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entertaining some opinion which we dislike, and of which we meanly suspect them; we should not endeavor to force their natural course of thought into exact agreement with our own. We should, however, do nothing which can divert the train of their ideas into a wrong
channel, but everything which is proper for us to do, which is respectful to them, and agreeable to the golden rule, in suggesting motives for holy feeling, and influencing their free wills to choose the highest good.And as we should pay a due respect to the freedom of thought in other men, so should we make a conscientious use of the same property in ourselves. We should guard against the easy habit of indulging our inclinations, and of harboring every train of thought which gratifies them. We should be sedulous in following duty, and in struggling against the admission of every idea which opposes it.
In a truly philosophical discourse on Luke 10: 2337,1 Reinhard first describes the sympathetic disposition which God has implanted in our minds, a) its nature, b) its immediate effects, c) the laws according to which it operates. Secondly, he considers the design of God in implanting this principle within us; the sympathetic disposition a) is to be an antagonist to the feelings of resentment; b) is to promote the social union of men; c) is to alleviate the diversified ills of life; d) is to open a copious fountain of animating joy. Thirdly, he considers how this principle is to be cultivated, according to the precepts of Christianity; a) it must be protected against violent passions ; b) it must be controlled by rational considerations; c) it must be enlivened by true Christian motives ; d) it must be made fruitful by being exercised for the relief of the necessitous.
In another sermon,? equally scientific and ethical, developing a shrewd observation of human nature, he examines the deleterious inAuence of sudden prosperity on the feelings of man. His text is Luke 17: 11—19, the history of the instantaneous change in the ten lepers. He first illustrates the connection between our spiritual state and every unexpected change, prosperous or adverse, in our outward condition; a) he defines this unexpected change; b) notices its general effect on the intellect; c) on the heart. Secondly, he describes the injurious influence of sudden prosperity upon the feelings; a) it occasions lig'it-mindedness; b) a forgetfulness of one's former principles and sentiments; c) a self-complacency and pride; d) callousness of feeling toward sufferers. Thirdly, he considers how this injurious influence may be avoided ; a) the light-mindedness may be prevented by reflecting on the moral lessons suggested by our unlooked for pros
| Predigten, herausgegeben von Hacker, Band III. ss. 244–263. 2 Predigten, herausgegeben von Hacker, Band III, ss. 264—279.
Their Theological Character.
perity; b) the forgetfulness of former principles of action may be prevented by reflecting on the new duties which our sudden prosperity devolves upon us; c) the proud self-complacency may be prevented by considering how little we have contributed to our unexpected change of condition; d) the callousness of feeling toward the miserable may be prevented by recalling to mind the experiences of our own
As philosophical exhibitions of truth, however, the sermons of Reinhard do injustice to their author. A similar remark may be made
§ 13. Theological Character of his Discourses. It is a well known theory of German rhetoricians, that men in a Christian land who enter the house of God, profess in that very act to believe in the doctrines which are there preached, and hence do not need to be informed what these doctrines are, nor to be persuaded to adopt them. In this respect the German science of Ilomiletics differs from what is barbarously called Keryktics and Halieutics. The influence of this theory is to exclude from the pulpit nearly all argumentative discussion of Christian doctrine. The absence of such discussion is one cause of the fact, that the more intelligent classes of the German community are seldom found in the sanctuary, and this fact has a reflex influence on the intellectual character of the pulpit. The audiences being such as to require plain thoughts in plain language, we cannot expect to find in the discourses addressed to them such profound disquisitions as are given us by a Howe or Mc Laurin, a Butler and a Balguy. Moreover, the church edifices of Germany are so ill constructed, as to render a prolonged service perilous to the health of both preacher and hearer. They have so little conformity with the principles of acoustics, as to forbid any approach to such a prolonged address as that which Dr. Barrow delivered without any other result than a weariness in his feet from standing two consecutive hours. The German clergy are compelled to confine their discourses within such narrow limits as to render it impossible for them to pursue those comprehensive trains of reasoning, which are needful for sound theological discussion. Again, the practice of regulating the selection of themes for the German pulpit by the order of the Romish festivals, precludes the symmetrical exhibition of the evangelical system. These festivals erect a few external facts of Christianity above the doctrines which are veiled under those outward events. They tempt the preacher
1 See Bib. Sac. Vol. I. p. 374.
on Good Friday, for example, to rehearse the bare historical scenes under which the atonement lies hidden from the view of hearers who regard the holiday as a season for amusement. Men are not predisposed on these festivals to meditate on spiritual truths. There is a day set apart for John the Baptist, but none for the creation of the world; one for Michael, but none for the resurrection, the judgment, the eternal retribution. The consequence is, that while some doctrines. may be exhibited with great frequency, others are seldom called forth from their retirement. The fall of Adam, the depravity of man, the phenomena of regeneration, the sovereignty of God, and other fundamental doctrines, are noticed if at all, only as incidents by the majority of German preachers.
