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Observer, Mar. 1, 71.
THE MODEL PREACHER.
A SERIES OF LETTERS ON THE BEST MODE
OF PREACHING THE GOSPEL. BY W. TAYLOR. London: H. J. Tresulder.
THIS is not a new book, but the recent edition is reduced in price, and the book cannot be read without advantage. Who is the " Model Preacher?" The Author finds his Model Preacher in the one and only perfect Model Man-Jesus the Christ of God. We cannot say that everything presented by Mr. Taylor, who is a Methodist, is acceptable, but the book abounds with good thoughts. How much better it would be if some preachers were to realize the following lesson :
"To preach the Gospel effectively, you must first arrest the attention of your hearers. The mind of every man, woman, or child you meet is pre-occupied, either revolving some theme, or, more probably, indulging a reverie.
The same is true also of every person who comes to hear you preach. Every memory and imagination constitute the scene of a vast panoramic display of images and associations as wide as the world. If, like the prophet Ezekiel in the ancient temple of Israel, you could dig a hole through the wall, and look into the secret chambers of the souls of your hearers, you would see, right there in the Lord's house, farms and farming implements; horses, hogs, and cattle; lumber yards and merchandise of every kind; railroads and canals; bank stocks, commercial contracts; deeds and bonds; houses of every style of architecture, household furniture, and instruments of music; an association of old friends and new ones, engaged in public discussions and private confabs on all the exciting subjects of the times. In many minds you would see a train of gloomy associations -mistakes, forgets, mishaps, and wrongs unredressed. All these images, and a thousand more, pre-occupy the minds of your hearers, and hold their pre-occupancy, passing in and out in almost endless succession and variety.
Now it avails nothing for you to arise before such an assembly and say, 'Please to give me your attention." They can't do it. Not one in a thousand has sufficient mental discipline to give you undivided attention, till you arrest it by some power stronger than the sparkling reverie tide which bears him along so gently as scarcely to awake his consciousness of the fact. High intellectual development and piety on the part of your hearers, do not enable them to give you their attention unless you arrest it.
Your friend selects a good position in the chapel, from which he can see every gesture and catch every flash of your eye, determining to give you undivided attention. Just as he gets himself well fixed for receiving and digesting every word of truth you may dispense, his attention is arrested by the opening of the door behind him ; he involuntary turns his head towards the fellow worshipper, as he walks up the aisle, looking for a seat, and says to himself, "That man looks very much like an old friend of mine-my old friend. He went to Chicago and bought laud-increased in value-sold it for one thousand dollars per acre-went to California-wrought in the mines-made a pile-went to trading and lost it-made another raise and went to Oregon-was in the Indian wars there-came very near losing his life-went to Australia, was shipwrecked on his voyage, and came very near going under. I wish I could hear what has become of him. Fudge! what am I thinking about? I've lost a part of the sermon.'
He then tries to gather up and connect the loose ends of the chain of your discourse, riven and cast out of his mind by the image of his old friend, and now he is intent on hearing you through without interruption. Eyes and ears open to receive some stirring truth that will wake the sympathies of his soul. Following along in the path you have marked out for his thoughts, he hears you say, 'Some fastidious persons are like the old Pharisees, of whom our blessed Saviour said, 'Ye strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.'
'Yes,' says he to himself, 'the boys at school used to read it, 'Strain at a gate and swallow a sawmill.' A great set of boys! Bill Moore married his cousin. Bart got drowned, poor fellow! Andy Snider went to Shenandoah and learned the blacksmith's trade Bob M'Crown is a poor old bachelor, &c.' He chases those boys nearly all over creation before he wakes up, arrests his reverie, and comes back to the subject of discourse. Now he's your friend, and doing his best to give you his attention.
Around him are others who don't care much whether they hear you or not. There sits the architect, criticising, not your sermon, but the style of your church.
In the next seat is the physiognomist, scanning the faces of his neighbours, and by his side the phrenologist, counting the bumps on their heads.
Farther back is the young lover, casting his glances towards the other side of the church.
Observer, Mar. 1, 71
Up in the amen corner sit the good old fathers, looking up at you with longing eyes and thirsty souls, thinking about the good times they had long ago under old Father Miller.
The good sisters, on the other side, are as variously and fully engaged, some examining bonnets and ribbons, some taking patterns of the new style of dress, some pricing goods.
The mother imagines she sees her boys in neighbour Jones' orchard stealing apples, which excites her holy horror. Another just remembers that she forgot to return the clothes-line she borrowed last week, and regrets it. Another wonders if poor little Jimmy mightn't get into the well before she gets back Another is wondering who did up your linen, saying to herself, 'It's a pity our preacher can't find somebody who can do up a bosom for him.'
