Read CHAPTER III of Hints on Extemporaneous Preaching , free online book, by Henry Ware, on ReadCentral.com.

The observations contained in the preceding chapter make it sufficiently evident, that the art of extemporaneous speaking, however advantageous to the christian minister, and however possible to be acquired, is yet attended with embarrassments and difficulties, which are to be removed only by long and arduous labor. It is not enough, however, to insist upon the necessity of this discipline. We must know in what it consists, and how it is to be conducted. In completing, therefore, the plan I have proposed to myself, I am now to give a few hints respecting the mode in which the study is to be carried on, and obstacles to be surmounted. These hints, gathered partly from experience and partly from observation and books, will be necessarily incomplete; but not, it is hoped, altogether useless to those who are asking some direction.

1. The first thing to be observed is, that the student who would acquire facility in this art, should bear it constantly in mind, and have regard to it in all his studies, and in his whole mode of study. The reason is very obvious. He that would become eminent in any pursuit, must make it the primary and almost exclusive object of his attention. It must never be long absent from his thoughts, and he must be contriving how to promote it, in every thing he undertakes. It is thus that the miser accumulates, by making the most trifling occurrences the occasions of gain; and thus the ambitious man is on the alert to forward his purposes of advancement by little events which another would pass unobserved. So too he, the business of whose life is preaching, should be on the watch to render every thing subservient to this end. The inquiry should always be, how he can turn the knowledge he is acquiring, the subject he is studying, this mode of reasoning, this event, this conversation, and the conduct of this or that man, to aid the purposes of religious instruction. He may find an example in the manner in which Pope pursued his favorite study. “From his attention to poetry,” says Johnson, “he was never diverted. If conversation offered any thing that could be improved, he committed it to paper; if a thought, or perhaps an expression more happy than was common, rose to his mind, he was careful to write it; an independent distich was preserved for an opportunity of insertion, and some little fragments have been found containing lines, or parts of lines, to be wrought upon at some other time.” By a like habitual and vigilant attention, the preacher will find scarce any thing but may be made to minister to his great design, by either giving rise to some new train of thought, or suggesting an argument, or placing some truth in a new light, or furnishing some useful illustration. Thus none of his reading will be lost; every poem and play, every treatise on science, and speculation in philosophy, and even every ephemeral tale may be made to give hints toward the better management of sermons and the more effectual proposing and communicating of truth.

He who proposes to himself the art of extemporaneous speaking should thus have constant regard to this particular object, and make every thing co-operate to form those habits of mind which are essential to it. This may be done not only without any hindrance to the progress of his other studies, but even so as to promote them. The most important requisites are rapid thinking, and ready command of language. By rapid thinking I mean, what has already been spoken of, the power of seizing at once upon the most prominent points of the subject to be discussed, and tracing out, in their proper order, the subordinate thoughts which connect them together. This power depends very much upon habit; a habit more easily acquired by some minds than by others, and by some with great difficulty. But there are few who, should they have a view to the formation of such a habit in all their studies, might not attain it in a degree quite adequate to their purpose. This is much more indisputably true in regard to fluency of language.

Let it, therefore, be a part of his daily care to analyze the subjects which come before him, and to frame sketches of sermons. This will aid him to acquire a facility in laying open, dividing, and arranging topics, and preparing those outlines which he is to take with him into the pulpit. Let him also investigate carefully the method of every author he reads, marking the divisions of his arrangement, and the connexion and train of his reasoning. Butler’s preface to his Sermons will afford him some fine hints on this way of study. Let this be his habitual mode of reading, so that he shall as much do this, as receive the meaning of separate sentences, and shall be always able to give a better account of the progress of the argument and the relation of every part to the others and to the whole, than of merely individual passages and separate illustrations. This will infallibly beget a readiness in finding the divisions and boundaries of a subject, which is one important requisite to an easy and successful speaker.

In a similar manner, let him always bear in mind the value of a fluent and correct use of language. Let him not be negligent of this in his conversation; but be careful ever to select the best words, to avoid a slovenly style and drawling utterance, and to aim at neatness, force, and brevity. This may be done without formality, or stiffness, or pedantic affectation; and when settled into a habit is invaluable.

