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feeling; and whenever it became indispensable to administer reproof, he forbears to smite, until by every possible preparation of kindness, he had insured its salutary influence and prevented injurious re-action. If he must smite, it is not until he had bound the culprit with cords of love, and even then the chastisement is applied with so much regret as is calculated rather to break the heart of the sufferer than to enrage it; and in this he consulted the dictates of a sound philosophy, as much as he did the dictates of his benevolent heart. It is certainly a new discovery, that prejudice and hatred and anger have become the salutary causes in pre-disposing the mind of a sinner for the reception of the truth; and if notwithstanding hard names and provoking buffetings, he is awakened and converted, how much more certainly might the same event have been looked for, had these repellances been allowed to sleep, while the same amount of merciful directness and earnestness had been applied to his conscience and his heart.
Nor are we to suppose that the sovereignty of God may be relied on alike in the neglect, as in the use of the most suitable means of interesting and affecting the human mind; for sovereignty consists in rescuing men without reference to legal or moral desert; but not in doing it without means, or in a way that supersedes the necessity of discretion, and does violence to all the laws of the human mind. He can save and does save by means of great relative imperfection; but it is by that which is good in them, and not by that which is detective, and affords no evidence that still greater good might not have been expected, had means been more wisely adapted and better applied.
The laws of the human mind are not to be outraged in preaching the Gospel, nor the depravity of the heart needlessly roused and brought out into virulent action against man and God; and though those who themselves were exercised in this dreadful manner, are apt to imagine that all must feel just as they felt, and to preach with reference the production of such horrid feelings, it is both needless and injurious to do it. There is impediment enough in man while the rage of his comity sleeps, to forbid the exciting of its extreme violence, and enough to inspire compassion for the sinner, without involving him in new disabilities by arraying against him the exas, perated power of his depravity; and it some are saved actwithstanding, there is no reason to doubt that many are destroyed by such treatment, who might otherwise have been saved.
The following may serve as specimens of the Apostle's mode of preaching the Gospel and dealing with inen. At Ephesus he served
the Lord for three years with all humility of mind, and ceased not 1 to warn every one night and day, with tears. At Athens, he reasoned with the philosophers on Mars-hill, in a way that was neither harsh nor abrupt, but courteous and yet direct and powerful. To the
7 Corinthian church, which had sinned greatly, he says, “I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. Wherefore, I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” And in his second epistle, “Out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you, with many tears, not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you, and though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repeut.”
His care to allay and to avoid exciting prejudice, and to conciliate favor by a watchful accommodation of truth to the character, capacity and condition of his hearers, is beautifully described in I. Cor. iv. 221. Because the Gospel was true and all were sinpers, he did Rot treat them all alike; "Thought I be free from all men, yet have I made myselt the servant of all, that I might gain the more.” The same treatment would not answer for all: “To the Jews I became as a Jew, to them without law as without law, to the weak became las weak, that I might gain the weak. I am made all things to all men, that I might by all meaus save soine; and this I do for the Gospel's sake.” To the Galatians, endangered by false teachers, he says
, *My little children, of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you.” The directions to 'Timothy, who was a young mat, are, “Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father, and the younger men as brethren, the elder women as mothers, the younger as sisters, with all purity.” He had no notion that a young man, even as eminent as Timothy, should undertake to break down midisters. And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing them that op pose themselves," &c. The epistle of Paul to Philemon displays a consummate knowledge of the human heart, and is an unrivalled spila cimen of the most dexterous, delicate, and touching application of moral power; and illustrates perfectly the precept, be ye as wise as serpents and harmless as doves." When the Apostles used pointed and severe expressions, it was only in desperate cases. As inspired men, they were authorised by God to inflict disease and death, and to utter the most awful imprecations of divine vengeance but they recognize themselves always as the mere agents of the Ho. ly Ghost, and not as speaking themselves, or expressing their own teelings. Thus Ananias was struck dead for having lied unto the
Holy Ghost, the Apostles being the medium through whom the Holy Ghost spake; and Paul “being filled with the Holy Ghost," denounced Elymas the sorcerer, and inflicted blindness upon him. When other men are filled in like manner with the Holy Ghost, and can work miracles in attestation of it, they may address, when God directs, individuals in the same manner. The martyr Stephen, in the early part of his address, was kind and conciliating. It was not until their incorrigibleness was manifest, and he filled with the Holy Ghost,” that he uttered the fearful denunciations with which his speech closes. The same may be said of the bold address of Peter and John to the Jewish Sanhedrim, Acts iv. 10, 11, Being filled with the Holy Ghost, Peter said,” &c. i. e. spoke as directed by Heaven. Paul also in his imprecation of destruction upon Alexander the coppersmith, is to be understood as denouncing the just judgment of God upon him, under the special guidance of the Spirit, and not as expressing his own vindictive feelings; and the same may be said of the imprecations recorded in the Psalms and in the Prophets. In common cases, these men were kind and gentle, and more given to expostulation and tears, than to denunciation; and when they speak in this manner, are only the organs employed by heaven to denounce judgments upon the reprobate. God surely has a right to denounce judgments upon the wicked, and to select his own instruments, as he had to exterminate the Canaanites; and sometimes the holy men who pronounce these imprecations expressly say that they are authorised by God to do his “estrange work," and yet they do it in "bitterness of spirit,” and only because “the hand of the Lord was strong upon them.” They therefore executed only a specific commission, in given circumstances; and their conduct furnishes no authority to uninspired ministers to apply to their unconverted hearers generally, the same fearful language which was by heaven directed to be pronounced upon reprobates.
