« PrécédentContinuer »
the wisest of mankind, and the faith. fresh and new. Vivid description ful instructor is justly honored by and deep emotion-feelings awathem as a benefactor to the human kened in the orator's own bosom, race. Thought, quickening of the and communicated to those around mind to activity, the energy of self- him, with striking delineation of command, and the triumphs of life, past and future scenes,--these are are the gifts of early education. the influences which seize on men's
Moral cultivation has superior ex. hearts and carry them away. Bursts cellence. By so much the office of of eloquence, such as charm and a religious teacher excels all others. sway the world, are not the product Communicating higher views of of a cold and reasoning intellect. man's nature and destinies, leading They come in moments of self-forto a juster estimate and more cor- getfulness and devotion, when the rect principles of this life, and fix. heart is possessed by truth, and ing the uplifted eye of faith on an. those feelings which come from the other and better to come, the bless. Spirit of God, with a power which ings he imparts, the sacred memo. admits neither resistance nor con. rials he leaves behind him, are in trol. For these there must be a the changed character and happiness theme, an audience, and an occaof the soul, in purified desires, en. sion to kindle the speaker's imaginlarged affections and elevated hopes. ation, and arouse his feelings to the
If such be the demands in preach: utmost effort. ing the Gospel on the reasoning All these impulses surround and powers, no less wide is the field animate the faithful minister. He which it opens to the imagination, is an orator. Labors of thought and and no less powerful is the appeal agonies of prayer are his preparato every feeling of the human breast. tion. Placed in the midst of a hur. To the orator these are essential. rying, worldly age, he addresses The preacher may reason well and men as estranged from their Maker, yet his hearers be unaffected. His at war with God, while hastening to arguments are conclusive, yet sin is his bar. Before him lies the image not alarmed. Lines of truth fall of a world in ruins. On a dark clear and soft as moonbeams on the and swift-rolling billow man flies to painted windows of the cathedral eternity. Generation after generaand the marble of the altar, yet as tion hurries onward and away withcold. Imagination is indispensable out God and without hope. Here, to the highest eloquence. Men, es- then, the preacher stands to call pecially when addressed in large men back from their wild pursuit of bodies, are controlled more by ima- pleasure and wealth to seek first the ges than abstract ideas. “ The vis- kingdom of God. He comes to ion and faculty divine” irradiates all man polluted by sin, and points him human thought, and gives it life, to heaven. To reason of righteousbrilliancy, and power.
ness, temperance, and judgment to To the preacher quick conception come ; to turn men from darkness and imaginative powers are espe- to light, and from the power of Sacially necessary, to diversify the in- tan unto God; to unite and purify structions of the pulpit, to infuse the church; to quicken piety, and new life into those solemn services encourage effort ;-are the objects which sometimes weary in the act which animate the toil, and give urof repetition ; to suit the music of gency to the appeals of the minister religion to each changeful mood of Christ. and temper of the human heart, If zeal and constancy correspond and make its old truths like the time at all with the greatness of the work worn sublimities of nature, ever to be done, then must he who stands on the watchtower of religion, as Such is the inspiring character of of freedom, be ever awake. At the Gospel. Join with this a power home, and abroad, in his chosen of language adequate to the expresflock, and upon the church univer- sion of Christian themes, and the sal, must his influence be felt in pulpit will witness effects transcendthe encouragement which he gives ing all other human impressions. to Christian enterprise in every form. When Massillon entered the pulLook, what gigantic schemes the pit,” we are told, “not the pious ministry are appointed to carry on. and the sober merely, but the votaWhile the heralds of salvation are ries of pleasure and business throngplunging into the depths of our ed the church. The theater was western forests, and bearing the forsaken, the court forgot their word of life to every shore, on pas amusements, and the monarch detors at home rests the business of scended from his throne to hear sustaining them, of increasing their the illustrious preacher. While he numbers and strength until the ban spoke, the king trembled ; while he ner of the cross waves on every denounced the indignation of God hill, and the whole earth be filled against a corrupted court, nobility with the knowledge of God. An shrunk into nothing; while he deenterprise so stupendous, summon- scribed the terrors of a judgment to ing into action every faculty and come, infidelity turned pale ; and noble sentiment of man, exalts to- the congregation, unable to resist gether all the elements of his being the power of his language, rose The force of that single motive, the from their seats in agony. conversion of the world, has pro- In the production of such wonderduced more grandeur of character ful effects there was no great secret. than all worldīy ambition beside--a The power of that humble priest motive that made Paul and Luther lay in the simple fervor, the natuthe fathers of ages in which their ral earnestness and eloquence of a influence should control the desti- glowing and sanctified mind. So nies of mankind; that awoke the the flash of Whitefield's eye, and unconquerable minds of Loyola and the tone of his voice, wrought with Xavier to such prodigies of human electric power, because through ev. exertion ; and that still sends forth ery outward art and grace shone a thousands to perish in distant climes celestial fire, a soul baptized with for the universal regeneration of the Holy Ghost sent down from man.
