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diamond from the rubbish that hides its light. In a great city, the lowest ranks of the public should be familiar to his thoughts and present in his prayers. He is to seek instruction from men that can give it - and impart of himself to all that need and as they need. He must keep an unbroken sympathy with man; above all, he must dwell intimate with God. It is his duty to master the greatest subjects of human thought: to know the Nature of Man, his wants, appetites, exposures, - his animal nature, his human nature, and his di
vine; man in his ideal state of wisdom, abundance, loveliness, and religion ; man is his actual state of ignorance, want, deformity, and sin. He is to minister to man's highest wants ; to bring high counsel to low men, and to elevate still more the aspirations of the loftiest. He must be a living rebuke to proud men and the scorner; a man so full of heart and hope that drooping souls shall take courage and thank God, cheered by his conquering valor.
To do and to be all this, he must know men, not with the half-knowledge which comes from reading books, but by seeing, feeling, doing, and being. He must know history, philosophy, poetry -- and life he must know by heart. He must understand the Laws of God, be filled with God's thought, animated with His feeling — be filled with Truth and Love. Expecting much of himself he will look for much also from other men. He asks men to lend him their ears, if he have any thing to teach, knowing that then he shall win their hearts ; but if he has nothing to offer, he bids men go off where they can be fed, and leave the naked walls sepulchral and cold, to tell him “Sir, you have nothing to say; you had better be done!” But he expects men that take his ideas for Truth to turn his words to life. He looks for corn as proof that he sowed good seed in the field ; he trusts men will become better by his words — wiser, holier, more full of faith. He hopes to see them outgrow him, till he can serve them no more, and they come no longer to his well to draw, but have found the fountain of immortal life hard by their own door ;- so the good father who has watched and prayed over his children, longs to have them set up for themselves, and live out their own manly and independent life. He does not ask honor, nor riches, nor ease only to see good men and good works as the result of his toil. If no such result comes of a long life, then he knows either that he has mistaken his calling or failed of his duty.
We have always looked on the lot of a minister in a coun
try town as our ideal of a happy and useful life. Not grossly poor, not idly rich, he is every man's equal, and no man's master. He is welcome everywhere, if worthy, and may have the satisfaction that he is helping men to wisdom, to virtue, to piety, to the dearest joys of this life and the next. He can easily know all of his flock, be familiar with their thoughts, and help them out of their difficulties by his superiority of nature, or cultivation, or religious growth. The great work of education — intellectual and spiritual — falls under his charge. He can give due culture to all ; but the choicer and more delicate plants, that require the nicest eye and hand - these are peculiarly his care.
In small societies eloquence is not to be looked for, as in the great congregations of a city, where the listening looks of hundreds or thousands would win eloquence almost out of the stones. The ocean is always sublime in its movements, but the smallest spring under the oak has beauty in its still transparence, and sends its waters to the sea. In cities the lot of the minister is far less grateful — his connection less intimate, less domestic. Here, in addition to the common subjects of the minister's discourse, everywhere the same, the great themes of Society require to be discussed, and peace and war, freedom and
, slavery, the public policy of states, and the character of their leaders, come up to the pulpits of a great city to be looked on in the light of Christianity and so judged. With a few hearers, we see not how a man can fail to speak simply, and with persuasive speech; before many, speaking on such a theme as Religion, which has provoked such wonders of art out of the sculptor, poet, painter, architect--we wonder that every man is not eloquent. Some will pass by the little spring, nor heed its unobtrusive loveliness, --- all turn with wonder at the ocean's face, and feel for a moment awed by its sublimity, and lifted out of their common consciousness.
In the nineteenth century the clergy have less relative power than ever before in Christendom; it is partly their own fault, but chiefly the glory and excellence of the age. It has other instructors. But there was never a time when a great man rising in a pulpit could so communicate his thoughts and sentiments as now; a man who should bear the same relation to this age that Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Bernard of Clair-Vaux bore to their age, so far overtopping men would have more influence, not less than theirs. Nations wait for noble sentiments, for generous thoughts; wait for the
Discoverer and Organizer. The machinery of the age is ready to move for him, — the steam-horses, the steam-press. His audience has no limit. Even now the position of a minister gives him great advantages. He has a ready access to men's souls, a respectful hearing from week to week, and constant dropping will wear the stones — how much more the hearts of men. The children grow up under his eye and influence.