2. In addition to this general cultivation, there should be frequent exercise of the act of speaking. Practice is essential to perfection in any art, and in none more so than in this. No man reads well or writes well, except by long practice; and he cannot expect without it to speak well, an operation which is equivalent to the other two united. He may indeed get along, as the phrase is; but not so well as he might do and should do. He may not always be able even to get along. He may be as sadly discomfited as a friend of mine, who said that he had made the attempt, and was convinced that for him to speak extempore was impossible; he had risen from his study table, and tried to make a speech, proving that virtue is better than vice; but was obliged to sit down without completing it. How could one hope to do better in a first attempt, if he had not considered beforehand what he should say? It were as rational to think he could play on the organ without having learned, or translate from a language he had never studied.

It would not be too much to require of the student, that he should exercise himself every day, once at least, if not oftener; and this, on a variety of subjects, and in various ways, that he may attain a facility in every mode. It would be a pleasant interchange of employment to rise from the subject which occupies his thoughts, or from the book he is reading, and repeat to himself the substance of what he has just perused, with such additions and variations, or criticisms, as may suggest themselves at the moment. There could hardly be a more useful exercise, even if there were no reference to this particular end. How many excellent chapters of valuable authors, how many fine views of important subjects, would be thus impressed upon his mind, and what rich treasures of thought and language would be thus laid up in store. And according as he should be engaged in a work of reasoning, or description, or exhortation, or narrative, he would be attaining the power of expressing himself readily in each of these various styles. By pursuing this course for two or three years, “a man may render himself such a master in this matter,” says Burnet, “that he can never be surprised;” and he adds, that he never knew a man faithfully to pursue the plan of study he proposed, without being successful at last.

3. When by such a course of study and discipline he has attained a tolerable fluency of thoughts and words, and a moderate confidence in his own powers; there are several things to be observed in first exercising the gift in public, in order to ensure comfort and success.

It is recommended by Bishop Burnet and others, that the first attempts be made by short excursions from written discourses; like the young bird that tries its wings by short flights, till it gradually acquires strength and courage to sustain itself longer in the air. This advice is undoubtedly judicious. For he may safely trust himself in a few sentences, who would be confounded in the attempt to frame a whole discourse. For this purpose blanks may be left in writing, where the sentiment is familiar, or only a short illustration is to be introduced. As success in these smaller attempts gives him confidence, he may proceed to larger; till at length, when his mind is bright and his feelings engaged, he may quit his manuscript altogether, and present the substance of what he had written, with greater fervor and effect, than if he had confined himself to his paper. It was once observed to me by an interesting preacher of the Baptist denomination, that he had found from experience this to be the most advisable and perfect mode; since it combined the advantages of written and extemporaneous composition. By preparing sermons in this way, he said, he had a shelter and security if his mind should be dull at the time of delivery; and if it were active, he was able to leave what he had written, and obey the ardor of his feelings, and go forth on the impulse of the moment, wherever his spirit might lead him. A similar remark I heard made by a distinguished scholar of the Methodist connexion, who urged, what is universally asserted by those who have tried this method with any success, that what has been written is found to be tame and spiritless, in comparison with the animated glow of that which springs from the energy of the moment.

There are some persons, however, who would be embarrassed by an effort to change the operation of the mind from reading to inventing. Such persons may find it best to make their beginning with a whole discourse.

4. In this case, there will be a great advantage in selecting for first efforts expository subjects. To say nothing of the importance and utility of this mode of preaching, which render it desirable that every minister should devote a considerable proportion of his labors to it; it contains great facilities and reliefs for the inexperienced speaker. The close study of a passage of scripture which is necessary to expounding it, renders it familiar. The exposition is inseparably connected with the text, and necessarily suggested by it. The inferences and practical reflections are in like manner naturally and indissolubly associated with the passage. The train of remark is easily preserved, and embarrassment in a great measure guarded against, by the circumstance that the order of discourse is spread out in the open Bible, upon which the eyes may rest and by which the thoughts may rally.

5. A similar advantage is gained to the beginner, in discourses of a different character, by a very careful and minute division of the subject. The division should not only be logical and clear, but into parts as numerous as possible. The great advantage here is, that the partitions being many, the speaker is compelled frequently to return to his minutes. He is thus kept in the track, and prevented from wandering far in needless digressions that besetting infirmity of unrestrained extemporizers. He also escapes the mortifying consequences of a momentary confusion and cloudiness of mind, by having it in his power to leave an unsatisfactory train at once, before the state of his mind is perceived by the audience, and take up the next topic, where he may recover his self-possession, and proceed without impediment. This is no unimportant consideration. It relieves him from the horror of feeling obliged to go on, while conscious that he is saying nothing to the purpose; and at the same time secures the very essential requisite of right method.

