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ren explications, wherein the preacher discovers neither study nor invention, and leaves unfaid at great number of beautiful things, with which his text would have furnished him. Preachments of this kind are extremely difguftful; the mind is neither elevated, nor informed, nor is the heart at all moved. In matters of religion and piety, not to edify much is to deftroy much; and a fermon cold and poor will do more mifchief in an hour, than a hundred rich fermons can do good. I do not mean, that a preacher fhould always ufe his utmost efforts, nor that he fhould always preach alike well, for that neither can nor ought to be. There are extraordinary occafions, for which all his vigour must be referved. But I mean, that, in ordinary and ufual fermons, a kind of plenitude fhould fatisfy and content the hearers. The preacher muft not always labour to carry the people beyond themselves, nor to ravish them into extacies: but he must always fatisfy them, and maintain in them an esteem and an eagernefs for practical piety. (2)
and reproves thus, "it is a vein of vain preaching, turning found preaching into a found of preaching; tickling men's ears like a tinkling fymbal, feeding them ηδυσμασι και εκ dua, fpoiling the plain fong with defcant and divifion," &c.
Bishop Burnet, after much on the fame fubject, fays, preacher is to fancy himfelf as in the room of the most unlearned man in the whole parish, and must therefore put fuch parts of his difcourfes as he would have all understand, in fo plain a form of words, that
it may not be beyond the meanest of them. This he wil certainly ftudy to do, if his defire is to edify them, rather than to make them admire himself as a learned and highfpoken man." Paft. care, chap. 9.
To the opinions of thefe great mafters we add that of an ancient orator: groPINES
μεν καλυμεν τας εν τω πληθεί λε Your Juras; eloquentes dicimus eos qui AD POPULUM verba facere poflunt.
Ifocrates orat. ad Nicoc. 3. (2) It feems a very just remark of the editor of Maffil
3. The preacher must be wife, fober, chaste. İ fay wife, in oppofition to those impertinent people, who utter jefts, comical comparifons, quirks and extravagancies; and fuch are a great part of the preachers of the church of Rome. (3) I fay
lon's fermons, that "the intereft, which we have in what is fpoken, can only render us attentive. All the truths, which the preacher declares, if we cannot perfonally apply them, are only heard with difguftful wearinefs, and we figh for the close of a difcourfe, wherein we have no concern, and which is not even addreffed to us." Perhaps this is the true reafon of that almost universal diffatisfaction which appears in fo many places under fermons. Whatever is not fuited to my condition has a coldness and a powerty, in regard to me; nor can any thing warm my mind rationally, which does not illuminate it. If one minifter addrefs me as if I were poffeffed of angelic powers and purity, and another fpeak to me as he would to the trunk of a tree, expecting, I know not what, mechanifm to move me; the latter forgets that I am a rational creature, the former does not remember that I am a depraved creature; both (whatever fubjects they difcufs.) are poor and cold to me. Dean Prideaux fays, one good minifter, by his weekly preaching, and daily good example, would fet religion forwarder
than any two of the best juftices of the peace, by their exacteft diligence, could. It is not to be doubted (adds he.) but that if this method (of conftant practical preaching.) were once dropped among us, the generality of the people, whatever elfe may be done to obviate it, would in feven years time relapfe into as bad a state of barbarity as was ever in practice among the worst of our Danish or Saxon ances toss." Prid.con. part 1.b. 6.
(3) It is not worth while to exemplify this rule from the Romish church, nor indeed from any of our own communion; the best use we can make of fuch things, fo contrary to the gravity and uncorrupt fpeech of every man of God, is to pass them over in filence. But I cannot help obferving, that we ought not to charge whole communities with the extravagances of a few. The following paffages are found in a fermon preached by a proteftant clergyman, at Bow-church, before the fociety for reformation of manners: "As for those, that drop'd in by chance, or came out of cultom or curiofity, or to fpy out our liberty, that we have in the Lord, or
I fay fober, in oppofition to thofe rafh fpirits, who would penetrate all, and curiously dive into myfteries beyond the bounds of modefty. Such
it may be, they know not why themfelves; they have the fame freedom here as in the devil's chapel, to ftay as few or as many acts as they pleafe, and when they have heard as much as ferves their turn, or fomething they do not like, or think it may be change, or dinner-time, they are free to be gone; and as they came unfent and unlooked for, fo they may depart not defired; and the only remark I fhall make is, that they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us." "Our new church-champion (if I do not mistake him) can fee no reason why the fcriptures fhould not be taken in an arminian fense: we are forry for that, but can't help it, only we pray that God would blefs his eye-fight."
"A great dueller frankly confefs'd to me, that he never entered the devil's lifts (which he had often done) but with this full perfuafion, that if he loft his life, his foul was undone for ever; only confidence in his fkill, and the fear of being posted, (and as his expreffion was, pifs'd on) perhaps with the help of brandy or opium, buoyed up his fpirits from finking."
"Whether it be a civil or
facred test I know not, and whether it requires conftant, or but occafional conformity, I leave to the learned, to drink the church's health; and I fuppofe the rule is, as in other cafes, fill as ye love her ; and fhe fays, O friends, drink, yea drink abundantly, Cant. v. 1. Now I must confefs this is no rigid teft, if the liquor be good; nay, I'll grant 'tis a pleafant and agreeable," &c. Biffet's ferm. plain Englishpreached Mar. 27, 1704.