heaven. And not merely the objects sought, Such examples show us the power but the records of inspiration them- of religious truth presented with that selves from which the mind learns divine ardor and love which is its its lessons of benevolence, call into natural accompaniment, and raise exercise imagination and feeling. our ideas of that office whose duty All the scenes of history and proph- it is to publish it to the world as the ecy, the primitive innocence and first of earthly dignities. sad apostasy of man; sin with its To the previous arguments for train of woes; the life, sufferings, the superiority of the ministry, may and death of the Son of God; with be added, its influence, though sithe retributions of eternity,-are at lent, is more wide-spread and lastthe preacher's command. Scope is ing than any other. It is sometimes given him for every variety of sub-objected that the labors of the min. ject and illustration, from the gentle ister are not followed by that markwhisperings of Calvary to the light- ed effect which attends efforts in nings of Sinai, and the thunders of the senate and at the bar. If imthe judgment day.
mediate impression alone be re
garded, this is perhaps true. Yet it and even the picture of Erskine or is a fact easy of explanation, and Webster in the finest passages of argues in the clergy no mental in. their oratory sinks beside the inferiority. The objects of both must spired eloquence of the blind preachbe considered to render the esti- er and Massillon, or Whitefield at mate correct. There are different Moorfields, or John Wesley preachkinds of interest a public speaker ing on his father's grave. may excite, as he appeals to pas- What now is the witness of the sion on the one hand, or on the oth. Christian
ages to the power and val. er to reason, the nobler affections ue of the ministry? To what grand and conscience of man. The grand- result have their labors for centuries est of all human results is produced tended ? The answer is written in by addressing the higher faculties history. For near two thousand and the moral sentiments. A dem. years the pulpit has ranked in its agogue may infuriate the mob with. effects on mankind with the great out one grain of sense in him or influences of literature and legisla. them. It needs no great power to tion, often animating and controllproduce effects which last for a mo- ing both. Instances of exalted atment by appealing to hatred or fear. tainments and successful exertion These are passions quickly roused, every where abound in the church. and the reckless and unprincipled From the days of the golden-mouthexcite them most easily. Far other ed Chrysostom to Saurin and Bour. is the business of him of whom we daloue, these depositaries of learn. speak. The minister of Jesus has ing and religion have spoken in no object to foster pride, and infiame commanding tones to the world. passion and excite to violence, but, And to pass by the million-voiced infinitely higher, to calm the agita. appeals which no record has preted breast, and breathe into it purer served, there still live in the body feelings and a spirit of peace. The of English literature productions of the word spoken by him strikes not at the ministry, specimens of as lofty & sudden, temporary effects, but has eloquence, of as pure thought and an aim to control the whole current sentiment, as ever enriched the noof life and of society. And its re
blest of human tongues. sults are to be measured by the fruit These are the men who have led of years.
in every important moral movement. Such influence characterizes the They have headed the advancing truest sublimity of intellect. The columns of liberty, of humanity great man toils in secret. There he
There he and religion throughout the globe. labors intensely for enduring results. Armed with the authority of God, Like the stately elm, which grows they alone have been able to stand up by the silent process of nature in ages of despotism against the ty. 3; through the lapse of a century, the ranny of kings. See how the labors great mind attains its extraordinary of the fearless reformers sent out a growth, not in the hot-bed of pas- restoring influence among the na. sion, but under the clear light of tions, as it brought the truths and heaven, by the sun and air and dew motives of religion into new and of holy thought, and pure motive, fresher contact with the general and benevolent action.
mind. So in all ages of the church We confess to us there is no great. the influence of a truly Christian ness like this-the greatness of Lu. ministry has been to preserve belief ther, and Fenelon, and Robert Hall; in God, to keep alive the sense of a sympathy with all things great and religion and accountability in the good, sanctifying genius, and per- world, the best bonds of society, and vading its highest manifestations ; the chief blessings of mankind. Ser
vants of God, they have proved the tears, the soul of devotion ascends most devoted benefactors of men ; to a yet loftier elevation. at once the supporters of divine au- The world does not afford a sight thority, and the friends of human combining more of dignity and of advancement.
grace than such a Christian minister, There is yet another point which mingling like his master, among all requires mention to give complete classes, sharing in their sympathies, ness to this subject. It is the influ- and soothing their sorrows; lifting ence of pastoral duties on the mind up holy hands in the beautiful ordiand character of a minister. In nance of baptism; pointing the err. considering the tendency of a pro- ing to the Lamb of God, and comfession to enlarge or contract the forting the dying with Christ, the mind, the exercise given to the intel. resurrection and the life; the patron lect is not the only item of account. of good, himself the example of ev. We wish to learn its bearing on the ery virtue : whole spiritual man. Intellect can " That tries each art, reproves each dull not be divorced from the affections.
