Character In The Preacher -- By: Richard S. Storrs, Jr.
BSac 14:53 (Jan 1857) p. 1
Character In The Preacher1
Mr. President, and Gentlemen, of the Porter Rhetorical Society. — As I stand here to-day many thoughts press upon me, inducing an unusual but a natural diffidence, in the performance of this your honorable service. I stand before some to whom I have long been accustomed to look as teachers and exemplars in each power or art that goes to make up the finished whole of pulpit eloquence. I stand as one, and among the humblest, in a series of orators, some of whose clear and venerable names have been consecrated by Death, while others are still borne, more bright and eminent as the years go forward, on the standards of the church.
The theme to which the occasion invites me, is at best a difficult one to treat; since we naturally demand of him who exhibits the principles of the eloquence which takes the pulpit for its throne, that he illustrate in himself the rules which he proposes, and show their successful application to
BSac 14:53 (Jan 1857) p. 2
us. And where this, in years past, has been nobly done, where each main principle, and each special ornament, of the function of the preacher has been set forth and exemplified, it is hardly possible for a younger and less accomplished student, coming up for a day to these calm retreats from the year-long roar and strife of the metropolis, to hope to do more than demonstrate by contrast the importance and the dignity of the art which he admires, but which he vainly attempts to realize.
And yet every man, if he be true to himself, and faithful to the impulses which stir most deeply within his breast, may have something to say to his fellow-men which shall not be all unworthy of their attention. And so it is with no sense of hesitation and disquiet,—rather, it is with a cheerful sense of gladness and gratitude, that the opportunity has been given me—that I appeal to you to-day to hear me on the theme which has assembled us; a theme which hath its own proper dignity, its inward beauty, hardly to be marred by any exhibition.
We stand, at this point, at the head-spring of influences which shall stream forth hereafter across all lands. We meet to confer concerning efforts and methods which have for their object the renewal of the world, by God’s truth, and by his Spirit; the allying of the world to him, in love. Deeper than all the forces of politics, wider than the range of commercial relations, more vital and renovating than the influence which breathes through literature and art, go the precepts and inspirations that emanate from each centre of ministerial training. They build no special monuments and trophies, of palace or capital, of epic or of...
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