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every subject which he discusses. Now many subjects need no explanation, or no proof, or no personal application. Besides, the explanation when introduced, should not ordinarily be deferred to the body of the discourse, but should precede it, as the practical appeal should follow it, being not a part of the discussion but a consequence of the same.
Instead of announcing his subdivisions technically as such, Reinhard sometimes compresses them into a single sentence, and afterwards recurs to its successive clauses, each of which is the topic of a distinct part of his discourse. Thus, in a sermon which we should suppose might be appropriately delivered in a hospital, but which, in the exuberance of his ethical instructions, he introduced into the order of his services before the Saxon Court,2 from the text Mark 7: 31-37, he adopts the following plan : “ Therefore will I devote this hour to a useful contemplation on the state of those unfortunate persons, to whom nature has given a deformed or imperfect body. How should we look upon their state, and what practical use should we make of it?” In what light should we regard it? “ It is not the play of accident, but the unavoidable consequence of good natural laws, and it results from them according to a design of God which we cannot entirely understand, but which, as we may believe, is to promote the welfare of the sufferers themselves, and thereby of others also.” This last sentence contains five clauses, which are five subdivisions of the first general head, and which are afterwards introduced as topics of remark, not numerically but distinctly in the order above specified. But what practical use should we make of the condition of these unfortunate men. a) It should increase our abhorrence of sin, for although often not, (as in our text,) yet often it is the result of violating the divine laws. b) It should incite us to the Christian treatment of those who are thus afflicted. c) It should awaken within us sentiments of gratitude to God for giving to us sound bodily organs. d) It should animate us to a conscientious use of our physical powers. e) It should stimulate us to hold fast the hope of immortality and of the resurrection of the body.
From the text Matt. 6: 24—34, Consider the lilies, etc., Reinhard derives the Proposition 3 “ On Sensibility to Nature,” and discusses it in the following Plan : “Let me, first, show wherein this sensibility
1 Reinhard himself confesses that the first heads of his Divisions are often inappropriate to his Propositions. See Geständnisse, ss. 148–151. Sulzbach, 1810.
? Predigten, 1801, Band II. ss. 151–171. 3 Predigten, 1801, Band II. ss. 192—213.
consists, then illustrate its importance, and lastly state the results which flow from the preceding considerations." 1. The nature of this sensibility. Then follows a sentence including the three subdivisions of the first head : “ This sensibility involves an attentive and meditative observation of the visible works of nature, accompanied with lively emotions in view of them, and with an elevation of the mind to the useful truths which they may suggest, and to God himself.” a) It involves an attention, etc., b) lively emotions, etc., c) an elevation, etc. 2. The importance of the already explained sensibility to nature. a) It is a source of enjoyment, b) a test of moral character, c) a means of moral improvement. 3. The results flowing from the preceding considerations. a) If we find that we want a sensibility to nature, we should be very studious and distrustful of our own character. b) If we possess it, we should scrutinize it, and see whether it be of the right kind. c) We are bound to praise God, that he has made "it so easy for us, my hearers, to attain a taste for the beauties and the teachings of nature. The natural scenery of our residence [Dresden] is peculiarly rich and suggestive. Let our fields become, in our mental associations, a temple of God, a porch of heaven.”
A philosopher, having never perused Reinhard's sermons, and judging of their vitality from their form, might conjecture that they were “coldly correct and critically dull." It is certainly unusual to unite a punctilious regard for symmetry of construction, an artificial regularity of paragraphs, sentences, and even clauses, with a fervor and energy of feeling. But Reinhard does unite these apparent opposites. Hence we proceed to the
§ 7. Vivacity of his Discourses. His phraseology being lucid and precise as well as masculine and elegant, his ideas being so arranged that one readily suggests another, his illustrations being apt and forcible, and his whole style being instinct with the life of a vigorous mind and a benevolent temper, Reinhard carries the feelings of his readers with him through the most carefully adjusted series of topics. His evenly balanced sermons are in a glow. Their rigid structure breathes with emotion. His delivery was so impassioned, that his audience would overlook the almost finical niceties of his arrangement, his occasional straining after originality, and would remain enkindled with the ardor of his consecutive appeals. No paragraph, severed from its connections, will represent the life of the system to which it belongs, more than a VOL. VI. No. 22.
heart exscinded from a human body can exhibit the action and warmth of the organized structure which it once animated. It may be interesting, however, to examine the syllabus of a discourse which combines the exactness of Reinhard's method with the fervidness of his emotion. The following abstract of a double sermon preached on the days of a Christmas festival, illustrates many peculiarities of his and of other German discourses. Their introductions are often so animated as to promise more than can be easily performed. Even their Propositions and Divisions are sometimes announced with a degree of vebemence, which would be deemed excessive in the concluding appeal of a Scotch or New England discourse. Reinhard introduces his Christmas sermon thus :
“Oh! thou Infinite, Incomprehensible, and Invisible One, who hast all sufficiency in thyself; who dwellest in light which no mortal eye * can endure; thou hast come forth from thy silent hiding-place; thou
bast tempered the brightness of thy glory into the softest radiance, for the sake of being able to manifest thyself unto thy creatures, and among them unto us also, us the feeble inhabitants of this earth. Everywhere around us do we behold the proofs of thy greatness, the master-pieces of thy wisdom, the benefactions of thy goodness; the heavens declare thy glory, and the firmament showeth thy handiwork. But oh! how hast thou in a peculiar manner distinguished this earth ; what a theatre for the display of thine attributes hast thou made it! With deep amazement, with tremulous joy, does this festival devoted to the contemplating of thy most magnificent, thy most wonderful, thy most condescending revelation, fill my heart; for I am now about to announce this revelation ; I am now about to declare that thou whom no finite mind comprehendeth and no sense reacheth, hast sent to us thine only begotten ; that thou the Invisible hast, in one of our race, made thyself as it were perceptible to our feeble eyes ; I am now to proclaim aloud that thou hast clothed the splendor of thy glory and the image of thy being with our own nature, and hast given to us him who could say, Whoso seeth me seeth the Father also.
