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piety, repentance or holiness. There are two ways of doing this, one formal, in turning the subject to moral uses, and so applying it to the hearers the other in the simple choice of the things spoken; for if they be good, folid, evangelic, and edifying of themselves, should no application be formally made, the auditors would make it themfelves; because subjects of this kind are of such a nature, that they cannot enter the understanding without penetrating the heart. I do not blame the method of some preachers, who, when they have opened some point of doctrine, or made some important observation, immediately turn it into a brief moral application to the hearers; this Mr. Daillé frequently did : yet I think it should not be made a constant practice, because, ift, what the hearer is used to, he will be prepared for, and so it will lose its effect; and 2dly, because you would thereby interrupt your explication, and confequently also 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 such a man humbly imitatcs company of Plato, Tully, his master, who, bring in the Longinus, and such men; for form of God, became a servant, him to turn his back two or and humbled himself to the three times a week on fuch death of the cross; and such a illuftrions familiars, conde- preacher, however contemptscend to lisp with children, ible now, will one day have and to stammer with the il- a name above crery name, literate ; for such a man, I whether it be philosopher, fay, such a conduct muft needs poet, orator, or whatever is be self-denying, and require moft revered among mana heart devoted to God : But kind.
treating the doctrine contained in the text, in a way of perpetual application. (8) This way produces excellent effects, for it pleases, instructs, and affects all together. (9) But neither must this be inade habitual, for it would fatigue the hearer, nothing being more delicate, nor sooner discouraged than the human mind. There are fast-days, Lord's-supperdays, and many such seasonable times for this method. (1) This way, as I have said, is full of admirabie fruits ; but it must be well executed, with
power and address, with choice of thoughts and expressions, otherwise the preacher will make himself ridiculous, and provoke the people to say,
Quid dignum tanto feret hic promiffer hiatu ?
Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. 6. One of the most important precepts for the discussion of a text, and the composition of a fer
(8) This subject is fully concione linguæque volubilihandied in Chap. VII. for tate decipere. quia quicquid which reason I omit one page non intelligit plus miratur. of Mr. Claude here, because
Ferom. ad Nepot. its substance is repeated in the Optimus eit er.im orator qui chapter referred to.
dicendo animos audientium (9) Docente te in ecclefia et docet, ct delectat, et permonon clamor populi fed gemitus vet. Docere debitum est, fuscitetur ; lachrymæ audito- delectare honorarium, permorum laudes tuæ sint. Sermo vere necessarium. Cic. de orat. presbyteri fcripturarum fale (1) Equidem id maxime conditus fit. Nolo te decla- præcipiam, ac repetens iterummatorem, et rabulam, garru- queiterumque monebo. Res duas lumque fine ratione, seu my- in omni actu spectet orator, Iteriorum peritum, et facra- quid deceat, quid expediat. Exmentorum Dei tui eruditisi- pedit autem fæpe mutare ex mum. Verba volvere et cele- illo constituto traditoque orritate dicendi apud imperitum dine aliqua ; et interim decet; vulgus admirationem fui fa- ut in ftatuis atque pi&turis cere, indoctorum hominum videmus, variari habitus, vuleft. Nihil tam facile quam tus, ftatus, &c. Quint, inft. vilem plebeculam et indoctam lib. i. c. 14.
mon, is, above all things, to avoid excess : Ne
1. There must not be too much genius, I mean not too many brilliant, sparkling, and striking things, for they would produce very bad effects. The auditor will never fail to say, The man preaches himself, aims to display his genius, and is not animated by the spirit of God: but by that of the world. Beside, the hearer would be overcharged; the mind of man has its bounds and measures, and as the eye is dazzled with too strong a light, so is the mind offended with the glare of too great an assemblage of beauties. Farther, it would destroy the principal end of preaching, which is to sanctify the conscience; 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 conscience; they flatter the imagination, and that is all. Such a preacher will oblige people to say of him, He has genius, a lively and fruitful imagination : but he is not folid. In fine, it is not possible for a man, who piques himself on filling his sermons with vivacities of imagination, to maintain the spirit all along; he will therefore become a tiresome tautologist: nor is it hard in such sermons to discover many false brilliances, as we see daily. (2)
(2) In order to render the the austerity of reason fhould productions of genius regular blend itself with the gaiety of and just, as well as elegant the graces. The proper and ingenious, the discerning fice of judgment in cumpofand coercive power of judg- tion, is to compare the ideas ment should mark and restrain which imagination collec; ; the excursions of a wanton to observe their agreement or imagination; in other words, disagreement, their relations VOL. I.
