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DEFECTS IN MODERN PREACHING.
worth was, that poetic diction is, or ought to be, in all respects the same with the language of prose; and as prose has a wide
E have grave charges to urge against
such luxuriant eloquence as that of Jeremy eral adapted to the various characters and Taylor, the principle, if just, would be no circumstances which are to be found in less available for the advocates of orna- every audience. It is still more lamentamented verse than for the defense of the bly mal-à-propos to the wants, cravings, homely style of the “ Lyrical Ballads." and circumstances of our present age. It But the proposition is certainly too broadly is by far too strictly and slavishly modeled stated, and, though the argument holds good on the preaching of the past. When it for the adversary, because the phraseology departs from that model it is too apt to dewhich is not too rich for prose can never generate into twaddle and commonplace, be considered too tawdry for poetry, yet it or else to talk the language of an obscure will not warrant the conclusions of Words- and pointless intellectualism. It is in genworth, that poetry should never rise above eral too dry, formal, didactic, and dogmatprose, or disdain to descend to its lowest ical in its tone. It does not give itself level. The great mass of the English sufficient scope and range. It is still too tongue is common ground, but there are harsh and ferocious in its management of images which would sound affected out of the doctrines of sin and future punishment, poetry, and, still more frequently, there and too crude and one-sided in its pictures are combinations of words which would of the happiness here and the prospects hereappear mean in verse. Wordsworth's after of the good. It either ignores, or abuworks, notwithstanding his horror of poetic ses, or makes awkward obeisance to genius, phraseology, present examples in the first science, literature, and art. It is not suffikind as well as the second.
ciently dramatic and imaginative. It is con
versant more with the letter than with the “ Evening now unbinds the fetters Fashion'd by the glowing light,"
spirit of the Bible. It has altered the posi
tion of the pulpit, which, in other ages, was would be a fantastic mode of saying, in far more than now a prophetic and prospectany description of prose, that the coolness ive pinnacle. And hence our modern preachof evening restored the activity suspended | ing is far inferior in power to our modern by the sultriness of the day—and we press—is wielding comparatively little inquestion whether the person exists who Auence either on the lower, or the upper, honestly believes that the stanza which or the intellectual orders of the community, follows is sufficiently dignified for what is, and seems rather, like the lines at Torres in design at least, a sentimental poem :- Vedras, to be covering a great retreat, “ And Susan 's growing worse and worse,
than, like the fire of the final charge at And Betty's in a sad quandary;
Waterloo, to be carrying dismay and deAnd then there's nobody to say
struction into the ranks of the enemies of If she must go, or she must stay! -She's in a sad quandary.
the Christian faith.
A volume could easily be filled with illusSuch was the nature of the innovation for trations of these remarks. We can only which Wordsworth struggled. In the at present drop a few hints upon each of species of diction where he had no precursor them, in the order in which they have been he is never likely to have any successor, now named, premising, however, that our and the compositions of his that promise to remarks refer to the general state of live exhibit a style of which the antiquity preaching as it has fallen within the sphere is the best security that it will never grow of our own knowledge or personal obserobsolete. No generation has been so pro- vation. We deny not that there are in all lific in distinguished poets as his own, Churches many and brilliant exceptions. and, dissenting from the prediction that We very seldom find preaching studiposterity will allot him the highest ously or successfully accommodated to the place in the brotherhood, we yet cannot various characters and circumstances to be question that he will keep the sufficiently found in the audiences the preacher is ademinent station which the world has long dressing. A certain vague universalitysince assigned him amid that illustrious such as Foster charges even on Hallgroup.
