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piety, repentance or holiness. There are two ways of doing this, one formal, in turning the fubject to moral uses, and fo applying it to the hearers; the other in the fimple choice of the things spoken; for if they be good, folid, evangelic, and edifying of themselves, fhould no application be formally made, the auditors would make it themfelves; becaufe fubjects of this kind are of fuch a nature, that they cannot enter the understanding without penetrating the heart. I do not blame the method of fome preachers, who, when they have opened fome point of doctrine, or made fome important obfervation, immediately turn it into a brief moral application to the hearers; this Mr. Daillé frequently did: yet I think it fhould not be made a constant practice, because, ift, what the hearer is used to, he will be prepared for, and fo it will lofe its effect; and 2dly, because you would thereby interrupt your explication, and confequently alfo the attention of the hearer, which is à great inconvenience. Nevertheless, when it is done but seldom, and seasonably, great advantage may be reaped.
But there is another way of turning doctrines to moral uses, which in my opinion is far more excellent, authoritative, grand, and effectual; that is, by treating
who can spend his days in the company of Plato, Tully, Longinus, and fuch men; for him to turn his back two or three times a week on fuch illuftrious familiars, condefcend to lifp with children, and to ftammer with the illiterate; for fuch a man, I fay, fuch a conduct muft needs be felf-denying, and require a heart devoted to God: But
fuch a man humbly imitates his mafter, who, being in the form of God, became a fervant, and humbled himself to the death of the cross; and fuch a preacher, however contemptible now, will one day have a name above every name, whether it be philofopher, poet, orator, or whatever is moft revered among mankind.
treating the doctrine contained in the text, in a way of perpetual application. (8) This way produces excellent effects, for it pleases, inftructs, and affects all together. (9) But neither muft this be made habitual, for it would fatigue the hearer, nothing being more delicate, nor fooner difcouraged than the human mind. There are faft-days, Lord's-fupperdays, and many fuch seasonable times for this method. (1) This way, as I have faid, is full of admirable fruits; but it must be well executed, with power and addrefs, with choice of thoughts and expreffions, otherwife the preacher will make himself ridiculous, and provoke the people to say,
Quid dignum tanto feret hic promiffer hiatu?
6. One of the most important precepts for the difcuffion of a text, and the compofition of a fer
(8) This fubject is fully handled in Chap. VII. for which reafon I omit one page of Mr. Claude here, because its fubftance is repeated in the chapter referred to.
(9) Docente te in ecclefia non clamor populi fed gemitus fufcitetur; lachrymæ auditorum laudes tuæ fint. Sermo prefbyteri fcripturarum fale conditus fit. Nolo te declamatorem, et rabulam, garrulumque fine ratione, feu myfteriorum peritum, et facramentorum Dei tui eruditiffimum. Verba volvere et celeritate dicendi apud imperitum vulgus admirationem fui facere, indoctorum hominum eft. Nihil tam facile quam vilem plebeculam et indoctam
concione linguæque volubilitate decipere, quia quicquid non intelligit plus miratur.
Jerom. ad Nepot. Optimus eft enim orator qui dicendo animos audientium et docet, et delectat, et permovet. Docere debitum eft, delectare honorarium, permovere neceffarium. Cic. de orat.
(1) Equidem id maxime præcipiam, ac repetens iterumque iterumque monebo. Res duas in omni actu fpectet orator, quid deceat, quid expediat. Expedit autem fæpe mutare ex illo conftituto traditoque or dine aliqua ; et interim decet ; ut in ftatuis atque picturis videmus, variari habitus, vultus, ftatus, &c. Quint. inft. lib. ii. c. 14.
mon, is, above all things, to avoid excefs: Ne quid nimis.
