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theme is introduced, their preaching betrays no knowledge of mankind. They deal almost entirely in violent common-place declamation, as deficient in doctrinal precision as it is void of all just discrimination of character. Exaggeration prevents the rational hearer from applying the description to himself; and as the way of salvation is neither intelligibly nor humanely pointed out, he is rather exasperated than improved. Preachers who habitually wander through the barren fields of scholastic disquisition, or spin out labyrinthine allegories of interminable length, can create but little interest in a common audi

Neither can he be instructive or entertaining for a long time, whose voice is like a trumpet whining through a catacomb;' and whose whole action in the pulpit reminds one of the unfortunate bulls of Barrowdale, that went mad by the echoes of their own bellowing. Said old Thomas Mace, It is sad to hear what whining, tooting, yelling or screeching, there is in many country congregations, as if the people were affrighted or distracted.' But wherever and whenever such preachers are found, that which they most clearly exemplify is


‘LETTING down buckets into empty wells,
And growing old in drawing nothing up.'

The habit of talking boisterously where no premeditated and welldefined purpose is to be executed, and where the excitement of the puerile declaimor must be entirely factitious, is undoubtedly very prejudicial. It produces that artificial style of address, which in emergencies that require real ability, fails to produce results corresponding with the high reputation which fluent wordiness may have acquired. Men who prefer to shrink from the patient drudgery of the library, and the unwearied emulation of the best models in matter and manner, cannot hope to be greatly admired, or even respected by intelligent people.

An old writer, with some quaintness, but much truth, observes : 'I grieve that anything so excellent as divinity is should fall into a sluttish handling. Sure though other interposures do eclipse her, yet this is a principal. I never yet knew a good tongue that wanted ears to hear it.

I will honor her in her plain trim; but I will wish to meet her in her graceful jewels, not that they give addition to her goodness, but that she is more persuasive in working on the soul she meets with. When I meet with worth which I cannot over-love, can well endure that art which is a means to heighten liking. Confections that are cordial are not the worse, but the better, for being gilded.' But this kind of refinement may be carried to excess, as La Bruyère complained was the case with the French preachers in his day. Preaching,' said he, “is now-a-days become a mere show; that evangelic gravity, the life of preaching, is absolutely laid aside; an advantageous mien, a pretty tone of voice, exactness of gesture, choice of expression, and long enumerations, supply its place. To attend seriously on the dispensation of the holy word is no longer customary; going to church is an amusement among a thousand others, and preaching a diversion. The preachers play for the prize, and the hearers bet upon their heads. Oh the vain, unprofitable sermons now-a-days! the time of the Homilies is no more; the Basils, the Chrysostoms could not restore it; we should fly into other diocesses to get out of the reach of their voices and their familiar discourses. The generality of men love fine phrases and handsome periods; admire what they do not understand ; fancy themselves to be informed; content with deciding between the first and second Zoctrine, or between the last sermon or the last but one.'

Erasmus, with his delicate irony, and Latimer, with his vigorous incerity, have keenly satirized the ecclesiastical drones, ignorant sonks, 'bells without clappers,' and 'dumb dogs' of their day. But e have space and time only to transcribe another pithy extract from This writer has the highest opinion of Bossuet and Massillon, who have now become almost obsolete. A late writer in the North Ameri. can Review, speaking of Robert Hall's superiority over the French divines in their own famous department of funeral discourses, says: • We can remember the time when we hardly thought any sermons but theirs worth reading; while now they would yield us but Lentan fare. They never for a moment merge the rhetorician in the Christian preacher. They make the spiritual utterly subordinate to the artistical element. Their most startling appeals and apostrophes have more of theatrical clap-trap than religious unction. Their pointed antitheses, their epigrammatical horns of thought, their studied bursts of emotion, their measured flights into the empyrean, with the wires that pull them back upon the stage-floor in clear view, belittle the great themes of death, judgment, and eternity, and chill the heart while they amuse the fancy. We can imagine an easy and natural transition from their sermons to the ball-room and the theatre, and find no difficulty in believing, that their preaching might have been a favorite entertainment for the dissolute court of Louis the Fourteenth, without starting a penitential tear, or converting a soul. We should as soon seek warmth from the coruscations of the aurora borealis, as spiritual edification from their always brilliant and sparkling, but never fervent declamation.' Dr. Bascom escapes this viciousness of pulpit style only by being naturally endowed with more real ardor and spiritual integrity. Large measures of these attributes, under good control, are essential to produce effects that are radical, health. ful and enduring. The heart must be purified and kindled with heavenly flames; zeal not flashy and furious, but mild and fragrant, breathing on all a sacred power, as if its source were

French wit :

