Images de page
PDF
ePub

to knock at the door of your heart, to crave your acceptance of him ; and to do away with the obstructions which lay in the way of God to the sinner, he set up the costly apparatus of redemption. As remission of sins without the shedding of blood was impossible, he cleared the way between heaven and the guilty world of this mighty barrier rather than lose you. He sent his son to pour out his soul unto death for you ; and now that he has finished transgression and made an end of sin, now that he has made reconciliation for iniquity, and that everlasting righteousness is obtained-now that the law is magnified and made ho. nourable --now that the weight and heavy burden of your guilt is taken away, and there is no restraint on God's good will to guilty man-now that there is nothing to intercept the friendship of God from coming down freely as the light of day, and rich as the exuberance of heaven to a sinful and despairing world, he calls you to come and taste that “God is love.” May God add his blessing, &c.

REMARKS.

The fame of Dr. Chalmers may be considered to be so far established that no new criticisms on the character and style of his preaching can now affect it. Yet a few observations on that subject may not be inappropriate after the sermon, of which the above is a faithful report, and on the occasion of his present short visit to this metropolis.

Dr. Chalmers is now getting into the sear and yellow leaf of life. Age has already passed his furrowing fingers over his countenance, and laid on him a burden of years which makes his shoulders stoop a little: but his mind appears to be as buoyant and vigorous as ever. In person, he is of the middle stature, and exhibits the indications of a once robust frame. When he rises in the pulpit you see nothing to prepare you for what is to follow. You perceive a calm look, and a thoughtful mind pourtrayed in that look, but you cannot discover any presage of the impetuous volley of language which is to burst forth. There is a cool eye, a placid demeanour and considerable self-possession displayed. He announces the text in the most ordinary manner, reading it, and repeating it in a low voice and with much rapidity. Without any dalliance with his audience, he addresses himself instantly to the business before him. He seizes on the single proposition of the text, explains its terms, and then proceeds to enforce the lesson or lessons it inculcates on the attention of his hearers. In doing this, he takes one leading truth, and seldom more than one, which he amplifies and enlarges on to the utmost extent of his powers, that is to say, as far as he can within the brief space allotted to the delivery of a sermon ; and, therefore, it not unfrequently happens that he leaves parts of his theme abruptly, so that the whole composition is not unlike the almost completely developed figure which the hand of the statuary has left unfinished, in many points having struck out the bold No. 4.

F

outline, and called forth the all but animated creature of his imagination and art, into a prominence and a beauteousness which entrance the beholder at once, and leave him unmindful of the lack of the finer touches of the chisel that would have made it all perfection. In the delivery of his discourse he rises with speed from the dryness of common place assertion of acknowledged principles to the enforcement of conclusions drawn from them with much of depth of argument and acuteness of reasoning, but with more of impassioned declamation, pouring into the fixed ear a stream of powerful but not elegant phraseology, and a torrent of figurative but rugged eloquence, advancing with winged swiftness until the burning words and the scaring imagery come forth with an energy of gesticulation and a violence of volubility which appal the hearer if they do not convince him, and which, were it not that intelligi. bility is sometimes destroyed in the whirlwind of declamatory might, would be always overwhelming. But this is the way in which he storms the mind and batters down the outworks of self-complacency or cool indifference; and anon he returns to the attack with fresh weapons, and so by a reiteration of arguments and appeals, he makes a breach and there plants the standard of truth, thrusting the shaft into the very heart of the stricken listener. There are many faults in his diction; his voice is neither commanding nor harmonious, nor is his action agreeable. To an English ear his pronunciation is harsh, and such as to render him at times difficult to understand. Hence the difficulty of reporting him experienced by even the best English short-hand writers at the bar and in the senate. Yet withal he is popular and attractive, and deservedly

There is an earnestness about him which cannot fail to engage the hearer, and a spirit of affection which, though it be mingled with occasional streaks of severity, converting it, as it were, into an oxymel, that assures one that the object, the sole object, at which the preacher aims, is the promotion of the soul's eternal happiness. Dr. Chalmers has been eminently useful as a minister of the Gospel, and is just the man to disturb those who sit at ease in Zion, and to awake the worldlyminded to a thoughtfulness about the things that appertain to their eternal destiny.

