SCOTS
CMSW

Theodorous: Dialogue Concerning the Art of Preaching

Author(s): Fordyce, Mr David

Text

I ,
7s, CAI, I GINE-M',.
74tacgra (2/n,tveritadid /a.,,relſ‘sti


0,\ \ ELIT.CA
Ittlittovit Arſlitiitivalgtnikt
THEODORUS.
[Price bound Three Shillings.]
THEODORUS:
A
DIALOGUE
CONCERNING
THE ART of
PREACHING.
BY
Mr. DAVID FORDΥCE,
Late Profeſſor of PHILOSOPHY in the
Mariſchal College, Aberdeen.
Duo ſunt, quæ, bene tractata ab Oratore, admirabilem
Eloquentiam ſaciunt: quorum alterum
oft quod Græci ήθιχόν vocant, ad Naturam, & ad
Mores, & ad omnem Vitæ Conſuetudinem accommodatum;
alterum quod Iidem παϑητιχόν nominant,
quo perturbantur Animi & concitantur; in
quo Uno regnat Oratio. CIC.
LONDON:
Printed for R. DODSLEY in Pall-Mall.
M.DCC.III.
To His GRACE
THOMAS,
LORD ARCHBISHOP
of
CANTERBURΥ
The following DIALOGUE IS,
with the greateſt Reſpect,
Incrib'd by
His GRACE'S
moſt humble and
very obedient Servant,
J. Fordyce.
ADVERTISEMENT.
THE late Mr. DAVID
FORDYCE, Author of
the following Dialogue,
was originally deſigned
for the Church, to which he was early
prompted, both by his Genius and
Diſpofition. To prepare himſelf for
it was the whole Aim of his Ambition,
and the whole Purpoſe of his
Studies, for a Courſe of Υears. What
kind of Appearance he made as a
Preacher is freely ſubmitted to those
who heard him. How he was qualified
to appear in that Character,
may be tolerably eſtimated by those
who did not, from what is now preſented
to the Public; which may be
ſuppoſed to contain the united Reſult
of his Inquiries, Experience, and
Obſervation, on that Subject.
Soon after theſe Papers were ſiniſhed,
be went abroad on his Travels,
intending, if he lived, to publiſh them.
at his Return. But, mindſul of the
Uncertainty of human Life, he took
care, in caſe of another Event, to
leave that Charge expreſsly on the
Editor; who he was ſure would not
fail of executing it faithfully, ſince,
beſides the Ties of brotherly Affection,
he was connected with him by much
cloſer as well as nobler ones, those of
the most entire and inviolable Friendſhip.
The Editor little apprehended
that ever his Friendſhip would he
wanted in this way. But, alas!
the Author, after a ſucceſsful Tour
thro' France, Italy, and ſeveral other
Parts of Europe, when he was almoſt
at home, and his Friends flood ready
with open Arms and joyful Hearts to
receive him, enriched, no doubt, with
freſh Stores of Knowledge, and improved
by higher Degrees of Experience,
and of courſe ſitted for acting
his Part in Society with greater Uſefulneſs
and Reputation, — loſt his
Life in its full Prime, by a Storm on
the Coaſt of Holland. The ſupreme
Wiſdom ſaw this fit; and the ſupreme
Wiſdom cannot err. — But
ſurely, the Sentiments of Reſignation
exclude not the feelings of Humanity.
The Friends of this Gentleman muſt
ever be ſenſible of the Loſs they have
ſuſtained by his Death. They do not
choofe, however, to enter into the
Detail of his Character, but leave
it to the beſt Men among his Acquaintance,
to ſpeak of his Qualities
as a Man, and to the beſt Judges
among his Readers, to pronounce upon
his Talents as a Writer.
He is already known in the laſt
Capacity, by his Dialogues concerning
Education, and his Treatiſe of
Moral Philoſophy, publiſhed in the
PRÆCEPTOR. As thoſe Pieces have
met with a favourable Reception, it
is hoped there is no need of an Apology
for offering this to the World.
If it ſhall help to introduce a better
Taſte, than now generally obtains,.
in the IMPORTANT ART of which it
treats, there will be room to rejoice
that he had Time allowed him to
finiſh it, before he was cut off in his
Career of public Service. In the
mean while, it is no ſmall Conſolation
to the Editor, that he hath it in his
Power to contribute towards erecting
a new Monument to the Author,
and placing his Memory in ſo honourable
a Light, as that of a Diſciple
of the moſt divine Maſter, and an
Advocate for the moſt divine Religion;
being fully perſuaded, that to
ſtudy in the School of the former is
the nobleſt Improvement of Reaſon,
and that to plead the Cauſe of the
latter, is its worthieſt Exerciſe.
Juſt publiſh'd, in two large Volumes, 8 vo. adorn'd
with Maps and uſeful Cuts, Price bound 12s.
THE
PRECEPTOR:
Containing
A General Courſe of Education.
Wherein
The firſt Principles of polite Learning
are laid down in a Way ſuitable
for trying the Genius, and advancing
the Inſruction of Youth.
In TWELVE PARTS.
VIZ.
I. On Reading, Speaking, and writing Letters
II. On Geometry.
III. On Geography and Aſtronomy.
IV. On Chronology and Hiſtory.
V. On Rhetoric and Poetry.
VI. On Drawing.
VII. On Logic.
VIII. On Natural Hiſtory.
IX. On Ethics, or Morality.
X. On Trade and Commerce.
XI. On Laws and Government.
XII. On Human Life and Manners.
DIALOGUE.
AGORETES, PHILONOUS,
THEODORUS.
ON a fine Summer-Morning,
having broke loofe earlier
than ordinary, from the indolent
Languors of Sleep,
I got into the charming ſields of Alionia,
where the Groves waved their
various Greens, and breathed a rich
Perfume, which ſtole moſt agreeably
upon the Senſe. A lovely Brook wandered
among the Trees, in natural
Meanders, and, by its Freſhneſs and
pleaſing Murmurs, ſeemed to invite
to Repoſe and Contemplation. The
Opening of the Thicket preſented the
Proſpect of a beautiful Plain, through
which the Brook glided, refreſhing the
Banks on each ſide with its Cryſtal,
Treaſure; and this Proſpect was cloſed
by a Sea-coaſt Town, which was almoſt
ſurrounded by the Ocean, and
the Spires and Smoke of which gave
me the idea of the World thrown at a
proper Diſtance. I was walking along
the Side of the Rivulet, and enjoying
the Singing of Birds, and other Charms
of this delightful Scene, in a thoughtleſs
Kind of Indolence; when I found
the excellent AGORETES reclining at
the foot of an old Oak, on the Brow
of a little Hill, tufted .with natural
Wood, which overlooked the Country
and the Town, and commanded a full
View of the Sea, then compoſed into
a perfect Calm.
AGORETES is one of thoſe paſſionate
Lovers of Nature, who admire Her
with a Tenderneſs almoſt equal to that
one entertains for a Miſtreſs, and talk
in Raptures of the Beauty and Benevolence
of her Aſpect. He loves to
viſit her often in private, and pretends
he receives Favours, of which vulgar
Lovers are not admitted to partake;
but for which, did they once taſte
them, they would quickly reſign all
other Pleaſures. He is deſign'd for the
Miniſtry, for which he prepares himſelf
from no fordid mercenary Views,
but merely to do good to his Fellow--
creatures, in a Station which he thinks
both honourable and uſeful. of late
Years, he has been a cloſe Student
of Divinity, which he ſtudies in a
Manner ſomewhat different from the
Generality. It is chiefly in the two
great Volumes of GOD, that of NATURE,
and the HOLY SCRIPTRES,
that he ſeeks Divine Knowledge. In
both Theſe, he thinks their Author
ſpeaks to us in a Language, at once
the moſt intelligible and the moſt
awful; which the Simple-hearted underſtand
beſt, or rather ſeel
ſtrongly, whilſt the high-minded and
over-nice Students, loſe themſelves in
the Regions of wild Chimera or ſruitleſs
Criticiſm. He reckons the Study
of the Works of GOD, one of the
moſt refined Species of Devotion we
can offer to Him; and uſes to ſay, that
he often imagines himſelf in the Teple,
or rather the Sanctuary of the Almighty,
whilſt he treads the open
Courts of Nature, and ſurveys thoſe
maſterly Drawings which are hung up
every where round him. from theſe
Studies, as well as from the Happineſs
of his natural Temper, he has derived
the ſtrongeſt Diſpoſition to Piety and
Goodneſs, I ever knew united in one
Man. Theſe seem ſo much to rival with
each other the Poſſeſſion of his Heart,
that by a mutual Inſluence they brighten
and exalt one the other. When AGORETES
thinks he is alone, he often
breaks out into paſſionate Raptures on
the Beauties of Nature; which, to a
Friend, he will ſometimes call his
Morning and Evening-Hymns.
I caught him now in one of Theſe,
and was too deſirous of joining in the
ſolemn Service to ofſer to interrupt him.
He had a Book in his Hand: now he
opened, then he ſhut it: ſometimes he
gazed at the ample Sky, and ſometimes
he ſurveyed the ſurrounding Hills and
Groves, the contiguous Plains, and the
peaceſul Ocean, that lay ſtretched out
below into a boundleſs Proſpect: then
pauſing for a while, he broke out in
this manner, with an Air of Wonder
and Tranſport:
— "O beauteous NATURE! His
"ſtupendous Workmanſhip! How
"mild and magnificent thy Aſpect,
"ever fair and ever flouriſhing! How
ſimple the Deſign; yet haw auguſt
"and great! Source of juſteſt Order,
"ſweeteſt Harmony, and inexpreſſible
"Delight! What Frugality, amidſt
"infinite Profuſion! Nothing neceſ"ſary
ſpared; nothing uſeleſs or re"dundant,
of all thy teeming and ex"hauſtleſs
Treaſures! Where ſhall I
"begin; where ſhall I end? What
"Clue ſhall I find, to conduct me
"through the amazing Labyrinth of
"Nature?" —
Then ſtarting up on his ſeet, and
looking with an Air of Veneration towards
Heaven, he thus went on:
— "But methinks I hear the
"Voice of GOD founding thro' his
"Works, and behold the Parent of
"the Univerſe ſitting at its Head,
"enthroned in Light and Goodneſs
"inconceivable! Methinks I ſee him
"filling the huge Machine with vital
"Breath and active Spirit, turning
"round the perennial Wheels of Na"ture,
with a ſilent and invariable
"Harmony, and, by the moſt ſimple
"Movements, guiding the vaſt and
"complicated Machinery, through its
"ſucceſſive Revolutions, to full Per"ſection!
Whilſt with growingTranſ
"port, I paſs on from Scene to Scene,
"always wonderful, and always new;
"I forget myſelf, and am attentive to
"Him alone who has placed his Works
"in all the Majeſty of Wiſdom be"fore
my Reaſon, to demand and
"force its Admiration! Good GOD!
"With what Triumph and Congratu"lations,
do I ſalute an,happy World!
"With what Gratitude and Venera"tion,
do I adore its bounteous Au"thor!
— But what ſtrange attractive
"Tie links me thus to univerſal Na"ture?
Why ſo pleaſed when it flou"riſhes
and ſmiles? Why condole when
"its lovely forms decay? Whence
"this Sympathy of Heart and ſecret
"Union? It is Thou, O Sovereign
"Power! O Univerſal Goodneſs! it is
"Thou, who haſt drawn the endear"ing
Link, and given thy fair Crea"tion
ſuch Power to move and charm.
"Thou haſt made the human Heart
"an Uniſon to Nature: Thou haſt
"ſown thoſe tender Inſtincts that ſhoot
"ſo high, and ſpread ſo wide. By
"theſe powerſul Ties, doſt Thou draw
"Man to Thyſelf, the Original of all
"Beauty, and Parent of all Good.
"By this wondrous Conſtitution Thou
"unveileſt to him thine eſſential Glory,
"Thou, without whoſe Emanations all
"is Void and Darkneſs, and in Whom
"alone he can find Light, and Life,
"and joy unutterable."
Here AGORETES pauſed a while, and
then ſat down, apparently loſt in the
Depth of his Meditations. I went forward,
and touching him on the Shoulder,
ſaid: So, my Friend, I find you
have been at your Morning Hymn, celebrating
the Works of Nature, and invoking
the Author of our common Felicity.

I confeſs, PHILONOUS, ſaid he, I have
been attempting to liſp out the Praiſes
of Him that made us, though in very
imperfect Accents. For indeed, how
ſaintly at beſt can we trace the Outgoings
of the Ancient of Days in his
Works? How unmeaningly, after our
utmoſt Efforts, muſt we ſpeak of Him
who dwells in unapproachable Light?
I love, however, to peruſe the ſacred
Volume, and to read every Page into
an Hymn of Gratitude.
Surely they are happy Scholars, ſaid
I, who can underſtand thoſe bright Characters
of Divinity, which are to be
found there, and who walk out with
the Morning-Sun, and under the Evening-Sky,
till they become acquainted
with GOD.
O! PHILONOUS, ſaid he, does it not
ſurprize you, that Men can behold, ſo
often behold the Creation, this glorious
Seat of Being and of Beauty, and not
look up through It to its almighty
Maker?
I acknowledge, AGORETES, ſaid I, I
have often wondered how it happens,
that the Colouring and mere Drapery
of Nature, ſhould detain, nay quite
engroſs the Eye of the Generality of
Spectators, whilſt they regard not the
Artiſt at all, or overlook the moſt exquiſite
Touches of his Pencil, and have
no Conception of the great Deſign.
Blind Man, replied AGORETES, that
ſees not GOD, though He is every
where to be ſeen! Deaſ Man, who
hears not GOD, though He ſpeaks aloud
through all his Works! I have often,
PHILONOUS, conſidered the Works of
GOD as his Language, his Words, which
ſpeak to Men his ſupreme Wiſdom,
Power, and Goodneſs. I have ſometimes,
with a noble Author*, conſidered
the Creation as a SERMON, the
moſt ſolemn and awful that was ever
preached, and the Creator as the Great
PREACHER. That Author has ſomewhere
theſe Words, as I remember:
"The Works of Nature appear to me
"the better Sort of Sermons; and
"every flower contains in it the moſt
"edifying Rhetoric, to fill us with
"Admiration of its omnipotent Crea"tor."
This powerſul Preacher, PHILONOUS,
preaches to all in intelligible
Language, and in a Stile as various as
his Works. In conformity to this Idea,
the great Maſter of our Britiſh Drama
ſays ſomewhere,
— Our Life exempt from public
haunt,
Finds Tongues in Trees, Books in the
running Brooks,
* The Duke of Buckingham.
Sermons in Stones, and Good in every
thing.
In ſhort, the Deity addreſſes to our
Eyes, our Ears, our every Senſe; paints
his Conceptions to our Imagination,
unfolds them to our Underſtanding,
and impreſſes them on our Hearts.
What pity is it then, ſaid I, that ſo
divine a Preacher ſhould preach to ſuch
a liſtleſs Audience, and that ſuch various
Eloquence ſhould make ſo faint
an Impreſſion as it generally does! if
the Language is univerſal and expreſſive,
as you ſay, why is it not better
underſtood, and heard with more Attention?

To diſcover the ſeveral Sources of
this Ignorance and Inattention, ſaid AGORETES,
Would require an ample Diſcuſſion
and much Leiſure to make it.
But we may piouſly preſume that the
fault is not in the Preacher, who ſpeaks
with a Voice heard through all the
Earth, and in Words ſounding to the
Ends of the World. He whiſpers to
us ſoftly in the Breeze, admoniſhes us
by Rain, Sun-ſhine, and ſruitſul Seaſons;
ſweetly ſoothes us by the Murmur
of Streams, and the Singing of Birds, or
awfully alarms us by Thunder, Storm,
and Whirlwind; and, in ſhort, inſtructs
us in the Natures, Uſes, and various
Figures and Relations of things, by
Colours, Sounds, and all the Varieties
of Light and Shade. When I conſider
theſe and other admirable Acts of this
divine Orator, I cannot help thinking,
that the moſt Eloquent of the preaching
Tribe might learn many uſeful Hints
from ſo great an Exemplar.
I ſhall be glad, AGORETES, ſaid I,
to hear you point out ſome of them.
For I cannot ſo readily enter into your
Meaning.
Pray, PHILONOUS, replied he, have
you never obſerved what regular coherent
Schemes the Author of Nature is
ſtill carrying on, not only in greater
and general, but in leſſer and individual
Syſtems; from what ſimple and inconſiderable
Beginnings, He deduces their
firſt Proceſs; by what natural and eaſy
Stages, He conducts them through
their ſeveral Periods and Revolutions;.
making one introduce and pave the
way to another, and every Step of the
Progreſs conſpire moſt ſteadily and uniformly
to the great Point in view, the
Perfection of the Syſtem He intended
to produce? By theſe gradual Advances,
and the various Appearances
which the Syſtem, be it Plant or Animal,
ſucceſſively aſſumes, does not the
ſupreme Artiſt inſtruct us in its Conſtitution,
Œconomy, and Uſe, intereſt
us in its ſeveral Fortunes with Pleaſure
or Regret, as it flourishes or decays,
and teach us what Accidents produce
one or the other, and by what Culture
it attains the perfection peculiar to the
kind? Should not a Preacher, in like
manner, be Simple in his Beginning;
enter upon his Subject without much
Parade; unſold it gradually, ſo that it
ſhall ſtill riſe and gather Strength as it
advances; keep one weighty Point in
his Eye; make one Part ſerve to uſher
in another, and all concur in throwing
Light upon the Truth he wants to illuſtrate,
or enforcing the Duty he wants
to recommend? By this means, he will
make his Diſcourſe a regular and compact
Work, conduct the Hearer's Mind
eaſily along the ſeveral Parts, and make
him not only comprehend his main
Deſign, but feel its Energy and Importance.

