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ever ye may be, ye are all of you sinners like myself. It is before your God and mine, that I feel myself impelled at this moment to strike my breast.
Until now, I have proclaimed the righteousness of the Most High in churches covered with thatch. I have preached the rigors of penance to the unfortunate who wanted bread. I have declared to the good inhabitants of the country the most awful truths of my religion. Unhappy man! what have I done? I have made sad the poor, the best friends of my God! I have conveyed terror and grief into those simple and honest souls, whom I ought to have pitied and consoled! It is here only where I behold the great, the rich, the oppressors of suffering humanity, or sinners daring and hardened. Ah! it is here only where the sacred word should be made to resound with all the force of its thunder; and where I should place with me in this pulpit, on the one side, death which threatens you, and on the other, my great God, who is about to judge you. I hold to-day your sentence in my
hand. Tremble then in my presence, ye proud and disdainful men who hear me! The necessity of salvation, the certainty of death, the uncertainty of that hour, so terrifying to you, final impenitence, the last judgment, the number of the elect, hell, and above all, eternity! eternity! These are the subjects upon which I am come to discourse, and which I ought, doubtless, to have reserved for you alone. Ah! what need have I of your commendation, which perhaps might damn me, without saving you ? God is about to rouse you, while his unworthy minister speaks to you! for I have had a long experience of his mercies. Penetrated with a detestation of your past iniquities, and shedding tears of sorrow and repentance, you will then throw yourselves into my arms; and, by this remorse, you will prove that I am sufficiently eloquent.”
Who doth not by this time perceive how much this eloquence excels the frigid and miserable pretensions of modern wit? In apologizing, so to speak, for having preached upon hell in the villages, Bridaine boldly assumed all the authority over his auditory which belonged to his office, and prepared their hearts for the awful truths which he intended to announce.
This exordium alone gave him a right to say every thing. Many persons still remember his sermon on eternity, and the terror which he diffused throughout the congregation, while blending, as was usual with him, quaint comparisons with sublime transports, he exclaimed, “What foundation, my brethren, have you
for supposing your dying day at such a distance ? Is it your youth?'. Yes, you answer, 'I am, as yet, but twenty, but thirty Sirs, it is not you who are twenty or thirty years old, it is death which has advanced twenty or thirty years toward you. Observe : Eternity approaches. Do you know what this eternity is? It is a pendulum whose vibration says continually, Always-Ever-Ever-Always-Always! In the mean while, a reprobate cries out, .What o'clock is it?' And the same voice answers, * Eternity.'
The thundering voice of Bridaine added, on those occasions, a new energy to his eloquence; and the auditory, familiarized to his language and ideas, appeared at such times in dismay before him. The profound silence which reigned in the congregation, especially when he preached until the approach of night, was interrupted from time to time, and in a
manner very perceptible, by the long and mournful sighs which proceeded, all at once, from every corner of the church where he was speaking.
Orators! ye who are wholly engrossed about your own reputation, fall at the feet of this apostolic man, and learn from a missionary wherein true eloquence consists. The people! the people! they are the principal, and perhaps, the best judges of your talents. (pp. 59-62.)
As we have mentioned several things which tend to injure a public speaker, and more especially a minister of Jesus Christ, we may be allowed to allude to another; we mean the employment of witty sayings or ludicrous anecdotes. Whatever of this may be allowed to the stage player, the lawyer, or such speakers as design only to dazzle the audience by some brilliant strokes for the purpose of producing a momentary effect, it is utterly unbecoming a minister of the sanctuary.The gravity of his subject, the dignity of his character, and the momentous interests which are at stake, all conspire to impress solemnity upon his mind, to exclude from his heart every light and trifling thought, and will not allow him to be witty at the expense of hazarding interests of such tremendous magnitude. The following are Abbe Maury's remarks on this subject, corroborated by some other writers of celebrity :
• To all those rules which art furnishes for conducting the plan of a discourse, we proceed to subjoin a general rule from which orators, and especially Christian orators, ought never to swerve.
When such begin their career, the zeal for the salvation of souls, which animates them, doth not render them always unmindful of the glory which follows great success.
