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the joints and marrow. The brightness draws the attention; the sharpness cuts the callous heart.
The effective preacher has this chastened elegance,—this polished plainness. With him ornament is a means used in powerful subservience to the great end of impression. It is not with labor drawn forth and heaped up; it is rather the spontaneous overflowing of a repressed fountain of beauty within. He writes and speaks as he does, because with the taste and sensibility be has, he could not write' or speak differently. It is not a matter of rule, but of heartfelt, energetic sentiment. He dares to contravene the written precept, if that contravenes the better law which his own consciousness and good sense have enacted. He feels that he must move independently, or forfeit the effect which he might otherwise produce. It is impossible, that he, or any one else, should be a man of power, while he is servilely a follower of other men's rules. His responsibility to the bar of the rhetorican, should be blotted from mind, by the overpowering conviction of liis responsibility to the bar of God. Let him think and write, just as he is compelled to think and write, with an eye on eternal things, with a heart full of truth and love, with inextinguishable purpose, set upon the glory of God, and the redemption of men. No matter, if thoughts and illustrations break forth, different from any which ever occurred to him before. No matter, if they occasionally run into forms, different from anything they ever assumed before. It is all well enough, provided they only lie together, in a vigorous and compact body. It is better infinitely, than to be forever saying, the same, old, dull things, in the same, old, undeviating way. Let bim yield to the urgencies of the awakened spirit within, when he has such a spirit, and speak freely and boldly, though he speak without a precedent, and it will not be feebly nor in vain. His hearers will not be likely to settle down to their slumbers, while he has them in hand. They will hardly dare to sleep; for they never will be able to conjecture, what things may be exploded on their organs, before they wake up.
My remarks are not against rules. Such a course does not become me. They are only against a servile bondage to other men's rules, or to a particular, arbitrary set of rules. So used they wither the waking energies of the mind. They are as chains on the feet, interdicting all strength and freedom of motion. The preacher cannot manfully do the work of God, with these shackles upon hiin. He cannot come up to the expectation of the good on earth, or of the blessed in heaven. He may sit down to write, and if he is thinking about Blair's rules, or any body's else, instead of bringing his mind in arousing contact with the great things of truth and eternity, the product will be something like Blair's sermons, finished, faultless ; but, preached where and how you please, absolutely powerless.
Let me here bring the parts together, that the subject of this discussion
be seen at one view. The effective preacher is a man of extensive knowledge, not a vovice. He has elear and comprehensive views of truth. ! His mind is filled with its illuminations. He is a man of deep
experience ; his heart is pervaded with the spirit and power of truth. He is a man of benevolence ; his soul is filled with intense desires to achieve, by its instrumentality, those grand purposes of love, for which the truth was given. He is a man of logic and of feeling; he can prove his points and press them. He is a man of simplicity, who aims to be understood ; a man of intention, who means to be felt. He clothes bis message in garnients of light, imbues it with the energies of emotion, adjusts it to the sensibilities of the heart ; points and pours it into the drowsy chambers of the conscience. He is a man of taste ; he can soar if he pleases ;- if he pleases, he can write and speak with a winning beauty and a chastened elegance. He is a man of boldness; and is not afraid, in distinctness and strength, to utter the whole truth-all doctrine--all duty, whoever may hear, or whoever may forbear. He is a man of independence, his rules are bis own, gathered from all proper sources, and incorporated with his habits of thought and feeling. He speaks in his own way, from the impulse of his own spirit and in accordance with his own consciousness and good sense.
He speaks not so much for beauty, as for effect. He likes beauty very well, but strength, impression, effect, more. We cannot but approve of his sentiments and course.
If he is moving in power, and doing the work of God on the souls of men, we can forgive him, even though in the rush of emotion, he chance to fall upon a figure or a word, at which Quinctilian would frown. If he has strength to lift up and move away mountains of difficulty, and to shiver rocks of obduracy, we will not insist upon his doing the work with absolute smoothness. · Let him by all means do the work. The highest exertions of power are sometimes inconsistent with an exact and perfect finish. The sublime and resistless agents of nature are not accustomed to do things very precisely. The lightning does not stop' to polish its shalts in its rending, scorching track. It is not intended by these remarks, to enco
courage an uncultivated and eccentric power.
While we would knock off some encumbering shackles, and concede some liberties to the preacher, in his seasons of excited effort, by all means would we hold him under the dominion of law.
Before closing this Article we subjoin a few remarks upon the cultivation and training of the sort of preacher which has been described. By what process does any one come to be a preacher of his sort?
