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Mr. D.—“You mounted the top of the house; and, on looking down vour neighbour's chimney to see what kind of a fire he kept, you got your eyes filled with smoke. Had you entered by the door'-gone into the room—and mingled with the family around the household hearth, you would have enjoyed the benefit of the fire as well as they. Sir, you have got the smoke in your eyes.”
From the common penality of pulpit popularity, Dawson was by no means free. To him were attributed the very same absurd, not to say blasphemous, utterances, and outrageous actions in the pulpit, which were fathered upon conspicuous Christian orators before him, and are still roundly asserted of the favourite preachers of our own day, and with just the same amount of truth, or rather falsehood; these are familiar to most of us, and there is no need that we should defile our pen by naming, even for the purpose of contradicting them; across them all we ought to write, as good Rowland Hill did in the case of those attributed to him, —"a lie !" "a lie!” We will not go as far as did a preacher in our hearing, when speaking over the remains of a deceased brother minister, not a little notorious for the employment of drollery in the pulpit. His apologist, in a rather fulsome panegyric to his deceased friend, adverted to his propensity for smart utterances, and said that this doubtless had contributed to his popularity, and that no man could have attracted and held so large a congregation for so many years as the departed had done, had he not possessed a quick sense of humour and a ready wit in public. What Mrs. Malaprop might call the jocular vein may be a very important member in some preachers' organism, but we believe that in Mr. Dawson's case, Mr. Paxton Hood is correct when he says, “He seldom indulged in drollery for its own sake.” On the contrary, his words, like the great Apostle's letters, were always "weighty and powerful,” while, unlike the apostle, his bodily presence was not “weak and contemptible,” but congruous to his mental characteristics, stalwart and commanding. Mr. Dawson once said of a preacher he heard, that "he was like a tailor's goose, hot and heavy;" to himself the simile was most inappropriate, for he was fervent and weighty, but never heavy-words, which when applied to pulpit style, are far from being synonymous.
We conclude our paper with two or three short extracts, containing the pith of all we have been able to gather, which may throw some light upon the causes which operated to make this “ Yorkshire Farmer” so great a favourite with the many thousands who from time to time were favoured to hear God's message from his lips.
The following is from the pen of the Rev. E. Paxton Hood, in “ Lamps, Pitchers, and Trumpets :"
“Dawson was a trumpet; the effects he produced when he spoke were amazing; men could not contain themselves ; feelings were wrought upon and excited. He was a plain farmer, and had received only the most ordinary education; but there was a bold, strong, adventurous imagination in all he said, which, while it enabled his mind to walk steadily in the most difficult paths, and saved him usually from coarseness, vulgarity, and profanity, bore his audiences along with him upward, and compelled them intensely to realise his conceptions and his descriptions. ..:. The world needs preachers such as he was."
John Angell James, and others who like him were no mean judges, pay similar homage to Mr. Dawson's rare gifts and sterling godliness; but of those other elements of his character which contributed to his wide-spread popularity and usefulness, namely, solid reading and indomitable perseverance, we shall let his biographer testify.
“He earned his notoriety with hard toil, though he miglit have flourished a little without it; and candidates for the Christian ministry should be deeply impressed with the fact that the industry which is necessary to raise a man to a high point of elevation is equally necessary to keep him there; for, like a growth in grace, not to proceed is to draw back, and a man often loses the past for want of perseverance. Mr. Dawson's studies and reading could not be called systematic ; but still he thought, and thought intensely, too; and he also read to purpose—not absorbing the mind in the newspapers of the day, and giving a political hue to everything he touched-but works that assisted his picty and his preaching. He was far from being extensively read, as to the actual number of volumes which passed through his hands, though extensive when taken in connexion with the small portion of time he had as command for the purpose : but when we advert to the authors that have incidentally occurred in the course of the memoir, such as Dr. Watts, Flavel, Drelincourt, Sherlock, Dr. Owen, Romaine, Burgess, Scougal, Dr. Bates, Saurin, Dr. Manton, Dr. Goodwin, Baxter, Alleine, Showers, Law, Fletcher, Brainard, Young, Venn, Benson, Bishop Newton, Bishop Butler, Bunyan, Rogers, Ambrose, Doddridge, Wesley, Whitfield, Cennick, Henry, Preston, Watson, Clarke, etc., and others might be noticed, a familiarity with the theological writers of his own country may be fairly inferred ; and when the manuscripts he has left are taken into account, comprising at least four hundred sermons, mostly full, and others in outline, exclusive of essays, diaries, speeches, and other public addresses, and an extensive correspondence, he may,—all his secular engagements, travels, and pulpit labours being preserved in remembrance,-be exhibited as an unusual type, or extraordinary model, of industry ; a son in whom the Founder of Methodism, himself one of the most laborious men that ever lived, would have gloried.”
