Forsyth: Sunny Love or Solemn Grace?

forsyth-10‘The old layman demanded depth at any cost, for which he was willing to pay the inward price and meet the preacher half way; the new demands simplicity at no cost at all, and will have everything brought, cooked and flavoured, to his door. Simplicity for him is not what clears a concerned conscience, but it is what speaks the language of his business or consecrates the voice of his bosom. It is the Gospel deposited at his private address, without effort of his, for family use; it is not a Gospel which he travels miles of spiritual preparation to hear, and which might cost father, mother, wife, or child. He does not dig for it as for hid treasure – the ministry is there for that purpose, in the preparing of sermons. And the ministry fails because it either has to dig alone, or it is discouraged to do more than hoe the ground, and then finds nothing to make it more than a carrier and turn it to a prophet. In church going many hope at most to be impressed, and at least to have a treat: what they fear is to be humiliated – broken up, cast down, taught an obedience, frightened about their soul, and born again. Theirs is a cordial faith rather than a joyful – as the New Testament understands joy. It is a faith of the heart rather than the conscience, a faith in sunny Love rather than solemn Grace’. – P.T. Forsyth, ‘Lay Religion’. Constructive Quarterly 3, December (1915), 781-2.

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