« PreviousContinue »
MR CAUGHEY'S VIEWS OF CHURCH ARCHITECTURE.
SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF REV. JAMES CAUGHEY.
BY REV. DANIEL WISE.
JAMES CAUGHEY is a native of Ireland. He emigrated to America in his youth, and was converted about twenty-four years since. Two years after his conversion he was admitted on probation in the Troy Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was ordained a deacon in 1834. His first labors were not distinguished by any uncommon results, and neither himself nor his friends had the remotest idea that his name was destined to become a household word in the church on both sides of the Atlantic.
Mr. Caughey began his ministerial life with a resolute spirit, determined to cultivate his powers by constant study, and to form his character by a close and familiar walk with God. As the flower expands itself to the sun, his earnest mind opened to every good influence, human or divine. He was always looking and listening for means of strength, wisdom, and piety. Nor did he look vainly. He learned much, gained much from many sources; but from no single influence did he reap so large a harvest as from a passage in the writings of Dr. Adam Clarke. Speaking of this passage, he says:
"From the hour I read the following striking remarks of
Dr. Adam Clarke, a few months previous to my ordination, I have never varied a hair-breadth from the great truth they advocate. I can only quote from memory, as the page which first presented them to my eye is many thousands of miles from me, and I cannot turn to the place in his Works where they stand recorded; but they differ little from the following: 'But all this spiritual and rational preaching will be of no avail, unless another means, of God's own choosing, be superadded to give it an effect, the light and influence of the Holy Spirit. That Spirit of life and fire penetrates, in a moment, the sinner's heart, and drags out to the view of his conscience those innumerable crimes which lie concealed there under successive layers of deep and thick darkness, when, under that luminous burning agency, he is compelled to cry, "God have mercy upon me a sinner!” "Save, Lord, or I perish!" "Heal my soul, for it hath sinned against thee!""
"I shall have eternal cause of thankfulness that the above sentiments ever came under my notice. If my ministry has been rendered a blessing to many, that blessing has been vouchsafed, through the merits of Christ, to a steady recognition of the necessity of the influence of the Holy Spirit. On the evening of that never-to-be-forgotten day in which I read the above, I took up my pen, in secret, before God, and gave vent to the emotions of my deeply-impressed heart, in language something like the following: I see, I feel, now, as I have never done before, upon this particular subject. From the convictions of this hour, I hope, by the grace of God, never to vary. I see, I feel,
"1st. The absolute necessity of the immediate influence of the Holy Ghost to impart point, power, efficacy and success, to a preached Gospel.
"2d. The absolute necessity of praying more frequently,
more fervently, more perseveringly and more believingly, for the aid of the Holy Spirit in my ministry.
"3d. That my labors must be powerless, and comfortless, and valueless, without this aid; a cloud without water, a tree without fruit, dead and rootless; a sound uncertain, unctionless and meaningless; such will be the character of my ministry. It is the Spirit of God alone which imparts significancy and power to the word preached, without which, as one has expressed it, all the threatenings of the Bible will be no more than thunder to the deaf, or lightning to the blind.' ` A seal requires weight, a hand upon it, in order to an impression. The soul of the penitent sinner is the wax; Gospel truth is the seal; but, without the Almighty hand of the Holy Ghost, that seal is powerless. A bullet demands its powder, without which it is as harmless as any other body. The careless sinner is the mark; truth is the ball that must pierce him; but it cannot reach, much less penetrate him, separate from this influence from heaven. In apostolic times, they preached the Gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. 1 Peter 1: 12. In our day we need an energy from no lower source, to overturn the wickedness of the vile and profane, and to counteract the formality and worldliness which are everywhere visible.
"4th. I am now fully persuaded, that in proportion as the Spirit of God shall condescend to second my efforts in the Gospel message, I shall be successful; nor need I expect any success beyond. No man has ever been signally useful in winning souls to Christ, without the help of the Spirit. With it, the humblest talent may astonish earth and hell, by gathering into the path of life thousands for the skies; while without it, the finest, the most splendid talents, remain comparatively useless.