by J. C. Philpot
Some people cannot understand why the doctrinal
preachers of our day should not be as highly esteemed and as greatly
blessed as the doctrinal preachers of the last century. They do not see the
wide difference between receiving the truth at first hand and at second
hand. When Toplady preached election, and Whitefield urged the new birth,
they preached what their souls had received directly and immediately from
God. It was not with them a second or third running, but the pure blood of
the grape. Their souls had drunk of the wine of the kingdom; and, like the
apostles on the day of Pentecost, they preached under its influence.
Peter preaching Christ's resurrection at Jerusalem; Athanasius
contending for the Trinity at Alexandria; Luther declaring
justification by Christ's righteousness at Wittenberg; Knox
thundering against Popery at St. Andrews; Whitefield pouring out his
very soul in enforcing the new birth in Moorfields; Toplady urging
election at Orange Street Chapel--all preached with the Holy Spirit sent
down from heaven.
Many ministers now preach just the same truths; but are
they equally blessed? No! Why not? Because they have not received them in
the same way, nor do they preach them under the same power and influence.
Their thunders are mimic thunders; their preaching is rather acting than
preaching. Some one asked to see the sword of Scanderbeg, a celebrated
warrior against the Turks, which was preserved in a museum. "Why," exclaimed
he, "there is nothing remarkable in this sword." "No," was the reply; "but
you should have seen the arm which wielded it." So the doctrines of
justification, as preached by Luther, and of the new birth, as urged by
Whitefield, may be stated by any white-cravated youth, with a few hairs on
his chin. It may be the sword of Scanderbeg; but where is the hand that made
it drunk with the blood of the slain? The secret of all preaching and of
all writing is the power of the Holy Spirit; and if that be denied, the
tongue and pen are both those of the stage-actor!