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strengthen, or to chasten and humble us ? This topic will branch out into a thousand ramifications, which I must leave to your own good sense and ingenuity to discover.
Eighthiy: What are the bearings, tendencies, or corollaries; the probable consequences or certain effects, whether immediate or remote, of the doctrine or facts contained in the text? This topic also you will easily trace out in its departments.
Ninthly : What are the relations or inferences, which it may be useful to note ? You will find that this question will often open a wide field of subject matter, as in the text, “ Be ye reconciled with God." Reconciliation implies previous enmity, future friendship, &c. So a kingdom supposes subjects, laws, &c.: a father supposes children, love, obedience, authority, &c. Victory implies a contest, with all its accompaniments, as armour, allies, foes, force, stratagem. So again in the text, “ Ask, and it shall be given unto you,” you may infer that many ask not, because they have not.
Tenthly: There is a question which may be asked and answered now, but which ought to have been at least seriously considered long ago, and indeed always kept in view—that is, How is my present subject connected with the great principles of the gospel ?
Eleventhly: Are there any different views in which the subject may be taken? This is a topic of which many preachers avail themselves ; but it is not a favourite one with me. After explaining and dilating upon a text in one view, then to go on to treat it in another, seems to me to be very like pulling down what you have just been building. The different views may be incompatible, and then half your sermon goes for nothing; and as your hearers, perhaps, are not competent to judge which half, an air of doubt and unimportance is thrown over the whole. I think it far better to take a text which has one clear and unequivocal meaning, than to choose one which may be taken in different views. * What I say does not of course apply to the bringing forward of different trains of argument to prove or illustrate one point; nor to the application of your subject to different classes of persons. For instance, suppose you preach on Romans vii. 21—“I find a law that when I would do good, evil is present with me;" and proceed to this effect, “ Good and able men differ as to the application of the text. Some apply it to St. Paul himself, some to a Jew under the law; let us consider it in both points of view." It is clear that one part of your sermon would be likely to neutralize the other. It would be much better to take decidedly one line, and dwell entirely on that; but if you cannot do this conscientiously, because you have not made up your own mind, still if you think fit to preach on this very striking and important part of Scripture, you may usefully do so, by saying, “ Good men differ as to the primary application of this text. I shall not decide between them, but assume, what I suppose none of you will be disposed to deny, that it applies most plainly and forcibly to all of us."
The answers to the foregoing questions will have furnished you with sufficient matter to bring you a good way forward in your sermon. The following are questions which will come in towards the close.
Twelfihly: Is there any thing in what I have said which is liable to be misunderstood or misapplied ? or is there any thing which requires further remark or elucidation? or any thing which is so important that it ought to be repeated and more fully dwelt on?
Thirteenthly: Can I strengthen the force of what I have said, or render it more lucid and clear by any examples drawn from Scripture or elsewhere, or by any illustration or simile? I speak here of illustrations wbich serve to give force or beauty to the main subject; not such as relate to subordinate parts; for these may be reserved till the time of composing. For instance, Dr. Chandler, in his Bampton Lectures on the Scheme of Divine Providence, very beautifully concludes his first lecture with an illustration which applies to his main subject. He compares it to “ the course of a mighty and majestic river;" we might see it “ rising in the midst of rocks and precipices, far from the haunts of men; thence we might see it augmented by tributary streams, and visiting regions, sometimes barren and desert, but more frequently smiling under cultivation and improvement; and ever, as it proceeded on its course, contributing to the accommodation and enjoyment of the realms through which it flowed. So we might see the stream of Divine Revelation originating where society was uncultivated; we might next observe it, with augmented volume, traversing the vast and diversified field of history, and observe it ever diffusing happiness and blessings on those whom it visited. And should we be stationed, as our great poet has stationed the parent of mankind, on the specular mount of prophecy, one might even trace the same stream when it would have been hid from our unassisted vision, and might follow its onward course till it was lost in the immeasurable, the shoreless, ocean of eternity.”
Fourteenthly: Is there any contrast or comparison by which I may set forth my subject more strongly or more agreeably? Thus in Mr. Newman's twentyfourth sermon, Vol. I., “ Doubtless, peace of mind, a quiet conscience, and a cheerful countenance, are the gift of the gospel, and the sign of a Christian; but the same effects (or rather what may appear to be the same), may arise frorn very different causes. Jonah slept in the storm,--so did our blessed Lord. The one slept in an evil security; the other, in' the peace of God, which passeth all understanding.' The conduct of the apostles before and after the descent of the Holy Ghost, affords a remarkable contrast. This topic will be found very useful in conjunction with the next.