A blind desire to shine and to please is often at the expense of that substantial honor which might be obtained, were they to give themselves up to the pure emotions of piety, which so well agree with the sensibility necessary to eloquence.
It is unquestionably to be wished that he who devotes himself to the arduous labors which preaching requires, should be wholly ambitious to render himself useful to the cause of religion. To such, reputation can never be a sufficient recompense. But if motives so pure have not sufficient sway in your breast, calculate, at least, the advantages of self love, and you may perceive how inseparably connected these are with the success of your ministry. Is it on your own account that you preach? Is it for you
that religion assembles her votaries in a temple? You ought not to indulge so presumptuous a thought. However, I only consider you as an orator. Tell me, then, what is this you call eloquence? Is it the wretched trade of imitating that criminal, mentioned by a poet in his satires, who - balanced his crimes before his judges with antithesis ?"* Is it the puerile secret of forming jejune quibbles ? of rounding periods ? of tormenting one's self by tedious studies in order to reduce sacred instruction into a vain amusement ? Is this, then, the idea which you have
conceived of that Divine art which disdains frivolous ornaments, which sways the most numerous assemblies, and which bestows on a single man the most personal and majestic of all sovereignties ? Are you in quest of glory? You fly from it. Wit alone is never sublime ; and it is only by the vehemence of the passions that you can become eloquent. Reckon up all the illustrious orators. Will
them conceited, or subtle, or epigrammatic writers ? No; these immortal men confined their attempts to affect and persuade; and their having been always simple is that which always renders them great. How is this? you wish to proceed in their footsteps, and you stoop to the de.
* Mr. Hume judiciously observes that“ productions which are merely surprising, without being natural, can never give any lasting entertainment to the mind. Too much ornament is a fault in every kind of production. Uncommon expressions, strong flashes of wit, pointed similies, and epigrammatic turns, especially when they recur too frequently, are a disfigurement rather than any embellishment of discourse. As the eye, in surveying a Gothic building, is distracted by the multiplicity of ornaments, and loses the whole by its minute attention to the parts; so the mind, in perusing a work overstocked with wit, is fatigued and disgusted with the constant endeavor to shine and surprise. This is the case where a writer overabounds in wit, even though that wit, in itself, should be just and agreeable. But it commonly happens to such writers, that they seek for their favorite ornaments, even where the subject affords them not; and by that means have twenty insipid conceits for one thought which is really beautiful.” (Hume's Essays, Ess. xix, pp. 240, 241.)
“I like none of those witty turns which have nothing in them that is either solid, natural, or affecting, and which tend neither to convince, nor paint, nor persuade. All such tinsel wit (as that of Isocrates) must appear still more ridiculous when it is applied to grave and serious matters. You ask, Will you then allow of no antithesis? Yes, when the things we speak of are naturally opposite one to another, it may be proper enough to show their opposition. Such antithesis are just, and have a solid beauty, and a right application of them is often the most easy and concise manner of explaining things; but it is extremely childish to use artiñcial terms and windings to make words clash and play one against another. At first this may happen to dazzle those who have no taste; but they soon grow weary of such a silly affectation. It looks very strange and awkward in a preacher to set up for wit and delicacy of invention, when he ought to speak with the utmost seriousness and gravity out of regard to the authority of the Holy Spirit whose words he borrows.” (Fenelon's Dialogues concerning Eloquence, dial. ii, p. 26, and dial. iii, p. 146.).
“To form a just notion of Tully's eloquence, we must observe the harangues he made in his more advanced age. Then the experience he had in the weightiest affairs, the love of liberty, and the fear of those calamities that hung over his head, made him display the utmost efforts of his eloquence. When he endeavored to support and revive expiring liberty, and to animate the commonwealth against Anthony his enemy, you do not see him use points of wit and quaint antithesis: he is then truly eloquent. Every thing seems artless, as it ought to be when one is vehement ; with a negligent air he delivers the most natural and affecting sentiments, and says every thing that can move and animate the passions.” (Ibid. dial. ii, p. 54.) Pope justly observes:
“True wit is nature to advantage dress'd,
What oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd;
Essay on Criticism, 1. 300. The judicious Fenelon also remarks, from St. Austin, that “in the Apostle Paul, wisdom did not seek after the beauty of language, but that the beauties of language offered themselves and attended his wisdom.” (Dialogues concerning Eloquence, dial. ili, p. 106.)
grading pretensions of a rhetorician! and you appear in the form of a mendicant soliciting commendations before those very men who ought to tremble at your feet! Recover from this ignominy. Be eloquent by zeal, instead of being a mere declaimer through vanity. And be assured that the most certain method of preaching well for yourself, is to preach usefully to others.' (pp. 26-29.)
