“Peace, peace, when there is no peace.” Jeremiah 6:14
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Many of the people of London enjoy peace in their hearts, because they are ignorant of the things of God. It would positively alarm many of our sober orthodox Christians, if they could once have an idea of the utter ignorance of spiritual things that reigns throughout this land. Some of us, when moving about here and there, in all classes of society, have often been left to remark, that there is less known of the truths of religion than of any science, however obscure that science may be. Take as a lamentable instance, the ordinary effusions of the secular press, and who can avoid remarking the ignorance they manifest as to true religion. Let the papers speak on politics, it is a matter they understand, and their ability is astonishing; but, once let them touch religion, and our Sabbath-school children could convict them of entire ignorance. The statements they put forth are so crude, so remote from the fact, that we are led to imagine that the presentation of a fourpenny testament to special correspondents, should be one of the first efforts of our societies for spreading the gospel among the heathen. As to theology, some of our great writers seem to be as little versed in it as a horse or a cow. Go among all ranks and classes of men, and since the day we gave up our catechism, and old Dr Watts’ and the Assemblies’ ceased to be used, people have not a clear idea of what is meant by the gospel of Christ. I have frequently heard it asserted, by those who have judged the modern pulpit without severity, that if a man attended a course of thirteen lectures on geology, he would get a pretty clear idea of the system, but that you might hear not merely thirteen sermons, but thirteen hundred sermons and you would not have a clear idea of the system of divinity that was meant to be taught.
For meditation: The unconverted by themselves cannot understand the truths of the Gospel when they hear them unless God enlightens them (1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4). But there are parts of the country where they would find it very hard to hear the truths of the Gospel being preached (Amos 8:11,12).
Sermon no. 301
26 February (1860)