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an artist who pays no attention to drawing or coloring, has reason to blame those who cannot see in the caricatures with which he covers the canvas, the forms of beauty which he thinks are in his mind.
There is a very common prejudice against the study of elocution, arising from the idea that the result will be to give one an artificial and theatrical manner. The young man preparing for the ministry dreads, as he ought to dread, everything like insincerity. He fears the intrusion of stageeffect into the pulpit. He feels that his office demands the utmost earnestness of his soul, and above all things he recoils from the arts of a self-seeking, self-conscious rhetorician. He will preserve a natural manner, though it be a poor one. Better be ineffective, than false. The feeling in itself is a right one, and to be most carefully cherished, but it is out of place. It is founded on a complete misconception of the purpose of studying the art of ‘elocution. What is the object of a teacher of elocution ? Not, if he have any just idea of his vocation, to teach a few tricks of oratory by which to attract admiration. It is to give such instruction in the management of the voice, as shall develop its powers and make it a more flexible, forcible and perfect instrument with which to express thought and emotion. It is to make him who is to be a public speaker, pay more attention both to the meaning of what he says and to the best mode of conveying that meaning to others. It is to correct those factitious habits which clog and deaden his ideas when he utters them. It is to carry him through a course of exercises which shall give him more command over himself, more command over all the organs through which the mind expresses itself, and to continue this instruction till he shall have substituted good habits for bad ones. The object of the elocutionist is not to teach the student how to feign feelings, but how to make his manner more truly represent what he really feels -- not to teach him arts, but to develop his powers of expression. And when this is done, so far from teaching him to think of his manner when he is in the pulpit, his first lesson is to forget it altogether and to abandon himself to the thought and emotion. Thus trained, he will speak naturally and forcibly, and all the more so because he thinks nothing of how he speaks.
In truth, he is likely to think most of his manner, who has paid least attention to its cultivation. Proper training looks, as its end, to the true expression of ideas; and the accomplished elocutionist forgets manner, and keeps his mind on the thought. Whereas one who knows that he only half expresses what he wishes to say, who is conscious of having a bad tone, or that there are words which he mispronounces, or that his gestures are awkward, will be perpetually thinking of himself. An awkward and ungainly man in society thinks himself, and makes others think, tenfold more of his manner, than an accomplished gentleman. We are least self-conscious in doing those things which we do most easily and perfectly.
But the student is afraid of losing his natural manner and of acquiring an artificial one. He shrinks from it as he would from hypocrisy. What then is this natural manner, which he is so afraid of losing? Was it born with him, or is it a natural way of uttering his thoughts ? So far from it, it is artificial in the worst sense of the term. His mode of pausing, he learned at the school where he was taught to count one at a comma and four at a period. His monotonous drawl dates back to childhood; his whining tone, to some sentimental teacher, to whom he read sentimental poetry. The see-saw balancings of the clauses of a sentence, he caught from one school-boy declaimer whom he admired; and his surprising gestures, thrown in at random to show that he is animated, were imitated from another. His sing-song cadences are to please his own musical ear, and may be natural. But the indistinct articulation, the coarse, hard, unmanageable voice, the nasal tones, the clipping of syllables, the false emphasis, the mispronunciation of words, these are not from nature, but from neglect of education. His manner, instead of being natural, is patched over with artificial habits which intercept the expression of all natural feeling. What he calls his natural manner, is like discolored and distorted glass, through which nothing is distinctly seen, while what is visible is out of shape. The business of the elocutionist is, to make him aware of these unnatural vices of manner, to put him in the way of getting rid of them, and thus to bring him back to a manner which is really natural, — one which shall be to the thought what perfectly clear plate-glass is to the objects
Neglect of this Study.
behind it — revealing them, while itself remains almost unseen.
It is sometimes thought hard, that congregations should be dissatisfied with a worthy minister because of a bad elocution. We think that the hardship is on the side of the congregation. When a man undertakes to address them from Sabbath to Sabbath on the most important themes in a manner which belies his words, and so far from attempting to correct defects which make his services powerless, clings to them and rather grows worse from year to year, surely his people have some reason to complain. What right has he to insist on making himself disagreeable ? Suppose that his manner is natural, as probably it is not, they have a right to demand that he shall at least endeavor to improve his unfortunate nature. It is very natural for many, to be idle and selfish and procrastinating; yet who admits this naturalness as an excuse for such qualities ? In what else did any one ever take credit to himself for not attempting .to do well that which was the main business of his life, except in public speaking? And yet there are those who would boast of never having studied elocution, as if such neglect were meritorious, and as if those who had pursued a different course rendered themselves obnoxious to the suspicion of insincerity and self-seeking. If to be dull is the same thing as to be good, if languid gestures indicate a warm heart, and heavy, droning tones are the natural expression of a fervent piety, if lessons of virtue must necessarily be given in slumberous or repulsive ways, if it is necessary to be disagreeable in order to be sincere, then certainly let the grace and force of a cultivated nature be kept out of the pulpit. But if these things are not essential, then let the art of elocution - the art of true and forcible expression — be deemed a branch of study second only in importance to the disciplining and informing of the mind itself.