We say very confidently, that no one becomes a truly effective preacher by accident, or, in these days, by inspiration. He becomes such by diligent labor and prolonged and inflexible intention. It is admitted that some have an original adaptedness to the work, beyond what others have. No one can doubt this who has heard of a Spencer and a Summerfield. But we stoutly deny, that any have become powerful and enduring preachers with no study and no training. Whatever be the gifts, there must be rigid discipline, or there will be ultimate failure. A preacher of sudden and light growth may corruscate and dazzle for a brief season—it is the meteor's brilliancy; it flashes and it
In all that has been said, it is implied, that the effective preacher, in the best sense, is a solid man ;-not a man of sound and show. There are firm and massive materials laid down, deep and strong, at the foundation of bis character. It is well, if he has often encountered investigations which have brought into requisition his utmost depth, compass and intensity of thinking. It is to his advantage, if he has grappled with the highest mysteries of mathematics, and threaded the involved mazes of metaphysics; not that he is to demonstrate doctrine by letters and lines; or, in his addresses to men, employ the processes of the schools; but the reach, and vigor, and acuteness he may gain, will impart luminous certainty to his reasonings, and authoritative efficacy to his appeals. We wish it were universally impressed on the mind, that as a preparative to eloquence, in its high and enduring form, there must be a severe and intense intellectual training. Let every young man whose eye is resting on this height of distinction and usefulness, understand, that he will not reach it by the broad, plain, easy road of acquisition, which has been opened in modern times, but by the old fashionSECOND SERIES, VOL. I. NO. II.
ed, narrow path, ascending ruggedly, where toil will harden the tendons of the soul, and rocks and roots resist the upward progress. Sinews, which have done such work, when put under the pressure of a fervid spirit, will deal out heavy and effectual blows.
It is hardly necessary to add, after what has been said, that we would insist upon a very thorough and mature preparation for the Theological Seminary. Whoever abbreviates his academical studies, through haste to be in the Seminary and thence into the field, acts very unwisely, and sooner or later will regret what he has done. To come out of the Seminary a finished and strong man, one must enter it with powers and resources sufficient to enable him to avail bimself of its advantages. It requires good habits of study previously formed, and the mastery of much language and science, to enable one to encounter successfully the profound and perplexing points of exegesis, and the high mysteries and severe abstractions of theology. The young man who enters with a marked deficiency in this preparatory regimen, will be doomed to go halting through the Seminary, and halting through life. It is not to be expected, that he will go forth into the field a finished and strong man, there to command the respect, and achieve the results of the effective preacher.
Many fail of the desired attainments in their theological course, by their loose and vagrant style of study. They emasculate instead of strengthening their minds. It is indispensable to the right species of improvement and growth in education, that the attention be prominently given to the great subjects of study and investigation which lie in the prescribed course; the labor, the toil, the intense tasking of the mind should be on these.
The great object of education, theological as well as classical, is discipline; not first the storing of the mind, but the discipline
of it; not so much the product of thinking, as the power of I thinking.
This power can be attained only by close, rigid, continued and connected thinking. Let the mind be held sternly to the subject or pursuit regularly before it. It may come reluctantly; compel it to come. It may struggle to fly off to more congenial pursuits. Let it be held, during the season of study, to the subject of study, as with “ links of iron.” One hour thus fixedly employed, is worth more for the great purpose of study, the discipline of the mind, the acquiring of the power of attention, than five hours of loose and intermittent thought.
This fixedness of attention, augmenting the power of attention and of thought, ensures profoundness and accuracy of knowledge. And clearness and accuracy of views are invaluable to the preacher. The attainment of these, should never be lost sight of in his training. A small range of knowledge, where it is thorough, distinct, absolutely and finally mastered, is far better, for all the purposes of knowledge, to the theologian ; than a much wider range, with hesitancy and confusion on every section of his field.
The reading of the theological student and the preacher, we think, should be conducted with special reference to the discipline of the mind and the accuracy of its knowledge. Much progress in these respects may be made by reading, or none at all, according as it is conducted. If it is a restless, unsettled, indiscriminate style of reading, a skimming over of every book, the individual can lay his hand on, it will be but little conducive to those habits which are needed in the work of the ministry. There are those, who, in their course of education are great readers, they read many things, almost everything. The material is laid in, all in a heap; and it remains without any order or classification. They cloy and oppress their faculties. In the odd but expressive language of Robert Hall, “ they pile so many books on their heads, their brains cannot move.
To effect the discipline requisite for the clear and strong preacher, his reading should be limited, select and thorough. Ít has been well remarked, “that the true student never considers, how much he reads, but rather how little, and only what and how he reads." Pliny's advice is to the same effect : “Multum, non multa.” A few books of the right sort, are better than more. The great standard works, patiently and firmly put together by the original and massive thinkers of their respective times, authorities and classics in their kind, these are what the student wants, these properly regarded will assuredly make him. The right book is the book that will not only feed but stir the mind, the book that will not only convey thought but compel thinking. Such a book is slow reading, if read with any intentness, on account of the thinking it will compel. It is profitable reading, however, for it will make strong by its bracing spirit, rich by its indicated stores, disciplined by its ironlinked' logic, excursive by its generous impulses.
From the few good books it is well to select some one, the best as near as we can judge, and let that be our ever present