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needing a special voice for their enunciation. John said of heaven, "There shall be no temple there," nor shall any teacher need to say, Know the Lord, for all shall know him. And many have risen up to-day who assert that the pulpit of yesterday has made unnecessary the pulpit of tomorrow; that Christianity has now been organized into our social, domestic, economic, and political institutions, thereby becoming self-publishing. Those kind-hearted persons who once wept lest the loom and the engine should destroy the working-people are now engaged in daily shedding a few tears over the pulpit, soon to be sadly injured by the press, the magazines, and books.
Thoughtful men are not troubled lest soine agency arise to dispossess the pulpit. In the last analysis, preaching is simply an extension of that universal function called conversation. It represents an attempt so to bring the truth to bear upon conduct and character as to cleanse the reason, sweeten the affections, and lend inspiration to imagination; so as to strengthen conscience and refine the moral sentiment. The foundation of all moral instruction is in the family, where children are influenced, not by attrac tions, but by the truth manifest in the voice of the father and the mother, who create an atmosphere about the child. Socrates came speaking, as did Plato and Paul, as did the world's Saviour; and, so long as man remains man, preaching will remain, not as a luxury, but as the necessity of man's existence. So far from books' doing away with the influence of the voice, they seem rather to increase it. In ages when there were no books, men sat silent in the cell or were dumb by the hearthstone. Now that a new book is published, like "The Memoirs of Tennyson" or “Equality," by Bellamy, or "The Christian," by Caine, these books, instead of ending conversation upon the themes in question, seem rather to open into the flood-gates of speech, so that a thousand readers break forth into discussion who
before were dumb and silent. Great is the power of books! Wonderful the influence of the press! But the printingpress is only a patent drill that goes forth to sow the land with the great seed of civilization. But while the drill may scatter the wheat upon the cold ground, it may not pour warmth about the frozen clouds or shed forth the refreshing dew or rain. When the living man called Luther or Whitefield or Wesley or Beecher or Brooks shines forth, then the mind lends warmth to frigid natures, calls down dew and rain upon the newly sown seed, lends light and inspiration to dull and sodden natures.
Should Plato reappear to-morrow in some hall, he need not fear lest the books have dispossessed him of his mission. A book is simply the mummy of a soul. A library is a graveyard where intellects are confined. A printed page catches and holds the passing thought and mood. Strawberries in June quickly pass, and housewives preserve them until winter. Thus books are preserved souls. Through his works Schopenhauer has pickled himself in salt brine, just as "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table" is Holmes preserved in the sweetness of sugar. The photographer makes a copy of Juliet, but pictures will never lead Romeo to resign the sweet girl. When books on the bringing up of children make mothers unnecessary, then the press will begin to interfere with the moral teachers. It is indeed given to the printed page to teach the truth regarding axioms, or the nature of solids and fluids, but even then the laboratory strengthens the book. But, so far as moral truth is concerned, the truth is never the full truth until it is organized into personality, and flashes in the eye, or thrills in the voice, or glows in the reason, or guides through sound judgment. And so long as life is full of strife and conflict, so long as men are the children of misfortune, adversity, and defeat; so long as troubles roll over the earth like sheeted storms; so long as dark
minds need light and inspiration, and the pilgrim band, floundering through the wilderness, needs a leader, and a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, will religion remain the guide, the hope, the friend, and support of the people.