All ministers stand on the same level, and nothing lifts one above another but his genius, his culture, his character, and his life. In the pulpit, the most distinguished birth avails nothing; the humblest origin is no hindrance. In New Eng. land, in America, everywhere in the world money gives power, never more than to-day ; a rich lawyer or merchant finds himself more respected for his wealth, and listened to with greater esteem by any audience. Wealth arms him with a golden weapon. It is so in politics, -- power is attracted towards gold. With the minister it is not so. If a clergyman had all the wealth of both the great cardinals Wolsey and Richelieu, did he dwell in a palace finer than the Vatican --- all his wealth would not give him a whit the more influence in his pulpit, in sermon or in prayer. Henry Ware moved men none the less because he had so little of this world's goods. In this way, therefore, the minister's influence is personal, not material. The more he is a man, the more a minister. In virtue of his position he has the best chance to know
He overrides all distinctions of life, associates with the humblest man as brother, with the highest as their equal. If well trained, his education places him in the circle of the most cultivated minds, while his sympathies and his duty attract him to the lowest sphere of rudeness, want, and perhaps of crime. He sees men in joy and in grief, at a wedding and a funeral, and when flushed with hope, when wrung with pain, when the soul bids earth farewell. If a true man, the most precious confidence is reposed in him. He looks into men's eyes as he speaks, and in their varying faces reads their confession, what they could oft conceal, both ill and good, — reads sometimes with astonished eyes. Reader, you have seen an old coin, worn smooth so that there was no mark on it, not a letter; you know not whence it came nor whose it is; but you heat it in the fire, and the stamp of the die is plain as when the coin was minted first; you see the image, read the superscription. So the excitement of a sermon reveals the man's character in his oft-unwilling face, and the
preacher, astonished, renders unto Cæsar the things that are his, and unto God His own. Sometimes one is saddened to see the miser, satyr, worldling in his many forms, under a disguise so trim and neat; but oftener, perhaps, surprised to find a saint he knew not of before ; surprised at the resurrection of such a soul from such a tomb. The minister addresses men as individuals, the lawyer must convince the whole jury, the senator a majority of the senate, or his work is lost; while if the minister convinces one man, or but half convinces him he has still done something, which will last. The merchant deals with material things, the lawyer and the politician commonly address only the understanding of their hearers, sharpening attention by appeals to interest; while the minister calls upon the affections, addresses the conscience, and appeals to the religious nature of man to faculties which bind man to his race, and unite him with his God. This gives him a power which no other man aspires to; which neither the lawyer nor the merchant, nor yet the politician attempts to wield; nay, which the mere writer of books leaves out of sight. In our day we often forget these things, and suppose that the government or the newspapers are the arbiters of public opinion, while still the pulpit has a mighty influence. All the politicians and lawyers in America could not persuade men to believe what was contrary to common-sense and adverse to their interest; but a few preachers, in the name of Religion, made whole millions believe the world would perish on a certain day, and, now the day is past, it is hard for them to believe their preachers were mistaken!
Now all this might of position and opportunity may be used for good or ill, to advance men or retard them; so a great responsibility rests always on the clergy of the land. Put a heavy man in the pulpit, ordinary, vulgar, obese, idle, inhuman, and he overlays the conscience of the people with his grossness; his Upas breath poisons every spiritual plant that springs up within sight of his church. Put there a man of only the average intelligence and religion - he does nothing but keep men from sliding back; he loves his people and giveth his beloved — sleep. Put there a superior man, with Genius for Religion, nay, a man of no genius, but an active, intelligent, human, and pious man, who will work for the Human Race with all his mind and heart — and he does wonders; he loves his people and giveth his beloved his own life. He looks out on the wealth, ignorance, pride, poverty, lust, and sin of the world, and blames himself for their existence. This suffering human race, poor blind Bartimæus, sits by the wayside, crying to all men of power -- “ Have mercy on me ;” the minister says, “What wilt thou,” he answers, "Lord, that I might receive my sight." No man may be idle, least of all the minister; he least of all in this age, when Bartimæus cries as never before.
Dr. Channing was born at Newport in Rhode Island, the 7th of April, 1780, and educated under the most favorable circumstances which the country then afforded; employed as a private teacher for more than a year at Richmond, and settled as a clergyman in Boston more than five and forty years ago. Here he labored in this calling, more or less, for nearly forty years. He was emphatically a Christian Minister, in all the high meaning of that term. He has had a deep influence here, a wide influence in the world. For forty years, though able men have planned wisely for this city, and rich men bestowed their treasure for her welfare, founding valuable and permanent institutions, yet no one has done so much for Boston as he - none contributed so powerfully to enhance the character of her men for Religion and for Brotherly Love. There is no charity like the inspiration of great writers. There were two excellent and extraordinary ministers in Boston contemporary with Dr. Channing, whose memory will not soon depart — we mean Buckminster and Ware. But Dr. Channing was the most remarkable clergyman in America ; yes, throughout all lands where the English tongue is spoken, in the nineteenth century, there has been no minister so remarkable as he; none so powerful on the whole. No clergyman of America ever exercised such dominion amongst men. Edwards and Mayhew are great names in the American churches, men of power, of self-denial, of toil, who have also done service for mankind ; but Channing has gone deeper, soared higher,
1 seen further than they, and set in motion forces which will do more for mankind.
What is the secret of his success ? Certainly his power did not come from his calling as a clergyman : there are some forty thousand clergymen in the United States. We meet them in a large city; they are more known by the name of their church than their own name; more marked by their cravat than their character. Of all this host, not ten will be at all well known, even in their own city or village, in a hundred