1. There must not be too much genius, I mean not too many brilliant, fparkling, and ftriking things, for they would produce very bad effects. ` The auditor will never fail to fay, The man preaches himself, aims to display his genius, and is not animated by the fpirit of God: but by that of the world. Befide, the hearer would be overcharged; the mind of man has its bounds and measures, and as the eye is dazzled with too ftrong a light, fo is the mind offended with the glare of too great an affemblage of beauties. Farther, it would destroy the principal end of preaching, which is to fanctify the confcience; for when the mind is overloaded with too many agreeable ideas, it has not leisure to reflect on the objects, and without reflection the heart is unaffected. Moreover, ideas which divert the mind, are not very proper to move the confcience; they flatter the imagination, and that is all. Such a preacher will oblige people to fay of him, He has genius, a lively and fruitful imagination: but he is not folid. In fine, it is not poffible for a man, who piques himself on filling his fermons with vivacities of imagination, to maintain the fpirit all along; he will therefore become a tirefome tautologift: nor is it hard in fuch fermons to difcover many falfe brilliances, as we fee daily. (2)
(2) In order to render the productions of genius regular and juft, as well as elegant and ingenious, the difcerning and coercive power of judgment should mark and restrain the excurfions of a wanton imagination; in other words, VOL. I.
the aufterity of reafon fhould blend itfelf with the gaiety of the graces.-The proper office of judgment in compofition, is to compare the ideas which imagination collects; to obferve their agreement or difagreement, their relations E
2. A fermon must not be overcharged with doe trine, because the hearers memories cannot retain it all, and by aiming to keep all, they will lofe all; and because you will be obliged either to be exceffively tedious, or to propofe the doctrine in a dry, barren, scholaftic manner, which will deprive it of all its beauty and efficacy. A fermon fhould inftruct, please, and affect; that is, it should always do these as much as poffible. As the doctrinal part, which is inftructive, fhould always be propofed in an agreeable and affecting manner; fo the agreeable parts fhould be propofed in an inftructive manner; and even in the conclufion, which is defigned wholly to affect, agreeableness must not be neglected, nor altogether inftruction. Take care
and refemblances; to point out fuch as are of a homogeneous nature; to mark and reject fuch as are difcordant; and finally, to determine the truth and utility of the inventions or difcoveries which are produced by the powers of imagination. This faculty is, in all its operations, cool, at tentive, and confiderate. canvaffes the defign, ponders the fentiments, examines their propriety and connexion, and reviews the whole compofition with fevere impartiality. Thus it appears to be in every refpect a proper counterbalance to the rambling and volatile power of imagination.
Efay on genius, b. i. f. 1. See Rollin on fining thoughts, Belles lettres, vol. ii. He remarks, from Quintilian,
then not to charge your fermon with too much. matter. (3)
3. Care must alfo be taken never to ftrain any particular part, either in attempting to exhauft it, or to penetrate too far into it. If you aim at exhausting a subject, you will be obliged to heap up a number of common things without choice or difcernment; if at penetrating, you cannot avoid falling into many curious queftions, and unedifying fubtilties; and frequently in attempting it you will distil the subject till it evaporates. (4)
(3) To be overcharged with doctrine is the great fault of Dr. Owen's, and Dr. Good win's fermons ; and it is attended with all the inconveniences mentioned by Mr. Claude. It was common at that time of day to make thirty or forty remarks before the immediate confideration of the text came; thefe fuddenly pop up their heads, and inftantly disappear. Indeed, had each of them been difcuffed, each would have afforded matter enough for a whole fermon. There is no fault more common among a certain order of preachers than this.
(4) The futility of such a method is thus expofed by the Abbè Pluchè: "A carpenter who understood his trade, and was in tolerable circumftances, had given his fon a good education, that is, had made him pafs through a courfe of liberal ftudies and philofophy. We know no
other method. The father dying just as the fon had gone through his public difputations, and leaving fome undertakings unfinished, the young man took a liking to work, and followed his fa ther's profeffion. But he be thought himself of recalling his art to certain principles, and fubjecting it to a methodical order. He treated the whole in his head as he had feen his masters treat the art of reafoning. At length he got together a number of journeymen of the trade, and promifed to lead them by a new way to the quinteffence of carpentry.
"Our new doctor, after a long preamble on mechanicks, which he promised to treat on by genus and fpecies, came to the first queftion, and very feriously examined whether there was a principle of force in man. He long difcuffed the reafons pro and con, and at laft enabled his difciples, E 2 know