This is not the only Hint which a
Preacher may borrow from the great
Model I juſt now mentioned. It is
obſervable, PHILONOUS, that the Author
of Nature employs different Means
or Inſtruments, according to the different
Natures and Qualities of the Subjects
he acts upon, in order to attract
our Attention, to excite our Admiration,
and to engage our Affections.
Thus he employs Heat to rarify, and
give an expanſive Force to, ſome Bodies;
Cold to contract, and give a
Conſiſtence and Solidity to, others;
Air and Moiſture, to feed and fertilize;
Sun and Draught to warm and
ripen. Some Creatures he inſtructs in
the Operations of Nature, and the Methods
of Selſ-Preſervation, by means
of Tints and Colours, others by Sounds,
others by Scents, and all by general
Laws, the Inſluence of which is ſteady
and uniform. This I call the various
Language of GOD, or the different Styles
of the ſovereign Preacher; which are
admirably adapted to every Species of
Being, and their reſpective Capacities.
In his more auguſt Works, he employs
the Style of Majeſty, and ſpeaks the
true Sublime. In his minuter Works,
wonderful Correctneſs and Elegance appear:
and in all his Works, inimitable
Simplicity and Beauty. Sometimes he
inſtructs us by Analogy, and ſpeaks in
Tropes and Figures, if I may be allowed
the Expreſſion; at other times
he talks, exhorts, and admoniſhes in a
Language ſo plain and ſamiliar, as all
may underſtand, and none can miſtake
but the unattentive or the perverſe.
Should not a Preacher, in Imitation of
ſo divine a Pattern, vary his Style and
Manner, according to the Nature of
his Subject and the Capacities of his:
Audience? For as the ſame Dreſs will
not ſuit every Shape, neither will the
ſame Style agree to every Subject: And
there are as great Diverſities in the Genius
and Capacity of different People,
as in their Shape and Air; to whom
if a Speaker addreſs himſelf in the
ſame unvaried manner, he may perhaps
ſurpriſe, but certainly he cannot
edify all.
The laſt Hint I would take notice
of, continued AGORETES, is this, that:
as vaſt as the Profuſion of Art is,
which runs through the whole Compaſs
of the Creation, it is generally in
ſome fort hidden by the great Artiſt,
at leaſt he hardly makes any oſtentations
of it. He ſeems to amuſe us
with the exteriour Decorations of the
Machinery, but covers up from View
the Springs which actuate the whole.
We ſee the Phenomena, and feel the
Effects, but are left to gueſs at the
latent Cauſes. Though from a ſuperſicial
Survey, one would imagine,.
that Nature conſulted chiefly the Ornament
of her Productions; yet to
an accurate Obſerver, ſhe appears
principally intent upon their Uſefulneſs.
Every thing elſe is made ſubordinate
to this, and all the external Colouring
is only the Gloſs and Varniſh
of the moſt finiſhed internal Structure,
or elaborate Symmetry of Parts. Even
in the wildeſt and moſt uncontrouled
Play of Nature, we may diſcern maſterly
Strokes of Art; and on the other
hand, in her more laboured Pieces of
Workmanſhip, we may obſerve, an apparent
Air of Eaſineſs, and a noble kind
of Negligence. So that ſhe gradually
prepares and powerfully beſpeaks our
Attention, rather by the Importance
of her Deſign, and the Dignity of her
Action, than by a direct Addreſs and
ſtudied Parade. Now I ſhould eſteem
him the beſt Orator, who acts in conformity
to this ſupreme Model; who
whilſt he carries his main End ever in
his Eye, ſeems to be doing ſomething
elſe who regards Ornament only as
ſubſervient to this, conceals the Depth
of his Art under an Air of Simplicity,
and rather commands our Attention by
the Weight of Matter, than ſolicits it
by the Shew of Eloquence.
I have often heard, ſaid I, that one
of the principal Excellencies of Art
was to hide Art. But I believe it is
much eaſier to diſcover, than to imitate,
the marvellous Art of this divine
Preacher; who when He has a mind
to rouſe our Attention, can ſpeak to
the Heart as well as to the Ear, with a
Force which no Mortal can reſiſt, and
a Perſuaſion which no Prejudice can
elude. Therefore I am afraid, the
Perſection of this Model may diſcourage,
inſtead of inviting, us to copy
after it.
Maſters in every Art, replied AGORETES,
generally propoſe to their Pupils
the moſt perſect Models they can
find; not ſurely to damp their Attempts,
but to inſpirit them, and at
once to ſecure them againſt the Deſects
and Errors into which leſs ſiniſhed Patterns
might lead them, and ſo point out
to them the Perſections of the particular
Art they want to teach them. It
is enough, if they are ever approaching
to the Standard of Beauty, tho'
they ſhould never be able to reach it.
I ſhould be glad to hear your Opinion,
AGORETES, ſaid I, concerning
this Standard of Beauty, with regard to
the Art of which you have been ſpeaking.
In what does it conſiſt, and
with what Maſters is it to be found?
Alas! PHILONOUS, ſaid he, what a
Taſk would you put me upon? It belongs
only to a Practitioner, a Maſter
of the Art, to tell what that is; and it
would ill become one to attempt ſuch
an arduous Taſk who has ſcarce imbibed
the firſt Principles of the Art, and
never once attempted the Praſtice of
it. For, like all other Arts, I believe
it is beſt learned by Practice, and
ſtudying the trueſt Models. But where
thoſe are to be found, is hard to gueſs,
and it were too arrogant in me to pretend
to determine. Every Age has
had its favourite Ones, and one Nation
differs as much from another in
its Method of Preaching, as in its
Language and Manners. Indeed it
has been generally influenced by theſe,
and formed on the prevailing Taſte
and Genius of the People, among
whom it has been practiſed, undergoing
the ſame Revolutions, which thoſe
have undergone.
I think it were worth while, ſaid I
to trace the different Methods which
have prevailed, and the ſeveral Models
which have been in vogue in different
Ages and Nations; becauſe from
ſuch a Review, one might collect
many uſeful Obſervations to direct one's
Practice, and perhaps to diſcover the
moſt genuine and authorized Standards.

