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6. Several objections come from overlooking the fact that variety in the ministrations of the pulpit has in itself a value. We have seen that one le of discourse is more appropriate to one clergyman, to one audience, to one class of subjects, than to another. But this is not all. The same preacher, addressing the same audience, on the same class of topics, may augment his power by varying his methods of address. The objector says: Of the three fundamental methods of preaching, that which in itself is the best ought to be adopted uniformly; the extemporary method ought not to be the uniform one; therefore it is not the best. The dietetist might as wisely say: If a certain kind of meat is more nutritious than a certain kind of fruit, the meat should be taken to the exclusion of the fruit. As a change of food from the more to the less nutritious is sometimes healthful, so the style of preaching may be wisely changed from the more to the less elaborate, the more to the less exciting. A man's hearers should not always know exactly what to expect. Dr. Emmons devoted four and twenty days to his sermon entitled "The Law of Paradise," but not half so many hours to his sermon entitled "The House of the Grave"; still the last-named (which might well have been an extemporary) sermon was more interesting than the first-named to a majority of his hearers, and each was more interesting than it would have been without the other.

7. A class of objections comes from overlooking the fact that the good, as well as the evil, tendencies of the extemporaneous method have been developed in the pulpit. The objector points us to the learned clergymen who have sadly failed in adopting this method, and to the unlettered exhorters who have brayed when they fancied that they were preaching, and have mistaken "the perspiration for the inspiration of oratory." But the objector should remember that the practice of reading an entire sermon from the pulpit prevailed nowhere before the Reformation, and since that period has prevailed only in Great Britain and America.1 Many homi

In 1712 Bishop Burnet said: "Reading is peculiar to this nation and is endured in no other.". The Pastoral Care, p. 189.

lies of Origen, Cyril, Gregory Nazianzen, Basil, Atticus, were not written until they were taken down from the lips of the preachers by the Taxvypápot who heard them. Historians tell us that Chrysostom often preached oxediaσTIKOS.1 Augustine sometimes preached on themes suggested at the moment by other persons, by the reader of the scriptural lesson, who himself occasionally chose the lesson on which the Father was immediately to discourse. On a certain occasion Augustine requested a particular psalm to be read, but a different psalm was read by mistake, and he preached upon the latter instead of the former on which he had prepared himself. His homiletical rules intimate that he favored the extemporaneous method. Thus he remarks that the hearers of a sermon are accustomed to signify by their movements whether or not they understand it; and until the preacher perceives that they do understand it, he should repeat in various forms what he has said already; but adds: Quod in potestate non habent, qui praeparata et ad verbum memoriter, retenta pronuntiant."2

Tully's celebrated Address to Cataline was not more obviously extemporaneous than were many passages in the Mediaeval sermons. Of the Reformers, Calvin frequently, Luther

1 In proof that he spoke extempore they often quote some of his allusions to the incidents occurring at the time of his preaching. Thus in a Homily on Genesis he made an allusion to the lamplighter: "I am expounding the scriptures, and ye all turn your eyes from me to the lamps, and him that is lighting the lamps. What negligence is this, so to forsake me, and set your minds on him? For I am lighting a fire from the Holy Scriptures, and in my tongue is a burning lamp of doctrine. This is a greater and a better light than that. For we do not set up a light like that moistened with oil, but we inflame souls that are watered with piety, with a desire of hearing.” — See Bingham's Antiquities, Vol. vi. Book 14. We presume that the homily containing this passage was extemporaneous, but many a reader of sermons intersperses such off-hand remarks with what he has written.

"De Doctrina Christiana, Lib. iv. § 25. Several passages in this Work indicate the author's habit of preaching extempore. Thus he says of the reward promised to him who gives a cup of cold water to a disciple: "When it has happened that we spoke to the people on this subject, and God was present that we should speak not inappropriately, did there not arise from that cold water a kind of flame which, with the hope of a reward in Heaven, set the cold hearts of men on fire for performing works of mercy."-Lib. iv. § 37.

still more frequently, preached without notes. Among the French orators, Bossuet in large part, and Fenelon almost altogether, dispensed with the manuscript. Of the English and American divines nearly all the most eloquent preachers in the Baptist and Methodist denominations, and many among the Presbyterian and Congregational have abstained occasionally or habitually from reading their discourses. The extemporaneous eloquence of the bar and the senate is not necessarily either superficial or puerile. With few exceptions that of the ancient pulpit was equal to that of the Bema or the Rostrum. There is no reason why that of modern preachers should not be as instructive and dignified as that of modern civilians and jurists.


