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The Rev. John Brown is the son of the. Rev. John Brown, of Whitburn, and grandson of the celebrated author of the Self-Interpreting Bible. This family has sent forth a number of valuable ministers of the gospel, among whom is the worthy divine, whose portrait appears in our present number. After passing through the usual studies, Mr. B. was admitted of the Secession Body, and was settled at Biggar, in North Britain, from which place he was removed last Midsummer, to occupy the chapel in Rose Street, in the New Town of Edinburgh, vacated by the Rev. Dr. Hall, whose congregation now worship in a new and spacious building, in another part of the modern city. Mr. B. has another pastoral charge, and a thronged congregation. He has published a sermon, in a volume containing discourses by the Secession VOL VIII. No.7.
ministers, and another preached before the Home Missionary Society, in 1821. He is also the editor of a very respectable publication, the organ of the Secession Church, the title of which is the Christian Monitor; it is published in Edinburgh.
THE ESSAYIST.-- No. 6.
ON PREACHING. Two things may be considered in reflecting on this topic, the manner and the matter. Of the former little need be said, because it is of comparatively little importance. It is indeed of some moment to the success of a preacher, that he should be
Simple, grave, sincere,' but beyond this is scarcely worthy of notice, except as it may be desirable for him to render himself sufficiently agreeable to engage and attract the notice of his hearers. Nature does much for some men, and raises them in eloquence above all that others can acquire by the closest study of art; and where there is not nature, if art is carried beyond some simple removal of ugly excrescences in the orator, the preacher only makes himself more disagreeable, by becoming affected. There are extremes that a little attention may easily avoid ; the preacher may prevent himself from notoriously bad habits; he need not lounge on the cushion, as if it were a pillow on which to recline, nor stand so stiff as to appear like a centinel keeping guard in the pulpit; he may avoid screaming, or vociferating as if his hearers were deaf, or dropping his voice, or whispering, as if they were asleep, and he was afraid of disturbing their repose; these, and similar faults, though sometimes too confirmed by being long indulged, may, nevertheless, be overcome by friendly admonition and self-caution, like every other bad habit.
But, after all, the tone of voice, the emphasis, the accentuation, the action, are, as has been observed, but minor things; and as fine clothes may cover many a rogue, so may eloquence clothe the language of deceit and error, while, on the contrary, beneath the greatest simplicity of speech and manner, we may have addressed to us the most valuable truths. Indeed, simplicity of speech, of a certain kind, is valuable, that is to. say, such as unfolds the gospel in its native beauty, without the enticing words of man's wisdom, the philosophy and vain deceit which puffeth up, aud leads astray from the principles of the doctrine of Christ : but this is widely different from vulgarity, and may perfectly agree with those beauties of thought which so richly, abound in the pages of inspiration.
The matter, however, is that to which we are particularly to attend.
* Take heed what ye hear.' Beware, lest any man should spoil you through philosophy and yain deceit.' The Apostles should be our standard, here the preacher should try his sermons, and here the hearer should try the preacher. And they said, “We preach CHRIST CRUCIFIED.' him declare we unto you. The great doctrines of the CROSS are then to be the preacher's theme,-pardon for the guilty, through the atoning blood of Christ, and justification by faith in his name, with all their concomitant effects of holiness of heart and
life, peace, and joy, and hope, and eternal glorification. But it is desirable that these should be set before the hearer in all that rich variety which they afford. It is easy for a few truths to be made the perpetual theme, and the round to be run from time to time, and in so doing no charge of error may be incurred. But ministers are to 6 give attendance to reading,' they are to bring forth things new and old,' and by every means of argument and illustration to keep up the too sluggish attentions of their hearers, and impress the truth on their hearts. At one time, reasoning should be called into exercise, at another, criticism exhibiting the beauty and force which is always to be found in the originals, and at others, imagination, not to play with scripture and put fanciful interpretations upon it, but to clothe the thoughts in the most attractive garb. Thus the prophets 'used similitudes, Christ spake in parables, and the apostles illustrated their doctrines by almost every variety to be found in the figures of speech. The mind of the preacher becomes barren which is not ploughed up for some new thoughts to set forth the good old things, and the people become wearied in following him whose tract, though it may be good, is like that of the horse in the mill. if a few pious commonplace truths, declared always in nearly the same words, are sufficient to satisfy the conscience of a preacher, they very rarely will long satisfy the hearers; and’if these are sufficient, then may the office of the minister be dispensed with altogether, for any plain Christian may without study get up and talk the same things which are sometimes delivered from the pulpit. But surely more than this is required from the minister, The Priest's lips shall keep knowledge, and the people shall enquire the law at his mouth.”
DIARY OF A CONFORMIST.
Monday Evening.--Had a large party to-day. Dined at six again. Lost £2 38. 6d. at the card table. Believe had taken too much wine. Went to bed quite tired. Pleasure rather fatiguing:
Pleasures are few, but fewer we enjoy;
What is it but rank poison in your veins ? Tuesday.-Rose rather weary at a late hour this morning. Kept it up too late last eveningtwo o'clock. Must go to Ben Frisk's ball tonight. Fear Ben takes me to be a methodist ; must do all I can to prove he is mistaken. Can't get on in the world by being religious only-two strings to my bow.
Wednesday.-Frisk's ball another fag last night, or rather this morning.
Had some charming light chat with Miss Mary Frolic and Mrs. Thoughtless. Had two pretty partners, Miss Trip and Miss Lightfoot.
Thursday.-Went to church last evening to hear Dr. Devout's lecture. Preaches well-shall take a pew. Felt oddish though when he gave out the text Be not conformed to this world.' But how can one help it? There is some pith in the saying, “When at Rome we must do as Rome does.'
Friday.-Went last evening to Drury Lane. Kean was quite in his element. A fine actor-all nature; in some things, perhaps, excels Kemble.