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slender, his temperament nervous, and his life is a perfect conflict between inind and body. His appearance is at present that of a man prematurely grown old. It is to be earnestly hoped that he may add another to the many illustrations of the remark, that men of the feeblest constitutions often accomplish the most, and live the longest.”
In regard to the philosophical opinions of Tholuck, it is sufficient to say, that, like most of his countrymen, he is a spiritual transcenden. talist, and of course bolds the doctrines of the • sensual school" of Locke and his followers in utter aversion, if not in contempt. His theological views are furmed without fear, and discussed without re. serve ; in his speculations upon theological subjects he is independent and untrammeled; and while the spirit of his doctrines is eminently evangelical, he examines every doctrine of Scripture for himself, without attempting to regulate his religious creed by compends” and 65 formularies." It is stated by Professor Park, that " while he is an admirer and eulogist of Calvin, he sometimes expresses such feelings in regard to the peculiarities of Calvinism, as can be palliated only on the ground of a mental structure and habits of association altogether peculiar.” No doubt: and the peculiarity of his mental structure is, that he "examines every doctrine for himself, as if he were the first man who had investigated it,” without first shackling his mind by a compend of dogmas which would prove, if honestly embraced, an effec. tual barrier against free and independent mental action; and we are very much inclined to the opinion, that all men who investigate the doctrines of Christianity in this proper spirit of freedom and honesty, will be apt in the end “ to express such feelings in reference to the peculiarities of Calvinism” as would not be very palatable to the regularly installed teachers and authorized defenders of those pecu. liarities in this country.
We proceed now to notice the character of Dr. Tholuck as a preacher, and in this part of our subject we take great pleasure in following the sketch before us, in which Professor Park has manifested great judgment and discrimination ; in general, we coincide with the opinion which he has so well set forth, and the few points in regard to which we differ from him will be briefly noticed as they oceur in order.
“One of the most obvious peculiarities of Tholuck's sermons ap. pears in their plan. The introduetion always, and the proposition often, precedes the announcement of his text. This, however, is no peculiarity of him, in comparison with other German preachers.” p. 220. It is a question with us whether this peculiarity might not be occasionally introduced with advantage in our own pulpits. The design of it seems to be to excite the attention of the hearer, before reading the text, to a Scriptural doctrine, which is supported or set forth in the passage introduced, and thus the want of the text is felt by the hearer just as the preacher utters it. Something similar to this we understand to have been the occasional practice of an eminent living preacher of our own denomination, and it is said to be attended with a good effect.
“ The division of his discourses is generally definite and precise ; sometimes beautiful ; almost always simple in its nature, but ofte i artificial in its mode of expression.” This is a matter of vital im portance in the structure of a sermon. While a natural, clear, and simple division contributes greatly to the beauty, perspicuity, and energy of a discourse, it is especially valuable for the assistance it affords to the memory of ordinary hearers. A clear and obvious method in preaching is inore valuable in this respect than any other excellence. A good illustration of the value of a natural order is quoted from Witherspoon by Dr. Porter, in bis lectures on homiletics and preaching: “Suppose I desire a person going to a city to do several things for me; as, to deliver a letter to one man; to visit a friend of mine and bring me notice how he is; to buy a book for ine; and see whether any ship is to sail for Britain soon.
It is very pos. sible he may remember some of them, and forget the others. But if I desire him to buy me a dozen of silver spoons, to carry them to an engraver that my name may be put on them, and to get a case inade for them, it is likely he will reinember all.” As instances of Tholuck's method of division, we select the following from the ser. mons before us: Psa. cxix, 67, “ Before I was humbled I went astray; but now I keep thy word.” The object of the discourse is to answer the question, why our resolutions so frequently remain without results ; and the simple division in answer to this question is, 1. Because we do not humble ourselves; 2. Do not humble ourselves before God; 3. Do not humble ourselves in faith. The sermon on Rom. viii, 15–17, has for its ohject to establish the proposition that the testimony that we are the children of God is the surest pledge of eternal life; and the division is as follows: first, how the testimony is given that we are the children of God; secondly, why this testimony is a pledge of eternal life.
