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and “watch for souls as they that must give account." He feels the awsul responsibility of his station, and is anxious, above all things else, to please God and win souls to Christ. His object is definite, and he will select his text with reference to that object. Other texts and themes may be better adapted to please in a given case; they may be more easy to be discussed; to use them would save much time and mental labor it may be ; but that is not the question with him who feels the worth of souls and the weight of truth. His object is to enlighten the mind and to affect the heart; and the text and the topic best adapted to that end, is the one he selects.
In the preaching of such a man there will always be a striking harmony between the text and the subject deduced from it. There will be no want of originality, no want of variety. He will bring out of the treasury of God "things new and old."
3. Eminent personal religion will have the most happy influence upon the minister in his exhibition of the truth. He whose heart is deeply imbued with the gospel, whose " bowels yearn" over his fellow men, who “travails in birth” for them until Christ is formed in them the hope of glory, and who feels the “love of Christ constraining him, is prepared to preach the gospel, and he will preach it in the " demonstration of the Spirit and with power.” He contemplates his hearers in reference to the judgment, and their eternal destiny ; in reference to the brevity of life, and the great work to be done in them and by them, in order to the salvation of their souls. He knows that whatever is done in relation to the soul's salvation must be done “quickly.” In introducing his subject, he will follow the example of our Lord in his discourse with Nicodemus, and in his sermon on the mount. He will come as directly as possible to the work in hand. His exposition will be simple, clear and impressive. Making no attempt at display, he will aim to give his hearers the true meaning of the text, the precise sense which the Holy Ghost intended to convey. His language will be simple, but forcible; his illustrations striking and impressive; his figures, like those of the Saviour, borrowed from scenes and circumstances with which all are familiar. He will not lower the standard of truth, nor the claims of religion, to the wishes of depraved men. He
will not preach "smooth things” to please those who are crying, "peace, peace, when God has not spoken peace;" and, when duty requires, he will speak out in tones of thunder the dreadful threatenings of the book of God. He will not seek for milder terms than those of our Lord. He will speak of things as they are, and as they will appear in the light of eternity. He will think more of commending himself to the consciences of his hearers, than of pleasing their ears with well-turned periods. He will deem it better to affect the heart, than to please the fancy ;-to cause sinners to weep for their sins, than to cause them to wonder at the learning, wit or ingenuity of the preacher. His preaching will be distinguished by sobriety and earnestness. Others may be trifling and vain, and
“ Court a smile when they should win a soul.”
Not so with him. He will be sober, but not melancholy; grave, but cheerful. In his presence and under his ministry it will not be easy to be light and thoughtless. He will present in a vivid manner scenes the most solemn and awful, the most grand and glorious; and all with a spirit and air so befitting his subjects, his character and his station, that the most careless will often be compelled to listen.
He will be in earnest too. Others may, as some, alas ! do, manifest so much indifference in their preaching, as to make the most dreadful realities seem like mere fiction. But he is in earnest. He “speaks that which he knows, and testifies of that which he has seen." He enters into his work with all his heart. He throws his whole soul into his subject. So vivid are his conceptions of truth, so deeply does he feel its power, that it were impossible for him not to be in earnest. He knows that sinners must be awakened and converted, or spend their eternity in hell;—that Christians must " fight the good fight of faith," or they will not “lay hold on eternal life." He feels that he has a great work to do, and but little time to do it in; he must therefore be diligent and in earnest.
The devout minister loves his work. It is no task for him to preach. He will not be over-anxious to secure others to preach for him. He often longs to "speak that
he may be relieved.” Richly freighted with truth, he is anxious to unload his burden. It is a pleasure for him to “vindicate the ways of God to man, to "hold forth the word of life,” to “pray sinners, in Christ's stead, to be reconciled to God."
In short, such a man will be appropriate, simple, pungent, and, of course, effective in his preaching. And all this because, in the existing state of his mind, he cannot be otherwise. To aim at a display of talent, learning or wit, to be dull in his manner, or to indulge in lightness, would be a violation of the best feelings of his heart.
