« PredošláPokračovať »
In my second year, I especially enjoyed listening to Professor David Swing, newly come to the pulpit of Westminster Church. There was no question then of his Orthodoxy. He was popular because he was interesting, and generous, and broad in his preaching. In my Senior year he invited me once to preach for him.
Throughout both those years I could not at any time have been called a "disbeliever," disturbed though I was over important articles in my inherited and cherished Creed.
Licentiate of the Presbytery of Chicago.
Towards the spring of 1866, I appeared before the Presbytery of Chicago as a candidate for a "license to preach." I was required to prepare various papers and to pass an examination to indicate my qualifications for the privilege I sought.
1. The Latin Essay prescribed for me was on the question, "An Regenerati peccare possint? "Can the Regenerate sin?" I sought, with the help I could get from accepted writers, to prove that the truly regenerate human being does not, and can not, sin; that when one, who has been actually born again of the Holy Spirit," appears to do evil, it is "no longer he that sins but the evil that dwells within him."
2. My Trial Lecture, which was an exposition of the opening verses of the First Psalm, under the title "Truc ·Blessedness realized in God;" and my Probationary Sermon, on "Jesus as the Source of true Rest for the Soul," were both accepted and approved.
I intended to indicate some mental unrest by an answer which I made in the Oral Examination to which I was
subjected, but what I said was either unheard, or, if heard, was not considered of importance.
At a meeting in Earlville, Illinois, on April 10th 1866, I was authorized "as a probationer for the holy ministry within the bounds of the Presbytery, or wherever else I should be orderly called." That action, notwithstanding the formal withdrawal, afterwards, of my license to preach, because of a change of belief concerning certain theological dogmas, I have always regarded as my authoritative introduction into the Christian Ministry.
a. The Summer at Depere, Wisconsin.-Five days. later, the Presbyterian Board of Domestic Missions, at the request of the Presbytery of Winnebago, commissioned me to be, for six months, the stated supply of the pulpit of a small Presbyterian Church in Depere, Wisconsin. My Middle Year summer vacation was, consequently, spent as a licensed preacher.
FIRST OFFICIAL SERMON.
The first sermon I delivered under ecclesiastical authority I preached at Depere, taking for its text the Apostle Paul's sublime boast:
"I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST."
I should like to embody this sermon in full among these personal "Memorabilia," that I might show to friends of later years how loyally I had received and sought to interpret my inherited Creed when I began to exercise my life's vocation, in an officially recognized station. But I will content myself with some indication of its movement; -repeating a few of its distinctive passages.
I began the sermon with a description of Tarsus, Saul's home; sketching in a few paragraphs Saul's earlier life, his conversion, and his consecration to Christ's Gospel, which he proclaimed ever thereafter as "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth," though it was "foolishness to the Greek," and " to the Jew a stumbling block."
"To Paul," I said, "had come the good news of the very Son of God, of God incarnate :-glad tidings of great joy from a merciful God to a depraved, wretched, dying world. Its bearer was God-man, who, in the incomprehensible union of divine and human natures, had 'borne the griefs of the whole world and was wounded for its transgressions.' - He was God-man :-man in union with God, that his work might have the worth of the God hood and, also, that man might be saved by man. In fact, Christ became accursed that man might escape impending wrath. The heart-rending agony of Gethsemane; and the wrath of God, endured on the Cross, were but the consummation of Christ's humiliation, accepted for the accomplishment of the eternal Plan of Redemption."
The Gospel, so I argued, was to Paul "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."
1. The Gospel shows, first, God's ability to save. All things are possible to God except denial of Himself. Infinite Justice demanded the death of every human creature: Infinite Love pleaded for their life. Unless Justice could be satisfied, no salvation was possible. Therefore, upon the only and well-beloved Son,-Son of God and Son of Man, divine Justice wreaked the vengeance due to man. Justice was appeased and, so, man could be saved.
2. Then, second, the Gospel shows God's power to save. The world lying in wickedness was in danger of eternal misery. Millions of intelligent creatures, God's own handiwork, created in his own image, had fallen and were exposed to eternal wrath. For these, salvation had been made possible.
"Touch the eyes of him doomed to perpetual darkness