Hara Avis-A Book.
A REVIEW, BY C. H. SPURGEON.
PREACHERS abound but divines are few. The printing press pours 1 forth a mass of matter but a real book is a phenomenon. We count ourselves happy, for we have met with a divine in Dr. James Culross, late of Stirling, and now of Highbury Hill, London, and in his new work entitled “John, whom Jesus loved,” we have. found a book. It is a part of our appointed suffering in this present life, to be compelled to winnow heaps of literature with great result in chaff and dust, and small gain in bread-corn; and therefore our rejoicing is the greater when grain comes to our garner as clean provender, in good weight and measure. It is essential that great truths should be popularized, and those who exercise themselves in so doing answer a most useful purpose, therefore we have not a word to say against certain teeming bookmakers, except that we wish they diluted their material a little less, and were not so given to hammering out a thought to the extremity of thinness. To the student, the productions of these vendors of evangelical milk and water are less profitable than wearisome, and he turns with eagerness to those who will give him condensed thought, and truth in solid form. In reading certain of the Puritan authors, one feels that he has come into a land wherein a man may eat bread without scarcenessa land whose very dust is gold. The art of writing books like theirs is not wholly lost, for now and then we are gladdened by a volume of the same solidity: the work before us is a case in point. It is a great book for matter though very modest in size. It is perhaps compressed å little too much for the general reader, which is a virtuous fault for students. We can conceive of many readers suffering from indigestion after reading one of the chapters, for in our own case, a few pages sufficed us for a day's nutriment, and we were compelled to pause, and meditate.
The opening paragraphs are a fair specimen of the whole, and therefore we submit them to the reader's own judgment. The chapter deals with John—the Man, and our extract treats of his relation to his Lord :“ The central point of history is the manifestation of the Son of God in the flesh. Even those who deny his higher nature must admit that his appearing is the new beginning of the ages. His brief sojourn on earth exhibits a perfect love, combined with perfect truth and righteousness, which men had not even imaged to themselves as possible. In his presence sin becomes exceeding sinful, and holiness exceeding lovely. He is the faultless Type of humanity ; the “Express Image,' in our nature, of the Invisible God; the Revealer of heavenly things; the Redeemer from evil; the Founder and King of a new creation; the Dispenser of the Holy Spirit; the Life from whom all life flows. The Secret of nature, providence, and grace is unlocked in him, 'for whom are all things. It is a mighty step taken when I exchange my barren abstraction of 'Deity' for the I AM of the Old Testament; a still mightier when I see the I AM livingly in Jesus Christ. During his brief and lowly transit through mortal life, glorifying the Father and bearing the burden of our salvation, comparatively few eyes were drawn to him; and even of these few, many seeing, saw not;' the place he occupied was that of a Stranger whom the world did not know. That all the ends of the earth, and all ages, might have tidings of him, he chose certain followers, and received them into the inner circle of communion, who should hear his words, see his works, witness the disclosures of his glory, become penetrated with his light, receive the impress of his personality; and who in turn should declare, with human lips, what they had seen and heard, and show, in human life, the Eternal Life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto them: an infinitely more gracious thing for us, more suited to the needs both of our intellect and heart, than if he had left behind him some stereotyped book setting forth in naked abstractness what we must believe and do.
Because he himself was so truly and deeply the IVonderful, it was necessary that his witnesses, who were also to be the future organs of his Spirit, should be men of broadly varied nature-not copies one of another, like images of clay cast in kindred mould, but differing in mental constitution, experience, spiritual affinities, and faculty of vision. No single man could take in his full image, or apprehend, in its completeness and unity and infinite reaches of application, the truth revealed in him; and therefore the chosen witnesses' were many and many-natured. And farther, as no single flower can show forth all that is in the sun—as it takes the whole bloom of the year to do so, from the first snowdrop that pierces the dark earth to the latest flower of autumn-80 he needed them all for the adequate forthtelling of his holy personality."