I beg pardon for tranfcribing this ftuff; I only obferve, that there are fools in other communities, as well as in that of Rome. Such things, however, have a very bad effect, as they deftroy the gravity of facred things in the fame proportion in which they fanctify the levity of profane ones: yet let us not imagine, that every kind of fmartnefs in preaching is to be avoided. Let no preacher, under a grave pretence of folemnizing our fpirits, dully declaim us into the vapours: fuch preaching, like a paffingbell at a funeral, tolls us into the land of darkness and the fhadow of death. If we had a term for every degree of pleafure in the mind, I fhould be able to explain my meaning; but fee Quintilian's whole chapter de rifu, lib. 6.
are thofe, who make no difficulty of delivering in the pulpit all the fpeculations of the schools, on the myftery of the trinity, the incarnation, the eternal
Pluribus autem nominibus in eadem re vulgo utimur: quæ tamen fi diducas fuam propriam quandam vim oftendent. Nam et urbanitas dicitur; qua quidem fignificari video fermonem præ fe ferentem in verbis, et fono, et ufu proprium quendam guftum urbis, et fumptam ex converfatione doctorum tacitam eruditionem denique cui conNulla in tam magno eft Non hoc dicit nihil in corpore ejus effe ridiculum. Salfum igitur erit, quod non erit infulfum, velut quoddam fimplex orationis condimentum: quod fentitur latente judicio velut palato, excitatque et a tædio defendit orationem. Sane tamen, ut ille in cibis
Molle atque facetum Virgilio.
traria fit rufticitas. Venuftum effe, quod cum gratia quadam et venere dicatur, apparet. Salfum in confuetudine pro ridiculo tantum accipimus, natura non utique hoc eft, quanquam et ridicula oporteat effe falfa. Nam et Cicero, omne quod falfum fit ait effe Atticorum; non quia funt maxime ad rifum compofiti: et Catullus cum dicit, corpore mica salis : paulo liberalius afperfus, fi tamen non fit immodicus, affert aliquid propriæ voluptatis: ita hi quoque in dicendo babent quiddam quod nobis faciat audiendi fitim. Facetum quoque non tantum circa ridicula opinor confiftere.
Now none of these is finful or improper upon certain occafions; indeed in certain circumstances, and carried to certain degrees, they are infulting and highly disgustful. Hear the heathen: Longe que abfit propofitum illud, potius amicum quam dictum per
didi, in hac quidem pugna forenfi malim mihi lenibus (i. e. jocis) interdicere.---Primum itaque confiderandum eft, et quis, et qua caufa, et apud quem,et in quem, et quid dicat. Dicacitas etiam fcurrilis et fcenica huic perfonæ alieniffima eft. Obfcenitas vero non a verbis tantum abeffe debet fed etiam a figni- . ficatione. Quint. inftit. lib. vi. cap. 3.
Μήτε γέλωτα προπέτη ςεβγ, μητε λογον μετα θράσεις αποδέχε, το μεν γας ανοητον, το δι μανίκον. Neque petulantem rifum ama,
reprobation of mankind; fuch as treat of questions beyond our knowledge;-what would have been if Adam had abode in innocence, what the state of fouls after death; or what the refurrection; and our state of eternal glory in paradise. Such are they, who fill their fermons with the different interpretations of a term, or the different opinions of interpreters on any paffage of fcripture; who load their hearers with tedious recitals of ancient hiftory; or an account of the divers herefies which have troubled the church upon any matter; all these are contrary to the fobriety of which we speak, and which is one of the most excellent pulpit virtues. (4) I fay
neque audacem orationem proba, nam alterum ftultitiæ eft, alterum infaniæ. Ifocrat. erat. ad Demon.
Kai Qiλoyeλwtes (i. e. JUVE NES) do nas EUтpañol. H yap ευτραπελια πεπαιδευμενη υβρις 25.-Ariftot. rhetor. lib. ii. cap. 14. Vide Dion. Halic. de ftruct. orat. f. 1.Et ftudiofi funt rifus: Quamobrem etiam funt faceti. Nam facetiæ erudita contumelia funt.
(4) Is this fober talking about the holy trinity? the father is placed first, and really is the first perfon, not as if he was before the other two, for they are all co-eternal, but because the other two received their effence from him; for the fon was begotten of the father, and the holy Ghoft proeedeth both from father and fon; and therefore the father is termed by the primitive christians the root and fountain of deity. As in waters there VOL. I.
is the fountain or well-head, then there is the spring that boils up out of that fountain, and then there is the ftream that flows both from the fountain and fpring, and yet all thefe are but one and the Jame water; So here, God the father is the fountain of deity, the fon the Spring that boils up out of the fountain, and the holy Ghoft that flows from both, and yet all three is but one, and the fame God. The fame may also be explained by another familiar inftance: the fun you know begets beams, and from the fun and beams together proceed both light and heat; fo God the father be gets the fon, and from the father and fon together proceeds the fpirit of knowledge and grace: but as the fun is not before the beams, nor the beams before the light and heat, but all are together; fo neither is the father before Ꭰ the