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For ordination days extraordinary texts and agreeable to the subject in hand must be taken, whether it regards the ordainer, or the ordained; for very often he, who is ordained in the morning, preaches in the afternoon.
I add one word touching sermons in strange churches. 1. Do not choose a text, which appears odd, or the choice of which vanity may be suppoled to dictate. 2 Do not choose a text of censure; for a Itranger has no business to censure a congregation, which he does not inspect: unless he have a particular call to it, being either sent by a fynod, or intreated by the church itself. In such a case the censure must be conducted with wisdom, and tempered with sweetness. Nor 3. choose a text leading to curious knotty questions ; then it would be faid, the man meant to preach himself. But 4. Choose a text of ordinary doctrine, in discusfing which, doctrine and morality may be mixed, and rather let moral things be said by way of exhortation and confolation than by way of censure :
mortified ; and then of the iv. 22, 24. Put of the old man contrary grace, that was to be - put on the new. The one exercised. He began with an is dying to fin; the other introductory sermon on Eph. living to righteousness.
In particular, 1. Put off pride, Jer. xiii. 15. - Put on bumility, 1 Pet. v. 5. 2. Put off pasion, Col. iii. 8. Put on meeknejs, 1 Pet. iii. 4. 3. Put off covetoufness, Heb. Put on contentment, Heb.
1. 5. 4. Put of contention, Gen. - Put on peaceableness, James xiii. 8.
iii. 7. &c. &c. This set of sermons took and put on the new man, which him up near the space of two is renewed in knowledge, after years, and he closed them the image of him that created with a recapitulation from him. There are many sets of Col. iii. 9, 10. Ye have put this kind in his life, p. 121, off the old man with bis deeds, &c.
not that the vicious should not be censured ; for reproof is esential to preaching: but it must be given soberly, and in general terms, when we are not with our own Aocks. (6)
(6) Mr. Claude does not in plerifque prope æquiparet mention funeral - sermons, apoftolis, ac prophetis, atque which with us are sometimes adeo quodammodo præfert just occasions of offence, but uti eum ait, non ab Hierofolywhich might be well improved ma tantum usque ad Illyricum to the advantages of the liv- (velut Paulus) jed majorem ing, if properly managed. circulo. evangelio complexum. Funeral honours have in all Tantum diftat inter dempengopira, ages, by all nations, been xj dodextiya. Fo. Volii tbefes paid to the dead. The Egyp- iheol. de invocat. Janet. tians embalmed, the Greeks A just reflection no doubt, buried, the Romans burnt; perhaps no where more just all agreed in terminating the than on these occafions, when mournful ceremony
ceremony with so many things are usually songs and shouts of victory, said in ostentation, fo few to as the Canadian savages do at edification. These abuses this day. Orations in praise have driven some good men of the dead were also spoke ; to lay aside all funeral services and the several ceremonies whatever: but methinks with were adapted to maintain the much more reason may we redoctrine of the immortality of tain and improve them to the the soul in the people's minds. benefit of the living. Superftition, which defiled It was the opinion of Vorevery decent usage, defiled this fius, that praying to faints also. The heathens magnifi- owed its origin partly to the ed their ancestors into deities; injudicious use of figurative and christians very early imi- language in funeral orations; tated them, canonizing and to the apostrophes, and proworshippingtothis day. Hence, Sopopeias of the panegyrifts. among the fathers anc ently, Etiam oratorum non levis hic and in the church of Rome se culpa offert, non tantum, fill, those extravagant and quia plerique eorum sanctos blasphemous orations for the invocarent, fed etiam, quia dead. Voflius mentions a floridam ac luxuriantem femodest saying (compared with cuti dictionem seculi fui orafome) of Nazianzen. Na- torum, modificatæ ac figuratie zianzenus in monodia five mortuorum laudationi tanto. funebri oratione Bafilii, quem pere indulgerent. Nam non Vol. I.
raso Inter hyperbolicas lau- Wilæ inftitutas, quæ 'votum dationes et xufiws prolatas, tantummodo ecclesialtæ erant, non satis distinguebat impe- pro feria invocatione duce ritum vulgus : item apostro- bat. G. J. Vofii thef. de inphas ad sanctos xata mpoowToo voc. Janet. disp. 13. thel; 5;
C С НАР. CH A P. II.
General Rules of Sermons.
LTHOUGH the following general rules
are well known, yet they are too little practised: they ought, however, to be constantly regarded.
1. A sermon should clearly and purely explain a text, make the sense easy to be comprehended, and place things before the people's eyes so that they may be understood without difficulty. This rule condemns embarrassment and obfcurity, the most disagreeable thing in the world in a gospel-pulpit. It ought to be remembered, that the greatest part of the hearers are simple people, whose profit, however, must be aimed at in preaching : but it is impossible to edify them, unless you be very clear. As to learned hearers, it is certain, they will always prefer a clear before an obscure sermon; for, first, they will consider the simple, nor will their benevolence be content if the illiterate be not edi. fied ; and next, they will be loth to be driven to the necessity of giving too great an attention, which they cannot avoid, if the preacher be obscure. The minds of men, whether learned or ignorant, generally avoid pain; and the learned have fatigue enough in the study, without increasing it at church. (1)
(1) “ That which generally to explain ourselves always occasions cbfcurity (lays Mr. with brevity and conciseness. Rollin.) is our endeavouring One had better say too much
2. A sermon must give the entire sense of the whole text, in order to which it must be considered in every view. This rule condemns dry and bar
than too little. A style like intelligible; because it is for Salluft's or Tertullian's, every that end we speak. This fort where sprightly and concile, of neglect, which requires may fuit works which are not some genius and art, (as he intended to be spoken, and observes after Cicero.) and which can be read over and which proceeds from our being over again : but it is impro- more attentive to things than per for a sermon, which ought words, must not, however, to be so clear, as to reach be carried so far as to make even the most inattentive; the discourse low and grovellike as the sun strikes our eyes ing, but only clearer and without our thinking of it, more intelligible. -As obscuand almost in spite of us. Therity is the fault, which the supreme effect of this quality preacher should chiefly avoid, does not confijt in making and as the auditors are not alourselves understood, but in lowed to interrupt him, when speaking in such a manner they meet with any thing that we cannot be misunder- obscure, St. Austin advises. ftood." .'Tis a vicious him to read in the eyes and taste in some orators (adds he countenances of his auditors, from Quintilian.) to imagine whether they understand him they are very profound when or not; and to repeat the much is required to compre- same thing, by giving it difhend them; they don't con- ferent turns, till he perceives fider, that every discourse ; he is understood ; an advanwhich wants an interpreter is tage which those cannot have, a very bad one. The supreme who by a servile dependence perfection of a preacher's style on their memories learn their ihould be to please the un- sermons by heart, and repeat learned, as well as the learned, them as fo many
lessons." by exhibiting an abundance
Belles lettres, vol. 2. of beauties for the latter, and Mr. Rollin says, Obscurity being very perspicuous for the is generally occafioned by a former, But, in case these style too concise ; and others advantages cannot be united, have observed
ather St. Austin would have us fa- causes of obfcurity, among crifice the first to the second, which they place a very conand neglect ornaments, and mon one, a jingling of words, even purity of diflion, if it will multitude of tinkling contribute to make us more sounds, which one describes