delay, Whatever affects the heart, affects Allures to brighter worlds, and leads the also the understanding. That sys
way." tem of influences which is most fa- Such is the minister of heaven, a vorable to a perfect intellectual and character formed in solitary thought, moral development of man, is one bending over the book of God, by which unites contemplative duties dying beds, and in awful prospect with active life, gratifying at once of the unseen world. These familstudious habits and social propensi. iar influences work upon the mind ties, adding to the force of abstract day by day, till the seriousness and thought the influence of human and serenity of the future state become humanizing associations.
habitual. The happy union of these influen- It is no objection to the highest ces, strikes us as a peculiar felicity order of mind existing in the minisof the ministry. The profession ne try that men do not commonly look cessitates acquaintance with men.
for it there. Common judgments And the mingling of active pastoral are more the product of capricious duties with hours of intense medita. tastes than reflection. The most tion and study, we are persuaded, powerful agencies of nature operate if entered on with a right spirit, will unobserved. The stars move in be found favorable to the formation their orbits without noise. Time of the purest and loveliest character. utlers no voice as with resistless Mingling with all classes of society, hand he takes down the monuments frees the kind pastor from that nar- of the past. Some, by confession row bigotry and pride, so prejudicial of the world, among its greatest to purity, elevation and force of spirits, were not recognized as such character. He sees all sides of hu- by their own age. The evidence man life and human nature. His of their greatness has been discov. associations, so far as they are selectered in the silent moulding of opinat all, are chiefly with the pure, the ion, the guidance given to thought, holy, the blessed of the world. Or, long after they were dead. It may if he looks after others, it is like. be that many of the greatest minds Howard, entering the prisons of the now acting on mankind will never condemned, or the Savior sitting at be known until the light of eternity meat with publicans; an intercourse shall show where they lived and of mercy, from which the pure spirit what they did. Fame is not greatof piety receives no contamination, ness, nor applause immortal influ. while, as the eye of pity fills with ence. Biography records the outward life. The growth of the soul hands, the unsearchable riches of is often known only to God. truth and hope in Christ.
With some opportunities for ob- Would that we could present the serving the interior life of different pattern of a perfect minister, standprofessions, our experience has led ing in his desk, with a sense of the us to revere the ministry. Ordinary sublimity of his office and message, abilities indeed often attempt this to address a congregation of immorprofession. It has its weak and in- tal souls! the feelings of that mocapable men. And so has every ment, “ Holy, holy is the Lord of other. The pulpit can not hide hosts! Wo is me, for I am undone,” poverty of intellect, or dignify want till he is ready like the awe-struck of education. Still it is true that Isaiah, to shrink away; and then minds as great as ever labored un- the delineation of truth, the glowing der the sun, have counted it their power of argument, the earnestness highest honor. Many leading intel- of entreaty, that alternately awe, lects of the age, that would adorn and thrill, and melt the hearer-we any office to which man may aspire, would describe them all. are in it now. We have seen in- We speak thus exaltedly of a prodeed, humiliating bigotry and nar- fession long beloved, to aid in bring rowness in the ministry. But after ing a nobler race of preachers on all, the greatest men we ever knew, the stage, a race that shall fill the the most pure and generous spirits, openings of the present, and bear and the profoundest intellects, have up the honors of the past. God been members of that profession. from above invites an age of new
If, to crown the evidence of a no- labors and achievements. The dyble life, as the old philosopher re- ing earth entreats it in wailing, mel. quired, one must go calmly to its ancholy voices. close, and die as he has lived, let We would summon to this noblest the records of ministerial fidelity of professions, and through it, to the speak for him. When the career highest of human interests, every of active toil is done, he sinks calm various faculty and power of man, ly, like the slow descending summer the fascination of every gift, and the sun to his peaceful setting; and as splendor of every acquisition-joingolden clouds of light linger in the ing with the profoundness of Gerpath of that luminary, so after he is man erudition, and the comprehengone, the sacred influence of his siveness of Bacon, the impetuous teachings and example, abide in the oratory of Chatham, and the persuathoughts and affections of the living; sive eloquence of Rousseau. and in the gentle, reverent tones We acknowledge the utility of with which his name is mentioned, other professions, and the elevating is the surest witness of his faithful. pursuits of literature; and yet we ness, the best blessing on his mem- claim, on what grounds has been ory. We have spoken of the living seen, that this is a profession which soul as growing into the image of overtops all others in importance, God, in the power of intellect and laying hold of eternity, and concernvirtue. Let the poor, the widow ing interests to remain when authors, and the orphan write his epitaph. and books, and the pageantry of
The practical intention of these time, shall perish. When the libraremarks is to induce in ministers, ries of learning, and the palaces of and all who aspire to the honors pride shall sink down in the destroyand hardships of that commission, a ing element; and the accumulated loftier sense of the dignity of their wisdom of ages and earthly fame, calling. The sublimest of all hu- shall have ceased their empire, this man trusts is deposited in their influence, begun on earth and con