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EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

No VIII.

NOVEMBER 1817.

VOL. II.

LAND.

ON THE PULPIT ELOQUENCE OF score inconsiderable advantage by the char

acter of the scene, the audience, and

the subject. The sanctity of the place, No I.-Chalmers.

the very spectacle of a multitude as

sembled to unite in the worship of THERE is perhaps no triumph of hu- their Creator, is sufficient to still every man genius so instantaneous, so un- unworthy passion, and to exclude erivalled, and so splendid, as that of very, debasing thought. We are in the Preacher. It is more peculiar the house of God, and we cannot enthan that of the General, for he shares ter it without having our attention his glory with multitudes, and there carried away from the business, the is not one in all his army who would amusements, the passions of the world, consent to give him the undivided and fixed upon the great concerns of praise. The eloquence of the Lawyer the nobler part of man-death, judgis corrupted by our knowledge that he ment, and eternity. We invoke the has received a fee, and that of the pity of a pure and compassionate Politician is fettered by the details of Creator, in the merits of a divine, a business, and the certainty of a reply. gentle, a suffering, Redeemer. We The Poet is the only one whose art look around us, and we see the old can boast of producing an equal effect and the young, the rich, the poor, the on the human passions; but then the noble, and the menial, all gathered days of solemn recitation and choral together for one purpose, and confessaccompaniments have long since gone ing before the throne of God that they by, and the enthusiasm excited in a are equal in his sight, all children closet must always be inferior to that of Adam, all sinful dust and ashes. which is kindled in an assembly. The When we enter the church we have Dramatic Poet, indeed, who should be the same sense of our degraded condipresent at the representation of his tion and immortal destiny with which own tragedy, must be supposed to have we walk over the graves. If we have attained the summit of literary en- the power of thought, we must be joyment. But even here the triumph serious; if we have the feelings of is neither instantaneous nor entire. men, we must be humble, kindly, The Parisians, it is true, used to call and composed. for the poet when the curtain fell; and The preacher has no occasion to they crowned Voltaire with garlands, create a disposition in his hearers. and carried him in procession about They who are ever likely to listen, the stage. But all this was an after are already before him in all the thought; and the first and most hearty calmness of reflection.

The proud of their acclamations fell to the share are humbled into the sense of human of Clermont and Le Kain.

weakness; the lowest are partakers in The sacred preacher is elevated above the sublimest of contemplations. We his audience; he speaks as one having come not as critics but as sinnersauthority; and the honour, if honour prepared to scrutinize, not the faults of there be, is entirely and indisputably his the preacher's rhetoric, but the mazes, own. He is furnished, indeed, with no perplexities, and errors of our own Vol. II.

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The

mysterious lives.

Our predominant Were our thoughts of a more ordinary. feelings are those of shame, sorrow, cast, it would be more easy to elevate and awe; and we are there, with the them : were our feelings less excited, unsuspecting confidence and reposing the preacher might have it more in simplicity of children, waiting to have his power to mould them to his will.. our faith confirmed, our hopes exalt. He has the delicate task of supporting ed, and our love kindled, by the voice enthusiasm, which is already great; of the messenger of God. We stand and when the fire is in its brilliancy, drooping and silent among the gloomy it is scarcely possible to feed its flames columns and tombstones of the choir without diminishing its lustre. It is, -it is his to open the gates of the besides, of the nature of all powerful sanctuary, and reveal the redoubled emotions, either to become stronger er height and splendour of the aerial to become weaker ; there is no

sted. dome.

fastness in passion. The incantation A portion of that reverence which must become more awful as it prowe feel for our God, mingles insensi- ceeds, and there is fear, when once bly with our ideas of those who have the deep charm is upon us, that a devoted themselves to his service. We single hasty word or unhallowed mo- i think of the lowly, and affectionate, tion may dissolve the mystery. and cheering offices in which the min- least vulgarity of expression, the least ister spends his days. We see the meanness of thought, the least obtuseman whose business it is to comfort ness of feeling, seems as out of place the broken-hearted, and to bind up in the pulpit as a profane jest would the wounds of the afflicted spirit,- be on the scaffold or the death-bed. who sits by the sick-bed of the Chris- The more majestic the character of tian, and composes the fainting soul the preacher, the more painful would to meet without horror the agonies of be to us the imperfections of the man. death. We cannot look without love Our thoughts would begin to flow inand admiration on the godlike devo- to another channel, and the meditation of that man who has forfeited tions with which we departed, might all hopes of worldly preferment and be more earthly than those with which worldly fame, and given his undivided strength to benevolence, which is There are indeed some favoured its own reward, and piety, which holds spirits which are exempted from all its communion with the heavens, and such fear. The aged saint, whose looks for its recompence upon high. soul is weaned from all the thoughts He is the type of all that is kind, and and vanities of the world, whose only pure, and lovely, in our nature. He book is his Bible, whose sole delight is the martyr of humanity. His is in contemplation ;—the innocent watchings have been not for himself and unquestioning piety of childhood ; but for his brethren. If the veteran -the tender and submissive sanctity soldier be at all times entitled to res- of woman :—these may bid defiance pect, surely the gray hairs of the aged to all the inabilities of the preacher. priest are worthy of a yet more melt. Their thoughts are so simple, their ing veneration ; and in these moments affections so lovely, their religion so of silent contemplation, when our habitual, that to destroy the tenor of thoughts turn not on the comparative their holy reflections and humble hopes strength of human intellects, but on would be to shake their existence to the more awful and eternal relations its centre, and convulse the very esbetween God and man, we are willing sence of their souls. Many, very many, to confess that he has chosen the bete such spirits are in every Christian ter part,—that all other occupations land ; it is their purity which redeems are mean when compared with his,- our nature from its reproach, and tesand that the internal peace and con

