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scape by moonlight? You had often admired it under a flood of golden sunlight, but the pale moonbeams made it another seene. You stood long, and gazed. You had never imagined that weird, fairy-like beauty in the well-known prospect. It was the magic spell of light. Such & variety you may secure in your texts by skilful changes of light upon them. Avoid the mental gloom that imparts its leaden hue to every subject, however varied. Such constant cloud-light is incompatible with freshness. I stood one day last summer in the Fairy Glen, near Bettws-y-coed. It is a romantic dell, down which a merry laughing stream leaps and frolics among the moss-green boulders that lie scattered in its bed. The rocks on either side rise to a height of forty or fifty feet, and are diversified and crowned with foliage; the opening at the extremity of the glen reveals in hazy blue the distant mountains, and a narrow strip of sky stretches overhead. I thought nothing could be more exquisitely beautiful. But while I looked, a cloud which had covered the sun passed away, and a sunbeam came glancing down into the glen. In a moment the scene was transfigured; like the indescribable transfiguration of a lovely character when it comes under the influence of divine grace; the colours all glowed with beauty, the stream sparkled and threw around the rocks a thousand careless brilliants, and the purple and golden crags shone out like jewels from their setting of emerald foliage. This is what I want in our sermonising—the power of obtaining the light which sets things in their true colours. Without this there may be much of the beauty of correctness, but this will give the additional beauty of life. The secret lies, I believe, in getting into the spirit of the text; the enthusiasm of the subject, I may call it. Every text possesses naturally its own colour ; but if it undergo a dyeing process in the mind of the student, this natural variety is destroyed. No manufacturer anxious for diversity in his goods would plunge them all into the same dyeing-tub; and no preacher aiming at variety will make his texts all alike by exhibiting them through the coloured medium of his own mind: he will rather keep his mind in a state of crystal clearness that the natural beauty of his theme may be apparent. Every flower-bud ere it bursts is wrapped and hidden in its green covering, and the colour of the petals does not appear till the blossom unfolds. So each text wears at first sight the general hue of Bible truth, and only reveals its peculiar beauty as it opens under the light and heat of prayerful study. Let it be your aim to develop the native character of your text, rather than to melt down all its individualities, and recast it in the stereotyped mould of your own mind.
Perhaps it is not always absolutely necessary to have in our sermons heads, one, two, and three. Now, I believe in heads. They are useful to assist our own clearness of thought, as well as to help the memory of our hearers; but like the heads of sleeping birds, they may sometimes surely be concealed under the feathers. If occasionally we began at the startingpoint, and went straight through the line of thought without stopping at the stations, gathering momentum as we moved, there might at least be the gain of variety in treatment.
Much importance attaches to the manner of the preacher. The great rule to be observed is, to observe no rule at all. Be natural. Imitate neither Ezekiel nor Isaiah, Barnabas nor Paul, nor any other of the great preachers of the day. Allow me to say to each of you, without intending a compliment, your own style of preaching is the best; that is, if it be natural to you. Of course, your brother minister's manner is quite as good, and better ; but that does not alter the fact of your own being the best for you. Have you never watched a good man aiming at something beyond himself?' He was but a Barnabas, but he would swell himself to the bigness of a Boanerges. The result was he lost himself and his people too. He used all the means. There was the great and strong wind, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still, small voice : and now he had become himself again, and the people felt the presence and power of God. O to learn that lesson, “When I am weak, then am I strong;" not to value myself upon fancied preaching ability, but simply and fervently to deliver the message wherewith God has intrusted me, relying on him for the success. I do not mean that the natural style is beyond the need or reach of culture; far from it. The greatest preachers have owed much to style, and have paid to it great attention. This was Whitfield's power. His sermons, as we read them now, convey but little of the inpression which their delivery wrought. There is all the difference between the printed sermons and the resistless harangues which overwhelmed the people, that there is between the corpse a:id the living man. Whitfield's manner and tones were the soul of his words; and those words, thrilled with life, charged upon the people with the impetuous shock of an army. It is not the matter alone which makes the sermon ; the matter is its body, the manner is its soul. Indeed, a look, or a silent gesture will sometimes do a work which cannot be accomplished by words. A friend of mine heard Adolphe Monod in Paris. He was preaching on the Last Judgment, and began with a masterly argument from analogy, drawn from the sense of justice implanted in the constitution of human nature. Having cleared the way, he went on to picture the last great scene. Amidst a silence like death he depicted the groups standing before the white throne, the separation of families and friends, and the ghastly terror of the rejected. Overcome by emotion he ceased, and drawing his robe over his arm, he covered his face and stood silent amid the audible sobs of the assembly; and then, with a few affectionate and hopeful words of invitation to the Saviour, closed the sermon. An imitation of this would be execrable; but the flaming soul which thus burns its way through formal proprieties is above all price in one who is to influence masses of his fellow-men. Some underrate a man who with little originality or profoundness, yet by means of an effective manner, makes his
sermons accomplish a good work. This is unwise and unphilosophical. The end to be attained is the great thing; and if he gain it by means which appear to us inadequate, let him have the credit. But whatever your natural style may be, put your soul into the sermon, and there will not be much fear of your fresh and forcible matter being spoiled in the delivery.
