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must be well understood by you. It will be sufficient for my purpose, if I now refer to three general classes of study: -the mental philosophy, logic, rhetoric. Perhaps to the last, as a sort of appendage, elegant literature—the belles lettres—might be added.
J. What relation do these severally bear to my work?
S. The references are various, and very important. The mental philosophy, for instance, taken in its full extent, will 1 open to you the constitution of the human soul: and as the
physician studies anatomy, for the same reason, analogically, must the human mind be studied by you. In your
studies you have to employ it; in your addresses you have to influence it. But when I speak of the mental philosophy, I would add, what, in strictness of speech, perhaps, scarcely belongs to it; and yet, as studied by the Christian minister, is, at all events, necessary to be known,—the knowledge of human nature in the ordinary sense of the term. Study man intellectually; study him morally, and in fact, just as he is. Again, to borrow an allusion from medical pursuits,—not merely general, but morbid anatomy, must be studied by you. Logic, again, is the right use of reason, the grammar of thought; a powerful instrument, properly used, in the pursuit of knowledge; and, by teaching you the clearest and most convincing methods of arrangement, a powerful instrument in the communication of knowledge. Then, rhetoric teaches you the best methods of addressing in order to persuade. And as, in point of fact, it comprises the rules of oratory, metaphor, poetry, and similar subjects, and much that you will have to study will be included under these arrangements.-rhetoric will aid you in studying, as well as in preaching
J. You gave rhetoric an appendix, I think.
S. I did. It teaches you to judge, for instance, on all questions connected with elegant literature: elegant literature, therefore, may be connected with your rhetorical studies. Grammar, which teaches you the right use and power of language,—Poetry itself, the language of the intellect and imagination in a state of emotion,-Eloquence, -in fact, everything of which you will be reminded while
these general subjects are passing before us, will belong to this class of studies. I know not if I ought not to say that to this, general literature should be referred. You lay up, when you enter on these regions, materials for allusion, for
illustration, for example, for figure:-you are strengthening ; your mind; your judgment becomes more sound; your taste
more correct; you learn the difference between gold and tinsel; between the true adorning which not only recommends, but illustrates, and the gaudy, fantastic imitations, which are but as the artificial to the natural flower. Good sense, sound judgment, correct and elegant taste, a lively but subdued and well-regulated imagination,—such are some of the qualifications which the preacher should possess, and which he cultivates in that branch of study which is before us.
J. Is it not an extensive branch?
S. So extensive that it will furnish you with occupation both pleasant and profitable to the end of your days. I am almost ashamed of the very general character of the hints I have addressed to you. Enter upon the subject for yourself, and you will soon find its richness.
J. Can you mention no books to guide me?
S. Just to guide you at the beginning, I may. You will not go far without being made aware of the multitude, and
iety of the works that will call for your attention.
S. I am old-fashioned enough to recommend a careful perusal of Watts's Logic, and his treatise on the Improvement of the Mind. When you have read these, you may take Archbishop Whateley's work. And when you have mastered that, you will be able to direct yourself, if you judge it necessary, to other treatises.
J. Rhetoric, I suppose, is not a neglected science ?
S. You may go as far in it as you please. A masterly statement of the outlines, you will find in Archbishop Whateley's Treatise, with which you will connect Blair's Lectures, and Campbell on the Philosophy of Rhetoric. These being read, as I said before, you will be able to guide yourself further.
J. And the mental philosophy?
S. I feel almost confused with the extent of the subject, and the variety of works which it includes. I can only introduce you, and lead you for a very short distance. I think you will find the brief, but very perspicuous, and comprehensive, introduction to this branch of study written by Mr. Taylor, (author of some valuable philosophical works,) of incalculable service,—I mean his “ Elements of Thought.” Read it well, and more than once. You will then be prepared for the excellent compendium by Dr. Payne,“ Elements of Mental and Moral Science.” To this you should add the valuable though brief treatises by Dr. Abercrombie; one on the Intellectual, the other on the Moral, Powers. You may then proceed to Dr. Thomas Browne's Lectures. And by this time you will be prepared for Locke, Stewart, Reid; in a word, for the writers on mental philosophy generally, whether ancient or modern.
