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follow the Scriptural example. Much of what scholars consider as beautiful in composition, depends on delicate allusions, and slight references to interesting circumstances with which they alone are familiar. And no man, in the present exercise of common sense, would think of illustrating divine truths, or any truths, to his hearers, by referring them to books which they have not seen, to names which they never heard, to events of which they know nothing, and scenes which they never witnessed. But the inspired writers have taught us, by their example, that it is possible to draw illustrations from objects and events which are open to the common eye, without descending to what is low and grov. elling. The precision of classic elegance, in the selection of words and structure of sentences, would often sound as a foreign dialect on the ear of the unlettered rustic. But God has given to the humble fishermen of Galilee the power of uttering their thoughts in language which is intelligible to most, and offensive to none.

No one book, and perhaps no class of books, has done so much to perpetuate the purity of our language, as the common version of the Old and New Testament. We certainly need not indulge the fears of a certain cardinal, who expressed a reluctance to read his Bible, lest it should corrupt his style. But Christian orators, who would derive assistance in their work from every source which Providence has afforded them, are bound to be familiar, also, with those great masters who have

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devoted their whole lives to the study and composition of works of taste and genius. You may not, in the plan of your life, imitate their example ; other and nobler duties call you. But what they have accomplished at such vast expense, you may not innocently despise or neglect. Their works are built on the deep principles of human nature, and neither time nor the caprice of fashion can destroy them. The waves of one dark and turbid ocean of ignorance has already rolled past them, and yet they stand, as at the first, unsullied and unshaken.

Though the preacher may not clothe his sentiments in the choice language of Cicero or Demosthenes, he need not fear that his influence will be impaired by something of that mental refinement and elevation which is imperceptibly acquired in their society. In his preaching, he must descend, indeed, towards the capacity of his hearers, but only so low as to reach and raise them up. It is an idle notion, that to improve the character of the multitude, one must condescend to be as rustic and as vulgar as they.

Besides composure and dignity in its general character, and a chaste and elevated style of expression, the eloquence of the pulpit demands freshness and energy of thought. It is a pitiable mistake, that nothing more is expected of the appointed teachers of Christianity than a bare collection of common-places, and trite illustrations, familiar even to the mind of childhood. The first principles of our religion are few, and may be familiar. But

Jesus of Nazareth always adapted them to circumstances, and gave them an air of novelty, and drew illustrations from every object around him. He expects the same from his disciples, who are authorized to preach in his name.

He still speaks more eloquently in the voiceless page, than that tongue which does but echo the thoughts which have descended and are descending from generation to generation.

The topics of the pulpit do not often require elaborate and learned discussion; much less that subtle, metaphysical reasoning, in which some men draw out their minds to a mathematical point, and then look up with half amazement, that the people do not seem to follow them. The young and the old, the learned and the ignorant, the wise and the foolish, do not assemble together on the day of sacred rest, to be entertained with ingenious speculations, with able controversial discourses, or profound dissertations on subjects foreign to their interests. But they expect that the truths which they have read, as variously represented in the Bible, will be brought home to their own bosom, applied to their own situations, interwoven with the objects and events with which they are familiar, and bound to their hearts by principles on which they daily act, and emotions which they daily feel.

The institution of the ministry was especially designed to perpetuate a class of men, who should be able to apply the principles of Christianity to

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the ever-varying circumstances of the world, and to adapt them to the intellectual habits of men of every description, in every age, and in every land. . Here, then, opens a field of thought wide enough for the proudest genius to range in, subjects enough on which he may feed his growing strength without satiety, scenes of interest to exercise and to task his highest powers.

What! shall every other profession, and every department of science and literature daily exact the ingenuity and call forth the untried efforts of small and great, and exhaust the resources of the richest minds; and must the preacher's office be filled by men content to repeat from year to year the same remarks which their fathers and fathers' fathers have repeated for ages before them? Shall infidelity itself grow skilful to present her objections to the truth in new and attractive forms; · and will the devoted advocates of the truth talk on with a sameness that wearies even the ignorant and the credulous ? Forbid it, conscience! Forbid it, heaven !

Another characteristic of sacred eloquence, and perhaps the most important of all to success in the business of the pulpit, is earnestness. Religion is not a system of abstract precepts and propositions, on which one may discourse with as much indifference as he would demonstrate a mathematical problem, or discuss a question in political economy. It properly affords no subjects on which the essayist or the scholar may play his part, and furnish amusement for a vacant hour. It comes to us as an angel


from the upper world, bearing tidings of thrilling interest, telling us of our own immortal destiny, and opening a path way to the skies. We receive it, if we receive it at all, into our tenderest sympathies, and give it a welcome entrance.

The preacher is supposed to have felt its influence, and to speak from the experience of his own heart. Men look for expressions of feeling, in harmony with the truths he proclaims. He is surrounded by beings formed like himself with capacities for eternal joy, and exposed to the danger of eternal

Heaven opens to their faith, and Jesus, with the benignity of God and the sympathy of man, is seen bending to invite them thither. The world allures but to deceive, — the spoiler ceases not from his insidious work, — and the abyss beneath, heaving its terrific clouds of darkness, reveals the second death. Can he speak, and his soul not be moved ? Can words alone be eloquent on such themes as these? It is the melting eye, the glowing cheek, the fervent look, the earnest voice, the whole man vibrating in every nerve, and moving right on with unconscious power, that must give to such truths the form of eloquence. It is not the clamor of declamation, it is not the language of extravagance or bold metaphor, - it is not theatrical display, - it is not passion, - it is not poetry, - but it is simple earnestness.

I am aware that I have now little more than taken a hasty glance at the genius of pulpit eloquence, and perhaps refreshed your memories with

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