Seek by all means within reach to impart to your sermons the quality which has been the subject of this paper. Pursue it eagerly, continuously, perseveringly. Be a hunter for it; send all your faculties after it in full cry. Scour the whole field of thought; because it is an element of power, and power in preaching you must obtain. And so whether you achieve your variety in one sermon, and it becomes like a strain of music floating along the impressive aisles of a cathedral, rising now into jubilant ecstacy, now sinking plaintive to a minor cadence, holding the rapt listener under conflicting masteries of emotion; or whether you secure it in the general scope of your whole preaching, like the year with its changing seasons, each having its own peculiar beauty and use, or the earth with its varied lands and climes producing their diverse fruits, you will have gained your object, and so far have secured the greater efficiency of your preaching. But no freshness nor vivacity will make up for a lack of spiritual power. Secure this, above all, by a holy walk with God. Pray for your people; bear them on your beating heart before the Lord as the High Priest carried Israel on his breastplate; and you will not be unto them “as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument," but rather like the minstrel seeking the captive king, the melody of your gospel will discover the prisoner in his dungeon, awakening the response from within; the Lord shall open the prison, and the oppressed shall go free.
The Two Babyloms.
BY G. ROGERS. 66 THERE is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed.” T
” the religion of Rome much is covered, and there is much, therefore, yet to be revealed. Its origin is still in a great measure unrevealed. The rise and progress of nations may be traced, and
be accounted for upon well-known principles; but the origin of Romanism comes not within the ordinary rules of social and political government amongst men. In one of Daniel's visions, it is described as “diverse from all the beasts before it ;" and in another it is pictured " iron mixed with clay.” Whence could a kingdom so vast, and yet so peculiar, arise ? Where was its nodel ? Where did it all come from ? Not from Christianity certainly; for it is in direct opposition to its simplicity and spirituality. Not from Judaism ; for it has neither its ark of the covenant nor its altar of burnt-offering. It is not from human governments ; for it affects to have a far higher origin, and not to be subject to them. Where, then, has it come? From Heathen Idolatry, we reply, which originated in the first Babylon. It was at Babylon the system of idolatry was instituted which prevailed in Egypt, and Greece, and India, and among all the European and Asiatic tribes. As the apostacy of the Jewish church consisted in compliance with the blasphemous and licentious rites of the surrounding nations, so the apostacy of the Christian church consisted in the adoption of the idolatrous practices of Pagan Rome, and of the hordes of barbarians by which it was invaded. Romanism is Paganised Christianity. It is a compromise between Paganism and Christianity, much as the Church of England afterwards became a compromise between Romanism and Protestantism. The mystery of iniquity, which began to work in the apostolic age, culminated in the conversion of Pagan into Papal Rome. Christianity met Paganism half way, in order that the Church might seize upon the State, and its highest officer might vault into Cæsar's throne. This is the true origin of the Church of Rome. It is on this account, and not merely from its relation to the captivity of the people of God, that it is styled a second Babylon. The Babylon of the New Testament was formed upon the model of the Old. Hence its title in New Testament prophecy: “Upon her forehead was a name written, mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” The term “mystery ” is no part of the name. The
proper rendering is, a mysterious name. Papal Rome is mystic Babylon.
Literal Babylon, in time of New Testament Prophecy, was still in existence, though in a dilapidated state. This was not the Babylon to which the prophecy referred. It was not that reduced and almost forsaken city, but mystic Babylon, and Babylon the great. Like the first Babylon, it was the “Mother of harlots," because of the licentious practices that were associated with the worship of the licentious Semiramis, the founder of Babylon; and, Mother of the abominations of the earth,” because the abominable system of idolatry that most prevailed in the earth had its origin in the first Babylon.