pervades the majority of sermons. The
preacher forgets of what a motley and third, the half of which is taken up in mingled yarn his hearers are composed, proving that Christ's body was not a phanand that each has a right to expect some tom, or with a fourth, showing elaborately thing in the discourse especially adapted that the fish with the piece of money in to him. Here is seated a mourning fam- its mouth was an emblem of Christ coming ily, expecting a morsel of comfort, a move back from the grave with the price of the ment, as it were, across their weeping eyes world's redemption ! of a finger of that Hand which is to wipe Of course a unity and a main subject away tears from all faces, and that he there ought to be; but surely the preacher, should manfully, and not sentimentally, if he has tact and imagination, if he be supply. Here is a poor, untaught, half- able to realize to himself, and map out human creature, whose nakedness has been with some accuracy, his audience, will be newly clothed, who has come from a “rag- able so to diversify the illustrations of his ged Church” to this—surely a crumb theme, as to have in it something suited might be spared from an overflowing feast to most of the wants and most of the to this “ dog under the table," and yet often tastes of his hearers—ay, and may do so he has to go empty away. Here, again, ere three-quarters of an hour have sped is a hopeful little boy, whose soul is in his by. And this he may effect with greater eyes you see just awaking, and the emer ease, and greater success, if he will make ging of the evening star suddenly from his applications pointed, particular, and black clouds is not so beautiful as the first comprehensive--not so much a series of shining out of immortal mind in a child's deductions as of practical and searching dark or deep-blue eye, and he is waiting appeals. It is because this diversity for for an incident, or little comparison, or which we plead is not aimed at nor atsome such barleycorn of truth, and shall tained, that, paradoxical as the statement not his young hunger be fed ? Here, may seem, it is nevertheless true that auagain, perhaps, is one bowing under a diences are often at once starved and fed, sense of secret sin, shrinking away from at once satisfied and tantalized. the preacher's eye, as if he knew all about Or, if it be thought too much to demand it-shall there be no “Go and sin no this diversity in every sermon, let it at all more” for that poor fluttering heart? events characterize the sermons of every Here, on the other hand, is a proud and preacher as a whole. Let all stiff, and impudent transgressor, glorying in his monotonous, and fixed idea schemes of shame; there should be a shaft in the gos ermonizing be abandoned. Let the pulpit pel quiver to pierce him to the heart- be a “large place," where the flocks are some one word that shall stamp fire upon liberally fed. But more of this afterward. his callous cheek. Yonder is a conceited Modern preaching is not, we think, suffiyouth, who deems himself wiser than all ciently adapted to the cravings, and wants, his teachers—the preacher should have and circumstances of our present age. It sela word in season that may abate his pride. dom even recognizes that these are peculiar. And here is another young and ardent in- It either cries out “Peace! peace!" when quirer seeking for truth ; let there be a there is no peace, or proclaims war against handfull of truth for him. And here is an phantoms, which were never aught else, artistic critic, demanding the beautiful ; and which have long ago vanished away. let the beautiful be there, either coming What, we ask, is the pulpit doing in order out in sudden gushes, or shed like a fine to meet the manifold skepticisms, and dew over the whole performance. There shams, and mammon-worships, and comshould be milk for babes, and strong meat mercial frauds, and political wrongs of this for those that are of full age. There section of the nineteenth century? Some should be much that every one can under- eccentric and able men have indeed bestand, and perhaps (it was Baxter's avow come famous by grappling, in their pulpits, ed and uniform plan) there should be some more or less successfully, with some of thing in every discourse that only a few these. But we repeat that in this part of in the audience, if any, can understand. the article we speak of rules, and not of Contrast this ideal with a whole sermon exceptions. Premising this, we do not employed in trying to prove the doctrine find that relation to the age in the pulpit, of the infinite evil of sin, or with another far less that precedence of it, which we on the Arminian controversy, or with a should have expected and desired.
Vol. III, No. 1.-)
The skepticisms of the present day are cret or open vice, or from a restless tennot sufficiently attended to in our daily dency to speculation, or from that excess ministrations. Whether preachers know of the imaginative faculty which so often it or not, there is now a great deal of se- unsettles men's views of Christianity, or cret or lurking skepticism in all assem- from a gloomy temperament, or from false blies. Some are doubting about the very views of Christianity, or from the influexistence of a God, while listening to his ence of great names, or from a combination word, or standing or kneeling in his wor- of such causes ; and according to the reship. Others, with the leaves of the Bible sult of this diagnosis should be his mode open before them, are skeptics as to their of treatment and his plan of cure. It will divinity. Others, while joining in ascrip- not do now to stamp, stare, roar, and dog. tions of praise to Father, Son, and Holy matize down all skepticism in the same Ghost, are doubtful all the while whether monotony of coarse and wholesale condemthese three are one, or “ whether there be nation. Such may be the panacea for it so much as a Holy Ghost." Others are of vulgar men and vulgar ministers, but perplexed about inspiration, or about cannot be approved of by any who have Churches, or about baptism. Could, in studied modern skepticism calmly, who short, the dark doubts passing through the have looked at it in a philosophical point hearts of a congregation in the course of of view, or who have compared its workone act of public worship be laid bare being in the hearts of others with its workfore the speaker, he would tremble amid ing in their own; for need we say that a the fullest tide of his oratory, and hide his portion of doubt has its dwelling in every eyes from the terrible display thus given thinking soul, and that religion lives in a of the uncertainties and dubities of think- constant state of warfare with it, and is ing and earnest men in this age of ours. glad, even when it cannot strangle, if it
But he ought not to turn away his eyes can suppress and silence its voice? .from this phenomenon. Far less should he, when he handles the subject of skepti
A ROYAL LESSON OF HUMANITY. cism, do so in a harsh and peremptory spirit. He should distinguish between UEEN CAROLINE, wife of George the dogmatist and the doubter; between the man willing to doubt and the man anx- daughter always employed one of the ladies ious to believe ; above all, between the of the court to read to her till she fell proselytizing skeptic and the man who, like asleep, and that on one occasion the printhat Spartan boy, allows the fox to gnaw his cess suffered the lady, who was indisposed, bowels rather than betray his secret. On to continue the fatiguing duty until she the willful circulator of poison-whether fell down in a swoon, determined to inculin the coarse, crude opium of a Paine, or cate on her daughter a lesson of humanity. in the refined morphia of an Emerson-he The next night the queen, when in bed, should have no mercy. But to the man, sent for the princess, and commanded her whose doubt, like a demon, rends and tears to read aloud. After some time her royal him, and yet who keeps it to himself, or highness began to be tired of standing, reveals it in a modest manner, he should and paused in hopes of receiving an order extend sympathy, counsel, and compassion. to be seated. “Proceed,” said her maFor who has made him to differ? Who jesty. In a short time a second pause has taught him to cease to doubt? If he seemed to plead for the rest. “ Read has never doubted, may it not be because on," said the queen again. The princess he has never thought? and if he never again stopped, and again received an doubted, is not that enough to prove him order to proceed, till at length, faint and disqualified for, or should it not at least breathless, she was forced to complain. render him exceedingly cautious in, deal- " Then," said this excellent parent, “if ing with the case of those who have ? you thus feel the pain of this exercise for
The genuine preacher will not only look one evening only, what must your atat doubts in the face, but will inquire into tendants feel who do it every night? their causes. He will not rest till he has Hence learn, my daughter, never to inexplored, so far as he can, the “dark bo-dulge your own ease, while you suffer soms” of the sufferers, and found out your attendants to endure unnecessary whether their skepticism spring from se- ! fatigue.”
ANECDOTES OF MISERS.
When it was proposed to build Bethle
hem Hospital, many benevolent individuals THE example of the parsimonious man volunteered to solicit contributions by call
is almost always bad. His neighbors ing upon the inhabitants of London. Two see his anxiety about what they rightly of these gentlemen went to a small house consider trifles; and, perhaps, are wit- in an impoverished neighborhood ; for the nesses to outbreaks of passion because all pence of the poor were solicited as well around him are not as parsimonious as as the pounds of the rich. The door was himself. There is every probability, then, open, and, as they drew nigh, they overthat his acts of wondrous, and, it may be, heard an old man scolding his female serdisinterested liberality will be ascribed, vant for having thrown away a match, only not to any goodness of heart, but to desire one end of which had been used. Although of applause-an ostentatious telling how so trivial a matter, the master appeared to self-denying he is, and how prudent. We be much enraged, and the collectors redo not say that this is often the correct in- mained some time outside the door, before terpretation of the gifts of these parsimo- the old man had finished his angry
lecture. nious philanthropists; but, right or wrong, When the tones of his voice were someit is the interpretation given, and the in- what subdued, they entered, and, presentfluence of a man's example is greater than ing themselves to this strict observer of that of his gold. It is somewhere writ- frugality and saving, explained the object ten, “ Let not your good be evil spoken of their application ; but they did not anof.” We believe there is often much ticipate much success. The miser, howgood hid under a parsimonious habit. ever, for such he was reputed in the neigh
Some years ago there lived in Marseilles borhood, no sooner understood their object, an old man of the name of Guyot: he was than he opened a closet, and bringing forth known to every inhabitant, and every ur a well-filled bag, counted therefrom four chin in the streets could point him out as hundred guineas, which he presented to a niggard in his dealings, and a wretch of the astonished applicants. They expressed the utmost penury in his habits of life. their surprise and thankfulness, and could From his boyhood, this old man had lived not refrain from telling the old gentleman in the city of Marseilles ; and, although that they had overheard his quarrel with the people treated him with scorn and dis- his domestic, and how little they expected, gust, nothing could induce him to leave it. in consequence, to have met with such muWhen he walked the streets he was fol- nificence from him. “ Gentlemen,” relowed by a crowd of boys, who, hating him plied the old man, "your surprise is occaas a grasping miser, hooted him vocifer- sioned by my care of a thing of such little ously, insulted him with the coarsest epi- consequence; but I
eep my house, and thets, and sometimes annoyed him by cast save my money in my own way; my paring stones and filth at his person. There simony enables me to bestow more liberwas no one to speak a kind word in his ally on charity. With regard to benevofavor, no one to bestow an act of friend- lent donations, you may always expect ship, or a nod of recognition upon Guyot. most from prudent people who keep their He was regarded by all as an avaricions, I own accounts, and who pay attention to griping old miser, whose whole life was trifles.” devoted to the hoarding up of gold. At The really miserly have no end but that last this object of universal scorn died, and of hoarding. They are generally termed it was found that, by his parsimony, he selfish, but they seem to have hardly had amassed an ample fortune. What was so much of man in them ; they gather, the surprise of his executors, on opening but they do not use. It may be, the his will, to find these remarkable words : pleasure they find in reckoning their “ Having observed, from my infancy, that accumulations is as great as that of the the poor of Marseilles are ill supplied with spendthrist in squandering them. Jemwater, which can only be procured at a my Taylor used to say, that "if his sucgreat price, I have cheerfully labored the cessors had as much pleasure in spendwhole of my life to procure for them this ing his property as he had in hoarding it great blessing, and I direct that the whole up, they need not complain of their hard lot of my property shall be expended in build- in the world.” Sure we are it is a pleasing an aqueduct for their use !"