4. Eminent personal religion will produce a happy influence upon a minister in regard to pastoral visitation. It will make him not only willing, but anxious, to visit his hearers, and will prepare him to do it in a profitable manner. With a heart beating high for the salvation of the people of his charge, he will love to converse with them personally upon the great interests of the soul, the claims of religion, and the things of eternity ;-to read to them the word of God, and pray with and for them. And eminent personal religion will secure for him a ready access to them. Howard, the philanthropist, says, that he never found human beings, however degraded and fiendish, to whom he could not gain access, could he but convince them that he was their friend. So devoted was he to his work of mercy, so deep were his feelings of compassion, so tender his sympathy for the wretched, and so incessant and earnest his efforts to do them good, that they could not resist him. So it is with the minister who shows from his whole deportment, his every word and action, that he feels for souls, and is willing to spend and be spent to do them good; who makes it evident that he is sincere and in earnest, that he believes the truth, and cannot forbear to pour it forth from a full heart, in the name and by the authority of his divine Master. It is not in the worst of men to turn away from such a man. They will be overawed, at least for the time, and listen to plain dealing from him, which would offend them, if it came from a different man. From him, too, the erring Christian will receive reproof with meekness and listen kindly to the voice of admonition.
Such a minister was Whitefield. His eminent religion, beyond a doubt, was, to a very great extent, the secret of
his success. He was original, simple, pungent, eloquent, because his soul was on fire with love to Christ and the souls of men. He felt the power of truth so deeply on his own heart that he could not forbear to pour it forth in torrents whenever the occasion required, or an opportunity could be found. Let others feel as he did, and if their preaching is not equal to his, it will very nearly resemble it in the elements most essential to success; and their influence may not be so extensive, but it will be great and good, and their reward glorious.
THOUGHTS CONNECTED WITH RURAL CEMETERIES.
Guide through Mount Auburn. Boston.
133 to 162.
Among the tasteful and humanizing practices which mark the progress of refined sentiment in our day, is the establishment of rural cemeteries; places where, amid the quiet and beauty of nature, and far removed from the anxious haunts of business and the giddy scenes of shortlived pleasure, the dead may be laid down to rest. The disposal of the mortal remains of those who have been loved and cherished in life, has always been a matter of interest with the living; but it cannot be said that the mode of treating the lifeless body, or the choice of a place in which it might await the final summons, has always been such as either just notions of death, or tender human affection, would have dictated. That, until recently, there has been in this country a great want of attention to this subject, we think very few will be disposed to deny; and the change which has now come over the public mind in regard to it, is not more evident, than
it is indicative of a growing refinement and of the prevalence of what seems to us truly Christian ideas respecting what is usually termed the "end of man," but which is in reality his birth into a wider sphere, and an endless state of being
It has been remarked by one* who, for beauty and depth of sentiment, and extent and variety of knowledge, has left few equals in the world, that the prevailing modes of treating the dead, among different nations, are worthy of great consideration, as testimonies of their modes of thinking and degrees of civilization; and that generally, over and above all this, they are very intimately connected with their secret impressions and feelings of religion. This view of the subject is doubtless correct; and it would be pleasant and not a little instructive to take a survey of the different customs, in this particular, of different nations, and of the same nations at different periods of their history, and draw from them their prevalent ideas respecting man, his body, his spirit, his destiny; but this would not comport with the design of the present article. Our object is at once more simple and more practical; that of calling attention to the general subject of cemeteries by offering a few thoughts which, in the present state of public sentiment, naturally connect themselves with such a theme.
It were in vain, on such a subject, to attempt to confine the mind to a formal and argumentative essay. Nor would this be the means by which we might hope to effect the humble object we have in view. It is the tender sentiments of the heart, the softly tremulous strings of feeling, which we touch, when we speak of the dead, and their place of rest from this earthly life; and this hidden region of ever-sensitive affection lies open, not to historical detail or a logical array of ideas, so much as to the gentler influences of passing thoughts and natural suggestions.
If called upon to show what profit shall come to the dead from all the care and taste which affection may bestow on their narrow abode, we should at once reply, that the departed may rest as sweetly in graves unadorned by human hands, as in the most costly sepulchres of
* Frederick Schlegel. Lecture IV, on Literary History.