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tration of which the various themes he may have to propound may be susceptible. A fixed mannerism of style attaches to most public speakers, but the tedium which this uniformity sometimes induces upon the minds of an audience, may be mitigated by a little welldirected attention and study. Another defect in preaching is a tendency to indulge in abstract metaphysical disquisition, rather than the earnest, direct, and personal application of Divine truth. A cold, indefinite, and unsocial preacher will induce corresponding attributes of character among the people of his charge,—"The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.” Another besetting sin of the pulpit, and one that sadly interferes with genuine earnestness, is prolixity. The condensing process seems to be very imperfectly understood or appreciated by the majority of the clergy, or they forget that condensation gives strength and spirit to their harangues. Some even of gigantic intellectual attainments have erred in this particular,—Edward Irving was an instance, who preached a discourse in London, on Apostolic Missions, which, although a masterly effort of genius, failed of its effect from its inordinate length, it having occupied three hours and a half in the delivery. Because, however, a few eminent orators succeed in thus fascinating the ears of an audience by the witchery of their eloquence, it is not to be presumed that others, less gifted, will be tolerated to such unreasonable limits. Whitefield, a man of extraordinary powers, admitted that a man with the eloquence of an angel ought not to exceed forty minutes in the length of a sermon; and Wesley seldom exceeded thirty. For all purposes of devotional instruction this interval is sufficient; and when a speaker transcends its limits, the effect is weakened rather than improved. Prolixity in the pulpit neutralizes the beneficial influence of even a powerful sermon : those, however, most addicted to indulge the habit, are generally such as smother sense in mere sound; who, instead of leading them by the green pastures of the Gospel, inflict a wilderness of words upon their half-famishing and drowsy flock, scarcely presenting them with a solitary glebe or green leaf to beguile the weary waste. These are they who barter gold for lead, and offer us counterfeit coin. Others there are who deal in nice distinctions and abstruse subtleties,-ever dividing and subdividing, till at length they mince the Gospel so fine that it becomes impalpable to all human perception. During the civil wars, we read of one Stephen Marshall

, who, on one occasion, beginning to preach, split his text into twenty-four separate parts: it is said one of his hearers immediately took the warning, and ran home for his nightcap and slippers.

There is yet one other defect we would venture to point out, as occasionally observable in the ministerial character, -We refer to a seeming austerity and rigid asceticism, alike alien to the true spirit of our holy religion, and to the successful presentation of its salutary, ennobling, and soul-inspiring truths. “ It is a great disgrace to religion," says Scott, "to imagine that it is an enemy to mirth and cheerfulness, and a severe exacter of pensive looks and solemn faces." Haydn, when once asked how it happened that his church music was always of an animating, cheerful, and even gay description, replied, "I cannot make it otherwise, - I write according to the thoughts I feel : when I think upon God, my heart is so full of joy, that the notes dance and leap as it were from my pen; and since God has given me a cheerful heart, it will be easily forgiven me that I sing to him with a cheerful spirit.” The inestimable boon of the Gospel, which is the “ministry of reconciliation,” expressive of the clemency and grace of our Heavenly Father, ought assuredly to inspire, in return, emotions of grateful love and joyous exultation, rather than a feeling of acerbity and gloom: and certainly the exhibition on our part of a cheerful piety would prove much more likely to win the suffrages of mankind, than its opposite. “An ounce of cheerfulness, with grace to leaven it,” says a theological writer of the olden time, “is better than a ton of religious austerity.” It is this that induces the uncharitable and unchristian spirit of sectarianism and bigotry. I am sure truth never lost anything by being spoken in love,” says Dr. Nevins, “and the principal reason why we are not more of one mind is, that we are not more of one heart. How soon they who feel heart to heart, begin to see eye to eye! The way to think alike is first to feel alike; and if the feeling be love, the thought will be truth.

In this connexion, it may not be out of place to refer to certain defects, which are but too apparent, respecting the mode in which many ministers conduct the public prayers of the sanctuary. A recent writer in the Christian Watchman, has discussed this subject at some length, pointing out the prevailing errors which characterize the extempore prayers of the present day. He treats of four varieties :—those addressed to the Divine Being; to the audience; such as are aimed at men and things; and prayers which are neither to, at, nor for, any person or thing whatsoever! Under these several divisions, he tells some wholesome truths, which one would think, might make all his readers long for a liturgy. The same senseless garrulity is here observable, of which we have already complained respecting public preaching. Some, from the wearisome extent of their supplications, and their incoherent character, often ranging over all imaginable topics on the habitable globe, and even beyond it, seem to be impressed with the idea that the value of this important branch of public devotion, is not so much to be estimated by its earnestness and appropriateness, as its quantity. Thus the monks of old, and the Pharisees did—vainly supposing that the numerical extent of their invocations to the Deity constituted their principal excellence. It is recorded of a certain empirical divine of the seventeenth century, Dr. Sandy, who pretended to have held communications with the angel Raphael, that he was so superlatively devout, that his knees absolutely grew horny by his constant kneeling. Prayers should be brief, animated, and direct, if they are to enlist the sympathies of an audience, and inspire devotional feelings. If we seek for the true standard, we shall find that all inspired examples are short,—very short, and graphic:-Solomon's at the dedication of the temple (the longest on record) did not exceed, perhaps, five minutes in its delivery. Says old Francis Quarles :

“ In all our prayers the Almighty does regard

The judgment of the balance, not the yard;
He loves not words, but matter; 'tis his pleasure
To buy his wares by weight, and not by measure."