2. A sermon must not be overcharged with doetrine, because the hearers memories cannot retain it all, and by aiming to keep all, they will lose all; and because you will be obliged either to be excessively tedious, or to propose the doctrine in a dry, barren, scholastic manner, which will deprive it of all its beauty and efficacy. A sermon should inftruét, please, and affect; that is, it should always do these as inuch as possible. As the doctrinal part, which is instructive, should always be proposed in an agreeable and affecting manner; so the agreeable parts should be proposed in an instructive manner; and even in the conclusion, which is defigned wholly to affect, agreeableness must not be neglected, nor altogether instruction. Take care
and resemblances ; to point that Seneca introduced this out such as are of a homoge- vicious taste at Rome. Abun, neous nature; to mark and dat dulcibus vitiis. These reject such as are discordant; fining thoughts, says he, reand finally, to determine the semble not a luminous fame: truth and utility of the inven- but sparks Aying through tions or discoveries which are smoke, In Montagne's opiproduced by the powers of nion, " the tardy genius imagination. This faculty is, makes the better preacher, and in all its operations, cool, at- the quick genius the abler lawtentive, and confiderate. It yer; because the former may canvasses the design, ponders take what time he pleases to the sentiments, examines their prepare himself, and the propriety and connexion, and thread of his discourse is car, reviews the whole compofi- ried on without the least intion with severe impartiality. terruption : but the pleader
Thus it appears to be in every is obliged to be ready every respect a proper counterbal- moment to enter the lifts, and ance to the rambling and vo
the unforeseen answers of his latile power of imagination. antagonist either confound his
Elay on genius, b.i.f. 1. arguments, or oblige him to See Rollin on shining thoughts, strike into a new course of Belles lettres, vol. ii. He reasoning.”. Elays, book i, remarks, from Quintilian, chap. 10.
then not to charge your sermon with too much matter. (3)
3. Care must also be taken never to strain any particular part, either in attempting to exhaust 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 discernment; if at penetrating, you cannot avoid falling into many curious questions, and unedifying subtilties; and frequently in attempting it you wisl distil the subject till it evaporates. (4)
(3) To be overcharged with other method. The father doctrine is the great fault of dying just as ihe son had gone Dr. Owen's, and Dr. Good through his public disputawin's sermons; and it is at- tions, and leaving some una tended with all the inconve- dertakings unfinished, the niences mentioned by Mr. young man took a liking to Claude. It was common at work, and followed his fam that time of day to make ther's profession. But he bea thirty or forty remarks before thought himself of recalling the immediate consideration his art to certain principles, of the text came ; these sud- and subjecting it to a methodenly pop up their heads, and dical order. "He treated the instantly disappear. Indeed, whole in his head as he had had each of them been dif- feen his masters treat the art of cussed, each would have af- reasoning. At length he got forded matter enough for a together a number of jourwhole sermon. There is no neymen of the trade, and fault more common among a promised to lead them by a certain order of preachers than new way to the quintesence this.
of carpentry: (4) The futility of such a “ Our new doctor, after a method is thus exposed by the long preambleon mechanicks, Abbè Pluche : « A carpen- which he promised to treat on ter who understood his trade, by genus and species, came and was in tolerabie circum- to the first question, and very ftances, had given his son a seriously examined whether good education, that is, had there was a principle of force made him pass through a
He long discussed course of liberal studics and the reasons pro and con, and philosophy We know no at last enabled his disciples,