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the Saviour did sometimes drink fermented wine, we shall regret the circumstance, but have nothing more to say to such persons in the way of argument. It is admitted on all hands, that there were men among the Jews called wine-bibbers, and that they obtained this appellation by drinking too freely of fermented wine. A man who was known to abstain entirely from this would not be called a wine-bibber even by his enemy. Observe now how Jesus contrasts his own habits with those of the stern, ascetic prophet of the wilderness. “John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and ye say, He hath a devil. The son of man is come eating and drinking, and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man and a wine-bibber.” Eating what? That which John did not eat, -bread. Drinking what? That which John did not drink, - wine ! And it must have been fermented wine, for had he totally abstained from this, even the malice of his enemies could not accuse him of being a wine-bibber. These enemies were violent men, who cared not for the truth of their charge; they knew that it was false, as understood in an injurious sense. But they were not absurd enough to bring it against one whose habits of total abstinence made it impossible that it should be true! We have heard it asserted, and seen it printed, that “ Jesus was a Nazarene, and therefore drank no wine or strong drink; ” but we beg leave to suggest that there is some distinction to be made between one who belonged to the city of Nazareth and one who was under a Nazarene vow! The truth is, he was no “ wine-bibber," in the sense they intended. He was pure and perfect, but no ascetic as John was. He was much in society, and did not reject or frown upon its innocent indulgences. He lived a temperate, spiritual, and earnest life. There was a savour of holiness and heaven in his conversation. Good men sought him and loved his society. Wherever he was invited he went, and his presence blessed the entertainment, and made it a feast of wisdom and a nourishing of the soul with the bread and water of life.
30 S. VOL. II. NO. I.
ART. V. - Sermon sur Pseaume cxxvi. 3, prononcé le jour de
Jubilé, dimanche 23 Aout, 1835, dans la Cathédrale de
CHENEVIÈRE. 8vo. pp. 32. Genève.
Jubilee, Sunday, August 23d, 1835, at noon, in St. Peter's
The commemoration, at Geneva, in August last, of the completion of the third century from the commencement of the Reformation in that city, lasted three days. It was a time of Jubilee to the whole people. In their houses, in their streets, and in their churches, the most animating testimonies were given of their interest in the joyful celebration. The children were made participators in the scene, and took their full share in its hilarities and solemnities, like the children of the Jews at the great festival, that they might learn to adore the God of their fathers, and repeat the story of his goodness to their children after them. Strangers, who had flocked thither from every quarter of Christendom, were received with welcome hospitality, and added to the brilliancy and impressiveness of the occasion. It is true, that there were some bodies of the great Protestant church who refused to join in the holy festival, because the theology of Geneva has changed from what it was in the sixteenth century. They could not sympathize in the gratitude and thanksgiving of brethren who could not stand still for three hundred years. Geneva is as great a heretic in the view of Protestant Europe as she then was in the view of Catholic Europe ; and it were as reasonable to expect the countenance of Rome to the apostasy of Calvin, as the favor of Calvinists to the apostasy of his adopted city. Therefore the glorious occasion was marred by the narrowness of those that would not accept the invitation to unite in it, and by the mean bigotry of one who accepted it, only that he might publicly interrupt the festival by his ill-timed denunciations. But notwithstanding this, the voice of congratulation prevailed, and anthems of praise filled the churches and cathedral, and Heaven, we doubt not, smiled on the offering of a simple and grateful people ; a people that have known the light and been willing to walk in it.
The discourse of M. Chenevière is the more interesting to us in this country, because we have here been accustomed to similar celebrations, and easily compare it with our own native orations on such occasions. Our minds readily revert to the centennaries at Plymouth, Boston, Salem, and other important places, at which we have been used to see our distinguished men, excited by the recollections of the past and the images of the fathers, stand up to commemorate the goodness of God, and utter instruction for the people. We know how exhilarating such days are, and how much they do for the mind and heart of the people; and we probably are able on that account to enter with peculiar relish into the feelings of that little Swiss people, on their recent day of gratulation. We see their quiet crowds, and understand the emotion which swells their bosoms, and sympathize in all the ardor with which they sit in their high place of worship, and listen to the animating words of their appointed preacher. In the present instance, the historical notices and the devout reflections, which belong to the occasion, are such as fully to satisfy and excite the mind; though one would be better pleased to miss the extreme formality which marks the distribution of the discourse; which, however consonant to the custom of the French pulpit, is yet confessedly arbitrary and artificial, and greatly wanting in that freedom which should prevail on a day of enthusiasm. The exordium, and the several divisions of the subject, and the peroration are distinctly marked, and printed apart like so many separate chapters, reminding us of Mrs. Barbauld's account of the use of this formality of method in actual delivery. “At proper periods of the discourse,” she says in one of her lively letters from Geneva, “the minister stops short, and turns his back upon you, in order to blow his nose, which is a signal for all the congregation to do the same; and a glorious concert it is, for the weather is already severe, and people have
am told too, that he takes this time to refresh his memory by peeping at his sermon which lies behind him in the pulpit !” The time is hardly long enough for the latter purpose, but those who have visited Geneva can testify that it answers the former as well as if it were made purposely with that view.
