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to constant interruptions, some necessary, and others arising from the injudiciousness of those who applied to him. It was not unusual with him to make use of his power of abstraction on these occasions. Time was too valuable to be lavished away on the inconsideration of some of those who thought it necessary to call on him. It was generally his practice, not immediately to obey a summons from his study, but when he knew he bad to do with a persop who would occupy much of his time by a long conversation before the business was brought forward, rather than hurt their feelings he would carry down in his mind the train of thought which he was pursuing in his study, and, while that which was beside the purpose played on his ear, his mind was following the subject on which it had entered before,
Some men are at home in society: the wide world is their dwelling-place: they are known and read of all men: they have a peculiar talent for improving mixed society. But this was not the character of Mr. Cecil. He unfolded himself, indeed, to his friends; but those friends could not but feel, that, wben they broke in on his retirement for any other objects than what were connected with his high calling, they were intruders on inestimable time. I had, indeed, the privilege and happiness of free access to him at all times, for a considerable course of years, while I was his assistant in the ministry; but, for the reasons just assigned, though I was a diligent observer of his mind and habits, I feel myself not prepared to speak fully of bis more domestic and retired character.
" Retirement,” he said, “ is my grand ordinance. Considerations govern me.
Death is a mighty consideration with me. The utter vapity of every thing under the sun is another. If a man wishes to influence my mind, he must assign considerations : and, if he assigns one or two which wilt weigh well, I seem inpatient to stop him if he is proceeding to assign more. He has given me a Consideration, and that suffices. The “ Night Thoughts” is a great book with me, notwithstanding its glaring imperfections; it realizes Death and Vanity. And, because this
is the frame and babit of my own mind, my ministry partakes of it; and must partake of it, if I would preach naturally and from
In surveying the Personal Character of Mr. Cecil, it remains to speak somewhat more fully of his intellectual powers.
His IMAGINATION was not so much of the playful and elegant, as bold, inventive, striking, and instinctively judicious and discriminating
His taste in the sister arts of Painting, Poetry, and Music was refined, and his judgment learned. In his younger days he had studied and excelled in Painting and Music; and though he laid them aside that he might devote all his powers to his work, yet the savour of them so far remained, that I have been witness innumerable times, both in public and private, to the felicity of his illustrations drawn from these subjects, and to the superiority that his intimate knowledge of them gave him over most persons with whom they happened to be brought forward. His taste, when young, was for Italian music; but, in his latter years, he was fond of the German style, or rather the softer Moravian, Anthems, or any pieces wherein the words were re-iterated, he disliked, for all public worship especially, as they sacrificed the real spirit of devotion too much to the music. His feelings on this subject were exquisite. “Pure, spiritual, sublime devotion,”
“ should be the soul of public music.” He often lamented the introduction of any other style of architecture in places of Worship, beside that which was so peculiarly appropriate, and which, because it was so, called up associations best suited to the purposes of meeting. He said most strikingly“I never enter a Gothic church, without feeling myself impressed with something of this idea--- Within these walls has been resounded, for centuries, by successive generations, " Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ!"' The very damp that trickles down the walls, and the unsightly green that moulders upon the pillars, are far more pleasing to me from their associations, than the trim, finished, classic, heathen piles of the present fashion."
he would say,
His powers of comparison, analogy, and JUDGMENT have been rarely equalled. These had been exercised so long and with so much energy on all the conditions and relations around him---on the word of God---on his own mind---on the bistory, opinions, passions, prejudices, and motives of men in every age, and of every character and station---on moral causes and effects ---on every subject that can come within the grasp of a philososophic mind---that the result was a WISDOM so prominent and commanding, that every man felt himself with a mind of the very first order both in capability and acquirement. In some cases, wherein my wishes, perhaps, formed iny opinions; and, trying to hide the truth from myself, I have asked his opinion as a confirmation of my own--he has unmasked my heart to itself, by his wise and searching replies. His decisions were more according to circumstances than in most men: and, when he gave them, it would generally be with a declaration that other circumstances might wholly change the aspect of the thing; and he did this in such a manner---if I may judge by my own case---as often to make a man look about him, and bethink himself what a treacherous and blind party he had to transact with in his bosom.
