Page:Psychology and preaching.djvu/316

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298 PSYCHOLOGY AND PREACHING

out of place. The demand is for ministers of happy, sunny disposition. The pastor is expected to be cheerful, enter taining, even in the pulpit, always so in the home except in the most serious crises of life ; and in the social circle he is expected to be the life of the group. His " long face," if he have one, must be left in his study when he goes out among the people. Being himself under the same influences which have driven away the austere solemnity that shadowed the lives of men in the olden times, and responding to the popular demand for brightness and cheerfulness in men of his calling, he is coming to be an apostle of happiness, a man who brings with him joy and laughter. It is felt by many that the tendency in this direction is towards an extreme as unfortunate as his professional solemnity of former days. And certainly it is well that he should be careful and not suffer himself to become a mere entertainer, whose func tion it is to make people feel pleasant and to provoke hilarity. Let it be said again, levity becomes him not. In order to prove that he is not " solemncholy," it is not neces sary for him to degenerate into a teller of funny stories, a mere jester. Perhaps, however, for the majority of minis ters the popular demand that they shall be buoyant and good-humoured will only serve as a corrective of the in fluences that tend toward habitual and formal solemnity; and so yield us on the whole a healthy and soundly human type.

(3) The preacher is concerned primarily and continually with the application of what seems to him to be the will of God to the actual lives of men. His conception of the will of God is the standard by which he is accustomed to measure the actions of men. He contemplates men as sinners, living in very imperfect conformity with the standard which he regards as divine, and as a consequence exposed to the divine condemnation, from which they can be rescued only by the gracious power of God. He is, or should be and naturally considers himself to be, an expert in moral pathol ogy. Just as the expert physician looks at men with the

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