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truth and sincerity. Intellectually also he inspires great confidence by his calm and clear announcements, at the opening of a sermon, of what he is about to do. We feel that there is power and substance in him, as he methodically informs you of his plan. Never also did he deceive this confidence. If you read an elaborate exordium, you will find every particular fully developed; the plan is no framework, destitute of contents that are worthy of or in proportion to itself. There is no appearance of its being the chief work in the sermon, but it plainly assumes the subordinate and proper place, of marshalling and arranging a great mass of thought previously conceived. One great strength which Bourdaloue enjoys in framing his eloquence, is his own deep reverence for the great truths of religion, and the ministrations of the Church. He speaks not as an individual, but as the humble enunciator of the views and counsels of the Christian Church. This gives him a dignity far more than personal, and inspires a confidence in his words, quite of a different, and that higher kind, from any affectations of art, however successful they might be. There is throughout his sermons a grand elevation, yet simplicity of tone, which keeps you nearer to the pathetic than you are quite aware of; till all at once-with the subject, and not with the preacheryou find yourself, by a wonderfully slight transition, in the very realms of poetry, though you imagined yourself but in an even flow of quiet prosaic teaching. As a collection of sermons, Bourdaloue's are as complete as any extant. The fifteen volumes before us go through every Sunday and holiday of the Christian year. There are several courses for Advent and Lent, and many occasional sermons for charitable institutions, besides many others on subjects not peculiar to any season or


What now can be said of the sermons of Massillon ? In the first place, it may truly be said that his sermons are undoubtedly written in a style which will bear a more direct transfer to the English pulpit than either of the other two we have mentioned. As coming last, his language is a step more in advance towards the easy flow of modern writing. The fact also that so much more space is occupied by him in bringing out each idea, makes it more practicable with the majority of writers to feel at home in his style, than in one more strongly contrasted with their own, by greater profusion of thought. Massillon is much more generally known in England than the others; the touching gentleness of tone, especially on subjects that meet with popular favour, gives him a preeminence in modern taste which it would be hard to supplant. Take for instance his sermon on the widow's son of Nain, which he


divides into the two subjects of fearing death too much, and also too little, both leading us to put the thought of death from On subjects and reflections of this kind, Massillon is unequalled. There is, however, this difference between Massillon and the others. If you take Massillon at all, you must take his language verbatim; whereas from the others you derive ideas, which may reappear in any other dress. On the whole we should say that, however distorted some of M. Bungener's remarks about Bourdaloue may be, he is right in the following comparison of the respective claims of him and Massillon to the fame of posterity:

'As to the reputation of Bourdaloue, whether as orator or writer,—the brilliancy which it has resumed in our days is one sign of the return of the public taste, and of literature in particular, to solid and serious things. Now, this could not be the case in regard to the reputation of Bourdaloue, without thereby casting more or less reflection on that of Massillon. The latter for a long time had the misfortune, we will not say of being too much praised, but of being too openly preferred to his illustrious rival; in proportion as people were just towards the one, they became severe towards the other. "The greatest glory of Bourdaloue," said D'Alembert, "is that the superiority of Massillon should be still a contested point." Massillon's greatest glory, we should say at the present time, is that he yet has the honour to be put on a footing with Bourdaloue. "Oportet illum crescere, me autem minui," said the Jesuit, when, old, and broken down, he beheld the first successes of the young and brilliant orator; and behold posterity reverses it. It is for you, Massillon, to decrease, and for you, Bourdaloue, to increase.

'Is this as it should be? We think so. Not that we approve of those people who cannot praise one man without undervaluing another; but in this case there is something more reasonable and better founded than the old mania for criticism, or rather the old mechanical necessity of the human heart.

From continually hearing the style of Massillon commended, we have contracted the habit of considering him as nothing more than an able artificer in style. From this cause, his immense reputation in the eighteenth century, a period when style was everything; from this also, the loss of this reputation, which could not fail to take place in the nineteenth, when principles have resumed the precedence of form, and thought the precedence of style.'-Ibid. pp. 233, 234.

Of Massillon's sermons, then, we shall say but little more. Their finished beauty is undisputed as oratory, and they are far more known in this country than Bourdaloue's. We think, however, that it is the higher praise to be able to say, that Bourdaloue is read for real practical use by preachers, and also as a devotional writer, than that Massillon, after spending the last years of his life in polishing up his former writings, is read by all, the infidel Voltaire included. Each writer, however, has his place, as a study of oratory; and, after Bourdaloue, the graceful finish of Massillon will, if duly appreciated, add beauty to strength, and give to the student of sacred eloquence the

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decorated capital that completes the classic proportion of his educational column.

