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of Jewish and Gentile converts speaking the Aramean tongue, grew up the Syriac alphabet and dialect, so far as the latter is a distinct idiom. The great oriental Syrian church spread itself over the east, undivided, until the fifth century; when the condemnation of Nestorius, then Patriarch of Constantinople, roused the more eastern churches in his favor; and the appellation of Nestorians came to designate a large portion of those who bore the Syrian name.
In all this progress of the church, are we to suppose, that Jewish converts and their descendants held themselves aloof from Gentile Christians, in separate communities or tribes ? Hare we the slightest hint, either in the New Testament or in ecclesiastical history, that such was the custom of converts from Judaism ? If so we must expect to find the practice in its full strength among the Greek churches of Palestine in the first five centuries; when thousands and thousands of the Jews embraced Christianity, and there were comparatively few Gentiles round about to be mingled with them; or also in Asia Minor, where Paul himself preached and gathered churches from both Jew's and Gentiles. Yet in all these regions we look in vain for churches composed exclusively of Jewish converts, or even laying special weight upon their Jewish descent. As members of a new dispensation, one in faith and hope and love, they laid aside former distinctions and prejudices, and became in the character of Christians one homogeneous people devoted to the Lord. “ The middle wall of partition” was wholly broken down. What Christian in the fourth and fifth centuries, in Palestine or Asia Minor, ever thought or inquired whether he or his brethren were of Jewish or of Gentile descent ? Still less, we apprehend, could such a distinction be traced, even in that early age, in the case of whole communities of the Syrian church; and it has been reserved for the nineteenth century to advance the claim at this late day, in behalf of the Nestorians of Kurdistan. We do not believe the hypothesis would ever have occurred to any one, not even to Dr. Grant, had it not been for the conceit current among the Nestorians themselves.
But if it were indeed possible to prove, that the Nestorians are of Jewish descent; of what importance could it be, except as a mere historical fact? All the evidence which can possibly be brought forward in their case, applies with a tenfold force to the Christians of modern Palestine; who must be, beyond all question, through the churches of the fourth and fifth centuries, the descendants and representatives of the primitive churches of the Holy Land, gathered by the apostles themselves. True, that land has time and again been swept with desolation and bloodshed; but the native population has in the interval never been carried away, nor supplanted by another people. Yet who now ever thinks of their Jewish origin? or what difference would this make in the interest or amount of missionary effort in their behalf? Just so in regard to the Nestorians. The providence of God has rolled off the night of ages and revealed them to our eyes; a people of a comparatively pure faith, simple-hearted, confiding, intelligent, and eager for instruction; though still shrouded in the mists of ig. norance. Our missionaries are among them. The Spirit of the Lord is at work; and has already set open a door far wider than the American churches are yet ready to enter and occupy. A day is dawning upon the Nestorians, brighter than they have seen for ages. Among them, as among other oriental nations, a revolution is impending, is even before the door, of which our western churches as yet have hardly a foreboding. The dead and stagnant pool of oriental mind begins to effervesce; the waves of occidental civilization and intellectual power are flowing in upon it with resistless might; it will soon be broken up. Soon the dreams of Muhammedan delusion, and the nothings of a nominal Christianity, will no longer satisfy their votaries; and the dread question will speedily be forced upon the conscience of all Christendom, whether the blessings of the gospel, or the curse of infidelity and crime, shall come up in their place. For this question, for this dread responsibility, neither the churches of England, nor of Germany, nor of America, are now ready. Yet the time rushes on. Let them awake and be prepared.
THE INFLUENCE OF PERSONAL Piety ON Pulpit ELOQUENCE.
By Rev. William Adams, Pastor of the Central Presbyterian Church, New York.
The great design of the Christian ministry is to persuade alienated man to become reconciled to God. This result cannot be accomplished without producing many incidental effects on the social and intellectual nature ;—the whole man feeling the influence of this greatest of changes, as the whole body of the sea obeys the attraction of the heavenly orb. These subordinate influences, although inseparable from the main design of the pulpit, are never to be mistaken for it or confounded with it; and that mode of preaching we shall be allowed to consider as essentially defective, which, however it may inform the understanding, excite the sensibilities, or regale the taste, uniformly fails of that grand result, for which the ministry was appointed—making men wise unto salvation.