6. The next rule is, that the whole subject, with the order and connexion of all its parts, and the entire train of thought, be made thoroughly familiar by previous meditation. The speaker must have the discourse in his mind as one whole, whose various parts are distinctly perceived as other wholes, connected with each other and contributing to a common end. There must be no uncertainty, when he rises to speak, as to what he is going to say; no mist or darkness over the land he is about to travel; but conscious of his acquaintance with the ground, he must step forward confidently, not doubting that he shall find the passes of its mountains, and thread the intricacies of its forests, by the paths which he has already trodden. It is an imperfect and partial preparation in this respect, which so often renders the manner awkward and embarrassed, and the discourse obscure and perplexed. But when the preparation is faithful, the speaker feels at home; being under no anxiety respecting the ideas or the order of their succession, he has the more ready control of his person, his eye, and his hand, and the more fearlessly gives up his mind to its own action and casts himself upon the current. Uneasiness and constraint are the inevitable attendants of unfaithful preparation, and they are fatal to success. It is true, that no man can attain the power of self-possession so as to feel at all times equally and entirely at ease. But he may guard against the sorest ills which attend its loss, by always making sure of a train of thought, being secure that he has ideas, and that they lie in such order as to be found and brought forward in some sort of apparel, even when he has in some measure lost the mastery of himself. The richness or meanness of their dress will depend on the humor of the moment. It will vary as much as health and spirits vary, which is more in some men than in others. But the thoughts themselves he may produce, and be certain of saying what he intended to say, even when he cannot say it as he intended. It must often have been observed, by those who are at all in the habit of observation of this kind, that the mind operates in this particular like a machine, which, having been wound up, runs on by its own spontaneous action, until it has gone through its appointed course. Many men have thus continued speaking in the midst of an embarrassment of mind which rendered them almost unconscious of what they were saying, and incapable of giving an account of it afterward; while yet the unguided, self-moving intellect wrought so well, that the speech was not esteemed unwholesome or defective by the hearers. The experience of this fact has doubtless helped many to believe that they spoke from inspiration. It ought to teach all, that there is no sufficient cause for that excessive apprehension, which so often unmans them, and which, though it may not stop their mouths, must deprive their address of all grace and beauty, of all ease and force.

7. We may introduce in this place another rule, the observance of which will aid in preventing the ill consequences resulting from the accidental loss of self-possession. The rule is, utter yourself very slowly and deliberately, with careful pauses. This is at all times a great aid to a clear and perspicuous statement. It is essential to the speaker, who would keep the command of himself and consequently of his hearers.

One is very likely, when, in the course of speaking, he has stumbled on an unfortunate expression, or said what he would prefer not to say, or for a moment lost sight of the precise point at which he was aiming, to hurry on with increasing rapidity, as if to get as far as possible from his misfortune, or cause it to be forgotten in the crowd of new words. But instead of thus escaping the evil, he increases it; he entangles himself more and more; and augments the difficulty of recovering his route. The true mode of recovering himself is by increased deliberation. He must pause, and give himself time to think; “ut tamen deliberare non haesitare videatur.” He need not be alarmed lest his hearers suspect the difficulty. Most of them are likely to attribute the slowness of his step to any cause rather than the true one. They take it for granted, that he says and does precisely as he intended and wished. They suppose that he is pausing to gather up his strength. It excites their attention. The change of manner is a relief to them. And the probability is, that the speaker not only recovers himself, but that the effort to do it gives a spring to the action of his powers, which enables him to proceed afterward with greater energy.

8. In regard to language, the best rule is, that no preparation be made. There is no convenient and profitable medium between speaking from memory and from immediate suggestion. To mix the two is no aid, but a great hindrance, because it perplexes the mind between the very different operations of memory and invention. To prepare sentences and parts of sentences, which are to be introduced here and there, and the intervals between them to be filled up in the delivery, is the surest of all ways to produce constraint. It is like the embarrassment of framing verses to prescribed rhymes; as vexatious, and as absurd. To be compelled to shape the course of remark so as to suit a sentence which is by and by to come, or to introduce certain expressions which are waiting for their place, is a check to the natural current of thought. The inevitable consequence is constraint and labor, the loss of every thing like easy and flowing utterance, and perhaps that worst of confusion which results from a jumble of ill assorted, disjointed periods. It is unavoidable that the subject should present itself in a little different form and complexion in speaking, from that which it took in meditation; so that the sentences and modes of expression, which agreed very well with the train of remark as it came up in the study, may be wholly unsuited to that which it assumes in the pronunciation.

