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sidered, introduce some in provement in the art of public preaching in the church. He that sits down to write a sermon should consider whether he is possessed of the various requisites, which that species of composition requires; which are a knowledge of the scriptures, philosophy, logic, classical learning, &c. He is next to consider the design of a sermon, which is, to illustrate God's book, and to persuade the assembly, for whose use it is composed, to become God’s people. The observations are considerably expanded; they deserve the attention of the clerical student, and are entitled to the highest praise. Mr. St. John then animadverts on the present mode of preaching In his criticisms on English discourses he allows them great merit, but at the same time pronounces them wanting in zeal and persuasion; he supports his opinion by sound reasoning, and an appeal to the effects generally produced by them. - His next observation is on the choice of subjects, which he considers as not, upon the whole sufficiently interesting. “Common topics are too generally enforced ; by which means little attention is given to public discourses, and a lamentable ignorance pervades the hearers.” The introduction of a sermon should be, in general, short, mild, and conciliating. Although this author is a great admirer of Dr. Johnson, he does not hesitate to declare that he is by no means happy in his introductions; and instances his beautiful sermon on Marriage, which consists of twenty-four pages, one half of which is taken up in preliminary observations. The French Catholic writers may be considered the best models for imitation, more especially in the exordium, the chief of them are Flechier, Bossuet, and Massillon. If a discourse be divided into heads, it affords more information and relief to the hearers; but if it pass without a formal notice from the exordium to the argumentative part, it gives greater scope to oratory. The observations on preaching before the Universities, and Inus of Courts, merit a serious reflection. This part of the treatise is peculiarly excellent: “Let the Clergy, if they are so disposed, cultivate, with the utmost diligence, philosophiral and metaphysical studies, but let them most cautiously abstain from introducing their language into the pulpit.” In shewing that the sermons of Dr. Clarke, of Bishops - . . . - - Coneybeare,
Coneybeare, Pearce, &c. &c. are not calculated to awaken men to a sense of duty, he says, “What was St. Paul's conduct before the philosophers of Athens, when certain men clave unto him, and believed 2 What, again, before Felix, when the power of his eloquence made the governor tremble f What before Agrippa, when he cried out, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian f" He then directs the Ciergy to try the effect of deep reasoning on themselves and their own families. The inprovement to be made in the composition of sermons is, that they ought to resemble exhortations more than they generally do. And it is owing, Mr. St. John thinks, to moral argumentative sermous being so frequently preached, that many of its members desert the Church, that many live and die unacquainted with its doctrines, and regardless of its ordinances. “ How greatly, then, is it to be lamented, that all this deplorable ignorance and astonishing insensibility cannot prevail with them (the Clergy) to renounce the mode of writing and speaking which has had so powerful a tendency to produce what we cannot but esteem a disgrace to the Church, and which is to its enemies a cause of exultation The improvement that every one acknowledges necessary to be made in the Established Church, is evidently this, to impress its members more generally with a sense of the importance of salvation; to persuade them that religion does not consist in mere profession, but in a renewal of the heart and mind, and that it is of them that God hath spoken, saying, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. To produce this blessed effect, the natural effect of preaching, animation must stand in the place of dulness, and zeal in that of indifference.” - That the author may not be so misunderstood in deprecating cold, moral “...scourses, as that he would encourage vague and empty declamation, he professes to be solicitous to introduce a very different mode of preaching, Yız. to impress the preacher with the awful consideration, that he stands as the ambassador of God, between the living and the dead; that he is entrusted with the word of od to awaken the obdurate and alarm the impenitent; !o encourage the desponding, and confirm the believing, hristian. w - •. Mr. St. John gives a dissertation on French sermons; he writes like one who has carefully studied them, and - who who is himself convinced that they possess the merit he attributes to them. We have, however, never yet seen them translated on the plan he recommends : which we do not doubt, if well executed, might be as serviceable as their admirers represent them. For improvement in style, that necessary part of composition, he recommends the study of the Bishop of London's Sermons and Lectures, Dr. Barrow's Sermons, Dr. Johnson's works, Dr. White's Bampton Lectures, Gibbon's Roman History, and Bolingbroke's political writings. The peroration of a sermon should