Do we really believe that we are either a savor of life unto life, or of death unto deathto those who hear us? Or is this mere official phraseology, never intended to be understood in the ordinary import of the words? Is it a matter of fact, or only the solemn garnish of a sermon, the trickery and puffing of pulpit vanitythat souls are perpetually rising from beneath our ministry into the felicities and honors of the heavensor dropping from around our pulpits into the bottomless pit? Are companies of immortal spirits continually summoned from our congregations to inhabit eternity, and supply heaven or hell, to swell the numbers of the redeemed, or to add to the multitude of the lost? If this be true, (and we are gross deceivers, mere pulpit actors, reverend hypocrites, if we do not believe in its truth) then where is the earnestness that alone can give consistency to our profession, and is appropriate to our situation, and adequate to our convictions? Have we really become so carelessly, so criminally familiar with such topics as salvation and damnationthat we can descant upon them with the same calmness, coolness, not to say indifference, with which a public lecturer will discuss a branch of natural philosophy? O where is our reason, our godliness, our consistency?
[url=http://www.gracegems.org/22/an_earnest_ministry.htm]John Angell James - An earnest ministry[/url]