Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

study. Preach plainly, yet with novelty; preach powerfully, as Micah, as Paul ; in intension of spirit, not extension of voice. To this end, get your sermon into your own soul. It is best from the heart to the heart. Preach prudentially,--as stewards, to give each their portion. Get you sermons memoriter. How can you expect your people should remember and repeat, if you read ? Yet use cauiion. Our memories are not of brass : they are cracked, in all, by the fall. Beware of giving occasion to say “I may stay at home in the afternoon ; I shall hear only the same song. Mr. Porter at an Ordination.”—From a M.S. in the handwriting of P. Henry.' p. 25.

These, it will be seen, are not Mr. Henry's expressions, but Mr. Porter's, although he may be supposed to have approved of the sentiments. The dangers of antithesis, however, may be illustrated by the very unguarded and elliptical expression, (if indeed it be correctly cited,) . Study as if there were no Christ.' What the Preacher doubtless meant was, Study your sermons as if there were no promise of aid from the Spirit of Christ. The reason given why a preacher should not read his sermons, will not be deemed very forcible. Mr. Henry's own method was decidedly different from that which is here recommended, the getting them memoriter; a practice which has been, we are aware, very successfully adopted by some of our most popular ministers, but against the general adoption of which we should be disposed to issue onr caveat. The following account of Mr. Henry's method is given by his Son.

• He wrote the notes of his sermons pretty large for the most part, and always very legible. But even when he had put his last hand to them, he commonly left many imperfect hints, which gave room for enlargement in preaching, wherein he had a great felicity. And he would often advise ministers not to tie themselves too strictly to their notes, but having well digested the matter before, to allow themselves a liberty of expression, such as a man's affections, if they be well raised, will be apt to furnish him with. But for this, no certain rule can be given: there are diversities of gifts, and each to profit withal.

• He kept his sermon-notes in very neat and exact order ; sermons in course according to the order of the subject, and occasional sermons according to the Scripture order of the texts ; so that he could readily turn to any of them. And yet, though afterwards he was removed to a place far enough distant from any of that auditory, and though some have desired it, he seldom preached any of those hun. dreds of sermons which he had preached at Worthenbury; no, not when he preached never so privately; but to the last he studied new sermons, and wrote them as elaborately as ever; for he thought a sermon best preached when it was newly meditated. Nay, if sometimes he had occasion to preach upon the same text, yet he would make and write the sermon anew; and he never offered that to God which cost him nothing. p. 60.

In a note to this paragraph, the Editor refers the reader to the Lives of Dr. Staunton, Dr. Robert Harris, and Demosthenes; for what purpose, is not stated. Some further

particulars respecting Mr. Henry's preaching, are furnished in an additional paragraph, taken from his manuscript papers.

• How sensible he was of the dislike frequently felt to practical preaching, as well as of the importance of such preaching, appears in the following extract. Having explained, in a course of sermons, the Redeemer's sayings as recorded in the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of Matthew's Gospel, he pressed, in his last discourse, the importance, the necessity, of doing, as well as hearing, from the Divine assurance that a stormy day is coming shortly, when hearers only will be found fools, and suffer loss; whereas hearers and doers will be owned for wise people, and will have the comfort of it. “ What ado,” he remarks, “ some one will object, is here about doing, -doing! If I had preached these sermons I know where, I had certainly been called a legal preacher, if not a papist, a jesuit, a preacher of works; and some would have said, We will never hear him again. If to preach on these things be legal preaching, then our Lord himself was à legal preacher, for you see they were his sayings all along that I took for my text to each sermon. Such a preacher as he was may I be in my poor measure! I cannot write after a better copy ;

I cannot tread in better steps. His sayings must be done, as well as heard, that we may answer his end in saying them, which was to promote holiness,—that we may approve ourselves his true kindred,—that God may be glorified,--that our profession may be beautified,--and that our building may stand. But they must be done aright : the tree must be good. All must be done by faith and in the name of the Lord Jesus (Heb. xi. 6. Col. iii. 17); with evenness and constancy; with humility and self-denial; in charity; and with perseverance and continuance. Do all you do as those who are under a covenant of grace, which, though it requires perfect, yet accepts of sincere obedience. While the liand is doing, let the eye be looking at Jesus Christ, both for assistance and acceptance. This is the life of faith. Be resolved in duty. Look often at the recompense of reward." ;

pp. 136, 7. These are obviously notes for a sermon, and may be taken as a specimen of the sort of preparation for the pulpit which Mr. Henry was accustomed to make in writing, as well as of his striking, pithy, and practical style of discoursing. When • he grew old,' says his Biographer, • he would say, sure he might now take a greater liberty to talk, as he called it, in the pulpit ; that is, to speak familiarly to people ; yet, to the last, he abated not in his preparations for the pulpit, nor ever delivered any thing raw and undigested, much less any thing unbecoming the gravity and seriousness of the work. If his preaching were talking, it was talking to the purpose. His sermons were not common-place, but even when his subjects were the most plain and trite, yet, his management of theu was usually peculiar and surprising.' p. 192.

From the additional Notes, we take the following as bearing on the same subject.

Mr. Baxter, noticing the objection as put by the Quakers,-You read

your sermons out of a paper, therefore you have not the spirit, says: “ It is not want of your abilities, that makes ministers use notes, but it is a regard to the work and the good of the hearers. I use noies as much as any man when I take pains, and as little as any man, when I am lazy, or busy, or have not leisure to prepare. It is easier to us to preach three sermons without notes, than one with them. He is a simple preacher, that is not able to preach all day without preparation, if his strength would serve; especially if he preach at your rates." Church History, 4to, p. 471, ' p. 441.