Long have infidels and scoffers triumphed in these imprecations, as the supposed ebullition of unhallowed feeling in good men: and if they were recorded as an example to be adopted by ministers in addressing unrenewed men generally, they do breathe any thing rather than peace on earth and good will to men, and would give to the infidel the entire and unanswerable force of his objection.
The general principle then is this:-men who hate and reject the truth, and conduct as those did whom God denounced, have reason to fear that the judgments of reprobation will come upon them, and the ministers of Christ may warn and entreat men to take heed. But until certified by a revelation, that an individual or a class of Vol. II,
men are reprobates, he has no authority to apply to them, merely as ordinary sinners, the language of denunciation which is peculiar to. reprobates; and whoever observes will perceive, that so far from doing this, where there is a serious mind, and an anxious desire, and earnest seeking, they are addressed in the language of compas. sion, exhortation, warning, and entreaty.* If I might refer to a living instrument of good to men in the conversion of souls, of all modern men most successful, and who if the humility of any mau was equal to the temptation of being called a reformer, might be called such, having done more to reduce to a science the mode of ap plying truth to the human mind, and conducting revivals, than all who preceded him, I should refer to one, who of all men watched with most critical carefulness to avoid needless provocation, and availed himself most carefully of every circumstance which might remove hindrances, and give to truth the most unobstructed efficacy, and who, at the same time, approached the conscience with great directness and power.
IV. Female prayer in promiscuous assemblies. First, it is no where commanded. Secondly, it is no where authorized, either by precept or example. There is no instance in the patriarchal age, of women offering sacrifice as an act of worship, and a symbol of prayer; and none in the tabernacle or temple service. On the contrary, when on account of great judgments it was enjoined on females to pray, it was the wife apart, and the husband apart. Thirdly, female prayer in promiscuous assemblies for worship is expressly forbidden. "I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man; but to be in silence.” The apostle in speaking concerning the order of public assemblies of Christians, and concerning prayer, says 'I will therefore that men pray every where. It is concerning the dress of women in public assemblies that he speaks in the same connexion, that they be clothed in modest apparel, and with delicacy and sobriety. He then twice enjoins silence, and positively prohibits speaking. Again, I. Cor. xiv. 34, "Let your women keep silence, in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak: and if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is a shame for a woman to speak in the church.” I know that these texts have been explained away; but so have the proof texts which teach the divinity of Christ, the depravity of man, the reality of the atonement, and the necessity of regeneration. Any thing can be explained away by those who are deterinined to obey their own will instead of the Bible. With respect to I. Cor. xi. 3—16, which inay be thought to imply that women did
*The position that all men, because sinners, are therefore to be treated alike by the ministers of the Gospel, without respect to age, office, or station in society, is as much a violation of common sense, as it is of the plain directions of the Apostle, which exact reverence for age, and honor to whom honor is due; especially for those who rule over men: and if in monarchical governments the recognition of such distinctions was a Christian duty, where the arm of power could punish delinquents, how much more in republican governments, where public opinion is the only law, and a levelling of all distinctions of society would be the sure presage of anarchy and absolute destruction.Such as in France existed for a time, when the sun, moon, and stars were case to the ground, and fish-women and courtezans formed the mob and directed the overwhelining tempest of wrath,
in Christian assemblies, I answer: 1. It is not so plain that they did, as it is in the fore cited passages that they are forbidden; and the plain is to control the obscure, and not the obscure the plain.
%. If they did pray, it must be supposed therefore that it was under the special guidance of the Spirit; a preternatural impulse, which amounted to inspiration; for none but the Lawgiver himself can make exceptions to his own laws; and this considered, the example, if allowed, no more proves that women undirected by such influence, should speak, than the example of Balaam proves that all unrenewed men should set up for prophets of the Lord. If women did pray, it was a case exempted from the general prohibition, by divine and not by human direction.
3. And if the reasoning were even less conclusive, it would suffice to render the lawfulness of female prayers doubtful, and of course to exclude them under the rule, that if we are doubtful whether a thing is lawful, it is sinful in that state of uncertainty to do it; as he that doubted the lawfulness of eating meats, was condemned if in that state of mind he presuined to eat. But if no command had been given on this subject, I am of opinion that nature itself, as the Apostle says, is decisive on the subject. There is generally, and should be always, in the female character, a softness and delicacy of feeling which shrinks from the notoriety of a public perform
It is the guard of female virtue, and invaluable in its soothing, civilizing influence on man; and a greater evil, next to the loss of conscience and chastity, could not befal the female sex or the community at large, than to disrobe the female mind of those ornaments of sensibility, and clothe it with the rough texture of mascu. line fibre. But no well educated female can put herself up, or be put 'up, to the point of public prayer, without the loss of some portion at least, of that female delicacy, which is above all price; and whoever has had opportunity to observe the effect of female exhortation and prayer in public, will be compelled to remark the exchange