8. A large class of objections results from overlooking the fact that the extemporaneous preacher can and should habitually discipline himself for his extemporanous efforts. The objector says: If a man deliver his sermons extempore, he will not carry 'beaten oil' into the sanctuary; he will 'offer to the Lord that which costs him nothing.' Our first reply to this objector is: The right habit of preaching extempore implies that the preacher is a student, and that he pursues all his studies with the intent of fitting himself to compose a sermon while he is delivering it. Our second reply is: In writing one sermon, the preacher is disciplining himself to extemporize more than one. When the objector adds: You contradict yourself in representing the extemporaneous method as the true one, and yet recommending that a preacher spend the greater part of his time in writing his sermons, we rejoin: The time which the minister spends on his manuscript is really spent in preparing him to speak without a manuscript. The objector might as well say that a pyrotechnist is inconsistent with himself because he spends a whole day in adjusting his nitre, sulphur, and charcoal, and spends only a few minutes in igniting them. Our third reply is: While the extemporaneous method presents many incitements to habitual toil, it does present some temptations

1 2 Sam. xxiv. 24; 1 Chron. xxi. 24.

to intermit this toil; but a preacher may and should yield to the incitements and resist the temptations. Our fourth reply is: In the general a preacher may and should so intermingle the three fundamental methods of preaching as to secure his best possible preparation for the entire series of his sermons; to secure likewise such an amount of immediate preparation for each one of his sermons as that one proportionally requires. A French rhetorician adopts the following language in allowing the preacher to speak on some themes impromptu:

"You are accustomed to consult nature, to study it, to follow it. Practised in writing and speaking upon different subjects in private, you cultivate your memory by oft-repeated reading on the same subjects. It is a fund of eloquence that you have always at command. You have good rules upon every theme; you are acquainted with morals; the best authors are familiar to you; you repeat the scriptures and the writings of the Fathers as your mother-tongue; you express yourself easily and with grace; you have accurate and profound judgment, much order and precision in the arranging of arguments, uniting the different parts by natural transitions, saying all and only that which is exactly appropriate to your theme. Take, then, only a day, only an hour, to meditate on your theme; arrange your proofs; consult your memory; choose, prepare a certain number of figures; so appear in public. I consent to it; the common expressions which ought to make the body of your discourse will come to you of themselves; things will flow from their source. Your periods will be perhaps less harmonious, your transitions less fine, a misplaced expression may escape you. I will pardon it; the vehemence of your action will atone for these irregularities; you will be the master of your movements. A certain disorder will perhaps reign; but these negligences will not prevent me from being pleased and touched; your action, as well as your words, will appear to me the more natural."1

Apparently, but by no means necessarily, inconsistent with the graphic words of Dinouart are the following remarks of Lord Brougham and Robert Hall; and these words may fitly conclude this Treatise. Lord Brougham had said, in his Inaugural Address, at Glasgow:

"I should lay it down as a rule admitting of no exception, that a man will speak well in proportion as he has written much; and that, with equal talents, he will be the finest extempore speaker, when no time for pre

1 Dinouart Sur L'Eloquence, pp. 58, 59. VOL. XXIX. No. 116.


paring is allowed, who has prepared himself the most sedulously when he had an opportunity of delivering a premeditated speech. All the exceptions which I have ever heard cited to this principle are apparent ones only, proving nothing more than that some few men, of rare genius, have become great speakers without preparation; in nowise showing that with preparation they would not have reached a much higher pitch of excellence. The admitted superiority of the ancients in all oratorical accomplishments is the best proof of my position; for their careful preparation is undeniable: nay, in Demosthenes (of whom Quintilian says, that his style indicates more preparation- -plus curae than Cicero's) we can trace, by the recurrence of the same passage with progressive improvements in different speeches, how nicely he polished the more exquisite parts of his compositions. I could point out favorite passages, occurring as often as three several times, with variations and manifest amendment."

Robert Hall spoke in "glowing terms of this address," and added:

"Brougham is quite right, Sir. Preparation is everything. If I were asked what is the chief requisite for eloquence, I should reply: Preparation. And what the second: Preparation. And what the third: Preparation." Then (with a sigh): “If I had prepared more for the pulpit, I should have been a much better preacher. There are, Sir, heights and depths and breadths and lengths in eloquence, yet to be attained, that we know nothing about."

1 Greene's Reminiscences of Robert Hall, p. 138.

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