The extemporaneous speaker should therefore trust himself to the moment for all his language. This is the safe way for his comfort, and the only sure way to make all of a uniform piece. The general rule is certain, though there may be some exceptions. It may be well for example, to consider what synonymous terms may be employed in recurring to the chief topic, in order to avoid the too frequent reiteration of the same word. This will occasion no embarrassment. He may also prepare texts of scripture to be introduced in certain parts of the discourse. These, if perfectly committed to memory, and he be not too anxious to make a place for them, will be no encumbrance. When a suitable juncture occurs, they will suggest themselves, just as a suitable epithet suggests itself. But if he be very solicitous about them, and continually on the watch for an opportunity to introduce them, he will be likely to confuse himself. And it is better to lose the choicest quotation, than suffer constraint and awkwardness from the effort to bring it in. Under the same restrictions he may have ready, pithy remarks, striking and laconic expressions, pointed sayings and aphorisms, the force of which depends on the precise form of the phrase. Let the same rule be observed in regard to such. If they suggest themselves (which they will do, if there be a proper place for them), let them be welcome. But never let him run the risk of spoiling a whole paragraph in trying to make a place for them.

Many distinguished speakers are said to do more than this, to write out with care and repeat from memory their more important and persuasive parts; like the de bene esse’s of Curran, and the splendid passages of many others. This may undoubtedly be done to advantage by one who has the command of himself which practice gives, and has learned to pass from memory to invention without tripping. It is a different case from that mixture of the two operations, which is condemned above, and is in fact only an extended example of the exceptions made in the last paragraph. With these exceptions, when he undertakes, bona fide, an extemporaneous address, he should make no preparation of language. Language is the last thing he should be anxious about. If he have ideas, and be awake, it will come of itself, unbidden and unsought for. The best language flashes upon the speaker as unexpectedly as upon the hearer. It is the spontaneous gift of the mind, not the extorted boon of a special search. No man who has thoughts, and is interested in them, is at a loss for words not the most uneducated man; and the words he uses will be according to his education and general habits, not according to the labour of the moment. If he truly feel, and wish to communicate his feelings to those around him, the last thing that will fail will be language; the less he thinks of it and cares for it, the more copiously and richly will it flow from him; and when he has forgotten every thing but his desire to give vent to his emotions and do good, then will the unconscious torrent pour, as it does at no other season. This entire surrender to the spirit which stirs within, is indeed the real secret of all eloquence. “True eloquence,” says Milton, “I find to be none but the serious and hearty love of truth; and that whose mind soever is fully possessed with a fervent desire to know good things, and with the dearest charity to infuse the knowledge of them into others, when such a man would speak, his words, like so many nimble and airy servitors, trip about him at command and in well ordered files, as he would wish, fall aptly into their own places.” Rerum enim copia (says the great Roman teacher and example) verborum copiam gignit; et, si est honestas in rebus ipsis de quibus dicitur, existit ex rei natura quidam splendor in verbis. Sit modo is, qui dicet aut scribet, institutus liberaliter educatione doctrinaque puerili, et flagret studio, et a natura adjuvetur, et in universorum generum infinitis disceptationibus exercitatus; ornatissimos scriptores oratoresque ad cognoscendum imitandumque legerit; nae ille haud sane, quemadmodum verba struat et illuminet, a magistris istis requiret. Ita facile in rerum abundantia ad orationis ornamenta, sine duce, natura ipsa, si modo est exercitata, labetur.

9. These remarks lead to another suggestion which deserves the student’s consideration. He should select for this exercise those subjects in which he feels an interest at the time, and in regard to which he desires to engage the interest of others. In order to the best success, extemporaneous efforts should be made in an excited state, when the mind is burning and glowing, and longs to find vent. There are some topics which do not admit of this excitement. Such should be treated by the pen. When he would speak, he should choose topics on which his own mind is kindling with a feeling which he is earnest to communicate; and the higher the degree to which he has elevated his feelings, the more readily, happily, and powerfully will he pour forth whatever the occasion may demand. There is no style suited to the pulpit, which he will not more effectually command in this state of mind. He will reason more directly, pointedly, and convincingly; he will describe more vividly from the living conceptions of the moment; he will be more earnest in persuasion, more animated in declamation, more urgent in appeals, more terrible in denunciation. Every thing will vanish from before him, but the subject of his attention, and upon this his powers will be concentrated in keen and vigorous action.

