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how such thoughts will come ont, even when the words do not carry them, and the soul that endeavors to speak awakens a sympathy, which is a new capacity to receive. The best speakers are utterly careless and forgetful of grammar and rhetoric; and many a sentence, most effective when spoken, is but a string of words, the connections and expletives of granımar left out. The experience of men in a public assembly, at the crisis of a sharp discussion, is most declarative of the truth, that the first and most essential preparation is fullness of thought. The man, whose mind has been filling with thought, and with the sense of its importance, not only finds words, and fit words, but will probably speak more tersely and powerfully than he can write. He who rises with words in mind, or pretty fancies or favorite expressions, will commonly fail of any permanent or good impression; while he who has truth which he feels, and loves, will not only communicate it, bnt will do it with a beauty most appropriate and congenial. Not to overstate the advantage which we claim for this charging of the mind with important thought, we do not affirm that it will make a graceful and eloquent speaker ; but we insist that it is a fundamental prerequisite, that where other gifts and a generous culture have been enjoyed, it will be sufficient to set the whole soul aglow, and impart the glow to an audience, and where these are not possessed, it will at least redeem a speaker from disgrace. We never despise a man who shows that he has something to say; and when a man has most miserably failed to say it, yet if true and substantial thought at the bottom be discoverable, he will be commended or at least tolerated by the discovery.
We believe it, then, to be a rule in extempore speaking, first and chiefly, to think out solid matter of thought, and then to set one's self to expressing it, and to prepare enough, to have done with a thought when it is expressed. In this way one may begin with that very essential and very respectable virtue, of being a sensible speaker. Practice and study will enable him afterwards to add the graces of eloquence according to his abilities and his patient exercise.
But with reference to the gift and culture of expression we have a few words to add. It has been sadly neglected in the education of ministers. And that the one thing should be neglected, which is the chief talent and sole organ of ministerial usefulness, is strange enough. Owing to the misdirection of education, and the side-issues upon which its forces have been expended, a prejudice has sprung up against Theological Seminaries, which is wide-spread, and not altogether unfounded. Preaching is a practical business, and preachers practical men; and it matters not how much learning or information be possessed, if it be out of proportion to the power of expression. But in utter negligence, if not open contempt of this simple and undeniable maxim, the three years of the theological course are mainly expended to make the students experts in Biblical Literature and sacred polemics, on the absurd assumption that if they know enough, they will be able to teach. They are sent forth from their Alma Mater with heads cultured, and hearts too, but tongue-tied,—unable to express themselves upon the one great subject of three years' study, without reading from a manuscript, and many of them miserably fail, and are cruelly told by their Noverca injusta, that it is all their own fault, for they have been educated in the best possible manner. And educated in the best possible way they would have been, if the object had been to make them philosophers, thinkers, disputants in schools; but as practical men, sent forth to speak to men, ignorant and indisposed, preoccupied or hostile, and effecting their object only as they actually reach men by a spoken ministry, their training has been miserably ignorant and inefficient, and the fault belongs rather to the educators than to the educated. Many of these young men shall be able to talk learnedly to you of Hebrew roots and Greek particles, they shall discriminate nicely between the telic and ecbatic uses of iva, but in the pulpit, the theater for which they are trained, as truly as the physician for the sick room, or the lawyer for the Court House, they shall show alike by the subject they select, and the mode of handling it, that they are utterly ignorant of the wants and woes of their hearers, and their three years' seclusion in the seminary is a life-long estrangement from human sympathies. Not that we love learning less, because we love teaching more; our young men know, doubtless, too little, at best, of Greek, Hebrew, and theology, but without the faculty to teach, such knowledge will do the waiting church and suffering humanity no good. The faculty of expression is a distinct faculty, and demands a distinct and prolonged training. It has also this distinct and peculiar advantage, that it is a branch of education which is capable of the earliest culture, and may make the inost solid and fundamental acquisitions, before the formal education, that of the eye in reading, and of the hand in writing, has begun. The attention of parents to this duty of training their children to correct and graceful habits of expression, has been strangely neglected. No matter to what trade or art children