We do not plead for studied phrases and rhetorical flourishes in these solemn appeals: this abuse of the sacred duty, we would no less deprecate. A true and rightly constituted prayer, consists in the simple and earnest outgushing of the heart: such an oblation can alone be acceptable, and propitiate the Divine benefaction through the mediation of Christ, and link the earth-bound spirit, in its lofty aspirations, with the spirit-world above. Many have much more to supplicate of Heaven, than to offer the tribute of thanks for; a feature that does not argue very favourably for their grateful recognition of the multiform blessings of which they are the constant recipients. A certain minister, being admonished by one of his lay brethren on account of the almost total suspension of requests in his devotional exercises, gave this reply-an admirable one—that he was conscious of so much for which he felt it his duty to return thanks, that he could not find time to ask for more. We have thus very briefly pointed out, what we regard as the more prominent blemishes that mar the moral grandeur and dignity of the sacred office of the Christian ministry, as well as lessen its effectiveness.

Were we to refer to the many illustrious personages who have worthily. presented the high claims of the Christian ministry, we might take, for example, those men of the highest style of virtue-whose selfsacrificing devotion to the cause of truth, induced the abandonment of the cherished endearments of home and kindred, for the perils

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and sufferings incident to a missionary crusade among the untamed
and untutored of their race in the dark lands of heathenism, in the
noble effort of seeking their moral and spiritual restoration. Like
testimonials might be adduced touching the numerous class of those
who have consecrated their lives to the same noble endeavour at
home; of which the devoted and indefatigable Whitefield may be
cited as a worthy example. He preached eighteen thousand ser-
mons, in addition to which he crossed the Atlantic thirteen times.
His public addresses were, moreover, not the mere crudities of an
untutored and unfurnished mind, but the well-digested productions
of studious reflection and patient investigation. His style was one
of fervent and earnest boldness; not ornate or even polished, but
eminently spiritual and practical. His idea of the competency of
the clergy in his day is thus given. " It has long been my judg-
ment that it would be best for many of the preachers to have a tutor,
and retire for a while, and be content with preaching now and then,
till they were a little more improved.” Nor would this suggestion,
perhaps, be misplaced at the time present. Robert Hall was deeply
impressed with the necessity of pulpit preparation: “If I had pre-
pared more for the pulpit,” he writes, “I should have been a much
better preacher:" there are heights and depths, lengths and breadths
in eloquence yet to be attained that we know nothing about. It is the
absence of this devout preparation that renders the ministry of our
day so comparatively inefficient. A due appreciation of the moment-
ous responsibility of the Christian minister, regarded in the light of
eternity, will add convincing and irresistible force to its paramount
claims, to the end of time; for

The pulpit (in the sober use
Of its legitimate, peculiar powers)
Must stand acknowledged, while the world shall stand,
The most important and effectual guard,
Support, and ornament of virtue's cause.

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The Complete Works of Sir Thomas Browne, collected and edited, with a New

Memoir, Notes, and Introduction. By SIMON WILKIN, F. L. S.; 4 vols., 8vo. London.

WITHOUT knowing an author's personal history, we may, indeed, understand his arguments, and feel the beauty and force of his imagery; but it is impossible so fully to understand and to sympathize with his writings, as if we knew well the ways, the habits, and the character of the man.

Now it is precisely at this point that the admirers and students of Sir Thomas Browne feel themselves pressed with embarrassing ignorance, or at least compelled to make the most of scanty and uncertain knowledge. We know, and can know, but little of his history. The English historians, who lived nearest his own times, have scarcely mentioned his name. The intrigues of courts, the contests of court beauties, and the strife of contending armies, fill their pages—they found no room for one who was neither soldier, politician, nor statesman. True, some modern attempts have been made to write the life of our author, but the information essential to such a task had been left behind with the times to which it belonged, and refused to yield itself up, even at the call of antiquarian research. Even the great name of Dr. Johnson gave no interest. to his Memoir of Sir Thomas Browne. Indeed, he tells us he only undertook it because he thought that a new edition of the works of Sir Thomas, then about to be published, would appear imperfect without a biography. Brought to the task by such a motive, and having such scanty materials, his work, as might have been expected, was a mere literary job. Beyond a few general facts, that belong to the life of almost every man, it contains nothing of interest, except the extracts from Mr. Whitefoot's discourse, and from the writings of Sir Thomas himself. The supplementary memoir, by the editor of the last edition of his works, gives us little more than a brief account of the manner in which his writings were received, and the esteem in which they were held by his contemporaries throughout Europe; which, as far as it goes, and in its way, is of great value. Both these memoirs put together, and all English history added, only tell us that he was born in London, in 1605; that he was early deprived of both his parents, by death; that he was cheated by his guardian; that he studied, first at Winchester, and afterwards at Oxford, where he graduated; that he travelled through

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