be pathetic and persuasive : he illustrates this part of his essay very successfully. He adds in the con&lusion—“To give to a sermon merit as a religious composition, and utility as a popular. exhortation, one thing more must be added, without which it will, generally, be incomplete; i mean a fervent and devout prayer. For is it not natural, after having faithfully shewn, and earnestly intreated men to walk in the way of salvation; after having convinced their understandings by argument, and persuaded their affections by exhortation, to implore him from whom coneth every good gift, that the word which has been spoken in his name, and for his glory, should accomplish the end for which it was delivered?” After having finished his treatise on the composition of a sermon, the author briefly resumes a subject he had incidentally mentioned in his introduction, which is, the delivery of a discourse. He does not censure the Universities for neglecting to teach young men the art of speaking, but he asks,—“Is it not surprising that, seeing as we have, our churches more and more deserted during the last thirty years, no attempt, no efficacious attempt at least, has been made by the Universities, the places of resort for young men preparatory to the office of the saered ministry, to teach them to speak with gracefulness, in order that they might preach with power?” In the introduction the author expresses himself thus: “It were greatly to be wished, as an additional incentive to attend public worship, that the elocution of the clergy of the Church of England were more impressive than it is— an acquirement not to be generally attained, unless the two Universities, seeing the indispensible necessity of it, should consider public speaking as an Ess ENTIAL part of an academical education.” Mr. St. John, in his introduction, pursues this subject —“Solicitous to wo the
the credit of the church, and to promote the suécess of the gospel, I express a most fervent wish that the northern schools, which prepare very many young men for the church, would establish the custom of frequent public speaking : and, which is still more desirable, that the several colleges in the two Universities would, as an indis-; persible, preliminary to a degree, require of every one in their society to repeat in their chapel, in every term, speeches, declamations, parts of sermons, &c. &c. : An: university education would then qualify, as it was originally designed to do, all who enter into holy orders, to discharge the popular, part of their vocation, with honour. to themselves and benetit to their hearers; and the good shepherd would have the comfort, not always awaiting diguities and preferments, of seeing his flock daily grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,”
So indispensible does oratory appear to our author, that he utters a prediction at the end of his essay, the fulfilling of which will, we hope, be prevented by the adoption of his plan:-“. Unless a different mode of writing and speaking be introduced into the church should the same proportion of its members desert it during the next thirty years, as have in the preceding period--the enemy may adopt the language of the prophet, and exclaim in degrading contempt, and bitter derisionthe punishment of thy negligence is accomplished, 0, daughter of Zion!” Who will not unite with the author in the following petition ?-“Rather may the excellence of her ministry be so eminently conspicuous, that the established church may emphatically be called the way of holiness! May no lion be there, nor any ravenous beast go up thereon! but may the redeemed walk there, and may the ransomed of the Lord return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy on their heads! May all her members obtain spiritual joy and gladness, and schism and disaffection flee away!"
Our readers will, we are aware, be able to forın but an imperfect idea of the merit of this essay by the analysis we have made of it: we have, as it were, given the contents of a part of the several chapters, fully persuaded that they will consider the whole deserving of a diligent. perusal.
The volume abounds with notes from various authors, in support of the reasoning contained it; especially from
Vol. X. Churchm. Mag. for feb. 1806. X Arch.
Archbishop Secker's Charges ; and with many useful in: notations by the author.
There will, we conceive, be only one sentiment respecting the tendency and execution of this work, and we have no hesitation in recommending it to the serious attention of the clergy in general. If the plans recommend. ed in it, or some of a similar tendency, be not speedily adopted, the people may be slain in their slothfulness, and though they perish in their own sins, their blood will be required at their watchmen's hands. If God be for us, none can injure us; if the shepherds be faithful, the wolf will never do more than look into the fold. ,
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCIIMAN'S
SIR, THE following Triplets are an imitation of some entitled
« My Mother," intended for the improvement of infant minds. If these be thought to have retained enough of the other's simplicity, and your judgment deem them worthy to be read by men, an insertion of them in your useful miscellany will oblige much,
Your's, &c. &c.
H. I. K.
Who brought me into Life at first,