Fast day sermons.
We append some sketches of sermons delivered in this city on the late Fast Day, which the heavy demand upon our columns obliged us to defer yesterday:
Broad street Methodist Church.
The Rev. James A. Duncan
preached a most appropriate, instructive and powerful discourse, to a large congregation, from the words contained in the 51st chapter of the prophecies of Isaiah, from the ninth to the sixteenth verses inclusive. "Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord
; awake as in the ancient days, in the generations of old.
"Art thos not it that hath cut Rahab and wounded the dragon?
Art thou out it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep!
that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?
joy shall be upon their head!
they shall and joy!
and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.
"I, even I, am he that comforteth you. Who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass:
"And forgetteth the Lord
thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy?
And where is the fury of the oppressor?
"The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail.
"But I am the Lord
thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared; the Lord
of Hosts is his name.
"And I have put my words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion
, Thou art my people."
D said: The text brings before us two general ideas--
I. God as a Deliverer.
II. God as a Comforter.
I. As our Deliverer--
It refers us to His latent power, which we may in yoke. "Awake, awake, put on strength, O, arm of the Lord
It is power illustrated in history.
(See verses 9 and 10.)
"Awake as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab and wounded the dragon?
Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep?
that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?"
It is power that is the subject of prophecy.
See verse 11: "Therefore the redeemed of the Lord
shall return and come with singing into Zion
; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head; they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. "
As our Comforter.
He would remove our fears.
See verse 12: "I, even I, am he that comforteth you. "
(1) The foe is a mortal. "Who art thou that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man, which shall be made as grass?"
(2.) His fury is nothing to fear. "And hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy.
And where is the fury of the oppressor? "
2d. God who is the "Lord
thy Maker" is the only being to fear.
The anxiety of the captive exile is known to Him, and he has not forgotten us when we suffer.
He is the "refiner,"
As a Deliverer and Comforter.
He sums up all blessings by saying we have his word and the protection of his providence.
The writer regrets he is only able to recall detached passages of this eloquent sermon, which held him spell-bound in common with an immense audience.
In elaborating the first particular under the first head of his discourse, viz: the latent power of Jehovah, held back by Him until the proper moment arrived for its exercise, the preacher urged the duty upon his hearers of calling upon God, and invoking that power — the encouragement we had from the text to look up to God for His assistance, and the comfort we might derive from our knowledge that there was power reserved with the Almighty, as intimated in the text, "A wake, awake, put on
strength, O arm of the Lord
Dwelling upon the second particular, "It is power illustrated in history," the preacher enumerated the instances of God's intervention in behalf of His chosen people, as recorded in the Scripture, which authorized us to look for like intervention now in our behalf and in behalf of His own cause.
We are warranted also to take encouragement from prophecies already fulfilled as well as from the prediction laid down in the third
particular, and to put our trust in God that in his own time he would bring good out of evil, and that the end would be joy and gladness. "Therefore the redeemed of the Lord
shall return and come with singing unto Zion
; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head; they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee a way."
The preacher then dwelt at some length under the head of Discourse God as our Comforter.
He would remove our fears. "I, even I, am He that comforteth you" The foe is a mortal. "Who art thou that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass?"
His fury is nothing to fear, "And has feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready
And where is the jury of the oppressor?"
The enemy boisted of his "eighteen millions!" who were to come down and overwhelm us, but whose first efforts at our destruction at Bethel church and on the plains of Manassas
, proved to disastrous to himself, when his legions were sent howling back to their capital in consternation and dismay.
Well might we ask "where is the furry
of the oppressor as if he were ready
to destroy" And now one of their foremost orators who made himself conspicuous on the floors of Congress for his bitterness against us had lately been stain by Southern bullets.--he who said that Massachusetts
should yet furnish a Governor for South Carolina
Peace to his ashes.
We wish to his spirit no harm but we could ask "Is he ready
to destroy; where is the tury of the oppressor?"
