There will be a day when men will curse us because we have not preached more plainly. You can call a spade “a spade” or you can designate it as “an iron utensil employed for excavating purposes,” but if you want folks to understand what you are driving at use the shorter term.
Shooting over men’s heads.
There is too little plain Anglo-Saxon preaching. We shoot far over the heads of our congregations and do not even scar the varnish on the gallery banister. We dwell on the points of distinction between Calvinism and Arminianism when the greater part of our people do not know the difference between an Arminian and an Armenian, and some good old sister thinks we are preaching on the cruelty of the Turks. Here I am discussing “The Dangers of Imperialism” and “The Anglo-American Friendship,” while men are starving for the Bread of Life! Brethren in the ministry, let us be less anxious about the syllogistic accuracy of our sermons and be more eager to help men live right and quit sin and go to heaven.
The pulpit Cannon.
There are many sins which few men have the courage to antagonize in public. Theoretically the pulpit is supposed to cannonade all sin of every variety and species, but, alas, it is usually too cowardly. The Spirit-filled man fears no one from Sandow down to Tom Thumb, from a plug-hat Bishop to a little pusilanimous dude preacher.
It is not that ministers are unawares of the prevalence of black and ghastly crimes, but that they dare not speak openly against them. Too many are contaminated with evil and involved in guilt for the preacher to voice with impunity the truths which burn in his soul. He knows only too well that if he dares assert his manhood and exercises the prerogative of Christ’s minister, the retribution will be swift and terrible, viz: ejectment from his pastorate!
How ominous is the silence concerning murder. And yet the land is swarming with crimson-handed murderers and murderesses. Many of them are members of our “best churches” and move in the most select society. Some of them read with animation the responses in church service and repeat the Lord’s Prayer with the greatest gusto. A few—not many, we devoutly trust—talk about “sanctification.” Poor, deluded, hoodwinked souls! they are blinded by Satan. Their hands are red with blood, and their hearts are black as hell. Were they to ever approach the heaven of which they sanctimoniously prate, they would be met at the gate with the curse of murdered infants who never saw the light.
If there is a pitiable sight in all God’s great universe, if there is a scene over which angels shed tears and demons shriek laughter, it is an old cruel-eyed mother, who has seared her conscience and sinned away all noble womanliness and blasted her own soul, whispering into the unsoiled ears of her daughter the way in which to murder her own offspring; and if there is a hot hell, such a mother will make her bed in it.