Page images

tense, until resorting to the opiates too solemn a work, to be toyed and of worldly indulgence and vain de- played with, as is the usage of some light, he dooms his soul to the slum- who make a sermon but matter of bers of the second death.

wit and fine oratory. Their sermon Who would indulge in dreams is like a child's doll, from which if that must end in disappointment? or, you take its dress, the rest is worth to escape the sting of conscious mis- nothing ; unpin the story, take off ery, will rush upon the guilty means the gaudy phrases, and nothing is to prolong his repose ? Dreams may left in the discourse. If we mean to spread before you an ideal bliss, but do good, we must come, not only in their unrealized hopes must finally word, but with power. Satan moves mock your agony. For the time of not for a thousand such squibs and waking must come. It may be put wit- cracks. Draw, therefore, the off—sometimes long—by the arts of sword out of thy scabbard, and sin, but at last the vision will fade, strike with its naked edge : this you the bubble will burst, the soul will will find the only way to pierce your awake to the realities of its condi- people's consciences, and draw blood tion. When shall that waking be? of their sins." In time or eternity? What shall produce it? The still small voice of mercy now, speaking in tones of

Youth given to the World. love, or the thunders of the final judgment ?

Those generous and noble youth, whose loveliest distinction is their

sensibility to virtue, and to a Sav“ Not with Enticing Words."

iour's compassion, who engage us so

by their confidence, their warın and “Not with enticing words of man's unsettled affections, their inexperiwisdom :" this was the negative char. ence of sorrow and the dangers of acteristic of the preaching of the great deception, all beautiful as they are, A postle to the Gentiles. How often we see them giving their hearts to is this forgotten by many who pre- the world; we cry, but can not make sume to deal with the heart and con- them hear; we look on and see them science of the sinner? It is not the as trees already in “yellow leaf;" pomp of words, nor profuseness of the angel that was in them has disillustration that can accomplish the appeared, gone in all but his visage; work which the preacher has in a blight has fallen on the religious view. It is not "the feather that delicacy of the mind, and wings the dart” that does the execution, but its barbed point. Truth "Like the crushed flower, no time, no art,

Can make it bloom again.” may be overloaded with imagery. Even an exquisite picture may be We see them yet; their hearts beat hung in so gaudy a frame that atten- only for worldly pleasure and adtion shall be diverted from it to that miration; none of their associates which is merely secondary. The feel surprise, or attempt to turn them solemn weight and importance of to better things; their simple feelthe message should never be ob- ings are acquiring the vigor and scured by tawdry ornaments. Forc- hardiness of a worldly maturity, and ibly and pertinently does a quaint they are moving on - a wonder to

“ The word of God all but those who are going the same is too sacred a thing, and preaching way, yet no wonder to themselves numbers falling into the grave, num- language of the Apostle, in 2 Cor. bers wasting with disease, numbers 12, declaring, in the second verse, bowed down with anguish and dis- he knew a man caught up to the third appointment, numbers consuming heaven, and, in the fourth, into parawith envy and pride, numbers find. dise. The assumption that the Aposing pleasure ceasing to please, num- tle intends different places, seems enbers acknowledging that all is van- tirely gratuitous. ity," with no heart to seek for sub- The Apostle was caught up. The stance, and numbers looking back on creed says, Jesus descended. The a life gone through, and a world tried termini ad quem are manifestly difand emptied, and forward to an eter: ferent. Not that Jesus did not go nity just at hand, yet having no to paradise, as he promised the peni. heart, no resolution to prepare for it; tent thief; but the paradise to which we see them no more, but the world he went was the presence of " Alis going on as before; their places mighty God, with whom do live the are filling up, and ceasing to know spirits of those who depart hence in them, none the better that they have the Lord, and with whom the souls lived, nor the sadder that they are of the faithful, after they are deliverdone.—Rev. HERMAN HOOKER. ed from the burden of the flesh, are

old writer say:

in joy and felicity.”Episcopal Recorder.

Where is Paradise ?

A Perverted Conscience. 1. Paradise is where the tree of life is; for the tree of life is in the REMEMBER, too, that your conmidst of the paradise of God. (Rev. science is not a sure guide. It is li2:7.)

able to be perverted by bad company. 2. The tree of life is where the Conscience with the malign passions river of the water of life is; for the is devilish. Conscience with selfishtree of life is on either side of that ness and pride is infernal. And if river. (Rev. 22: 2.)

your conscience is to be to you s 3. The river of the water of life benefactor and a guide, it must keep is where the throne of God and the company with the Christian emotions Lamb is ; for that river proceeds out and sentiments ; it must daily stand of it. (Rev. 22: 2.)

in the light of God's countenance. 4. The throne of God and the Do not think, then, that because you Lamb is in the city, where shall be are conscientious you are of course no more curse, no night, no need of right. You may conscientiously becandles, of moon or sun to shine in lieve in that which is not true. You it; where there is no temple, for the may conscientiously believe that a Lord God Almighty and the Lamb course is safe which ends in death. are the temple of it. (Rev. 21 : 22, The only true way is to follow & 23, and 22: 3, 5.)

conscience that is governed by the 5. This city is heaven. Heaven is law of love and charity. I beseech my throne. (Isa. 66:1; Matt. 5: of you, look well to your conscience, 34.)

and see not only that it is instructed The conclusion is that where hea- and intelligent, but that it acts cöinven is, there is paradise.

cidently with the will of God.-Rev. To this conclusion conforms the H. W. BEECHER.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]









RADICALISM AND THE NATIONAL CRISIS. " AND now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”—Matt. 3:10.