tifies that man was not originally scious heroism of a mind devoted to made to be a sinner. They form the employments such as these, must in link between ordinary men and anthemselves be a treasure far beyond gels; their divine thoughts are the all the riches, power, and honour, to steps of that ladder which preserves which other men attain.

un broken the communication between It is perhaps from the very excel- earth and heaven. But with the young, lence of this preparation that the main the gay, the busy, the ambitious spirits difficulties of sacred eloquence arise. of the earth, the case is widely differ

we came.

men.

am at. They have endeavoured to lay majesty of the Christian Religion is

side their usual thoughts, and they familiar to us ;-its lofty images are spuld fain be pious for a season ; but ever before us ;--its mysterious truths te weight of wordly corruption hangs are revealed to us in our childhood

ose about them, and their unwilling the spirit of its tenderness is diffused of Dirits are but too prone to sink back over all our feelings, and the sublimfew to the ordinary level of their desires. ity of its promises over all our hopes ; 13 "heir pássions are strong, their pur- -We may call ourselves what we will, da uits industrious, their holiness a but it is as impossible for us not to

: ruggle, their religion a violence; and be Christians, as it is for us not to be al requires all the art of a consummate

The hardiest infidel owes the e suciaster, to preserve alive that faint boasted purity of his morality, and is waark of devotion which has been dignity of his conceptions, to those inczindled in their souls. To the truly Scriptures at which he scoffs, and that la evout and godly of his audience, and faith which he would undermine. The Will the minister himself, a few simple oracles of God were not uttered in s, faculations, a few heavenly breath- vain ; and they who are the most unlioraags of confidence, a few words of un- conscious of their influence, cannot Ster fected tenderness, might be a suffi- write a line in their disparagement, n, i ent homily. But the preacher must without bearing witness to their power. as cadress, not the few, but the many; Voltaire, who spent a long life in wilauto nd it is this which renders it neces- ful mockery of our religion, was not jä iry that sacred eloquence should be aware that the most noble of his prodeat-m art.

ductions is a mere cento from the hare Like every other great and dig- Bible, and that it was only his intiuful wified art-like painting, sculpture, macy with Isaiah which could ever I tka* poetry, its most perfect perform- have enabled his light spirit to dictate to fynces appear, indeed, to be the work such a poem as Žaïre. If we look ne mif inspiration or enchantment. Who back to the most splendid ages of ed , ver represented to himself Raphael Greece and Rome, and examine the itbouching and retouching the divine writings of their profoundest philoso

ineaments of his Madonna? or Phi- phers and most elevated poets, we fuxías shaping a rude mass of stone into shall see no confidence in immortality, frit he countenance of his Olympic Jove ? -no sense of deity-no purity of af1, r Milton seeking for rhymes in Ly- fection-no gentleness of love, which thoridas, or balancing similes for the can sustain a comparison with what we her ipeeches of Satan? or who that quakes may find in the treacherous writings of di aeneath the unfettered eloquence of that scoffing Frenchman. In Homer we inchalmers remembers that pages were see a melancholy dread of dissolution, jdblotted, and the midnight oil consum- and an undisguised belief that the true suured in search of images which seem to happiness of man is inseparable from define

the easy suggestions of an overflow. the possession of his senses—in Æsarti ng fancy, or sentences which come chylus, a dark and mysterious impres5, capon his ear like the first and natural sion of fatality-in Sophocles, a vague gia anguage of a commanding soul? Yet presentiment of retribution-in Euricement is most true, that he who is the best pides, a restless and sophistical sceptiEebureacher of the day is also the most cism-in Plato, mystic and undefin

aborious, and that it would be as im- able aspirings--in Cicero, doubts er possible for a careless extemporist to ut- which would fain be_satisfied-in La ter a sermon like one of his, as it would Lucan, contempt-in Tacitus, des risuse for a player of voluntaries to strike pair. But if we turn to the book of any détoff the dead march in Saul, or a Ne- modern infidel, we shall find a moraldeapolitan improvisatore to thunder out ity, before which Socrates would have in The GIAOUR.

bowed himself like a child-hopes But if it be true that there is no which would have illuminated the 1 x art more difficult than that of the gloomy dreams of Æschylus--and faith ce preacher, it is at least certain that no which would have cheered and glad

other theme contains so many elements dened the majestic spirit of Plato. has chosen to dilate.

as that upon which he Christianity is not only the fountain

We, indeed, of all our hopes, she is also the guide very seldom able to appreciate that of all our science, and the inspiration there to which we are accustomed. The of all our art. The great fathers of

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NOTICE FROM THE EDITOR.

