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without thorough self-abnegation. You must lose sight of yourself. You must become absorbed in your glorious work for Christ. You must remember that you are polishing gems for Him; that you are building a temple for His glory. This intensity of feeling, this conception of the grandeur of your work, will make your memory more attentive and yourself less prominent.
The question then arises: “Shall not the mind be occupied with choice of words while speaking ?” I answer: Not directly. The words will come in the height of your intense feeling; but they will be the result of your previous discipline. If you should chance to stumble, do not go back; but press on, following Whitefield's rule—“never to correct anything unless it was wicked.”
The same in regard to gesticulation. Never try to make a gesture. Those only are natural which come of themselves. The man who is full of the subject, whose heart is burning for utterance, if his feelings are not restrained, will generally gesticulate earnestly. In gesticulation, also, the discipline must be preparatory. Elocution should be studied previously; but no thought should be bestowed upon it at the moment. I know we are told that actors study every word, and practise every gesture before a glass ; and why should not the minister? The difference is, the minister is original. He gives expression in his own words, and to his own feelings. He has simply to be true to himself. The actor is not thinking of himself. He has no thoughts and no feelings of his own. He familiarizes himself with the thoughts of others through their words, and he imitates the expression of their feelings through his actions. His highest glory is to speak and act just as they are supposed to have spoken and acted. All his study and all his preparation bring him just to the point where the minister starts, if his heart be full of his subject and if he feels his deep responsibility. While I earnestly recommend the study of elocution as a preparatory discipline, I once more caution you against, imitation. Improve your own voice, and do not try to imitate the voice of another. I have known some young ministers who have lost their sprightliness
and vigour of utterance in attempting to acquire a deep, sonorous kind of utterance. Students from different schools of theology, colleges, and universities can frequently be distinguished from each other by the manner of intonation acquired in their elocutionary exercises.
For myself, I never had any difficulty in finding suitable language to express my thoughts. My great anxiety to reach some hearts early led me to brave, in great measure, the presence of men of superior intellect and commanding position. My voice seemed in every way unfit for public speaking. It was weak, and the pitch was high. By close application to study I had ear become stooped. My lungs were weak, and I was troubled with a cough. I wore plasters for years, and many of my friends lepe feared that I was going into consumption. I spoke because I felt that I must speak. At the end of my first year my physician urged me to desist from preaching. I was junior preacher on a circuit, in which I preached twenty-eight times to the round. I took up also six additional appointments, making thirty-four. One of these appointments was in a small village, and was in the sitting-room of a house belonging to a humble widow. It would not seat more than twenty people. On my second and last visit to that place, I was informed that a physician there, who was an infidel, desired to see me, as he thought he might be of some service by directing me as to my health. I called, and he said he had heard that I was in feeble health, and gave me some simple suggestions. I was pleased with his general advice, and at the close of the interview I asked him in regard to my continuing to preach. He answered that as to the religious question he had nothing to say; but simply as a physician, he would recommend me to ride eight or ten miles and preach once every day. The suggestion harmonized with my own feelings, and I resolved to follow it; and the only request I ever made for any appointment was that, on account of my weak lungs, I might be placed where I could ride eight or ten miles and preach once every day. My presiding elder promised me his full concurrence and heartiest support; but I was sent to the city of Pittsburgh, with its smoke and dust, right in the midst of the time when
the Asiatic cholera was prevailing there. My friends were alarmed at my going there; but I went. My health was preserved by careful attention to food and exercise, and by keeping regular hours. My voice gradually strengthened, and, though never musical, I acquired the power to address the largest audiences. My conviction to-day is that if I had not continued to preach I should, in all probability, have fallen an early victim to bronchial or pulmonary disease. Often, when called to face danger, that passage has seemed to ring in my ears : “He that will save his life shall lose it; and he that will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it.”
PREACHERS differ greatly not only in the matter and manner of their sermons, but also in the results which are achieved. This is especially true in the reformation and conversion of souls, and in the upbuilding of the Redeemer's kingdom. The element which gives success is termed ministerial power. It is so subtle and spiritual in its character as to be beyond the reach of clear definition or explanation. The term, however, is scriptural, and, though somewhat indefinite, we have nothing more expre.. sive. It is that without which sermonizing is almost useless, and for which every young mirister should most sincerely and earnestly strive.
St. Paul declares the Gospel to be “the power of God unto salvation,” evidently using the phrase as in contrast with the sovereignty and power of Rome, then the greatest nation in the world. It is a system of power because of the influence which it exercises, not only on the hearts and lives of men, but also on the growth and destiny of nations. The apostle speaks of this power as being present in his ministry when he says: “Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily,” or “with power.” This was compared to the power which raised the Lord Jesus from the dead; and the apostle says: “Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon
The word "power," as used in our English version, is reprı sented in the Greek Testament by several distinct words. One
of these is
which signifies strength or the manifestation of physical force. The two chief forms, however, are łgovola and Suvages. The first of these indicates authority as exercised by a ruler, and seems to intimate official privilege or prerogative. Thus, “ all power is given unto me in Heaven and in earth.” "To them
He power to became the sons of God.” Christ gave His disciples • power over unclean spirits, and to heal all manner of sickness. These official prerogatives and their miraculous endowments are in all cases expressed by the word étovola, though in a few cases ouvauis is joined with it. Ministerial power is everywhere expressed by the word Suvauis, as at the close of St. Luke's Gospel. Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until
ye be endued with power from on high.” The same word is used in describing the pentecostal scene, and is employed by the apostle to express the spiritual power of the ministry; as, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind ;” and “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power.” So, too, he says: "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” The word thus employed indicates a power bestowed upon the individual as a divine gift, not for his own edification merely or chiefly, but as a force working through him in the hearts of others.
If I may use the phrase, this ministerial power is a moral dynamite, entrusted with the minister and, to a certain extent, with all working Christians. It is superadded to every personal and religious experience. This was emphatically true of the apostles. Three years they had been with Christ. They had seen His spirit and heard His teaching. Some of them had been with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration, and had beheld His glory. They had been placed in the apostleship and had received the gift of working miracles; and yet they were told to wait for power from on high.
This power, then, is not synonymous with conversion. Jesus had recognized the disciples not as servants, but as friends. He had chosen them out of the world, and had comforted them with