I am much of your Opinion, ſaid
AGORETES; for Preaching is a ſort of
public Speaking; and public Speaking
depends on that which is private;
and again private Speaking is always
inſluenced by the Sentiments, Complexions,
and Characters of the Speakers.
Therefore, in order to go thro'
that Review you mention, of the different
Manners of Preaching, that
have prevailed in different Ages and
Nations, it would be neceſſary to examine
the different Ways of public
Speaking; and that Inquiry would naturally
include in it a Detail of the
Manners of the Times: but this, I
fear, would lead us out of our Depth,
and perhaps after all be more curious
than uſeful.
I know, AGORETES, ſaid I, you
have often thought upon the Subject;
and though a full Diſcuſſion of it
might be a very complicated Affair,
and require deep Knowledge of ancient
and modern Times, yet I imagine
ſume ſlight Touches, or general
Strictures on it, might help us to hit
upon the Standard we are in queſt of.
Since you urge me to warmly, PHILONOUS,
ſaid he, I ſhall frankly communicate
a few Obſervations, and indeed
they are but ſuperficial ones, that
I have made on the different Veins of
public Speaking and Preaching, which
have run through different Nations and
Ages.
You know that Athens was one of the
ancient Seats of Learning, with which
we are beſt acquainted; and perhaps,
of all the ancient ones, the moſt renowned
for Arts, and public Speaking.
The Citizens of this noted Republic were
an ingenious, quick-witted, ſprightly
People, practiſed in Buſineſs, and ſharpened
by frequent and ſudden Revolutions
which happened in their Government.
The Genius of it was
moſtly Democratical: the Legiſlature
conſiſted rather of the collective Body
of the People, than of a ſelect Repreſentative;
and Affairs were managed
there principally by Speaking,
Briguing and an artful Application to
the Paſſions or Intereſts of a popular
Aſſembly. There Laws were propoſed
and enacted, Peace and War decreed,
and from thence Magiſtrates
were choſen. for the higheſt Honours
in the State, were alike open to
all; nor was the meaneſt Tradeſman
excluded from a Seat in the moſt au-guſt
Court of the Nation. Here then
was abundant Encouragement and Play
to the Wit and Talents, both natural
and acquired, of this ſenſible People.
if we add to this Conſideration, the
univerſal Commerce they had with their
Neighbours, and with Strangers from
every Quarter; the free Intercourſe of
all Ranks, with one another; the early
Introduction, and quick Progreſs of
the Arts among them; the ſtrong Tincture
of Superſtition, which gave a deep
Colour to their Manners, and added to
the Volubility of their Tongues, as well
as made their City the great Mart of
religious Myſteries; together with the
fine Air and Situation, which gave a
peculiar Edge and Quickneſs to their
Spirits; we need not wonder, that the
Turn of private Converſation, and the
Practice of public Speaking, were carried
to high Degrees of Refinement.
Accordingly, this rich and ſertile Soil
produced a Crop of Orators of every
Species, who excelled in all the different
Kinds of Speaking, the ſamiliar,
the elegant, the pathetic, the ſublime.
But what ſeems to have principally
prevailed, and to have been in
the higheſt Vogue, was a round, eaſy,
natural, and withal a conciſe way of
Speaking, ſuch as touched the main
Point in queſtion, and convinced the
Judgment, no leſs than it moved the
Paſſions. It muſt be acknowledged,
indeed, that ambitious Demagogues
and corrupt Orators, in order to ſerve
their own private Views, did often
dazzle, and ſometimes miſlead the People
by a ſhewy, but falſe Eloquence,
by playing upon their Credulity, ſoothing
their Vanity, or gratifying ſome
preſent Guſt of Paſſion. But when any
great Danger rouſed them from their
Lethargy, or when ſome important Intereſt
drew their Attention, and ſet
them a thinking, that temporary Enchantment
vaniſhed: they made a juſt
Diſtinction between the genuine and the
ſpurious Orator, and ſhewed the Accuteneſs
of their Senſe, by the Wiſdom
of their Determinations. for we are
allured by one who knew them well,
the candid XENOPHON, who was no
Friend to the Commons, that they generally
conſulted the public Intereſt.
Thus we find, that the trueſt Orator among
them, DEMOSTENÈS I mean,was
always the moſt triumphant. Why?
Becauſe he ſpoke to the Purpofe, uſed
no unneceſſary Circumlocutions, affected
no inſignificant Parade of Eloquence,
employed no Figures but what
were expreſſive and proper, no Arguments
but what were cogent and weighty;
ſhewed clearly where their Intereſt
lay, and pathetically enforced thoſe
Meaſures that were requiſite to obtain
or ſecure it. The mere Play of Words,
the injuidicious Oſtentation of Wit, or
empty Pomp of Declamation, would,
in any critical Conjuncture, have been
hiſſed or laughed at by an Audience, ſo
intelligent and practiſed in Affairs;
who made their greateſt Orators tremble
at ſuch Times, and ſummon up
their whole force of Head and Tongue,
when they undertook to harangue to
them. Among a People ſo enlightened,
vivacious, and full of Spirits, Action,
and all the exterior Apparatus of
Oratory, were carried to the higheſt
Pitch; as we may gueſs from the vaſtly
ſuperior force aſcribed to Harangues
when enlivened with all the Warmth,
and embelliſhed with all the Graces of
Elocution, above thoſe when read only.
There the Supploſis Pedum, the Porrectio
and Contractio Manuum, the various
and ſignificant Expreſſion of the Face,
were all employed with the utmoſt Sagacity:
the Fancy of the Hearers was
charmed by all the Power of Imagery,
yet rendered ſubſervient to the cooler
Dictates of Reaſon: their Paſſions were
aſſaulted ſometimes by open Storm and
Battery, but oftener indirectly and by
Sap: their Senſes of Seeing and Hear-ing
were filled and ſatisſied with all the
Decency of Action and Harmony of
Sound; and the whole Competition
was animated with a Soul which a Senſe
of Common-weal could alone inſpire,
and which Liberty and equal Laws
could alone ſuſtain. Even after that
Senſe expired, and when that Liberty
and thoſe Laws were no more, the external
form and elegant Propriety of
Speaking ſtill ſubſiſted: and it was in
the School of Athens that the Orators
of Rome ſtudied the moſt approved
Models, and ſought, by graſting Attic
Elegance on Roman Spirit, to rival the
almoſt inimitable Productions of a PERICIES,
or a DEMOSTHENES. And we
find, that when the eloquent Apoſtle of
the Gentiles addreſſed himſelf to a mixed
Aſſembly of the Athenians, though he
artfully touched the popular Superſtition,
yet he uſes no Flouriſhes of Rhetoric,
no A ſſectation of Wit, nor Parade
of vain Philoſophy, but ſpeaks to the
Reaſon, rather than to the Paſſions of his
Audience. Such then was the Athenian
Style or Genius of Speaking; which
was, no doubt, more or leſs rude or
poliſhed, according to the gradual Refinement
of their Taſte and Manners;
and more or leſs free and pathetic, or
ſervile and fawning, according to the different
Changes which their Government
underwent; but which ſtill preſerved,
amidſt thoſe leſſer Diverſities, the characteriſtical
Simplicity, Roundneſs, and
Vivacity, that diſtinguiſhed the Attic
Eloquence.
I do not doubt, ſaid I, but you have
done Juſtice to the Athenian Manner;
and indeed I cannot help thinking it
ſuitable to the Standard of Nature, and
peculiarly adapted to the Turn of ſuch
a ſhrewd and ſenſible People. I ſhall
be glad to hear your Opinion next of
the Roman Eloquence.
As to it, I cannot ſo thoroughly ſatisſy
myſelf, ſaid AGORETES. In general,
I take the Paſſions as well as the
Underſtandings of the Roman People
to have been upon a lower Key than.
thoſe of the Athenians. Their martial
Genius, their conſtant Engagements
in War, and their Ignorance of Commerce,
gave them a more grave, rough,
and ſullen Caſt, and hardly admitted
thoſe Refinements in Arts and Eloquence,
which were peculiar to the ingenious
Greeks. Indeed, the form of
their Government, which was ſomething
between the Ariſlocratical and
the Popular, the mighty Conteſts which
arofe between the Nobles and the
Commons, and the ſingular Advantage
which Eloquence gave the leading Men
in their public Aſſemblies, made Speaking
be ſoon ſtudied as an Art, a powerſul
Engine of Government, and a neceſſary
Step to Preferment. But the
Romans were a cold, ſaturnine and
phlegmatic People, and therefore neither
entered ſo quickly into the force
of an Argument, nor were their Paſſions
ſo eaſiy moved as thoſe of an
Athenian Audience. Halſ a Sentence,
a ſingle Hint was ſuſſicient to make
Them ſee the Drift of an Orator; and
if he became wordy, went out of his
way in queſt of Ornament, or loaded
their Ears with unneceſſary Illuſtrations,
they were ready to correct his
Froth, and bring him back to the Point
in debate. But a Roman Ear, being
lets ſenſible, and more accuſtomed to
the Din of War, required more Circumlocutions,
more Ornament and Preparation,
to draw its Attention: the
Underſtanding needed a greater Compaſs
of Sentiments and of Style, to
open its Perceptions; and the Paſſions
were to be rouſed by bolder Figures, a
more boiſterous Addreſs, and a more
animated Action. Thus we find, that
the Voice of a GRACCHUS grew ſo outrageous,
through the vehement Pathos.
with which he ſpoke, that it muſt be
taken down from its exceſſive Flights,
by the ſofter Modulations of a Pipe,
which his Prompter uſed at his Back.
The ſtriking the Forehead and the
Thigh, were ordinary Expreſſions of
ſtrong Emotions of Mind. And we
may eaſily believe, that Action was
greatly ſtudied, when we find the judicious
Teacher of Roman Eloquence, entering
into ſo minute a Detail of every
Part of it, and even condeſcending ſo
far as to regulate the Motion of every
Finger. The Popular Orations of CiCERO,
though filled with the nobleſt
Strains of Eloquence, are yet generally
diffuſe and declamatory, ſometimes
puerile, and often florid. There
you ſee ſometimes an injudicious Affectation
of Wit, quaint Antitheſes, the
Play of Words, far fetched Metaphors
and Figures, Language ſwelling even
to Fuſtian, and often more Attention
to Ornament than to Truth, and a
greater Concern to ſet off the Orator
than the Cauſe. We may readily ſuppoſe,
that if ſo great and eſteemed a
Model fell into ſuch a Manner, he
would not want Imitators in a State,
where the public Taſte was not yet
thoroughly ſettled. Perhaps indeed the
Genius of the People made it more
neceſſary than we are at preſent aware
of; and therefore, unleſs we were better
acquainted with them, it may be too
haſty to paſs a deciſive Sentence againſt
the Judgment and Addreſs of ſo good
a Judge, and ſo able a Performer.
Though after all, we may make the
freer with him, as he has, with ſuch
Eaſe and Dignity, uſed the firſt Liberty
with himſelf. In his Time, and the
Age which ſucceeded, the Correctneſs
of the Athenian Manner came, however,
more into vogue: mere Declamation,
and the tinſel Trappings of
Diſcourſe were generally avoided, and
became a favourite Topic of Ridicule
to the poliſhed Wits of the Auguſtan
Age. But things having now reached
their Prime, declined faſt: Liberty, the
Soul of Roman Eloquence, was extinguiſhed:
the ſtudied Periods of Flattery,
and the empty Pomp of falſe
Oratory, took place: Men durſt not
ſpeak, and hardly think, with Freedom:
Philoſophers wrote, Senators
harangued, and Courtiers ſpoke, according
to the Nod of a Maſter, and
ecchoed only to his Sentiments and
Pleaſure. So that Eloquence, and moſt
of the fine Arts withdrew; or hid their
diminiſhed Heads, and leſt behind them
a deep and univerſal Gloom.
I doubt not, ſaid I, but the Deſtruction
of the free Government, and
the general Servility of Spirit and
Manners which ſucceeded, muſt have
greatly forwarded the Degeneracy of
Eloquence and Arts in the Roman Empire.
But as the Dawn of Gospel
Light broke forth about this Time, and
the Apoſtles and followers of our Saviour
began to propagate Chriſtianity
through this extenſive Empire; do you
not think, that, ſince they derived the
Manner, as well as Materials, of their
Preaching, from the great Fountain of
Truth, and ſupreme Model of Eloquence,
they muſt have approached
the neareſt to that juſt Standard, which,
we are ſeeking after?
I believe the Apoſtolic Manner, ſaid
AGORETES, is a noble Pattern for
modern Preachers in many and important
Reſpects. But to copy it too
cloſe, without making proper Allowances
for the Difference of their Character,
and that of the Apoſtles, and
of the Manners of that Age, and this
in which we live, might perhaps lead
the forward Imitators into ſeveral Miſtakes.
Thoſe Apoſtolic Inſtructors were
formed upon the Eaſtern Taſte and
Manner. The Jews, and in general
the People of thoſe Eaſtern Countries,
were naturally of a warm Imagination:
their Perceptions were acute, and their
Paſſions violent: they ſpoke little, and
thought much; and what they ſpoke
was generally with great Parade and
many Circumlocutions: when prompted
by vehement Emotions, or inſpired
by the ſudden Sallies of an heated
Fancy, they broke out into ſtrong Metaphors,
bold Figures, daring Images,
and a Diction often extravagant, and
always pompous. We may believe,
that their Manner would be of a piece,
full of Heat and Action, intenſe and
animated far beyond the Ordinary of
Countries, where the Fancy and Feelings
of the Inhabitants were upon a
lower Key. Their Voice was raiſed
the higher, that it was ſeldom exerciſed;
and all their Geſtures were naturally
violent, as being expreſſive of
thoſe internal Throws which agitated
their Minds. Thus we find their Prophets,
who were profeſſed Preachers
among them, ſometimes delivering their
heavenly Meſſages by ſignificant Actions
or Symbols, ſmiting upon their
Thigh, throwing themſelves proſtrate
on their Faces, covering their Heads
with Sackcloth and with Aſhes, and
the like Expreſſions of Grief, Indignation,
Repentance, &c. The highly
figurative Religion of the Jews, the
frequent Revolutions their Government
underwent, the ſeveral national Miſfortunes
they ſuffered, the high Opinion
they entertained of themſelves,
as the peculiar People, and of their Country,
as the Seat of Miracles, the Land
of Prophecy, and the choſen Inheritance
of GOD, all contributed to inflame
their Imaginations, and to give a deeper
Hue and more metaphoric Tincture,
if I may ſo ſpeak, to their Language.
Accordingly we ſee, that the Epiſtolary
Writings of the Apoſtles, which we
may ſuppoſe came the neareſt to their
Manner of Preaching, are full of Metaphors,
Amplifications, Characterizing
and Change of Perſons, Circumlocutions,
Parentheſes, Allegories, and
frequent Alluſions to the Hebrew Polity,
Ceremonies, Hiſtory, and Cuſtoms.
Such Strains of Writing and
Preaching, were adapted to the Genius,
and level to the Underſtandings of thoſe
to whom they were addreſſed: but to
us they appear ſtiff, as it were, often
obſcure, and ſometimes unintelligible;
and, were they to be drawn too cloſely
into Imitation, would be thought unnatural
and extravagant, and be in ſact
incomprehenſible to a modern Audience,
of a Taſte, and Manners ſo widely
different, as ours generally are.
The Dignity of the Apoſtolic Character,
the ſupernatural Gifts of which
thoſe divine Men were poſſeſſed, and
the ſublime Nature of their Commiſſion,
derived immediately from Heaven,
did likewiſe entitle them to aſſume a
freedom in judging, a Severity in rebuking,
an Authority in commanding,.
and a Majeſty in their whole manner
of Addreſs, which the confeſt Inferiority
of the Character of a modern
Preacher will by no means permit him
to emulate, without expofing both the
Preacher, and his Preaching, to juſt
Contempt. Yet, after all, there is often
found in the Apoſtolic Manner, a Sublimity
of Sentiment, a Pomp of Deſcription,
a Clearneſs, Strength, and
Brevity of Precept, a Cloſeneſs of Appeal,
a Force and Abruptneſs of Interrogation,
a Simplicity of Words, and
Pathos of Addreſs, that are admirable
in themſelves, and worthy the Imitation
of every Preacher.
The immediate followers of our Saviour
and his Apoſtles, we may believe
imbibed their Spirit, and imitated their
Manner. They were generally Men of
mean Birth and low Station; and as
their natural Parts were not improved
by a polite or learned Education, their
Authority and Succeſs in Preaching
did not depend on their Capacity, or
Skill in the Arts of Oratory, but on
the Simplicity of their Manners, the
ſingular Sanctity of their Life and Character,
and the Importance and Credibility
of the Teſtimony they bore to
the great ſacts and Doctrines of Chriſlianity,
which had been all along ſupported
by ſuch irreſiſtible Evidence.
It pleaſed Heaven to employ theſe apparently
weak Tools, in carrying on
its great Deſigns, and to ſend forth
thoſe plain Men to erect, in Oppoſtion
to the inveterate Prejudices and
ſenſual Paſſions of the World, the Croſs
of a deſpiſed Saviour, to erect it upon
the Ruins of the eſtabliſhed Religion,.
and its admired Mythology. Accordingly
their artleſs Preaching and indefatigable
Labours were made ſucceſsful
in removing thoſe Prejudices, ſubduing
thoſe Paſſions, and ſpreading the Kingdom
of the Meſſias.
But in proportion as Chriſtianity took
Root, extended its Branches, and came
to be ſupported by the civil Powers, the
public Teachers of it did ſoon and
greatly degenerate from the glorious
Pattern of their Predeceſſors, bended
the Rigour of their Maxims to the
growing Luxury of the Age, and affected
to pleaſe the popular Taſte, by
a new and more palatable Species of
Addreſs. The polite Arts, and, among
the reſt, that of Speaking, I obſerved
before were then greatly corrupted;
and this Corruption, as muſt naturally
happen, reached both the Bar and
Pulpit. People were grown fond of
the florid Manner in every thing: the
gaudy and declamatory Style became
faſhionable: far-fetched Similies, forced
Antitheſes, laboured Conceits, rounded
Periods, and allegorical Expoſitions of
Scripture, were much in vogue. Some
learned fathers, who were late Proſelytes
from the School of PLATO to that
of JESUS, and who imagined ſome of
the literal Senſes of Scripture inconſiſtent,
or not ſo well reconcileable,
with thoſe Principles of Philoſophy,
which they had early imbibed, explained
theſe away, and had recourſe
to myſtical ones. Others, from a well
meant but indiſcreet Zeal for the Spirit,
abandoned the Dryneſs of the Letter,
and, in order to edify their Hearers,
converted many Parts of the ſacred
Story into abſtruſe, ſpiritual, and moral
Allegories. Thus, for inſtance, with
what Art and Subtilty does AMBROSE
explain away PETER'S Denial of his
Maſter, and how ungrammatically does
he torture and allegorize the Words, to
ſupport his own unnatural Hypotheſis?
With what a jejune Violence does he
apply the Perſons in the Song of SOLOMON,
one to the Body, the other to the
Soul of the dead Emperor VALENTINIAN,
in his funeral Oration for him.
With what Impropriety does JEROM
level JEREMIAH'S prophetical Reproofs
of the Jews, for their Superſtition and
Idolatry, againſt a Chriſtian Widow, for
a ſecond Marriage? How wildly does
JUSTIN MARTYR talk, in diſcourſing
on the Myſtery of the Croſs, which he
calls the greateſt Symbol of Dominion
and Power; without the form of which
he affirms that human Affairs could not
be tranſacted, and to which he applies
all the Sticks and Pieces of Wood,
mentioned in the Old Teſtament. How
puerile is IRENÆUS, in carrying on the
Analogy between the clean and unclean
Beaſts, and Men; comparing the former,
who divide the Hoof, and chew
the Cud, to thoſe that believe in the
Father and in the Son, and that meditate
on the law; and the latter to thoſe
that do neither? How idly does CLEMENS
alledge the Phenix as a Type and.
Proof of the Reſurrection? Into what
a trifling Play of Words does AUSTIN,
notwithſtanding all his Eloquence, ſall
on a thouſand Occaſions? .How luxuriant
is even the learned ORIGEN in his
allegorical Senſes, by which he wanted
to enrich and diverſify the literal, to
refine and exalt the ſimple Facts, and
by ſo doing, to convey ſome important
Truth, or to enforce ſome uſeful Precept?
However other Fathers, eſpecially
the Greek, (for in the Eaſt the
juſt Manner of Speaking and Writing,
continued longer than in the Weſt)
ſhewed better Judgment, and a truer
Taſte, ſtudied a more plain and natural
Turn of Preaching, and ſought to convince
by ſound Reaſoning, and to move
by the proper Arts of Perſuaſion. Among
theſe, CHRYSOSTOM and BASIL
ſhone out as the beſt and moſt, eloquent
Models. Theſe rejected the vain
Flouriſhes, and dry. Stiffneſs of Art,
and ſollowed more the Simplicity of
Nature. They were content to explain
the Scriptures according to their literal
and grammatical Senſe; they reaſoned
the Point, of which they wanted to
convince their Audience, with Cloſeneſs
and Strength of Argument, painted
things to their very Imaginations, in
their moſt natural and ſtriking Circumſtances,
and performed this with
ſuch. Clearneſs and Beauty of Language,
as at once inſtructd, edified,
and warmed the People. "The Style
"of St. CHRYSOSTOM," ſays a fine
Judge, "is diffuſe; but he ſeeks no
"falſe Ornaments: all tends to Per"ſuaſion:
he places every thing with
"Deſign: he is well acquainted with
"Scripture, and the Manners of Men:
"he inſinuates himſelf into the Heart,
"gives a Relieſ and Colouring to every
"thing, has noble Thoughts, and is
"not void of Paſſion St. BASIL,"
ſays the ſame Critic, "is grave, ſen"tentious,
and auſtere, even in his
"Diction. He thoroughly underſtood
"the Goſpel-Scheme, and the Diſeaſes
"of Man, and is a great Maſter in
"the Cure and Regimen of Souls."
Afterwards, in proportion as the
Church grew more corrupted, the Manner
of Preaching partook of the common
Contagion, and ſunk into Superſtition
and Futility in the Explanation
of the Doctrines of Chriſtianity, or ſwelled
into Fuſtian and falſe Rhetoric in
recommending its Morals. True Faith
was involved in Fable, Myſticiſm, and
wild Chimera: true Piety was buried
under a Load of childiſh and ſuperſtitious
Practices; and true Virtue was
loſt amidſt that Ambition and Luxury,
which prompted ſome to be the Deluders
and Tyrants, and that Ignorance
and Senſuality, which prepared others
to be the Dupes and Slaves of their
fellow-creatures.
I do not doubt, ſaid I, but the Detail
you have gone through is ſufficiently
juſt; as the unfortunate Situation
of the Times, before and after the Declenſion
of the Roman Empire, and the
Manners of thoſe barbarous Ages, muſt
have proportionably corrupted the general
Vein of Speaking and of Writing.
But did not the Revival of Learning,
bring things back to their ancient Purity,
and particularly give a new form
and Spirit to Eloquence, Poetry, and
the other Siſter-Arts?
The inveterate Ruſt, ſaid AGORETES,
which Gothic Ignorance and Barbarity
had ſpread over Men and Things,
made all Improvements of that kind
totally impraſticable, whilſt it continued,
and very difficult, when it began
to wear ofſ. The Monks, and other
Prieſts, generally formed themſelves
upon the worſt Models they found
among the Fathers, and indulged to
Allegory with the utmoſt Wantonneſs
of Fancy. Indeed, as the Taſte for
Grecian and Roman Learning increaſed,
Men of Letters began to reliſh a more
chaſte Manner in Compoſition: CICERO
became the great Model of thoſe
who picqued themſelves on a polite
Strain; and to depart from that eſtabliſhed
Standard, was deemed almoſt
Hereſy by theſe Ciceronian Admirers.
But after all, the grofs Corruptions of
the public Religion, in Roman Catholic
Countries, continued, and I doubt ſtill
continue, a dead Weight on the Generality
of its Preachers, and prevent the
Eloquence of the Pulpit from riſing to
that perfection, which the Progreſs of
other Arts among them might give one
Reaſon to expect. It muſt, indeed, be
allowed that, with regard to the exterior
Parts of Eloquence, they equal
perhaps, if not excel, the moſt finiſhed
Pulpit-Orators of their Proteſtant Brethren.
thoſe they ſtudy with unwearied
Aſſiduity: they have profeſſed Teachers
among them, who with infinite Sagacity
and Induſtry teach the beſt Rules
of Speaking, Pronouncing, and Acting,
and point out to them the beſt
Models in all theſe. At the ſame time,
the particular Genius, Diſpoſitions, and
Climate of thoſe Countries, do naturally
infuſe into their Manner, and of
courſe authorize, a Sprightlineſs and
Agility, which is unfelt, or if felt,
would hardly be allowed of, in colder
and more Northern Countries.
The French are a lively, loquacious,
and witty People: Accordingly, we
find their Preachers wonderfully warm,
diffuſe, full of Action in the Pulpit,
as in Converſation; ſanciful and pictureſque
in their Deſcriptions, and rather
elegant and wordy, than deeply ſtrong
in their Converſations. The Italians,
who are of a more ſevere, cautious,
and reſerved Caſt in their Temper and
Converſation, ſhew a proportionable
Difference in their Manner of Speaking
and Preaching. Their Preachers
are ſubtil, acute, and refined, of a leſs
vivacious, yet more commanding Action
than the French: Full of Spirit
and Paſſion, yet more ſmooth and artful
in managing them. Though this
may be generally true of the common
Rule, yet both Nations have given us
good Models of ſtrong Reaſoning and
maſterly Eloquence, equally accommodated
to pleaſe the moſt refined Taſte,
and to affect the moſl Vulgar. The
Spaniſh Manner, like that of the Nation,
is more ſolemn, ſtatelv, and full of
Figures formed for Oſtentation, and
proudly ſwelling with all the Pomp of
Rhetoric. Their Genius is piercing,
and ſublime; and though, perhaps, as
full of Fire as any of their Neighbours,
yet more chaſtened by the Stiffneſs
and Haughtineſs of their Manners.
if I durſt, in like manner,
hazard a Criticiſm upon the Engliſh
Method of Preaching, I ſhould ſay,
it had its Peculiarity, adapted to the
Genius of the People. This I take to
be leſs loquacious than the French, leſs
reſerved than the Italian, more phlegmatic
and ſaturnine than both. As they
are generally open and candid themſelves,
they diſlike the Appearance of
Art in others, eſpecially in thoſe who addreſs
them. Their Paſſions reſemble
their Climate, being generally cold and
inconſtant: but their Opulence, and the
