Page:Psychology and preaching.djvu/257

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ASSEMBLIES 239

cussion. Under the general class of purposive assemblies there are two types which it is specially important for us to consider.

i. The inspirational gathering. I shall use the term, in spirational, rather broadly. I mean by inspirational gather ing the coming together of people for the purpose of being stimulated or inspired by appeals to their intellectual or emotional nature. It includes, at one extreme, a group as sembled for mere entertainment; and, at the other, a class assembled in the lecture room for instruction. But in any case the appeal is, with whatever difference of emphasis, to both the intellect and the emotions.

This kind of assembly has three clearly defined marks. First, it is physically segregated usually shut up within the walls of a building, though in some cases it meets in the open air. This gives it the unity of locality in such a way as to emphasize the consciousness of unity. The persons so brought together feel their unity all the more from the fact that they are separated as a group from other men, i.e., the local unity itself develops a certain measure of psychic unity. Second, its members have a unity of purpose in being present. Often this sense of common purpose in being together is only relative and indefinite, and in the case of the average church congregation, some of whom are present solely, and many partly, from force of habit, other motives operate which are only remotely related, if related at all, to the purpose which is supposed to have influenced them. However, on the whole, such gatherings have a certain unity of purpose, loose and indefinite as it may be, which constitutes a psychical bond of considerable strength. Third, and this is a very important characteristic which differentiates it sharply from other kinds of assemblies its members are there to be entertained or stimulated or influenced in some definite way. They may take part, more or less, in some of the exercises or proceedings, but pri marily they are drawn thither by the deliberate and con scious purpose of receiving some intellectual or emotional

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