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artifice of action, it captivated the hearer by its natural dignity; it roused the sluggish, and fixed the volatile, and detained the mind upon the subject, without directing it to the speaker.”
BOSWELL's Life of Johnson, Vol. iv. p. 84.
· (5) Page 295. It is not enough that his flock be taught to know what is true, and exhorted to practise what is right.] It is a very prevalent error of the present day, to suppose that doctrines and duties constitute the whole circle of Christianity. Doctrines are matters to be known; duties are matters to be performed. But the profoundest mysteries may be known, and the most dazzling acts may be performed, without any accompaniment of that moral excellence, which is the end of Christian knowledge and the animating soul of Christian duty. It is love alone, interposed between knowledge and duty, which completes the spiritual circle. And the Gospel is then only exhibited as it ought, when its reference to affection is distinctly, feelingly, and philosophically developed. It may, perhaps, be said, that Christian duties include Christian affections. But the assertion will be scarcely found tenable. That only can be our duty which is within our power. But our affections are beyond our power, excepting only indirectly, through the operation of exciting means. To use those means, is, doubtless, our duty. But that we should immediately exercise love, or hatred, or whatever other affection, cannot be our duty, because it is impossible. Yet, how miserable is the moral system, into which these immediately impossible movements do not enter? It is assuredly not the system of the Gospel. For, the
'indispensable need, united with the direct impracticability, of those vital links between knowledge and duty, creates and constitutes the real necessity of evangelic grace; of that heavenly influence, which supplies the moral want, and sustains the moral weakness of man; and which supplies the one, and sustains the other, by the only sure and efficient means; by communicating, and by cherishing, an ascendancy of right affections. In the strength of these affections, we are morally strong; in the weakness of these affections, we are morally weak. And, since God alone is competent to convey that strength, and to aid that weakness, we may hence deduce the divinely evangelic system of prayer; of heavenly grace, the fruit of prayer; and of faith working by love, the consum-, mate result of heavenly grace. This may be justly termed the philosophy of Christianity; a philosophy, which it were, at this time, most desirable, that some fully competent writer should unfold and elucidate.
It is proper to add, that, for the substance of, this note, I am indebted to the communication of a friend.
(6) Page 296. Fervent prayer will make a more impressive preacher than all the rules of rhetoric.] 66 When, therefore, our man of true eloquence speaks what is holy, just, and good, (and such, exclusively, should be the theme of his discourse,) it is his object, that, to the utmost of his power, he may obtain, by his manner of expression, an intelligent, willing, and obedient auditory; and let him be assured, that if he attain this object, and so far as he shall attain it, his success must arise, more from the
piety of his prayers, than from the power of his eloquence; so that, in order to pray for himself, and for those whom he is to address, he should visit his oratory, before he ascends the pulpit. At the very hour, then, when he is about to engage in public instruction, before he speaks with his tongue, let him raise to God his thirsty soul, that he may pour forth what he hath imbibed, and communicate from that fulness which he hath received.”
« Agit itaque noster ille eloquens, cum et justa, et sancta, et bona dicit, neque enim alia debet dicere; agit ergo quantum potest, cum ista dicit, ut intelligenter, ut libenter, ut obedienter audiatur. Et hæc se posse, si potuerit, et in quantum potuerit, pietate magis orationum, quam oratorum facultate, non dubitet: ut, orando pro se, ac pro illis quos est allocuturus, sit orator, antequam dictor. Ipsâ horâ, jam ut dicat accedens, priusquam exserat proferentem linguam, ad Deum levet animam sitientem, ut eructet quod biberit, vel quod impleverit fundat.”
S. AUGUSTIN, de Doctrin. Christian. iv. 32.
(7) Page 297. The repeated example of an apostle.] Every biblical student knows, that Saint Paul quotes Aratus, Cleanthes, Epimenides, and Menander; and that his writings bear the marks of a mind familiarly conversant with the Greek philosophy.
(8) Page 298. Classical taste, an admirable preparative for biblical attainments.] The names of Milton, and of Bishop Lowth, here spontaneously present themselves. And the author trusts he will be forgiven, for inserting a very inadequate transla
tion, of a favourite passage, from a favourite writer, the great Saint Basil. A man, who, at once, most strongly recommends, and most prudently guards, the study of the Gentile classics; the chastity of whose style evinces, that he had himself closely studied those masters of eloquence; and the sanctity of whose morals proves, that he had so studied, without contracting a single spot or blemish.
« A conflict lies before us, the greatest of all conflicts; for which, by all possible exertion, we must prepare our minds. We must be conversant with poets, and orators, and rhetoricians, and all manner of persons, from whom we may derive assistance in the cultivation of the soul. As dyers, therefore, first prepare their cloth with certain medicaments, and then superinduce the purple, or whatever other colour they desire; so we, if it be our wish to retain indelible the lustre of eternal beauty, must first initiate ourselves in those external studies, and then approach the sacred mysteries of revealed truth. In this manner, as persons inure themselves to behold the sun, by first beholding its reflection on the waters, we shall also be enabled to lift up our eyes unto the founa tain of spiritual light.”.
SAINT Basil, Hom, xxiv. Tom. I. p. 571.
(PREACHED IN THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF
CASHEL, OCTOBER 16. 1806 ; AT THE ORDINARY VISITATION OF THE MOST REV. CHARLES, ARCHBISHOP OF CASHEL ; ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED, IN OBEDIENCE TO THE COMMAND OF HIS GRACE, AND IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUEST OF HIS CLERGY.)
2 Timothy, ii. 15.
STUDY TO SHEW THYSELF APPROVED UNTO GOD, A WORKMAN THAT NEEDETH NOT TO BE ASHAMED, RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH.
IT is evident, from the whole tenor of
Scripture, that the glorious and gracious God has one great work, if we may so express ourselves, peculiarly at heart ; that, in this lower world, it is his prime