The chapel in which Dr. Chalmers preached was too small. Before the commencement of the service, admission was obtainable only by tickets which had been previously issued. At eleven o'clock the doors were thrown open to the public, and the place became crowded to excess. There were several of the nobility and some preachers of different denominations present. It is a pity that the Doctor did not preach in some more commodious building. We understand that he will set off on his return to Scotland this week.

[ocr errors]

DR. CHALMERS. [The following is from a paper in an American periodical for April, 1826,

entitled, "Transatlantic Recollections."] Dr. Chalmers is, in truth, in every respect an extraordinary man. With neither appearance, nor manner, nor voice to recommend him, yet, by the sheer weight and vigour of his talents, he impresses even his defects into his service, and compels them to minister to the effect of his oratory, Who that ever beheld this mighty man of God enter the pulpit of St. John's, with bis wan features,

“ Sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,” and his large light-blue eyes half closed, as if looking in upon the busy world of his creative mind, and heard the first weak and grating sounds of his broad provincial dialect, and witnessed the rude awkward gestures with which he commences his holy orations, would expect the subsequent thundering and lightening of his irresistible genius, which, flash after flash, and peal after peal, burst forth upon his rapt and astonished audience ? His looks, his tones, his gesture, warmed and illuminated by an imagination which roams unconstrained through heaven, earth, and hell, all speak 10 the heart a language which cannot be mistaken. In fact, his rudest peculiarity, in those moments of lofty enthusiasm, and, shall I call it, holy frenzy ? seems but to increase the effect.

In the height of his animation he strikes the pulpit, withont even the semblance of a grace ; but he does it with such a nerved and bracing sincerity, that it drives, as it were, the accompanying expression right home to the heart; and his eyes, beaming and brightening with the fire of inspiration, seem to throw a light around his words which flashes conviction upon the soul; and his voice, mellowed by the depth and intensity of his feelings, falls this moment upon the wounded spirit as softly and sweetly as distant music; and then, anon, it rushes upon the hard and unyielding heart with all the force and velocity of the roaring cataract.

As if he intended to surprise his hearers, he commences like the low whispering breezes of a vernal morning; and, before they are aware, bursts out upon them with the suddenness and force of a north-west hurricane. In fact, he always commences in a low, monotonous manner, which seems calculated to exhibit nothing but his defects, but then he advances from sentence to sentence, and from paragraph 10 paragraph, like a person walking up an ascending platform, and that to with gigan. tic strides, until his audience are delighted and astonished, and almost persuaded to become Christians. And yet there is about him no trick, Dor the least appearance of endeavour; for he throws his whole soul, as it were, without premeditation, into the midst of his subject, and it carries directly to his people's heart.

He never whines; for though his large blue eye rolls in a flood of ten. derness, and his voice is softened into the tremulous melody of the deepest feeling, yet he is manly and dignified. In truth, whining is the effect of a determination in the speaker to appear more engaged than he is in reality; but Chalmers is, in reality, too much engaged to think of such a scheme : cast upon the lashing and foaming surges of his own oratory, he is borne along and aloft, with a velocity too impetuous and irresistible to give him time to turn to the right or to the left.

Another thing remarkable in this great orator is, the manner in which he keeps himself in the back-ground when he is offering Christ to his fellow-men. Like the apostle Peter, he walks upon the swelling waters; but so visible is the presence of the Creator, and so direct does his agency appear in it, that we think of the miracle only to adore the God who works it.

“ What do you think of Dr. Chalmers ?” said one of his ardent admirers to a distinguished stranger, who had heard him for the first time.

