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indifference is to be attributed to sin and worldliness in men; but those most likely to urge this explanation had better decide first how much of it is due to mediocrity and dulness in preachers. It seems to us that theology is fast falling behind the other professions, in regard to the character and intelligence demanded in its professors. Depth, comprehension, a large knowledge of life, skill in dissecting evidence and motives, a general force of being which never yields to moral or intellectual timidity, are not now insisted upon as necessary to the clergyman. The toleration awarded to feeble sermons is the sharpest of all silent satires on the decline of divinity. Forcible men, men possessing sufficient vigor and vitality to “get along in the world,” rush almost universally into the other professions. Law and politics, in this country, draw into their vortex hundreds of scholars who ought to be preachers of God's word both to law and politics. If a youth of education does not evince enough understanding to sift evidence or tear away the defences of a sophism, - if he lacks sufficient nerve to badger a witness or amputate a leg, -his parents think him eminently calculated for that other profession, whose members are to scatter the reasonings of Hume and Diderot, to smite wickedness in high places, to lay bare the baseness of accredited sins, to brave with an unflinching front the opposition of the selfish and the strong, and to dare, if need be, all the powers of earth and hell, in the cause of justice and truth. This, we need not say, is all wrong. If the powers of darkness and delusion are strong in all the strength of bad passions and sophistical vices, let them be opposed by men whose spirits are of the “greatest sizé and divinest mettle;” by men who have the arm to smite and the brain to know; by men

whose souls can thrid all those mazes of deceit through which sin eludes the chase of the weak in heart and the small in mind. Without force of character, there can be no force of impression. Words never gush out with persuasive or awful power from a feeble heart. Timidity, learned ease, a command of certain forms of expression, faith in terms, are characteristics of too many men, whose mission is to save souls by courage, activity, and power of conceiving and expressing truth. Since the clergy have lost the hold upon the mind given by superstition, have they sustained their legitimate influence by mental and moral power Dry and dead matter of fact, or thin dilutions of transcendental sentiment, are the last things to effect this object, and yet they seem the first things which our modern soldiers of the cross grasp with their trembling fingers. The object, indeed, requires, that a good portion of the mind and genius of the land should be enlisted in the ranks of theology. We want neither ignorant fanaticism nor intelligent nonchalance. This tameness of spirit is fast extending to doctrine and practice. A spurious toleration and liberality have supplanted the old earnest zeal. We live in an era of good feeling. The word unmentionable to ears polite burns the fingers of those who should launch it at sin. The meaning attached to the phrases of God's wrath and justice shocks our modern sensibilities. Sorrow and love are the two aspects under which the Deity is now contemplated. The terrors and threatenings of the law are hidden in a rose-colored mist of rhetoric. The great object of the age is to remove everything from the surface of society which offends the eye of refined taste. Spiritual sins have been withdrawn from the front rank of transgressions, and sins of the senses promoted to their place. Every person of stern force of character rides over the clergy. A man who gets inflamed with any earnest thought speeds from his denomination, to rave men into some new heresy. As it would be intolerant to say that he was presumptuous or irreligious, he is to be treated with the utmost politeness, or with a mild and whining opposition; and even this inoffensive ineffectiveness of admonition, this chiding in the nerveless terms of a canting toleration, does not prevent its object from setting up as a martyr, and exploding his inward agonies constantly in the public ear. The difference between the ancient and modern martyr, is the difference between being raked and scathed by “balls of consuming wildfire,” and being gently peppered by popguns. To escape the imputation of bigotry, preachers slide softly into the opposite stupidity of indifference. The effect which inward sin has in shaping opinions few dare to analyze. A strong, hardy, wholesome zeal, intimating a living belief in the importance of any particular set of doctrines, and a thorough-going force of soul in their promulgation, careless of the melodious whine of the mild, and the more dissonant yell of the bad, - this is becoming disgracefully rare. It is easy to calculate the effect of such timidity and weakness on the literature of theology. The mediocrity of sermons cannot be laid to their subjects. Nothing can be clearer than that divinity affords the widest scope for the most various powers and accomplishments, and presents the strongest motives to their development and cultivation. In the literature of every age, theology should assert its grandeur and power, in masterpieces of thought and composition, which men of letters would be compelled to read, in order to deserve the name. Eloquence on almost every other subject is but a species of splendid fanaticism. It exists by detaching from the whole of nature and life some special thing, and exaggerating it out of its natural size and relations, to produce a transient effect. But to the preacher, phiIosophy and eloquence are identical. His task is to restore the most awful of all realities to its rightful supremacy, — the dominion it enjoys according to the Heaven-ordained laws by which the world was made. The written and spoken literature, which is the record of this eloquent wisdom, should be characterized by the first and greatest merit of composition, vitality. It is this vitality, this living energy, this beating of the brave heart beneath the burning words, which is the immortal part of literature. Strange that it should be most wanting in those compositions where it would be most naturally sought ! There is more of it in many a speech by some political enthusiast, thrown off to save a party measure, than in many a sermon by some clerical icicle, intended to save a human soul. Sydney Smith, at the commencement of the present century, described the current sermons of his own church as being chiefly distinguished by decent debility; and we have repeatedly waded through sermons, on the most kindling and soul-animating themes, without being able to realize that the writer had any soul. Heaven and hell, righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, seemed to excite in him no more inspiring emotions than might have been raised from meditating on the mutations of trade. As it is unfortunately impossible for dulness at this day to shield itself from criticism, by tossing the names of scoffer and atheist at the critic, we humbly suggest that it would be wiser to elude the charge by infusing more energy and unction into the thing criticized. And we know of nothing more calculated to produce this desirable effect than the study of a few sermonizers like South, and a hearty emulation of their learning and power; and in all discourses, on all subjects, to recollect that “no man's dulness can be his duty, much less his perfection.”

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