WE received, some weeks ago, a letter signed P. professing to be “ a Vindication of Mr LEIGH Hunt from the Aspersions of Z.,” which, though its author seems erroneously to have supposed that the remarks of Z. were meant to apply to the character of Mr Hunt as unconnected with that of his writings, should have been inserted, but for one circumstance, which did not at first strike our attention. Mr P. appears to allude, in a pointed manner, to a certain Gentleman, politically hostile to the principles of the Examiner Newspaper, whom he most groundlessly imagines to be the writer of z. Should he choose to expunge that part of his letter, we will give it a place in our Number for December.

When we announced, in last Number, a Series of Essays on the Pulpit Eloquence of Scotland, we mentioned that No I. should consist of " a Parallel betwixt Mr Alison and Dr CHALMERS ;” but before that paper was sent to press, another article came to hand, which, upon consideration, we have judged better fitted to open the Series. The author of “ the Parallel,” when he reads what we have substituted, will, we hope, agree with us in thinking so, and excuse us for delaying to a future Number the insertion of his very interesting article.

We regret to say, that the Essay on the Genius of ALLAN, which, at the author's request, was announced in the Papers, did not, by some unfortunate accident, arrive till our last sheet had been nearly thrown off. It shall appear in our next Number.

Among several other communications from our most honoured correspondents, there will appear in our next Number, “ Observations on the British Lead Mines, and the Processes of melting the Ore; by Thomas Thomson, M.D. Professor of Chemistry in the University of Glasgow, &c. &c."-and“ Experiments illustrating the Effects produced on Ani. mals, by a powerful Vegetable Poison from the Island of Java; by JOHN GORDON, M.D.”

We have received the first of a Series of Sermons on the essential Principles of Christianity. These compositions, although of a nature somewhat unusual in a Literary Miscellany, will, we think, be highly acceptable to all our readers; and we need scarcely add, that their appearance in our pages need not form any bar to the author's intended public cation of them in a separate form, and with his name.

We shall be happy to hear again from our Lanarkshire correspondent H., whose communication, although dated in September, did not reach us till last week.

We return A. Z. our thanks for his letter, and shall be happy to be favoured with the reference he mentions; or, if he pleases, with a specimen of what he proposes.

The interesting paper on the Lochgelly Gypsies in our next. Also, Mr G.'s letter respecting the Gypsey Chief, William Marshall. Horæ Juridicæ, No II. on the Deaf Mute, has been received ; also the excellent Vindication of Burke. D. L.'s ingenious paper on Drummond of Hawthornden is in types. The continuation of “ Strictures on an Article in the Edinburgh Review, relating to West India Affairs," is unavoidably postponed till next Number.

We have received some account of the late CHRISTOPHER WATson of Hartford Col. lege, Oxford, with Specimens of his unpublished Poems, particularly his Tragedy of Charles I. and his Satires.

We have been favoured with a very great variety of poetical contributions from different parts of the kingdom. We return our thanks to their authors, particularly H.-R. K.G. -R. V.-A, A. W.-B.-Ss, and shall, from time to time, avail ourselves of their communications. The verses from Paisley, communicated by W. F. in our next.

We intend very soon, ourselves, to review M. de Peu-de-mot's admirable little volume, entitled, “ Fragments and Fictions.” The obliging offer of T. T. L. must therefore be declined.

Analytical Essays on the Early English Dramatists, by H. M. No III.” has just been received. Also, the “ Letters from Dalkeith."

We have been promised a set of Essays on the Eloquence of the Scots Bar, No I. CLERK, No II. CRANSTOun. Also, Three Letters upon Huggery. Also, a Series of papers on Pedants: No I. the Clerical Pedant-No II. The Legal Pedant-No III. The Military Pedant- No IV. The Quadrille Pedant- No V. The Vertu Pedant-No VI. The Me. dical Pedant--No VII. The Political Pedant—No VIII. The Metaphysical PedantNo IX. The Musical Pedant-No X. (and last) the Confliction of Pedants.

Very soon, “ On the Fools of Scotland. No I, KYLE."

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR.

The Editor has learned with regret, that an Article in the First Edition of last Number, which was intended merely as a jeu d'esprit, has been construed so as to give offence to Individuals justly entitled to respect and regard; he has on that account withdrawn it in the Second Edition, and can only add, that if what has happened could have been anticipated, the Article in question certainly never would have appeared.

With the December Number will be given eight pages, to supply the deficiency occasioned by the omission of the Article, “ Translation from an Ancient Chaldee Manuscript.”

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