctive system of
faith and practice, indispensable to salvation and freely offered to
all ; publishing it in simplicity and godly sincerity, without the in-
ventions or admixtures, the artifices and embellishments of worldly
wisdom, and without false professions to secure honors or emolu-
ments ; publishing it with earnestness most intense, as being a
savor of life unto life, or of death unto death, and with boldness, as
that of which none should be ashamed, but which all should be
ready to confess and to proclaim in all places ; publishing it with
meekness and humility, because its most honored champions are
themselves but pardoned rebels, and because their preaching is
made eflectual only by the power of the Holy Ghost, in answer to
fervent prayer ; and publishing it in love — love to God, love to
Christ, love to the Church, love to all men — holy love — universal,
unbounded, ever-enduring philanthropy.



THE WEAPON'S OF OUR WARFARE. 185

These weapons are indeed not carnal. The means by which
Paul achieved such triumphs for the honor of Christ Jesus, were
of the kingdom which is " righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy
Ghost." From those, who, as the professed friends of Christ, and
of souls perishing in sin, would otherwise seek to gain victories and
conquests in the empire of the powers of darkness, the cause of
our Redeemer needs no assistance. One such warrior in " the
good fight of faith," as was Paul, would achieve more than a thou-
sand thousand or a thousand million of them.

And as now we look back from our advanced position, can any dis-
trust the " weapons of our warfare," which were ordained and fur-
nished by Him, who is " wonderful in counsel and excellent in
working?" Did not the ancient "soldiers of the cross" plant the
banner of the Prince of Peace and of Life upon the ramparts or the
ruins of all the majestic and magnificent structures of idolatry and
classic mythology, throughout the almost interminable empire of
the Caesars ? what "strongholds" then, from the Artie circle to
the capes of the South Atlantic and Pacific, can be too strong for
" the sacramental host of God's elect," if they will but take to them-
selves " the whole armor of God ; having their loins girt about
with truth, and having on the breast-plate of righteousness, and
their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace ; above
all, taking the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation, and the
sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God ; praying always
with ail prayer and supplication in the Spirit ?" As ministers at
home, or as missionaries abroad — from the river to the ends of the
earth,~what more do we need, and what have we to fear, if the
truth and Christ be in us, and for us ?

If ever for one moment we are tempted to inquire, whether, in
" the faith once delivered to the saints," and in " the whole
armor of God," we have all that is requisite for the world's eman-
cipation from all its bondage, — let history speak to us, as God's wit-
ness in providence. Let it suffice, and more than suffice, to mark
the recorded results of all such pretensions and movements, as
those of some in our days, who claim to have left the prophets and
apostles far behind them, and even to have hope of seeing, as well
as heralding, a " better" Jesus, than " Paul preached ! !" Such are
they, who verily would " turn the world upside down," if large num-
bers could be infatuated or stultified enough, to embrace their im-
pious and detestable fooleries, — gravely propounded as they are,
with so many " goodly words," as reason, freedom, equality, fra-
ternity, progress, happiness, perfection ! Let them all throw off
the mask, " as the manner of some is," and it is no violation of the
" charity" which is of Christ, to say of them, that we should " see
the dragon s nature in their bosom !"

It would be " a new thing under the sun," for Satan to " cast out
Satan." And would that they who have named the name of Christ,
and most of all that they who minister in that name, would more



186 THE NATIOI^AL PREACHER.

experimentally and faithfully remember that his kingdom is not of
this world; that, despised as may be the Gospel, it is mighty to the
uttermost through Christ's all-sufficiency and almightiness ; and
that, while bold as lions, the servants of the Lord that bought them,
with blood most precious, should ever be wise as serpents and harm-
less as doves ! O if it had always been thus, there could not have
been, at this eventful period of the 19th century, so much of the
land of promise yet to be possessed — so many millions of heathen
in such fearfully dark places of the earth, and who have never
heard the name of Jesus, or the first note of the song : — " How
beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good
tidings, that publisheth salvation !" If, since the farewell charge
upon the Mount of Olives, all that have named the name of Christ,
had been faithful to his w^ord and spirit, as was Paul, then would
they have been to the enemies of the cross " terrible as an army
with banners ;" and they would have gone forth from conquering
to conquer, until long since " every knee" should have been con-
strained to " bow, and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is
Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

It is, as I humbly conceive, no common responsibility, whatever
may be said of the privilege, — which pertains to the office of a
minister of the Gospel, in our ancient commonwealth of Massachu-
setts. May I then be permitted to inquire, to what end ,we have
now come up to this city of the fathers and of the children, at this
anniversary of " holy convocation ?" What do we here, as minis-
ters of the New Testament, — worthy in any measure of our "high
calling," — if " we seek our own, and not the things which are
Jesus Christ's ;" and if, while participating in these numerous
solemnities, we do not find it in our hearts to return to our pulpits
and the people of our charge, with a renewed resolution in love
stronger than death, that we will preach Christ more faithfully
than ever — as much as in us lies, — by the power " of faith and of
the Holy Ghost ?" What higher commission than ours can mortals
have, from the highest heaven ? And who is sufficient for the
trust thereof, without Christ and the spirit of Christ, as his light,
love, and life ?

