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of our day, whose sermons present a contrast so striking to the amenities and manly genialities of our current literature, and who may be said, indeed, unintentionally on their part, to be most masterly pioneers in the road of infidelity. Even the reprints of many of our old divines exert very little influence upon the rising mind, and how much less can we expect that their pulpit caricatures can? Under this we may notice the base practice of plagiarism which abounds among the clergy of this country. Anecdotes and instances corroborative of this statement crowd upon our recollection. It is not with occasional pilferings, with petty larceny, that we charge many of them; but with systematic and wholesale theft. This practice is very widely spread. We have known of ministers, whose libraries almost entirely consisted of sermons, and who were more than suspected of never preaching any of their own. How delightful this must have been to their audiences! To be regaled in the morning with Saurin and in the afternoon with Hall, and to have Chalmers thundering over their heads in the evening; why they must have felt like bees passing, in varied luxury of enjoyment, from the tulip to the lily, and from the lily to the rose! We have known of others who were in the habit of inlaying their commonplaces with all the brilliances they could pick up from the popular religious publications of the day, so that some attended them for the sake of hearing the best things of Isaac Taylor, Dr. Harris's "last," or the better sentences of Henry Rogers's newest paper in the " Edinburgh." Others watch the book-stalls and lay hold on the neglected fugitive sermons which are sometimes to be found there. We know of a little forgotten collection of "Five Discourses," by a Dissenter, which was stolen bodily by a worthy minister of the Scottish establishment. We have heard of a minister preaching in one chapel, while in another over the way, a young candidate was screaming out one of that minister's published sermons. We heard once from a very popular preacher a sermon which struck us and many others as remarkably poor. We found out afterward that poor as it was, "alas! master, it was borrowed." This amused us exceedingly. It reminded us of the scene in "Pelham," where an English pickpocket in a coffee-house in Paris sees on the other side of the room a
Frenchman of the same kidney, stealing some articles from the table—WHAT, he cannot see from the distance. To satisfy his curiosity, and expecting it to be something of value, he follows him out and relieves him of it-it consists of two small lumps of white sugar! Let our spiritual pilferers either give up their trade or aim at higher game.
We could add fifty similar stories; but it is needless. The fact is disgracefully notorious. Nor is it a matter for mere laughter; it is a subject for sorrow and for grave reprehension: sorrow that many ministers are so weak as to need such aid, and reprehension of their conduct in seeking it in such a mean and immoral manner. We may add, however, that we entertain a sanguine hope that this practice is doomed. The age is now too enlightened for it, and even the lower classes are fast coming on its scent. But, meantime, we say, Let the habitual plagiarist be exposed without mercy. He turns the pulpit into a receptacle for stolen goods. He gives occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. He disgraces himself, degrades his office, and insults his people. He does worse than this-he gives them food which is often unsuitable to their palates. They, in country congregations at least, are hungering for plain bread, and he has stolen nectar and ambrosia-the refined essence of the mightiest mindsfor their use. For we verily believe that
sermon of moderate literary merits, coming fresh from the preacher's heart, and dictated by knowledge of the circumstances of his people, will tell more powerfully, and be far more useful than the sublimest pulpit meditations of a Bossuet, a Howe, or a Hall.
When preaching is not slavishly modeled on that of the past, or else stolen from it, it is often apt to slide into a species of commonplace twaddle, or into a vague intellectualism. Unspeakable the platitudes which abound in many pulpits. The plea indeed is often used, that the simple truths of the gospel are best adapted for popular audiences. This is in part true, but it is not true that these should always be presented in the same sickening iteration of commonplace illustration and language. Paul, Peter, and John, all preached the simple truths of the gospel, but all in a very different style, and accompanied with very different arguments and imagery.
The truths of the gospel are simple, and
not a free, easy-flowing, and flexible toga?
