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I had ever
perfect sermon which lay in my mind, than
any heard. The lively turns too, which Saurin gives his address, and the flowers with which he bestrews every thing, likewise produced their effects. Of course I was delighted with him; and hence, I felt as though I ought to take him for a pattern ; and a sermon delivered this year from the customary lesson in the parish church at Wittemberg, on Mary's Visitation, and printed at the request of
many who heard it, exhibits evident marks of the attempts I made to imitate him. It is now as may easily be supposed, nearly unknown. It afforded a proof how- . ever, as regards its dress, that Saurin was in my mind as a
pattern, and that I was a zealous Crusian and had made • myself thoroughly acquainted with the Prophetical Theology of
my master. In the inean time, the period drew near, in which as I supposed, I should be obliged to leave the university. Accordingly, towards Michaelmass, of the year 1777, I was intending to return home to iny native country; and shortly before that time, he who had hitherto been my guardian, and taken care of my little property, sent me the remainder of it for supplying the expenses of the journey. About this time, however, those teachers who knew me best, particularly Schmid, Dresde and Schröckh, gave me an earnest request to remain and apply to the business of academical instruction. I made objections, alleging that I knew not upon what I should live; but they were removed by the prospects which were held out to me of receiving support from various quarters, as soon as I had qualified myself for the work. In short, I was over ruled by the authority of these men, and the inclination which had been awakened in me during the last half year of my residence at Wittemberg, for a university lise ; and I immediately employed the money which had been sent to me for the expenses of my journey into the Upper Palatinate, for the purpose of qualifying myself towards the end of another year, for entering upon a course in which nothing was to be expected but pain and trouble. In so doing, you will observe, my dear friend, that I entered a path which not only might at first, but which unavoidably did, lead me away from the business of preaching. In
my next letter, however, before I speak of my academical career, you must expect froin me some general remarks respecting the education which I had hitherto received, preparatory to becoming a minister of the Gospel. Farewell.
Points out the defects of his education-Exculpates himself for them in pari
-Warns young students against them—Means by which he provided for their remedy.
MY DEAR FRIEND
· You have the strongest reason to be astonished at the manner in which from my own account, it seems,
pursued my theological studies; directed as they were by no rational method, and full of frightful chasms. I absolutely inverted the order of things by attending to doctrinal theology in the first year, and putting off church history until the third. It was a very great defect that I attended no lectures upon ancient literature, universal history, or physics. It was a still greater defect, that I attended none upon homiletics, pastoral theology, or canon law. And, finally, it was altogether unpardonable in me, to neglect every thing like a lecture upon philosophical and theological ethics; in doing which, I overlooked the most indispensable part of a preparation for the sacred office.
The guilt of all these faults, however, does not rest entirely upon me.
When I entered the university, I supposed, as I lately informed you, that it would be impossible for ine to remain there longer than two years at the farthest. With all the lectures, therefore, which I wished to hear, it would have been useless for me to think of
observing a method which would have required more time.
* Anweisung vernünftig zu leben. † Auszug aus Crusü Moraltheologie.
With all my heart, however, must I warn young students for the ministry to guard against the errors which I here confess, and earnesily beg thein 10 attend to the acquisition of the theological sciences in as perfect and methodical a manner, as time and circumstances will admit. Had I pursued my studies with less irregularity and obtained a knowledge of the sciences in their patural order, I should have found my way much easier, and been able, without special diligence or effort, to acquire a degree of persection, the attaininent of which with the most strenuous exertions, I was afterwards scarcely able to effect. I liope, however, that no student will find himself so destitute of opportunities for atterding to every necessary branch of knowledge in its proper place, as I actually was. The circumstances in which I lived, were altogeiher unfavorable to me in this respect.
You ask me, my dear friend, in your letter, by what means 'I have endeavored to remedy the consequences of so defective an education, and actually succeeded in preventing them from becoming more conspicuous. Upon this point I can give you some information. Let me begin with that knowledge which particularly concerns us in the present case.
I have never had any instruction in homiletics, or taken any part in bomiletic exercises. This perhaps is evident from my sermons.
Their division and arrangement may be very defective in comparison with what they ought to be, according to the rules of bomiletics. That without a knowledge of these rules, I bave been able to produce so many sernions and give them at least a tolerable form, is owing to the diligence with which I read the ancient orators and rhetoricians, and the no less diligence with which I applied myself to pbilosophy. I had early made myself acquainted with the old systems of eloquence, particularly those of Cicero, at school. When at the university, I not only read them again, but with them connected Quintilian and Aristotle. With the theories of the ancients respecting eloquence, 1 compared their discourses, particularly those of Isocrates, Demosthenes, Aeschines, Lysias and Cicero; and I have always thought, that the study of these proved of more use to me than lectures upon homiletics would bave done.
Here I must remark, that it was reading the ancients which formed in me that idea of genuine eloquence which afterwards always remained with me, which still appears to be the only true one, and which in ny Jabors i bave ever endeavored 10 keep before me, though I have come far short of it. I spent some years at the universily before I became acquainted with the Grecian orators. Until then, my notions of eloquence were drawn chiefly from Cicero's works. I looked upon him with admiration as the greatest master in this department, excepting, that, on comparing him with the concise Haller overflowing with thought, I could not avoid occasionally pronouncing him somewbat verbose. *
Excited by him, I finally began to read the Grecian orators; and how astonished I was on fi ding in the most celebrated orator of all antiquiry, a man, who, for accomplishing bis object and producing the greatest effects, never uses a single flower or far-fetched expression, a conceited and remarkable phrase, or any thing that bears the least resemblance to poetical prose ;-who, on the other hand, says and delivers every thing in those terms which are the most natural, correctly distinguishing and strikingly descriptive, and hence, a man, in whom are to be discovered no traces of affectation, or struggling after wit and surprising turns, or of that audacity so pleasing to many, and said to be the companion of genius ;-a man, on the contrary, who chains the attention of his hearers by a diction, strong, manly, and unincumbered with a single superfluous word; who overpowers, as it were, the understanding by the strength of his thoughts, the force of his reasons, and the superiority with which he develops them; and finally, bears every thing away with him by means of an eloquence which rolls forth in periods, which are perfect in themselves, are harinonious, and fill the ear.t
Many of the ancients censured him, ut tumidiorem, et Asianum, et redundantem, et in repetitionibus uimium. See Quintilian, Institut. Orat. I. XII. c. 10, Ø 12.
+ Cuius non tam vibrarent fulmina illa, nisi numeris contorta ferrentur, says Cicero of him, Orat. c. 70.