“ Another characteristic of Tholuck's sermons is, the absence of all display of learning, of abstruse thought, and long continued argument. His freedom from literary ostentation is the more commendable, as he has so vast an amount of literature which he might display.” Few men would be content to deliver such modest, unostentatious sermons before the audience of a German university. Nor do we consider such freedom from severe processes of reasoning to be inconsistent with a proper fullness and richness of instructive matter. To teach a congregation, such as the mass of Christian audiences, it surely is not necessary that a man should enter upon and pursue a long course of profound argumentation, in an abstruse and metaphysical manner, just as if he were lecturing before a body of students sufficiently inte. rested in his discussions to give him the severest attention, and capable of following him through all the intricate mazes of his wire-drawn logic. Indeed, we are well convinced that such preaching is generally unfruitful, and calculated, while it can benefit the understandings of but few of the hearers, to drive away spirituality and fervency of feel. ing from the hearts of all. Let it be observed, that we are not ob. jecting to the communication of instructive matter in sermons; but that our objections lie against a mode of preaching which has assumed for itself the name of instructive, rather than of pathetic or imaginative preaching; while, in fact, it tends neither to bring out and strengthen the faculties of the mass of hearers, (becanse it is not adapted to their capacities and habits of thinking.) nor to warm and enliven their religious feelings, because it does not appeal to the religious sentiment at all. The sermons of Jesus and his apostles were didactic, indeed, but it would be difficult to find any points of com. parison between their simple, yet imaginative discourses, and the tedious argumentative harangues of many modern preachers. The opinion of Tholuck, that "the heart, rather than the intellect, should lead the way into the truth,” is very nearly correct. The sermons of Mr. Wesley, pregnant as they are with instruction, are yet admirable models of simplicity, brevity, and directness of appeal to the heart as well as to the understanding.
“Another characteristic of Tholuck's sermons is, the elevation and richness of religious sentiment which they display. His standard of Christian character is much more like that of Paul, in such chapters as the eighth of Romans, than is common among British and American divines.” In illustration of this we might quote from almost any of his discourses; we open upon the following in the book before us ; p. 147, “Prayer is the pulsation of the soul. It need not always be expressed in words, for the apostle exhorts Christians to pray without ceasing.' No, my friends; there is a prayer which the faithfu offer, and which, like the pulse in the veins, never ceases its motion by night or by day, and which can be heard by no human ear. In this inward, silent supplication are the faithful continually exclaiming, Abba, dear Father! How is it with you when some beloved friend is called away froin you by death? Through all the hours that succeed his departure do you not bear him constantly about with you in your heart? Yea, are you not wont to conduct a silent, uninterrupted dia. logue with him, which is not audible to the ear of a companion ? So it is with the ceaseless prayer, going forth from the man who has re. ceived into his own heart the testimony of his heavenly adoption. He cannot forget what new and unmerited grace has been bestowed upon him; he cries out continually, .See what love the Father hath shown us, that we should be called the children of God!' and in the inmost sanctuary of his soul the words are repeated incessantly, Beloved Parent ! precious Father!"
It is remarked also, by Professor Park, that Tholuck's sermons are characterized by liveliness and exuberance of fancy. He is a poet in his prose; his imagination knows no bounds. Speaking of the ascen. sion of Christ, he proceeds :-" The same instruction that was pro. claimed by his advent and by his life, was also proclaimed by his ascension. How might he have departed? If the Lord of glory, whom they had nailed to the cross, but who could not be held by death, had, when risen from the grave and glorified by Heaven, gone to the place of his agonies, to the mount of Olives, and there waved his banner of victory before all the world; he had only to give one nod, and the city which had cried out against him, Away with Jesus! release unto us Barabbas!' would have sunkinto the deep, like Sodom and Gomorrah; and the people who had cried, • His blood be upon us and upon our children,' must have shrieked out, • Ye mountains cover us, and ye hills fall upon us !' Yet here also the Lord was not in the storm and the tempest, but in the still small sound.' Early in the morning did he once more assemble his own in Jerusalem ; darkness still brooded over the streets of the city; he then walked, in the stillness of the morning twilight, with the eleven, to the mountain which had wit. nessed his bloody sweat on the night of his sorrows. The earliest rays of the opening day shone through the clouds; and then, says the his. tory, he lifted up bis hands and blessed bis chosen ones, and a cloud took him up from the earth. Amid the shades of night he came; in the redness of the morning dawn he went away; ever, ever shalt thou stand before our souls, thou glorified Saviour, in the same attitude in which thou didst leave the world, with thy hands extended over thy chosen, to bless them."