. are reared, the power to express themselves easily and properly is not only an accomplishment, but a powerful element of success, and to that class of them, not inconsiderable in point of numbers, who are to devote themselves to one of the many professions to which public speaking is incidental, it is an almost indispensable prerequisite to success. If this be regarded as too strong language, let those testify whose speech in childhood has been neglected, or disfigured by inelegant provincialisms, or uncouth intonations, and especially consult those brave spirits who have broken away from such trammels, and by costly efforts have effaced these defects. Owing to this early and through life habitual neglect of culturing the power of expression, the feeling is wide-spread, and it is often maintained that the faculty of speaking well extempore, is rather the endowment of genius than the acquisition of study. Lord Stanhope, at his installation as Lord Rector of the University of Aberdeen, made some valuable remarks in regard to the study necessary to the acquisition of the power of making extempore and immediate replies, such as occur in Parliamentary speeches. After quoting from Quintilian to the effect that without conscientious labor in frequent re-writing, the faculty of extempore speech will yield nothing better than empty loquacity and words springing from the lips,-verba in labris nascentia,-he made the following instructive observations: “I feel tempted at this place to state to you, from the highest authority, some of the means by which that important gift of readiness of speech can be most easily and completely acquired. And you will observe that the power of extemporaneous speaking is not confined merely, so far as utility goes, to men engaged in public life, but may, in many circumstances in private life, be found of great service. Perhaps you may like to hear some practical advice which came from a man of the highest reputation in this respect. No man had that gift of using in public speaking the right word in the right place—no man carried that gift to a higher degree of perfection, as all parties have owned, than Mr. Pitt. Now, my father had the honor to be connected in relationship with that great man, and as such he had the privilege of being in the house with him sometimes for many weeks together. Presuming on that familiar intercourse, he told me he ventured on one occasion to ask Mr. Pitt by what means—by what course of study—he had acquired that admirable readiness of speech-that aptness of finding the right word? Mr. Pitt replied, that whatever readiness he might be thought to possess in that respect, he believed he derived very much from a practice his father, the great Lord Chatham, had enjoined on him. Lord Chatham had bid him take up any book in some foreign language with which he was well acquainted—in Latin, Greek, or French, for example. Lord Chatham then enjoined him to read out of this work a passage in English, stopping where he was not sure of the right word, until the right one came, and then proceed. Mr. Pitt states that he had assiduously followed this practice. At first he had often to stop for a while before he could find the proper word, but he found the difficulties gradually disappear, until what was a toil to him at first became at last an easy and familiar task. Of course I do not mean to say, that with men in general, the same success as in the case of Mr. Pitt, or any thing like it, would be found to follow this same course of practice; although I am able to assure yon, from other cases I have known, that a course of study of this kind is of great use in removing the difficulties of extemporaneons speaking; and it not only gives its aid in public speaking, but also in written composition.”
Our space will not allow us, however, to discuss the training and methods best suited to extempore speaking. Our pages have already spoken on the subject.* We have also just commended an excellent little treatise on the Art, by M. Bautain.t The claims of extempore preaching are before our ministry and churches at the present time as they never were before ; they are more generally felt and acknowledged ; the tide may be said to be fairly turned even in our New England churches. We have but one remark to make in conclusion. It is that extempore preaching need not be compared, much less contrasted, with the preaching of written discourses, as if they were antagonistic and incompatible. We are willing to accord to the advocates of the first method all that can reasonably be asked; we are willing to place it first, and regard it as the normal mode of address from the pulpit; still, we hold that written discourses are indispensable, that some themes imperatively demand them, and that to create a prejudice against them, as such, is to do deep injury alike to the ministry and to the people. It is a mannerism to be confined to either method, and so far forth it becomes unnatural and affected. There should be the utmost flexibility in the minister's form of address from the pulpit, and there will be if the form be left to the shaping of the Spirit. On certain themes and within certain limits, the closest reading will be tolerated by most enthusiastic and impatient audiences ; nay, that is the best kind of preaching, as to form, which puts the people so off their guard, as to prevent their asking or thinking how it was done. What Dr. Johnson says of the best style of dress for a gentleman, that it never attracts attention, and is neither noticed nor remembered, we maintain is equally applicable to Christian preaching. Let it be so suited to the subject, that the subject only shall be thought of, so simple that the uninstructed shall imagine it never cost a thought, but was self-suggested,—the very language they should have used had they the same thing to say. The perfection of the art is to hide it; or rather it is that earnestness of soul which has no need of art, because it is nature and inspiration.