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5. I visited the Garden of Gethsemane for the second time at sundown on Sunday evening. I left at a little distance my dragoman and two others, dwellers in Jerusalem, who chanced to be with us that day, that I might be alone with my thoughts, that I might read again the Scripture narrative of our Lord's agony in the garden, and that I might make the scene of His sufferings real and personal. Some have said that the present garden is not sufficiently lonely and secluded to harmonize with the descriptions given by the evangelists, and that possibly the agony of our Lord occurred in the larger garden, which existed, as it is supposed, in that day, and not in the portion of the garden now shown. But it seemed to me to be a place of peculiar loneliness and seclusion. The Mount of Olives overhangs it on the one side and the embattled walls of Jerusalem on the other. It is a fitting spot for one desiring to be alone with God at evening's holy hour, or under the shadows cast by the olive-trees under the light of the Passover moon. An American woman has furnished a sufficient amount of money to maintain a tank of water in the garden. This provision enables the guardians to keep the flowers constantly in bloom and the grass perpetually fresh and green. It was an admirable gift; it symbolizes the place which the garden and its sacred scenes must ever have in the minds of Christians throughout the whole world. Thoughts of wonderful tenderness came into my mind on that Sunday evening, amid the fading light of day and the gathering shadows of evening. Perhaps near the spot where I stood did Christ endure the bloody sweat of agony untold; perhaps it was here that the angel came and ministered unto Him when He was exhausted with "strong crying and tears.''
Under the olive boughs,
The blood drops from His brows;
Josephus tells us that the suburbs of Jerusalem abound with gardens and pleasure-grounds. The word "garden," it ought to be borne in mind, was then used with a somewhat different mean
ing from that which we now give to the name. The Garden of Gethsemane is now more truly a garden, in our use of the word, than it was in Christ's day. Then the word garden meant substantially what we mean by the word orchard. This garden, however, will ever be associated with but a single event, the agony of the Son of God on the evening preceding His death on the cross. Here was fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah regarding the Christ: "I have trodden the wine-press alone." The word Gethsemane means an olive-press. The garden is but a few paces to the south from the so-called tomb of the Virgin. The entrance is from the Mount of Olives toward the southeast. The olive-oil yielded by the trees in the garden is still sold for a high price, and many rosaries are still made from the olive stones.
This garden was to me holy ground; here, if ever, I felt like taking my shoes from off my feet. Yonder, on Calvary, Christ's body was crucified; but here in Gethsemane was the crucifixion of His soul. Yonder He gave up his life; here He yielded His soul in sweet obedience to the Father's will. There the letter of the law was satisfied; here the weight of the law, in its spiritual import, fell on the soul of Christ. In this garden His "own familiar friend betrayed Him." Here the Captain of our salvation experienced the truth that the soul of His sufferings was the suffering of His soul. And here in the quiet of my own heart, at evening's holy hour, I strove to dedicate myself afresh in unswerving loyalty to my crucified Lord, and in unceasing love for the souls of men for whom He died.
ROBERT STUART MACARTHUR. "Sunday Night Lectures on The Land and the Book."
DRAMATIC POWER IN SPEAKING
The dramatic element in speaking is by no means the exclusive property of the stage. It has its appropriate and legitimate place in platform and pulpit delivery. The extent to which it should be employed depends upon the subject and the occasion. When properly used it is a source of great power and effectiveness. This is not a recommendation, however, of paroxysms of feeling, wild gesticulation, tearing and combing of the hair with the fingers, violent pacing up and down the platform, and other manifestations of old-style oratory, happily now obsolete, but rather to suggest a power which, when properly used, will give life, variety, intensity, and color to the spoken message.
In reciting dramatic scenes the voice should be varied so as to faithfully impersonate each character distinctly and naturally. This affords the best kind of practise for the speaking voice.
The study of dramatic literature gives life and vividness to a speaker's style, develops his imagination, and broadens his conception of humanity. It teaches him to speak from the heart to the heart. It educates his emotions for in
The effect of strong dramatic utterance is illustrated in the story of Whitefield addressing his audience, of whom some were sailors, when he said:
"Well, my boys, we have a clear sky, and are making fine headway over a smooth sea before a light breeze, and we shall soon lose sight of land. But what means this sudden lowering of the heavens, and that dark cloud arising from beneath the western horizon? Hark! Don't you hear distant thunder? Don't you see those flashes of lightning? This is a storm gathering! Every man to his duty! How the waves rise and dash against the ship! The air is dark!
-the tempest rages!-our masts are gone-the ship is on her beam-ends! What next?" This appeal instantly brought the sailors to their feet, with a shout: "The longboat!-take to the long-boat."
This study will also give vigor and action to the speaker. The orator is not a statue, but "an animal galvanic battery on two legs," as Nathan Sheppard has it. The body, the hand, the face, the eye, the mouth, all should respond to the speaker's inner thought and feeling. It should be said of him as of Wendell Phillips:
Pure and eloquent blood
The public speaker should be a man of great earnestness and of strong healthy passions. These qualities can best be cultivated by the daily practising aloud of dramatic Care must be taken not to exaggerate objective effects. Gesture, facial expression, and bodily action must be subordinated to the thought.
It is said of the elder Salvini that in studying the part of Othello, he instructed his attendants to tie him securely to a chair, in order that he might develop his subjective
expression as much as possible. When at last he appeared on the stage the critics marveled at his impersonation of a part that had almost invariably been overdone in style and action.
"All true action in the pulpit," says Doctor Kennard, "must first proceed from the soul. In other words, it has a psychic base and spring. If the man's soul is in a healthy and vigorous state, inspired by his theme, his thought will swim to the surface and reflect itself in his physical features and organs. By a subtle psychological law the whole nerv ous and muscular system responds to the sympathetic impulses of the emotions and will; feeling and purpose mysteriously and spontaneously press at every gate of the eyes, the lips, the cheeks, the hands, the feet, for expression. The preacher's heart, swelling with inspired energetic conviction and emotion, lifts itself up like a great tidal wave, overflows its banks and pours itself forth in expressions of the features, glances of the eyes, quivering of the mouth, tones of the voice and movements of the limbs, so that the physical structure becomes simply the complex and delicate organ of expression for the brain, and heart, and will.”1
The emotions of the speaker must first be awakened, then judiciously trained to respond instantly to his demands. They must first be intelligently controlled that they may be safely and unconsciously liberated at the moment of use in public speaking. Shakespearian numbers are particularly recommended because of their scope and fidelity.
The following scenes will give material for practise of this kind. Further selections will be found in the latter part of the book.
1 Psychic Power in Preaching, J. Spencer Kennard, D.D