« AnteriorContinuar »
diligently forgetfulness of self and the attainment of the ' natural manner.'
As to the far more important question, 'How are we to carry weight and authority in our preaching ?' I had my anxieties somewhat set at rest by one of the best and most simple-minded of men. He was a man of no especial power, but all his energies were quickened, and his hold on others increased a hundredfold, by his deep spirituality and thorough self-renunciation. He had no claim to popularity for his cleverness or commanding talent, and yet by his goodness he had a more searching and abiding influence with all who knew him, than these alone ever confer on their possessor. My kind friend would not disparage what he did not possess; on the contrary, he was most emphatic in enforcing the necessity of using diligently all the more obvious means of training for the pulpit : continual study of men and books, and diligent exercise in composition. But he wished to supplement these means with something of still greater importance. His advice was to this effect, and with it, since I can find no better ending, I shall bid adieu to my readers. 'Endeavour,' he said, 'to make your sermons engaging hy cultivating in every way a good style, and by adding always to your stores of general and theological knowledge. Seek further to influence your people by going much amongst them, so that before you pretend to teach then you may know them; that before you assume to be their guide, you may be acquainted with the many interests and the various troubles that beset them. And yet, even beyond your progress in knowledge and style, even beyond your acquaintance with your people, make it your first care above all things to look well after your own life. See to it, that in private you spend much time with your Saviour, and in close communion with the Holy Spirit. Take care that publicly and ministerially you follow closely Christ's example of meekness and devotion. Then your heart being filled with love, it will be impossible for you not to speak warmly and effectively of those things which are becoming to you daily more real and more delightful. Besides, you will be drawing your people towards heaven with a double cord ; for a holy life will not only make you powerful in the pulpit, it will also be itself the most persuasive of sermons “known and read of all men.” Therefore by all means be diligent and active; if you possess the gift, be eloquent; but before all things be holy and spiritual, and then your example will soon procure for you a continually increasing influence over the hearts and lives of your fellow-men.'
Winter Nights in toron.
to town. Summer is very well, but winter has also its delights. Pleasant it is to rove through the home scenery of England, or to take a Long Vacation holiday in the playground of Europe, but there is also something pleasant in the lanıp-illumined twilight of wintry afternoons in London. Mr. Kingsley has a decided preference for the east wind. An honest British tar once blessed his stars that he had got rid of those infernal blue skies of the Mediterranean, and had fallen in with a wholesome Channel fog. In the same way it is not an unwelcome summons, when we have to give up holiday-making, and settle down once more to the London grind. We are all glad to leave London, but we are not quite happy till we get back to it again. She is a true centripetal force. She draws all the enterprise and adventure, all the wit and wisdom, all the work and play to herself. Some of our great writers abuse London. De Quincey apostrophises Oxford Street, with its never-ending
terraces, as a stony-hearted stepmother. Mr. Ruskin, in one of the most eloquent passages of his Stones of Venice, abuses London: • We are forced, for the sake of accumulating our power and knowledge, to live in cities; but such advantage as we have in association with each other is in great part counterbalanced by our want of fellowship with nature. We cannot all have our gardens and our pleasant fields to meditate in at eventide. Then the function of our architecture is, as far as may be, to replace these; to tell us about nature; to possess us with the memories of our quietness; to be solemn and full of tenderness, like her, and rich in portraiture of her; full of delicate imagery of the flowers we can no more gather, and of the living creatures now far away from us in their own solitude. If ever you felt or found this in a London street-if it ever furnished
with one serious thought or one ray of true and gentle pleasure—if there is in your heart a true delight in its grim railings and dark casements, and wasteful finery of shops, and feeble coxcombry of club-houses—it is well : promote the building of more like them.' [Mr. Ruskin ought to have labelled this passage, as Artemus Ward once did, ‘N.B.--This is sarcastic.'] ‘But if they never taught you anything, and never made you happier as you passed beneath them, do not think they have any mysterious goodness nor occult sublimity. Have done with the wretched affectation, the futile barbarism of
pretending to enjoy. I acknowledge the eloquence, even while I writhe beneath the satire of this passage. I confess I have found serious thought and gentle leasure in shops and clubs and dark casements. Like Lord Melbourne, I can even find a pleasure in seeing the gaslight flash upon the backs of the red lobsters. The streets are an ever-shifting diorama, or a gallery of most living portraiture. There is something in the light, and stir, and crowds, and noises, and incidents that, for me at least, has a vivid and stimulating delight. In the winter, especially, the mighty capital gathers up its energies and resources and fulfils the function of great cities, in 'accumulating power and knowledge.' Especially when the more active work of the day is done, London opens her immense stores of social delights, exhibiting every sympathetic chord of humanity, from meeting old friends in some quiet room, in the midst of the vast home of all Englishmen, to some great. scene where the impassioned life of thousands beats in harmony :
As when a mighty people rejoice
But let us come down from the poetics and heroics to the practical consideration of our London winter nights. Not only knowledge and power, but the study of