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of evil but what is swallowed up in his love of good . Instead of raising a tempest of animosity for the destruction of modern Infidelity , he would accomplish the same end by a benignant and dignified invocation of the spirit of primitive Christianity . Something of this difference may be necessitated
by the difference of the religious systems of these two great pulpiteers . Something of it may perhaps be ascribed to the diversity of their personal temperament and character . Whatever the cause , that is certainly the highest kind of pulpit eloquence which moves the feelings rather than the passions . It is not the end of preaching to produce a momentary ebullition of emotion , but a permanent disposition . The perfection of it , as an art , is in that combination of matter and manner which best tends to win men to
the love of truth and goodness , to filial piety towards God , and fraternal affection towards man , and to the rejoicing contemplation of nature and scripture ; not in that which merely puts them in a boiling rage with modern philosophers , with ancient Sadducees , or even with their own wicked hearts .
A truce to this trifling , and let us come to the subject of the Sermon before us . It unfolds " the main design and glory of Christianity , " viz . "the influence which it is intended to exert on the human mind . " A noble topic , and one of a class which deserves to be made much more prominent than it usually is in our pulpits . The best themes for sermons are general views of the spirit and tendencies of divine revelation . They exercise the intellect of the hearers as much as controversial discussion : and have none of its
asperities . They illustrate gospel truth more effectually than textual criticism ; and are not , as that too often must be , dry , hard , and uninteresting . They conduct to righteous feeling and righteous conduct far more powerfully and surely than mere moral preaching , without the triteness which must belong to it , when resting in general maxims , or the weariness it produces when descending to minute particulars . And they furnish the most desirable antidotes to scepticism and fanaticism ; for without the preacher ' s putting himself in an antagonist attitude to repel the objections of the one
and disprove the dogmas of the other , he precludes both , by pre-occupying mind and heart with a deep sense of the truth and loveliness of genuine Christianity . But all this good , it may be said , depends upon the skill with which they are handled . Undoubtedly it does . There are preachers perhaps , and able ones too , who had better let them alone , or touch them but sparingly . Let every one follow the bent of his own mind in the pulpit and out of it . Our only object is to shew that , supposing the same degree of ability applied to them as to other subjects , they deserve a prominence in
the selection of topics which it seems they possess more in America than here , and which , if increased here , would probably conduce to the honourable popularity and extending usefulness of the Unitarian ministry . Dr . Channing ' s text is 2 Tim . i . 7 , ( printed erroneously Tim . ii . 17 , ) " For God hath not given us the spirit of fear , but of power , and of love , and of a sound mind . " He commences with a startling abruptness , well adapted to excite attention , which he then proceeds to fix , full and firm , upon his great object .
" Why was Christianity given ? Why did Christ seal it with his blood ? Why is it to be preached * What is the great happiness it confers ? What is the chief blessing far which it is to be prized ? What is its pre-eminent glory , its firat claim on the gratitude of mankind ? These are great questions . I wish to answer them plainly , according to the light and ability which God has iriven roe . I read the answer to them in the text . There I learn
Channing ' s Design of Christianity . 659
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Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Oct. 2, 1828, page 659, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2565/page/3/