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that look which the Saviour gave him, had the majesty of the old Roman looked out at his eye as he proclaimed the innocence of the victim, had he that moment laid down unhesitatingly the parley with conscience, all would have been well." pp. 269, 270.
One more specimen of powerful description is taken from a sermon which treats of Christ as the judge of the world. The author loved to dwell on the fraternal relation of the Saviour to man. Though he had no sympathy with“ an effeminate theology, which leaves no room for the inflexible justice of God," he felt at liberty to insist much upon the point that Christ is our brother. In showing that the Judge of the world will sustain to us this relation, he introduces the following sketch.
" My hearers, have you ever been in court when sentence of death was pronounced against a criminal ? As you fixed your eye on the cold, rugged visage of the condemned, and marked his unmoved posture and his iron mien, you doubted if a human heart could be beating there. Perhaps a quick Alush passed over his features as the word of death reached his ear, and then all was calm and cold again.
But when you gazed on the streaming eyes of the judge, and saw his vener. able frame agitated and quivering under the awful responsibili. ty of his mission; when you heard the choaked ejaculation,
May God Almighty have mercy on your soul,' you felt that there was
new power in the law, shining through the tears of a man, and speaking in his tremulous voice. Just so will it be with our final judye. The sympathies of humanity shall be conspicuous even in his severest maledictions. The joy of a man swells in his bosom at each act of faith and penitence he reads in the record of his chosen, and his voice sings for gladness at each new welcome to the right hand of his Father. And those who go away forever from his presence, shall remember the paternal tones with which he pronounced their doom; and amid the dark, lonely caverns of their exile, no sound is sadder than that which follows the soul from the judgment scene,— He that did eat bread with me, has lifted up his heel against me.'”-p. 225.
The sermons of Mr. Homer are not faultless. Critical severity might expose the imperfect structure of two or three of his sentences-or the frequency of exclamations-or the
occasional straining of a metaphor-or the diluting diffuseness of some passages; but these blemishes are easily overlooked amid the blaze of great and varied merits. They would have been removed, doubtless, by his own hand, had he revised the sermons for the press.
We may add that it was the good fortune of these sermons to be delivered in a style of impressive elocution. It was our privilege to be present when one of them was preached, and we can bear testimony to the author's power in the pulpit. The effect of this passage was peculiarly great : “But, Oh! thou correct and exemplary citizen, thou who hast kept every law in the statute book from thy youih up, thou who boasted thyself that thou hast never stood at the criminal's bar, or turned pale at the sheriff's mittimus, or shivered in the damp walls of a jail, think not, most perfect man, think not that it shall be so with thee at the divine assize. Terrible must be the reckoning when the weak whom thy slanderous or angry tongue has wounded, when the ruined whom thy secret dishonesty has wronged, when the destitute whose wants thou hast slighted, all rise up as witnesses that thou hast violated the great law of love, that thou hast wronged thy neighbor, that thou hast hated thine own mother's son." He spake as one having authority, and the hearers showed that ihey felt the power of eloquence, by breathless awe and solemn stillness. What he has well said of the dramatic element in pulpit oratory, in a valuable essay, may be applied to his own rhetorical power.
“ The dramatic spirit in all its dealings with men will turn away from the stiff specimen picture hung up in the garret, and in the open air wil draw from the breathing figures of nature. And not content with re-creating the men that had been turned to stones, the dramatic preacher will invade the very domain of this granite Circe, to transform its stones into men, Under his Ithuriel touch, abstraction becomes being. The words dealed out to the people are truths passed through the fire of life. Ideas stand forth with the breathing force of objective realities. The lines of his own experience blaze around his thoughts, and he speaks with the energy of one who reads his doctrine in the clear pages of history, or the burning revelations of prophecy-with a cloud of witnesses from the past and the future gathering near to confirm with trumpet tone the sentence."-p. 150.
If we have not overrated Mr. Homer's attainments as preacher, they were truly eminent. And yet they are not beyond the reach of those who possess respectable abilities. We should explain the mystery of his success by referring to industrious exertion as the secret. At the early age of seven, he received private lessons in elocution, and thus acquired skill in the management of his voice. Through a long pre paratory course he was a diligent student, and obtained successively the highest badges of distinction, at the academy, the college, and the theological seminary. His productions evince the marks of indefatigable study. He had from an early period devoted himself to the sacred office. Industrious toil, under the influence of Christian principle, was the secret of his usefulness, “the hiding of his power.” 1
Mr. Homer was not one of those deformed prodigies who are remarkable for the great and precocious development of some single faculty. It was rather to a symmetrical expansion of all the powers requisite in the ministry, that he owed his growing reputation. It was seen that his mind could think; his imagination, soar; his heart, feel. Over all his efforts taste of exquisite delicacy spread its happy influence, and devotion to the Redeemer's service, its hallowed charm. Rhetorical power contributed its share to his success. From the labors of one, thus happily qualified for his work, great results were, not without good reason, expected.
