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ceive, approve, and prefer, so as practically and substantially to digest and adopt it, in all our ministrations. Otherwise, we shall infallibly err. Our way will be, after all, not the way of God. Our metaphysico-theological wisdom will take precedence; and impiously presumptuous, it will profane our ministry. The Spirit will prefer other ways than ours, and so leave ours to their own solitude in the wilderness; walking through dry places, and seeking rest, and finding none.
Some get the idea that revivals are so necessary, as general scenes and opportunities of mercy, that an individual can find salvation mainly, if not only, in one of them. Hence, they wait for them, resisting the Holy Ghost every moment, under delusion of WAITING for his influence. This is a very common abuse. Though men may favor and enact it, insidiously as an excuse, under any ministrations of excellence; yet, we say, first, it is hugely an unscriptural and death-dealing fallacy; second, if we ever seem to sanction it, directly or indirectly, we are most culpably wrong; since no man of unsophisticated sense can believe it, as taught in the Word of God. We will here quote no passage in proof of what is so easily demonstrable, so nearly self-evident.*
Dr. Griffin sometimes spoke, and even wrote, of difficulties in applying the means of grace, in our ministry, with which some of his brethren, besides Dr. Taylor, did not sympathize. To one of them he once said, “ There are perplexities in reference to dependence and activity, which it is not easy to solve ; an unillumined inch-square, through which it seems impossible clearly to see.” He answered, “Where, Doctor, is that cube of darkness recognized in Scripture ? Paul seems never to heed or know anything about it. I rather guess it is a fungus, that grew on the trunk of your own metaphysics ; that is, you made it all yourself.”
* We may, however, refer some comparanda to any one desirous to see the sanctions of our meaning, -Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16: 15, 16, 20, dele them, in last verse, and refer working with to the word. Acts 7:51; 16:30–33 ; Rom. 1 :5, 16, 17; 9: 28. See original : render account, instead of work; righteousness as the result of justification; 32, 33; 10:8-13; 16 : 26 ; 1 Tim. 2 : 3–8 ; 6 : 3–5, 20, 21; Heb. 2:1-3; 3 : 7, 8; Rev. 2: 7, 11, 17, 29; 3 : 6, 13, 22; 22 : 17-21; 1 Cor. 1 : 18–25; 2:5; 3: 11-15.
Apart from all this, Dr. Griffin seldom suffered an eclipse from any troublous influence, so elastic were his thoughts, so expansive, so magnificent, so superior, the general range of his mind. He was averse to the idea of a pet theory; yet his principled dread of theological error, of Socinian and Rationalistic science, falsely so called ; his profound conviction of the sinuosities of sin, and of the operative power of human depravity ; his scriptural views of election and the entire system of redemption, and his often agonizing sympathies with the selfinduced and suicidal wretchedness of the perdition of ungodly men, applied often with godlike compassion to his own personal friends and relations : these considerations frequently swayed his feeling and moved his prayers; while the savor of them, not at all appreciated or intelligible to some of his worldly or formal observers, seemed to them like a malarious or clouded atmosphere, in which, from motives akin to asceticism or misanthropy, he preferred, strangely, to be at times disguised and properly invisible.
In all this, it has been our object so to describe Dr. Griffin, that readers who knew him not, may be aided in forming a correct conception of his distinguished person and character. As a whole, we may say of him, that he had few equals, and that any party or social circle in the world might have felt enriched by the accession of his companionship and presence. The writer saw him in Newark not long before his death, and cannot soon forget the scene sublime in which he then figured. He was plainly watching for the signal to depart and be with Christ, which he felt to be far better. He was literally expecting the Son of man, and waiting specially for the glad moment of release. I resolved not long to intrude on such an hour of solemn sacredness, quite in the verge of heaven. He could not speak much, but the paternal grasp of his hand, his voice of kindness, his subdued and mellow tone of speech, I cannot soon forget, nor would I attempt to describe my own
sensations as I bade him farewell—till we should meet in the presence of Christ.