Freedom of their Government, make
them bolder and leſs cautious in expreſſing
them. They are thoughtſul,
grave, and much ſubject to the Spleen
and Vapours, to ſudden Flows of
Good-humour, and frequent Fits of
bad.
Now, though the general Turn of
Preaching among them reſembles their
national Complexion, and is moſtly in
a cool diſpaſſionate Key; yet has it
always taken a Tincture from the particular
Character of the different Ages,
and the periodical Conſtitutions, if I
may ſo ſay, of the Nation; as they
have been more or leſs refined, calm
or turbulent, ſober or luxurious. —
But to trace theſe nicer Differences,
would, I am afraid, lead us into too
great a Detail, and require a deeper
and more extenſive Knowledge of the
Times than I can pretend to.
I ſhould be glad, however, ſaid I,
to hear your Opinion, in general, of
the more obſervable Revolutions, that
have happened in the Method of Preaching
in our Country, ſince the Reformation.
for I am perſuaded, you have
often thought of the Subject; whereas
it is quite new to me.
I acknowledge, ſaid AGORETES,
I have ſometimes conſidered thoſe
changes, and have imagined I could
obſerve a real Diverſity in their ſeveral
Manners, which have prevailed: But
it is only a few of the moſt Obvious,
which I dare venture to gueſs at, rather
than undertake to aſcertain.
Soon after the Reformation, when the
two Nations fell under one Head, the
firſt Appearance that Preaching made,
was in the pompous, metaphorical
Dreſs. Our learned King brought
Learning into vogue; and to quote
Greek and Latin Authors, even in common
Converſation, was faſhionable and
courtly. His ſacred Majeſty deigned
to inſtruct as well as to govern his
People. His obſequious and docile
Pupils, both Clergy and Laity, vied
with each other, who ſhould imbibe
faſteſt the liberal Stream, and admire
moſt implicitly the awful Dictates of
their anointed Tutor. The whole Learning
of the Age, was ſhaped after the
royal Model, dark, ſcholaſtic, and controverſial;
except what Lord BACON,
by the force of a ſuperiour Genius,
ventured to ſtrike out. The Style of
Preaching was declamatory and figurative,
pointed with Puns and Antitheſes,
and larded with Greek and Latin
Quotations. The Preachers made a
Parade of comparing different Verſions,
and tracing the Originals; diſtributed
the Text into cold and dry Diviſions,
adorned their Compofitions with Quibbles,
and the ſilly Jingle of Words,
becoming School-Boys rather than Men
and Scholars; and often perverted
them from their proper Deſign, to
inculcate the Principles of Slavery and
arbitrary Power, and to ſubſerve their
own ſordid and ambitious Purpoſes.
In the next Period, things took a
different Turn. The Paſſions of Men
were wonderfully inflamed, by the Attempts
which were made, to introduce
arbitrary Government. The Convulſions,
Viciſſitudes, and various Calamities
of a civil War, rouſed the Spirits
of the contending Parties, which had
been damped or kept down by the
preceding Tyranny; filled them with
fears and Hopes, and hurried them
from one Extreme to another. In
ſuch a Situation, the Spirit of Enthuſiaſm
is moſt apt to invade the human
Mind, and to break out into Raptures
or Panics. And as a perſect Freedom
in Religion, ſucceeded to the Severity
of eccleſiaſtic Tyranny, the religious
Paſſions burſt out with a Violence proportioned
to the Reſtraints they had
formerly lain under. Therefore the
Genius of Preaching reſembled that of
the Age, and run into an high, pathetic,
and enthuſiaſtic Vein. A devotional
Spirit was the general Faſhion,
which every one was obliged to be in,
or elſe to make up by the Fairneſs of
the Mark, for the Want of Reality.
In ſuch Circumſtances, Men were apt
to be miſled by every ignorant or
impudent pretender, to extraordinary
Degrees of Zeal and Sanctity. And
as it was the Intereſt of the different
Leaders, to have it commonly believed,
that Heaven had lifted itſelf of
their Party; ſo the Faith of particular
divine Interpoſitions in their Favour,
was eaſily propagated, and greedily
ſwallowed by both Sides. If we add
to this, that where Mens Hopes or
Fears are much raiſed by the Greatneſs
of the Venture, and the Uncertainty
of the Iſſue, they are exceedingly prone
to ſeek Aſſiſtance, and to expect Relieſ,
from Heaven: I ſay, putting all this
together, it is no wonder that a prodigious
Spawn of Enthuſiaſts and Sectaries
appeared, whoſe Minds were like
Tinder, ready to take Fire with every
Spark, and to kindle into the moſt furious
Combuſtions. Therefore the Diſpoſitions
of Preachers and People, were
reciprocally inflaming, and inflamed by
each other. The Tone of Preaching
was agitated and various, as were the
Paſſions of the Hearers. It glowed
with uncommon Fervours, ſudden
Lights, and ſupernatural Impulſes, or
ſtrong Pretences to them, and with a
mighty Zeal for Purity and Reformation,
whether real or affected. No
doubt, there was much Seriouſneſs and
undiſſembled Ardour, an higher Spirit
of Devotion, a warmer Senſe of divine
Things, and ſtronger Affections to a
public Intereſt, than have appeared
before or ſince that Period. Where
theſe took place, the Aſſiſtance of
Learning and human Art was often
deſpiſed as unneceſſary, or dreaded as
derogatory to higher Gifts: And the
ſober Chaſtenings of Judgment gave
way to unnatural ſlights, turgid Conceits,
a pompous Style, and ungoverned
Action. But where they were wanting,
the indiſcreet Votaries endeavoured to
ſupply their Room by affected Raptures,
unmeaning Cant, wild Grimace,
and all the Diſtortions of Enthuſiaſm,
blended with Superſtition.
I do not at all wonder, ſaid I, when
the Imaginations and Paſſions of Men
were ſo much inflamed by the important
Events of ſuch a giddy, tumultuous,
and diverſified Scene, that they run
into Extremes, and bore about them ſo
many Symptoms of enthuſiaſtic ſrenzy.
And, doubtleſs, the Manner of Preaching
then in vogue, muſt have been of
the marvellous and pathetic Strain:
But then I am apt to believe, that it
ſtill retained a good deal of the Pedantry
of the preceding Age; and though
ſome of the enlightened Teachers might
undervalue human Aids in their Compoſitions,
yet others of them, eſpecially
ſuch as filled the Seats of Learning,
made uſe likewiſe of their literary Accompliſhments,
and ſtuffed their Sermons
as well as other Writings, with
numerous Scraps of Latin, much polemic
Brawl, and a ſublime kind of Fuſtian,
rather than a manly and moving
Eloquence. But I beg you will go on
with your Hiſtory.
In this I agree with you, ſaid AGORETES.
Many of the religious Leaders
among the Sectaries, were Men of conſiderable
Learning and Abilities; and
in many of their Writings we diſcover
a noble unaffected Piety, a ſingular
Elevation of Thought, a great Compaſs
of Knowledge, and much Variety
and Strength of Style. But Eloquence
had not then attained its true Standard:
it was over-laid, rather than adorned,
by the Learning which prevailed: their
Compofitions were irregular and incorred,
and their Diction either ſwoln and
figurative, or intricate and dry.
The next Age had the Merit of refining
much upon the Manner of their
Predeceſſors. The Return of Peace,
and its ordinary Attendants, Security
and Wealth, gave People leiſure to cultivate
all the Arts and Sciences which
tend to the Improvement, or Ornament
of Life. It is true, that the Enthuſiaſm
and Hypocriſy of the former Age, were
ſucceeded by Luxury, Diſſoluteneſs of
Manners, and a wanton Contempt of
Religion: nor were there wanting ſome
mercenary and ambitious Divines, who
winked at the Vices of the Court, and
ſought to recommend themſelves, by
proſtituting the Dignity of their Character
and Profeſſion, to defend or palliate
the moſt deſpotic Meaſures, and
to preach up the Principles of Slavery
and implicit Submiſſion to Power. Yet
that noble,Spirit of freedom, which
had been begotten under the Inclemencies
of civil and eccleſiaſtical Incroachments,
and was nurſed, and had
grown up, in the glorious Struggle for
Liberty and equal Government, could
not be deſtroyed, by the renewed Attempts
that were made againſt both;
but daily increaſed, and appeared in a
general free Inquiry, and in the Vigour
and Boldneſs of public Debates, and
of private Converſation. The Nature
and Foundations of Religion and Government
were examined with Freedom
and Candour by ſome, with Severity,
and even with Malice by others. The
Dangers ariſing from Popery on one
hand, and from Deſigns againſt the
Conſlitution on the other, gave a Check
to the general Joy, opened the Eyes
of the more ſober and thoughtſul Part,
and raiſed a juſt Attention to the common
Intereſt. Accordingly, as many
able Patriots arofe to guard us againſt
the latter, ſo many eminent Divines
ſprung up to protect us againſt the
former. Theſe great Men nobly and
boldly exploded the Principles of implicit
Faith; inquired, in a rational and
unprejudiced manner, into the Nature
and Grounds of true Religion; expofed,
with proper Spirit, the Horrors of eccleſiaſtic
Tyranny, and by ſo doing
ſapped the very foundations of Popery.
They had formed themſelves upon the
beſt Models of Antiquity, and had imbibed
the Genius and Sentiments of the
divine Moraliſts. The Effects of this
appear in their Compoſitions, which
breathe a modeſt but generous Freedom,
a ſublime and enlightened Piety,
an exalted Taſte of Morals, ſuch a
Spirit of Moderation, and ſo pure a
Flame of univerſal Benevolence, as is
moſt adapted to win the Eſteem, and
reconcile the Hearts of Mankind. Theſe
Preachers rubbed ofſ the Ruſt, and refined
the Manner of Preaching. Inſtead
of a tedious Explication of the
Text, and giving the Concordance of
every Word in it, as had been the way
formerly; they plainly and brieſly open.
ed its Connexion and Meaning, and
then ſtated the Propoſitions ariſing out
of it, in their Nature, Truth, and Reaſonableneſs.
Inſtead of diſcuſſing ſome
nice and barren Points of Controverſy,
in a ſcholaſtic manner, they painted the
Beauty and Advantages of ſubſtantial
Virtue, with great Strength of Reaſon,
and Perſpicuity of Style: and inſtead
of concluding their Diſcourſes
coldly, with a few ſhort Inferences or
Uſes, as they were called, they wound
them up with a pathetic and manly
Addreſs, in which they applied the
whole to the Conſciences and Lives of
their Hearers. Whereas the Strain of
former Sermons was either flat or low,
being wire-drawn with controverſial
Diſputes, and having the Senſe ſcattered
by ſuch ſpurious Mixtures as did
not enter into the Body of the Work,
but rather Ruck out like ſo many Excreſcences;
or elſe the Style ſwelled
into a ridiculous kind of Bombaſt, and
ſometimes an unintelligible Jargon;
the Compofitions of this new Race of
Preachers, were more according to the
genuine Simplicity and Beauty of Nature.
Their Diction was eaſy, clear,
and nervous, pregnant with Sentiment,
adorned with apt Metaphors, and ſplendid
Figures, and thoſe not far-fetched;
or high-ſtrained, but ſuch as grew out
of the Subjects, and were the moſt
proper to enlighten and affect the Auditory.
They cut ofſ all unneceſſary
Shews of Learning, applied cloſe to
the Matter in hand, and purſued,
throughout, ſome weighty and important
Point, without enervating the Diſcourſe
by uſeleſs Digreſſions, or crumbling
it down into minute Diviſions.
In ſhort, they vindicated our Faith
upon the Principles of ſound Reaſon;
ſhewed the Connexion between natural
and revealed Religion, with all the
Strength of Evidence; diſplayed the
Excellence of both, with regard to private
and public Happineſs, in the moſt
engaging Light; and painted genuine
Chriſtianity with that venerable Air, and
maſculine Beauty, which diſtinguiſhes
her alike from mean Superſtition and
rank Enthuſiaſm, and inſtead of inſpiring
with Contempt and Dread, commands
Love and Admiration. — This,
my Friend, I take to be the Period, in
which the Art of Preaching was carried,
though not to Perfection, yet to the
higheſt Pitch of Beauty it had before,
or has ever ſince attained.
What, AGORETES, ſaid I, with ſome
Surprize, do you not think, that the
Art has received conſiderable Improvements,
ſince that time; eſpecially as
our Language is grown more refined
and copious, and moſt Branches of
Learning have been enlarged, by the
continual Labours of a curious and inquiſitive
Age?
I hardly think, reſumed AGORETES,
that our Improvements in the Art of
Preaching, have kept pace with our
other Refinements in Knowledge. I
fear, it has rather, for ſome time paſt,
been at a ſtand among us. I admit,
indeed, that the foundations of our
holy Religion are perhaps better underſtood,
by the freer Diſcuſſion of Friends,
as well as Enemies; that leſs Regard is
paid to the Authority of Creeds and
Syſtems, than formerly; and more of
the falſe Daubing removed, which ſometimes
deformed the Beauty of true Religion;
and that the Spirit of Toleration
is more widely diffuſed among the
ſeveral Denominations of Men. But I
fear, I ſadly fear, PHLONOUS, that the
vital Spirit of Devotion, which animated
former Preachers, and thoſe ſublime
Feelings of Virtue, which ennobled
their Compofitions, are much
decayed. Our Teachers now a-days,
ſeem generally more concerned to ſet
forth themſelves, than the Doctrines
and Laws of their great Maſter; and
to give a Grace, a Roundneſs, and an
Air of Novelty, to their Performances,
than to fill them with a deep Savour
of Religion, or enliven them with the
Warmth and Energy of Virtue. In
ſhort, from the Strain of their Sermons,
I have been ſometimes tempted
to think, that many of them aimed
more at Reputation and Preferment,
than at converting Souls to the Love
of GOD, and the Practice of Goodneſs.
But will you not allow, ſaid I, that
the Sermons of the preſent Age are
much more correct and refined, than
thoſe of the laſt; that they are equally
diſtant from the turgid Rant, and
learned Pedantry of ſome, and the diſputatious
Dryneſs, and falſe Wit of
others; that there is great Variety and
Copiouſneſs of Matter in them, and
Nobleneſs, or where that is wanting,
Prettineſs of Sentiment; that the
Preachers handle an Argument with
much Solidity of Judgment, and combat
the Adverſaries of our Faith with
much Poignancy of Raillery? If they
are not ſo pathetic as you ſeem to
wiſh, the Reaſon may poſſibly be, becauſe
they chuſe rather to work upon
the Underſtandings of their Hearers,
by the pure Force of Conviction, than
to play upon their Paſſions, by the
puerile and tranſitory Arts of Oratory;
as believing, that the only way of intereſting
and gaining the Heart, is by
bringing the Judgment to be of a Party
with it.
I am conſcious to myſelf of no Prejudices
againſt our modern Preachers,
ſaid AGORETES, and am very willing
to allow them all the Merit that you
or their warmeſt Advocates can plead
for. I allow them generally a noble
Superiority to popular Errors, great
freedom and Beauty of Sentiment,
clear Reaſoning and Coherence of
Thought, deep critical Skill, Elegance
of Style, a juſt Arrangement of Periods,
Propriety of Pronunciation, and
much Modeſty, in their Action and
Manner. But after all, I have ſo
unhappy a Taſte, or ſo unſaſhionable
a way of Thinking, as not to be
thoroughly ſatisfied even with all theſe
combined Excellencies. I want, my
dear Friend, to have my Mind exalted
above the World, and above itſelf,
with the Sacredneſs and Sublimity of
divine Things: I want to feel, warmly
to feel, no leſs than to be cooly convinced
of, the tranſcendent Beauty,
and Excellence of Virtue: I want to
be ſuſpended, and awed, as with the
Preſence of GOD, to ſink into deep
Proſtration before Him, to be ſtruck
with the Majeſty of his Perſections,
and tranſported with the Wonders of
his Love: I want to conceive an infinite
Horror at Sin, to glow with an
ardent Paſſion for doing good, to pant
after perfection and Immortality, and
to ripen apace for both: In ſhort, I
want to have my Underſtanding enlightened,
my Heart enflamed, every
Affection thrilled, and my whole Life
reformed. But are theſe important
Ends likely to be gained, by a wellreaſoned
Harangue on ſome ſpeculative
Point of Orthodoxy, by a clear Conſutation
of ſome Inſidel or Heretic, by
a dry, critical Diſcuſſion of ſome dark
or dubious Text, by a cold elaborate
Diſſertation on ſome moral Subject, or
a curious Diſſection of ſome Paſſion of
the Mind, or a vague Declamation on
ſome Virtue or Vice, and their Effects
on Society or Individuals? Yet ſuch I
find the general Taſte of Preaching
now to be. And in it, without doubt,
the Preachers have an Opportunity of
ſhewing a great Extent of Learning,
Skill in Languages, Acquaintance with
Antiquity, much critical Acumen,
Depth of Judgment, Sprightlineſs of
Wit, Knowledge of human Nature,
and Abundance of Zeal, and Averſion
to the Enemies of Orthodoxy.
It muſt likewiſe be allowed, that thoſe
different Species of Sermonizing, do
admirably ſuit the different Kinds of
Hearers, the cold ſaturnine Complexion
of ſome, the curious inquiſitive
Taſte of others, the vehement
Heat of one Set, the opposite Lukewarmneſs
of another, and the Love of
Novelty and Variety in all: Eſpecially
they ſoothe that infinite Pride and SelſConceit
of the Generality, which makes
them ſo ſatisfied with themſelves, and
ſo apt to contemn or cenſure others.
And, perhaps, were any bold Preacher
to take things in another Key, to appear,
and to be indeed what he appeared,
much in earneſt, and to come
more home to the real Concerns and
Feelings of Mankind; I am afraid, he
would find but a cold Reception from
the more polite and refined Part of his
Audience: he would in all Probability
paſs for an Enthuſiaſt, or at beſt for
one who wanted to draw the Attention
and Reſpect of the World by his Singularity.
And if, inſtead of leaving
his Auditory cool as they chofe to
be, he ſhould warm and intereſt their
Hearts, and ſend them away ſerious
and thoughtſul, he would be deemed
to have laid rhetorical Traps for them,
and played artfully on their Paſſions,
at the Expence of their Reaſon. So
that I cannot tell, PHILONOUS, whether
I ought entirely to blame the Preachers,
for this cold, languid, unaffecting Vein
of Preaching, into which they are fallen;
or whether it is to be aſcribed to
the delicate, ſhall I call it, or the diſſolute
Taſte of the Age, which chuſes
to be entertained, rather than edified,
is too wiſe to be tutored, and too good
to be reformed.
As Men are very apt, ſaid I, to be
frightened out of one Extreme into another,
and to carry their Diſlike of a
Party, on ſome Accounts, into a Diſlike
of it, on all Accounts; I fancy
the Prevalence of the cool, diſpaſſionate
Manner of Preaching, is owing to the
general Diſtaſte of thoſe who were called
Puritans, and of ſuch as have been
reckoned their Succeſſors, whether in
Principle, or in Name only. Their
Manner of Preaching, as you obſerved,
was warm, caſuiſtical, and pathetic, addreſſed
often to the Conſciences, and
generally to the Affections of their
Hearers. What was at firſt practiſed
through Choice, was afterwards continued
through Neceſſity. for their Reputation
and Maintenance depending
on the Numbers and Wealth of their
Followers, they found it their Intereſt
to purſue the ſame Track, to ſoothe the
popular Talk by all the Arts of popular
Eloquence, to aſpire at, or to pretend
to, higher Degrees of Reformation,
and to nearer Communications with
Heaven, and in fine to keep together
their ſuſſering or diſcouraged Party, by
having, or affecting to have, more
Zeal, Purity, and Devotion than their
Neighbours. Now, thoſe of the Eſtabliſhment
being entirely independent on
the People as to Subſiſtance, and conſequently
under leſs Temptation to
conſult the popular Humour, have,
from a Diſguſt at the Party, taken a
general Diſguſt at thoſe Methods of
Popularity, by which they thought the
Party ſupported, and ſo have fallen
into that dry argumentative Manner of
Preaching, which they eſteem the reverſe
of what they call the Fanatical and
Declamatory. They chuſe to addreſs to
our Reaſon alone, and leave Paſſion quite
out of the queſtion, as a two-edged
Tool that may be turned againſt, as
well as for them.
I do not doubt, replied AGORETES,
but there is a great deal in what you
have ſaid. I know, likewiſe, that there
is a general Outcry among our Sticklers
for Reaſon, againſt thoſe who talk to
the Paſſions of their Hearers: but I fear
there is much Logomachy in ſuch Diſputes.
It is no eaſy matter, PHILONOUS,
to aſcertain the exact Boundaries
of Reaſon and Paſſion, or to know
where one terminates, and the other
begins. Do your cool Reaſoners never
addreſs to the Hopes and fears of
Men? Do they make no Applications
to our Deſires of Happineſs, of Pleaſure,
of Praiſe? Yet what Paſſions are
ſtronger than theſe? On the other
hand, do your pathetic Speakers never
ſeek to intereſt Reaſon in their Cauſe?
Do they expect to excite Affections,
without laying before their Hearers the
Objects and Arguments proper to excite
them? Can any other ſaculties apprehend
thoſe Objeſts, and weigh thoſe
Arguments, but Reaſon, and the various
Powers of Perception, of Approbation,
or Blame? — But ſay the reaſoning
Speakers, "We ſeek only to con"vince
the Judgment, which is an
"equal, ſteady, and uniform Principle
"of Action; where the Paſſions are
"ſoon raiſed, but the Impreſſions made
"upon them as quickly decay, A
"few rhetorical Flouriſhes, glittering
"Thoughts, or fanciful Images may
"excite the latter; but ſolid Argu"ment,
and the Force of Conviction
"alone, can inſluence the former." —
True; the Imagination may be amuſed,
and a kind of mechanical or artificial
Heat raiſed by ſuch rhetorical Proluſions,
the Inſluence of which is ſlight,
as its Continuance is uncertain. But
is it expected, that Mankind are to be
guided by ſuch ſuperſicial and tranſient
Emotions, or to be governed by Impreſſions
which have no Connexion with
their Good or Ill, their Happineſs or
Miſery? Can our Affections and
neuter, and be unbiaſſed Spectators,
where theſe are at ſtake? Or can Judgment
operate, where theſe are leſt out
of the queſtion, or where we are ſuppoſed
indifferent to either? What can
poſſibly engage us to purſue Happineſs,
or to avoid Miſery, but our Affection
to one, and our Averſion to the other?
Without their powerſul Impulſes, we
ſhould be as inactive and immoveable
as Stones, notwithſtanding the cleareſt
Convictions of Reaſon and Judgment.
In ſhort, Reaſon is properly no Principle
or Spring of Action at all: it may direct,
and ſhew us which Courſe of
Action is beſt; but without Affection
of ſome kind, we can neither be impelled
to Action, nor reſtrained from it.
And to talk of moving the Affections,
without ſuggeſting ſuitable Objects,
ſuch as they naturally ſeek after and
ultimately tend to; is as abſurd, as to
talk of melting Metal without Heat,
or of producing any other Effect, without
its correſpondent Cauſe. Theſe
Objects, by whatever or whomſoever
they are ſuggeſted, muſt be perceived,
before they can affect the Mind. And
to perceive them, is the Buſineſs of the
Underſtanding, or of thoſe Organs or
Powers of Perception, with which our
Nature is endowed. Therefore, whoever
pretends to addreſs to the pure Reaſon
and Underſtanding of his Hearers,.
without offering proper Ends, or Motives,
to intereſt their Paſſions, and determine
their Choice, ſeems not to conſider the Nature of that various, compounded
Creature he has to do with;
who ſtrongly attracts what appears
good, and repels what appears ill, and
is always moved in proportion to the
apparent Moment and Nearneſs of either.
I conclude then, that it is an
Orator's Buſineſs, to get the Paſſions,
as well as the Reaſon, of his Hearers
to be of his Side, if he means to convince
or perſuade; nor than I venture
to condemn the Man who employs
ſuch Edge-tools, in a Subſerviency to
the beſt Purpoſes, though Knaves may
ſometimes abuſe them to the worſt.
I acknowledge, AGORETES, ſaid I,
you have, by this manner of arguing,
undeceived me as to an Opinion I had
entertained, "that a juſt and fair
"Speaker had nothing to do with the
"Paſſions of his Auditory, but ought
"to addreſs himſelf to their Reaſon
"alone becauſe the Voice of Reaſon. is
"not like to be heard amidſt the Tu"mult
of Paſſion, and becauſe deſign"ing
Men have often ſucceſsfully em"ployed
the Paſſions of others againſt
"their Reaſon and their Intereſt."
Now I find, that on the ſame Principle,
I ſhould likewiſe condemn the
free Uſe of Reaſon itſelf; for it too
has been a peſtilent Engine in the
Hands of bad Men. I at length perceive
an obvious Diſtinction, which
had hitherto over-looked, the not attending
to which has occaſioned all
the idle Declamation beſtowed upon
this Subject; I mean the Diſtinction
between the calm and leading Aſſections
of our Nature, which are the main
Springs of our Conduct, and thoſe
tranſient Paſſions, or inſtantaneous and
violent Impulſes of Joy and Sorrow,
Anger, Compaſſion, Wonder, and the
like, which often ebb and flow with
our animal Spirits, depend in a great
meaſure on our Conſtitution, as it is
more or leſs ſenſible of outward Impreſſions,
and operate with a mechanical
Force, without any certain or regular
Cauſes. I can eaſily ſee of what
Conſequence it is, rightly to direct and
properly to move the former Set of
Affections; and how eaſy, as well as
of how little uſe it is, to raiſe the latter,
by the trivial Arts of a puerile
Oratory; ſince that may be done by
Sound, as readily as by Senſe, and by
Looks, Geſtures, and the mere Mechaniſm
of a Voice, as ſucceſsfully as
by the higheſt Strains of true Eloquence.
Whereas to impreſs, regulate,
and controul the other Affections,
be the nobleſt Operation of Reaſon,
and the very Perſection of the rhetorical
Art; greatly to be ſought and
ſtudied by thoſe who with to inſtruct
and reform Mankind. Alas! AGORETES,
where is ſuch an Art to be
learned, and where are the living Models
of it to be found, whom we may
copy after?
if we cannot find living Ones, ſaid
AGORETES, we muſt be content with
the Dead, who ſeem to have underſtood
the Art beſt. However, I have
the Happineſs to be acquainted with
one Gentleman now alive, who is at
once the beſt Model of Preaching,
and the nobleſt Example of Living, I
ever knew, the Miniſter of the neighbouring
Pariſh.
I ſuppoſe, ſaid I, you mean. THEODORUS.