If a man would do his best, it must be upon topics which are at the moment interesting to him. We see it in conversation, where every one is eloquent upon his favorite subjects. We see it in deliberative assemblies; where it is those grand questions, which excite an intense interest, and absorb and agitate the mind, that call forth those bursts of eloquence by which men are remembered as powerful orators, and that give a voice to men who can speak on no other occasions. Cicero tells us of himself, that the instances in which he was most successful, were those in which he most entirely abandoned himself to the impulses of feeling. Every speaker’s experience will bear testimony to the same thing; and thus the saying of Goldsmith proves true, that, “to feel one’s subject thoroughly, and to speak without fear, are the only rules of eloquence.” Let him who would preach successfully, remember this. In the choice of subjects for extemporaneous efforts, let him have regard to it, and never encumber himself nor distress his hearers, with the attempt to interest them in a subject, which excites at the moment only a feeble interest in his own mind.

This rule excludes many topics, which it is necessary to introduce into the pulpit, subjects in themselves interesting and important, but which few men can be trusted to treat in unpremeditated language; because they require an exactness of definition, and nice discrimination of phrase, which may be better commanded in the cool leisure of writing, than in the prompt and declamatory style of the speaker. The rule also forbids the attempt to speak when ill health, or lowness of spirits, or any accidental cause, renders him incapable of that excitement which is requisite to success. It requires of him to watch over the state of his body the partial derangement of whose functions so often confuses the mind that, by preserving a vigorous and animated condition of the corporeal system, he may secure vigour and vivacity of mind. It requires of him, finally, whenever he is about entering upon the work, to use every means, by careful meditation, by calling up the strong motives of his office, by realizing the nature and responsibility of his undertaking, and by earnestly invoking the blessing of God to attain that frame of devout engagedness, which will dispose him to speak zealously and fearlessly.

10. Another important item in the discipline to be passed through, consists in attaining the habit of self-command. I have already adverted to this point, and noticed the power which the mind possesses of carrying on the premeditated operation, even while the speaker is considerably embarrassed. This is, however, only a reason for not being too much distressed by the feeling when only occasional; it does not imply that it is no evil. It is a most serious evil; of little comparative moment, it may be, when only occasional and transitory, but highly injurious if habitual. It renders the speaker unhappy, and his address ineffective. If perfectly at ease, he would have every thing at command, and be able to pour out his thoughts in lucid order, and with every desirable variety of manner and expression. But when thrown from his self-possession, he can do nothing better than mechanically string together words, while there is no soul in them, because his mental powers are spell-bound and imbecile. He stammers, hesitates, and stumbles; or, at best, talks on without object or aim, as mechanically and unconsciously as an automaton. He has learned little effectually, till he has learned to be collected.

This therefore must be a leading object of attention. It will not be attained by men of delicacy and sensibility, except by long and trying practice. It will be the result of much rough attrition with the world, and many mortifying failures. And after all, occasions may occur, when the most experienced will be put off their guard. Still, however, much may be done by the control which a vigorous mind has over itself, by resolute and persevering determination, by refusing to shrink or give way, and by preferring always the mortification of ill success, to the increased weakness which would grow out of retreating.

There are many considerations, also, which if kept before the mind would operate not a little to strengthen its confidence in itself. Let the speaker be sensible that, if self-possessed, he is not likely to fail; that after faithful study and preparation, there is nothing to stand in his way, but his own want of self-command. Let him heat his mind with his subject, endeavour to feel nothing, and care for nothing, but that. Let him consider, that his audience takes for granted that he says nothing but what he designed, and does not notice those slight errors which annoy and mortify him; that in truth such errors are of no moment; that he is not speaking for reputation and display, nor for the gratification of others, by the exhibition of a rhetorical model, or for the satisfaction of a cultivated taste: but that he is a teacher of virtue, a messenger of Jesus Christ, a speaker in the name of God; whose chosen object it is to lead men above all secondary considerations and worldly attainments, and to create in them a fixed and lasting interest in spiritual and religious concerns; that he himself therefore ought to regard other things as of comparatively little consequence while he executes this high function; that the true way to effect the object of his ministry, is to be filled with that object, and to be conscious of no other desire but to promote it. Let him, in a word, be zealous to do good, to promote religion, to save souls, and little anxious to make what might be called a fine sermon let him learn to sink every thing in his subject and the purpose it should accomplish ambitious rather to do good, than to do well; and he will be in a great measure secure from the loss of self-command and its attendant distress. Not always for this feeble vessel of the mind seems to be sometimes tost to and fro, as it were, upon the waves of circumstances, unmanageable by the helm and disobedient to the wind. Sometimes God seems designedly to show us our weakness, by taking from us the control of our powers, and causing us to be drifted along whither we would not. But under all ordinary occurrences, habitual piety and ministerial zeal will be an ample security. From the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak. The most diffident man in the society of men is known to converse freely and fearlessly when his heart is full, and his passions engaged; and no man is at a loss for words, or confounded by another’s presence, who thinks neither of the language, nor the company, but only of the matter which fills him. Let the preacher consider this, and be persuaded of it, and it will do much to relieve him from the distress which attends the loss of self-possession, which distorts every feature with agony, and distils in sweat from his forehead. It will do much to destroy that incubus, which sits upon every faculty of the soul, and palsies every power, and fastens down the helpless sufferer to the very evil from which he strives to flee.

