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trine how many weighty thoughts are combined, how much profound instruction on the character of man, the mixture of good and evil in his conduct, the difference between wisdom avd cunning, the connection between different sins, their contagious power. In the multitude of theines which this parable suggests, one is to me especially mournful. Jesus describes the dishonest steward, as finding no difficulty in the execution of his knavish scheme (bubenstück). Not one of the debtors recoils from the bribe. The cunning steward kuows just how much to offer each man. To the first he gives half of the debt, to the second four-fifths. He acts on the principle that every man hias his price, and he wishes to purchase each individual at the cheapest rate. But let us examine the question, Dres every man have his price for which he gives himself awry? We will consider, first, the meaning of the question. The phrase "man gives bimself away," implies that we are our own masters so long as we act in harinony with reason and conscience; we are then raised above all degrading influences, and are in no danger of punishment; but wlieu we violate our duty, and oppose our moral sense, we subject ourselves to a foreign power, we allow to those who tempt us a debasing authority over us, we give ourselves away. The "price" for which we dispose of our rightful self-government, is some gratification offered to our lower nature. We do not part with our self control for no recompense; although some of us demand a higher price than others, and each insists on a reward accommodated to his peculiar temperament. The sentence, then,
man has a price for which he gives himself away,” means that he is so sensitive to the pleasure derived from worldly good as to give up his self-government whenever a certain degree of this pleasure is procured or promised to him. But secondly, let us inquire, Is it true of every man that without special help from God, he gives hiniself away for a reward? Is it the tendency of his nature to yield the mastery of conscience to the solicitations of sense and the proffers of worldly good! Or is such a base surrender an accident happening to some, but not common to all? Were I allowed, my hearers, to say nothing unpleasant to you, and to conceal from you every rough truth, oh I would have quarreled against the proposal of such a question; for it is hard, humbling, apparently unamiable to say what I am now obliged to prove.
But what can I do against the power of truth? I answer the question whether every man has bis price for which he gives himself away, with a Yes. To justify my answer, I appeal to the general impression of the Bible; to such passages as Rom. 3: 23. John 3: 6. Gal. 5: 17; to the commands that we free ourselves from the slavery of the flesh; that we watch against its enticements; and that the best 1819.)
Their Didactic Character.
men be vigilant lest they fall. And oh how strongly is this testimony confirmed by a consideration of the nature of our desires and passions, and their relation to the reason. They are strong at the first, they have complete dominion in our infancy, and thus acquire an artificial strength before the reason begins to influence thein; they are nurtured by our early education, by our outward circumstances, and are often inflamed, as in the parable, by peculiar exigencies. And the truth thus established by the Bible and the study of our own nature, is placed beyond a doubt by our experience and observation. We see that every man has his weak side; and although he will resist a certain amount of temptation, he can be over-persuaded by an additional amount. Instead of attempting to evade this truth, let us rather conteinplate, thirdly, the consequences which flow from it in reference to our moral conduct. It teaches us, a) that we should be mild in our judgment of the faults of others, for men fall into sin in consequence of a natural weakness of character, a weakness in which we ourselves have a melancholy share, which does not excuse indeed, but should induce us to mourn over our own frailty, rather than be censorious in regard to our neighbors. The subject teaches us, b) that we should search out our own weak side, and ascertain where we are in the greatest peril; c) that having found our most vulnerable point, we should use a double diligence in defending it; and d) that we should labor, under the divine guidance, to remove radically and entirely the corruption of our hearts, to become new creatures in Christ Jesus.
An equally unique example of our author's didactic style is found in his sermont on Matt. 9: 18—23, the record of Christ's raising the ruler's daughter, and of his being langhed to scorn by the people for saying that the damsel was not dead but asleep. Afier stating that the natural man discerneth not the things of the Spirit, that even Paul was thought to be beside himself, and that Christ endured much contradiction of sinners, Reinhard proposes to discourse on the fact, that the conduct of true Christians often appears ridiculous to the multitude; and, first, he states the reasons for its so appearing ; secondly, the consequences which should result to us from it. The reasons are, a) that the multitude deein the principles which regulate the Christian's conduct to be absurd; b) the faith which he cherishes in invisible things to be foolish; c) the zeal which animates him to be extravagant; and d) the magnanimiry which distinguishes him to be indiscreet. He ought to provide more thoughtfully for himself, and not to waste his strength for unseen good. The consequences which
· Predigten, 1807, Band II. ss. 227–249.
should result to us froin this general disposition to ridicule the pious inan are, a) we should fear to join in this contemptuous merriment, for the Christian's couduct is not ridiculous, and can be esteemed such by superficial observers only; b) we should suspect the genuineness of our own piety, if we escape the ridicule of the multitude ; for why do they not look with scorn upon us, if indeed we be governed by motives to them so mysterious and unreasonable; c) we should be stimulated to an exemplary life by the fact that we are not of the world, and therefore the world despiseth us; that we are scorned as was our Master, and for our likeness to hiin; d) we should be elevated in our hopes and aims, for not all are so debased as to contemn the Christian life, but we are united with a select company of noble spirits whom the world cannot appreciate; therefore let us forget the things which are behind, etc.)
