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cannot copy or imitate, it creates. The kaleidoscope never produces the same combination twice, nor do the forces of nature come together twice in the same proportions for even one generation, much less for two; and if they did, environment and education can shape and mold heredity. No two men can be alike. Dr. Hillis has so much original merit of his own, he has never found need of copying any one. A man must be himself or time will discover the fatal flaw, and such a flaw, like that of Achilles', belongs to the undipped heel no less than the head. A host of evangelists imitate Moody's manner of speech, but they have failed to find the source of his power; the theological students in the days of Beecher wore their hair long in imitation of him, but they forgot to lengthen their views or broaden their vision in keeping with his great heart and mind. For every genius a thousand men of talent follow on behind, imitating and copying.
Dr. Hillis is as unique in his own way as Swing was in his. Like Swing, he has a refined and keen sense of the humorous. Wit and humor are founded on the incongruous and the illogical. Surprise is an element that is enjoyable. A mind that is orderly, logical, and founded on deep verities easily discovers the incongruous, the absurd, the amusing. This mental characteristic lent a charm to Beecher's speeches and sermons; it was ever present in a dignified way in Swing, and it characterizes Dr. Hillis' writings. With him it is humor rather than wit, for it is kindly and sweet tempered. It is impersonal, never destructive except of principles. It never wounds, because it is a keen perception of the absurd guided by good-will. It is the sense of the ludicrous clothed with dignity, never boisterous or noisy, but, like Charles Dudley Warner's, piquant and racy but always quiet. The fine perception that dreads a point too broad, but conceals itself behind the form of words, leaving one to read between the lines,-this marks the intellectual artist. Thus a man's style is himself,—it bears his character, and is itself like him, refined and gentle, high-toned and constructive, or it may be coarse and shallow, boisterous or aggressive. No quality reveals the ethical and intellectual standard of a writer or speaker more readily than his notion of what is humorous. Only a genius can find the lost chord; and the mind that is supersensual will ask that wit and humor remain only as the servants of truth in the corridors of the sanctuary. Such genius is intuitive rather than intellectual, its culture is innate. It is like Tennyson's poet's mind, that must not be vexed with vulgar wit. The instinct to say the right thing in the right place and to clothe it in garments of simplicity and beauty is a virtue of first rank with Dr. Hillis. Such an instinct has about as much use for the rules of homiletics in its forms of expression as the singing meadow brook has for yardstick or tapeline. As well might one ask the robin to warble by the tick of the metronome, or that Patti's voice shall be regulated by the one who, in old New England days, was accustomed to line off the verses. Tennyson
rose superior to metric rules and measure; the new poet-laureate of England is enslaved by them.
And just here we approach Dr. Hillis' theology, for the poet and the logician must ever see religious truth from different points of view. To place a low value on the study of theology or to minimize its importance for the thoroughly trained preacher would be as idle as for the young physician to despise the study of anatomy and physiology. The intellect that is scientific must delve into ultimate principles and truths. Theology is the result of applying the intellect to the truths of religion. Religion is soul life, theology is intellectual life with religion for its subject. The value of Christian evidences to the scholarly preacher can never be denied, but these need not be brought constantly into the pulpit. Just as the farmer brings to market not his plow and his cultivator, but only the product, so the preacher can have faith that the people believe the essentials of Christianity. Dr. Samuel Harris of Yale, one of the ablest theologians of the century, has well said that the religious life must not be measured by the exactness of theological belief, that the heart is often wiser than the head. To follow the inexorable laws of logic when only one pole of truth is under the lens is to go far astray. When the New England divines were dwelling on the sovereignty of God, they arrived at conclusions that overlooked the other pole of the truth, the fatherhood of God, his mercy and his goodness. As the Westminster divines forgot in their catechism the love of God, when some one suggested that it be put in a footnote, so the purely logical mind is often farther from the truth than the poet who sees through instinct what the reason can never reveal. The doctrines of immortality and of the existence of God are revealed more clearly through the instincts than through the reason; otherwise only great intellects could be the children of God, and heaven would be open only to those possessed of some valuable information. The poetic instinct is as valuable a telescope for scanning the heavens as is the logical faculty; just as Dr. Poole said that fiction was as near to truth as most history that had been written. Hence Swing revolted from the faith once established by Calvin and Patton. It was necessary that the system be saved, even if it damned a few millions of infants. A nature like Dr. Hillis' loves not Cæsar less but Rome more. It knows the use of logic, but it also knows that love defies the processes of the reason as easily as birds fly in seeming defiance of the law of gravitation. Hence it is true of Dr. Hillis' theology that, while he is familiar with the anatomy of a theological system, he is not always presenting before a popular audience the ribs His instincts and his love and backbone, even if they be fundamentals.