Their neglect to enforce even such truths as they believe, and the real necessity that they should be more theological in their discourses, are illustrated in an interesting manner by Reinhard in a sermon on John 3:1–15.' This text necessarily suggests the theme of Regeneration by the Holy Spirit, but our author employs it as an illustration of the fact, that man is accustomed to overlook the greatest and most useful truths, barely because they are too familiar. Nicodemus was a learned Pharisee, yet had paid no attention to the doctrine of Regeneration, because this doctrine was too well known. So at the present day, the well informed man is seldom attracted strongly enough to the most familiar truths, he does not penetrate into them deeply enough, does not apply them carefully enough to practice. He overlooks thein, because he has a restless curiosity for what is new, he falsely imagines them to be very plain, he finds that the accurate investigation of them mortifies his corrupt inclinations. But this oversight is very injurious to him; for it deprives him of rare opportunities for acquiring wisdom, it occasions the most ruinous errors of conduct, it makes him unreasonably hostile to the best men, the real friends of the truth. That we may resist the habit of overlooking these familiar truths, we should transmute our curiosity for what is novel into a curiosity for what is true; we should from time to time strictly catechize ourselves with regard to the doctrines which we imagine to be very familiar to us; with the aid of divine grace we should in all ways strengthen our purposes of moral improvement. The sermon of which the above is a syllabus, exhibits a specimen of Reinhard's own disposition to substitute some novel train of remark for the more important doctrinal discussion which is falsely regarded as too familiar. In a sermon on Matt. 22: 1-14, we naturally expect a series of re
| Predigten, 1797, Band II. ss. 208–224.
527 flections on the unreasonableness of sin, or on the extensive provisions of divine grace, or on the doctrine of election (whether believed or rejected), but Reinhard diverts our minds from such themes to the Proposition : The ruling spirit of every age affords pretexts for evading the claims of Christianity. We look for a presentation of the atonement in a discourse on 1 Cor. 11: 23–32, but Reinhard turns our attention to the immortality of the soul.2
In the year 1806, when our author was allowed to preach from the lessons in the Epistles instead of those in the Gospels, he introduced more of doctrinal discussion than had been usual with him, and in the year 1809, when he formed a new pericope, he selected such lessons as, in his opinion, prompted to a full exhibition of the evangelical system. The following is a condensed summary of a sermon, 4 both expository and doctrinal in its character, and illustrating its author's evangelical sentiment.
Not only every Christian, but every rational man must be interested in the question whether he have been truly converted. Without this radical change of character, he cannot safely or fitly enjoy the pleasures of sense even, nor can he attain his true dignity and peace. But the nature of this change is extensively although needlessly misunderstood. It is supposed to consist in a reformation of outward conduct, or some new play of the amiable sentiments. But the character of the converted man is not only different from, it is opposite to that of the unconverted. The contrast may be easily discerned. Our text, Eph. 4: 22—28, places the renewed spirit over against the unrenewed in sharp and decided contrast, and speaks not only of a dissimilarity between them, but of a positive contrariety. It leaves us no choice of a subject, but forces us to the theme, The contrariety of the feelings and conduct of the renewed man to those of the unrenewed. The text divides itself into two sections, one on the nature of this opposition, and one on the illustrations of it, and thus leads us to the following Division; First, wherein does the contrariety between the renewed and the unrenewed man cousist ? and secondly, how is it exhibited in the life?
The text not only suggests, but answers both of these questions ; the first by showir.s, in the first section, verses 92—24, that the renewed man is opposite to the unrenewed, A. in the laws according
| Predigten, 1795, Band I. ss. 294–313.
? The sacrament of the Lord's supper reminds us of our immortality. Predig. ten, 1797, Band I. ss. 137–155.
3 See Vorrede zu Pred. 1809. s. VI.
to which, B. in the impulses by which, C. in the ends for which he acts; or in other words, the renewed man regulates himself no longer according to the demands of sense, but to the precepts of God; he obeys no longer the promptings of selfishness, but the emotions of conscience and love of right, he strives no longer for a merely terrestrial good, but for likeness with God.
A. The unconverted man knows no other law of conduct, than that of sense and natural desire. Our text speaks of him as “corrupt according to deceitful lusts.” Our experience proves that he subjects every thing, how sacred soever, to his own gratification. But the converted man is said, in the text, to be "created in righteousness and true holiness." The laws by which he is regulated are not merely unlike, but contradictory to those of the sinner; as opposite as light to darkness, Christ to Belial, God to Mammon.
B. Equally striking is the contrast between the two men, in the impulses by which they are moved. As the unrenewed man knows no other law than that of his own desires, so he has no other impulse than that for his own gratification. But the converted person is influenced by higher motives. “ He has put off the old and put on the new man." He does not inquire whether his own interest will be promoted by his acting, but whether it be his duty to act, and whenever he learns that gratitude or reverence or love, that the cause of truth or right, of men or God require him to move, then he pioves, and cares not into what dangers or distresses he must plunge. It may be, that his discharge of duty will be followed by many advantages; it must be, that it will be crowned with an eternal reward. But this prospect has no influence upon his high resolve. Is the course demanded by his reason and conscience, it is enough. Thus marked is the change in the renewal of the soul: gain and pleasure which were once all in all to the man, must becon.e objects of (comparative) in. difference; and duty, which was once an object of indifference, must become all in all.
C. In the objects for which the two men act is there an equal contrariety. The unconverted person labors for earthly good; the converted does not disregard this good, but values it appropriately as a gift of his Father. It is not, however, the design, the end of his toil. Our text says, that he is renewed " in the spirit of his mind,” and is “after God created in righteousness," that is, he aims supremely at the imitation of God. “Old things are passed away" with him, “all things are become new."
The second question proposed for us to consider is answered in the second section of the text, verses 25_28. The contrariety between