While he himself, our adorable Master and Saviour, has left us
in his own divine ministry — when " in the days of his flesh," — that
human example, which can so far be appropriated and approached,
that Paul might say to us, — " Brethren, be ye followers of me, even
as I am of Christ," — it is yet an occasion of unspeakable gratitude,
that we have the apostle's own undying example, for our instruc-
tion, our admorvition, and our animating consolation. Can any of
us follow him too closely, in any one principle, rule, or characteris-
tic of ;j11 those means, by which " Christ wrought" in him, " to make
the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed ?" Ours is the same
Lord, the same Gospel, the same baptism, the same rejoicing hope.
Let us, therefore, so preach the Gospel, as we have him foj- our ex-



THE WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE. 187

ample ; and like him, let us feel that all our sufficiency is of God in
Christ, and Christ in our own souls. And to this end, may the
word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom !

" If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare him-
self to the battle ?'"' Let no man, then, ever be at a loss to deter-
mine what it is that we preach, as the Gospel of Christ ; and let no
sincere and kindly-affectioned believer in Jesus ever have occasion
for a doubt, that we preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing
but the truth, — as opportunity is given us to magnify our office.
Whatever may be the signs of the times'; whatever the aspect of
the churclies in this " goodly heritage," now extended from ocean
to ocean ; whatever the encouragements or the discouragements in
our immediate sphere of labor and of trial, — whether we have a re-
freshing from on high, or the love of many waxes cold, and iniquity
abounds, and we seem to be in the very region and shadow of
death ; — let us still preach Christ and him crucified, as the sove-
reign remedy for all the woes of man, until time shall be no more.

In the spirit and devotedness of Paul, we also should be " deter-
mined not to know anything save Jesus Christ and him crucified."
And like him too we should ever in our preaching, spontaneously
and impressibly, make manifest our personal and our joyous faith in
the Creator and the Crucified as One. Ineffectual, utterly ineffec-
tual, for the purposes and the ends of the Christian ministry, will
be all our preaching, — if we do not honor the Son even as the
Father ! It will not, it cannot be, in demonstration of the Spirit
and of power, — witness, if example were needed, the memorable
ministrations of Chalmers, — intellectual, accomplished, earnest, and
eloquent as he was, — in his fourteen years at Kilmany. It cannot
be possible for us to make too much of Christ, in our private and
our public life ; or to preach too many sermons all of Christ.

We are of course to avoid all appearance and all reality of aim
at " excellency of speech," as if of men we sought glory. But the
beauty of holiness and love in the Gospel is infinitely worthy of the
richest and the purest offerings of human genius, learning, and re-
finement. True it is as ever, according to the sacred description
and commendation of eloquence, that " a word fitly spoken is like
apples of gold in pictures of silver." And we are without excuse-
certainly the most of us, — if we ever prompt a hearer to inquire,
whether there be any incompatibility between the requirements of
evangelical truth and the laws of good taste ; or, whether any man
can be warranted to make the offence of the cross still more an
offence to the carnal mind, by a seeming or an actual disregard of
those proprieties and attractions of style, in which the original
Scriptures excel all the literature of all nations.

Such " foolishness" as Paul had in his preaching, it is very safe
and very wise in us now to have. But his " foolishness of preach-
ing," so called, was not foolish preaching, nor vulgarity, nor dis-
courtesy. " Since I have known God in a saving manner," Henry



188 THE NATIONAL PREACHER.

Martyn once remarked, "painting, poetry, and music, have had
charms unknown to me before. I have received what I suppose is -
a taste for them : for rehgion has refined my mind, and made it
susceptible of impressions for the subhme and beautiful. O how
religion secures the heightened enjoyment of those pleasures which
keep so many from God, by their becoming a source of pride \"
Such a testimony is above suspicion, and is not to be lightly es-
teemed.