“ Think of him?" said the stranger ; "why he has made me think so much of Jesus that I had no time to think of him.”

Perhaps my description of the wonderful force of this man's oratory will be better understood by the following anecdote, which I had, when iu Scotland, from the best authority. Some time after the promulgation of his fame he preached in London, on a public occasion, in Rowland Hill's circular chapel. His audience was numerous, and principally of the higher circles. Upwards of one hundred clergymen were present, to whom the front seats in the gallery were appropriated. In the midst of these sat Mr. Hill himself, in a state of great anxiety, arising from his hopes and fears. He had indulged many hopes upon the accession to the standard of Jesus of an orator so evangelical as Chalmers ; and yet his fears lest he should not succeed before an audience so refined and critical were very distressing. In fact, he felt as if the cause of Christ would be materially benefited or injured that day; and as that cause was very near to his heart, it is not strange that his feelings were deeply and tenderly interested.

The doctor, as usual, began in his low, monotonous tone, and his broad provincial dialect was visibly disagreeable to the delicate ears of his metropolitan audience. Poor Mr. Hill was now upon the rack ; but the man of God having thrown his chain around the audience, took an unguarded moment to touch it with the electric fluid of his oratory; and, in a moment, every heart began to throb, and every eye to fill. Knowing well how to take advantage of this hold stroke, he continued to ascend; and so majestic and rapid was his flight, that in a few moments he obtained an eminence so high that every imagination was enraptured ; while the heart, palpitating betwixt fear and pleasure, endeavoured to suppress its own beating to hear him, though he was speaking in thunder. The rapid change from depression to ecstacy which Mr. Hill experienced was too much for him to bear : he felt so bewildered and intoxicated with joy, that unconsciously, he started up from his seat, and, before his brethren could interfere, he struck the front of the gal. lery with his clenched fist, and roared out with a stentorian voice, “ Well done, Chalmers !”

LONDON:
PUBLISHED BY W. HARDING, 14 Gray's InN TERRACE.

[ocr errors]

C. Roworth and Sons, Printers, Bell Yard, Temple Bar.

No. V.

Price 2d.

THE

CHURCH OF ENGLAND PREACHER.

Patronized by the Clergy anț others.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SALVATION.

A SERMON Preached at St. Sepulchre's, Skinner-street, on Sunday Evening,

August 6th, 1837,

BY THE

REV. T. DALE, M.A.

TEXT.-"What must I do to be saved?-Acts xvi. 30. THERE is one way, and only one way, in which the enquiry contained in the text can be made, so as to meet with an answer of peace to the heart of the sinner. It is to consider, that we have a personal concern to serve in asking the question, and to apply the answer as personally directed to ourselves. The want of such personal application is the reason why so many hear the Word of God and hear in vain, why they attend Sabbath after Sabbath on the ministry of the Word of Life and yet are not advanced one step in the path of a Christian life. They do not look into their own hearts, they do not form a right estimate of their own spiritual strength ; they do not conceive of themselves that they have an immortal soul destined to a judgment seat of God. A man's own soul is a concern of such vast magnitude and such deep moment, as immeasureably' to distance every other. “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?” If, which we cannot contradict, “it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment,”—if the sun that has risen to its meridian height upon every one of us this day, in the full possession of health and strength, may shed its setting beams over a senseless corpse, how needfiul is it for every one of ourselves to propose to his own heart the searching enquiry of the text-“What must I do to be saved ?”

Now there may be those in this congregation who have never asked this question, but are now willing, to ask it and they who have alreadly asked it and received the answer. If the first of these suppositions should be true, if we have never asked the question, if we have never thought of the time which is coming when we shall be called to give an account of ourselves before the judgment seat, we are hazarding the loss of that which if once lost can never be regained. If we have as yet done nothing in order to be saved, if we have as yet neglected to prepare ourselves for death, in a few short hours we may be dying withNo. 5.

F

« PrécédentContinuer »