After all, therefore, which can be said, the great essential requisite to effective preaching in this method (or indeed in any method) is a devoted heart. A strong religious sentiment, leading to a fervent zeal for the good of other men, is better than all rules of art; it will give him courage, which no science or practice could impart, and open his lips boldly, when the fear of man would keep them closed. Art may fail him, and all his treasures of knowledge desert him; but if his heart be warm with love, he will “speak right on,” aiming at the heart, and reaching the heart, and satisfied to accomplish the great purpose, whether he be thought to do it tastefully or not.

This is the true spirit of his office, to be cherished and cultivated above all things else, and capable of rendering all its labors comparatively easy. It reminds him that his purpose is not to make profound discussions of theological doctrines, or disquisitions on moral and metaphysical science; but to present such views of the great and acknowledged truths of revelation, with such applications of them to the understanding and conscience, as may affect and reform his hearers. Now it is not study only, in divinity or in rhetoric, which will enable him to do this. He may reason ingeniously, but not convincingly; he may declaim eloquently, but not persuasively. There is an immense, though indescribable difference between the same arguments and truths, as presented by him who earnestly feels and desires to persuade, and by him who designs only a display of intellectual strength, or an exercise of rhetorical skill. In the latter case, the declamation may be splendid, but it will be cold and without expression; lulling the ear, and diverting the fancy, but leaving the feelings untouched. In the other, there is an air of reality and sincerity, which words cannot describe, but which the heart feels, that finds its way to the recesses of the soul, and overcomes it by a powerful sympathy. This is a difference which all perceive and all can account for. The truths of religion are not matters of philosophical speculation, but of experience. The heart and all the spiritual man, and all the interests and feelings of the immortal being, have an intimate concern in them. It is perceived at once whether they are stated by one who has felt them himself, is personally acquainted with their power, is subject to their influence, and speaks from actual experience; or whether they come from one who knows them only in speculation, has gathered them from books, and thought them out by his own reason, but without any sense of their spiritual operation.

But who does not know how much easier it is to declare what has come to our knowledge from our own experience, than what we have gathered coldly at second hand from that of others; how much easier it is to describe feelings we have ourselves had, and pleasures we have ourselves enjoyed, than to fashion a description of what others have told us; how much more freely and convincingly we can speak of happiness we have known, than of that to which we are strangers. We see, then, how much is lost to the speaker by coldness or ignorance in the exercises of personal religion. How can he effectually represent the joys of a religious mind, who has never known what it is to feel them? How can he effectually aid the contrite, the desponding, the distrustful, the tempted, who has never himself passed through the same fears and sorrows? or how can he paint, in the warm colors of truth, religious exercises and spiritual desires, who is personally a stranger to them? Alas, he cannot at all come in contact with those souls, which stand most in need of his sympathy and aid. But if he have cherished in himself, fondly and habitually, the affections he would excite in others, if he have combated temptation, and practised self-denial, and been instant in prayer, and tasted the joy and peace of a tried faith and hope; then he may communicate directly with the hearts of his fellow men, and win them over to that which he so feelingly describes. If his spirit be always warm and stirring with these pure and kind emotions, and anxious to impart the means of his own felicity to others how easily and freely will he pour himself forth! and how little will he think of the embarrassments of the presence of mortal man, while he is conscious only of laboring for the glory of the ever present God.

This then is the one thing essential to be attained and cherished by the Christian preacher. With this he must begin, and with this he must go on to the end. Then he never can greatly fail; for he will FEEL HIS SUBJECT THOROUGHLY, AND SPEAK WITHOUT FEAR.