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ment of such eloquence! Compared with them, how impotent are the incitements to attain to eloquence for worldly ends! If love of country and friends, an earthly crown, and the plaudits of a Grecian audience, could so move the great Athenian orator as to make him surpass himself and all posterity, to what hights of eloquence ought love to God and to souls, an immortal crown, and a “great cloud” of surrounding witnesses, to lift the sacred orator! And what material has he for eloqnence !-a body of truths the richest, deepest, and sublimest the world has ever seen,--truths of which Aristotle never dreamed,—truths which, when they have, through the Divine Spirit, wronght themselves into and taken possession of such men as Whitefield, and Hall, and Chalmers, and Edwards, and Davies, and Mason, have made them what they were as preachers of the Gospel.
To become such mighty men as these, let those especially who are in a course of training for the Christian ministry, aspire. Distant be the day when our young men of piety and talent shall seek the ministry as a theater for vaulting ambition; yet, on the other hand, we would desire to remove the impression which is, to some extent, abroad among them, that the clerical profession is unfavorable to the full sweep and play of all the gifts with which God has endowed them. If a Panl could find in the great truths of the gospel full scope for his mighty intellect, and for those deep and gushing emotions in presenting them, which made him even regarded by some as the god of eloquence, then let no young man fear that the profession will dwarf any of his powers. Nay, rather, if he enters on the sacred office with anything like a just sense of its demands both upon his intellect and his heart, he will, with humble dependence on Divine aid, strive with unconquerable energy to become what it demands of him,—"an eloquent man, mighty in the Scriptures."
But let it never be forgotten that these forces, whose sum is eloquence, are, at best, only the conditions of the power of the pulpit, and not the power itself,—that back of them there is a Divine Power which must energize them, or they will be impotent. As the bodies which lay about the prophet in the
valley of vision, though covered with “sinews and flesh,” yet had “no breath in them,” so will these forces of the pulpit be powerless, until the “breath of the Almighty” shall come into them; then shall “they live, and stand up upon their feet, an exceeding great army,” mighty in God. But though the power of the pulpit has its source in God, yet by his own appointment, the conditions of the exertion of the power are to be fulfilled by man. And the preacher who most clearly perceives the relation of Divine power to human agency in the preaching of the Word, will be most solicitous to perform his part of the great work aright. Looking up for the Divine blessing, he will address himself to his appointed work as if success hung on himself alone. And yet he will begin and end every effort in God. Preparing each discourse in the Divine presence, and bathing it in prayer, he will go from his closet to the pulpit, and from the pulpit to the closet, and his preaching will be full of power.
Such is the type both of preaching and of preacher that the world needs. Such may. this Theological Institution ever give to it. Let there ever go forth from this school of sacred culture, men of disciplined intellects and renovated hearts,-men who shall both know the whole truth of God, and how to wield it,-men who shall be eloquent in the truth, and shall fear nothing but to speak error,—men, who with faith in God, and in the power of the preached Word through Ilim, shall carry to their work a holy enthusiasm, which no difficulties can quench. Let such men as these go hence from year to year, , in ever-increasing numbers, into these empires opening to a Christian civilization, and become, through the Divine blessing, centers of light and saving power.
Looking at the magnitude of the work of which I have been called to bear a part, I feel, beyond power of expression, my
I absolute need of Divine grace and strength to enable me to perform, in any suitable manner, the duties of the chair assigned to me. Upon that grace and strength I do humbly cast myself.
Article V.—THORNDALE; OR THE CONFLICT OF OPINIONS.
Thorndale; or the Conflict of Opinions. By William SMITH,
author of “ Athelwold, a Drama," " A Discourse of Ethics," &c. William Blackwood & Sons. Edinburgh and London. 1858. Re-printed Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1859.
“The conflict of opinions,” considered in this volume, concerns the most important of all questions, What are the ends of man's being in the present and future life, and how can these ends best be fulfilled ? It is no secret that the opinions of thinking men, concerning these questions, are at the present time involved in a real and earnest conflict.