The very ſame, ſaid AGORETES;
a Man of the moſt extraordinary Simplicity
of Character.
I have heard him repreſented, ſaid
I, as a great Enthuſiaſt, and noted
for the Singularity of his Behaviour,
as well as of his Manner of Preaching.

I do not doubt, replied AGORETES,
but THEODORUS has a conſiderable
Tincture of Enthuſiaſm in his Conſtitution,
but it is of ſo refined a nature,
that it neither impairs his Judgment
nor ſpoils his Temper, but renders him
ſo much the more ſenſible of the
Charms of Religion, and the Beauty
of Virtue. His Enthuſiaſm is all ſober
and lovely, a pure lambent flame,
which enlightens at the ſame time that
it warms. Nor need you wonder that
it is of a kind ſo uncommon. for it
is no dim refracted Beam, but is lighted
up in him directly from the original
Source of Light. It is by immediate
Converſe with GOD himſelf, by
living, moving, and acting in his Preſence,
that he becomes God-like in his
Air and whole Deportment, lives above
the World, and breathes ſuch a ſuperior
kind of Humanity, as not
only enchants thoſe who converſe with
him, but almoſt transforms them into
the ſame Spirit. Oh! PHILONOUS, he
very nearly approaches the Image of
Him that made him.
That is a noble, and withal a natural
Effect, ſaid I, of the exalted
Correſpondence which he maintains.
But as I have heard much about this
ſingular Man, I ſhall be obliged to
you, AGORETES, if you will let me
more particularly into his Character.
AGORETES ſaid he would gladly
comply with my Requeſt: for indeed,
PHILONOUS, adds he, I reckon myſelf
extremely happy in his Acquaintance,
and wiſh you and all my Friends a
Share in the ſame Happineſs.
THEODORUS has formed himſelf
upon the Model of the Apoſtles. You
would think he intended to revive the
Taſte of ancient Manners, and bring
back the primitive Plainneſs of unadulterated
Chriſtianity. He ſeems to
underſtand little of the Modes or Elegancies
of the preſent Age: Yet the
politeſt Sort of People love to converſe
with him; he has ſomething ſo
alluring, as well as venerable, in his
Aſpect and Manners. His Religion
wears no forbidding or formal Air:
When he talks of it, which he is fore to
do as often as he can with Propriety, it
is without oſtentation: He does not
impofe his Sentiments, but ſteals them
upon you without the leaſt Appearance
of Superiority. His Sentiments, tho'
delivered in Words void of all Varniſh,
are ſo juſt and grand, that they
never fail of making an Impreſſion.
It is ſcarce poſſible to be in his Company,
without being the wiſer or the
better for it: Whatever Subject he
breathes upon, takes a religious Kind
of Tincture. Piety is become ſo natural
to him, or rather is ſo inlaid in his
Conſtitution, that it ſhines out in his
very Looks, no leſs than in all he ſays
and does. One may apply to him the
Words of a noble Writer; "Sanctity
"ſits ſo eaſy, ſo unaffected, and ſo
"graceſul upon him, that in him we
"behold the very Beauty of Holineſs.
"He is as chearful, as familiar, and
"condeſcending in his Converſation,
"as he is ſtrict, regular, and exem"plary
in his Piety; as well-bred and
"accompliſhed as a Courtier, as reve"rend
and venerable as an Apoſtle."
He looks down upon the Pomp and
Pride of Life, with a generous Indifference;
and receives Praiſe, rather as
an Expreſſion of Kindneſs, than as a
Tribute due to his Merit. I never
knew a Man ſo thoroughly and ingenuouſly
humble, a Character as valuable
as it is rare. You ſee no Attention
to himſeif, no indirect or retorted
Glances upon his own Reputation
or Endowments. He ſeldom talks
of himſelf, unleſs when the declining
it would argue Vanity or Affectation
And when he does it, it is with Simplicity
and Grandeur, as of a third
Perſon; neither proudly concealing his
Virtues, nor oſtentatiouſly expofing
his ſaults.
Surely, ſaid I, a Miniſter of ſuch a
Character as you deſcribe, muſt be
highly eſteemed, and even venerated
by all who know him, particularly by
thoſe of his own Pariſh.
He is infinitely Popular, ſaid AGORETES;
as indeed how can he be otherwiſe,
with ſuch Qualifications? And
yet without either valuing Popularity
for itſelf, or pretending to deſpiſe it,
he uſes it only as an Engine of Uſeſulneſs.
He is the Oracle of his Pariſh,
in their ſecular as well as ſpiritual Concerns.
He adjuſts their Differences,
with ſo tender and impartial a Regard
for both Parties, that they never expreſs
any Diſſatisſaction with his Deciſions,
though made againſt them.
The Sick are his peculiar Care. He
improves thoſe happy Moments of Diſtreſs,
to diſengage them from this
World, and raiſe their Views to a better.
He is a father to the Poor, a
Guardian and a Patron to the Widow
and Orphan. His Revenue, though
moderate, being managed with great
Œconomy, enables him to do many
Acts of Charity, which he is at pains
to conceal.
But how amiable ſoever his private
Character may be, the Pulpit is the
Province where he ſhines in the moſt
conſpicuous Light. His Conduct is ſo
unexceptionably fair, and illuſtrious,
that all his Inſtructions are accompanied
with an irreſiſtable Authority. I
dare ſay, PHILONOUS, you never knew
a Man who was heard with more Attention
and Reſpect: Indeed, no wonder;
ſince his Hearers can trace in his
Life every Feature of Virtue, which
he delineates in his Sermons.
Without doubt, ſaid I, the Harmony
between his Doctrine and Manners
muſt give a double Weight to all
he ſays. I have obſerved, added I,
that he excels in one Part of Eloquence,
which is but rarely ſtudied by
our public Speakers; I mean the Expreſſion
of the Countenance. for I remember,
whenever he deſcribes any
Vice, or draws any vicious Character,
he has ſuch a ſignificant Indignation
in his Looks as raiſes your Abhorrence
at the odious form, thus repreſented
in all its Uglineſs. But when Virtue
is his Theme, his Words do not
expreſs more Complacence than his
Eyes, his Air, and every Geſture:
His Countenance ſeems to open and
expand itſelf with the more Serenity,
and the greater Elevation. His very
Soul ſpeaks out in every Word and
Motion: He at once awes and charms
you with the Dignity of a form ſo
alluring.
Every intelligent Hearer, laid AGORETES,
muſt have made the ſame Obſervation;
indeed all his Hearers have-felt
the Effect of this rare Talent, whether
they have obſerved it or not. But,
I muſt confeſs, I am never ſo ſenſible
of the marvellous Force of his natural
Eloquence, as when leaving every inferiour
Subject, he exhibits to us the
Father of Men and Angels in the original
Excellence and Majeſty of his
Character. So ſublime a Theme fills
him with Rapture and Enthuſiaſm. It
is his favourite Topic, where he pours
out all his Heart; and it commonly
throws him into ſuch a Fervour of Affection,
that he muſt be a cold Hearer
indeed, who can remain unmoved with
the ſacred Vehemence of his Soul. His
Voice always riſes with the Subject;
and I have ſeen his Eyes, and whole
Countenance, glow with ſuch uncommon
Spirit, that I have been ſeized as
with ſome powerſul Contagion, and
felt my whole Frame thrilled with a religious
Paſſion, which in a manner tranſported
me out of myſelf, and made
me forget where I was, and whom I
was hearing. — No longer ago than
laſt Sunday, (for I remember it well)
he was upon his darling Theme, the
perfections of the Godhead, and that
Homage which ariſes from juſt Sentiments
of them.
I perceived that AGORETES was
warmed likewiſe with the Subject, and
his Account of THEODORUS'S Manner
of Preaching, ſo far as to forget that
I had alſo been one of his Hearers the
ſame Day: therefore, I allowed him to
give vent to that charming Vein of
Enthuſiaſm, which is ſo natural to him,
and which the Remembrance of THEODORUS'S
Sermon had again awakened,
by the Power of an irreſiſtible Sympathy.

