It was no wonder to us that this young man did not like the practice of law. In the first place, he was fond of change and variety. His was not a nature which could address itself to one task and concentrate upon that hour after hour and day after day, such as carefully scrutinizing every detail of a case and perfecting his preparation of it for presentation in court. In the second place, his was an unusually sensitive, refined, responsive, and sentimental disposition. So fine were his emotional sensibilities that it was almost more than he could endure to hear—as he was compelled to day after day—the seamy, inharmonious, sordid, and criminal side of life. The recital and consideration of these things depressed him, made him morbid and sapped his vitality and courage. For the swift repartee, keen combat, and mutual incriminations of the court room he was utterly unfitted. Any criticism was taken personally. He found it impossible to let the jibes, criticisms, and heated words of his opponents trickle off from him as easily as water does from a duck’s back, which is the proper legal mental attitude in regard to such things. He told us that sharp, harsh, or bitter words entered his soul like barbed iron and he was upset and unstrung for hours afterward. A man with such an emotional nature as his and such an intellect is especially qualified for literature, and we are glad to say that he is now making a very flattering success in this particular field.
Aside from spiritual qualifications, success in the ministry depends chiefly upon two talents: First, ability to speak well in public; second, social adaptability. The second is perhaps the more important. We have heard many ministers who were only indifferent public speakers, but who made a great success of their callings because of their social aptitudes, their ability to meet and mingle with all kinds of people, their cheerfulness, their optimism, their helpfulness, their tact and diplomacy. A traveling evangelist may depend principally upon his power as a public speaker, but the pastor of a church must depend far more upon his ability to make and keep friends among the members of his congregation and in the community.
The minister, of all the professional men, is most in need of ambition, a desire to please others and to help others, spiritual quality, humanitarianism, benevolence, faith, hope, veneration for the Deity, and for the supernatural elements of religion. The day has gone by when the solemn, joyless preacher can command a large congregation. People to-day want a religion which is bright and cheerful, which offers a surcease from the cares and sorrows of ordinary life. They want to be cheered, encouraged, inspired, and uplifted, rather than depressed and made sad and melancholy. Therefore, the successful preacher will not permit his intense conviction of the seriousness, earnestness, and solemnity of his calling interfere with his exhibiting always a bright, cheerful, and attractive personality.