The eloquence of the pulpit with respect to what is merely, and what depends on, the genius of the orator, is a secret known but by few, and attained with difficulty: how much art must there be to please at the same time that you persuade! You are obliged to walk in beaten paths, to say what has been said, and what is foreseen you would say: the subjects are great, but worn and stale; the principles are certain, but every one of the auditory perceives the inference at the tirst glance: some of the subjects are sublime, but who can treat of the sublime ! There are mysteries to be explained, but they are better explained by the most familiar instructor, than the most rhetorical harangue. The morals, too, of the pulpit, though they comprehend matter as vast and as diversified as the manners of men, yet all turn upon the same hinge, return all the same images, and are extremely more confined than satire; after the common in. vective against honors, riches and pleasures, there remains no more for the orator to do but to close up his discourse and dismiss the assembly. If sometimes tears are shed, or any one is moved, let the character and genius of the preacher be considered, and perhaps it will be found it is the subject preaches itself, or our interest the chief thing which gives the concernment; and that it was not so much the force of eloquence as the strong lungs of the missionary which shook us, and gave us those motions. In short, the preacher is not furnished as the lawyer with matters of fact, always new, with different events and unheard-of adventures; his business is not to start doubtful questions, to improve probable conjectures; all which subjects elevate the genius, give force and compass, and do not so much put a constraint on eloquence as fix and di. rect it. He must, on the contrary, draw his discourse from a spring common to all. If he de. serts his common.places he ceases to be popular; he is either too abstracted, or he declaims, he no longer preaches the Gospel ; all he has occasion for is holy simplicity, but that he must gain; a talent rare and above the reach of ordinary men. The genius, fancy, learning, and memory which they have, are so far from helping that they often hinder the attaining it.

• The profession of the lawyer is laborious, toilsome, and requires in the person who under. takes it a rich fund and stock of his own; he is not like the preacher provided with a number of harangues composed at leisure, got by heart and repeated with authority, without contradiction, and which being altered a little here and there, do him service and credit more than once. His pleadings are grave, spoke before those judges who may command him silence, and against adversaries who are sure to interrupt him; he is obliged to be sharp and ready in his replies. In one and the same day he pleads in several courts, and about different matters; his house neither affords him shelter nor rest; 't is open to all who come to perplex him with their difficult and doubtful cases; he is not put to bed, rubbed down, nor supported with cordials; his chamber is not a rendezvous for a concourse of people of all qualities and sexes, to congratulate him upon the beauty and politeness of his language. All the repose he has after a long discourse is immediately to set to work upon writing a still longer; he only varies his fatigues. I may venture to say he is in his kind what the tirst Apostolic men were in theirs.

* Having thus distinguished the eloquence of the bar from the profession of the lawyer, and the eloquence of the pulpit from the office of the preacher, it will appear, I believe, that it is easier to preach than to plead, but more difficult to preach well than to plead well.

• A preacher, methinks, ought in every one of his sermons to make choice of one principal truth, whether it be to move terror or yield instruction, to handle that alone largely and fully, omitting all those foreign divisions and subdivisions which are so intricate and perplexed. would not have him pre-suppose a thing really false, which is, that the great or the genteel men understand the religion they profess, and so be afraid to instruct persons of their wit and breed. ing in their catechism; let him employ the long time others are composing a set, formal dis. course, in making, that the turn and expressions may, of course, flow easily from him. Let him, after necessary preparation, yield himself up to his own genius, and to the emotions with which a great subject will inspire him; let him spare those prodigious efforts of memory which look more like reciting for a wager than any thing serious, and which destroy all graceful

action; let him, on the contrary, by a noble enthusiasm dart conviction into the soul and alarm the conscience; let him, in fine, touch the hearts of his hearers with another fear than that of seeing him make some blunder or halt in his sermon.

· Let not him who is not yet arrived to such perfection, as to forget himself in the dispensation of the holy word; let not him, I say, be discouraged by the austere rules prescribed him, as if they robbed him of the means of showing his genius and attaining the honors to which he as. pires. What greater or more noble talent can there be than to preach like an Apostle, or which deserves a bishopric better? Was Fenelon unworthy of that dignity! Was it possiblo be should have escaped his Prince's choice, but for another choice !

•WREATHED round with flowers and diamonded with dew;
Such dew as gemmed the ever-during blooms
Of Eden winterless, or as all night
The tree of Life wept from its every leaf

Unwithering.' The preacher now under consideration has attained a wide reputation for the gorgeousness of the phraseology he habitually employs in his more labored efforts. We are aware that notoriety is far from being a just criterion of merit, since accident or impudence often

throws a cruel sunshine on a fool. Doubtless there are many names written on her immortal scroll, at which FAME blushes, but it is confi. dently believed that the one now before us comes not under that category. A whole life devoted to persevering cultivation, has enabled him nobly to win and worthily to wear the honors which belong to the industrious and the good. In every mind endowed with great original powers, one shining quality is apt to lend a lustre to another, or hide some glaring defect. What was said of Grattan, is an apt portraiture of Dr. Bascom's intellect.