But it may be asked, Why commend to the attention of our own Church, at the present time, the preachers of the French Church, nearly two centuries ago? Would it not be better to refer at once to the primitive Fathers and our own standard divines, and then trust to good sermons being written from an earnest appreciation of abstract truth? Master minds, who are truly original in their style, may do this; but for the general improvement of English sermons,we will not say pulpit oratory, for such a thing hardly exists, we are sure that a model is wanted, of a more completely formed character than a general reference to the Fathers would supply. A sermon is a thing sui generis. It is not talk; it is not an essay; it is not a declamation; it is not a simple transfer of personal feelings from one man to others; it is not a bare howling of the animal voice, or a sedative of gentle elocution; it is not the speech of an advocate in a court of justice; neither is it at all to be compared with the oration of a statesman. It is not sufficient to begin sermon-writing with the simple intention of telling the congregation such and such things, which are thought would be useful; it is not enough to expound Scripture in general terms; it is not enough to lay down sternly the Church's laws; it is not enough to be pathetic in scenes of touching interest. A sermon requires a little of everything, dressed up with a certain degree of art and tact, and even, where attainable, dignity and elegance of style. The writing of anything, be it poetry, history, novel, essay, pamphlet, or article, presupposes a certain posture of the mind, suitable to that work and no other. No writing is only an abstract expression of thought, but is framed for a certain definite purpose, to make its appearance in a particular manner, and in certain proportions according to the space allotted. Thus it is that writers soon fall into their own line, and their own kind of work, with very little power of change, however great and original they may be in their special province. The historian will often write a dull letter, and two or three pages of his history will look much out of place in the columns of a newspaper; whilst, on the other hand, the brilliant and prolific inditer of leaders would be an indifferent hand at any work which occupied time and the steady retention of ideas through whole volumes of print. The mind must grasp the entire outline of an undertaking-must understand the distinctive form of its intended perfection-before it can write its component parts, or put any true energy into the very opening sentences. The same also must be said of oratory. The ideas that will pervade the mind of a speaker, and form, as it were, the atmosphere of his mind.

for the time being, will always shape themselves into a form and general outline, which varies essentially according to the circumstances and nature of the speech. The habit of preparing for one kind of oration, and for one arena, often makes it difficult to prepare for another, or to put the same amount of talent into a change of scene. The mind works in certain grooves, and when habituated to one guage, loses its freedom of action, if placed in another. Those giant minds which can do everything well are superhuman and fabulous, and the nearest approaches to them generally share in the common misfortune of great size, in being also rather clumsy. Everything that a man does well is a distinct creation of his mind, and bears about it an individuality. There is no such thing as speaking or writing in the abstract, any more than there is carpentering in the abstract, apart from creating chairs or tables; and the facility which practice gives to any one branch of an art is a clear proof that a vivid realizing of the whole work on hand is necessary to any freedom of the mind in executing the parts of it during the process of construction.

A sermon, to be properly written, requires this distinctive idea of its ultimate use, to as great an extent as any other thing that has to be made. No skill in any other writing will of itself improve the effect of a sermon. Its own peculiar nature must be the only basis on which it is founded. There are many requirements also which conduce to making. sermon-writing even more an art peculiar to itself than any other literary composition. There are so many different kinds of thought, such great variety of material, such quick transition of ideas, all pressing on to overwhelin the writer, that without also some special helps, he would be indeed perplexed. A sermon is, indeed, supposed to be written in the study, like any other literary composition, for of extempore sermons we are not speaking; it is also delivered as an oration. Here, then, is a mixture of two distinct powers, which applies to no one else but preachers. No other writing is now professedly meant for recitation, nor is any other orally delivered address so avowedly written beforehand. Then, again, it is a mixture of divine and human considerations; it has to do with unseen mysteries, and with the most palpable results of human conduct. The knowledge to be displayed' is partly sacred revelation, and partly the observation of most sublunary things. In part it must be simple statement of truth; in part, the imagination of the preacher must enliven attention. We expect the advocacy of the most simple faith; but also there is room for profound reasoning. Sweet and bitter pictures of human life are to be described with feeling and earnestness; yet the world is to be upheld as a fleeting shadow, about which we should

think but little. The very manner of writing and the delivery must alternate between the most deliberate enunciation of doctrine, as charged from heaven with matter far above the reach of human pathos, and, on the other hand, all the tenderness of a spiritual father, in teaching his children by direct addresses to them. Again, all this is to be done, not, as in the case of most writing and speaking, for one class of intellect, but for a mixed congregation of old and young, educated and uneducated. Such are but a few of the peculiar difficulties of sermon-writing, which prove the work to be sui generis. There are many helps also to relieve this burden, such as the dignity of the office, which favourably disposes an audience to respectful attention, and the solemnity of the subjects discussed, which forbids too rude criticism, as well as ensures real matter for serious contemplation, however imperfectly illustrated by the individual preacher.

Sermon writing being thus an art differing from any other kind of literary work, it follows that there ought to be special aids in acquiring some accurate knowledge of what a sermon should be, and also in learning how to carry out this knowledge is actual composition and delivery. There is the more occasion for such assistance, from the obvious fact that the preaching of sermons cannot be left only to certain gifted individuals, who by genius can work their own way or else remain silent, as may be said of political oratory, but must be exercised by a very large class of average minds. Whatever the details of such assistance might be, it is certain that models of the art will be an essential part of it; models not so far removed from the ideas of our own time as to render them deficient in practical guidance. To inspire the great mass of clergy throughout our Church with anything like the spirit of Christian oratory, will need a living school of the art, which shall both supply models and also act as a stimulant; but whether we can aim at anything like an ecclesiastical order of the oratory in our Church, or must be content with the isolated endeavours of the clergy to raise the standard of preaching in themselves, it is in both cases equally certain that the study of the great French preachers may be of infinite service. They are the very types of what is popularly understood by a sermon, and they are types not only in general character and design, but in execution also. It is often rather presumed that the modern type of sermon is the offspring of ultra-protestantism, and is calculated to supplant a due observance of the Church ritual. But how can this be said with the Church of France, during the age of Louis XIV., before us? For sixty years, during the most palmy days both of the French court and of the supremacy of the Church of Rome in France, did the people of France listen to a succession of preachers

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