had a distinctly moral purpose.
The theatre was amusement, was intellect: politics was success, no broader than Athens
,--to make the Greek keep the Barbarian under his feet; the means, war,--that was the end of politics.
When Christianity came she had to fight her way against the customs, the fashion, and the intellect of Rome
Instantly she leaped into the pulpit, and her sons preached.
The Apostles preached; all the earl ages preached.
The last half of the New Testament, the letters of the Fathers, everything that has come down to us from the first three centuries, is controversial; it is aggressive; it is an attempt to dislodge one idea and plant another.
It was done.
When it was done, the age went to sleep in its hermitage; it went to sleep in sentiment, and the pulpit died.
Luther sprang into existence.
He wanted to wake the mind of the people from its long dream of a holiness that abounded in emotions; he wanted to plant an intellectual vigor of thought.
Instantly he seized the pulpit; and during that age the pulpit covered everything that we call the newspaper-press, literature, politics, religion.
Luther wrote upon everything, he spoke upon everything; and so did his compeers.
There was no question, public or private, that the pulpit did not deal with.
That was the secret of its influence; it was a live man speaking to men alive on all live questions.
Now we come down to our day. We have things that call themselves pulpits.
And here I want to read you my text.
It consists of an extract from an apology of the Rev. Dr. Ellis
, of Charlestown
, for the stupidity of the pulpit.
You observe that a clergyman never steps into an ordinary meeting and takes the platform, that one half the time he does not commence his remarks by saying, by way of relief to his audience, “I am not going to impose a sermon on you.”
As if a sermon was