The Pulpit and Public Morals By Carl G. Doney, Ph. D.

"The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men/* — ^Rom. i, i8. "My dear friend, venture to take the wind on your face for Christ" — Rutherford. "Nature has no promise for society, least of all any remedy for sin." — Bushnell. "Heaven is above all yet; there sits a Judge That no man can corrupt." — Shakespeare. "Morality rests upon a sense of obligation; and obligation has no meaning except as implying a Divine command, without which it would cease to be." — ^J. A. Froude. "We learn to recognize a mere blunting of the conscience in that incapacity for indignation which is not to be confoimded with the gentleness of charity, or the reserve of humility." — ^Amiel. "One of the most powerful tribunals ever set up in the world is public opinion; and next to the direct and positive legislation under which we live, it exercises the greatest control over the principles and conduct of men, whatever their rank or station." — George Fisk.


The Pulpit and Public Morals Christ came into the world that men might have life, and have it abundantly. Such also is the mission of His followers, and especially of those clothed with the office and set apart to the work of the ministry. They are to be Uf e-bringers ; not of their own life, but of the life that is in the Christ They are to aid men to apprehend this Person in their own lives, to make Him consciously real, and to lead the new life out into the servantship of holy helpfulness where man's good is the supreme good, and the supreme good is godliness. In order to effect this relationship, the pulpit is the voice to declare the conditions whereby it may be established, and these are revealed in the Scriptures. For this purpose the pulpit was instituted, and there is nothing else to do the work. The faithful pulpit has a twofold message. With all urgency and wisdom it will present the Christian invitation of salvation. The beauties of righteousness and the call of love will persuade many. But with the Gospel of mercy there must go the testi191

192 The Throne-Room 0/ the Soul mony against sin. Multitudes feel no interest in a city of refuge until they are conscious of the presence of a pursuing avenger. World redemption includes Calvary plus Sinai; if love be unavailing, law must terrify. More pleasant to us is the Gospel than the law; for law condemns, smites, scourges, stings. Therefore from those to whom it is a terror come protests against the pulpit when it declares

the law concerning public wrong and sinners in high places. The minister is advised to keep within his Church and save the sinners there, and the congregations are admonished to demand a tender gospel and to have no man who preaches otherwise, lest the Church should suffer loss of funds and sweet attractiveness. Thus do law-breakers and liquor journals advise, with an assurance and persistency which seems to suggest that when they depart wisdom will also have died. But who may separate things into sacred and secular, granting to some the wholesome influence of the Church and forbidding it to others? Shall men not so work and study, eat, drink, and vote, as well as pray, that God's kingdom be promoted ? Evil should be cast from the body social as well as from the individual. Its corruption is a contagion which poisons the morally debilitated man, and for his sake

The Pulpit and Public Morals 193 sinful public nuisances should be abated. There is a real goodness which is meek and peaceful; there is a goodness just as good which flames, bums, and consumes. Jesus Himself condemned the man with two coats who complacently looked upon his brother who had none. He smote with indignation those who gave themselves to trifles and forgot the weightier matters of the law; and it was He who, with crashing word, warned wicked cities of impending woe. Ere the Book is closed there is an admonition to that person who will add to, or substract from, the message so much as one jot or tittle. State and Church alike complete their work in the upbuilding of mankind. The duty of the State, so far acknowledged, ends in giving man his fullest

temporal blessings; but these are not possible unless they comprehend the very elements of righteousness. The threads in the web of life run from birth to eternity, and no perfect fabric can be woven without taking thought of that portion of the pattern seen by faith alone. Church and State are partners to help each other save the world; cither can destroy the efficiency of the other, or together they can give to man a help which makes it vastlier easy to be good. Public morals become private morals in their beginning and their end; and every man 13

194 The Throne-Room of the Soul not dead to hope must crave a State whose civic life will bless him in his private life. Somewhere the individual sins when any nation rots, and no one frees himself from guilt by pleading his absorption in the public. The sin we do by two and two, we pay for one by one, says Kipling. The pulpit should make every man know it If the pulpit may not speak of public wiong, what shall plead for justice, for the weak, for purer laws, and holier manhood? Fifty years ago it feared to speaky and a million men marched South to meet a million marching North. The public press will not suffice to take its place, for saving truth is God's truth learned at family altar, in the Sunday-sdiool, and Church; and those who would declare must first receive. Secular education is not enough, for highborn principle is heaven's principle not created or discovered by the brain of man. All come from God, and man, if left alone, would lose himself amidst the follies of his wisdom. The Book of law and love must be proclaimed ; the pulpit is its voice, the Church

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