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or to keep them from being at ease in Zion. The sinner is not only guilty, but diseased; but they are concerned only to remove the sentence of condemnation, while the disorder is left. They absolve, but not heal: they justify, but not renovate. The king's daughter is all glorious within, while her clothing is of wrought gold: with them the righteousness of Christ is a fine robe to cover a filthy body. All their sin, past, present, and fature, is so completely done away, that it were folly to feel anguish on the account of it. Their miscarriages are not theirs; but those of sin that dwelleth in them. Their imperfections are regretless, because unavoidable: no man can keep alive his own soul.
Now we are willing to concede that all those from whom we occasionally hear complaints, do not go into these lengths; and we are persuaded that were there worthier individuals perfectly informed concerning the men we have very truly but inadequately sketched, they would exclaim, "My soul, come not thou into their secret; and mine honour, to their system' be not thou united." Yet they sometimes murmur, as if in sympathy with them; and borrow their language, unconscious whose technicality it is: and are in danger that their good should be evil spoken of. To be strenuous for evangelical preaching is commendable; but they view the desideratum in too confined an import. They think it, if not improper, yet needless, for a minister to inculcate many things which he must feel to be binding upon him. "Oh!" say they, "the grace of God will teach ple all this." The grace of God will incline, and enable us to do all this: but it is the Bible that teaches. This contains all our religious information; and we only want to be led into all truth. The sacred writers never left these things to be taught by the grace of God, without instruetion. They never instrused them to inference. They particularized and enforced them. There is not one of Paul's Epistles, a large proportion of which might not have been spared as impertinent, upon this plea: for as surely as the former parts lay the foundation doctrinally, the latter labour to build us up on our most holy faith. But these would restrain a public teacher from the extensiveness of the Gospel itself; and oblige him to hold forth Christianity only in the first rudiments, not in the advanced science. They would confide him to a kind of abstract inculcation of a small class of principles; which principles are indeed unspeakably important, yet lose much of their importance
itself, by being unaccompanied with certain alliances, and developments, and applications. Yea, they would not willingly allow him to do more than constantly iterate from Sabbath to Sabbath, a few well-known and favoured sentiments, in a manner the most undeviating, and in phraseology the most hacknied. They prefer a scheme of divinity drawn up by some fallible fellow-creature, to the Scripture at large, which, like God's other works, no one can perfectly systematize; but in which, as in nature, we have, instead of mechanism, infinite freshness, and richness, and variety, and irregularity: that is, order beyond our reach. They are sure, if not to oppose, yet not to aid; if not to stigmatize, yet not to countenance and applaud any attempt, the preacher shall make to extend the views of his hearers; to improve their understandings; to lead them through the whole land of Revelation in the length and breadth thereof; in a word, to do any thing that would follow up the recommendation of the Apostle, Leaving therefore the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection."
Here the Lecturer is unspeakably happy in being able to say to the people he addressess, Ye have not so learned Christ." He therefore felt no embarrassment in the study or in the delivery of these discourses. He had only to consult his own convictions, and was not necessitated to think of the likings or dislikings of a sickly fancy, a perverted orthodoxy, a party spirit, or an anathematizing bigotry. Neither would he ever consent to officiate in any congregation where he could not stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made him free. This freedom he thinks a preacher cannot too highly value and assert in the discharge of his work-A freedom from the fear of man that bringeth a snare-inducing and enabling him to say, as he rises from his knees to enter the pulpit,
"Careless, myself a dying man,
A freedom (whatever advantages they may afford him by their collectiveness and arrangements) from the fetterings and exclusiveness of human systems of theology-a freedom from the least sense of any obligation requiring him, in the interpretation and improvement of any passage of
Scripture before him, to force its natural and obvious meaning into any frame of Arminian, or Calvinistic theory or authority-a freedom also from spiritual favouritism, and which might lead him, from partiality, to shun to declare all the counsel of God, as well as from timidity.