To place the axe at the root of the tree is a figure to denote that the tree is to be cut down at the roots; not simply trimmed, but actually destroyed. The reason is found in the fact that it does not bring forth good fruit.

By the use of this figure John the Baptist meant to say to the Jews that, as a people, they had fallen upon searching times. The great Teacher and Reformer was about to come, establishing a kingdom of justice and truth. It would no longer do for them to say: “We have Abraham to our father.” Principles and conduct were to be examined to their very foundations. Judaism was to be sifted; and whatever, in the notions or practice of the people, could not stand the test of truth, was to be discarded. In the person of Jesus a radical dispensation—a ministry of truth that goes down to the very roots of things — was about to commence its reformatory career. Such we take to be the meaning of the text in its application to the Jewish people.

There are many people in whose minds the terms radical and radicalism, are about equivalent to the terms fanatic and fanaticism. To their understanding these words mean evil, and only evil, and that continually. Hence they are convenient terms with which to excite the prejudices of men, and awaken popular odium. Sometimes they are used as a substitute for ideas, and quite often as the slang phrases of those who have some interest in promoting error, or practicing iniquity. I have no desire to make a plea for extrem. ists and fools; yet there is a grand and glorious meaning connected with these much-abused terms, which I wish, if possible, to rescue from all misapprehensions and evil associations. I very much doubt whether it is best to be frightened simply because somebody cries out radical ; and I am equally clear that the term conservative has no natural right to monopolize the claim to either purity or wisdom. The so-called conservatives are sometimes the weak. est and most selfish of men. The Pope of Rome has always been a conservative; and so were the Pharisees in the days of Jesus.

Prosecuting the object I have just indicated, let me then,

IN THE FIRST PLACE, GIVE YOU A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF THE WORDS IN QUESTION. The true meaning of the term radical—the one which its etymology authorizes—is furnished by the figure of the text. It simply means to lay the axe at the root of the tree; and this means to go down to the bottom of things, and keep going down till you strike what may be properly designated as the hard-pan of fundamental truth. This is what John the Baptist did, what Jesus did, what the apostles did, what Luther did, and what all agency that is effectually curative of evil must always do.

The specific design of this process is to find the truth touching the matter involved, and then set it forth in contrast with, and contradistinction from, the error or the vice which it is the prov. ince of truth to expose and rebuke. Hence the great inquiry is not, what do the Pharisees think, or what does Cæsar think, but rather what is truth,--truth in science, truth in practical life, truth in morals, and truth in religion? Such in all ages has been the professed aim of the radical spirit. I am well aware that the history of this spirit has not always been equal to its profession. Sometimes it has been rash, impetuous, impatient, intolerant, dictatorial; sometimes, also, it has torn up the very foundations of society, being so vehement and lawless as utterly to fail of its own end; and yet it is equally true that this spirit proposes to realize one of the grandest theories that ever inspired the breast of humanity. Fixing its eye on truth, it designs to assert it fearlessly and boldly, launching its sharp and oft-repeated thunders against sin and error. Not infrequently, yea, perhaps, generally, it makes a commotion in the world. It stirs human society, and sets men to thinking. It is itself a very thinking spirit.

In relation to humanity its facts, its conditions, its wants, its duties, and its destiny,--this spirit is the bone and sinew, the life and impulse of all real progress, alike in the Church and the State. The truth is, since the fall of Adam this world has never been just right; it is not so now; and it will not be for some time to come. There is a vast accumulation of error among men, and also a vast accumulation of iniquity in various forms pervading human society. Human nature wants improvement. Society wants it. Hence the practical question is this:-Shall we leave things as they are, because they are ? or shall we attempt to make them better, rooting out the error and the wrong, and introducing the truth and the right? This is the question with which we have to deal; and to it the radical spirit always returns but one answer. It clamors for correction, improvement, and progress. It is, indeed, the spirit of progress. The enlightened radical is the man of progress. The fact that things are, is not, in his judgment, conclusive proof that they ought to be. He takes the liberty of inquiring into their nature, and when he has reached a conclusion, he frankly and firmly tells the world of it. Galileo, for example, was an astronomical radical; he saw that, contrary to the notions of the age, the earth moved around the sun, and not the sun around the earth. By a perfectly radical investigation of the facts, he caught this truth; and although it subverted the cycles and epicycles of the old theory, although the Pope took the alarm and tried to keep him still, Galileo held fast to his conviction, and, so far as he could, made it known to others. He was the man of progress, and the world now recognizes him as such. Those who would exorcise the Galileos in science, morals, and religion, are practically the enemies of all progress. They may not always intend this; yet this is the legitimate effect of their theory.

Sucb, in a word, is my analysis of the radical spirit, taken,-first, in its elementary meaning,-secondly, in its direct and specific aim,-thirdly, in its relation to the progress and development of man from an imperfect to a more perfect form of life. This is what I mean by the phrase. This I hold to be the true and

proper import of the phrase. I come, then,

İN THE SECOND PLACE, TO INQUIRE INTO THE ACTUAL HISTORY OF THIS SPIRIT IN ITS BEARING UPON THE INTELLECTUAL, SOCIAL, 'POLITICAL, MORAL, AND RELIGIOUS FORTUNES OF THE WORLD. This, as you see, is a question of vast dimensions. The answer that I propose for your acceptance, with its reasons, is the following :-That while this spirit has sometimes by misapprehension, and sometimes by excess, been productive of evil, its general history is one of untold blessings to mankind.

If you turn your thoughts to the field of purely scientific re

« PreviousContinue »