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pulpit efforts, and as he grows himselt in grace and wisdom ne cannot fail to increase in power and usefulness in his glorious calling of preaching the Gospel to men.
Mr. F. J. WILLIAMS, of Charminster, Dorchester, writes :-" On Trial" will possibly find that experience must furnish the final answer to this question, as the same methods will not suit all men. My own efforts have taught me-(1) A sermon should not be learnt off by heart. To do so easily would need the memory of a Punshon. The memory should be stored with ideas, but not burdened with words. Apart from the labour involved in committing a sermon to memory, it tends to sterilise the mind, rendering its thinking powers inactive during delivery when it should be free to suggest new ideas, illustrations, &c. Moreover, the delivery will appear mechanical instead of natural; look, tone, gesture, enthusiasm will be artificial instead of the spontaneous overflow of a heart that is stirred by the truth uttered by the lips. Preaching is immeasurably above reciting. (2) A sermon should not be read from manuscript. The average congregation object to listening to an essay, however eloquent, when they come to hear a sermon. A few may admire literary finish, but the majority will prefer force. Not one in a thousand can read a sermon from end to end effectively. We heard a sermon the other day by a young brother which, for rich thought and literary excellence, was admirable, but in the reading it deteriorated into a dry essay. The absence of earnest tone, flashing eye, and passionate pleading left it a beautiful but a lifeless thing. Reading may be good for some men (who love literary grace and finish), but for ordinary men, whose power lies in heart rather than in intellect. manuscript reading will have no charm. The arrow will probably miss its mark if shot from behind ten sheets of paper. The habit once formed is hard to break, and an easy, natural, effective method of speaking cannot be acquired while nature is thus fettered and restrained. (3) Preaching from outline seems the best method. It prevents confusion, and enables the hearers to grasp some tangible ideas. Whether the outline be in front of the preacher or committed to memory is a matter of choice. I have tried both, and find committing the outline to memory preferable. It secures a strong mental grasp of the central idea or ideas of the text, and derives from them a larger measure of inspiration. If the subject be the right one, well thought out, earnestly prayed over, and its importance deeply felt, the words by which it shall be conveyed to the people may safely be left to the inspiration of the Spirit. It is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost."
BSKEWERSLEYAN LOCAL PREACHERS' CONVENTION AT AYLESBURY.
The afternoon meeting was held in the church, Buckingham-street. CALL PRE John Tearle presided, and there was a good attendance. Mr. H. Blundell read an excellent paper on "Mental and Theological Culture of Local Preachers." A discussion followed, in which Mr. Madder, Mr. J. Long, and Mr. Cutler took part. Mr. Royle said that Conference did not want to raise and educate them out of their originality. He did, however, feel that when they stood before a congregation they ought to know as much or more than the congregation. After Mr. J. T. Mostyn and Mr. Blundell had spoken, Mr. Pickbourne (Northampton) read a vigorous paper on "Practical Aggressive Work." The Local Preacher, he said, who was not a pioneer was not worth his salt. Aggressive work must be done by laymen, ministers having so much of their time occupied in guiding the affairs of the Church. Before a man could be a pioneer he must have no doubt about his own salvation. His religion must be at white heatnot white ash. The aggressive Local Preacher would be an open-air preacher. It ought to be a most natural thing for a preacher to gravi. tate to the village green or the market cross. They thanked God for the Education Bill of 1870, and they were glad that there had been an average rise in the condition of the people, but there was still a vast amount of work to be done. Local Preachers should preach total abstinence, not only when Conference directed, but on every day of the week. Would to God every Local Preacher would unite in a crusade and smite the despoiler Drink hip and thigh. The successful preacher must be an advanced social reformer. He referred to the awful misery created by gambling, and said on the occasion of the Northampton races the rascality of the kingdom was dumped down at their doors, and (seemed to undo the good that had been accomplished. Then there was the question of impurity. It was a delicate subject to talk about, but the warning must be given. Thousands of young men had been made wretched for time and eternity simply because no one had cried "Halt!" Every Local Preacher should aim to be a soul-winner, and the essential of success was personal contact with the Lord Jesus Christ. They should adapt their methods to the times. He advocated Local Preachers' councils in every circuit, where plans could be made for aggressive work. Let them be members of Parish or District Councils, and give those bodies the benefit of consecrated commonsense. Local Preachers had a great part to play in the social emancipation of the people. Mr. Daniel Elliott opened the dis. cussion. Mr. Stevens (Newport Pagnell) said in his younger days he studiously avoided taking part in parish matters and politics; but as he got older he saw that he was wrong. If they sought public office for the honour they brought the less they had to do with them the better; but if they sought them with the determination to do right God would bless them. Mr. Miller (Wellingborough) said that he believed in Christian men belonging to School Boards, councils, and so on, and he did not think it wise to sit still and let the publican walk into office. Mr. Long (Aylesbury) said the great fault was that when suitable persons came forward they were not supported by democratic congregations.
LECTURES ON PREACHING.
HENRY WARD BEECHER.
DELIVERED BEFORE THE THEOLOGICAL DEPARTMENT OF YALE
FIRST SECOND, AND THIRD SERIES.
Three Volumes in One.
The most suggestive address was delivered by Rev.
Thomas Cook, the Connexional Evangelist, who said :—
A man told him the other day, "You don't preach; you talk," He replied, "Yes, I talk to save people." Mr. Wesley very forcibly put it, not to preach so many sermons merely, or take care of this or that society, but to save as many souls as he could, to bring sinners to repentance, and with all his power to build them up in that holiness without which no man could see the Lord. Ward Beecher delivered hundreds of sermons before he could see the real design of preaching. For a long time preaching with him was an end only. He got baptized with the Holy Ghost and then he saw it was only a means to an end; he saw that preaching was only a method of enforcing truths, not for the sake of the truths themselves, but for the result he saw in men. A sermon was good when it had power on the heart, and was good for nothing when it had no moral power on men. It was their duty and privilege to be co-workers with God in saving this lost world. What would be thought of the lawyer who was always pleading and never getting a verdict? What of the physician always in practice and never healing? If nothing but barrenness marked their ministry there must be something wrong. They ought to expect results, and nothing should satisfy them but results. Instead of adopting a lofty style, he tried to preach as he talked. "Too colloquial!" was the verdict upon his trial sermon, but subsequent events justified the method, and the more he saw of it the more he was convinced that this was the method that saved souls. What was the use of a distinguished preacher preaching to a full chapel in a style that not more than six people could follow? St. Paul would have called him a barbarian. The other day he made a new sermon and tried it-it did not go. He soon found out the fault; it preached at sin and not at sinners. They were told that working men did not go to their chapels because they hit them so hard. He found it quite the reverse. Again, they must not be afraid to illustrate. Many did not "illustrate" for fear of being known as the "anecdotal parson." The Master never preached without a parable. Then it was not popular nowadays to preach that God would punish sin; but they must do so for all that; he kept to the words of Scripture and preached both heaven and hell. They must have convictions on these things and then dogmatise. Souls could not be saved by "ifs" and "buts" and "whens and "whys.' Lastly, there could be no greater calamity to Methodism than a belief that souls only were to be saved by evangelists. They depended on the rank and file, and if they were strong in the circuit they would be strong everywhere.