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and transmitted with courageous perseverance, the pure gospel truth, and gospel polity, from generation to generation ; but enough for our purpose ; — the chain is complete. We have now come down by regular steps from Wycliffe to Robinson,- from Baliol College to the Mayflower --- from the Pilgrim at Lutterworth to the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Wycliffe learned congregationalism from the Scriptures, and the Scriptures translated into the English tongue, and disseminated by Evangelists, Colporteurs, Missionaries, Teachers, taught Congregationalism as a church polity to his followers and successors. When the Seer of Patmos fell at the feet of One like unto the Son of Man, He laid His hand upon him and said, “ Fear not, I am the First and the Last :” but when he fell at the feet of the angel, he said, “Do it not, I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren. Worship God.”


It may be instructive to notice what some of the early English bishops (and persecuting bishops at that) have to say of church polity during these times.

Peacock, Bishop of Chichester, 1450, said “Christ willed the hierarchical government to be reared up by the prudence of men after His passing from this world, and that he alloweth and approveth the said rearing and setting up by men's priidence." And his reason is, simply, because it is not forbidden by Scripture, or by reason, or by law, and therefore is not unlawful.

Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1583, said, “I do not deny but in the Apostles' time, and afterward to Cyprian's time, the people's consent was in many places required in the appointing of ministers; but I say that in the whole Scripture there is no commandment that it should be so, nor any example that maketh therein any necessary rule; but that it may be altered, as time and occasion serveth. For in such matters not commanded or prohibited in Scripture touching ceremonies, discipline and government, the Church hath authority

from time to time to appoint that which is most convenient for the present state."

And Lord Chief Justice Hobart, in Colt et al. vs. The Bishop of Coventry, Hobart's Reports, more than two hundred and fifty years ago, says, “For though it be given jure divino that Christian people be provided with Christian officers, and duties, as of teaching, administration of sacraments, and the like, and of pastors for that purpose; and therefore, to debar them wholly of it were expressly against the law of God; yet the distinction of parishes, and the form of furnishing every parish church with its proper curate, rector, or pastor, by way. of presentation, institution, etc., as is used diversely in divers churches, and the state or title which he hath, or is to have, in his church, or benefice, is not a positive law of God, in point of circumstance. For we know well that the primitive Church, in its greatest purity, were but voluntary congregations of believers, submitting themselves to the Apostles and other pastors, to whom they did minister of their temporals as God did move them.”



The question which agitates the preacher Monday morning is, What shall I preach next Sabbath? Without undertaking to answer this question in detail, we say, in general he must preach some. doctrine, either directly, or by implication, or in application. If he preaches, some doctrine must be at the foundation. All true preaching is, in the nature of the case, more or less doctrinal. The preacher must also preach doctrines which will commend themselves to the common sense of men

doctrines which unprejudiced minds will accept as true. No other kind of preaching will be at all effectual, or command the permanent respect and attention of thinking minds.

with power;

I. But we are met at the outset with a grave objection to doctrinal preaching. It is said that this is a practical age, and men want something practical; they do not want doctrines. This objection assumes a distinction which does not really exist between the doctrines of the gospel and its practice. It is related of Prof. Stuart, that during his short pastorate, he dwelt much upon certain doctrines of grace which his predecessor had neglected. People were aroused. Some said one thing; some another. The result was that his preaching was ; his church was filled with eager listeners; experi

} mental piety was greatly and permanently increased. Some of his hearers, restive under such unusual tone of preaching, begged him to give them less doctrine, and more practical sermons. He complied with their request, and commenced giving clear and searching expositions of the divine law. The ating :of this last was worse than of the first; and these same auditors, waited upon him soon after, and besought him to return to the doctrines. They had enough of practice. The simple fact is that those who magnify practice against doctrine, want one as little as the other. Aversion to truth originates dislike of doctrinal preaching. For the truth in its antagonism to a corrupt nature, if it is doctrinal, requires corresponding practice; if it is practical, requires corresponding doctrine. The two can not be separated. They are wedded together as one. Those who ask for practical preaching, need not suppose that they will hear no doctrine, if they hear truth.