In the preceding extracts from Reinhard the reader cannot have failed to perceive the
$11. Ethical Character of his Sermons. Their general structure has been much commended, for the prominence which it gives to their practical design. The same thoughts which in other sermons appear to be of merely theoretical importance, are so arranged by him as to suggest at once their relation to duty. Preaching on Matt. 7: 15—23, be proposes to show2 how we may obtain that knowledge of men which is necessary for true piety; and first, he states in three particulars what constitutes this knowledge of men; secondly, he proves in three particulars that such a knowledge of men is essential to true piety; and thirdly, he teaches in four particulars how this indispensable knowledge of men may be obtained. Dr. Blair would have reduced these thoughts to some such general Proposition as, The knowledge of human character ; but who knows whether such a statement is to be commented upon in a theoretical or in a practical style?
In a sermon on Luke 11:14–28,3 Reinhard proposes to state some truths which may console us in view of the fact that our good actions ofien fail to make the impression which they ought to make on the minds of men. First, he explains this fact by answering three queries,
? In another sermon from the same text, Matt. 9: 18—26, our anthor preaches on the nature, sources, moral character, and means of improving a vain curiosity. Predigten, 1796, ss. 352—371.
2 Predigten, herausgegeben von Hacker, Band III. 147–166. • Predigten, 1797, Band II. ss 109--125.
Their Ethical Character.
What are good actions ? What impression ought they to produce upon men? What impression do they produce? Secondly, he explains the occasions of the fact that our good deeds affect men as they should not; and thirdly, he shows how we may console ourselves in view of this fact. Each of these Heads is elucidatory, and only the last is, with logical strictness, a discussion of the proposed theme. He should either have made his Proposition more general, so as to have properly included the first two Heads under it, or else should bave introduced these first Heads in an abbreviated form, as preliminary to the Proposition. He elsewhere states that his motive for adopting such an illogical arrangement, is his desire to present his theme in that phraseology which will attract ost attention to its practical tendencies.1
The ethical discourses of Reinhard exbibit a sharp analysis of the nature of virtue, a comprehensive spirit, a cheerful and yet a severe piety. Among the richest of them is one which is also historical, preached on the day of John the Baptist, and founded on Luke 1: 57 -80,2 the last of these verses being that which immediately suggests the theme. In all times virtue bas presented itself in two forms, the one dark, solitary, stern ; the other kindly, social, cheerful. There have always been pious men who, in their punctual obedience to the dictates of conscience, in their shrinking back from all those pleasures which might interrupt their still communion with God, in their profound grief over sin, their serere processes of self mortification and self discipline, have appeared to the world too austere, too rigorous. And there have also been good men, who have not repelled the community from them by their hard self denials, or their impetuous zeal, but have condescended to associate and sympathize with their weak brethren. Religion has been to them not a ruler so much as a friend, not the antagonist but the promoter of joy and cheerful companionship. One would think that this last form of religious activity would have been more impressive on the world than the first. But it is not so. John, the subject of our text, was the best example of the first; and although he performed no miracle, yet he made such an impression upon
his age as suggests the theme of the present discourse. The dark, unsocial virtue excites more wonder in the world than the kindly and cheerful.
First, we will endeavor to prove this Proposition. A. It is verified by the history of the Jews before Christ. Who wielded the highest authority over them? Such men as Moses, after he had withdrawn himself from the court of the Pharaohs, dwelt long in the desert, and
See also Bib. Sac. Vol. V. p. 743.
? Predigten, 1800, Band II. ss. 44—65. Vol. VI. No. 23.
shown his unconquerable firmness, his irrepressible zeal. Such men as the prophets, unsparing in rebuke, fearless in defence of law, abstaining from innocent self indulgence, living within themselves and in God, apart from the society of frail men. The description which Paul gives of thein in Heb. 11: 26–38, reveals one secret of their authority over the people. B. The history of the Christian religion is a proof, that men who separate themselves from the world by a life of visible austerity, make a stronger sensation than those who let themselves down to a more apparent congeniality with their fellow men. John withdrew himself from the sympathies of youth even, spent
bis early days in the wilderness, dressed himself in an eccentric garb, refused the comforts of life, came forward at last with bold denunciations against sin, and, if he had performed miracles, might have eclipsed the Saviour in popular admiration. As it was, he was supposed to be the Christ; he was obliged often to send applicants away from himself to the one mightier than he;" men were astonished that he neither ate nor drank, while they looked down upon the more social Jesus as a glutton and a wine bibber; and even after the Baptist's death, there remained a party who believed in and advocated his messiahship. The apostles of the Savivur were obliged from the first to resist the tendency of the church to an austere life; but the tendency at length prevailed, and was more and more abused, until inild men who deemed it right to be companionable, were despised; the saints were the anchorites, the nost barbarous self tortures were esteemed the surest signs of inward holiness, and a religion of gloom was thought to be the purest. C. The history of heathen nations proves that fanatics, who exhibit a peculiar severity of manners, who perform painful exploits, and mal-treat their physical system in the service of the gods, excite more general astonishment and complacency than is excited by tender hearted and accommodating men.
Secondly, we will investigate the causes of this remarkable phenome. non. A. The dark and austere virtue is more striking than the cheerful and kindly. A man who disciplines himself visibly in the maceration of his body, arrests more attention than a man who schools his heart in secret. John with his diet of locusts and wild honey, is more readily noticed than one who is “ in all things like unto his brethren, yet without sin.” A bold reprover who puts his adversaries to shame, takes a stronger hold upon them than the mild friend who strives to insinuate into them the gentle influences of love. B. The austere religion is apparently more infrequent than the cheerful. It is an outward exception to the general rule. There seem to be fewer men who renounce the pleasures of the world altogether, than there are who par