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less and nothing more. This we expect of her; and what does she do? Into the crucible of her imagination she throws together the old altar and ambon, the Athenian Bua, Roman rostrum, French tribune, and forth comes a huge casting of costly and cumbrous material, beyond all proportion to the unity of the house, and all fitness to the need of the speaker. So majestic and colossal are some of these unwieldy structures, the place might almost as decorously be supplied with Irving's model of a Dutch yacht, which was to be one hundred feet long, one hundred broad, and one hundred deep. And when the thing is in operation, the church done, the audience there, the last echoes of the second hymn dying away through "longdrawn aisle and fretted vault," and the minister rising behind his "wall of separation," shall the people wonder if it take sad floundering to lift the discourse over and get it fairly down among them? Milton's half-visible, "tawny lion, pawing to get free" from mother earth, on the last day of creation, was in no deeper entanglement than many a good man condemned to preach half-caged in a desk. "Thoughts are toll-free," was the sententious saying of Luther. He had left it unsaid, could he have foreseen the immensity of pulpit which should cling to and hamper the preaching of his Protestant faith.

Public speakers in general, when speaking without notes, are unwilling to take any other position than upon an open platform. They desire a full view of their audience. The "electric current" meant to pass and repass on the quick sympathies of speaker and listener, is just so far "broken" by any intervening desk, table, bench, or even railing. Those preachers, therefore, who habitually speak extemporaneously, are happy in their emancipation from a duress in which so many of their brethren are still held. And yet, how inexorable the traditions of the elders! Cannot the pulpit be dispensed with, even where the speaker has no use for it? In all the Methodist churches of this and other States, which we have ever entered, the pulpit is pertinaciously there, in all its glory; sometimes even flanked with a heavy shaft on either hand, supporting the alcove, and still more closely confining the Sunday captive. So, also, at the camp-ground, where, in the freedom of out-door

worship, the preacher might expect to taste the blessings of liberty, once in the year at least, he must be blocked in, as usual, and exhort the people from within a wooden custody, whose bonds not the most tearful eloquence will melt; and behind his most fervid appeals must lurk that mental reservation which Paul did not scruple to utter before Agrippa: "I would to God that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost and altogether such as I am, except these bonds." Certainly there must be truth in what cardinal Wiseman said of another department of art,-"We have almost canonized defects, and sanctified monstrosities." The pulpit has grown to a monstrosity, beyond all modesty of sense and reason,-beyond all proportion of architecture,-beyond all fitness for use.

"Get up on the car!" shouted a jostling mob of Hindus to a Christian teacher; and from the platform of the huge Juggernaut he preached Christ to them. If to preach the same gospel, we, too, must mount a Juggernaut, may we not have an equal chance with the missionary-an open, unobstructed approach to the people? We have sometimes thought the progress of the minister along the aisle upward into the eyrie carved for his Sabbath ministrations by the hand of architecture, might well be described by the preface to our Saviour's sermon in Matthew: "And seeing the multitude, He went up into a mountain." Unless the mountain can be abated, we see not but that our congregations must do as did His audience, on that occasion-for we further read-" And when He was set, His disciples came unto Him." We have listened to a sermon preached just under the brow of Katahdin, the titan peak of Maine, five thousand feet sky-ward; a grand pulpit, larger we admit than the fabrics we complain of; but the audience, as in the case cited from Matthew, were clustered at the feet of the preacher, not at the base of his pulpit. Ruskin paints, with a few graphic strokes, the influence of mountains on architecture. It had been better if our pulpit-builders had never resorted to the "everlasting hills "-for they have brought away only the idea of vastness. Do the proprieties of the place. absolutely demand that there shall be a mountain on the plat

form? Then let the exordium of the sermon be, first of all, "Come up hither!" For premising that Mahomet and the mountain must by some means be got together, and the mountain itself will not move, the alternative for Mahomet is plain. But before it comes to this, we may look for the fulfillment of the prophecy in Jeremiah li, 25.