A man indeed that can trifle in the pulpit gives evidence that he is unfit for his calling, and must soon fall into that contempt which his frivolity has so justly brought upon him.
On the whole we commend this little volume to the attention of our readers, believing that they will find much judicious advice in few words, remarking at the same time that the unction of the Holy One is indispensable to give effect to our ministrations. This is that which gives life and energy to the word delivered, and without which a minister of Jesus Christ is but a sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.
PROGRESS OF TEMPERANCE. Proceedings and Speeches at a Meeting for the Promotion of the
Cause of Temperance in the United States, held at the Capitol, in Washington City, February 24, 1833.
No Christian, no philanthropist, no genuine patriot, can be an indifferent spectator of the temperance movements of the present day. To remove an evil of such magnitude as has been induced by the use of intoxicating liquors, requires gigantic efforts; and we are glad to find that such efforts are now making in almost every part of our land, among all classes of people, in every department of the Churches, by Christians, statesmen, and philanthropists. The account of the above proceedings will show that our representatives in both houses of congress, as well as members of the executive department of the national government, are lending the weight of their influence to suppress the frightful monster of intemperance, and to sustain the efforts of temperance societies by persuading the people to a total abstinence from all distilled liquors. Will not this noble example give an impetus to the pulsation of temperance, which will speedily cause a healthful circulation throughout every vein and artery of our republican body? We most ardently hope this issue may be witnessed.
Had we room we would gladly give the entire address of the hon. orable Lewis Cass, chairman of the meeting, which is alike distinguished by the justness of its sentiments, and the beauty and energy of its language. Surely the honorable secretary of war cannot exert his commanding talents and his eloquent pen in a cause of more vital in
terest to his country's welfare, than in that of temperance. From this eloquent and appropriate address we give the following extracts :
· I have been requested to introduce the proceedings of the evening, and to explain the objects of this assemblage, and the views and motives of those who have called it. And I do this with the less reluctance, even in this hall of legislation, because the evils of intemperance, against which we are called to bear our testimony, and in the suppression of which our co-operation is demanded, have passed, like the blast of the desert, over this fair land.
Our government rests upon public opinion, and public opinion, to be safe, must be virtuous, as well as enlightened. This magnificent depository of power would soon become as desolate as the monuments of departed freedom, which hallow, while they sadden, the fairest regions of the old world, if it were not guarded by the virtue and intelligence of the American people and their representatives. All, therefore, are interested in the great cause of public morals, and the united exertions of all may be demanded, whenever an important melioration is proposed in the condition of the community. The great avenues of communication diverge from this seat of empire to every section of our extensive republic, and the most salutary impression may, therefore, be here made upon the public mind by efforts, founded in benevolence and directed by wisdom.
And it is one of the great characteristics of the age in which we live, that men are now uniting for the accomplishment of objects, upon which the peace and welfare of society must rest, with a firmness of resolution, a contempt of danger, a sacrifice of personal considerations, and a spirit of active benevolence, which offer the fairest prospects of
The messengers of glad tidings are despatched through the world, carrying the word of life and light to the arctic and the torrid regions, to islands and continents, to Christian and Paynim ; and already the song of triumph and gratitude is heard from the Eastern and the Southern oceans, and wherever the herald of the cross has carried the name of the Redeemer and the great plan of salvation. Beautifully indeed has this scene been described by one who, in faith and fervor, in principle and practice, approached the model of the primitive ages, and who was himself a martyr to these holy labors.
“From Greenland's icy mountains,
From India's coral strand,
Roll down their golden sand,
From many a palmy plain,
Their land from error's chain.
What though the spicy breezes
Blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle ;
And only man is vile :
The gifts of God are strown;
Bows down to wood and stone.