Others are praying and trying to get their spiritual strength renewed; but in spite of their efforts to gather in the wanderings of their minds, and to have their souls watered under the droppings of the sanctuary, their roving thoughts will run to and fro in the earth, while you are proclaiming the tidings of mercy to guilty souls.
They are there to hear the tidings, and waiting to be arrested and interested. Some, to be sure, care not for you nor your message, but you have them within range of your Gospel gun, and ought to draw a bead on them and fetch them down.
Frank Dodge once said in my hearing, 'The best time I can get for maturing a commercial scheme, or planning a sea voyage, is at Church while the preacher is preaching. Away from the care and bustle of business, under the soothing sounds of the Gospel, I have nothing to disturb my meditations.'
Now, my brother, don't suppose that these cases of inattention I have enumerated are rare cases. I have only given you a glimpse at the mental workings, or, rather, wanderings, of every congregation you address, and of every congregation that assemble anywhere, till their attention is arrested. Not all indulging in vain thoughts, to be sure, for many are thinking of God, and in His law do they meditate day and uight. All occupied with their own favourite themes and thoughts, but none closely following the train of your thoughts, till you take them captive, and draw them after you, by the power of truth and sympathy.
You have no right to complain of their inattention, and it will do no good to scold them about it. It is your business to arrest them; knock their thoughts and reveries into pye; and, sweeping them away, insert your theme in their minds and hearts. To do this, you must wake them up, stir the sympathies of their souls, and thrill them, by all sorts of unanticipated means, with the joyful tidings of sovereign mercy, or the thundering peals of coming retribution."
We have said that our author takes the Saviour for his model: a few lines will give an idea of the leading traits in the preaching of our Lord which receive special attention :
Sermonizing is but a means to that end, and not the end itself. It is but the scaffolding, and not the building. If the end of preaching may, in any instance, be more directly attained without formal sermonizing, do not lose your time, nor encumber your message with needless formality; if necessary, let the necessity determine the extent of its use. But the practice of sacrificing nearly everything necessary to the success of gospel preaching for the mere idea of being a systematic sermonizer is a humbug, nay, a sin against the souls of perishing men and women.
I opened a book of sermons a few days since, and the first one I glanced at contained forty-two divisions all numbered. What time has such a preacher left for the illustration and application of truth? The great teacher's model for gospel preaching embraces five essential characteristics: :
I. CLEARNESS.-Clearness of perception, and hence clearness of statement, illustration, and application.
II. EARNESTNESS.-Earnestness of thought and feeling, burdening and thrilling the soul of the preacher.
III. NATURALNESS.-Naturalness of delivery, embracing gesture, tones of voice, everything pertaining to the act of proclaiming the tidings of mercy to the souls of the people.
IV. LITERALNESS.-Literal facts demonstrating the truth and power of the gospel, and literal figures, from real life, illustrating the great principles of the gospel.
V. APPROPRIATENESS.-A wise selection and adaptation of truth to the varied
condition of thehearers.
I will take up these characteristics or essential elements of power in the order in which I have stated them, and, to some extent, illustrate them separately, and then bring them
Observer, Mar. 1, '71.
out in their harmonious, symmetrical combination, as the model of Jesus, for efficient gospel preaching, and then, by a careful test, show its conformity to the examples furnished by Christ and His Apostles."
We can recommend a careful reading of this book, feeling no doubt but every preacher must be the better for going through its pages.
Intelligence of Churches, &q.