J. For general literature you give, I suppose, no particular directions?
S. The subject scarcely admits of any. Study well logie, rhetoric, and the mental philosophy, and your own knowledge and good sense will then aid you. Only, never read without an object. Whatever the book be, ask yourself in what particular instance it is likely to be of service to you.
J. I scarcely need ask whether there is not a large miscellaneous class.
S. I will mention a few subjects, merely for the sake of showing how you may avail yourself of all that a man of sense and piety may employ his time in reading. There are the various branches of NATURAL PHILOSOPHY. What is nature but the work of God? and what its laws, but his own methods of constant operation? You may thus, while you invigorate your mind, furnish yourself with a greater amplitude of knowledge, and obtain materials for illustrating other subjects, obtain enlarged views of the divine dominion, and of the power, wisdom, holiness, and love with which all things are governed. But these subjects—take astronomy and mechanics as instances—you cannot study as you would wish, without a tolerably clear acquaintance witb
MATHEMATICAL PURSUITS. These, while they enable you to prosecute other studies, will likewise serve to strengthen your mind, and give you the habit of compact and wellarranged argumentation. Only take care that they be subservient to higher pursuits, and that the time allotted to them be in proportion to the place they occupy, and you cannot fail of receiving benefit from them. Then, as another instance, there is JURISPRUDENCE, an importaut branch of general ethics, and comprising particular topics which will be very serviceable to you. A general acquaintance with the principles of government and law, will assist you in arranging the materials supplied you by Scripture as to the real nature of religion: objectively considered, it is the kingdom of God. Legal argumentations, also, will perhaps aid you in acquiring a habit of clear, consecutive, just reasoning, even more than attention to mathematical demonstrations; inasmach as the former deal with evidence of the same character as that with which you are to be conversant,—moral evidence, I mean. Not to say that an enlightened and comprehensive view of these subjects will enable you to study history to greater advantage, both in understanding its details, and in deriving from them just conclusions. You will thus be prepared, likewise, to form your own opinion both on public questions, when it is necessary for you to form it, and on those topics of ecclesiastical economics, so to term them, which are frequently occurring in religious society, and on the due decision of which much of the present peace, and prospective advantage, of that particular society may be found to depend. I might multiply these observations almost indefinitely. Once more let me remind you, I am not sketching out an exact scheme of study for you, but suggesting principles to guide you in what I have already termed self-education, and in which you must be, with due regard to circumstances, labouring and improving, till he whom you serve shall dismiss you from labour, either by rendering you incapable of it, and making a season of repose and submission indispensable, or by calling you to your last account. Keep that in view continually, and let every study be pursued with the solemn
recollections thus awakened. They shall then, by God's blessing, contribute to make you more and more an efficient minister of the New Testament; and the sanctified light and enlargement you shall thus have received, will not be found to have been vainly acquired, even in eternity. Human studies are then vain when they terminate in themselves; but when your great object in them is that which is likewise sought in your devotional exercises,--that you may constantly be“ increasing in the knowledge of God,"—they shall be made, in some way or other, to contribute to the augmentation of your eternal felicity.
J. HITHERTO your observations have chiefly referred to the collection of materials. I should be glad to receive from you a few hints as to their employment.
S. Some of the observations I have made have already referred to this; but still, only with a general reference. Nor can I now do much more. Supposing you to have acquired the necessary information as to the best methods of instructing, convincing, and persuading, your own judgment must show you how to avail yourself of the rules thus suggested, in the case of each particular pulpit address. The two words I have before mentioned to you, will show you what each sermon should be: EXPLAIN, and APPLY: but it would be difficult to lay down rules that would suit the various habits of thought and feeling that we, individually, have acquired. Each has his own particular method: and by considering what his present object is, he will soon acquire the habit of arranging the subjects arising, for instance, from each text of Scripture, in the most suitable
Of sermonizing, as it is usually termed) the same may be said that Horace suggested as to good writing :
“Scribendi rectè, sapere, est et principium et fons."