In the church of St. John of Lateran, in Rome, the chief altar, at which the Pope only can officiate, covers another, smaller and more ancient, at which St. Peter is fabled to have served. The Apostle it seems had sense enough to prefer an altar of modest bulk; and if called now to say mass in place of his pseudo-successor, would undoubtedly begin by hewing down the outward incrustations of art until he had reached the true altar within. Perhaps, also, in our own churches, if undertaking to perform the rites of religion, the pulpit would puzzle him; and as the marble contains for the sculptor an ideal image to be reached only by chipping and chiseling, so might the apostle look for the ideal pulpit hidden under our plethoric forms, nor consent to preach till the real was reduced to the ideal. May it not be an open question whether St. Peter on such an occasion would bring forward a manuscript? Possibly he might transcend all restraint of desk, ambon, or altar, and stand forth before the people a visible advocate, exhibiting not only in the tones of his voice, but in the motions of his figure as well, the earnestness of his cause. The only "pulpit" mentioned in scripture, was Ezra's-and was a capacious platform, "upon" which, not behind which, he stood, and read "in the sight of all the people." (Neh. viii, 4). Solomon's "brazen scaffold" (2 Chron. vi, 13) was five cubits square and three high, and he kneeled "upon" it to dedicate the temple.

In place of the desk as now constructed, we would have only the smallest and least cumbersome form that can answer the purpose. If, indeed, the laws of gravitation would conveniently cease in church, so that the Bible or manuscript would stay suspended where it was put-like Mohammed's coffin -we would have nothing at all. But as we cannot make the law suit the circumstances, we must let the circumstances bend

to the law. Let us repeat then: While the surroundings must depend on the general make of the house-the size and figure of the recess conforming to the lines of the wall into which it enters the hight of the platform determined by the nearness or remoteness of pews, and the presence or absence of galleries-the desk itself depends on neither gallery nor wall nor pew; it is ruled entirely by the convenience of one man, the preacher. Whatever its beauty, or finish, whatever the costliness of its material or the grace of its style, there is but one question to be asked-Does it embarrass that one man in the delivery of his message? If so, condemn it-have it away at once.

The choice of material must be left to taste. Some prefer light-grained, some dark-grained woods. Some adorn with a profusion of curtaining, as in the table-desk-some with a deep surmounting cushion. For our own taste, the more simple the materials, and the combinations of them, the better. Ostentation would seem out of place in a church. This should not be overlooked by those who select even a more solid material than these-as, e. g. marble. And marble, still further, always risks the suggestion of two images to the mind; one, its great weight and immobility, together with the rollers, wedges and derrick by which the mass was originally lifted to its place; the other, the cold, white glimmer of the tombstone, on which-just beneath the bust of the living preacher— one almost expects to read an epitaph-SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF DEAD SERMONS, KILLED BY A GRAVE STONE. Allow us

to speak ex cathedra, or rather ex marmore, on this point; we have tried the marble pulpit, both before it and behind it—and in both cases it was literally a "rock of offense."

The style, also, like the material, belongs in the domain of taste. Let us still plead for a correspondence with the other outlines of the building. And let us again put in a caveat upon the thoughtless and almost universal transgression of "the unities." If the church be Doric, make a Doric desk for it. If, however, you are predestined to have a pulpit of the "Conglomerate" order, not Sir Christopher Wren himself

could stay the penumbra of its ugliness from resting on every part of the auditorium.

"Time, as he grows old, teaches all things," says Eschylus. If these three centuries of Protestant preaching have tried to teach the clergy anything, it must be the mistake they have made in consenting to serve in the House of the Lord behind the mal-formations of pulpit-architecture. A few have learned the lesson. It is grateful to record the fact. Some churches have consulted the convenience of their pastors, and have substituted new and lighter forms for the old. The example commends itself to all pastors and churches everywhere. Especially may we look with hope to parishes now remodeling their houses of worship, or building again where the flames had devoured. Other trammels may impede the ministry of the word-some, perhaps, without remedy, until the millennial dawn; but the pulpit-whose shaping is in our own hands-the very post where the herald stands to sound his message from the courts of the King-let not the pulpit itself be allowed to restrain and obstruct the glad news.

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