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he was a kind of Doric ornament; yet his sermons, as Izaak Walton says, "were the less valued because he read them, which he was forced to do; for though he had an extraordinary memory (even the art of it), yet he was punished with such an innate invincible fear and bashfulness, that his memory was wholly useless as to the repetition of his sermons, so as he had writ them; which gave occasion to say, when some of them were first printed and exposed to censure (which was in the year 1632), that the best sermons that were over read were never preached.'" 1

It is often said that Dr. Chalmers, also, was one of these exceptional men who could have been better employed than in laboring to break himself into the methods of extemporary speech. If he had struggled with more perseverance in disciplining himself for these methods we conjecture that he would have improved not only his style of writing but also his style of thinking, have mitigated his prolixity of repetition, and abridged his cumbrous and overladen sentences. On the whole, however, the world is perhaps the gainer by his having employed his energies in writing, rather than in extemporizing, his discourses. The record of his extemporary efforts is a suggestive one. In the year 1813 he was visited by Andrew Fuller, who remarked after leaving the Kilmany Manse: "If that man [Chalmers] would but throw away his papers in the pulpit, he might be king of Scotland." The conversation of Fuller produced a great effect on Chalmers, who wrote in his Journal: "Let me henceforth attempt to extemporize from the pulpit; let me decline all extraengagements; let me redeem time, and give a steady and systematic direction to my efforts." He made the attempt. His biographer says:

"He read, reflected, jotted down the outlines of a discourse, and then went to the pulpit trusting to the suggestion of the moment for the phraseology he should employ; but he found that the ampler his materials

1 Old English Prose Authors, Vol. vi. p. 252. Walton's account is the more remarkable, as it is said that Bishop Sanderson had committed to memory all the Odes of Horace, the Offices of Cicero, and a considerable portion of Juvenal and Persius.

were, the more difficult was the utterance. His experience in this respect he used to compare to the familiar phenomenon of a bottle with water in it turned suddenly upside down: the nearly empty bottle discharges itself fluently and at once; the nearly full one labors in the effort, and lets out its contents with jerks and large explosions and sudden stops, as if choked by its own fulness. So it was with Mr. Chalmers in his first efforts at extempore preaching. A twofold impediment lay in the way of his success. It was not easy to light at once upon words or phrases which could give anything like adequate conveyance to convictions so intense as his were; and he could not be satisfied, and with no comfort could he proceed, while an interval so wide remained between the truth as it was felt and the truth as his words had represented it. Over and over again was the effort made to find powerful enough and expressive enough phraseology. But even had this difficulty not existed – even though he had been content with the first suggested words, he never could be satisfied till he had exhausted every possible way of setting forth the truth, so as to force or to win for it an entrance into the minds of his hearers. So very eager was he at this period of his ministry to communicate the impressions which glowed so fervidly within his own heart, that even when he had a written sermon to deliver, he often, as if dissatisfied with all that he had said, would try at the close to put the matter in simpler words, or present it in other lights, or urge it in more direct and affectionate address. But when the restraints of a written composition were thrown away, when not at the close only, but from the very beginning of his address, this powerful impulse operated, he often found that, instead of getting over the ground marked down in his study to be traversed, the whole allotted time was consumed while yet he was laboring away with the first or second preliminary idea.1

5. It is possible to read a discourse in a manner both more natural and impressive than the prevalent manner of men who preach extempore or memoriter. The advocates of the extemporaneous method are apt to compare a preacher who reads ill with one who extemporizes well, and to infer that the extemporaneous method is always the best. It can be the best, but in fact is not uniformly so. The opponents of the extemporaneous method are prone to compare the preacher who extemporizes ill with one who reads well, and to infer that the method of reading is always the preferable one. It is not so always, nor generally. Extemporaneous preachers, however, do so often neglect their gift that even 1 Memoirs of Dr. Chalmers, Vol. i, pp. 336-339.

a reader can enter the kingdom of eloquence before them. What men commonly call the "preacher's tone" characterizes a large class of extemporizers. They, and also memoriter speakers are often so confused, or so much absorbed in thinking of their words rather than of their themes, that they lose their naturalness of voice and gesture. They hesitate, and keep their eyes directed to the ceiling or a post; while the reader need not hesitate, as his eyes are fastened to his manuscript. He can be exempt from all fear of losing his train of thought, or of verbal lapses, and can be more free in his speech than are many timorous extemporizers. A Vandenhoff can read Shakespeare more effectively than most men do recite it memoriter.1 Mr. Emerson can repeat his notes of a lecture more impressively than most men do lecture without notes. "But this," you reply, "is saying very little." True, but it is saying enough to dissuade a religious scholar from refusing to preach on the ground of his inability to extemporize. Such a man as Joseph Butler 2 may be encouraged to enter the ministry by the fact that it is even easier to attain the power of reading a discourse well