We must indulge, in conclusion, this single reflection,—that only one influence known or possible to us, can elevate us wisely and justly superior to the power of death, and render us calm, philosophic, and happy, when the tenement is falling to pieces, and the tenant about to take its viewless flight into eternity. Christianity supplies that influence; God supplies it to all his own elect, the genuine disciples of Jesus Christ. Let us prize the only true religion. Let us hold it not only, but hold it fast. Let us aspire, by living like them, to die like them; adopting, with intelligent triumph and sober peace, the words of Paul, written just before, by Nero's cruel order, he was decapitated, for the only sin of believing and preaching the everlasting doctrine of his Saviour and ours, Jesus Christ: “ Nevertheless I am not ashamed; FOR I KNOW WHOM I HAVE TRUSTED; and am persuaded that He is able to keep THAT WHICH I HAVE COMMITTED TO HIM, against that day.” 2 Tim. 1:12.
Let Williams College, let all New England, let the whole American Church, cherish the memory of Paul, and also that of GRIFFIN.
The taste of a community is formed, to a great extent, by the Church. Its preaching, its prayers, and its hymns tend more than aught else to mould the thoughts, the literary style, the enunciation of the people who are brought within its influence. We know an eminent clergyman who once declared that he would be scarcely less willing to place his family under the instructions of an unsound minister, than under those of an incorrect, ungraceful, vulgar speaker. It was a strong mode of expressing his conviction that a slovenly, uncultivated style of address, continually listened to by his children, would rapidly destroy the advantages of the most finished education, and produce a corresponding impression upon both their thoughts and language.
There is great force in this. It rests with the pulpit whether we shall maintain the purity of our language, or whether we shall abandon our acknowledged standards of taste and excellence and sink down to the level of those provin: cial modes of speech which are imported from time to time by the uneducated Irish, English, and Scotch, who come among us—or of those native slang expressions, which, come whence they may, disgrace some of the best deliverances at the bar, in the legislature, and in the pulpit, and certainly none the less because of the vulgar nasal twang, with which they are most usually uttered. It is incumbent on the ministry to keep up the standard of our language, to avoid every breach of taste, to speak with faultless accuracy, to cultivate the clearest enunciation, to give the youth of the country the privilege of hearing, at least one day in the week, the purity and power of the English language.
Akin to the importance, in this respect, of literary taste and elevation in the pulpit, is that of the character of those compositions in which the people are taught and encouraged to sing the praises of their Creator. When a congregation will really engage in this most heavenly part of sacred worship, there can be nothing more intellectually elevating than the singing of one of our noble Christian hymns, such as
Before Jehovah's awful throne
Father, how wide thy glory shines!
The breadth of thought, the elevation of sentiment, the very taste in composition and style, will impress themselves upon every engaged mind. By parity of reasoning, the singing of lame thought in doggerel verse will bring down both the taste and the sentiment of a congregation, and in the course of years fasten its image upon both them and their children. We regard it as of especial consequence that the hymns used by our young people in the Sunday-school and in the family, should be the very best specimens of Christian lyric poetry. Whoever else sing doggerel, let us not train our children to do so.
The responsibility of compilers of hymn-books can scarcely be overrated. In addition to the considerations which have now been presented, it may be affirmed that the orthodoxy of our churches depends more upon the hymns which are sung in their assemblies, than upon their Catechisms and Confessions of Faith ; and that the tone of devotional feeling in a Christian community is caught from its hymn-book rather than from the pulpit. Extensive acquaintance with the whole subject of hymnology, a cultivated taste, a ripe scholarship, a poetic soul, a clear judgment, an orthodox belief, and an elevated religious experience, are qualifications which are absolutely essential to the compiler of a hymn-book.
No man who is either a shallow scholar or a shallow Christian should be allowed to undertake the compilation of those Psalms and Hymns in which a whole denomination is expected, for centuries it may be, to chaunt the praises of Jehovah. It were always better that so vast a responsibility be thrown upon