To those who did not know him intimately, he might sometimes appear to want a quickness of perception. The appearance of this faculty is often assumed, where God has not given it. Where the mind does decide rapidly, its conclusions are generally partial and defective, in proportion to their rapidity. Intuition is not a faculty of the present condition of being, whatever it may be of that toward which we are advancing. He affected no such quality, yet he possessed more of it than most men. When he did not fully understand what was addressed to him, he said so; and his mind was so familiar with the difficulty of discovering truth through the veils and shades thrown over her by prejudice and self-love, that he did not hastily bring himself to think that he possessed your full meaning.
His good sense and wisdom led him to AVOID ALL PeculiARITY AND ECCENTRICITY. He was decidedly adverse to
every thing of this nature. “When any thing peculiar appears," he would “ in a religious man's manners, or dress, or furniture, this is supposed by the world to constitute his religion. A clergyman indeed is allowed by common consent, and indeed it is but decent in him, to have every thing about him plain and substantial rather than ornamental and fashionable.”
THE PERSONAL CHARACTER of Mr. Cecil had a manifest influence on his MINISTERIAL. We find him frequently accounting for those views and feelings which prevailed in his Ministry, by a reference to his constitution and his early history.
His SENTIMENTS ON THE MINISTERIAL OFFICE are scattered through bis writings, as this was ever present to his mind. Wherever he was, and whatever was his employment, he was always the Christian Minister. He was ever on the watch to do the work of an Evangelist, and to make full proof of his Ministry.
I bave collected together his thoughts on this subject in some sections of bis “Remains:" and I think it impossible that any young Minister should read these thoughts without imbibing a higher estimation of his sacred office. More will be found on these points in the following views of his Ministerial Character, gathered from his own lips.
These views were most striking and sublime. “A Minister is a Levite. In general he has, and he is to have, no inheritance among his brethren. Other men are not Levites. They must recur to means, from which a Minister has no right to expect any thing. Their affairs are all the little transactions of this world. But a Minister is called and set apart for a high and sublime business. His transactions are to be between the living and the dead---between heaven and earth; and he must stand as with wings on his shoulders. He must look, therefore, for every
thing in his affairs to be done for him and before his eyes. I am at a loss to conceive how a Minister, with right feelings, can plot and contrive for a Living. If he is told that there is such a thing for him if he will make such an application, and that it is to be so obtained, and so only, all is well---but not a step farther. It is in vain, however, to put any man on acting in this manner, if he be pot a Levite in principle and in character. These must be the expressions of a nature communicated to him from God--a high principle of Faith begetting Simplicity. He must be an eagle towering toward heaven on strong pinions. The barn-door hen must continue to scratch her grains out of the dunghill."
He thought that the life of a Minister, with respect to worldly affairs, ought to be, peculiarly above that of other men, a life of faith. It was his maxim, to lay out no money unnecessarily--and, with this principle, he regarded his purse as in God's hand, and found it like the barrel of meal and the cruse of oil. He confessed that he could advise this conduct in no case but in that of a Christian Minister, who was a wise and prudent, as well as a right-hearted manager of his affairs. His habit was, to be the child of simplicity and faith---acting as a servant of God, on those principles which he judged most suitable to bis character and station.
He had exalted ideas of ministerial authority---pot the authority which results merely from office, but from office united with personal character---not the claims of priestly arrogance; but the claims of priestly dignity. “I never chuse to forget that I am a PRIEST, because I would not deprive myself of the right to dictate in my ministerial capacity. I cannot allow a man, therefore, to come to me merely as a friend, on his spiritual affairs, because I should have no authority to say to him, “Sir, you must do so and so.
I cannot suffer my best friends to dictate to me in any thing which concerns my ministerial duties. I have often had to encounter this spirit; and there would be no end of it, if I did not check and resist it. I plainly tell them that they know nothing of the matter. I ask them if it is decent that a man, im