19 AUGUST 1905, Page 22

Modern Masters of Pulpit Discourse. By William Cleaver Wilkinson. (Funk

and Wagnalls Company. 6s.)—Mr. Wilkin- son gives sketches of eighteen well-known preachers. Five of these are English, Dr. M`Laren, happily still with us, and J. H. Newman, Spurgeon, Liddon, and Morley Punshon, this last being a name which will scarcely appeal to the present generation; two are French, Bersier and Pere Felix ; the rest are American, and of these three only, Henry Ward Beecher, Talmage, and Phillips Brooks, had a great reputation on this side of the Atlantic. We cannot review Mr. Wilkinson's reviews, especially as it so happens that in no single instance can the writer of this notice compare his own impressions with those of the critic. It must suffice to say that the essays are all eminently readable, and have the appearance of carefully formed judgments. We could wish that the sketch of Henry Ward Beecher had been omitted. We do not say that it is unjust. There is certainly something in this summing up of Mr. Beecher's preaching :— " He told men to be good and noble—according to their own higher feelings. Above all things else, do ,as you please—still, please to be noble. Nothing is obligatory,' but goodness is a great privilege. Love and you need not obey. A delightful gospel, and Mr. Beecher preached it delightfully. It is not indeed the Gospel of Christ; but it pleased men, for it taught men to please themselves."

But there is too much about the preacher's personality. It may well be doubted, if he was what Mr. Wilkinson seems to suggest, whether he is fit company for those with whom he is here associated. Mr. Wilkinson has some sharp things to say about the second American name on his list, Mr. de Witt Talmage, whom, indeed, he convicts of gross blunders, as, e.g., the con- jecture that " Junius " may have been Bishop Butler ! Still, he manifestly regards him as a "Master."