In the discourse before us, the exordium is of considerable length, containing a brief reference to the most remarkable interpositions of God in the history of the human race, the last,
and not the least important of which, is the Reformation in the sixteenth century. The general benefits of this Reformation form the subject of the first division, and are ranged under four heads:- First, the restoration of Faith to its true basis, taking it away from tradition, popes, and councils, and placing it once more upon the Bible, and the Bible alone. Second, diminishing the worth of mere ceremonies, and increasing that of a moral life ; no longer causing men to rest on such a penance, such a prayer, fast, or confession, but insisting on obedience to the divine law; and hence the preacher remarks, that, on making a comparison of the state of morals in different communities, for example, in Prussia and Spain, in the Protestant Swiss cantons and Italy, there is universally acknowledged to be a decided advantage of the Protestant over the Catholic. No one can have visited those countries without noticing the fact. Third, the Reformation has changed the relation of the priesthood to the people, and of the Church to the State. It has set society free from a yoke which all history shows to have been most galling and oppressive, and has made the ministers of Christ what they were intended to be, the counsellors and friends, the teachers and comforters, of their fellow men. Fourth, it has established the principles of free inquiry and liberty of conscience, which did not exist before; it has proved itself the great epoch of the emancipation of thought ; has thus wrought great things for the advancement of society, and essentially meliorated the condition of the Catholic church itself.
In the second division of the discourse, the preacher speaks of “the particular advantages of the Reformation to his own country,” and in the course of it refers to the men who were the principal agents in effecting it.
“In this little city, whose cruel sufferings I have described, God, who designed for the accomplishment of his own plans to render it a centre of life and light, assembles his workmen and puts them to the work. There, are formed and brought together in groups those great characters which commonly appear at distant intervals. There is Farel, that intrepid man, whose voice, three centuries ago, resounded within these very walls, whose sermons were accounted divine, and who, after his superhuman efforts here, went out like another apostle to carry to our neighbours and allies the treasure of the gospel. There is Froment, who, by his persevering labors and his personal courage, hastens on the tardy hour of deliverance. There is Viret, less powerful, but not less devoted, whose elo
quence was persuasion. There is “that Frenchman,” as our records call him on the first occasion of speaking of him ; when he began his work within our walls, they did not know that name whose celebrity was to fill the city, the country, the earth ; — there is Calvin, that powerful man, whose Institutions, the College and the Academy, have continued for three centuries, and deserve to be perpetual ; Calvin, whose iron arm was needful to sustain the Reformation in its hour of peril; that man of admirable policy, who enlightened the earth like a burning sun; that sun of the church which, like that of nature, has its spots and its worshippers. These vigorous wrestlers press into the ring, and rush forward devotedly to the work. Men of giant power, men of faith, distinguished servants of God, blessed be your memory!”
The third division of the discourse is occupied with a view of the causes of success. These he finds, in general terms, in the corrupted and profligate condition of the Romish church, which had prepared men's minds to rise against it, and in the heroic and Christian virtue of the men who led the Reform, trusting in the help of Heaven and evidently blessed by a peculiar providence.
“ The recoil of these shocks was felt here in our own country; but God preserved our ark amidst the tumult of the waves, and our fathers exhibited virtues which hastened the victory. And if they baffled all the calculations of human foresight, if they conquered in spite of their weakness, it was because those men of the sixteenth century were men of profound convictions, because their devotion to their country and their faith upheld their courage and constancy, - because their masculine virtues were fed at the burning altar of a living piety. “God fights for us," was their reply to all seductions and threats. And when, six months after the Reformation, they repelled the assaults that were made on the city from four different quarters, they made no boast of their valor or their wisdom ; they saw but the hand of their heavenly deliverer; they repeated the exclamation of their great souls, “God repulsed them, to God be all the praise.” His hand they acknowledged everywhere, his blessing they invoked in the hour of battle, in Him they trusted in the day of misfortune, Him, always Him, they exalted amid the transports of victory. And thus, throughout that unequal struggle, they displayed a self-denial, a firmness, a spirit of sacrifice, which could flow from no source but the liveliness of their faith.'
Here he cites several instances, and then proceeds : “And you, our ancestors ! receive from your children the solemn homage of their admiration and love. We see in your
— pp. 21, 22.