THEODORUS having demonſtrated to
us, continued he, that more lovely and
ſublime Deſcriptions of the Deity are
found in the ſacred Writings, than in
any human Compoſitions whatever,
proceeded in the ſollowing manner:
(for his Diſcourſe made ſuch a deep
Impreſſion on me, that I ſha11 never
forget it) "This, my Brethren, this
"is the Character, which the Scrip"tures
exhibit to us of the GOD whom
"we profeſs to worſhip — no local
"Deity, you ſee, like thoſe of the
"idolatrous Heathens, preſiding over
"this, or the other Province of Na"ture,
the Heavens, the Air, the
"Earth, the Sea; inhabiting this
"Mountain, that Grove, or that Val"ley;
the tutelar God of this City,
"or the peculiar Guardian of that Na-.
"tion. Our GOD is confined to no
"Spot: his Regards are limited to no
"Community: He rides on the Cir"cuit
of the Heavens: his Eyes run
"to and fro throughout the whole
"Earth: Hell itself is open before
"Him, and Deſtruction hath no Co"vering.
He maketh the Clouds his
"Chariot, and the Winds his Meſ"ſengers:
all the Elements fulfill his
"Commands. Darkneſs is his Pavi"lion;
the Earth is his Footſtool, and
"in the deep Waters his Wonders are
"ſeen. All Nature is his Temple,
"all Space his Abode; every living
"thing is the Workmanſhip of his:
"Hand; and over all his parental.
"Care and tender Mercies extend,
"without the leaſt Shadow of Parti"ality,
or the ſmalleſt Tincture of
"Envy." — Here the eloquent THEODORUS
made a Stop, which, like a ſolemn
Pauſe in Muſic, only heightened
the Attention of his Audience: then
turning round among them with an
Air of Surprize and Rapture, he aſked
them in the moſt earneſt and awful
manner; "Can any of you, my
"Friends, behold ſo auguſt a Cha"racter,
and not venerate it; ſo ami"able
a Character, and not love it?
"Do you obſerve, with Pleaſure, the
"tender Dam ſpreading her ſheltering
"Wings over her little fluttering Fa"mily;
and can you contemplate,
"with Indifference, the univerſal Pa"rent
ſpreading the Wings of his al"mighty
Love, wide as the arched
"Heavens, over his numerous off"ſpring?
Do the generous Fervours
"and melting Sympathy of the ſincere
"Friend, call forth your grateſul Rap"tures;
and ſhall the over-flowing
"Compaſſions of the great Friend of
"Men, and Lover of Souls, who
"hath done ſuch marvellous things for
"their Salvation and Happineſs, ex"cite
within you no Sentiments of
"Eſteem and Gratitude? Every one
"admires the true Patriot, the Father
"of his Country, who only lives to
"ſerve, and would joyfully die to
"ſave it; and ſhall we not reverence
"and adore the Father, Protector, and
"Head of the univerſal Polity of
"Men and Angels, who watches, and
"cares for all? Shall we not reverence
"and adore that matchleſs Hero, that
"divine Deliverer, who, for the Re"ſtoration
of a degenerate and un"thankſul
Race, cheerfully conde"ſcended
to lead a Life of unexam"pled
Sorrow, and to ſuffer a Death
"overwhelming to every Power of
"Humanity?" — The amiable
Preacher ſtill went on; "Do we not
"feel, my Brethren, that even the dim
"Rays of Wiſdom, Power, and Good"neſs
often dazzle our Sight, and
"charm our Hearts, as they are re"flected
from created Patterns of Ex"cellence?
Ought not then the un"created
Original, from whom Wiſ"dom
flows as from its eternal Source,
"in whom Power reſides, as in its na"tive
Seat, and to whom Goodneſs
"belongs, as a vital and immortal
"Principle; ought not, I ſay, this
"wiſeſt, mightieſt, and beſt of Beings,
"in a manner to engroſs all our E"ſteem,
and to abſorb all our Love?
"— All Nature is full of GOD. He
"is enthroned in Light: He creates
"Darkneſs: He path his Way in
"the Whirlwind, ſendeth abroad his
"Lightnings, giveth Snow like Wool,
"ſcattcreth the Hoar-ſroft like Aſhes,
"and caſteth forth his Ice like Mor"ſels?
Who can ſtand before his
"Cold? Who can thunder with a
"Voice like GOD? Need I tell you,
"that it is He who diſtils the Rain
"from his Bottles, who opens the
"bubbling Fountains, who covers the
"ſields with Graſs, and the Hills
"with Flocks, who ſpins out the
"fleecy Air, and ſpreads forth the
"liquid Plains, who refreſhes us with
"his Winds, lights us with his Sun,
"and entertains us at his Table, richly
"furniſhed with all the Dainties of
"Heaven? — But now I appeal to
"you, whether we have not infinite
"Reaſon to conſide in ſuch beneſicent
"Wiſdom, to ſubmit to a Power, at
"once ſo awfully, and ſo munificently
"employed, to receive with the high"eſt
Gratitude ſuch a Profuſion of
"Goodneſs, and to reſign ourſelves
"to a Providence ſo watchſul, ſo act"ive,
ſo unwearied in our Behalf?
"Is the Creator ſo gloriouſly conſpi"cuous
in every Scene of his Works;
"and ſhall He paſs by unobſerved,
"unadmired, unadored? Do we even
"feel Him preſent with us, chearing
"our Frame, irradiating our Minds,
"and opening within us a thouſand
"Veins of Good-humour and Glad"neſs,
which we can often aſcribe to
"no other Cauſe but his powerſul In"fluence;
and ſhall we not stand in
"awe before Him, and bid every
"giddy Thought, and every tumul"tuous
Paſſion, be ſtill? Do we re"ſpect
the Preſence of our fellow"creatures,
eſpecially if a little raiſed
"above us, and reverence the Majeſty
"of Princes; and ſhall not the Ma"jeſty
of GOD collect and controul all
"our Powers of Action, inſpire every
"noble Sentiment, and awaken every
"worthy Affection — Great GOD!
"thou ever-preſent, ever-ſtreaming
"Fountain of Light and Love, per"mit
us to bend down our Souls in
"low Proſtration before Thee. In"veſted
and ſuſtained as we are, by
"thine awful Preſence, placed in thy
"magnificent Temple not made with
"Hands, and encircled by the joyful
"Chorus of thy Creatures, ſhall we
"not ſing a ſacred Hymn, and adore
"the all-ſurrounding Deity, ſupremely
"great, ſupremely good? Or muſt
"it be thought, my Brethren, I ſay,
"muſt it be thought a ſolemn Farce
"of Devotion, to celebrate, in un"affected
Strains of Praiſe, our com"mon
Parent, Friend, and GOD?
"What then! ſhall our Hearts feel,
"and triumph in, his Goodneſs; and
"ſhall we not expreſs our inward Rap"ture
in vocal and mutual Concert?
"Will any one ſay, that it is trifling
"and unmeaning Ceremony, to give
"vent to the Flame of Piety which
"glows within, in natural, decent,
"and rational Acts of Homage? Or
"can any one think it diſpleaſing to
"the GOD of LOVE, or unſuitable to
"the Dignity of Man, to increaſe and
"ſeed this heavenly Flame, by devout
"Proteſtations, repeated Vows, and
"grateſul Thankſgivings? — We
"know, and rejoice in the Knowledge,
"that He whom we worſhip, hath
"none of the uncommunicative or
"vain Grandeur of an Eaſtern Mo"narch,
who is not to be approached,
"but with abject Proſtrations, nor ad"dreſſed,
but with ſervile Flattery.
"We preſume not to inform the Al"mighty,
by our Prayers, nor to
"move Him to act in Character, by
"our Sollicitations. His Underſtand"ing
is infinite: He is of one Mind;
"and who can turn Him? — No,
"Sirs, our forms of Worſhip, can
"neither inſtruct nor alter the Eter"nal.
But then they aſſiſt and en"liven
us, who are grofs and ſenſible
"Creatures, in contemplating and re"recognizing
his Perſections; and
"they render our Senſe of his Preſence
"more deep and eſſicacious. To re"alize
that Preſence daily, by direct
"and animated Addreſſes, and to
"grow ſamiliar, if I may ſo ſpeak,
"with thoſe Perſections, by making
"them the habitual Objects of our
"Adoration, cannot fail of hallow"ing
and exalting our Conceptions,
"kindling our Hearts into the warm"eſt
feelings of divine Love, and
"powerfully inciting our Imitation of
"that Being whom we adore. Prayer,
"in its eſſential Acts, includes a firm
"Faith in the Promiſes of GOD, an
"hearty Acquieſcence in his Admini"ſtration,
and an humble Hope in his
"Goodneſs. But I once more appeal
"to you; muſt not ſuch Acts pro"duce
Serenity and Joy; and muſt
"not theſe naturally ſweeten the Tem"per,
and by conſequence improve
"the very foundation of Goodneſs in
"the Soul? Muſt not the frequently
"acknowledging our Dependence, our
"Subjection, our Obligations, and
"our earneſtly applying to Heaven for
"every thing we want, tend, of ne"ceſſity,
to make us humble and
"loyal, thankſul, and reſigned Crea"tures?
If it hath withal pleaſed the
"ſupreme Ruler, for theſe and other
"excellent Ends, to preſcribe ſuch Ac"knowledgments,
and ſuch Applica"tions,
in order to obtain his Grace
"and Favour; ſhall we ſhort-ſighted
"Mortals pretend to correct the Wiſ"dom
that made us?" — The good
Man ſpoke theſe Words with a Voice
raiſed above his ordinary Pitch, and
with a Degree of Ardour that ſtrongly
affected his Audience. The People
ſeemed to catch a Spirit of Devotion
from his Eyes as well as Words, and
eaſily entered into the Paſſion, which
he appeared to feel ſo powerfully himſelf.
— But what have I been doing,
PHILONOUS, running on with this long
Account of THEODORUS'S Sermon,
when perhaps you heard it yourſelf?
I confeſs, AGORETES, ſaid I, I did
hear it: but I was willing to be entertained
with it once more, and to have
the agreeable Sentiments I felt when
I heard it, revived. I hope therefore,
you will forgive me, for not having
interrupted ſo delightful a Narration.
Well, PHILONOUS, it is no unuſual
thing for you to ſerve me in this manner,
ſaid AGORETES. I wonder, however,
you can allow your Friends to
appear in ſo ridiculous a Light. You
ſhould have checked me when you ſaw
me beginning to declaim at ſuch a rate.
I muſt own I am ſo charmed with
THEODORUS, and delighted with his
Sentiments, that as I can never forget
them, ſo I am apt to throw them out
on every Occaſion, though often perhaps
unſeaſonably.
Enthuſiaſm, ſaid I, is an inſectious
thing, and generally grows out of the
Admiration whether of Perſons or of
Things. — But yonder comes the
very Man we are ſpeaking of, your
Friend THEODORUS. I ſhould be glad
to be introduced to him.
That, ſaid AGORETES, I undertake
very frankly to do: for he is particularly
fond of enlarging the Circle of
his Acquaintance among Youth. —
And what think you, PHILONOUS, if
we ſhould engage him to talk of Preaching,
his own Province, and hear from
himſelf, who is ſo able a Practioner,
the beſt Rules of the Art?
I heartily agreed to what AGORETES
propoſed, and thanked him for his
kinf Offer.
As ſoon as THEODORUS came up to
us, AGORETES, addreſſing himſelf to
him, ſaid, I beg leave, Sir, to introduce
to your Acquaintance a Friend
of mine, who is very deſirous of being
received into the Liſt of your's.
He loves Letters and learned Men,
but particularly good Men; and therefore
I know he will hardly need any farther
Recommendation to your Friendſhip.

The good Man received me with
open Arms, and a Countenance which
ſpoke as open an Heart, telling me I
needed no other Recommendation, than
being the Friend of AGORETES.
After a little general Diſcourſe, you
are come, THEODORUS, ſaid AGORETES,
moſt opportunely to our Aſſistance.
We were talking of Preachers,
and the different Methods of Preaching,
which have obtained. We wanted
much to know, what is the true
Art of doing it, with the moſt Probability
of Succeſs. Now, Sir, as this
is a Talk, in which you are daily engaged,
and we are perſuaded have
much at Heart, we ſhall eſteem it a
ſpecial Favour, if you will impart your
Sentiments on ſo important a Point.
Gentlemen, ſaid THEODORUS, you interrogate
me on a very nice and difficult
Subject, in which it is no eaſy
matter to lay down an exact or complete
Syſtem of Rules, upon which
one can certainly depend. The Art
you talk of is, I doubt, beſt learned
by Practice and Experience. No Theory
can give it; and I queſtion whether
Experience can inſure it Succeſs,
though executed with the moſt conſummate Skill.
In thoſe reſpects you have mentioned,
ſaid AGORETES, I believe it reſembles
many other Arts: yet I cannot
help thinking, that it has its eſtabliſhed
Rules, from which whoever
deviates has the leaſt Chance to ſucceed,
and to which, whoſoever conſirms
his Practice, is moſt likely to
attain the perfection of the Art, and
to ſecure Succeſs in it,
Doubtleſs, replied THEODORUS, it
has, like all other Arts, its peculiar
Precepts, and Method of Practice:
but I am afraid it is more difficult, in
this Art than in moſt others, to ſix
upon a juſt Syſtem of them. It is an
Art that depends more on Taſte and
Sentiment, than on Reaſoning and Rules.
Every one pretends to judge of it, and
carries about with him his favourite
Standard, by which he decides on the
Practice of it. It is an Art of Speaking
to the HEART of Man, which of all
Pupils is the moſt intractable, variable,
and indocile. It is an Art, than which
I know none that requires more ſingular
Talents to execute it well, a more
quick Apprehenſion, a more fruitful
Imagination, a deeper Inſight into the
human Mind, a greater Acquaintance
With Life and Manners, or a more
commanding Eloquence. In short, my
Friend, it is an Art, which, though I
have been ſtudying it all my Life, I
am ſtill to learn, and in the Practice
of which I find every Day new Difficulty.

Pray, Sir, ſaid I, what do you reckon
the prime and moſt eſſential Talent of
a good Preacher, without which he
does not ſo much as deſerve the Name?
I doubt, Sir, ſaid THEODORUS, before
we can judge which are the firſt,
ſecond, or indeed any of the Qualifications
eſſential to this Art, we muſt
know, in general, what the Art is, and
what is its Aim or Scope; elſe we ſhall
talk in a very vague manner of the
Talents required in a Performer.
Pray then, replied AGORETES haſtily,
oblige us, good Sir, with your
Notion of the Art; that we may know
who is, or is not, ſit to practiſe it.
In order to find that out, ſaid THEODORUS,
I muſt beg your, and your
Friend's Aſſiſtance in eſtabliſhing ſome
common and allowed Principles, from
which we may reaſon. Does not
every reputable Art propoſe to accompliſh
ſome Effect, that ſhall be beneſicial,
or ornamental, to Society? For
inſtance, does not Architecture propoſe
the lodging Mankind with Safety and
Convenience? Painting and Muſic, their
Entertainment and Pleaſure?
Doubtleſs they do, Paid AGORETES
and every reputable Art does the ſame.
Utility, or Pleaſure, or both, are ſtill
propofed in. one Shape or another.
What then, ſaid THEODORUS, is. the
Effect propofed to be accompliſhed by
the Art of Preaching?
I know none other, replied AGORETES,
but that of making Men wiſer
and better.
But is not this Effect, ſaid THE
DORUS, propofed likewiſe by other
Arts, by Government, Poetry, Rhetoric,
and many others that might be named?
I make no queſtion but it is, anſwered
AGORETES: but then I ſuppofe
they accompliſh their End in a
different manner.
All the Difficulty then, ſaid THEODORUS,
will lie in ſhewing wherein
that Difference conſiſts. for different
Arts either employ different Materials
and Inſtruments, or the ſame Materials
and Inſtruments in a different manner.
Now I ſhould be glad to know, in
which of theſe Senſes you underſtand
that Diverſity of Manner.
I do not ſo readily enter into your
general Obſervation, ſaid AGORETES
pray explain it a little by ſome Examples.

