by George Bethune
George Washington Bethune (1805-1862) was an American clergyman. He served as a preacher-pastor in the Dutch Reformed Church. He was ordained by the Second Presbytery of New York, November 10, 1827, and immediately entered the Dutch Reformed Church, where he remained throughout his life.
If anyone should ask why the slight volume now offered to the reader has been added to the multitude of books, the author can only answer, that the pressing entreaties of many, who heard the substance of it from the pulpit, have encouraged him to allow its publication, in the hope that what was listened to with much attention, may be read, by the divine blessing, with some profit. He lays no claim to originality or depth in his manner of treating his subjects, but he has endeavored to be plain, and according to the word of God. The critic may find much that a better taste might have corrected, the curious little that is new, and the polemic less that savors of party; but, he trusts, that nothing will be discovered in these pages, which a Christian should condemn as inconsistent with the morality of the Gospel.
In the care of the church to establish and defend sound doctrine, the ethical part of Christianity is sometimes neglected. It is, therefore, necessary that definitions which have become obscured, should be re-impressed, and the detail of a Christian life stated in so simple a manner, that "the wayfaring man, though a fool, may not err therein."
The author has long believed, that the teaching of truth is the best way to refute error, and that there is no argument so convincing of the divinity of religion, as the life of a godly man. He passes no censure upon his brethren who have girded on their armor, and are fighting lustily in the arena of controversy; but he thinks he makes no error in keeping aloof from such conflict, while he endeavors to teach those whom the Head of the Church has placed under his care, "to do justice, to love mercy, and walk humbly with God," learning of Him who was "meek and lowly in heart," to be "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners."
In the study of the precious text, for the illustration of which the following essays were written, he has felt as if he and his people were sitting at the feet of Jesus. All the hours spent upon them have been very sweet and pleasant, and if, in their printed form, they should be made useful, his reward will be rich indeed, for both the seed-time and harvest will have yielded joy and excited thankfulness.
The generous reader can not judge severely a work, however imperfect, which was undertaken from a desire to do him good; and the vigorous believer, who may find here little to satisfy his manly appetite, will, perhaps, breathe a brief prayer, that God would bless the humble offering to others, and pardon the errors and short-comings of a fellow-laborer in the vineyard of Christ.
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." - Galatians 5:22-23
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface to the Third Edition
Section 1. The Office of the Holy Spirit
Section 2. The Fruit of the Spirit. The Effects and Graces
-- Faith (Faithfulness/Truth/Veracity)
-- Temperance (Self-Control)
Against Such There Is No Law