to memory the prayers as well.
It was a congregation of cultured people accustomed to a high order of preaching, and they found satisfaction and delight in his ministry.
I have read nearly all of his printed sermons, about twenty in all, and they are marked by a pure literary style, careful in statement, earnest in feeling and rich in literary and historical illustration.
They fall into two classes, though not infrequently the two classes appear in the same discourse.
One class is that of sermons of elevated sentiment touching personal conduct and character, deeply religious in their tone.
The other, that of sermons strictly if not severely logical, intended to convince the understanding of those who heard them and persuade them to action.
It is in these discourses that the trained lawyer is evident.
Steps in the argument which the preacher would usually take for granted are made with the utmost care, as if he were appealing to a jury for a judgment, and for a judgment that will affect themselves.
This method is most clearly seen in two discourses on ‘The Moral Rule of Political Action,’ the purpose of which was to apply this rule to the question of slavery and convince his hearers that the higher law of morals, which was the law of God, was the one they must obey.
Still another on ‘The Covenant of Judas
,’ was of the same kind, minute to the last degree in tracing through the Scriptures the whole doctrine of the force of covenants, agreements or vows, for the purpose of showing that if the Constitution of the United States
had made an agreement with slavery—which he did not believe—it must be set aside by the enlightened conscience, for we ought to obey God rather than men. One other sermon, ‘The Burning of the Ephesian Letters
,’ from the account in the Book
of the Acts of the Apostles, is most ingenious and skilful in its preaching against the evil of the manufacture and sale of intoxicants, without any word in it concerning the traffic which he was so subtly denouncing and overwhelming with disgrace.
I cannot speak precisely as to dates, but from twelve to fifteen years of Mr. Pierpont
's ministry passed not