May the Author be permitted to plead for a freedom of another kind? An exemption from a wish to gratify a few, at the expense of the profit of many: an exemption from fastidiousness of composition and address: an exemption from such a primness of diction, as admits of the introduction of no anecdote, however chaste, and shuts out the seizure of all hints suggested by present feelings and occurrences: an exemption from the too serious apprehension of little faults in seeking to secure great impressions. To the intimidation, and checking of the preacher here, how often is he told of the dignity of the pulpit-as if there was any worthy or real dignity in a case like this, separate from utility! What is the highest, and should be the most admired dignity in the preacher, but an apparent forgetfulness of every claim, but his object; and such an absorbing solicitude for the attainment of it, as leaves him unable to notice inferior things? Without such an impression, no man can do a great work gracefully; for if in the execution he is observed to be alive and attentive to any littleness, it will revolt the beholder, instead of pleasing him. An officer in the midst of action, will be all occupied in urging and completing the conflict-what should we think of him if he turned aside after a butterfly, or showed himself at liberty to mind and adjust his ring, or his dress? Let a preacher be as correct as possible; but let him think of founding his consequence upon something above minuteness and finesse. Let him never imagine that his influence, or dignity, will ever be impaired by his feeling and displaying a noble elevation; an indifference to every thing else-while the love of Christ bears him away, and he is lost, in endeavouring to save a soul from death, and to hide a multitude of sins. There is nothing with which a preacher should be less satisfied than a tame correctness, or his producing something that will bear criticism, but which is as void of excellency as it is free from defect. He that winneth souls is wise. What is every other praise of an instrument, if it does not answer its end? What is every other commendation of a preacher, if he be useless? unimpres sive? uninteresting? What is it, that nothing is complained
of, if nothing is applauded? What is it, that nothing offends, if nothing strikes? What is the harangue that dies in the hearing, and leaves nothing for the hearers to carry away, to think of in solitude, and to speak of in company? What but a fault is the smoothness of address, that prevents every excitement that would rend by terror, or melt by tenderness? A sermon may resemble a French Drama that observes inviolably all the unities, and challenges severity as a finished piece: but excites no sentiment, and produces no effect. But give us rather a Shakspeare, who, with blemishes which a less shrewd observer than Voltaire may detect, actually succeeds, arrests, inspires, and enchants. We need not plead for coarseness or faults. A speaker may be animated, yet decorous and orderly too: but in popular addresses, if either fails, it is far better to sacrifice correctness to impression, than effect to nicety of endeavour. Let the squeamishly hypercritical remember that he is labouring to little purpose while consuming his time and attention in subtle accuracies, and polished dulness. And let the man who is in earnest about his work, never yield to an under anxiety resulting from the possibility of a trifling mistake; and which, as Gray says of penury, would repress his noble rage and chill the genial current of his soul. Let him feel his subject, and follow his ardour, recollecting that great excellencies or impressions will redeem small failures; and even prevent their being noticed-unless by the little and perverse-minded, who only sit to discover and remark any minute impropriety-adders to every thing else in the charmer, charm he never so wisely.
There is also some difference between the heat of delivery and the coolness of review; between the leasure and discrimination of readers and hearers. More freedom, therefore, will be permitted in preaching than in publishing: and what the press may forbid, the pulpit may tolerate. Yea, the pulpit may require it, especially for the sake of a large part of the congregation. For these, though they have not the advantage of culture, yet have souls as well as others, and their moral wants must be attended to. Now the preacher need not grovel down to the lowest level of the vulgar; yea, he should always take his aim a little above them, in order to raise and improve their taste: but he must not soar out of their sight and reach. He yet may be tempted to this by the presence of others. But let him remember, that those who are more educated and refined, ought, not only to
endure, but to commend his accommodation; yea, and they will commend, instead of censuring him, if they are really concerned for the welfare of their brethren less privileged than themselves. If they are benevolent and pious as well as intelligent, they will always be more pleased with a discourse suited to general comprehension and improvement, than with a preparation, which, in other circumstances, they might relish as an intellectual treat for themselves. To which we may add, that there is not so great a difference here as some mistaken and elaborate orators imagine. Genuine simplicity knows a mode, which, while it extends to the poor and unlearned, will equally please their superiors. For
"So it is when the mind is endued
With a well-judging taste from above;
'Tis nature alone that we love.
"The achievements of art may amuse,
In one of his charges, Archbishop Usher says to his clergy, "How much learning and wisdom, my brethren, are necessary to make these things plain!" Could any thing be more fine and judicious than this? Here is the proper direction and exertion of a minister's talents, whether natural or acquired. They are not to unfit him for any part of his officewhich they may easily do, at the stimulation of vanity or pride; but to qualify and aid him the better to perform it. It is to be feared that some do not employ their abilities to make things plain-if they do, we can but lament their deplorable want of success. But it would seem as if their aim was to dazzle, rather than enlighten; to surprise, rather than inform; to raise admiration at their difficult compositon, rather than with the Apostles to use great plainness of speech. Even their claim to orignality often regards only the mode of representation. The ideas they wish to pass off as new, when examined, are found only common-place sentiments. The well is not really deep; but you cannot see to the bottom, because of their contrivance to make the water muddy. They are not really tall; and so they strain on tiptoe. They have not a native beauty that always appears to most advantage without finery; and so they would make up the