133. How exquisitely touching and beautiful is the following description of the same scene the ascension of Christ !
“ You all know, my hearers, of what invaluable worth is the last look of a departing friend. As his countenance then appeared—that is the image which imprints itself most deeply on the soul. Why is it unpleasant to stand, as one must, by the dying bed of a friend, who is trembling under the cold touch of death ? Ah ! above all things else is it on this account, that the loved one will ever recur to our remem. brance in this image of pain. How delightful now it is to see the manner in which the last glance of the Saviour fell upon his chosen. • He lifted up his hands and blessed them, and as he was blessing them he parted from them.' If an inventive fancy would form some con. ception of the mode in which the Saviour might have taken bis de. parture from earth, that Saviour who broke not the bruised reed, nor quenched the smoking flax, could it design a more becoming, a more beautiful picture than this? This mode of the Redeemer's departure did not take place by accident. It is in keeping with the whole life of Him who came into the world, not to condemn it, but to make it happy. We read of the apostles, that they went back to Jerusalem with great joy ! With joy? With joy after their one and all had been parted from them, and while they were not yet certain of his revisit in the Spirit? Yea, with joy. They had seen the hands stretched out to bless them! Wherever they stood and wherever they went, the blessing hands were before their eyes.”.
The singular energy and boldness of his appeals is another feature of Tho'uck's preaching which deserves particular notice, especially when we consider the character of the congregations before which they were delivered. There is no fear of man before his cyes. When we remember that these discourses “ were preached in the very citadel of rationalism, to young men who were cherishing that peculiar inde. pendence and unmanageable self-esteem characteristic of a university life; to an audience, the vast majority of whom were not only violent in their prejudices against the preacher's doctrine, but still more so against his religious feeling, we cannot but admire the boldness and fidelity of the preacher. In illustration of this remark, we quote the following from the sermon on the penitent thief :
It is too late!- Who is that hastening through the darkness of the night on the winged courser? It is the son, who has been wandering in the ways of sin, and now at last longs to hear from the lips of his dying father the words, “I have forgiven you.' Soon he is at his journey's end, in the twinkling of an eye he is at the door— It is too late!' shrieks forth the mother's voice; that mouth is closed for ever!' and he sinks fainting into her arms. See that victim for the scaffold; and the executioner whetting the steel of death! The multitude stand shivering and dumb. Who is that, just heaving in sight on yonder distant hill, beckoning with signs of joy? It is the king's express ; he brings a pardon! Nearer and nearer comes his step; pardon! re. sounds through the crowd-softly at first, and then louder and yet louder. • It is too late !'—the guilty head hath already fallen! Yea, since the earth has stood, the heart of many a man has been pierced through by the cutting words, . It is too late.' But 0, who will de. scribe to me the lamentation that will arise, when, at the boundary line which separates time from eternity, the voice of the righteous Judge will cry, .It is too late! Long have the wide gates of heaven stood open, and its messengers have cried at one time and another, To-day, to-day if ye will hear his voice! Man, man, how then will it be with you, when once these gates, with appalling sound, shall be shut for eternity? Agonize that you may enter in at the narrow gate; for many, I say unto you, shall strive to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house hath arisen and shut the door, then shall ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, and to say, “Lord, Lord, open unto us,' and he will answer and say unto you, • I know you not whence ye are.'”
But we must bring these remarks to a close, delightful as is the task of noticing the beautiful and powerful developments of a mastermind, devoted to the great work of unfolding the truth as it is in Jesus. We trust that the points of excellence here presented may attract the attention and excite the righteous emulation of many among our own preachers. Indeed, the style, manner, and even the general matter of Tholuck's sermons remind us strongly of the preaching of some of the most eminently useful and successful ministers of our own denomination; and the principal difference, in point of inanner, between Methodist preaching and that of other denominations, less successful, perhaps, in bringing sinners into the fold of Christ, lies in the very characteristics to which we have referred. And while the intellectual activity of the age demands a ministry capable of enlightening and instructing the people, we are not to forget that the elements and powers of the human mind are the same as they have ever been, and that the inoral feelings are the strongest of those elements, except the selfdetermining will, with which indeed they lie in immediate contact, presenting the most powerful class of motives for its action. It would be easy to find fault with various features of Tholuck's sermonizing; and, indeed, many parts of the work before us lie open to criticism; but this unpleasing task was not the one which we set before ourselves when we commenced the preparation of this article. J. McC.
Dickinson College, Dec., 1839.
TREFFRY'S MEMOIRS AND SELECT REMAINS. Memoirs of the Rev. Richard Treffry, Jun., including Extracts from his Corres.
pondence. To which are appended Select Remains, consisting of Sketches of Sermons, Essays, and Poetry. By his Father. London: published by John Mason. 12mo., pp. 440. With a Portrait.
The lamented subject of these “ Memoirs" was one of the most resplendent stars of Wesleyan Methodism; and though suddenly and