of the beautiful lead him to clothe his manikin with flesh and blood, to breathe into it the breath of life, to let the soul light up the eye and the glow of health to paint the cheeks. This is life, it is love, it is religion, not merely a cold system of abstract truth.
Dr. Hillis assumes, and rightly, that Christianity is now established, that the character of Christ is the greatest miracle of the New Testament, for it has defied the worm and the rust of time. It needs no apologies or explanations, but simply exemplification and amplification. This is a deeper and a broader faith than the dogmatist or the apologetic scholar can boast, for it finds in Christ sufficient merit as the ideal unit of society to need only interpreting. This is precisely what Phillips Brooks did at Harvard College. As Taine said of Shakespeare, "He asks for no eulogy of words, he only asks to be understood." A study of Dr. Hillis' theological conservatory reveals not simply his love of botany, but a supreme love of floriculture. The fragrance and the beauty of his flowers easily escape the spirit of criticism, and the botanical analysis is quite forgotten. Theology is like the love of botany; religion is floriculture, it is the aroma of flowers. The majority of people are repelled by the former but attracted by the latter. Theology is essential, it is fundamental, but religion is also vital, for it gives shape and color to the soul, and hence it makes the creed its servant, its intellectual formula. The people may admire a Browning, but they love a Burns; they may applaud a Wagner, but all through the day they will hum "Home, sweet home," or "The last rose of summer." The popular preacher is never the didactician, the cold theologian. Dorothea imagined she could be happy all her days with a cold and abstract mind like Casaubon's, but she soon hungered for friendship and sympathy. He was icily regular and splendidly null; but, after all, he was a freak, for the doors of his imagination had long before rusted upon their hinges, the juices of mind and heart had long before dried up, leaving him as unlovely and unsympathetic as he was logical, abstract, and unpractical.
The theologian now speaks to one per cent of the people, and the ninety and nine turn away. Dr. Hillis could speak to empty chairs within a month, if he should follow the advice of some of his theological friends. As great as were Dwight and Edwards, Hopkins and Emmons, they could not to-day draw an audience, and their pulpits are quite forgotten, but their work shall endure through 'generations. Kant and Hegel could never be popular. The popular preacher must learn to scan Euclid; he must set his thoughts to music; he must put his prose into blank verse if he would speak to the multitude. This marks not the dawn of a decaying civilization that worships beauty instead of righteousness; but it is the bud in bloom, the flowering of a noble and true culture. Although not an evangelist, Dr. Hillis has a system of truth that is evangelical, for the center of his planetary system is the same as that of the New Testament. His ideal is the Christ.
The distinguishing difference between Dr. Hillis and Professor Swing, as it impresses one who knew them both, is this: Professor Swing's sermon was more of an end in itself, while Dr. Hillis' subordinates it to a spiritual end. Swing aroused the intellect, touched the imagination,
warmed the sensibilities, but seldom stirred the conscience or fired the will. Dr. Hillis aims to please, to amuse even, but this is quickly forgotten in the evident purpose to encourage, to stimulate, to help onward and upward. One feels uplifted and takes on new hope and faith who listens to him, for, like Swing, he says "Come," never "Go"; but, more than Swing, he provokes the will to higher purposes by stimulating the conscience and awakening the spiritual life. He loses none of the admiration that Swing called forth for his splendid ability, but he draws out a personal affection that Swing was singularly lacking in power to awaken. Swing dreaded personal contact with men; Hillis feeds upon friendships, and is generous and loyal to his friends. One knew David Swing best when he was on the platform, for there he spoke the deepest sentiments of his heart, but away from that he was diffident, shy, even cold and uninteresting. Hillis, on the contrary, is warm, affectionate, and helpful in his friendships. This peculiarity of Swing's offended many, and easily passed for insincerity, for it dreaded the personal contact. One lost the focus on Swing the moment he stepped from the platform, while Hillis is seen in a clearer light in his personal and domestic relations.