Preaching is man-making, man-mending, and characterbuilding. On the one side it is a science-the science of the development of all the powers, animal, mental, moral, and social; the subordination of the lower impulses to the higher faculties, the symmetry and harmonization of all. The genius of preaching is truth in personality. Mighty
is the written word of God, but the word never conquered until it was "made flesh." Truth in the book is crippled. Truth in the intellectual system is a skeleton. Truth in personality is life and power. Always the printed philosophy is less than the speaking philosopher. Wallace and Bruce had their power over the clansmen, not by written orders, but by riding at the head of the host. By the torch of burning speech Peter and Bernard kindled the ardor of crusaders. When to Luther's thought was added Luther's personality, Germany was freed. Savonarola's arguments were brought together in a solid chain of logic, but it has been said that his flaming heart made the chain of logic to be "chain lightning." The printed truth cuts with a sharp edge, the spoken truth burns as well as cuts. Men have indeed been redeemed by the truth in black ink on white paper, but the truth quadruples its force when it is bound up in nerves, muscles, and sinews. The soul may be taught by travel, books, friends, occupation. Yet these truths stand in the outer court of the soul. It is not given to them to enter into the secret holy of holies, where the hidden life doth dwell. Preaching is plying men with the eternal principles of duty and destiny, so as to give warmth to the frigid, wings to the dull and low-flying, clarity to reason, accuracy to moral judgment, force to as
piration, and freedom to faith. Truth is the arrow, but speech is the bow that sends it home.
The nature and functions of preaching grow out of the divine method of education and growth for men. God governs rocks by gravity, bees by instinct, trees by those grooves called natural laws. Man governs his locomotive by two rails and the flanges upon the side of the wheel. But man, made in God's image, is the child of liberty, and God governs the pilgrim host through moral teachers, into whose minds great truths are dropped from heaven, and these men are sent on before the advancing multitude, to lead them away from the slough, to guide them out of the wilderness, and open up some spring in the desert. It is possible to enrich dead things from the outside. Soft wood may be veneered with mahogany, nickel may be coated with silver, and silver plated with gold, but living things must be developed from the inside. Would the husbandman have a rich flush upon the rose? Let him feed the roots. Would the mother have the bloom of beauty upon the cheek of the child? Let her feed the babe with good food, and the pure blood on the inside will lend the rosy tint to the cheek on the outside. Men cannot be made wise or strong or moral by exterior laws or agencies. There are two ways to help a thriftless man. One is to build him a house and place him therein. The other is to inspire in him the sense of industry, economy, and ambition, and then he will build his own house. All tools, books, pictures, laws, on the outside, begin with ideas on the inside. Inspire the reason, and man will fill the library with books. Wake up the taste and imagination in young men, and they will fill the galleries with pictures. Stir the springs of justice, and men will go forth to cleanse iniquities and right wrongs. Quicken the inventive faculty, and men will create tools and machines. It is as useless to seek to make men good or wise by law as to adorn
leafless trees by tying wax flowers to bare branches. time was when men talked about being clothed with righteousness and character, as if God was a wholesale goods merchant, and kept great bales of integrity, and cut off a new suit for each poor sinner. But righteousness and character are not made for man on the outside. Love, joy, justice represent something done with man on the inside. Our politicians talk about over-production. In reality our industrial troubles are based upon under-hunger. If we could open up a hundred mouths in each living man the cry of over-production would cease. The slave had only three mouths. He wanted a loaf, a cotton garment, a little tobacco. Therefore he bought little, manufacturing languished, and the slave States became poor.
But as the free laborer became educated, he wanted variety in foods, variety in clothes, wanted books, pictures, comforts, conveniences, and he bought widely, and all the Northern factories were busy day and night to supply his hundredfold hunger. Could we by sudden fiat of education open up a score of new wants and hungers through the quickening of the soul within, the new spiritual awakening would appear in a thousand forms of industry and occupation. The great spiritual principles of Jesus Christ are the most powerful stimulants to material civilization that the world has ever seen. It is said that Shakespeare's poems bring thousands of visitors to Stratford every year. His poems indirectly have created more wealth for the people of Stratford than any of the factories or looms in that thriving city. It is still an open question whether Wycliffe with his translation of the Scriptures has done as much for the commerce of England as did Watt when he invented the tools that Wycliffe had first made necessary. Shaftesbury once said that Charles Spurgeon, without discussing problems of government, had done more for social reform and progress than any statesman of his era.