Fifteenthly: To how many sorts of persons does my subject apply? how may it be best applied ? and what part of it requires most particular application ? Though I have set down these questions here, yet they ought to have been well considered by you long before. Indeed, when you first chose your subject, you should have had an eye to the application of it.
Sixteenthly, and lastly: How shall I leave the main point of my discourse most deeply impressed on the mind of my hearers ?—Pp. 326–335.
The principles of the work are thus summed up:
You must be careful in your choice of a test, and keep in view the principles which I have suggested in this and the foregoing letters, and which I may now briefly recapitulate: viz. first consider the spirit of the text; as, whether it be mild or severe, &c., and transfuse the same character into your sermon. Secondly, consider the form of the text, whether it be argumentative or didactic, &c., and endeavour to throw the discourse into something of the same shape, by explication or observation. Thirdly, consider the main point and scope in the text, and keep closely to that,-have that always in your eye. Fourthly, do not clumsily divide the text according to the precise order in which it stands, but pick out the principal points, and arrange them so that they shall have a natural connexion and dependency; that the former may naturally lead to the latter, and that they may rise one above another in interest and importance.—Pp. 433, 434.
The examples are a very valuable part of the work, and comprise extracts from Tillotson, Taylor, Horsley, Mant, Cooper, Benson, Blunt, Melvill, &c. &c., illustrative of the author's positions. On the whole, the work, as we have said, is truly creditable to its author, and valuable to the Church.
• We are tempted to present our readers with two exquisite specimens, which being by preachers of other churches than our own, may not be known to all. They are respectively from Dr. Waugh, of the Church of Scotland, and the celebrated Dr. Dwight.
Art. II.--Probation for the Christian Ministry practically considered :
Four Sermons, preached before the University of Cambridge in March, 1836. By the Rev. Thomas Dale, M. A., of Corpus Christi College, Vicar of St. Bride's, Fleet Street. 8vo. London: Richardson. 1836. Pp. 107.
WE foresee that we shall have but small space for any remarks upon the style of these beautiful Discourses; it will be sufficient to observe, that they are written with an impressive earnestness and fervour, exhibit several very striking passages, and are worthy of the important subject of which they treat.
“ The good Shepherd mends-not breaks—his reeds, when they are bruised. I have seen a highland shepherd on a sunny brae, piping as if he could never get old, his flocks listening, and the rocks ringing around; but when the reed of his pipe became hoarse, he had not patience to mend it, but broke it, and threw it away in anger, and made another. Not so our Shepherd; he examines, and tries, and mends, and tunes the bruised spirit, until it sing sweetly of mercy and of judgment, as in the days of old.”—P. 204.
“ Alone in the midst of millions, surrounded by enemies only, without a friend, without a comfort, witbout a hope, he lists up his eyes, and in deep despair, takes a melancholy survey of the immense regions around him; but finds nothing to alleviate his woe, nothing to support his drooping spirit, nothing to lessen the pangs of a broken heart.
“In a far distant region he sees a faint glimmering of that Sun of Righteousness which shall never more shine upon him; a feeble dying sound of the praises, the everlasting songs of the general assembly, and Church of the firstborn, trembles on his ear, and, in an agonizing manner, reminds him of the blessings in which he might have also shared, and which he voluntarily cast away. In dim and distant visions those heavens are seen, where multitudes of his former friends and companions dwell—friends and companions, who in this world loved God, believed in the Redeemer, and,' by a patient continuance in well-doing, sought for glory, honour, and immortality. Among these, perhaps, his own fond parents, who, with a thousand sighs and prayers and tears, com mended him, while they dwelt here below, to the mercy of God, and to the love of their own divine Redeemer. His children, also, and the wite of his bosom, gone before him, have, perhaps, fondly waited at the gates of glory in the ardent expectation, the cheering hope of seeing him, once so beloved, reunited to their number, and a partaker in their everlasting joy. But they have waited in vain.
“The curtain is now drawn, and the amazing vast is unbosomed to his viewó Nature, long decayed, sinks under the united pressure of sickness, and sorrow, and despair. His eyes grow dim, his ears deat, his heart forgets to beat, and his spirit lingering, terrified, amazed, clings to life, and struggles to keep possession of his earthly tenement. But hurried by an unseen Almighty hand, it is irresistibly launched into the unseen abyss. Alone and friendless it ascends to God, io see all its sin set in order before its eyes; with a gloomy and dreadful account of life spent only in sin, without a single act of piety, or voluntary kindness to men, with no faith in Christ, and no sorrow for iniquity, it is cast out, as wholly wicked and unprofitable, into the land of darkness and the shadow of death, there to wind its solitary journey through regions of sorrow and despair, ages without end, and to take up for ever the gloomy and distressing lamentation of the texti~ The harvest is past, the summer ended, and I ain not saved.'— Pp.287—289.
