1 APRIL 1905, Page 20

The Young Preacher's Guide. By the Rev. Gilbert Monks. (Elliot

Stock. Is. 6(1. net.)—Mr. Monks's sub-title, "Secrets of Success in Sacred Oratory," is less happy than the name given to his book. Young preachers have much to learn, and, unless they are exceptionally inept, may be taught something. But it would be nothing less than a disaster were they to aim at being "orators " ; the orator is almost as rare a being as the poet, and the pretender is an even worse nuisance, because we are some- times unable to avoid him. After this preliminary grumble, we hasten to say that Mr. Monks has given us what should be a most useful book. If the preacher does not aim too high, and the congregation does not expect too much, the guide may be very serviceable. Sometimes a little will suffice to turn a dull dis- course into something at least tolerable. If we are to concentrate our advice into three words, after the fashion of Demosthenes, we should say : read—read—read. The average congregation is amazingly ignorant, and a very little knowledge goes a long way with it. We see that in the difficult matter of the Higher Criticism Mr. Monks makes an excellent selection of authors to recommend. The "young preacher" who studies Dr. Horton, Dr. Fry, Archdeacon Wilson, and Bishop Westcott will not be too • narrow. We cannot agree with the depreciation of commentaries. "Avoid commentaries," says one divine quoted by Mr. Monks, "till you have wrestled with the Divine Interpreter Himself." It won14 have been better to put this into plain words. If it

means—do your best to understand the passage as it stands, and then seek help—very good. But the saying is apt to be mis- applied. Surely all the wealth of thought and learning that has been spent on the work of interpietation is the God-given means of fully entering into the meaning of His word. Let any one who has not consulted Dr. A. B. Bruce's comments on the Synoptic Gospels in the "Expositor's Greek Testament" see how much he will learn from them.