LETTER FROM J. ADAM.-According to, agreement with the General Evangelist Committee I left Birmingham on February 11th, to be engaged under their auspices for the ensuing six months. Because of special and hopeful prospects Leicester has been chosen as a suitable locality for my first few weeks' labour; after which the desirability of visiting the smaller churches spread throughout the kingdom (expressed at last Annual Meeting) will receive special attention, as the Committee may point out to me. Having left my alma mater, a short outline of my reasons for going, and of what has been done while there, may not be out of place. Being earnestly desirous of preaching the word and to be useful in the churches, and being deemed by the church in Dundee (my native town) and other brethren to have a fair measure of qualification for the work, which might be largely increased by requisite leisure and study, application was made accordingly for the advantages afforded by the Training Fund, and a course of study under Bro. King. The result was that I left my carpenter's bench in Dundee, and came to Birmingham to enter upon the work. I began on Jan. 1, 1869, so that up to the present date, Feb. 11, 1871, embraces a period of rather more than twenty-five months. Of that time fully twenty-two have been spent in Birmingham, three of which (from Nov. 9, 1870 to Feb. 11, 1871) were devoted to work in the Birmingham District, and under the direction and support of the District Committee. During the two years some ten weeks were devoted to visiting Liverpool, Mollington, Wigan, Manchester, Dundee, Glasgow, North Shields, Bedlington, Ratcliffe, and Leicester. Of the time spent in each place, the Har: binger for 1869-70 and the Observer for 1871 give an idea. It will of course be understood that, with the exception of the time above accounted for, I was supported from the Training Fund, of which Bro. King is Treasurer. To him specially and to the Birmingham brethren generally, for their social kindness as well as their practical help in my studies, &c., I cannot be too grateful. And now, with this measure
of preparation for the work of evangelization, and having some conception of its nature and difficulties, I would enter upon it "in the strength of the Lord." To all who have the cause of Christ at heart I would, therefore, appeal for still further kindness, and say "Brethren, pray for me," that I may have all needful wisdom, love, and power given me to do the work which may come before me either in edifving the saints or in preaching the gospel to unsaved sinners. And to all the brethren whose love to Christ constrains them to support the present Training scheme, either by contributions of time or money, I now, as the immediate recipient of their grace, beg to return my heartfelt thanks. I shall endeavour, by Divine help, to show that their bestowments have not been in vain. May the Lord reward you and stimulate others also to increased devotion in such good works. Thus by the enlargement of means the scheme of training may be placed upon a yet more advantageous footing, and the disciples of Christ enabled to compete with the learning and enterprise of the religious world by the establishment of a regular Training Institution similar to those of our brethren in America, &c., not to mention those of our friends the Baptists and Independents of England and Scotland, &c., to be under the guidance of Bro. King and others. In this way, in my opinion, as a people professing primitive Christianity, we might be able to respond more effectively to the Macedonian cries of "Come over and help us," now heard all over the land, and at the same time to improve our position and influence as a religious community. May the Lord guide us all to nobler views of the missionary work of His Church, and to a deeper sense of personal responsibility thereto, and then, with clear minds, warm hearts, and liberal offerings, we shall be prepared to advance with the times to larger efficiency, to more earnest and loving service in the cause of our Redeemer.
Let no one suppose that we have any desire to develope the present training arrangements into a college; like unto those of "our friends, the Baptists and
Independents of England and Scotland." |
The United Young Men's Mutual Improvement Society, consisting of members in connection with the Churches of Christ, meeting in Charles Henry Street, Summer Lane, and Icknield Port Road, Birmingham, (having for its object the fitting of its members for usefulness in the Churches,) on Saturday evening, February 4, had the pleasure of presenting our beloved Bro. J. Adam with a writing desk, fitted complete, bearing an inscription, as a small testimonial upon his leaving to enter upon the work of an evangelist. A number of brethren addressed the meeting expressing their desires in reference to his future labours, testifying the love and esteem which he has won for himself whilst labouring in our midst, commending him to the brotherhood generally not only as a useful but in every sense a Christian Brother. Thus ended a happy and we trust a profitable meeting long to be remembered.
Observer, Mar. 1, 71.
charged for admission, and gained his endpocketing the cash. To Mr. King's lectures the admission was free, followed by a collection, the residue, after paying rent of theatre and printing, was given to the local institution for the indigent poor.
BURY.-Sir,-Secularism is now at a very low ebb in Bury. The bold lying and immorality exhibited during the debate have covered the Secularists with infamy, The Sermons by W. R. Sunman have crushed them lower than the ground. J. BARRETT. AMERICA.-Fayette City-We have just closed a most glorious meeting of twenty-two days, resulting in forty accessions to the Church of Christ, at the above place. Thirty-five of this number were immersed. This congregation now numbers about one hundred communicants, strong in the faith, and working with commendable zeal.
They have lately completed their beautiful house of worship, which is a model of neatness and simplicity, attractive to the worshipper on account of its charming simplicity. These brethren have been amply rewarded for their outlay and the community is greatly benefited by the efforts made at this meeting in their behalf. Most of these converts are heads of families, and just in the prime of life, intelligent, energetic, and ready for every good work. The whole country was roused up by the meetings. Never before, have we witnessed such an eager inquiry as to what the Bible teaches in respect to Christ and His gospel. denominations were largely represented. It was fortunate for the cause of Christ, as well as for the salvation of the people, that no sectarian preachers live in this town, who, for reasons best known to themselves, prefer to abide in the rural districts. The house was so densely packed at times that it was with difficulty the writer could find room for his feet, the vestibule being filled and a crowd surging around the entrance. While immersing in the romantic Monongahela River, a crowd of five hundred gaG. WALTERS. thered along the banks to witness, at various WEDNESBURY.-On Sunday, February 5, times, the solemn and impressive scene; Mr. Bradlaugh broke new ground for the some standing on the opposite side of the Infidel cause by delivering lectures in river, while many in skiffs would scud out this place. On the following Lord's day in the stream, and in a moment, form D. King lectured afternoon and evening in a semicircle about us while in the act the theatre, which is a commodious building, of administering the sacred ordinance. holding, perhaps, some 900 people. The While the stillness of death pervaded the place was crowded. The afternoon lecture large concourse of people, young men and was an exposure of Secularism and Brad- maidens would strike up the most tranlaugh; and that of the evening was devoted sporting songs, among which was the song to the effects of Christianity. Questions were permitted. In the afternoon a Secularist from Birmingham made the audience indignant by his folly. In the evening he was prudent enough to be silent, and no questions were presented. Mr. Bradlaugh
"Shall we gather at the river ?"-the beautiful strains of which could be heard across the river, while at the same time the melting and plaintive power of these sacred songs subdued every heart within hearing. A deep religious feeling pervaded the entire
Observer, Mar. 1, 71.