These remarks have been suggested by a book, which has just reached its fourth edition, entitled "The Two Babylons ;'* in which the resemblance between the idolatry of the one, and the so-called Christianity of the other, is traced in all their essential features, and in many of their minutest particulars. This is no fanciful interpretation of Scripture prophecies, neither is it any forced attempt to reconcile existing phenomena with a preconceived theory; but a careful deduction from a vast accumulation of well-authenticated facts. A large amount of scholarship and of patient research, as well as of moral courage, were required to confront the new Babylon with its exact features in the old; but the author has shown himself to be fully equal to the task. He has digged through the wall, and discovered the source of the abominations of Papal Rome, and presented them in their true light. Few could have believed the resemblance between the two Babylons to be so great as this volume has brought to view. Could any member of the church at Rome in the Apostolic age rise from his grave and look upon the church at Rome as it now is, and has been for many centuries past, he would scarcely recognise a single feature of its first institution, or aught remaining of Christianity as known to him but the name. Could any worshipper, on the other hand, of “the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone,” in Belshazzar's time, look upon the religion of Papal Rome, he would at once recognise his own religion under new names and forms. In the words of the book to which we have referred : “What would even the old Pagan priests say, who left the stage of time while the martyrs were still battering against their gods, and rather than symbolize with them, 'loved not their lives unto the death,' if they were to see the present aspect of the so-called church of European Christendom? What would Belshazzar himself say, if it were possible for him to enter St. Peter's, at Rome, and see the Pope in his pontificals, in all his pomp and glory ? Surely he would conclude that he had only entered one of his own well-known temples, and that all things continued as they were at Babylon, on that memorable night, when he saw with astonished eyes the hand-writing on the wall: “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.'"
* “ The Two Babylons.” By the late Rev. ALEXANDER HASLOP. J. W. Partridge and Co., 9, Paternoster Row. A learned and valuable work. Should be in all libraries
We shall give some of the leading points of resemblance between the idolatry of the one Babylon and the Christianity of the other, as they are exhibited to us in this volume.
Whence the worship of the Madonna and child ? The reply is : From Babylon. Semiramis, the founder of that city, was here worshipped as a goddess, and Nimrod, whom she had aided in his conquests by a mythological fiction, was worshipped as her infant son. According to Jeremiah, she was styled “The Queen of Heaven." The Venus, and her son Cupid, of the Greeks, and the great goddess of Diana at Ephesus, were parts of the same idolatry. With these figures emblematic traditions of the woman's seed that was to bruise the serpent's head were mingled. “In the uppermost story of the tower of Babel or temple of Belus,” says the book under consideration, “ Diodorus Siculus tells us, there stood three images of the great divinities of Babylon, and one of these was of a woman grasping a serpent's head. Among the Greeks the same thing was symbolized; for Diana, whose real character was originally the same as that of the great Babylonian goddess, was represented as bearing in her hands a serpent deprived of its heail. As time wore away, and the facts of Semiramis's history became obscured, her son's birth was boldly declared to be miraculous, and therefore she was called, “ Alma Mater,' the virgin mother. That the birth of the Great Deliverer was to be miraculous was widely known long before the Christian era. For centuries, some say for thousands of years, before that event, the Buddhist priests had a tradition that a virgin was to bring forth a child to bless the world. That this tradition came from no Popish or Christian source is evident from the surprise felt and expressed by the Jesuit missionaries when they first entered Thibet and China, and not only found a mother and a child worshipped as at home, but that mother worshipped under a character exactly corresponding with that of their own Madonna, Virgo Deipera,' the virgin mother of God, and that, too, in regions where they could not find the least trace of either the name or history of our Lord Jesus Christ having ever been known.” The circle round the head of the Popish virgin, as descriptive of luminous rays, is also taken from the heathen goddess. How easy was the transfer from the heathen Madonna and her son to the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus, in the endeavour to effect a compromise between Paganism and Christianity!
Whence the festivals of the Roman church? The reply is : From Babylon. Whence the Christmas festival ? * It is admitted by the most learned and candid writers of all parties, that the day of our Lord's birth cannot be determined, and that within the Christian church no such festival as Christmas was ever heard of till the third century, and that not till the fourth century was far advanced did it gain much