A public speaker's first duty is in his study, and here Dr. Hillis is a power, an omnivorous reader, an indefatigable worker. He is always busy. When he comes to illustrate a point in literature, the books of his library fairly tumble down from the shelves upon him, for his memory is logical and works by association. Valedictorians are usually made of men with rote memories, and our colleges have too often reserved their highest rewards for mental powers that make excellent tutors and teachers, but oftentimes poor lawyers, judges, and clergymen. Many a man has awakened to find himself gifted with powers that in college he little knew himself the possessor of, but, on the contrary, supposed himself to be stupid. The college curriculum seldom discovers or rewards a logical memory, it never fails to find a rote memory and upon it to bestow all the honors and rewards within its gift. Many classes in colleges have learned after twenty-five years, that their most brilliant men were at the foot of the class, while many of their high-rank men are now seen to be of inferiority or even mediocrity.
The artistic element in Dr. Hillis is seen nowhere more conspicuously than in his dramatic power. It shrinks from the coarse and vulgar as instinctively as it would refuse to turn a somersault in the pulpit, or resort to the spectacular or sensational to win applause. Yet there is a hungering and thirsting in the human heart which the drama, in one form or another alone satisfies, and it is the duty and the province of the pulpit to recognize this need and satisfy it. Swing did it not by any trick such as Edward Everett is said to have practised when he rushed to the front of the stage by a preconcerted plan, and snatched a flag, waving it aloft. Nor did Swing resort to the antics of a pulpit acrobat, who struts the
stage, or strikes attitudes, or calls into practice intellectual jugglery, or rhetorical flights of fancy, where sound is substituted for sense. But Dr. Hillis, no less than Swing, has the same art of putting things like the landscape gardener who permits the sea or the broad expanse to come gradually into view. The dramatic effect is not in elocution alone, nor in rhetoric, but in the tout ensemble. It is the highest and only legitimate use of the dramatic instinct in pulpit oratory. Ruskin said that beauty is the flowering of truth. Who knew this and practised it more simply than he who said,
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
They toil not, neither do they spin;
And yet I say unto you,
That even Solomon in all his glory
Simplicity is the soul of culture, whether in form or in principle, whether in dress or language, and nature abhors nothing more than the unorderly, the illogical, the complicated. The direct mind, the simple style, the Anglo-Saxon words, the self-evident truth,—these always have attracted men in political science or in theology, whether in pulpit or in rostrum. Webster and Beecher were both simple, as was Lincoln, and Phillips Brooks pronounced these the three greatest Americans. There is not a sentence in all of Hillis' writings that is involved, ambiguous, or muddy. A high line of thought clothed in simple language is his marked characteristic. Small ideas may need lung power or gesture to float them, but large thoughts and lofty ideals can stand of their own weight, they ask not for scaffold or support. A clear style, the natural voice, the Anglo-Saxon words, with an ear bent close to earth to hear the footsteps of God walking in the garden as he speaks through the voices of nature no less than through Revelation,—these always have attracted men whether in oratory, art, or music.
But if the manner be of great importance, much more is matter, or we have sound without sense. Without a healthy mind, vigorous thought,
hardy common sense,
The best-laid schemes o' mice and men
In these days, nowhere is this discerned more quickly than in the sphere of social questions. The walks of literature have come to be frequented by dreamers, emotionalists, sentimentalists, impracticables in the sphere of social reforms.
Chicago is the storm center of social questions. It is the economic workshop of the country. This is due in part to its large percentage of foreigners with paternal views of government; exaggerated notions of the duties and the functions of the state; limited ideas of the rights of the individual; natural hatred of all authority; false conceptions of liberty and equality; visionary dreams of an ideal social condition, when the state shall be the master, not the servant, of all. When writers like Bel