community, and nothing was talked of for twenty days but the subject of salvation. Meantime Bro. L. Southmayd had just opened a very encouraging meeting at Belle Vernon, three miles further down the river.
We feel assured that the brethren all through this beautiful Monongahela valley are determined to revolutionize that country by a united and aggressive movement. Denominationalism is at a very low ebb, and the candid and honest-hearted people disgusted with all sorts of contradictory systems of belief. Sectarianism quails before this aggressive power, and the clerical force who support creedism are paralyzed with fear as they witness the triumphant march of the primitive gospel. We suppose that if the clergy will stand apart from the people and permit the masses to examine the Scriptures for themselves, the time is near at hand when all the professed people of God shall work by the same rule, and stand together on the same Apostolic foundation.
The church in Fayette City is composed largely of working men and women, who stand exclusively for the primitive faith, admitting of no ecclesiastical crotchets, and approbating no silly measures of sectarian conciliation. For is it not apparent to the most casual observer that wherever those preachers and churches fritter away our distinctive plea for Christian unity, by coquetting with the Delilah daughters of denominationalism, there is no Christian progress made in those regions, and both preachers and churches lose their identity, even falling below the level of Protestant platforms, and in this way making a grand but humiliating failure? This church is the parent stem of two other churches in the same neighborhood-Maple Creek and Belle Vernon churches-two young and thrifty swarms that migrated from the old hive, both of which are now as busy as bees making honey for the support of the R.
AUSTRALIA.— -The following are reported in the Pioneer for December.-Adelaide.Since last month twenty-four have been added to the Church, four by faith and baptism. We have lately begun a cause in Norwood-a suburb of Adelaide. Bro. Porter and myself have been preaching there on Lord's-day afternoon for the past three months. We have now commenced to meet there on Lord's-day mornings and evenings. We have obtained a chapel, eating about 250. Fifteen of the number eported above were from those worshipping n this chapel before we took it. There are et more of the number who will join. We ave a good prospect of success. H. S. Earl as just returned from America. T. J. G.
Hindmarsh.-With gratitude to God we have to report seven additions to the Church in this place during the past month, six by faith and baptism, and one by commendation. T. PORTER.
Langhorne's Bridge.-Since last report two have been added to the Church here by faith, repentance, and immersion.-S. J.
Milang.-One useful sister has been received into this Church by letter of commendation. S. J.
Hotham, Melbourne, November 22.-It will no doubt be interesting to your readers to learn that another Church of Christ has been formed in the neighbourhood of Melbourne under most favourable circumstances, and with a bright prospect of being instrumental under God of winning precious souls to Christ. During the year, which expired on November 8, I have been preaching on the Wednesday evening of each week in a rented hall in Hotham. Having completed my year's engagement in Melbourne, and there being a chapel vacant in Hotham, it was rented, and on Lord's-day, November 13, was opened for worship and the preaching of the Gospel. On that day a company of between seventy and eighty brethren sat down together at the Lord's table, and the right hand of Christian fellowship was extended to four brethren and sisters, who had been baptized on the previous Wednesday evening. In the evening of the same day the chapel, which will seat 300 persons, was about three parts full, many of whom were strangers. On Thursday evening a tea meeting was held in the chapel, when over 200 persons enjoyed themselves in the old-fashioned style. The public meeting, held after tea, was full to overflowing, and many persons went away being unable to obtain seats. The chair was kindly taken by Wm. Hindle, Evangelist, recently arrived from England, who gave a most stirring address, and was followed by Bro. Green, who narrated the steps which had led to the formation of the church. After listening to pointed and earnest addresses from brethren Surber and Carr, the first social gathering of the Church of Christ at Hotham terminated.
M. W. GREEN.
Maryborough, November 21, 1870.Dear brethren,-Since my report of the 17th September the good work here has continued to progress, and the result of our Bro. Surber's recent labours has been further manifested. During these nine weeks eighteen have been added to the Church, three by reception, having been baptized in connection with the Baptists, and fifteen by baptism upon a profession of faith in Christ. G. HESKETH. Wedderburne, November 17, 1870.— After a long interval it is again a pleasure