What Materials does Painting ermploy,
ſaid THEODORUS, to perform its
Imitations of Nature or Life?
It employs Colours, replied AGORETES,
or various Combinations of
Light and Shade.
And how does Muſic accompliſh its
End, ſaid THEODORUS?
By means of Sounds, anſwered AGORETES.

What Inſtruments does Poetry make
uſe of, ſaid THEODORUS, to perform
its Imitations?
I know none other, returned AGORETES,
but Diſcourſe of a certain kind,
that is duly turned with Numbers and
Harmony.
And what are thoſe Inſtruments, ſaid
THEODORUS, with which Rhetoric, Hiſtory,
and Philoſophy accompliſh their
reſpective Ends?
What other, replied AGORETES, but
Diſcourſe likewiſe of different kinds.
Which of theſe Inſtruments then,
ſaid THEODORUS, does the Art of
Preaching employ, to produce the Effect
which you have already aſſigned
it?
None other, ſurely, but Diſcourſe,
replied AGORETES.
Since then Poetry, Rhetoric, Hiſtory,
and Philoſophy, as well as Preaching,
ſeem all to employ Diſcourſe in common;
muſt we not allow, ſaid THEODORUS,
that they all operate with the
ſame Inſtruments?
Doubtleſs we muſt, ſaid AGORETES.
Since therefore we already found,
ſaid THEODORUS, that they mean to
accompliſh the ſame End; muſt not
the Difference among them, if they do
really differ, ariſe from the different
Manner of uſing the ſame Inſtruments?
Certainly it muſt, ſaid AGORETES.
Wherein then, ſaid THEODORUS,
does this Difference conſiſt?
I apprehend, ſaid AGORETES, that
as there are various kinds of Diſcourſe,
each of thoſe Arts has its peculiar kind
appropriated to it, which ſuſliciently
diſtinguiſhes it from all the reſt. Thus
Hſtory, that I mean which we call civil
is a bare Narration of Facts, or of the
Actions of Men; yet by the inſtructive
Experiences, which the Reader derives
from thence of their Cauſes and Effects,
it teaches him to imitate the
Good, and to ſhun the Bad. Philoſophy,
by which I underſtand the moral
kind, ſhews us the Conſtitution and
Connexions of our Nature, and from
thence traces our Duty and Obligations,
points out, in the way of Experiment,
the ſtrict Connexion between
our Duty and Happineſs, and thus
powerfully perſuades us to the Practice
of it. Poetry, that eſpecially of the
nobler kinds, does, by means of the
more exalted Language of Verſe and
Numbers, imitate Affections and Characters,
paint human Life in all its
Varities of Action and Paſſions, and by
thole juſt and moving Pictures, allures
us to Virtue, and deters us from Vice.
But in what Manner the Art of Preaching
employs Diſcourſe, or what other
Engines it uſes to perſuade, I do not
pretend to know. This we want to
learn of you, Sir, who are a Practtioner
in the Art.
It is, I believe, no eaſy Matter, ſaid
THEODORUS, to determine the preciſe .
Manner in which Preaching employs
Diſcourſe, or to ſhew the various ways
it profeſſes to accompliſh its Ends.
Perhaps it borrows ſomething from
each of the Arts already mentioned,
and has beſides ſomewhat peculiar of
its own, which diſtinguiſhes it from
them.
We would gladly hear what that is,
ſaid I.
From whence, ſaid THEODORUS,
does a Preacher derive the original
Name? for I ſuppoſe it is an ancient
Title or Denomination. And perhaps
the Title may ſuggeſt to us the Ofſice,
and the peculiar kind of Diſcourſe we
want to diſcover.
I fanſy, ſaid AGORETES, you mean
to reſer us to the ancient Word, GOSPEL,
from whence he derives his Title; and
by a Preacher of it, Έυαγελισής, an.
EVANGELIST, would ſuggeſt to us one
who brings or announces GOOD-NEWS
to Mankind.
You have perfectly hit my Meaning,
ſaid THEODORUS. What then is the
Good-news, which he is ſuppoſed to announce
to us?
We deſire rather, replied AGORETES,
to hear that of you, who can explain
it beſt.
What elſe then can it be but this,
said THEODORUS, that a SAVIOUR is
come for the Redemption of a loſt
World, a World enthralled by Superſtition
and Vice? A Preacher therefore
was originally "one ſent by this Sa"viour,
JESUS CHRIST, to proclaim
"to Mankind this important Meſſage,
"and to perſuade them to repent and
"comply with the Terms of the Goſpel,
"by propofing the Pardon of their
"Sins, the Grace of the Almighty,
"Reſurrection from the Dead, and
"eternal Life." This was his original
Buſineſs and ſunction, as explained
by our Saviour himſelf: and therefore
I apprehend his preſent Buſineſs cannot
be very different.
Anciently, when that Meſſage was
ſirst proclaimed, ſaid AGORETES, the
World was Heathen, and had not received
the Goſpel: it was therefore neceſſary
to go about every where propagating
the Faith to the unbelieving Nations
but now, that it is every where received,
and paſſes current in the Chriſtian
World, there does not ſeem to be
any Neceſſity of laying again the Foundations,
and perſuading Men to believe
thoſe Truths, of which they are
already convinced.
Though there may not be the ſame
Neceſſity of converting Men to the Chriſtian
Faith, ſaid THEODORUS, that is,
to a bare Aſſent to the Hiſtory, and
Doctrines, of our Saviour; yet I fear
there is as much need as ever, of exhorting
them to entertain Chriſtianity
in the genuine Spirit, and vital Senſe
of it, or, in other Words, to be wiſe
and good; and the Inſtrument with
which Preachers are chiefly to perſuade,
is one which Heaven itſelf has provided,
and which they are not at liberty,
whilſt they continue in that Character,
to uſe or throw aſide at pleaſure, even
none other than the GOSPEL of CHRIST,
that is the whole Syſtem of Chriſtianity,
comprehending the Hiſtory and Facts
revealed or narrated, Doctrines taught,
the Precepts inculcated, and the Sanctions
with which theſe are enforced.
Pray, Sir, ſaid I, are the Methods
of Perſuaſion proper to ſome of the
other Arts, excluded from this Art,
or ſuperſeded by this grand Inſtrument,
which it uſes in order to accompliſh
the noble End it has in view?
By no means, returned THEODORUS:
it may take in all the other laudable
and innocent Ways of Perſuaſion,
which are not inconſiſtent with the Nature
and Dignity of the Subject, and
are adapted to reach the End it propoſes.

What then, ſaid AGORETES, is the
principal Buſineſs or Duty of a Preacher,
upon the whole; to which he ought
to render all the Arts of Perſuaſion
entirely ſubſervient?
He muſt, in my Opinion, ſaid THEODORUS,
"explain and preſs the eſ"ſential
Doctrines of Chirſtianity, lay
"open the Facts in their full Strength
"and Evidence, vindicate and enforce
"its Laws and Sanctions," and then
leave the reſt to the Almighty.
But as Preachers have generally to
do with People, ſaid AGORETES, who
believe their Bible, and are convinced
of the Truth of what they find there,
before they go to Church, what is the
main thing they ought to have in their
Eye, and chiefly to purſue, in order
effectually to perſuade their Audience
to be wiſe and good?
I readily acknowlege, replied THEODORUS,
that the Point of Veiw in which
a Preacher ought to regard his Audience,
at leaſt the Bulk of it, is not as
Unbelievers in the largeſt Senſe of that
Word, but as profeſſed Chriſtians; who,
having been educated in the Chriſtian
Church, are ſuppoſed to have embraced
the Chriſtian Faith, and to be convinced
of its moſt important Articles. But