“ So important, beloved brethren, so noble, sò useful is the great event to which are devoted the days now to be celebrated. True, the devices are innumerable by which God imparts to his creatures the knowledge of his greatness and his will. All nature around us is a vast and splendid temple, where his glory sometimes expresses itself in forces that cause all things to tremble, sometimes beams
Reinhard's Predigten, herausgegeben von Hacker, Band IV. ss. 284-316.
Discourse on the Incarnation.
forth in the order and beauty of the illimitable whole, sometimes can be felt in the mild luxuriance of a goodness that embraces in its care every living thing, and fills every thicking being with awe, admiration, and joy. But to-day, to-day, we celebrate a revelation of God, which comes to us and to our race nearer and in an altogether peculiar form; which has immediate regard to the improvement of our character, the most important of all benefits to every one ; which cannot present itself to our view without causing us to feel the dignity of our natures, and to regard them with reverence and admiration, for God, God is manifested in the flesh.
“ What a thought, my brethren, God is manifested in the flesh! The birth of Jesus, the Son of the highest, which we call to remembrance in these days, is a device by which God chose to be more fully known to us, by which he chose to accommodate himself to our weakness, to come into the most intimate connection with us, and open the way for us to attain the highest perfection. Let us not long hesitate in regard to the aspect in which we shall now look at this momentous event. Can anything be more worthy of our attention than the idea, that the birth of Jesus is a new, plain, unspeakably useful revelation of God to our race? Yea, let this be the theme which shall occupy our thoughts 10-day and to-morrow. I propose to show that among all the revelations of God, the incarnation of his Son is the most desirable for us in our state of weakness. But how much is here to be considered, to be explained, to be proved! Let us, therefore, my hearers, divide our contemplations. I will to-day confirm this statement by the fact, that the humanity of Christ imparts the greatest light to our understandings; and tomorrow, if it please God, I will show that it also gives the greatest power to our hearts. Yet before we proceed further, let us draw near to him who became a man, like unto us, that he may make known unto us the Father, and conduct us to the Father, and with united veneration let us ask for his aid and blessing in silent prayer."
Text, Luke 2; 1-14, the lesson of the day, which, having been read in the devotional service, is here repeated.
Having used the word Revelation in the statement of his theme, the preacher now defines it, dividing it into two kiuds; ordinary, i. e. that by the works of pature, and extraordinary, i. e. that by special messengers; and subdividing this latter into two species; the one, given by created messengers, as angels, prophets; the other, given by an uncreated messenger, the God-man. After this unduly prolonged explanation, he subdivides his theme in the following regular and balanced manner :
First Head. Among all the revelations of God the incarnation of his son is the most desirable for us in our state of weakness, because it imparts the greatest light to our understandings. A. It gives the most completeness to our religious knowledge ; for
a. It enlarges our view of God's nature; the Son dwelleth in him. b. It vivifies our ideas of his feelings; he condescends to our low
estate. c. It liberalizes our conceptions of his purposes; he designs to
“ give us all things.” B. It gives the greatest certainty to our religious knowledge; for a. It confirms every right judgment of our reason ; we are pleased
to find our individual deductions corroborated by the great
teacher. b. It gives to us an eye-witness of the truth ; and in our weakness
as abstract reasoners, we are relieved by the testimony of
one who speaks what he doth know. c. It satisfactorily solves many difficulties, which had previously
discomposed us; for some questions cannot be answered by
natural religion. C. It gives the greatest perspicuity to our religious knowledge; for a. It leads in the shortest way to the truth; the testimony of Jesus
contains succinctly all needful doctrine. b. It teaches truth in plain language ; Christ not only instructs
us by actions but by words, as a father his children. c. It presents to us a visible image of the perfect infinite one ;
whoso hath seen Christ hath seen the Father also. At the commencement of his second sermon on this theme, the preacher recapitulates the Subdivisions of the first, adds an earnest prayer, introduces a new text, Luke 2: 15—20, (the pericope requiring him to do so, at whatever expense to the unity of his discourses,) and then makes a neat transition to his
Second Head. The incarnation of Christ is, of all God's revelations, the most desirable for us in our state of weakness, because it gives the greatest power to our hearts. A. It inspires them with a living confidence in God; for a. It is the greatest proof of his condescension to our weakness ;
were it not for this visible evidence, we should not feel em
boldened to believe in his willingness to dwell with us. b. It is the most affecting pledge of his tender paternal love ; it
shows the oneness of our own nature with his, and the de
pendence of our hearts on his fatherly care. B. It inspires our hearts with an earnest love to the good; for