Our sufferings are not unknown to Him who rules the sea, and the anxiety of the captive exile is shown to him.
He has not forgotten us when we suffer.
He is the "retiner." Like the refiner of gold
who sits watching the operation of the fire, increasing it when he sees necessary, but withdrawing the gold
at the proper moment when all the impurities have been removed, so God is now purifying us by making us to pass through a season of tribulation and suffering, and when we shall have been refined and purified, He will say "It is enough."
The peroration of the discourse was surpassingly eloquent and affecting.
None who were present will ever forget the pathetic allusion to the dying words of the youthful Georgia
soldier, recalled by the words in the text, "And have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand. " Few have had so beautiful a tribute to their memory, as the preacher paid to that of this soldier hero, who had looked death right in the face upon the field of battle, escaped that field of carnage at Manassas
only to fall a victim to the merciless typhoid, far from his home in a cheerless Richmond
This youth said on being asked if he was afraid to die, "Oh no, I am not afraid to die; I have been a faithful soldier, although not a faithful child of God, but I place my trust in Christ
I hope to make a good report to the Commander
I did want again to see my mother, but I musn't mind that.
We shall meet in a better land" After a time, and almost his last words, he said, "If I could only see my mother and get her last kiss.
I would willingly die and go up yonder to a sweet little sister we buried six short months ago. Oh, Mr. Duncan
, wouldn't that be Grand — wouldn't that be Grand."
The name of this young hero who thus quested not before the last enemy, is George Whitfield Stevens
, of Savannah, Ga.
, a member of the Oglethorpe Infantry, and of the immortal Eighth Regiment, commanded by the gallant and lamented Bartow
They were worthy of each other.
May their example animate and strengthen us for the future contest.
"And I have put my words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand. "
The Rev. J. D. Coulling
preached as excellent sermon at Trinity
(M. E) Church, from the 20th chapter of 2d Chronicles, 9th verse "If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house and in Thy presence, (for Thy name is in this house,) and cry unto Thee in our affliction, then Thou will hear and help. " In considering the subject, the speaker went on to show the certainty of an overruling Providence
in the circumstances by which we were at present surrounded.
The degeneracy and wickedness of the North
had brought about divisions, and it was for the South
to work out the great problem of Christian civilization.
The necessity of a firm reliance upon divine power was earnestly urged, bringing the mind of the hearer crossly home to the promise of the text that God will hear and who call upon his name in this
Second Presbyterian Church.
On of the most able and eloquent sermons of the day was delivered by the Rev Moore
, at the above-named church, (the gradations of the First and Second having ted on the occasion.) from 2d Chronicles, chapter, 34th and 35th verses: "If the people go out to war against their enemies the way that thou shalt send them, and ey pray unto thee toward this city that on hast chosen, and the house which I have for thy name, then hear thou from the eavens their prayer and supplication and maintain their cause." After alluding to the several occasions on which his hearers had been summoned to pray that the cup of rath might pass away during the present ear the reverend
speaker went on to ortray the evils of war, which, however, was not wholly an evil, for it was a part of the agency through which God disciplines nations.
The worship Mammon
was the supreme fault of a people who had long enjoyed a season of peace and prosperity, but war breaks this up, and shows that there are greater, higher, obler principles to be contended for. It would also have a tendency to develop our industry and resources, and establish our commercial independence; to bind the sovereign States together by all the ties of common suffering and common triumphs, and make us a great and united people.
The power of God was distinctly seen in the result of the war thus far: on many red fields of battle, where youthful volunteers and raw militia have stood, like walls of stone, the shock of out numbering hosts, and turned back the billows of fire which swept along to consume them, have we seen fulfilled the power of a nation's prayers.
We do not attempt to give the beautiful language in which Dr. Moore
invoked the people to resort to God in time of war. The sermon will doubtless be published in pamphlet form, and we recommend its perusal to all.