The Practical Element In Christianity -- By: Charles White

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 009:34 (Apr 1852)
Article: The Practical Element In Christianity
Author: Charles White


The Practical Element In Christianity

Rev. Charles White

Divine revelation may be regarded either as a body of truths for intellectual inquiry and admiration, or as a collection of rules and motives for the guidance of human life. These two aspects run into each other, but may be properly conceived of and spoken of separately. For its contemplative uses, religion cannot be too greatly esteemed and respected. Its lessons and influences, however, for this real, acting world, where we spend the preparatory portion of our being, are more immediately important and indispensable.

It is the happy feature of our time that religion, like science, has left her cloistered retreats and her abstruse speculations, and passed into the earnest, matter-of-fact concerns of mankind. This decided assumption of the practical on the part of religion, marks the present as a signal era, in her aggressive movements toward the conquest of the world. This was to have been unhesitatingly looked for by all the pious students of the Divine character. A visible and effective industry is a distinguishing attribute of the great Author of Christianity. Said Christ: “My Father worketh hitherto and I work.” This, that is, the Divine example, is the great principle of the universe. Christianity without practical bearings would have been an anomaly and a contradiction in the Divine dispensations.

We proceed to consider the fact and the advantages of a practical character in Christianity.

I. First, the fact of such a practical character. One proof of this may be found in the mission itself which religion is to fulfil in the world. That mission is, in brief terms, to carry light, purity, happiness to the entire family of man. Its great work in this universal sphere is to wake all the immense tract of intellect that slumbers in the nations; to purify all the moral spirit that heaves and glows underneath it; to effect an intellectual and moral creation striking and illustrious like that of the six days of Omnipotence in the beginning. There is included, it is perceived, in such an immense accomplishment, a mission into every heart of a thousand millions, a mission into every such heart, as a place of evil spirits to cast them out, as a place of death to raise the dead, as a place vacant of all moral goodness to settle a family of affections fit for heaven. Such a mission to all that dwell on the face of the earth, a mission charged with such social, intellectual and moral regenerations, leaves no doubt of the character of religion being that of a great practical instrumentality.

A glance at the almost insuperable difficulties to be overcome in effecting the meliorating religious chan...

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