To her preachers, from the beginning hitherto. New England has
been most indebted, under God, for her unrivalled advancement in
civilization, her exalted character of intelligence, her correctness
and propriety and strength of language, as well as her distinction
in theology and morals. But no man can shut his eyes to the fact,
that there has never been so great a degree of enlightened eleva-
tion among the people at large, nor so much of intellectual activity
applied to all subjects and objects ; and hence never so much of
imperative demand for a high order of excellence in the general or
ordinary character of the ministrations of the sanctuary. To such
a state of things we must adapt ourselves, as best we may, by our
dihgence in study, and our increased watchfulness unto prayer.
But, alas, are there not too many of us, who have no light reason
to fear, that we study far less, because we pray the less ? And if
the study and the closet of all could here testify, would it not be
said of more than one, m the lamenting confessions of another, that
"want of private devotional reading and shortness of prayer,
through incessant sermon-making, had produced strangeness be-
tween God and his soul 1"

And, my beloved and respected brethren, why is it, that we so
often seem to forget, that we stand between the living and the
dead ? It cannot, full well I know, be expected of any of Christ's
ministers, that they should always be alike interested, earnest,
powerful and impressive. But if we preach of heaven and hell, as
" a stone speaking to stones," or if when redeeming love is our theme,
we are as cold and passionless as the unquarried marble, — how can
it be, that we commend the truth to any man's conscience, or how
do we anything, as becometh us, that Christ may see of the travail
of his soul and be satisfied ?

Yet must it be remembered, that no one has a commission to
preach, as if in his own hands were " the keys of hell and of death,"
and it was for him to open or shut at his pleasure. And a sad
blemish, if not a fearful sign of the inward spirit or interior life, it
must be regarded in any man's preaching, who declaims of " the
damnation of hell," as if sure of personal deliverance from the wrath
to come, and cared little, except as afl'ecting his place and emolu-
ments, whether his hearers repented, or perished ! Not so was he
who ceased not to warn every man, day and night, with tears, and
who always exercised himself to have a conscience void of oflience,
and so unremittingly watched over his remaining propensities of



THE WEAPON'S OF OUR WARFARE. 189

corruption and liabilities of iniquity, — lest after having preached the
Gospel to others, he himself should be a castaway !

There are views that we might take of ourselves and our respon-
sibilities, which, if long cherished and not counteracted, would
seriously hinder us in our work, and greatly embitter our sweetest
satisfactions. An example, if I do not much mistake, we have in
that eminently holy young man, David Brainerd ; so also in a
marked degree, in the godly and devout Henry Martyn ; not to
speak of Payson and of others, whose praise is in all our churches.
But may I say to my cosevals, and more especially to my younger
brethren, that, if we would have as heavenly a spirit as that of
Payson, or of Martyn, or of Brainerd, and as close a walk with God,
— with a cheerfulness and a loveliness unsurpassed in any whom
we have ever known, — we may find a model with which many may
do well to be more familiar. I refer to Robert Murray McCheyne,
of the Free Church of Scotland, and who, not inappropriately, has
been called the Henry Martyn of Scotland.

Perhaps some may have known of him only by that song of
^^ Jehovah Tzidkenu," or "The Lord our Righteousness," — a
strain, which would seem to be pure and sweet enough for the
holiest melodies of a blood-bought harp in heaven. Upon the
beauty of his life unto Christ — amidst severe infirmities and most
arduous toils, — there was no veil, and no tinge or shadow of sombre
melancholy. He had joy in believing ; and joy over many sinners
repenting. " He dwelt while here below, far away from the damps
that rise about Doubting Castle, and hard by the Beulah, where the
sunlight ever falls." And why should not we — all of us, — and why
not all here present with us, or associated with us, as "fellow-
helpers to the truth," — why should not we all be thus devoted, —
be thus lovely and heavenly, — thus happy and rejoicing in the Lord
our Righteousness ?

Young as he was, he was accustomed to seal his letters, with
the impression of the sun going down behind the mountains, and
the motto on it, — " The night comethT Brethren, " the night
cometh," very soon to some of us. But not too soon, for him who
is ready and waiting for his Lord. Meanwhile, when so much can
be attempted, and so much may be done by the faithful servant of
the Son of God, in the very shortest term of active usefulness, at a
period like that now passing ; in a land whose far-distant west is
but a hand's breadth from the Orient — a land of such providential
loving-kindness, such ancestral renown, such amazing develop-
ments, hour by hour, and such wonders of magnificent and over-
powering anticipation, in the accelerated coming of the future of
prophecy and of hope ; — O let each be valiant for the truth as in
Jesus, until he shall hear the summons — " Come up hither and take
thy crown !" Amen.

AUG 8^



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY



3 9999 06399 857 7





1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11

Online LibrarySamuel M. (Samuel Melancthon) WorcesterSermons / by Samuel M. Worcester → online text (page 11 of 11)