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associate only with the mean, a corresponding vulgarity and meanness are acquired. Of course there are exceptions. There are spirits whose circumstances seem to forbid elevation, who nevertheless elevate themselves. But the great mass of mankind are moulded by the associations into which they are thrown. All are susceptible of refinement, and all require cultivation, but some possess an inherent energy which constrains them to cultivate themselves." -He is not a man, but a tool, who surrenders himself to circumstances. It is in every man's power so far to control circumstances as to make them tributary to his highest welfare. He may be unable to reap from them the particular good he desires, but it will be his own fault if he does not reap from them good of another, possibly of a higher, kind. Your vocation, my young friend, may be mean, but by bringing noble aims to it, it shall become elevating. The following occurrence shows that a chimney-sweeper may be a man of elevated sentiments. The philanthropic Jonas Hanway, while exerting himself on behalf of the little sweeps, one day said to a little fellow who had been sweeping a chimney in his house," suppose now I give you a shilling?" "God Almighty bless your honour, and thank you." "And what if I give you a fine tie-wig to wear on May-day, which is just at hand?" "Ah, bless your honour! my master won't let me go out on May-day." "No! why not?" He says it's low life."
"In the religious experience of many persons of eminent piety we find a gloom. Brainerd and Dr. Payson are instances. It is highly probable that ignorance of the laws of their physical nature was the cause. Their extreme fasting must have had a dreadfully depressing influence upon the nervous system. By their excess in this they generated a morbid sensibility in the brain."-Possibly a morbid sensibility was inherited.
ÆTAT. 21] ADOPTS A STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE. 73
"There is a power of impregnating the materials around us with intelligence of making every object vocal. Our Saviour had this in a wonderful degree. He made the fowls of the air and the lilies of the field to speak."Every truly devout man of intelligence has something of this power. The habitual recognition of the fact that every thing in nature is but a manifestation of its glorious Creator begets and nourishes this power. Its possession constitutes one of the chief elements in the poet.
12th. "There is great art in living well-in making every thought and word and action tend to some good end. I have a standard of excellence before my eyes continually, which I am now panting to attain. It always haunts me, and shows the measure of my deficiency every day."-In these few lines we are furnished with the cause which contributed chiefly to the maturity of Mr. Hessel's mind. It is impossible to estimate the influence which would be exerted by this fact. Nor is it easy to exaggerate the importance of imitating such a practice. The reason why a higher standard of excellence is not more generally reached is because it is not generally aimed at; or if aimed at, is not defined with sufficient clearness. Let the mind have an object vividly and constantly before it fitted to interest and exercise its faculties, and you place it under the dominion of a law similar to that by which the needle is attracted by the magnet. How much wiser is this method than the one so generally prevalent of attempting to force the mind! The only difficulty is in selecting a proper standard and placing it at a proper elevation.
Perhaps some youthful reader has an imperfect idea of a 'standard.' Furnish yourself with pen, ink, and paper, and write down every quality entering into your idea of the character of a good and useful man. Be as minute in your description as you can. Then write down, as an incentive to imitation, all the benefits you deem such a man will
enjoy and confer, and all the evils he will escape and be enabled to avert. Contemplate the character you have sketched till your admiration becomes ardent. Begin in good earnest to acquire and exhibit every one of its features, giving your chief attention to those you know to be most difficult but most important. Compare yourself daily with your model, and while you grieve over your failures, do not yield to discouragement.
"Pitch thy behaviour low, thy projects high,
So shalt thou humble and magnanimous be.
Shoots higher much than he that means a tree."
"The whole creation is a material for us to work upon. The elements of nature are susceptible of endless modifications. If we select those objects adapted to the eye and ear, we see how numerous are the sources of enjoyment God has provided for us. What objects of beauty may be made from combinations of form and colour! What exhaustless variety is there in sound! The most insignificant thing may be made an object of interest."-"The whole creation is a material for us to work upon," not merely however for the sake of finding enjoyment, but as the means of unfolding our varied capabilities. Much too contracted a view is taken by those who regard our world as designed only or chiefly for our enjoyment. It is a mental and moral training-school. Its multiform objects and pursuits are as palpably intended, as they are admirably adapted, to awaken observation; excite inquiry; promote reflection; cultivate taste; stimulate ingenuity; furnish scope and incentive for the exercise of active and passive virtues ;—in short to summon to vigorous action all our powers, so that we may acquire a character of mental strength and moral beauty, which shall be a treasure and a joy to us for ever. Young reader, this life is thy seed-time for eternity. 'Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.""
ÆTAT. 21] THE MODE OF PULPIT-PREPARATION.
13th. "The work of preaching is one of such paramount importance, that no means should be neglected which will promote its efficiency. The mode of preparation must have an immense influence upon preaching. I have wished to make the pulpit the centre of all my movements. All my labours, designs, and attainments, I wish to point there. My grand object is to bring out all my powers in that sphere of action. Hitherto I have missed my way in many important points. The means of improvement are of a very complex character. There must be many distinct departments carrying on at the same time. All the faculties must be trained so as to develope themselves in the best manner in the pulpit. I must learn to be at home there, or I shall never do much good. My present mode creates an insuperable barrier to advancement, for it overtaxes one faculty and leaves the others unemployed. This cannot be right, and therefore I must try a different plan. I have thought that if, instead of writing my sermons, I employed a naked outline of thought in the form of broken composition, the memory would be relieved of a burden of words, and the other faculties of the mind would operate with unrestrained energy. But in order to keep up my style, I would also write the sermon out after I had preached it. The advantages accruing from this course would be immense.
"The order of preparation should be something like this. Select a passage, examine it critically, and mark the parallel passages. After you have analysed it, take a synthetic view, and the subject will generally rise before you in logical order. The mind will then become interested. Illustrations will present themselves. You will feel it almost impossible not to write. Write out a few paragraphs until the thought comes too fast to be fully expressed. You may then be content with brief notations. Such a sketch must often be reviewed before preaching; you must be completely master of it, or you will be unable to speak with confidence."
-Sermonizing is one of those things which admits of no rules of universal application. The best mode is that which enables a man to express his thoughts most perspicuously and forcibly, and experience alone can teach him this. If a man's thoughts come slowly or mistily he must write. If they flow rapidly and clearly he will have no necessity to write much. What should be aimed at is to guard against the evils and secure the benefits of each of the two modes. The man who accustoms himself to what is called the memoriter mode will be likely to be a more correct and full, though a more stiff and formal, speaker. The man who practises what is called the extemporaneous mode will be a more ready, free, natural, and effective speaker, though less concentration of thought and less instruction will characterize his discourses. The plan mentioned above is a medium. It secures a deposit in the mental treasury, while the particular form of the draught is left for circumstances to determine.
Important as the mode of preparation for the pulpit is, its importance may be easily exaggerated. The power of a man's preaching does not depend on his sermon being written or unwritten. David Stoner and John Smith furnish two modern illustrations of the truth of this. Both produced mighty effects upon their congregations; the former with carefully-prepared compositions, the latter with discourses of which but a small part was written. He who is baptized with an absorbing solicitude for the salvation of his hearers, will soon ascertain in what way he can most effectually bring truth to bear upon their consciences.
In a letter to Miss**, dated Howden Dec. 14th, he says: 'Although the morning is so beautiful, and every thing around me is adapted to produce cheerfulness, I do not feel as I ought. I have risen as from unrest' and feel considerable languor, arising probably from the exertions of last night. I have dreamt a great deal about you, and perhaps that is the reason I have now taken up my