doing they become excessively weary, the interest of the people decreases before the discourse closes, and much is lost to them, for they cannot retain it. One half that was said would have been better than more. Although all the matter may be important, the success would be much greater were the praying and talking less lengthy. The result would be reached without so great weariness. They are needlessly using up their strength and vitality, which, for the good of the cause, it is so necessary to retain. It is the long-protracted effort, after labouring to the point of weariness, which wears and breaks.
I saw that it was this extra labour, when the system was exhausted, that consumed the life of dear Brother Sperry and brought him prematurely to the grave. Had he worked with reference to health he might have lived to labour until the present time. It was, also, this extra labour that exhausted the life force of our dear Brother Cranson and caused his life of usefulness to be extinguished.
Much singing, as well as protracted praying and talking, is extremely wearing. In most cases our ministers should not continue their efforts longer than one hour. They should leave preliminaries and come to the subject at once, and should study to close the discourse while the interest is the greatest. They should not continue the effort until their hearers desire them to cease speaking. Much of this extra labour is lost upon the people, who are often too weary to be benefited by what they may hear; and who can tell how great is the loss sustained by the ministers who thus labour? In the end nothing is gained by this draft upon the vitality.
Frequently the strength is exhausted at the commencement of a protracted effort. And at the very time when there is much to be gained or lost, the devoted minister of Christ, who has an interest, a will to labour, cannot command the strength. He has used it up in singing, in lengthy prayers and protracted
preaching, and the victory is lost for want of earnest, well-directed labour at the right time. The golden moment is lost. The impressions made were not followed up. It would have been better had no interest been awakened; for when convictions have been once resisted and overcome, it is very difficult to impress the mind again with the truth.
I was shown that if our ministers would exercise care to preserve their strength, instead of needlessly expending it, their judicious, well-directed labour would accomplish more in a year than could be accomplished by long talking, praying, and singing, which are so wearisome and exhausting. In the latter case, the people are frequently deprived of labour which they much need at the right time, for the labourer is in need of rest and will endanger his health and life if he continues his effort.
Our dear Brethren Matteson and D. T. Bourdeau have made a mistake here, and should reform in their manner of labour. They should speak short and pray short. They should come to the point at once and stop short of exhaustion in their labours. They can both accomplish more good by doing this, and at the same time preserve strength to continue the labours which they love, without breaking down entirely.