There are multitudes of ministers with habits now too fixed to allow of much improvement, who, in looking back, feel that their greatest mistake and calamity in life has been their neglect in early years of this study. A defective elocution has made half of their labor in vain. It has made those words sound cold and lifeless to others, which were prompted by the warmest feelings of the heart. When
most anxious to speak, it has made them as men that were dumb. It has been a constant burden and hindrance in the way of usefulness.
And we are sure that, taught by a sad and depressing experience, there are few things except fidelity to God's law, which they would more urge upon those who are just entering the ministry, than the importance of sparing no pains in acquiring a true, natural and forcible elocution.
With such convictions we cannot but repeat our satisfaction at the appearance of a work so well suited to give a just and graceful style of elocution to the young student, and to correct faults that already exist, as the volume by Mr. Russell which has called forth these remarks.
ART. V.- HISTORY OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY.*
The limits, which Dr. Beard seems to have prescribed to himself, and the extent of the subject indicated by the title of his volume given below, may have made it necessary for him to treat some points with greater brevity than might perhaps be desired. We are the less disposed to censure him for this, however, as the error is usually on the other side, that of too great prolixity. For one book which is too small, we have dozens which are too large. We will allow the author to state his object in his own words.
“The Essay now published,” says he in his preface, " is essentially historical and artistic. This constitutes its peculiar character. Herein lies its argument. It is not, therefore, a repetition of the oft-repeated modes of reasoning, which have been accounted valid against the truth of Trinitarianism; though it is hoped that the theological review which it contains of the arguments adduced from Scripture in proof of the Trinity, may not be wholly without that novelty at least, which is always connected with earnest individual thought; but the Essay has a character of its own, and presents a mode of treating the subject, which, in all its extent, has probably not been attempted before.
* Historical and Artistic Illustrations of the Trinity; showing the Rise, Progress, and Decline of the Doctrine; with Elucidatory Engravings. By the Rev. J. R. BEARD, D. D. London. 1846. 8vo. pp. 200.
Origin of the Trinity.
The worth of the argument, which is thus deduced from history and art, the writer must leave others to determine. To himself it appears decisive. The Trinity sprang up in a Heathen soil. It was imported into the CŁristian Church by men who had been heathen philosophers. It led in process of time to very great aberrations from the simple and strict monotheism of the primitive church. If, as this volume professes briefly to show, these are facts, then the Trinity was Christian neither in its origin nor in its effects.” — pp. v, vi.
We think that the author has given more space to the alleged proofs of the Trinity drawn from the Bible, than one would be led to expect from the professedly historical character of his volume, though it was essential to his argument that he should show that the doctrine is not found in the Scriptures. The “elucidatory engravings,' though not numerous, are certainly curious, and enhance the interest of the work as well as add force to its argument. Some of them, as the writer informs us, are taken from Didron's Iconographie Chrétienne, a work which would furnish materials for a valuable article on a subject somewhat novel. There is one topic treated in the volume, on which the reader undoubtedly will look for more information than he will find, and that is the “decline" of the Trinity. Of this the author gives fair warning in his preface, and the public will be glad to learn from him that he proposes shortly to issue another volume in which the defect will be partially, at least, supplied. He speaks of “the numerous evidences that lie open to the eye, of the decline of Trinitarianism in all civilized countries of Christendom.” This is a subject which we should like to see thoroughly treated.
We hope that Dr. Beard will find time to gather all the evidences that are accessible, though we are aware of the difficulty of the task thus imposed. For the present we must take leave of him, availing ourselves of the occasion afforded us by the publication of his volume, however, to present a brief historical sketch of the origin and history of the Trinity up to the time of its full development and establishment in the Christian Church.
The great mystery of Triune existence, as has been repeatedly demonstrated, is not peculiar as a doctrine of the Christian Church. In the annals of Egyptian mythology, we read of the unutterable union of Cneph, Phtha, and Neith; and the Hindoos had their Brahma, Vishnu, and