Many writers are mere echoes of other men's voices, and are mainly of use in stirring up pure minds by way of remembrance; they imitate the good steward in bringing forth things old, but things new are quite out of their way. Dried fruits are their merchandise; such a thing as a freshly-gathered peach is never seen in their basket. One of the excellencies of Dr. Culross is the freshness of his thought. The dew is on his branch; he is no withered bough of the autumn forest. His mind allows young flowers to break through its soil after their own fashion, and to blossom in their own sweet way; take this as a specimen:-“ So far from being unpractical, there is nothing more practical-for all kinds of true work—than this letting the love of Christ get in and about the roots of our being. In a window, this summer, there was a flower-pot containing a plant whose use it was to be odorous and beautiful. The leaves were just beginning to curl up. I poured a cupful of water into the saucer in which the flower-pot stood; and a child, looking on, asked, What good will that do? Why did you not rather pour water on the leaves ? It was a child that asked—and I answered the best way I could, that when God would bring beauty and fragrance and healthfulness into our lives, he waters us at the root. And his rain does good by going down there."
Here is another equally instructive parable:—“Once, I remember, in looking through a painter's portfolio, which contained a number of unfinished sketches,—just as they flashed up before his inner eye,-one little sketch attracted and interested me specially. It was the sketch of a martyr's face. Noticing the interest which his sketch excited, he took me into another room, and showed me the picture finished and almost living to the eye ; and in the finished picture I saw at once the earlier sketch. Even so—if one may reverently use the parable-Christian inen and women are the unfinished sketch; but God sees the perfect Christ in each of them—the Christ to whose glorious image they shall one day be perfectly conformed; and each of them he sees in the perfect Christ.”
The following is a remarkable description of John:-“A traveller, giving an account of an ancient volcano which he visited, tells of a verdurous cup-like hollow on the mountain summit, and, where the fierce heat had once burned, a still, clear pool of water, looking up like an eye to the beautiful heavens above. It is an apt parable of this
man. Naturally and originally volcanic, capable of profoundest passion and daring, he is new-made by grace, till in his old age he stands out in calm grandeur of character, and depth and largeness of soul, with all the gentleness and graces of Christ adorning him-a man, as I image him to myself, with a face so noble that kings might do him homage, and so sweet that children would run to him for his blessing."
A still more vivid instance of the freshness of our author's thought will be found in his explanation of what is usually thought to be the ambitious request of the mother of Zebedee's children for her two sons; in this he runs counter to generally received notions, and not without much reason. There is room for discussion upon the point, but there can be no two opinions as to the thoughtfulness of the suggested explanations.
“With heartless and blind pertinacity, commentators ground accusations which they fail to prove, upon this request, and oftener reveal their own evil thoughts than enter into the spirit of the two disciples. As the story is told in the Gospels, I do not read 'selfish ambition' in it, nor immense egotism, nor a proud contempt of others,' nor" a proof of the weakness and wickedness of human nature,' nor a violation by that woman' and her sons of the primary conditions of brotherhood. On the contrary, I read John's faith in Jesus as the · King most wonderful,' his love to him, his high-hearted fortitude, and desire for the glory that he alone gives. We wrong the man by detaching his request from its historical connection, and inventing a connection of our own for it. It is like the buying of land in Rome, when the city was in the power of an enemy. The Lord had just foretold, in vivid and awful terms, his approaching sufferings—how he should be condemned, mocked, scourged, spit upon, crucified, and the third day should rise again. No words could have been plainer. It is at this moment, in connection with this announcement, and not knowing what the rising' on the third day might mean, that the brothers ask places at his right hand and his left, in his glory. What if they remember his large and varied teaching about exaltation in the kingdom of heaven ? What if they understand, however dimly, that the greatest greatness is that which can bear to be despised and rejected of men, that the chiefest power is that of suffering love? What if they understand, however dimly, that all greatness under him is held in like manner—that all power under him is like-conditioned ? What if their desire on this occasion has been quickened into energy by his very prediction of the cross, and is kin to that of Paul, “that I may know ... the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death, if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection of the dead'? When it is put to them, they hold themselves prepared to suffer with him to drink of his cup and to be baptised with his baptism, sharing his sufferings of both kinds, inward and outward. It is true, they knew not what was involved in their request, and the means of its accomplishment, and the Lord tells them so :—who knows all that lies in his own prayers ?-but the Lord reads their sincerity of heart, and accepts them, and they shall learn afterwards, in good time, how deep and serious their word was. It is noticeable that while Jesus explains. that places in glory are given by the Father to those for whom they are