VOL. XVIII, --NO: VII.
Mr. Dale appears, in these sermons, to have had two objects in view : one, to draw the attention of his auditors to the general subject of ministerial probation; and the other, to advocate the cause of a society, (the Church Pastoral Aid Society,) which he regards as affording in some partial degree a specimen of the means and machinery of conducting the probation he considers so desirable. We are of opinion, that in restricting his inquiries upon the first of these subjects to points of practical utility, the author has acted judiciously; theoretically considered, the question of clerical probation is one of considerable difficulty and delicacy. Since the Lord's vineyard needs a constant succession of young labourers to supply the place of those faithful servants whom the Chief Shepherd summons to their reward, the question is, from what class of the community ought our bishops to select those who are to be entrusted with functions for the right exercise of which they must answer to God and man? Should the future deacons and priests be early set apart from the laity, and expressly educated for the Church, or should they remain, until a certain period, intermingled with their fellow-citizens, engaged together with contemporary candidates for liberal lay professions, in the pursuit of sound learning and knowledge, and not absolutely committed to a career of life which, once embraced, is irrevocable? To the first plan there are many serious objections ; the Clergy of the Anglican church are not like those of Rome, dissevered from all social and domestic duties and relations. They are permitted by the Church, and expected by the people, to take their share in many of the burdens and obligations of civil life, nor do we generally observe in them more of the esprit de corps than suffices to maintain an affectionate regard for their order and their brethren. To rear up candidates in theological seminaries from an early age, would, we apprehend, be successful only in producing a number of raw, morose, or awkward young persons, little qualified to maintain a just and desirable station in society ; nor would the plan be easily practicable. We mistake very much the character of Englishmen and Protestants if there would not prevail an invincible repugnance to such a system. Few of the better and middling classes would consign their sons to these schools; and surely it will not be contended, either that priests are to be always selected from the lowest of the people, or that it is desirable that the prospect of a maintenance should singly influence the parent's choice! We will mention no more of the numerous reasons which induce us to believe that such a plan would be useless and inefficient, if practicable ; and we presume that our readers will mostly agree with us in our preference of the latter alternative—the promiscuous education, that is, of all young scholars, for whatever profession designed, or in whatever station destined to move, in our schools and universities. With some additional attention to
theological instruction, (which might be easily improved in plan, and more systematically imparted,) we conceive that this method, which now prevails, is by far the most eligible.
Nevertheless, we cannot but think that some limit should be affixed to the period of this promiscuous association. Before the candidates for sacred offices actually enter upon their momentous duties, they ought to distinguish themselves from the mass of their fellows, whose objects and pursuits, however noble, laudable, or useful, run not in the same track, nor point to the same end, as do theirs who aspire to feed the Church of the living God, which he hath purchased with his own blood, and to call men to his fold. Far be it from us to encourage in any degree the least approximation to moroseness or spiritual pride ; but the Clergyman is destined to a very peculiar and distinct career, and we may therefore reasonably desire some peculiar preparation for it. The Church, in the first place, whilst she discountenances those who, relying upon an inward call, presume to run whither they have not been sent, nevertheless enjoins those chief pastors, whose province it is to lay bands upon men, to ascertain the humble trust of the existence of the inward motion of God's holy Spirit in the candidates for holy orders, before they ordain and send them forth. We are aware that this point is also beset with difficulties, which we at present waive. Yet although it may be true that the question of the internal call may have deterred some excellent and conscientious individuals from entering the ministry, yet it is equally true that a due and attentive consideration of this awful demand (a consideration which should be urged upon the unwilling and the giddy), may have preserved the Church from many whose intrusion might prove a burden and a blight; and in the next place, the Clergyman, in the very outset of his professional life, is required to do many things which experience alone can qualify him efficiently to perform. A consciousness of inexperience, with some natural nervousness in his novel situation, often produces in a young Clergyman a kind of moral inability to engage in some of his most important duties. To visit the sick, to converse with and teach the poor, to blend compassion with advice, and familiar intercourse with authority ; above all, to recast almost all our ideas, and skilfully mould them to a form which is alone intelligible to those with whom we have to do, is a very nice art. From insufficient acquaintance with this art, many conscientious men are, we doubt not, greatly embarrassed and disquieted. It is surely, therefore, desirable that the christian champion should train himself to manage his spiritual weapons, if he would use them not as one that " beateth the air."
Allowing, then, the expedience of fixing some definite period when direct probation for the ministry should begin, it will probably be