In the body of the work, some interesting and characteristic details are given respecting Mr, Henry's marriage; among others, the following traditionary anecdote, which may rank among the good sayings of old times,

! After Mr. Philip Henry, who came to Worthenbury a stranger, had been in the country for some time, his attachment to Miss Matthews, afterwards his wife, became manifest; and it was mútual. Among the other objections urged by her friends against the connexion was this, that although Mr. Henry was a gentleman, and a scholar, and an excellent preacher, he was quite a stranger, and they did not even know where he came from. " True," replied Miss Matthews, “but I know where he is going, and I should like to go with him.'

The remarks on family worship at p. 72, &c. would furnish matter for a highly useful tract. In the Appendix, Mr. Williams has presented to us some curious and interesting documents ; in particular, the notes of a public discourse, at Oswestry between the Bishop of St. Asaph and some nonconformist ministers, of which Mr. Henry was one,-printed from « an authentic manuscript.' The specimens already given of the additions and illustrations will, however, sufficiently attest the merits of the Editor's performance, and recommend the volume to the attention of our readers, as a valuable accession to every religious library.

p. 64.

Art. IV. The Practice of Drawing and Painting Landscape from

Nature, in Water Colours. With observations on the Study of Nature, and various other Matters relative to the Arts. By

Francis Nicholson. Second Edition. 4to. pp. 118. London, 1823. THAT

we have not given an earlier attention to this useful and gratifying essay, is owing to its having very recently fallen into our hands. We are, however, glad that it has not quite escaped us, since, though it may not be altogether such as the necessities of students require, and the 'skill of the Writer might have enabled him to supply, it approximates more nearly to our notions of what an elementary treatise ought to be, than any other that we have yet seen. It is chiefly defective in distinctness and compression; and this is the more to be lamented, since the exclusion of a little very unnecessary prosing would have gone far to effect the latter, and a more correct view of the nature of his task would have assisted the Writer in giving clearness and precision to his instructions. In the composition of such works as the present, there are two considerations which require to be kept especially in view. The first relates to the different circumstances of the teacher and the taught; the second, to the difference between written and personal instruction. Whoever undertakes the communication of knowledge, should place himself in the situation of the learner, and, without wasting a thought on the rounding of periods or the maintenance of systematic accuracy, should lead him patiently and empirically-if we may thus apply the term from step to step, until he has fairly mastered the alphabet and the accidence; it will then be time enough to handle the syntax. There is nothing in which masters are so apt to fail, as in keeping sight of the distinction between perfection and power. They will describe, fairly enough, the manner in which an effect ought to be produced, without once referring to the

way in which a scholar may be best able to produce it. In what light, were I altogether ignorant of the matter, would this stage in the processes of Art present itself to my eye? and in what terms can I best convey the true state of the difficulty, and most distinctly describe the methods of surmounting it?-are the questions which every writer on the rudiments of design ought to ask himself at every moment; and he must here submit to be instructed by those whom he is instructing, since they are better judges than himself of their own entanglements. In fact, the less learning and the more practical explanation, the greater will be the advancement of the tyro. The one he can follow with his eye, and imitate with his hand : the other belongs to an advanced stage of acquisition, and is utterly wasted on those who are yet struggling with rudiments.

Again, in works like the present, too much attention cannot be paid to the obvious but unregarded distinction between written and oral instruction. In the former, the lesson may be given, and it may be illustrated by its appropriate diagram ; but the one may not be rightly adjusted to the other, and perhaps neither of them may prove adequate to the exigencies of the learner. The failure is irretrievable, since the error has passed beyond the possibility of correction, and there is no medium of detailed explanation at hand. In personal direction, a slight misconception is perfectly inconsequential; the remedy is immediate. A word, a movement of the finger, a touch with the pencil can set all right in an instant. Hence, the necessity for clear and just progression and for distinct illustration, in a treatise such as this before us, is far greater than in direct communication. All exhibition, all curvetting and caracoling are miserably out of place here. We do not ask Mr. Nicholson about Cramer and Haydn, Pliny and Apelles, Vandyke and Denner, Milton and Lord Carlisle, Handel and the Royal Academy. We might feel gratified by such references in parlour-conversation; but here, we want instruction in pot-hooks and hangers, join-hand and round-text: when we have mastered these, it will be time enough to inquire about ornamental flourishes and the mysteries of calligraphy,

In these points, then, we think Mr. Nicholson to have fallen short of the perfection which he might easily have attained. He is a sound artist and a strong-minded, wellinformed man. His style, although somewhat mechanical and routiniére, is substantial and effective, as well as singularly free from the trickery and affectation which are too prevalent in the present day; and we know of no instructor from whom we would more readily receive the principles of line and colour. But he has not, as we think, kept sufficiently in view the very important distinctions to which we have referred ; and though, even in its present state, his work will be highly advantageous, its utility might have been much increased by greater simplicity and more enlarged detail. There is so much bad teaching afloat in all parts of the kingdom,-such miserable misconception of the true character and object of painting is so extensively diffused, that, while we recommend the volume, in its present state, as a powerful corrective, we hope to see it, in a future edition, made the adequate and indispensable manual of all drawing-masters from the third-rate downwards, and of all pupils who are desirous to ascertain the true quality of the instructions they are receiving.

« PoprzedniaDalej »