If we do not preach doctrine, what shall we preach? We have nothing to preach except that religious system which is revealed in the Scriptures. But what is this system except the doctrines which comprise it? Take away its doctrines, and what would be left? The gospel of Christ is declared to be the power of God unto salvation to those who believe. But in what consists its power? In its nerve and sinew. But these are its doctrines. What a body without bones would be, a system of religious truth would be without doctrines. No system of religious truth was ever promulgated without promulgating doctrines peculiar to it. No such system ever existed apart from the doctrines which gave it character and name. The thing is as impossible as it is absurd. How could one preach Romanism without preaching the doctrines of Romanism? What is Romanism, if not those doctrines which bear this name? How could one preach Christianity without preaching the Christian doctrines? As well attempt to breathe without air. Eliminate from the Bible everything that teaches, or alludes to, or is based upon doctrine, and you eliminate the whole. Take from a sermon everything doctrinal in matter or allusion, and you take away the sermon and leave only a weak, nerveless essay.

Let us take an illustration and see if it is an easy matter to avoid doctrines in presenting even those themes which would seem to be least related to doctrine. Take this theme - the blessedness of the redeemed. No one would probably object to a serinon on this topic. Yet it is itself a statement of a. capital doctrine. Present it, and you present a doctrine. Farther, a discussion of it must assume certain other doctrines, without which this theme could not be. A presentation of it must be a substantial presentation of these doctrines. Let us analyze it and see. The blessedness of the redeemed supposes an Atonement, without which they could be neither redeemed nor blessed. At the very threshold of this theme we have the doctrine of the New Testament, and find a root of contention. This brings us within the circle of doctrines which center in the Cross — repentance, regeneration involving human and divine agency, the Holy Spirit to supplement the work of Christ by bringing men to repentance and renewing them unto salvation, sin with its black history, free agency, responsibility, and above all the merciful love of God so abundantly manifested in Christ. All these suggest a law which men have violated, a law-giver who makes his laws and executes them with rigorous justice, divine providence and sovereignty, which involve a governor. Here are necessarily suggested the attributes of this governor. The manner of his existence is also involved, which brings us to the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine of special revelation is also involved, which


includes all the doctrines relating to the Scriptures. One may discourse of flowers, and the colors of the rainbow, and beautiful sunsets, and the roar of the sea, and many other things, perhaps, in such a way as not to involve a single doctrinal truth; that would not be preaching. But one can not discuss, if he preaches, any subject relating to Christian experience, or to the spiritual condition of men, without putting in motion a train of suggestion which, if followed, will include the whole system of Evangelical doctrines. This is the glory of the system, and the glory of preaching it. Its doctrines are too inseparably implied in and connected with their practice to be separated from it in proper treatment. Not a link can be left out. One must take his stand upon the doctrines and preach them directly or by implication, or not preach at all. An exhortation can not be made to sinners which will not involve doctrines. Men can not be led to the Cross except by the way of the doctrines; remove the doctrines, and you remove the approaches to the Cross; nay more, you take down the Cross itself. Without them, Christian character could not be developed, - would be well-nigh impossible. A prime duty of the preacher is to incite and promote the growth of such character. But it is inspired by Christian truth. Then he must preach Christian doctrine, for all Christian practice is rooted in it — can not exist apart from it, in a healthy state, if at all. An attempt to edify the church without doctrinal instruction would be like attempting to build a house without a frame. Remove the doctrines from the pulpit permanently, and it is reduced to a mere platform.

We do not contend for theological and philological abstractions in the pulpit. It can not profitably be made a polernic

The sanctuary is not a theological seminary, its congregation theological students, and the preacher a professor. Yet if men are to be saved by the foolishness of preaching, preachers must take care that none are lost because they preach folly. But they will preach folly if they ignore, in their pulpits, the great doctrinal foundations of the scheme of salvation. That scheme can not be preached — is not possible — apart from the doctrines which constitute it.


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