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seem to notice my poverty in elocution and the like. I would preach also on the Sunday now and then, and came out at the end of all my labor safe and sound, with money to pay for the new home far more ample than the one we had lost." It was for this tour that these lectures were prepared; and in this tour that they were delivered literally scores of times to enthusiastic audiences in city, town and village.
The second group, which includes the majority of the lectures gathered in this volume, had an altogether different origin. In his work both in Chicago and in New York, Dr. Collyer made it his custom to conduct services on Sunday evenings as well as on Sunday mornings. For these evenings he early fell into the habit of preparing addresses which were more of the lecture than the sermon type. Talks on travel at home and abroad, biographical studies of great leaders of thought and action, current happenings in the world of affairs, personal reminiscences of men and events these were the subjects which he discussed at his evening services and abundant was the wealth of information, ancedote, observation and experience that he poured forth from week to week. Here his reading in many fields, but especially in the literature of biography, history and legend, stood him in good stead, his wonderfully retentive memory yielding ample material for any subject that he might select for treatment. Rich and deep also were his resources
of personal experience. To visit a cathedral or to meet a distinguished man was to have an address all prepared for future delivery in the wellloved pulpit, just so soon as the time could be found for putting pen to paper. Thus Sunday after Sunday, through many years of untiring service, the evening lectures poured forth, and great were the multitudes who came to drink at this living spring of instruction and inspiration.
Most of the lectures, which were prepared and delivered for this purpose, were either burned in the Chicago conflagration and the later fire-disaster in New York, or else destroyed deliberately by Dr. Collyer himself. Those remaining and gathered here in this volume were perhaps the ones which the Doctor regarded as of special interest or worth; but more likely were the ones which he found useful for delivery on other occasions than those for which they had been prepared, and thus fortunately preserved. In nearly every case, however, the manuscript is the one carefully written in his own hand for the Sunday evening service for which it was originally prepared, with few corrections or additions of any kind. It is remarkable, when we remember that these lectures were dashed off in the brief space between one Sunday and another, in the feverish haste with which the busy parish minister has to do all work of this kind, to note the beauty of style, the wealth of accurate information and
racy anecdote, and the well-rounded form, by which they are uniformly characterized.
Nearly all the lectures in this volume are to be classified in one or the other of these two groups which I have noted. Two exceptions are "Some Old Unitarian Worthies" and "James Martineau." The former is an address especially prepared for a meeting of the Unitarian Club of New York; and the latter is a sermon preached at the Church of the Messiah shortly after the death of the great English Unitarian.
It needs but a casual reading of these lectures, to gain an understanding of Dr. Collyer's popular power both in the pulpit and on the platform. There may well be some dispute as to the amount of truth contained in Dr. Collyer's confession of his "poverty in elocution and the like," but there can be no difference of opinion, I take it, as to certain other elements of his work, which were altogether remarkable.
Thus, in the first place, there is that matchless English style which needs no tribute of mine at this belated hour. Every competent judge has borne enthusiastic testimony to its rare qualities of simplicity and purity; but all too few have paused to see that, while it had these qualities to perfection, it had other qualities as well, which gave it an almost unique distinction. The spoken and written style of many a man has been pure, but has also been weak, tame and characterless. Simplicity has been frequently achieved, but only
in combination with coldness, austerity and reThe miracle of Dr. Collyer's style was its union of purity and simplicity, with warmth, color, variety, fancy, and indubitable strength. His style was essentially that of the poet, and it was wafted from his lips like the songs of the birds, the fragrance of spring flowers, or a fresh breeze from a Yorkshire moor. The people listened to his words as eagerly as yeomen of old time to a minstrel-song, or as children to a nursery-tale. They came to hear him first of all because they knew that they would be entertained and charmed by what the speaker said and the way he said it; and they went away, almost without knowing it, instructed, purified and inspired.
In the second place, we feel all through these lectures the romantic atmosphere which surrounded the life and personality of the man who wrote and delivered them. This fact is much more apparent in certain other lectures of a largely autobiographical character which have been reserved for publication in a later volume, but in these much less personal writings, it is still very emphatically present. Dr. Collyer's greatest asset as a minister, perhaps, was his career before entering the pulpit. His life-story exerted a magical fascination over his own generation, and in our time has taken on the form of a classic tradition, or even "folk-legend." What this meant to his audiences is still apparent in the
printed words of these lectures. All through them we see the Yorkshire peasant who tramped the moors, the Yorkshire blacksmith who smote the anvil, and the Yorkshire Methodist who preached the word. Detached as they are in theme from all necessary elements of personality, these lectures are still as much the fruit of this particular experience, as the apple is the fruit of the apple-tree. Not one line of them could have been written by any other man, nor even by this man in any other environment. They are Collyer" through and through. In this fact, not less than in the style, is the secret of their power when delivered on the platform yesterday, and their permanent interest when read in the library to-day.
But there is more than merely "Collyer" in these lectures; there is humanity as well. Here is not merely an extraordinary man speaking out of a unique experience; but man himself speaking out of the universal experiences of the human heart. These lectures show, as Dr. Collyer's sermons have shown long since in equal measure, all of that wonderful human quality which permeated everything that he ever did. In life, in thought, in word, in deed in his character as a man, a minister and a lecturer, Dr. Collyer was preëminently human, and great just because so human. As John Chadwick put it so delightfully, in his anniversary poem: