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Goldsmith had no trouble on that score. He was like an eminent beauty among the ladies, whose conversation is saved by her face. Webster had something like this. He delighted to whistle and talk like a boy. John Adams was another example. I have a strong impression, if, in the days of Queen Elizabeth, you could have overtaken the bard of Avon going up from Stratford to London, and could have heard his conversation, as he rode on his nag with his wife on a pillion behind him, had you not known by a previous introduction, you would never suspect you were in the presence of the immortal Shakespeare. How do you know this? I reply, I do not know. We have few traditions of the peculiarities and personalities of the great bard whose de
lineations of all other characters are so well known; and yet · I never had a conviction so deeply rooted without positive
proof as that Shakespeare did not talk up to his reputation. Why? First, the relaxed temper of his mind ; secondly, the supreme carelessness of his best effusion ; thirdly, the depths of his inner consciousness show that it must have had an outer rind ; and, finally, analogy. We find many dramatic writers who have this superficial folly, which covers up and dares not indicate the thoughts it conceals. Sheridan was in some degree an example. How like a fool he acted in his convivial pleasantries. He hardly degenerated when he was drunk.
We have scanned our subject, leaping over many chasms. It is sad to reflect that, with such ideal excellence, the vast majority fall so far short. Only to think what conversation might be and what it is! We are told by Steele that Addison, though by no means a good converser in general company, was delightful in the society of a few of his select friends. He was then like the night-blooming cerues, pouring out his blossoms, which fell as fast as they opened. Tradition has preserved the memory of a sister of this unrivalled man, who was as remarkable for a woman as he was for a man. She had his wit, his virtue, and more extensive powers in conversation. She was twice married, and was the
delight of every circle in which she moved. Her distinguishing excellence was a kind of forbearing wit, which, while it could make the object of her satire supremely ridiculous, was yet governed by good-nature and pointed only to reformation. All this was found in her brother. But what a delightful woman she must have been! carrying wisdom, hilarity, and instruction into every circle she was called to enter. Such heroes have been found; such characters have illustrated the paths of private life. Excellent things have been spoken, which were never printed; leaves have trembled in the air, beautified the branches, mingled with the blossoms, discharged their office, and perished by the next autumnal frost, whose only fame was to rustle for a while on the ground.
It is a counterbalancing consolation to reflect that, if millions of envious, bitter, and idle words have been spoken, and have escaped forever from every record but the dreadful book of God's remembrance, we may call to mind the good things that have perished — the pearls that time has cast away,
and no transcriber has collected. Let us think of the conversations of Addison's sister, and all the daughters of wisdom that have followed her example.
1“Of the sisters of Addison two died young ; the third, Dorothy, was first married to Dr. Satre, refugee French minister from Montpelier, who became a perbendary in Westminster, and afterwards to Daniel Combes, Esq. Swift has described her “as a kind of wit, and very like her brother." - Lucy Aikin.
THE PROVINCE OF IMAGINATION IN SACERD ORATORY:
BY REV. JOSEPH HAVEN, D.D., PROFESSOR IN CHICAGO TUEOLOGICAL
The specific nature and object of this Association seem to prescribe a theme having reference to oratory, and specially to the oratory of the pulpit. I propose to discuss, then, the True Province of Imagination in Sacred Oratory, whether, and how far, this faculty may be of use to the preacher.
As the word, however, is used of late with considerable latitude, it may be well first to define what I mean by imagination.
I understand, then, by this term, not the mere power which the mind possesses of forming images of absent material objects, which is, in reality, only memory in one of its forms, but rather the faculty of the ideal — the power of conceiving and representing under sensible forms the purely ideal. It is that which makes the difference between the copyist and the creator. It is that which lies at the foundation of all true art, whose legitimate office it is to carry us beyond the merely phenomenal, and place us in the presence of the real, the truly beautiful. It is that which in the wellknown words of the poet:
“ bodies forth The form of things unknown.” “To imagine, in this high and true sense of the word,” says Fleming, “is to realize the ideal, to make intelligible truths descend into the forms of sensible nature, to represent the invisible by the visible, the infinite by the finite. In this view of it, imagination may be regarded as the differentia
1 An Address delivered before the Rhetorical Society of the Chicago Theological Seminary at its Anniversary in April 1865.
of man, — the distinctive mark which separates him, a grege mutorum. That the inferior animals have memory, and what has been called passive imagination, is proved by the fact that they dream and that in this state the sensuous impressions made on them during their waking hours are reproduced. But they have no trace of that higher faculty and function which transcends the sphere of sense, and which out of elements supplied by things seen and temporal can create new objects, the contemplation of which lifts us to the infinite and the unseen, and gives us thoughts which wander through eternity.”
How far, now, is this faculty of the ideal admissible and of use in the pulpit ? Such is the question before us — -a question, I need not say, of practical importance to one entering the sacred ministry.
At the first glance one would say, the case is too plain to admit of hesitation. The faculties of the mind are all of use, and were intended by their Creator to be used ; nor is there one among them which is not needed by the orator in the exercise of his art. The fact that among the instruments with which nature has furnished the mind we find this faculty, is in itself an argument in its favor; and unless reason can be shown to the contrary, it is fair to presume that it is legitimately at the service of the pulpit orator.
There are, however, those who would debar this faculty entirely from the pulpit as unworthy of the sacred office. It is the preacher's business, they tell us, to deal with facts, and not with fancies; with realities, and not with fictions and figments of the brain. They would rule out the ideal, therefore, as wholly at variance with the real.
This however is, I need hardly say, entirely a false view of the nature of the ideal. The ideal and the real are not opposites — are not necessarily at variance. The two are, on the contrary, in their highest range, one and the same. The material, the sensible, the tangible, are not the only realities, are not the highest and chiefest truths. There are facts, the
1 Vocabulary of Philosophy.
grandest and most important, that lie beyond the range of
The whole realm of the spiritual, the very realm with which the preacher has to do, is in its very nature invisible, intangible, ideal, but none the less real. The philosophy unfortunately becoming prevalent of late, which comprises only the phenomenal, and ignores a cause ; which recognizes only fixed and inexorable laws, and knows nothing of a lawgiver; to which nothing is a reality but the sensible and material universe and its forces, - this surely is not the philosophy of the Christian religion. Christianity rocognizes and has to do with something beyond and above the merely phenomenal and material — with the invisible and the spiritual. It deals with facts and realities; but its facts and realities are of this higher sort. To reject the ideal, then, as necessarily at variance with the real, is strangely to ignore the true nature, not of the ideal only, but of Christianity itself, and to shut out the latter from its highest and most legitimate sphere. The preacher has to do with realities; but so long as those realities pertain to the realm of the ideal and spiritual, and not to the realm of sense, the faculty of the ideal may well be of service to him in conceiving and presenting those realities. He has to do with facts; but it may well be that the clear apprehension and proper statement of those facts will call into requisition the faculty of ideal representation. It requires a certain degree of imagination to be able to state correctly the simplest historic fact, much more those great and peculiar facts which Christianity reveals.
It is objected to the use of the imagination in pulpit oratory, that it tends to an absurd and fanciful style, a redundancy of figures of speech, and the like serious defects. It is not, however, I suspect, to the imaginative faculty, but rather to the abuse, or even it may be to the entire absence and neglect, of that faculty, that these defects are really to be ascribed. A lively imagination, under the control and guidance of a correct taste, would be the surest preventive often of these very faults. It is not imagination, but the