In demonstrating the influence of eminent piety, on the part of the preacher, in aid of this object, we shall not be understood as decrying any intellectual qualification, or subtracting in the least from the power of that motive which impels to great diligence in disciplining the mind and manner. One of the very first influences of a high-toned and intelligent piety is to promote the highest degree of intellectual activity. It puts the mind in a glow. It gives a quicker and healthier motion to all the pulses of life. That piety is suspicious and spurious which claims affinity with sloth; and never can we hold sympathy with the notion, that, in the high province of the Christian ininistry, mere goodness of heart supersedes the endowments of nature and the accomplishments of education. It implies a radical defect both of intelligence and piety for one, at this period of time, to apply in his own case the direction of our Lord to his immediate disciples ;" take no thought what ye shall say, for in that same hour it shall be given you." Many, listening to this temptation of the devil, have ventured to the pinnacle of the temple, and actually thrown themselves down, without finding their Icarian wings or angelic interposition sufficient to save them from severe injury. For one, who stands “ to justify the ways of God to man,” to defer diligent and thoughtful preparation for his office, relying on some sudden effluence of religious feeling, is to forswear reason, and scoff at the economy of God.
Piety, therefore, is not something to be set over against rhetoric, as a contrary quality, but as coincident with it. Rhetoric is not an artifice, but a reality. Its laws have their origin in our intellectual and moral natures. These possess an invariable quality. Whoever speaks with success must conform to these; and a more accurate definition of our present topic would be the coincidence between the impulses of piety and the canons of persuasive speech.
A great principle is embodied in the familiar expression of the apostle, “ godliness is profitable unto all things ;” and that man has already attained to great knowledge whose experience has taught him, that success in this present life and his well-being in the life which is to come lie precisely along the same line; and that the very thing which is essential to the salvation of his own soul, is itself of the highest service in all the relations and departments of life. The proper employments of the man, and the Christian, never cross each other at angles. They are like a series of circles, in which the greater includes the less. Science and philosophy have done but little which religion would not have enabled them to do better; while religion accomplishes much, which, without her aid, science and philosophy could never do at all. These subordinate uses of religion have as yet been imperfectly developed. The more of them we discover, the better will religion be understood, as the diamond's beauty is displayed the more it is revolved.
What is essential to the preacher's highest success ? For the ultimate law of that success we stop not short of the eternal throne itself. This admission, however, so far from superseding our present inquiry, serves only to enhance its practical importance; for we would know, whether in the appointment of God himself, there are any methods and laws of speech which are better adapted to convince, persuade and convert than all others.
Our reply is definite. The success of the preacher, under God, depends on two things :
I. What he preaches, and, II. How he preaches.
As to the subject matter of the ministry, it has been defined by the Author of the ministry himself. Not every thing which is proclaimed, even eloquently, from the pulpit, is fitted to the great end and object of the pulpit. The gospel, by which we are to understand that assemblage of truths, which cluster around the central fact of a Saviour's mediation, is the one efficient means, appointed of God, for human salvation. The early heralds of the gospel, whose first announcements of it were attended with effects little short of miraculous, renounced every theme, save Christ, and him crucified. Substitute any thing for this,-it will be powerless to save.
First of all, then, we assert, that without piety in his own heart, the preacher can never comprehend the import of that message, in which is involved the whole secret of his success. Something more than genius and erudition is necessary to discern the gospel aright. Nor is this a matter of mere reasoning; but an assertion of inspiration also. " The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” “Non sine lumine,”-useless without the sun,- was the trite motto on the old-fashioned sundial. Artificial light will not tell the time. A candle will not cast a true shadow. The interior illumination of the Spirit of God is indispensable to a correct perception of God's own truth. To many the gospel remains a mystery still, not because it is so recondite, but because it is so simple. Simplicity and lowliness of heart alone comprehend it. The late Mr. Wilberforce, who was, as all know, a man of distinguished piety, on one occasion prevailed on William Pitt, then prime minister of the kingdom, to accompany him to hear that eminently spiritual man, Richard Cecil, upon whose ministry Mr. W. at that time attended. The pious preacher delivered a most striking and luminous discourse on some of the leading points of Christian faith and Christian duty. It was a discourse which struck Mr. Wilberforce as being unusually imbued with a spirit of fervent piety and evangelical truth. When the service was over and they quitted the chapel, Wilberforce asked Mr. Pitt what he thought of the sermon. The answer of the illustrious statesman was, that he did not understand one word of all he had heard ; and that he could not, indeed,