Of course the pulpit is ready, when occasion suits, to bow before Literature, Science, and Philosophy, and sometimes with ostentatious homage. But the homage is often as hollow as it is humble. Besides, the very fact of bowing is a procla mation of weakness and inferiority. What the preacher should do, is to seize upon these lower territories in the name of his God, and to appropriate to the cause of Heaven all their riches. He must not come there as a bewildered beggar, asking for alms, but as a conquering monarch, claiming spoils. Possessed of the grand central truths of Christianity—namely, the creation of man by God and in God's image; the redemption of man through Christ's atonement; the glorification of man and of his world through Christ's reign-he will gather around them all the tributes of "gold, frankincense, and myrrh," which the whole world of art and knowledge can supply, and feel that, after all, it is too poor a present for Immanuel;
We may next cluster together a few of our charges against modern preaching. It is too stiff set and dogmatic in its cast. It does not take a range sufficiently wide. It is not sufficiently dramatic and imaginative; and it either ignores or makes awkward obeisance to Genius, Art, Science, and Philosophy.
Why should God's word, we ask, wear either a strait-jacket or a strict and stern coat of mail? Why even a tunic? Why
ers give in general to sin and sinners, and to the manner in which they handle the doctrine of punishment. This is a delicate and difficult topic, and we wish to touch it tenderly. Let us, then, remember that a minister, however pious and sincere, stands up a sinful man, talking to a sinful audience. Perhaps he is the greatest sinner in the assembly. At all events, as Dr. Johnson says, he may know worse of himself, than he is sure of in reference to any of his hearers. In these circumstances, how gentle should be his tone, and how wide his charity! There should be no haste of judgment, or harshness of language, or bellowing fury in utterance. He should remember the conduct of his Master to the poor woman taken in adultery, and should reason--" If He, a being spotlessly pure, was so lenient, who am I that I should wield the balance, and flourish the rod ?" While hating and denouncing sin, he should be careful to prove that he loves the sinner; that while seeking to strip away and consume the "garment spotted by the flesh," he yet pities and loves the wearer, and would save him from perdition. Affectionate and solemn earnestness, melting ever and anon into tears, should distinguish all his language, and the cry should be often on his lips-" God be merciful to me a sinner!"
and that before Him, and the sublimities of his religion, Art must lower her pencil, Science lay aside her plummet, and Poetry at once exalt and mitigate her song.
The true preacher should now often proclaim the unity of truth, that while other ages have been distinguished for their propensity to, and proficiency in, some one branch of study, in our age all knowledge is being "increased"—the entire periphery of truth is being illuminated! Men are beginning to feel, (and preachers should feel too,) without being as yet able to prove that there is but one tree of knowledge, and that literature, science, art, philosophy, and theology, are just branches in that tree, the root of which is in the deep heart of man, and the top of which reacheth unto the heavens of God. It is now lightening around us at every pore of the horizon, and we can less compare the rise of truth to the upspringing of the sun from one point in the east, than to another phenomenon we witnessed four years ago. On a clear, starry October night, in 1848, there began suddenly to stream up certain films, or rather rills, of electric light, not from the north, merely, as is generally the case, but simultaneously from north, south, east, and west, till, meeting in the zenith, they seemed to pause, to mingle, and to form together a great, white, quivering tent, or tabernacle of light, which covered the whole face of the heavens, and which it was an awful joy for men to stand under, and wondering to behold. Thus is truth breaking irresistibly forth from every point of heaven, and is hurrying on to some great centrical meeting place, to the formation of some wider, more complete, and more magnificent system than man's ear has ever yet heard, or than it has ever entered into the heart of man to conceive. Prudence is beginning to dwell with wisdom; righteousness and peace are embracing each other. Truth is already springing from earth, and righteousness may soon be expected to look down from heaven; literature and science must soon become Christian; Christianity, in her turn, must become literary and scientific, ere they can together form the living bread and the guiding light of the world. And woe to that preacher who refuses to be a witness at those glorious nuptials!