Mr. Homer was well fitted to discharge the functions of the sacred office in places replete with difficulties. He could disarm prejudice by a candid admission of facts and principles, which an advocate of Christian truth may well afford to concede. He could win the favorable regards of men by kindness and courtesy. He could secure for the most pungent appeals a respectful hearing by the skill, the forcible reasoning and the felicitous illustrations with which they were presented. His polished style and ample scholarship, while they were not ambitiously displayed, secured for his sermons in some quarters a degree of attention which they would not have received had they lacked these qualities, The fastidious hearer could not complain that his discourses bristled with rough excrescences and violations of taste, of logic, and of truth ; or that they were only bare and bald statements of useful common-places. It is remarkable that while they were as well received by the erudite, as if they
were prepared only for a select few, they were prized and felt by those who made no pretensions to literary attainments. They contained so much that was true to nature; his sketches and illustrations were so vivid and life-like; his appeals were urged with so much directness upon all his hearers, and came home so evidently to their bosoms and business, that the less favored as well as the more enlightened of his hearers could not but listen to him with interest.
The advocates of “another gospel” have probably gained not a few proselytes from the more refined circles by the attention which they have paid to elegance of style. Literary taste has been claimed as a distinguishing trait of the sect. We are far from admitting the justness of this claim, and if we could admit it, we might question the wisdom of those who make the literary polish of the pulpit a sine qua non, while the character of its instructions is not closely scrutinized—who would rather receive from the highly-finished goblet a draught of poison, than the water of life from a plain cup. If the Gospel must be preached to all classes, and if ministers must, to some extent, “become all things to all men," it is desirable that the wishes of the tasteful and erudite should be somewhat consulted. It is well that some who preach the doctrines of the cross should not fall below the highest range of scholarship, that may be found among the teachers of self-styled “rational Christians.” Had Mr. Homer's life been spared, his ministry might have been successful even among the most fastidious hearers. Those who recoiled from evangelical truth in its plainer dress, might have listened to his attractive exhibitions of the sentiments that have incurred their dislike. We are disposed to think, that among the more refined classes of New England, there are not a few who sigh after the true repose which can be found only at the foot of the cross. Their spiritual wants are not relieved by the cold abstractions, the vague theories, the frothy sentimentalism, and the clashing varieties of “another gospel.” And yet they remain under the influence of unhappy prejudices against evangelical religion—the only balm for the wounded spirit. We cannot but think that if those who are in this interesting state, could view the plan of salvation under a favorable light, they would embrace it as the long-sought relief of their burdened minds. Mr. Homer was one of that class of evangelical preachers who are qualified to
win a hearing for the Gospel from the prejudiced, and to guide them to the Lamb of God. It was our hope that he was raised up to prove a son of consolation to many who have been entangled in the mazes of error-to lead the bewildered and unhappy into the light of the Gospel. But God has transferred him to a still nobler sphere of usefulness.
The untimely removal of one whose qualifications for usefulness in the ministry were of a high order, is an evil on which the mind will speculate, and for which it will seek an explanation. In the biography, some of the reasons that may be alleged for this dispensation are canvassed, and we are pointed to the consoling thought that “a new ornament for some niche in the temple above” may have been required. We wish that the writer had embraced this opportunity to inveigh, with all his power, against what, we fear, has been one of the explanatory causes of the loss sustained by the church in this, and in other instances-the development of the intellectual to the neglect of the physical powers. This insidious evil has been allowed too long to make havoc of some of the best sons of the church. Is it not time that the voice of earnest remonstrance were raised ? Must corporeal vigor be lost in the acquisition of mental power, and thus the supporting frame-work of the indwelling spirit be left in a shattered condition, incapable of sustaining the action of the mind? Can the intellect not take its finest polish till the muscular energies are worn out ? And shall its brilliant finish be made thus the sure token of an early dissolutionof imbecility or derangement ? Shall its richest lustre be only “a gilded halo hovering round decay?"
We cannot believe that theological study is to be successfully prosecuted only at the expense of health. Mr. Homer was not, avowedly, an invalid during his preparatory course. Indeed he seemed to be a stranger to the pangs of sickness. Yet we know not but that the comparative neglect of physical culture had been long preparing the way for the lamented result. The intellect was matured, but the bodily powers were not invigorated in proportion. The faculties of the mind were urged on to more intense and powerful action, while the material fabric which was the seat of action, was left to undergo weakness and decay. The scabbard was allowed to rust away, while the blade acquired a keener edge. The result of sedentary habits, unrelieved by sufficient mus