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effect. From no outward call of vanity or interest, did he express himself. It was upon those rivers of living water of which he spake, and which were welling up in his own bosom, that his words floated forth and were poured with resistless power into the souls of those who heard him. In short, his words were sincere and true, the direct and natural expression of truth identified with his inmost being, the deep springs of his own character and life.

That this was the character of his eloquence is apparent, I conceive, from the unstudied, extemporaneous, occasional, form of his instructions. When a man's heart is full of a particular object, it is curious to observe how every thing that happens, connects itself in his mind with the one engrossing topic of his feelings. Every thing is looked at in relation to that which chiefly interests him, and every event suggests reflections connected with his favourite pursuit. How often do we discover the several professions of a number of individuals, from the manner in which they express themselves under particular circumstances! Their modes of thought and speech will be affected by the subject which commands their principal attention, and holds the first place in their hearts. Thus, the seaman, the merchant, the mechanic, the lawyer and the physician may all be recognised by their respective ways of thinking and speaking; and in the same situation each will find something analogous to his daily pursuit, and think and express himself accordingly. "Is it strange," asks Ebenezer Elliott, the Sheffield worker in steel, "that my language is fervent as a welding heat, when my thoughts are passions that rush burning from my mind, like white-hot bolts of steel?" Most fairly and naturally may we infer the existence of a deep spiritual fountain in the nature of Jesus, from the fact



that scarcely any thing could occur in his presence, which he did not consider and represent in a spiritual light. How plainly does he show what it was that most deeply interested him!

I apprehend that in this respect he has never yet been understood. He so uniformly represented himself as speaking and acting by the express command of God, that he is too much regarded as a passive instrument, the mechanical agent of another and higher Being. We are not aware of the strong personal interest which the whole style of his teaching undesignedly shows he must have cherished in his work. The principal force of the Divine command was felt by him in the free and inner force of his own convictions. The voice of his own soul, clear and imperative-this it was that he reverenced as the commanding voice of his Father. This was to him the most intimate and solemn expression of the Divine authority. His words were continually modified and suggested by external circumstances. And what does this indicate but the fulness of his heart, the inexhaustible abundance of his spirit? Must it not have been with him even as I have said, that he was full of spiritual life, and that when he spoke he spoke from within? He could not have held his peace, and he needed no outward inducement to speak, but such as was offered at the moment. The vessel was filled to the brim, and every breath made it overflow, and like the precious ointment upon the head of the High-priest that ran down, down to the skirts of his garments, the costly streams from the full heart of Jesus, fell upon the world cleansing and sanctifying.

Here was the unequalled power of the words of Jesus. This it was that gave them a victorious influence. They were uttered simply and earnestly, as the natural expression of thoughts and sentiments, which he


himself cherished and felt far more deeply than it was in the power of any language to express. This is true Eloquence, when a man speaks not for the sake of effect, not from any outward necessity, but from an impulse within which he cannot resist,-from the concentrated force of his own convictions. Then words are words no longer. They are acts. They exhibit and convey the life's life, that energy of human thought and feeling which is of eternity and of God. Of all the powers of nature, the power of a human spirit, thoroughly persuaded in itself, penetrated with faith, is the most vital and intense. When the force of such a spirit is bodied forth either by word or deed, it acts upon all surrounding spirits-on all other minds. A brief sentence, a single articulate sound of the voice, coming from the heart, or rather bringing the heart along with it, possesses a resistless power. It is like "the piercing of a sword,” like "a winged thunderbolt," prostrating all opposition, inflaming all souls. Such are the sympathies between man and man. It was this that gave to Peter the Hermit the power to arouse all Europe, nobles and their vassals, priests and kings, the rich and the poor, men, women and children, and lead them to the recovery of the Holy Land. The historian Gibbon sneers at his fanaticism and confesses his power, observing that "the most perfect orator of Athens might have envied the success of his eloquence." Ignorant though he was, mean and contemptible in appearance, still his words expressed the burning convictions of his own soul, and so he created the same convictions in other men.


Seldom, alas! have human words exerted this influence. The reason how obvious! They have seldom shown themselves to be the inspiration of the living heart. They, who have enjoyed the opportunity and


the privilege of teaching, have taught from self-interest or for reputation's sake, or to produce upon others an effect which has never been wrought upon themselves. They have been sworn to maintain and advocate certain established systems of religious opinion. They have consequently spoken, because they were required to speak and must say something, and take good care not to deviate from a track before appointed. How widely opposite to all this, the spirit of a true teacher, of one in whom the truth lives and works as in Jesus of Nazareth, stimulating every power, inspiring every affection, commanding his whole being, and who therefore speaks because something within-the voice of the living God, commands and will not be disobeyed. He must utter himself even if he perish in the act. He neither thinks to please nor to offend, to conciliate nor to shock. His feeling is-Let me speak out my own heart or let me die! He that hath the word of the Lord, hath it stamped upon his inmost being, sounding for ever through the secret chambers of the soul, let him speak that word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?

The teaching of Jesus being so uniformly associated with the incidents in the midst of which he lived, we have in this circumstance an interesting ground for believing, that what he is recorded to have uttered was actually uttered by him. If the things ascribed to him were fictitious, made for him by the authors of the New Testament histories,—if these writers had put into his mouth things which he did not say, it is impossible they should have been so particular and occasional. They would have been more general and abstract. "We may conclude," says Dr. Jortin, one of the wisest theologians the Church of England has ever produced,



"that the writers of the Gospels have given always the substance, often the words of our Lord's sermons. They did not invent discourses and ascribe them to him, as Plato is supposed to have given his own thoughts to his master Socrates, and as Greek and Latin historians never scrupled to do. If they had followed this method, they would probably have made for him discourses exhorting to virtue, and dissuading from vice, in general terms. It would not have entered their thoughts to have crowded together so many allusions to time and place, and to other little occurrences which nothing besides the presence of the object could suggest.


The peculiar style of the teaching of Jesus is interesting in another point of view. We cannot but be struck, upon the most cursory perusal of the four Gospels, with their particularity,—the frequent minuteness of their details. The question arises, if they are true histories, and were not written until years after the events related took place, and their authors did not take notes at the time and on the spot, and neither of these is pretended, how comes it that the writers recollected things so particularly?

This is a fair inquiry, and in order to arrive at the true answer we must first make due allowance for the peculiar style of the writers. Much of the particularity of detail apparent in these histories exists only in appearance in the form of the narration. Authors unpractised in the art of composition, possessing only a limited vocabulary, naturally adopt a scenic or dramatic mode of relation. This is manifest in the works of all primitive writers and historians. I find in the ninetyfourth number of the Edinburgh Review, in an article

* Discourses on the truth of the Christian Religion.

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