ure few others seem to appreciate. Co
sequently, the miser is the most wondered a year. The nobleman soon died, and his and laughed at, and the least pitied, of all heir neglected to pay the annuity. Audley the fools by whom this earth is crowded. had execution upon the property, and by And yet it seems to us he more deserves legal trickery, in which he was well versed, our pity than almost any of the others. he managed to obtain, in the way of fines We cannot say, as our author does, “We and forfeitures, about four thousand pounds detest the miser." He is hardly, if at all, profit upon his original six hundred. His distinguishable from the insane. His pro- master being one of the clerks of the pensity to gather, manifested at first among Compter, Audley had many opportunities his playmates, cherished, it is probable, at of practicing his disreputable cunning, and home, has become a passion ; and so pow- of obtaining vast sums by deluding insolerful, that useless as well as useful articles vent debtors, and in deceiving their credare eagerly added to his store. He some- itors. He would buy bad debts for a mere times satisfies his craving by blindly rob- trifle, and afterwards compound with the bing one heap to increase another. poor insolvent. One instance of his ava.
AUDLEY was a celebrated miser of the rice and villany is so curious that we cantime of the Stuarts; he amassed his not refrain from giving the anecdote to our wealth during the reign of the first readers. A tradesman, named Miller, unCharles, and flourished amazingly under fortunately got into arrears with his merthe protectorate of Cromwell. Audley was chant, whose name was White. Many originally a clerk, with only six shillings fruitless applications were made for the a week salary, and yet out of this scanty debt, and at last Mr. Miller was sued by sum he managed to save more than half. the merchant for the sum of two hundred His dinner seldom cost him anything, for pounds. He was unable to meet the dehe generally made some excuse to dine mand, and was declared insolvent. Aud. with his master's clients; and, as to his ley goes to White, and offers him forty other meals, a crust of bread, or a dry bis- pounds for the debt, which the merchant cuit, was regarded as fare sufficient after gladly accepts. He then goes to Miller, an ample dinner. In one circumstance he and undertakes to obtain his quittance of was somewhat different from other misers: the debt for fifty pounds, upon condition he was clean, if not neat, in his outward that he entered into a bond to pay for appearance. But he was thus scrupulous the accommodation. The drowning man in his apparel from principle; for Audley catches at a straw, and the insolvent, with often asserted, that to be thrifty, it was many protestations of thanks, eagerly necessary to pay some respect to such signs a contract which, without considmatters. He was remarkably industrious, eration, he regarded as one so light, and even when a young man. At an age when so easy in its terms, as to satisfy him that others were seeking pleasure, he was busy the promptings of benevolence and friendin lending out, and increasing his early ship could alone actuate his voluntary bensavings. He was always ready to work efactor. The contract was, that he should when the usual hours of business were pay to Audley, some time within twenty over, and would willingly sit up the whole years from that time, one penny progressnight to obtain some trifling remuneration. ively doubled, on the first day of twenty He was never above soliciting trifles, and consecutive months; and, in case he failed touching his hat to his master's clients. to fulfill these easy terms, he was to pay a So rigid was he in his economy, and so fine of five hundred pounds. Thus acusurious in his dealings, that in four years, quitted of his debt of two hundred pounds, during which time, however, he had never Miller arranged with the rest of his credreceived more than a salary of six or eight itors, and again commenced business. Forshillings a week, he managed to save and tune turned, and he participated liberally amass five hundred pounds. The salary in her smiles. Every month added largely of the remaining years of his apprentice- to his trade, and at last he became firmly ship he sold for sixty pounds, and after established. Two or three years after a while, having made up six hundred pounds signing the almost-forgotten contract, Milin all, he lent the whole to a nobleman for ler was accosted one fine morning in Octoan annuity of ninety-six pounds for nine- ber by old Audley, who politely demanded teen years, which annuity was secured the first installment of the agreement. upon property producing eight hundred With a smile, and many renewed expres