1 When this accomplished elocutionist "was reading from a scene in Byron's 'Cain,' and picturing the frightful remorse of the murderer, the dreadful truth of Abel's death flashed upon his mind, and in an agony of soul he summoned around him, to witness the awful deed, his father, mother, and wife, with the thrilling exclamation - Father! mother! Ada! Zillah! come hither!Death is in the world!' This passage was given with an energy of truth so fearful as to send a thrill of horror to the very soul; and one young man who had been gazing intently and kindling to a pitch of uncontrollable excitement, as the last clause-Death is in the world' was uttered, fell senseless to the floor!" "As to my personal experience," says a celebrated rhetorician, "I shall frankly tell you what I know to be a fact. I have tried both ways; I continued long in the practise of repeating, and was even thought (if people did not very much deceive me) to succeed in it; but I am absolutely certain that I can give more energy, and preserve the attention of the hearers better, to what I read, than ever it was in my power to do to what I repeated."-Dr. Campbell's Lectures on Pulpit Eloquence.

2 There must be various gradations of ministers, as there are different hierarchies in heaven. Alluding to Bishop Butler, Mainwaring says: "I cannot but wish, that, as there is so great an abundance of the practical sort, some sermons were written chiefly with a view to readers, and those, too, persons of an improved taste and cultivated minds."

than of uttering it well without reading. This is only asserting that it is easier to read a sermon than to compose it while uttering it, or to retain the whole of it in the memory while each part of it is spoken.

II. The reading of sermons in the pulpit may be more or less useful as it is more or less intermingled with extempore and memoriter preaching. Not what a man can do, but what he will do; not what is abstractedly the best method of preaching, but what is the best method that will probably be adopted — this is the practical question. The truth is, that careful writing may facilitate natural reading, and natural reading may help to turn extemporary singing into speech. Varieties in the methods of elocution improve each other. Throughout a single sermon a reader may keep his mind in a fit state for extemporizing, and may intercalate remarks which suddenly occur to him. Thus he borrows aid from the extemporary method. He may so familiarize himself with his manuscript that a glance at a single word will remind him of an entire sentence, and thus he borrows from the memoríter method. There is a free reading, as well as free speaking; the reading with supplements and omissions; the reading of what is half remembered; and this results most easily from the practice of preaching some sermons with, and some without, notes.

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"What a lawyer was spoiled when Davies took the pulpit," was said of the man so often called "the prince of American preachers." He was indebted for this title to his habit of intermingling the three fundamental methods of discourse. It is said in his biography:

"He wrote and prepared his sermons with great care." They "were printed [verbatim] from the very manuscripts which he used in the pulpit." "But his memory was such, and the frequent use he was permitted to make of the same sermon rendered it so familiar, that he was never trammelled in his delivery. Though this was his common practice, yet he would sometimes extemporize to very happy effect. One of his confidential elders once said to him: Mr. Davies, how is it that you, who are so well-informed on all theological subjects, and can express yourself with

VOL. XXIX. No. 113.


so much ease and readiness upon any subject and in any company, and have language so at your command, should think it necessary to prepare and write your sermons with so much care, and take your notes into the pulpit, and make such constant use of them? Why do you not, like many other preachers, oftener preach extempore?' Mr. Davies's reply was this: I always thought it to be a most awful thing to go into the pulpit, and there speak nonsense in the name of God. Besides, when I have an opportunity of preparing, and neglect to do so, I am afraid to look up to God for assistance; for that would be to ask him to countenance my negligence. But when I am evidently called upon to preach, and have had no opportunity to make suitable preparation, if I see it clearly to be my duty, I am not afraid to try to preach extempore, and I can with confidence look up to God for assistance.'"1

III. The practice of reading sermons in the pulpit cannot be adopted as the general one without lessening the preacher's influence.

1. It requires too much writing-too much for the health of the writer, who, bending too long over his writing-desk, induces the pectoral disorders so detrimental to popular eloquence; too much for his mental and moral progress, which, as we have seen in a previous Section,2 requires "non multa, sed multum"; too much for his rhetorical improvement, which is accelerated by the thoughtful writing of a few sermons, as it is retarded by the careless writing of many, and which demands a skill in extemporary eloquence as a stimulus to the exact and energetic study of a written discourse. Robert Hall is credited with the saying that a genius can write one sermon in a month; a man of talent, one in a fortnight; an ordinary man, one in a week; a fool, two in a week.' That 'one sermon in a month' would not be a finished one, unless the writer were disciplining himself, meanwhile, in extemporary address.

2. If the reading be energetic, it is apt to impair the vision of the preacher; especially when his manuscript, written in haste, is in a corresponding degree illegible, and when his pulpit is darkened by clouds or by covered or painted win

' Dr. Hill's Account, in Barnes's Life and Times of Pres. Davies, pp. 31, 32. 2 §2. 1.

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