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APHORISMS ON PREACHING.
depart from an artless declaration of the truth as it is in Jesus,' I lose my power. Men may admire my preaching, but they will not be converted and sanctified by it."
“In preaching, the intellectual process should be gone through some time before entering the pulpit. The truths to be uttered should be prayerfully pondered, that their importance may be adequately realized.”
“The power of thought depends much upon the clear and natural order in which it is presented. Let me never therefore enter the pulpit without having the discourse fully thought out. It is not the province of the Spirit to arrange thought.”
“My sermons have presented too many objects to the mental eye, so that none of them produce the desired impression. Unity is one of the essentials of good preaching. The best sermons have but one idea, one tone, one end. Concentration of attention and energy is the great condition of success in almost every thing.”
“ The results of eloquence are the best test of its value." “A sermon should exactly meet the wants of the hearer.” “ Persuasion, friend, comes not by toil or art ;
Hard study never made the matter clearer :
AT NORTHALLERTON. A time of trial - Todd's Student's
Guide-Rev. Richard Watson-Contemplates Missionary life in India—The feeling with which the weaknesses of our fellow-men should be regarded—The spirit we should evince toward those hostile to us-Harris’s Great Teacher—Mill's History of British India—John Howe--One chief cause of wonder to the glorified spirit-An argument with a sceptic— Reflections on select portions of Holy Writ.
One of the severest trials permitted to assail humanity is experienced by those who are denied scope for their benevolent impulses. A heavy burden presses upon the heart of that man, who, feeling the grandeur of his mission, and realizing the brevity of the period allotted for it, is doomed to inaction. The pent-up energy expends itself in exploring the reason for these unwelcome circumstances, devising means of emancipation, or, it may be, gloomily brooding over them. Mr. Hessel was now in this position. He had capability for some degree of exertion, but no adequate scope. He longed for some sphere where no large demand being made upon his strength, the mind would have congenial and full employment. The Bible reveals to us the wisdom of our being sometimes placed in such painful circumstances. Resignation, patience, and faith in God, are necessary to completeness of character, and to some kinds of usefulness. But how could these virtues be exercised, and therefore matured, were not such circumstances permitted ? Mr. Hessel cherished these views, and reaped the benefit they are fitted to yield. Ere long, however, a peculiarly suitable sphere was presented.
It has been seen that early in his Collegiate course he ÆTAT. 22]
TODD'S STUDENT'S GUIDE.
had been sent to preach at Northallerton. The favourable impression he made was not forgotten. The church was still without a pastor, and the office-bearers on learning his position gladly sought his temporary services. He apprised me of his acceptance of the invitation in a letter dated Oct. 20th :-“I hope it will not be deemed unpardonable to trouble you with a letter before the last is answered, providing I can shew a good reason for the deed. I believe
I am going to Northallerton for four Sabbaths. If the air be suitable I think my visit will be beneficial to me.
“I have been reading "Todd's Student's Guide,' and strongly recommend it to you. It contains much wisdom, and is written with a terribly condensed energy.
It has a few minor faults, which may produce effects the author never contemplated, and which he would no doubt lament. There is a keenness in the style which may operate unfavourably upon sensitive minds, and prompt to a course of unhealthy action. I am no stranger to the evil, and therefore can speak of it.
I heard Dr. R— at York last night. I did not much like him. I am no admirer of the species of eloquence he adopts. I think I daily grow in love with simplicity. All show-off in pulpit addresses is painful to me.
“I have finished Richard Watson's life. He was a great and good man.
Such men do not come into our world every day. Robert Hall was almost unbounded in his praise of him, and recommended his congregation to hear him. And yet his life was one of turbulence and activity. It is a strange anomaly that those who have least time to study often effect most. Who would have thought that Erasmus wrote his works while rambling over Europe in search of patronage ?"
On the same day he wrote in his Journal : “I cannot do what I wish to do ; I cannot do what some men have done ; but I will do what I can. I will make the best of my circumstances. Here my mind shall rest.
“I will take no one for my model. I will endeavour to direct my energies into useful and suitable channels. This alone is the way to true greatness.”—Such was the spirit in which he went to Northallerton. His visit to this place formed an important link in the chain of events which make up his brief history, for here was laid the foundation of a change in his opinions on some important points in Christian theology
26th. “I am now conscious of a power I never had before. I despair of nothing if only I have God's help. I have obtained a clearer insight into the operation of His laws, and have more confidence in their results. I believe that if I earnestly set about the work, I could fill this chapel. Will it not be a great sin if I do not ?”—And I believe he did. At all events I know that the congregation increased considerably. He was now reaping the benefit of having intelligently and diligently sought the realization of his aspirations. This record furnishes an illustration of that principle of the Divine procedure : “to him that hath as result—" shall be given.”
30th. “I am about to place myself in a very intimate and solemn relation to many immortal souls. Who can tell the effects of this evening's service? There will be results. Every sentiment I utter may be valuable to some one in the congregation. Its efficacy will depend upon the mode of utterance. O that I fully understood my own sermon ! The great thing I now want is faith-a realization of the
Ι invisible. If but these grand objects could be so presented as to give the vividness of witnessing the reality!"
Nov. 4th. “I will devote Saturday afternoon to a review of the labours of the week. This will be both pleasant and ÆTAT. 22]
STUDIES SHOULD BE REVIEWED.
profitable. I have lost much by not reviewing.”—By “the labours of the week” Mr. Hessel does not mean the public services, but the studies, in which he had engaged. And though two opinions may exist as to the pleasantness of such a review, there can be but one as to its profitableness. It is not what we hear or read that becomes knowledge-intellectual capital with which we can traffic—but what we retain. Fully one half of the knowledge most persons acquire is speedily forgotten. Young man secure your acquisitions, and you can do that only by reviewing them. Every review tends to render indelible the impressions made on the mental tablet. “Remember,” says Todd, “ that the great secret of being successful and accurate as a student, next to perseverance, is the constant habit of reviewing."
“There may be a combination of moral elements in which there is but little to weaken their full efficiency. There are moral powers which are unequivocal in their operations. The man who has them speaks and writes in a tone which all must feel, and with an authority which none can gainsay. Wherever he puts forth his mind the minds of his fellow-men bow before it. Why? Because it has most of Deity in it. This is the highest kind of usefulness. Such was the great Prophet.”
7th. “In the earlier ages, when men were unable to trace the connection subsisting between the natural and moral government of the world, and to see how sin, by natural and irresistible laws, works its own punishment, it was necessary that God should affix special penalties to many sins. Now, that necessity does not exist."
Let all readers of “a certain keenness of mind” ponder this : There is a certain keenness of mind which may be turned to vast account if joined with benevolence. It acts like a sharp medicine upou our diseased nature. It is a