We have another charge, which we would urge more in sorrow than in anger. It is in reference to the treatment preach
Especially when he nears the edge of that tremendous pit into which human guilt is at last to go down, should his words be few and well ordered. It will not now do to ape the awful language of a Jonathan Edwards, or an Edward Irving. The one of these spoke as if with the authority of a cherub; the other with the burning zeal of a seraph. Yet even their tone, as well as that of Pollok in his poem, was far too harsh and contemptuous. Irving seems sometimes to dance with savage exultation over the tombstone of the sepulchre of the second death. Pollok and Edwards remind you often of the divine described by Foster, who represents the Almighty as a "dreadful King of Furies, whose music is the cries of victims, and whose glory requires to be illustrated by the ruin of his creation." This style of describing future punishment has in some measure been modified, but continues to linger on in many Churches. The late Mr. Mac Cheyne, of Dundee, certainly one of the most devoted and heroic Christian ministers the Church ever produced, neverthe
less erred grievously in this respect. His views of God's sovereignty were awfully transcendental, and led him, especially toward the close of his career, into Jonathan Edwardsisms of thought and language, which many of his audience were not able to bear. One remarkable sermon was on the text, "Snares, fire, and brimstone, he shall rain upon sinners." It is said to have been a fearful sermon, and frightened many almost out of their senses. In one village the effect was so tremendous, that he was requested to return and add a codicil of consolation, which he did a few weeks before his lamented death. Perhaps the fever which slew him was already seething in his brain. He told the people "there's a real hell, and not only so, but real fire, and literal brimstone"-we wonder he did not add literal" snares," too. Poor fellow! he thought this the best way of converting sinners. Peace to his memory! He was a man of God, and his struggles with his own peculiar temperament and sore temptations rose to the sublime, and rank him with the Augustines, the Bernards, and the Martins of the past.
loudly as anybody. But those were fights in which Spaniards were engaged, who laugh to scorn the cowardly, barbarous bull-fighters of Portugal.
At the southern extremity of the Campo de Santa Anna, Lisbon, stands the Praça dos Touros, bull-circus. This is a wooden edifice, and was built in the time of Don Miguel. It is said to be nearly as large as the circus at Cadiz, and fitted up with some five hundred boxes, capable of containing eight or ten thousand spectators. It is destitute of neatness and elegance, and was, when I saw it, in a bad state of preservation. Along the highest rows of benches it is inappropriately ornamented by a series of trophies, vases, and obelisks, all made of wood. Every Sunday and fête-day, the proprietors give the public a performance, which is duly announced in some such fustian as follows:
"This day will be given, in the elegantlybuilt and delightful Praça de Campo Santa Anna, a wonderful and highly-amusing combat of thirteen ferocious and monstrous bulls, to which the respectable public of this renowned capital are invited. The proprietors, ever anxious to gratify the expectations of the magnanimous and distinguished nation of Portugal, so generous in its patronage of these spectacles, feel the greatest satisfaction in being able to announce that they have spared neither trouble nor ex
A BULL-FIGHT IN LISBON.
FEW popular sports are more popular in pense in order to secure the above-mentioned
animals, belonged to the richest proprietor of Riba Tejo, who possesses among his herds the most robust and the bravest of bulls. This gentleman has consented to send them to the circus, to assist in the representation that will
be given this afternoon."
the Spanish peninsula than the bullfight. To witness a bull-fight, all classes of people, from queen to beggar-girl, and from prince to peasant, will neglect their proper business, and crowd delighted into the amphitheater. But, alas for the chivalry of Portugal! the bull-fight no longer exists as it does in Spain-pity the sport exists at all! To be sure, cruelty to the beasts has by no means ceased, but nearly all danger to the fighters has! Sorely disappointed was I on one occasion, when, seated as a spectator at the feats of the arena in Lisbon, to discover that there was not the slightest possibility of witnessing a death, even of a bull! I had nerved myself for some awful catastrophe, as I thought, by endeavoring to subdue all the finer feelings of humanity; but I doubt my success, for I was exceedingly disgusted with what I did see. Perhaps, however, if there had been more courage and less cruelty displayed, I might have felt differently. know that on similar occasions I had pre-functions of the matador de espada have viously become very much excited, and ceased, and good bull-fighters are no longer cried "Viva!" for a victorious bull as trained up in Portugal, while the most
In spite, however, of grandiloquent announcements, strangers having the spirit of genuine campinos are always greatly disappointed. The combat unto death, both of man and beasts, was abolished in the time of Mary I., 1777 or 1778; and this diversion has lost its most horrid inIterest and its shuddering attractions. The
Here follows an eulogium on the coolness and unrivaled agility of the bullfighters; and after eight lyric stanzas extolling the ferocity of the animals-the bulls, not the fighters-the terrible force of their horns, and a thousand other dangers of the combat, the whole announcement winds up with a description of some marvelous fire-works that will conclude the entertainment.
celebrated of Spain refuse to visit the sister country.
