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most said, irreligiously, discontinued their instructions from the pulpit. Patient labor, and unremitted perseverance, might, accompanied by God's blessing, have been ultimately successful. Had my friends—instead of being discouraged by obstacles, which diligence might have, gradually, lessened, and judgment, eventually, surmounted—prepared awakening and pathetic discourses, level to the understandings, and interesting to the affections, of their hearers, and enforced their public preaching, by personal visits, applauding and confirming the attention and piety of the well-disposed among their people, they would not, I am persuaded, have had reason to complain,, either of the indisposition of their hearers to instruction, or the inutility of their own labors. But I would suggest an attractive improvement in preaching, or rather, I would substitute a more efficacious mode of improving the morals, and informing the understandings, of men. Would every Clergyman, after the morning service, give notice, that, as a Psalm, or Lesson, or the Epistle, or Gosple, seemed either peculiarly striking, or not easy to be understood, or often misapplied, the explanation of it should be the subject of the evening instruction, he would soon, without question, have a regular congregation.
It were greatly to be wished, as an additional incentive to attend public worship, that the elocution of the Clergy of the Church of England, were more impressive than it is—an acquirement not to be generally attained—unless the two Universities, seeing the indispensable necessity of it, should consider public speaking, as an Essential part of an academical education. Of what use to nine parishes out of ten, is the best critical scholar, or the deepest mathematician, if he is not able to deliver a sermon, so as to engage the attention, and affect the heart, of his hearers? He, feeling his professional deficiency, accompanied, at the same time, with a consciousness of superior learning, despises them; and they, not knowing how to appreciate, and deriving no advantage, from, his knowledge, disregard him. Thus is the bread of life, when distributed by his hands, deprived of its vital sustenance. Had he employed a part of his leisure, in the University, in cultivating the talents of a public speaker, that he might have become, agreeably to his designation, an instrument " of turning many to righteousness"—he would, instead of being professionally useless, have "converted many from the error of their ways." What possible advantage can a congregation derive from hearing a young man, who is entirely unacquainted with the art of public speaking, read for fifteen or twenty minutes, an elegant essay, or an ingenous disquisition", equally adapted, with a few verbal alterations, to an assembly of Catholics, Jews or Mahometans—ashamed all the time of looking them in the face? Such an one might have been active as a shopkeeper, skilful as a farmer, diligent as a tradesman, and may, perJvaps be distinguished as a philosopher—-but it is with difficulty, we can bring ourselves to believe, that he. " was moved by the Holy Ghost," to preach the Gospel.
The Bishops, before they ordain a candidate for holy orders, from either of the Universities, very properly, require him to produce a certificate from a Divinity Professor, of his having attended a certain course of lectures. But, what ever be his classical, philosophical, and theological knowledge, if he cannot address a popular assembly—if he cannot, by his mode of speaking,secure the attention of the wandering, suppress the levity of the giddy, and attract the mind of the inquisitive, hearer—he may engage by his example, edify by his conversation, and instruct by his writings, but he will not be an useful Preacher,
Solicitous to uphold the credit of the Church, and to promote the success of the Gospel, I express a most fervent wish, that the Northern Schools, which prepare very many young men for the Church, would establish the custom of frequent public speaking, and—which is still more desirable—that the several Colleges, in the two Universities, would, as an indispensible preliminary to a degree, require of every one in their Society, to repeat in their chapel, in every term, speeches, declamations, parts of sermons, Sec. &c. An University education, would then qualify, as it was, originally, designed to do, all who enter into holy orders, to discharge the popular part of their vocation, with honour to • themselves, and benefit to their he"arers; and the good Shepherd would have the comfort, not always awaiting dignities and preferments, of seeing his flock daily "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
I introduce to the reader, without any comment or observation, a passage from my Lord Bacon's Works, which he will not, perhaps, think inapposite.
Speaking of a custom that formerly prevailed, which was, as he expresses it, "the best way, to frame and train up Preachers, to handle the Word of God as it ought to be handled, that hath been practised—the Ministers did meet upon a week day, in some principal town, where there was some ancient grave Minister that was President, and an auditory admitted of gentlemen, or other persons of leisure'. Then every Minister, successively, beginning with the youngest, did handle one and the same "part of Scripture; spending severally some quarter of an hour or better, and in the whole, some two hours: and so the exercise being begun and concluded with prayer, and the President giving a text for the next meeting, the assembly was dissolved. Every practice of science," he continues, "hath an exercise of erudition and initiation, before men come to the life: only preaching, which is the worthiest, and wherein it is most danger to do amiss, wanteth an introduction, and is ventured and rushed upon at the first."
He next proceeds to say, it is his wish, "that the same exercise was used in the Universities, for young Divines, before they presumed to preach, as well as in the country, for Ministers."
Massillon having given his Clergy no directions, respecting either the delivery or composition of a discourse, I offer to the reader, a Translation of a Letter on the Art of Preaching, by M. Reybaz, a Minister of Geneva. I also subjoin such sentiments as have occurred to my mind, on the nature of a sermon, in so far as preaching affects the Church of England. The younger Clergy may not, perhaps, be displeased, that I add a Prayer, which may, by those who have not previously composed one of more fervor and piety, be read devoutly in the study*