This conflict is surveyed by Mr. Charles Thorndale, who views the scene of strife as a quiet observer, and pointing out the prominent hosts and interests in the field, instructs us as to the claims and prospects of the contending parties. He is an invalid, doomed to die by the slow but certain advances of consumption, who has withdrawn himself to a beautiful villa overlooking the bay of Naples—where unmolested by society, withdrawn from the disturbing solicitude of friends, yet provided with every appliance for his confort, he looks out upon the world with the chastened eye of one who has done with the violence of its struggles, the heat of its passions, and the treachery of its disappointments. To while away his hours, he records in a manuscript volume which is ever lying open on his table, the thoughts which are suggested by the landscape before him, and the objects which move here and there across it. All the while his mind is bringing back his past life—the scenes, the hopes of his childhood, the reflections and aspirations of his manhood—till there is woven together a fragmentary but connected picture of his inner life, through which gleam out the strongly marked features of an individual and living man.
We are also introduced to his friends, whose character and history are indicated with sufficient distinctness to awaken
a personal sympathy with each, and to cause us to listen to the dialogues in which they speak, as well as to judge wisely of their opinions ; among these are Seckendorf, or the spirit of denial, and Clarence, the spirit of hope. At last the diary closes. Clarence, the Utopian philosopher, is permitted to enter upon the pages of Thorndale's volume, his own confession of faith, or his system of metaphysical, religious, and social philosophy. After the death of Thorndale, the volume is found by accident in the villa where he died. It is brought to England by the friend who found it, and is there published.
This is a brief outline of this philosophical novel, if novel that may be called, which consists of meditations, descriptions, dialogues, and personal history, and which concludes with some two hundred pages of solid metaphysics. It is however, managed so skillfully that the interest is fully sustained through the whole of the autobiography. Not a few will receive an impulse from the story strong enough to carry them quite over what must seem at first the wide and dreary sand flats of speculation at the end.
It is a work of marked beauty and power. The style is admirable for its precision and clearness, for its fluent ease and grace, and yet there is not a startling passage in the book-not a page which would be deemed worthy of a modern sensation novel—while there are scores of pictures from nature which can scarcely be matched in the language for their marvelons beanty—all couched in words of rare felicity. More interesting still is the subdued and quiet pathos that softens these words and shades those pictures ; the humane spirit that sympathizes so gently with all that is affectionate and good, and the chastened pity that murmurs through every meditation npon human sin and sorrow. There is again in the judg. ments of opinions and principles a real or affected candor that wins the confidence of the reader, and an unmistakable love of the truth which is rare indeed in the majority of writers whose views of truth are so mistaken and defective.
The book is not fitted to be popular. It will not interest the populace. And yet it will be extensively read by those for whom it was written—the thinking and humane men of culture, in whose own souls there is an unadjusted conflict of
opinion in regard to the gravest questions. Men who are saddened by personal disappointments will read it, and yet more will those who are saddened at the thought of human error, passion, and sin, but who have no certain faith in respect to the cause or the remedy ; men who are oppressed by the burdens of society and of their kind, and cry out with the agonized sincerity of Hamlet:
“The time is out of joiot;-oh, cursed spite,
That I was ever born to set it right.” Concerning this class of ineditative men, the author beautifully says: “Every man carries, and can carry, the burden of his own grief. Thoughtful men, of the prophetic order, would take up the burden of the whole world. No wonder that they cannot bear it—that it crushes them to the earth."
The faith or philosophy by which the conflict of opinions is at once tried and adjusted, it is not easy to describe in a word. It has in part been formed in the modern positive school, the school of Stuart Mill and Auguste Comte, and yet the author has not been satisfied with the spirit of all its teachings nor with the barrenness of its results. This school of his training he has outgrown, and has learned valuable lessons from almost every leading thinker and writer of modern times. The great ques. tions concerning the progress of the race, have manifestly occasioned him many an anxious hour, and upon the various modern social theories he pronounces decided opinions. Communism, as a scheme for the elevation of man, is declared by him to be impracticable: it would begin in rapine and end in brutal violence and insane debauchery. Socialism would fail to realize its demonstrated success, for it begins its work of elevating man by taking from him the most powerful impulses that prompt him to rise, the love of separate property and a secluded home. The attainment of material comfort would not give refinement to the soul uncultivated in its tastes; it would only furnish the means for grosser and more abandoned sensuality, and would end by recklessly consuming the abundance provided for its use.
Moral imbecility or passion cannot keep its material wealth. But, on the other hand, moral culture alone cannot be realized, certainly it cannot be developed, without material comfort.