These fights open, as in Spain, by a grand display on horseback. When the court is present, an equerry of the royal household acts as cavalheiro, and then the best horses from the royal stables are in attendance. Mounted upon one of them, the equerry performs the steps and evolutions of the old Spanish horsemanship, at the same time saluting the court and the public; all of which is termed cortezias do cavalheiro. The bull then bounds forth, and is received by the knight, when the more daring among the flag-bearers immediately begin to annoy him with their goads and gaudy capes. Some of the mantlebearers display great dexterity; but they are in general awkward and timid, though the danger is not great, seeing that the animals have their horns sheathed in leather and tipped with balls. When the bull lacks bravery, or is greatly fatigued, affording little interest in the combat, Gallegos (peasants from the province of Gallicia, Spain) or negroes are sent against it, who render a service very similar to that of the dogs which the Spanish people clamor for, with the well-known cry of "Perros !" whenever the bull scems to be too tame. These Gallegos take part in all the Portuguese bull-fights. They make their appearance in round hats and quilted hides, and carry long, two-pronged forks, whence they are called homens de forcado, men of the fork. Their place is beneath the royal tribune, where they are formed in line; and when the bull approaches that vicinity, they receive him on the points of their weapons. Near them may be seen a species of aidede-camp, mounted, and clad in the old Spanish garb, short cape and hat of plumes. His office is to transmit orders to all parts of the circus from the authorities.
or four times, is compelled to stop. This is termed, not "taking the bull by the horns," but seizing the bull by the hoof, and appears to afford the greatest delight, especially to the lower classes of the spectators; hence, at this moment, the plaudits are most enthusiastic. A number of bullocks and cows with bells round their necks now enter, which the subdued bull follows out of the circle at a trot. His wounds are then dressed, and he is either sent home or reserved for another occasion.
When a bull evinces cowardice or exhaustion, the Gallegos, at a given signal, cast their forks aside, and rush upon him. The most courageous, placing himself in front of the animal, seizes the moment when, with lowered head and closed eyes, he is running at him, to leap between his horns, to which he clings firmly, allowing himself to be violently tossed and flung about. The rest then throw themselves upon the brute, securing him by the legs, horns, and tail, and even jumping upon him, until the poor beast, who sometimes draws a dozen of them round the ring three
The negroes, it seems, appear but seldom, and it would be well for humanity if they were entirely excluded; for they are called upon to perform feats which none of the gentlemen fighters dare attempt. These poor wretches hire themselves out, for the value of a few shillings, to provoke the bull when he is too tame and cowardly. For this purpose, they ornament their heads with feathers, in imitation of the savage chiefs of Africa, and conceal themselves either in figures of horses made of pasteboard, called cavallinhos de pasta, or in large hampers. The bull is sure to throw them down, and often maims and bruises them in the most shocking manner. I saw one poor old fellow gored through a hamper, to the infinite delight and amusement of the audience; nobody appearing to relish the joke more than the ladies, by whom the front seats of nearly all the boxes were filled. Sometimes these miserable blacks are forced, by the cries of the populace and the orders of the directors, to reappear in the arena, even while suffering from severe contusions; and loss of limbs is the probable result of this base and dastardly inhumanity.
Before the close of this most refined and delectable exhibition with fire-works, we have another display of horsemanship and horse-dancing, when vivas resound from all sides, and flowers, money, and sometimes jewels, are showered down upon the heroes of the ring who have that day most distinguished themselves in encounters with blunt-horned bulls.
A BRIDLE FOR THE TONGUE.—It is certain great knowledge, if it be without vanity, is the most severe bridle of the tongue. For so have I heard, that all the noises of the pool, the croaking of the frogs and toads, are hushed and appeased upon the instant of bringing upon them the light of a candle or torch.