Ebenezer Platt Rogers on Christianity and the Legal Profession

Like many Presbyterian pastors today, Ebenezer Platt Rogers, the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Augusta from 1847-1854, had many lawyers in his congregation. Having prepared a discourse for them, he subsequently preached it before the Governor and Legislature of Georgia, and it was so well received that many asked him to publish it for public consumption. It is now on the Log College Press website here

A snippet of his address will whet the reader's appetite for more:

But we think that the Bible is worthy of such respect and admiration, because of the special honor which it seems to do to the legal profession. The most superficial reader of
its pages cannot have failed to notice that frequent allusion is made to the forms and proceedings of legal tribunals, as well representing that most august and solemn transaction to which all human life is tending, and upon which all the events which are transpiring around us, are exerting a most important influence. There is a scene which is to be enacted before the moral universe, of which no type or representation could be found, save in the solemnities and forms of a court of justice. The Judge is to be seated on the Bench, arrayed in all the dignity and majesty of that position, and to conduct the trial of the world according to the principles and requirements of an infinite and eternal Law. The individuals to be tried are to appear before the tribunal. The law is there, the evidence is there, recorded in massive volumes then to be opened, for the acquittal or condemnation of those who are on trial. It is, to our mind, a circumstance worthy of notice, that the Holy Scriptures, when they would represent the most solemn and momentous transaction in which men can be engaged, and shadow it forth in a most
striking and impressive form, should have selected a scene with which the members of the legal profession are most familiar, and in which they are most frequently the actors.—
This could never have been the case were this profession an unnecessary and injurious one to the interests of human society, or the scenes of its practice other than solemn and im
pressive. It may indeed be the case that our courts are burdened with much unnecessary and frivolous litigation. But he who can be indifferent to the scenes which are sometimes enacted there, when man's dearest interests are involved in the issue, must have lost his sensibility to all that is solemn and overwhelming in interest and impressiveness. When we see an earthly tribunal sitting in judgment upon the case of an individual whose life is at stake, it is to us a fitting type of that tremendous scene which is to be presented at the last great day. The position and office of the Judge acquires additional solemnity and dignity in our estimation, as we remember that the Holy Scriptures make Him a type of that Great Being who shall sit upon " the great white throne," and "judge the world in righteousness." The office of the Advocate also gathers fresh claims to our consideration when we recall that language of the inspired Apostle which declares that " if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous." The whole scene gathers force and impressiveness from the consideration that the Divine Spirit has used it in the sacred volume to describe and image forth that most stupendous transaction which the universe is to behold—the final judgment. 

And if this be so, if the Divine Spirit has singled out from among all the scenes which are enacted among men, those which lie in the daily path of the legal profession, and in which they are the principal actors, to represent that event to which all the providences of God, and all the actions of men, are tending, which is to be the winding up of the affairs of Time, and the opening of the unchanging destinies of Eternity—it is to us no slight tribute to the dignity and the majesty of earthly tribunals, and to those who are called to administer their lofty behests. Their character should ever be such as to make them worthy of the sublime association.

Every Christian lawyer would be encouraged if he read Rogers' writing, and every Christian would be instructed on how to think about the legal profession, so often villified and mocked in our age.