• The boldness and grandeur of his imagery; the flight of his imagination, as well as the gorgeous richness of his language, attest the vigor as well as beauty of his mind. The mere critic may note many blemishes of style throughout his speeches : he may often be justly


displeased with incongruous metaphors; with vehemence tending to the bombastic; and with an excessive use of epigram and antithesis. But admitting that his speeches contain faults, which are interwoven with their beauties, enough of excellence will remain to win the admirers of intellect and genius. His eloquence,' said a distinguished living poet, was a combination of cloud, whirlwind and flame; a striking description of the partial obscurity, but startling energy and splendor of his style.'

The vivid pictures of thought and garish brilliances referred to above, are often met with in the review articles, academical addresses, and other literary productions which Dr. Bascom has given to the world. But in these he is much more chary of his gems than in his living speech. In the pulpit, when he delivers one of his elaborated discourses, what a cataract of jewels, flashing and pouring with inexhaustible

gorgeousness, do behold! We have listened to him till the sense fairly ached with gazing on the splendid profusion. A clerical friend, most intimate with this gifted orator, recently made an admirable remark to the writer with respect to his style. Said he, his finished sentences, so laconic, and full of blazing import, fall on my mind like repeated bolts of irresistible power. One expression, by its novelty and isolated strangeness of striking meaning, knocks out of my mind the impression made by its predecessor, the next in turn obliterates that, and so on to the end. All the time he was speaking I was enchanted, but came away without retaining scarcely a sentiment I had heard. It is much so. His fertility appears wild and lavish, as the uncleared woods of a tropical clime, and where, dazzled by gorgeous colors, obscured by gigantic and striking forms, it is often difficult to find a path. But its bewildered and bewildering eloquence is at worst like a mountain squall upon a stagnant lake, which though it tosses up weeds from the surface and slime from the bottom, gives insight into the depths, and causes a multitudinous sparkle over the waves beneath its changeful wing. Mind stagnates no less than mountain lakes, and a breeze beneficially rouses, and refreshes it. If · Beauty' has often led her pursuer astray, she has done so by times through agreeable mazes.'

Nothing is so repulsive to true genius, as coldness and insipidity ; it creates with most pleasure and success, when these are most remote. Great masters excite fear in the scrupulous, by rushing at once to the verge of extravagance; but at the same time stimulate admiration by their intrepid vigor and agile charms :

STRANGE graces still, and stranger flights they had,
Yet ne'er so sure our passions to create,

As when they touched the brink of all we hate.' A good exemplification of the remark just made, was Whitefield. He was endowed by nature and grace to shake the nerves and hearts of men, produced effects which were as sudden as they were striking, and which made the world ring with their author's name. in good sense, profound thought, true feeling, and all other attributes

And yet,

that constitute genuine eloquence, his printed sermons appear greatly inferior to those by John Wesley.

• Both so unlike, yet both so beautiful. How much more extensive and lasting in the religious world has been the influence of Wesley's calm strength of mind, than that of the gorgeous flashing of his vehement cotemporary. There is sometimes a happy union of rude but unaffected energy with plain and momentous truth; a combination of that ardent feeling which bears the hearer forward in its strong rush, yet offers him no violence, with the unforced and simple movements of the heart on the great topics of religion.'

Dr. Bascom is often exceedingly eloquent, because he was born with susceptibilities and aspirations of a true orator. The latent fire must exist before it can be fed and fanned. Experience, erudition, and exercise may add to its original power, but can no more bestow the gift if it exist not, than the careful cultivation of a barren desert will produce the rose, while it is insensible to both rain and dew.

• Some men,' says Dr. South, have souls so dull and stupid as to serve for little else but to keep their bodies from putrefaction. Fortunately, our divine is not thus conditioned. His spirit teems with graceful majesty, and though he may sometimes limp in the arena of severe dialectics, as a swan walks awkwardly upon earth, put him afloat on the ocean of revelation, the element in which his imagination most delights, and he is seen to the very best advantage.

When mere prettiness forms the chief design, and to dazzle is deemed more desirable than strongly to affect, the means employed to heighten the elegant will be sure to degrade the sublime. On a foregoing page, we represented the gorgeous expressions of this preacher for mastery striving, where each rules a moment, and then they “make themselves air into which they vanish.'. This, however, was not to indicate a want of original force so much as an excess of it. But this is far from being his only oratorical trait, or even his best one. He is capable of, and not unfrequently exemplifies, that gentle flow of amiable sensibility which melts all the parts of a theme into a oneness most attractive, and which from an object of cold regard becomes the glowing one of sympathetic admiration. In such instances, the phrase falls upon the idea in ample and rich folds like a robe of purple on Olympian shoulders.' An athletic force of thought, symmetrical and firm, comports with the commanding air of his person, and stands forth amidst the listening multitude with an impressiveness seldom excelled. When Raphael, the greatest painter, represented Paul, the greatest preacher, at Athens, he substituted in the place of a serene, composed dignity, that animated expression which was harmonious with his character and exalted pursuit. Such action and energy of mind ever becomes the solemn service of the pulpit, and under its divine influence,

"The theme shall start and struggle in thy breast,
Like to a spirit in its tomb at rising,
Bending the stones, and crying .Resurrection !

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