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Lines to the Memory of Thomas Fysche Palmer; Buried at Boston.
"THOU shalt not have my bones," the Roman said, To his ungrateful country. Then, as now, Whoe'er put forth the patriot's voice or arm, Incurr'd the patriot's penalty-proscription, Then blush we not for thee,
Exile or death.
Whose ashes here repose. The blush be theirs
Taking their turn before thee! one in destiny,
Hints on Extemporaneous Preaching.
THE Rev. Henry Ware, of Boston, has published an excellent little book with the above title, for which we think he deserves the thanks of all who are engaged in preparing themselves for the ministry. It is written in so forcible a manner, and gives so fair a view of the whole subject, that we can hardly conceive how a student can rise from its perusal, without resolving to make some effort toward the attainment of so highly desirable, we might say perhaps essential a talent, as that of extemporaneous speaking.
The work is divided into three chapters. The first treats of the advantages of extemporaneous preaching, the second, of its disadvantages, and considers the objections which have been made to it; and the third lays down some rules for the acquisition of the talent. The subject is enlivened throughout by pertinent examples and pleasing illustrations. As a specimen, we extract a part of his answer to the common notion, that nature makes orators, and that if we have not an original fluency, we shall in vain attempt to become extemporaneous speakers.
"The history of the world is full of testimony to prove how much depends upon industry; not an eminent orator has lived, but is an example of it. Yet in contradiction to all this, the almost universal
feeling appears to be, that industry can effect nothing, that eminence is the result of accident, and that every one must be content to remain just what he may happen to be. Thus multitudes, who come forward as teachers and guides, suffer themselves to be satisfied with the most indifferent attainments, and a miserable mediocrity, without so much as inquiring how they might rise higher, much less making any attempt to rise. For any other art they would have served an apprenticeship, and would be ashamed to practise it in public before they had learned it. If any one would sing, he attends a master, and is drilled in the very elementary principles; and only after the most laborious process dares to exercise his voice in public. This he does, though he has scarce any thing to learn but the mechanical execution of what lies in sensible forms before his eye. But the extempore speaker, who is to invent as well as to utter, to carry on an operation of the mind as well as to produce sound, enters upon the work without preparatory discipline, and then wonders that he fails! If he were learning to play on the flute for public exhibition, what hours and days would he spend in giving facility to his fingers, and attaining the power of the sweetest and most impressive execution. If he were devoting himself to the organ, what months and years would he labour, that he might know its compass, and be master of its keys, and be able to draw out, at will, all its various combinations of harmonious sound, and its full richness and delicacy of expression. And yet he will fancy that the grandest, the most various, the most expressive of all instruments, which the infinite Creator has fashioned by the union of an intellectual soul with the powers of speech, may be played upon without study or practice; he comes to it, a mere uninstructed tyro, and thinks to manage all its stops, and command the whole compass of its varied and comprehensive power! He finds himself a bungler in the attempt, is mortified at his failure, and settles it in his mind forever that the attempt is vain."
The sum of the matter seems to be this; that nature does certainly appear to have denied to some, the ready command both of thoughts and words, which she has granted to others; but that it is equally as true, that no man of a moderate capacity can fail of attaining to a sufficient facility of spontaneous utterance, by diligent application, constant practice, and undisturbed perseverance.
THE treasures of the world are the gift of God, and few blessings of his providence are more desirable. To possess a noble disposition and an extensive fortune, is to possess the desire and the power of doing good; and the highest honours which men can merit belong to the high minded and liberal among the opulent.
Poverty is no reproach; but it is an evil, and an evil of a bitter nature. A virtuous man may dread it. I am poor, says the Psalmist, and he adds, I am sorrow< ful. But if sadness attends on poverty, blessings follow the wounds of melancholy; and a bruised spirit will be borne up by the salvation of God. Since the misfortunes of life are sources of moral discipline, poverty is at once an evil, which must be supported, and a calamity which must be improved.
Men can support it, since they voluntarily bring upon themselves many heavier afflictions.
It is better to be poor, than to be wealthy, and yet ignorant of the use of wealth. A man may receive treasures with every harvest or with every wind; yet he will be none the happier, unless he grow familiar with virtue, and make charity the steward of his possessions.
It is better to be poor than to be peevish; for an indigent man may find delight in life, but to the querulous and petulant no enjoyment proves satisfactory, no form seems gracefully moulded, no ray of light preserves its true brilliancy.
It is better to be poor than to be friendless. The
comforts of life can be spared, if the good feelings of the heart abound. Friends, no less than dutiful sons, are as well made arrows, fitted to defend and to pierce; and happy is he who bears a quiver full of them. To be denied the counsel of men whom we honour, is worse than to need a home; and a reverse in friendship is more terrible than a reverse in fortune.
Poverty is an evil of this life only; it is therefore infinitely less fearful than vice; for vice is a disorder of the understanding and heart, and poverty is a mere temporal disadvantage. Poverty is an evil of this short life; vice is an evil of eternity.
Let us consider then more closely the nature of poverty. The terrors which are gathered around misfortune often vanish on examination; and I believe we may so familiarize ourselves with the haggard mien and wretched apparel of want, as to find her countenance tranquilized by contentment and bright with cheerfulness.
The evil is brief in its duration. We suffer only for a short season from the pains of our bodies. Childhood protects itself by its own inexhaustible sources of gaiety. The hand of poverty can never wound the young, for however heavily it may fall, the Father of Mercies has shielded them by their own internal tranquility and careless cheerfulness. And when we do came, to recognise the power and the train of want, we have grown old enough to resist and support it. The grave too, which is not far from any one of us, is a sure refuge for the needy; the earth, from whence we come, will yet suffer us to repose on her lap;-and what desire, or what suffering, or what necessity can violate the repose of that general resting place? Towards