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Brief Notioes (continued)— Paob
Public Speaker, The, nnd how to
Make One 548
Punishment and Prevention .. 667
Sermons. By the Rev. J. H.
Sermons. By the Rev. E. Pax-
Shelley Memorials from Authen-
Sidereal Heavens, The ., .. 546
Summer in the Soul 434
Theology of Geologists .. .. 672
Through the Tyrol to Venice .. 544
Vision of Hell 437
True Womanhood 214
Two Homes, The 216
Unity of the Faith, The .. .. 321
Work and Conflict 545
Burial Place of Edward Malone .. 509
Chance Woeld 405
Coleridge, Sir John, on Church
Congregational Principles .. .. 416
Darwin's Obigin Of Species .. 217
Dawn of Oceanic Discovery.. .. 15
Defence of England, The .. .. 95
Demonax the Cynic 470
Eabth's Old Age, The, A Fancy.
By J. G. Hargreaves 72
Edgeworth Town 380
Epochs, The, of Painting Charac-
Financial Refoem 196
First Arctic Expedition to the
North-West, The, By the Rev J.
Baldwin Brown 243
Franklin, Sir John, The Fate of.. 113
Geeat Aemada Fight, The. By
Holt Land, A Recent Visit to the 626
Holy Week in Rome 372
Home Tourists. By W. G. Thorn-
James, John Angell. In Memo-
Kibe Op Scotland, The .. .. 329
Last Yeae's Cabnital In Rome 274
Macaulay , 291
May, The Month of. By Alex.
Miss Bridget's Charities .. .. 486
Old Mulbebby Gabden, The,
By W. Thornbury 152
Our Christmas Time 80
Our Illustrated Books 359
Owen's Palaeontology. By Dr. Elam 441
Pages Feom Mi Diaby. By
Frederika Bremer .. .. 187, 283
1. Sermons. By the Rev. J.
2. The Gospel in Ezekiel; 24th
3. The New Park-street Pulpit.
4. Sermons. By the late Rev.
5. Expository Lectures on St.
Protestant Movement in Italy .. 804
Red Algiebs 45
Reverie and Abstraction .. .. 597
Stony Days At Oxpoed .. .. 58
Thomas Beckett 255
Town and Forest. Chaps. 11, 12.
Wilson, The Late Bishop .. 347
1. Sermons. By the Rev. J. Caird, M.A., Edinburgh.
2. The Gospel in Ezekiel; 24th Thousand. The City : its Sins and
its Sorrows. Christ and the Inheritance of the Saints. 16th Thousand. By Thomas Guthrie, D.D., Edinburgh.
3. The New Park Street Pulpit. Sermons by the Eev. C. H. Spurgeon.
4. Sermons. By the late Rev. Fred. W. Robertson, M.A. London.
5. Expository Lectures on St. Paul's Epistles to the Corinthians. By
the late Rev. F. W. Robertson, M.A. London : Smith & Elder, 1859.
There has been a great deal said and written of late on the subject of Preaching. A prevailing feeling has found expression in many quarters that so great an instrument of public education as the Pulpit is not generally so effective as it might bo; and there is undoubtedly room for much to be said on tho subject. When we think of tho vast apparatus of the Pulpit in this country, of the thousands of sermons preached every Sunday throughout its length and breadth, of the immense resources in weekly operation for bringing the most important truths home to tho mind and hearts of tho people, and of tho real amount of earnest intellect expended in these resources; and, on tho other hand, when we note how feeble and indefinite the moral and practical results seem to be of all this—how slowly tho popular feeling is moved and elevated, and in a word, Christianized—it does occur as a very serious question, to what extent the Pulpit is adapted now as of old to the great work of spiritual instruction and moral advancement; whether it suits the more complex needs and requirements of our modern social life equally as it did those of a simpler state of society. A priniA facie case might bo mado out—has, indeed, frequently been made out—against the effectiveness of the modern pulpit;
AOL. III. B
and, from the uncomplimentary utterances of The Times, to the chat of the after-dinner table, the dullness and uselessness of sermons has become a common topic. It is a sufficiently notorious picture, which represents groups of weary listeners in our churches, decorously submitting to the sermon as a becoming conventionality, expressing a buzz of relief when it is ended. There is some wicked colouring in the picture, but we cannot say that it has no reality, we cannot say that it is entirely caricature. There is only too much truth in it; and it is mournful enough to be obliged to make this confession wben we recall the facts beneath the malicious guise of the picture ; the messenger of God's truth on the one hand, and weak, and tempted, and darkened souls on the other; and think on what great subjects, and for what great ends, preacher and congregation have been brought face to face. It is no less sad than surprising, that what is in its own nature so vitally interesting, what ought to be so intensely and practically exciting, should yet prove in so many cases so listless, flat, and unprofitable; and the conclusion is inevitable, that there must be something greatly defective in modes of preaching thus unproductive, which leave the speaker without power and the audience without benefit.
It may be said, indeed, that the value and importance of Divine truth are independent of the success of the preacher,— that there are few, if any, sermons, however feeble and unimpressive in utterance, that are not calculated to do good if only wo would receive the good. We are far from disputing the forco of this, to a certain extent; we are far from saying that the inattention with which many excellent sermons are Listened to, and the slight moral improvement that seems to follow from them, are not owing to that very reh'gious indifference and hardness of heart which it is the aim of all preaching to reach and remove. Tho evil is not the less, but all the more melancholy on this account. That there is a strong natural indisposition in the hearer to receive spiritual instruction, does not mend but rather aggravate the perplexity as to the best mode of conveying that instruction. And supposing it were tbe case, which yet in the most comprehensive point of view it is very far from being, that men arc less easily moved by the subjects with which tho Christian preaching deals, it only becomes a more pertinent and serious inquiry, how the preacher shall accomplish his confessedly difficult task with most effect.
It is well known, however, that the way of viewing the matter now suggested does not hold good to the extent that is often urged. So far from tho great topic of Christian instruction being loss calculated than other topics to move the minds and feelings of man, it is undeniable that there are none which can be made to