as Experience makes it too evident,
that Men may proſeſs the Faith of
Chriſtians, and yet live worſe than thoſe
who do not, the principal Aim of a
Preacher, that is, of one who deſerves
the Name, muſt be, not ſo much to
teach his Hearers what they do not
know, as "to impreſs them with a
"deep and awful Senſe of what they
"do;" not ſo much to win their Belief
of the Doctrines, and their Aſſent
to the Obligations of Chriſtianity, as
"to turn their Belief and their Aſſent
"into Principles of Action, and to
"inſpire them with a ſovereign Reliſh
"of what they know and acknowlege
"to be their Duty, with a ſublime
"and permanent Love of Religion
"and Virtue." In ſhort, the whole
Myſtery of the Art, is "to make
"them CHRISTIANS in Spirit and in
"Truth, not in Name only."
This great Principle, kept ſteadily in
view, will, at one Blow, ſweep off infinite
Materials, with which ignorant
Preachers ſeek to adorn, and deſigning
ones mean to recommend their Sermons
it will ſuperſede many uſeleſs
Arguments, which ſome well-meaning
Men uſe to convince the Unbelieving,
conſute the Erroneous, and confirm
the Faithful; and which ſome fiery
Zealots employ to ſet a ſmall Part of
Mankind againſt all the reſt; and it
will contract the true Deſign, and the
whole Energy of the Art, within its
proper Bounds, "the reclaiming the
"Bad from Vice, and improving the
"Good in Virtue." This then, I conceive,
is the Buſineſs of a Preacher of
the Goſpel, this is his Pride and Glory.
We ſhould now be glad, ſaid AGORETES,
to hear your Opinion how this
is, be done, or in what Manner a
Preacher is to employ the noble Inſtrument which Heaven has put in his
Hand, in order to operate moſt ſucceſsfully
upon his Hearers.
As the Subject, ſaid THEODORUS,
on which the Preacher is to operate is
MAN, I ſuppoſe he muſt take him ſuch
as he finds him; as a Creature neither
endowed with pure Intelligence and
Reaſon, nor entirely under the Directions
of Senſe and Appetite, but as
compounded of Body and Mind, Senſe
and Reaſon, Conſcience and Affection;
Principles of different, and often oppoſite
Natures, and productive of different,
and ſometimes the moſt interfering
Effects; Principles of wonderful
Energy, when they conſpire together,
but proportionably weak, when
divided or ſet in oppoſition one to the
other. I apprehend, therefore, that
the Addreſs of the Preacher muſt lie
in paying a proper Regard to the mixed
and compounded Character of ſo various
and delicate a Creature; by engaging,
if poſſible, the ſeveral Principles of his
Nature in the ſame Intereſt, and uniting
their Force in the Production of
the ſame Effect.
Pray, Sir, ſaid I, how is this poſſible
to be done? For one would think
that ſuch contrary Principles, how artfully
ſoever ſet to work, would baffle
each other's Effect.
It is only imitating, ſaid THEODORUS,
the great Artiſt of Life and Nature,
who at once charms our Senſe by
the wonderful Apparatus and Decorations
of his Works; aſtoniſhes our Imagination
by the immenſe Variety, infinite
Complication, and yet marvellous
Regularity of his Machinery; informs
our Reaſon by the Simplicity, and Coherence
of Deſign, which runs through
the Whole; and, laſtly, who intereſts
and agitates every Affection by the amazing
Subſerviency of every ſingle Wheel
and Movement of the vaſt Machine,
to ſtrike and to delight us. — In like
manner, ought the Preacher, who means
to produce the ſame Effects, to addreſs
himſelf to the Reaſon, or Underſlanding,
to the Conſcience, to the Imagination, to
the Ears, and to the Eyes of his Audience.
If any of theſe Inlets to Perception
and Perſuaſion are neglected
by him, the Force of his Addreſs will,
as I ſaid, be proportionably diminiſhed:
but if he apply to them all at
once, with the proper Arts adapted to
each, he will break in upon the Mind,
with ſuch Light and Power, as will,
with the Help of the Almighty, bear
down all Oppoſition, and give him
an abſolute Empire over the human
Heart.
We ſhould be glad, ſaid AGORETES,
to be let a little more particularly into
this divine Art.
Alas, replied THEDORUS, how ſhall
I teach you an Art to which I am a
Stranger myſelf? From what Altar
ſhall I borrow the holy Fire, to impart
it to you? With what Heaven--
taught Eloquence muſt that Man be
inſpired, who can fully explain, what
it is to inform or rather feed the Underſtanding,
with the awful and ſublime
Truths of Religion, to hold up
theſe in ſome grand and luminous
Point of View, from whence a Stream
of Light ſhall ſpread on every ſide, in
all the previous and ſucceeding Parts
of a Diſcourſe; where the Mind ſhall
reſt and repoſe itſelf, and from whence
it may launch forth again with freſh
Attention and Vigour? What Art
muſt the Teacher have, to ſelect the
main and leading Principle, upon which
the Subject turns, to ſet this before the
Hearer in every View, till he has
thoroughly entered into it, and to conduct
him gradually through all its
Proofs and Conſequences, by a ſhort
and eaſy Chain? The Mind of Man
is wonderfully pleaſed, to know the
Ground and Reaſon of every thing, to
ſee the Concluſion in its Principle, and
to be led through a Succeſſion of Principles,
perceiving, at each Step, the
gradual Dawn of Truth breaking upon
it. The Ambition of the Mind is
highly gratified, to purſue a Series of
Things, which have a Connexion among
themſelves, and a Reference to
ſome important Point; to graſp at once
the whole Deſign and Compaſs of a
Subject, and to diſcern the Order and
Dependance of the ſeveral Parts, all
conſpiring to illuſtrate and ſtrike home
the principal Truth in queſtion. And,
ſurely, the Preacher can never want
Materials to gratify his Hearers in this
manner, if he rightly uſe that glorious
Inſtrument we formerly took notice of,
the Goſpel; which unveils to us the great.
Diſpenſations of Heaven to the Sons of
Men, in which there is to be found a
wonderful Depth of Deſign, and an illuſtrious
Concatenation of Events leading
on its Accompliſhment.
Pray, Sir, ſaid AGORETES, is not
ſuch an argumentative and connected
Method of Preaching as you ſeem to
propoſe, too refined and philoſophical
for the Generality of Hearers; few of
whom are able to attend to a Series of
Proofs, to remount to Principles, and
to deſcend from thence through a Train
of Conſequences?
I do not ſay, replied THEODORUS,
that the Bulk of Mankind are able to
ſtretch their Attention long, or to take
in remote, much leſs ſubtil, Links of
a Chain of Reaſoning; they need to be
often relieved, to have Truth made
wondrous plain, and the Steps which
conduct to it ſhort, ſenſible, and eaſy:
but then, as the Parts of a great Building,
without a due Proportion and
Symmetry to bind them together, diſtract
the Sight amidſt their Multiplicity,
and Independennce on one another;
ſo a Sermon, without a ſtrict Unity of
Deſign, without a regular Diſtribution
and Order of Parts among themſelves,
as well as a juſt and uniform Subordination
to the principal Point in view,
will, I dare ſay, only confound the
Underſtanding of the Hearer, perplex
his Memory, and ſend him away rather
amazed than edified. It is that
Light, Order, and Conſiſtency of Parts,
and that Unity of Deſign running
through the whole, which give a Body
to Diſcourſes, nay, and a Soul too.
Without theſe they are a dead Carcaſe,
a formleſs and inſipid Maſs, uninſtructive,
unanimating, and uſeleſs.
It muſt be granted, ſaid AGORETES,
that a Diſcourſe, which has no determined
Deſign, and keeps no regular
Method, muſt be a very unedifying and
inſignificant Performance: but may not
the ordinary way of explaining a Text
or Subject, and branching it out into
its ſeveral Diviſions and Subdiviſions,
and then winding up the whole with
proper Inferences, anſwer equally well
all the Purpoſes you mean to serve by
your Method, fully inſtruct the Hearer,
afford him proper reſting Places for his
Memory, and give him a Clue to conduct
him whitherſoever you intend to
lead him?
Thoſe methodical Diſtributions you
talk of, ſaid THEODORUS, may poſlibly
be Helps to the weak Memory, and
the weaker Judgment of the Preacher:
but I am afraid, they rather diſtract
the Views of the Hearers, and break
down a Diſcourſe into a Parcel of ſeparate,
independent, and minute Parts,
which embaraſs and enfeeble one another,
and deſtroy the Effect of the
Whole. It is as if one, who was to
give an Anatomy of the human Body,
should ſever the Head from the Trunk,
lop off the Limbs, and divide the
Whole into ſo many detached Pieces;
the Reſult of which would be a Spectacle
of Deformity and Horror. Whereas
an able Anatomiſt, obſerving the
Order of Nature, the juſt Diſtinctions,
the apt Diſtributions, the admirable
Junctures and Sympathy of the ſeveral
Parts, and explaining the aſtoniſhing
Uſes and Œconomy of the whole
Structure, would give us a moſt beautiful
Expoſition, equally curious and
inſtructive. In like manner, a Maſter
of the Art of Preaching, will diſtinguiſh
where Nature has diſtinguiſhed,
and divide where Nature has divided:
he will obſerve the genuine Order and
juſt Coherence of Things, how one
Truth tallies with another, what Place
every thing ought to have to give it
the greateſt Force, and how the Whole
ought to be ranged and combined, to
produce the moſt powerful Effect. A
Diſcourſe, executed in this manner,
will not want the Grace of Order: the
Tranſitions will be natural, the Connexions
ſtrong; and the Diviſions, ariſing
from the Subject, will aſſiſt, inſtead
of diſtracting the Attention of the
Hearer, and lead his Mind onward naturally,
and almoſt irreſiſtibly, to the
main Concluſion. Whereas the ſame
dull unvaried Chime of returning Diviſions,
makes his Attention flag, and
produces that inſipid Languor, which
is no Friend to true Perſuaſion, whatever
it may be to ductile Credulity.
On this account, perhaps it may be no
Loſs to the Hearer, though he ſhould
not all at once perceive the Drift of the
Speaker, nor have every Step of the
Progreſs, by which he is to be concluded
to the Concluſion, marked out
to him before-hand. If the Method
be natural, yet ſomewhat hid from
View, it will make the deeper Impreſſion,
and the Reſult will ſtrike the
Mind, with a Force heightened by
Surprize.
I am now convinced, ſaid AGORETES,
of the Neceſſity of Unity of Deſign,
and Juſtneſs of Order, to give
proper Weight to a Diſcourſe, and how
inſufficient the ordinary Method of Diviſion
is to anſwer that End. As you
have likewiſe ſhewn us how the UN-DERSTANING
is to be addreſſed, we
ſhould now be glad to hear how you
would proceed with the other Powers
of our mixed Nature.
The next grand Principle, ſaid THEODORUS,
to which the Preacher ought
to addreſs himſelf with a peculiar Energy,
I take to be the CONSCIENCE, or
that moral Faculty of Perception, by
which we diſtinguiſh between Virtue
and Vice, are conſcious of good or bad
Order within, and approve or condemn
accordingly. To addreſs this Faculty
to purpoſe, and to rouſe its inmoſt
Feelings, is a Matter of infinite Delicacy
and Moment. That Preacher
who would ſpeak home to the Conſciences
of Men, muſt lay open the
human Heart, and. trace its Windings,
its Diſguiſes and Corruptions: he muſt
unfold the Principles and Springs of
human Conduct, remove from Actions
their falſe Colourings, and diſtinguiſh
Appearances from Realities: he muſt
detect the various Byaſſes of Self-love
and Self-deceit, expoſe the Struggles
of interfering Paſſions, paint the ſeveral
Virtues and Vices, in all the
Beauty of one, and Deformity of the
other, give to every Character its juſt
Form and Boundaries, bring it to the
Teſt of the great Rule of Life, and in
short, draw Voice and Paſſion from
the Heart of Man; ſo that every one
than hear, ſee, and recognize himſelf,
and ſtand acquitted or condemned in
his own Breaſt, according as he deſerves
one or the other. — This is to addreſs
the Conſcience. And whoever can
do this to purpoſe, has hit upon the
true Maſter Key of ſacred Eloquence,
and poſſeſſes that powerful Art, by
which he may alarm, controul, and
govern the human Mind.
A Faculty immediately ſubordinate
to this, and which muſt be employed
as a main Inſtrument to work upon it,
is the IMAGINATION, that active and
wonderful Power, which preſents to us
the various Images of Things, and inveſts
them with the mighty Force they
have to charm or frighten, to attract
our Admiration, or excite our Averſion.
It muſt therefore be no mean
Part of the Preacher's Buſineſs to apply
himſelf to this noble faculty, by
laying proper Materials before it, combining
ſtrong Images, ſelecting thoſe
Circumſtances, which are moſt adapted
to impreſs the Mind, and to ſhew things
as it were preſent to its very Senſe, exhibiting
natural and moving Pictures
of Life and Manners, employing bold
Sentiments and glowing Figures, animating
the Whole with ſuch Strength
and Spirit, and adorning it with ſuch
Elegance and Grace, both in his Diction
and Manner, as are fitteſt to allure,
to ſeize, and tranſport the Hearers.
The Art you talk of, ſaid AGORETES,
ſeems to be of wide Extent, and
of great Difficulty in the Execution:
but ſhould a Preacher indulge to the
Flights of Fancy, which you appear,
to recommend, is there no danger of
his loſing himſelf in thole airy Regions
which terminate in Chimera, of his
quitting the Simplicity, or debating the
Dignity, of ſuch Compoſitions by an
Affectation of too much Ornament, and
appearing to lay Baits for catching the
Imagination, rather than to offer A rguments
for convincing the Judgment?
Would it not, therefore, be better to
keep to the more plain and ſafe Road
of common Senſe and ſober Reaſoning?
I frankly acknowledge, ſaid THEODORUS,
there is abundance of Danger
in the wild Excurſions of an ungoverned
Fancy; and perhaps it is no eaſy
Matter to rein it well: but ſhould we
forbid the Preacher the Uſe of ſo efficacious
an Engine, we ſhould deprive
him of a main Inſtrument of Perſuaſion,
and hardly leave him any thing
to move the Paſſions, which are however
the great and immediate Springs
of Actions. Man is too liſtleſs and
lazy a Creature, to be actuated by cool
Views of Intereſt, or dry Speculations
concerning his Duty and Happineſs.
One who is ſuch a Dupe to his Pleaſures,
and who is always engaged in
ſome preſent Purſuit, which engroſſes
all his Thought and Care, needs any
powerful Motives to make him quit
the Chace, very intereſting Views to
win his Attention, and very convincing
Reaſons to allure him to a different
Courſe. Objects which are remote from
Senſe and Matter, as moral and divine
Truths are, muſt be brought near the
Mind, and rendered palpable and familiar
to it, by the Beauty or Strength
of Imagery: Objects diſtant as to
Time and Place, can only have that
Diſtance leſſened, by being repreſented
in ſuch a lively and ſenſible manner,
as to appear almoſt preſent to the
Mind. But how is this to be done,
without borrowing all the Lights and
Colouring which a bright and glowing
Fancy can beſtow; without giving a
Body to our Conceptions, by ſtriking
Alluſions, Compariſons, and Repreſentations;
in ſhort, without making the
Imagination ſubſervient to Reaſon and
Judgment? It is therefore by natural
and animated Pictures of Good and
Evil, Virtue and Vice, Heaven and Hell,
and all thoſe other awful and momentous
Topics which Religion affords,
that the Imagination is to be rouſed,
and the various Affections of our Nature
intereſted. It is thus our Admiration
and Love are to be kindled, our
Averſion and Indignation raiſed, our
Hopes and Fears awakened, our Joy
and Sorrow, our Sympathy, and other
Paſſions, excited. In doing this, there
will be both Neceſſity and Scope for
all the bold, the tender, the ſublime,
and the pathetic Figures, which have
been employed, or recommended, by
the greateſt Maſters of Eloquence.
Laſt of all, to ſet this whole Machinery
a-going, and to make a Diſcourſe
come home with full Weight on the
Hearer's Mind, the Preacher muſt add
the Majeſty and Harmony of Sound,
with all the Strength and Propriety of
Action; that the Ear and Eye may be
fully ſatisfied, and concur to enforce
the Authority of the Speaker, and to
leave his Words as Stings in the Hearts
of the Audience. — This, Gentlemen,
I offer you only as a ſhort and imperfect
Sketch of the Preacher's Duty,
or the Method of ſetting about the Inſtructions
and Perſuaſion of Mankind.
Your own Reflexions will eaſily ſuggeſt
a thouſand Particulars on the Subject,
which are ſcarce to be reduced
to Rules, and are beſt learned from
good Models, but above all from the
Practice of the Art.
You have cut out plenty of Work
for the Preacher, ſaid AGORETES, and
none of the eaſieſt: but pray, Sir, how
ſhall we know, whether he has ſucceeded
in the Taſk you have aſſigned;
or by what Teſt ſhall an indifferent
Perſon judge of the Excellence of a
Sermon?
An able Judge, replied THEODORUS,
will naturally form his Opinion, by the
internal Characters it bears; and an
able Performer, and therefore of courſe
an impartial one, will ſcrutinize his
Compoſition by thoſe Characters, ſome
of which we have already given: but
the Generality may, and often will,
judge of the Merit of Sermons, by
Marks more obvious, and perhaps no
leſs ſure; I mean the Effects, which
they produce upon the Hearers. The
beſt Effects can be none other than
thoſe, in which the End of the Art is
accompliſhed; viz. the Conviction and
Reformation of the Hearers. But as
theſe Effects are not ſo apparent at preſent,
and require a conſiderable Length
of Time to determine their Reality,
there are other immediate, and more
viſible Symptoms, by which we may
judge of the Excellence of the Performance,
and prognoſticate well concerning
the good Impreſſions that are
likely to follow, or may reaſonably be
expected. If, for inſtance, the Sermon
caſt the Hearers into a deep attentive
Silence, ſo that they ſeem to hang upon
the Speaker's Lips, and wait every new
Period, with a watchful and ſtill Suſpence,
which is an higher Mark of
their Approbation, than the loudeſt
Teſtimonies of Voice or Hands; if
they are ſo totally engroſſed by the
Matter and Sentiments of the Speaker,
as to be quite regardleſs of his Manner;
if the unaffected involuntary Groan,
or Sigh, burſt from their labouring
Breaſts, or the ſilent Tear trickle from
the recollected Eye; if they are rather
alarmed, impreſſed, and agitated with
the Truth and Weight of the Things
ſaid, than taken with their Fineneſs
and Beauty, if they loſe ſight of the
Speaker, and have no Leiſure to admire
his Art, or praiſe his Wit and
Eloquence; if they go away with a ſerious,
yet pleaſed Countenance, breathing
the Air of a modeſt Triumph, ariſing
from a good Conſcience, or with
pale down-caſt Looks, like Perſons
deeply affected with what they have
heard, and ſtrongly reſolved to canvaſs
their own Heart, and reform their
Life; and if inſtead of hurrying into
Company, and the Diſſipation of the
World, they run into Solitude, grow
fond of Devotion, become leſs apt to
indulge to the Levity of ordinary Converſation,
and in ſhort, appear with
more Gravity and Dignity of Deportment;
I ſay, if Sermons operate in
this manner on the Hearers, then may
we aſcribe to them genuine Merit, and
acknowledge the Preacher a Matter of
his Art, a Workman who need not be
aſhamed, rightly dividing the Word of
Truth.
You put me in mind, ſaid AGORETES,
of a notable Philoſopher and Orator,
of whom I have read ſomewhere;
I think his Name was RUFUS, who uſed
to ſay to his Auditory, "if you have
"Leiſure to commend me, I ſay no"thing
to the Purpoſe." Therefore
he ſpoke with ſuch Strength and Majeſty,
as awed and ſhook them; and
each Perſon who heard him, thought
himſelf arraigned, impeached, condemned;
ſo feelingly did he expoſe,
and ſo artfully did he reprove, their
Vices. I have heard it ſaid, that a
Philoſopher's School is, or ſhould be,
an Infirmary or Hoſpital. How much
more properly ought it to be ſaid ſo of
the Pulpit, or the Church? People are
ſuppoſed to have come thither lame,
ſick, and diſeaſed, and therefore muſt
go out from thence, not pleaſed, but
pained, as not being quite reſtored to
Health and Vigour.
Your Obſervation is very juſt, and
the Simile tallies admirably, ſaid THEODORUS;
for a Preacher is a profeſſed
ſpiritual Phyſician, and his Hearers are
his Patients. Therefore when he convinces
them that they have need of
him, he is then in a fair way to perſuade
them. Are the Hearers in an
Agony about themſelves; are they
ready to confeſs that the Speaker hit
their Failings, pierced them to the
quick, and that they muſt no more do
ſuch things: that Speaker is a Phyſician
indeed. AUSTIN tells us, that
whilſt he raiſed only the Acclamations
of his Audience, he expected no good
from them; but when he drew Tears,
he entertained Hopes of their Reformation;
and the Event anſwered his
Hopes. As ſoon, however, as he perceived
them ſink from their loud and
noiſy, into a more thorough, though
talent, Applauſe; he dropt his premeditated
Diſcourſe, and ſtruck in with
the riſing, and more promiſing, Paſſion.
When PERE DE LINGINDES
came down from the Pulpit, the Aſtoniſhment
and Compunction of his Hearers,
impoſed on them a deep Silence:
they roſe up with pale Looks, and
down-caſt Eyes, and went out of
Church moved and penſive, without
ſpeaking a Word. I remember likewiſe
to have read of a noted Capuchin
Preacher, one PHILIP DE NARNY, who
preached at Rome before GREGORY the
XVth, concerning Non-reſidence, with
ſuch Force and Eloquence, that thirty
Biſhops fled next Day to their reſpective
Dioceſes. You well know, Gentlemen,
the wonderful Command DEMOSTHENES
had over the Minds of his
Audience; and that the ordinary Effects
of his Harangues did not evaporate
into empty Praiſes, but appeared
in immediate Reſolutions, and whole
ſome Decrees. It is by ſuch Symptoms
then as theſe, that I would have
us to judge of the Art of the Preacher,
and the Excellence of his Performances.
The Teſts you have propoſed, ſaid
AGORETES, are, I believe, the very
beſt, and ſhew the Difficulty, as well
as the Perfection of the Art. But pray,
Sir, how muſt one be qualified, in order
to reach this Perfection?
Perhaps it is impoſſible, replied
THEODORUS, to attain to the Perfection
of the Art: be is the beſt Artiſt who
comes the neareſt to it, and labours
under the feweſt Imperfections. I remember
you aſked me before, concerning
the Qualifications neceſſary to a
Preacher. To enumerate them all
would, perhaps, be a difficult Taſk,
where ſo many are required; but it is
no hard matter to point out ſome of
the principal.
Oblige us then, ſaid I, with ſome of
theſe.
A Preacher's firſt and ſupreme Quality
ſaid THEODORUS, that which muſt
give Life and Vigour to his Compoſitions,
and juſt Scope to all his Talents,
lies in his being a GOOD Man, I mean
a Lover of GOD, and a Friend of Men.
A Preacher who has not felt the Power,
and imbibed the Spirit of Chriſtianity,
is the moſt unfit Perſon in the World,
to teach and recommend it to others.
Chriſtianity is not ſo much a bare Syſtem
of Doctrines, or of Rules, as an Inſtitution
of Life, a Diſcipline of the Heart
and its Affections, a vital and vivifying
Spirit, a Ray of Light, ſent down from
the Father of Lights, to illuminate a
benighted World, and to conduct wandering
Mortals to a State of Perfection
and Happineſs. He into whoſe Mind
this all-irradiating and all-quickening
Light has not ſhone, is yet dark and
dead; and whilſt he continues ſo himſelf,
how can he enlighten or vivify
others?
One, who has not put on JESUS,
and aſſumed his humble and ſelf denying
Spirit, will preach himſelf, not
CHRIST CRUCIFIED; he will ſeek his
own things, not the things of others.
inſtead of ſtudying merely how to convince
and reform Mankind, he will affect
to ſhine, to draw the Attention of
the Audience on himſelf, and to dazzle
them with the Strength and Coherence
of his Reaſoning, the Brightneſs of his
Sentiments, the Fineneſs of his Composition,
and the Gracefulneſs of his
Elocution. This Vanity and Ambition,
ſo contrary to that Modeſty and Simplicity,
which are particularly becoming
and attractive in Chriſtian Preachers,
are Vices that have been often charged,
and ſometimes, I am afraid, with too
much reaſon, on thoſe of that Order;
and into which, it muſt be confeſſed, the
very Profeſſion is apt, without due
Caution, to betray them, eſpecially the
younger ſort.
We should be glad to hear, Sir, ſaid
AGORETES, what thoſe Circumſtances
are, attending this Profeſſion, which
betray the Practitioners into theſe Vices,
and render the oppoſite Virtues ſo peculiarly
neceſſary to them.
I dare ſay, AGORETES, you muſt
have often obſerved them yourſelf, replied
THEODORUS. The very Character
a Preacher aſſumes is an high one,
no leſs than an INSTRUCTOR of Mankind.
The ſuppoſed Sanctity of the
Character, the Importance and Dignity
of the Office, the magnificent Titles
uſually annexed to it, are apt to fill
thoſe who wear them, with high Notions
of their own perſonal Importance
and Diſtinction above the ordinary Rate
of Men. Beſides, a Pulpit is a Place
of extraordinary Eminence, in which
Heads not duly poiſed, muſt naturally
turn giddy. There a Preacher, like a
Statue placed in the Center of ſeveral
Viſta's, ſtands expoſed in a full Light:
every Eye meets in him: the Attention
of the whole Audience is fixed on him:
he is the Director, perhaps the, Mouth
of all; and on him hangs the Entertainment
and Satisfaction of all: their
Paſſions are in his Hand, which he may
controul at pleaſure, and he may lead
the liſtening, and generally the fequacious
Croud, whitherſoever he chooſes.
Now this Situation, and this Exerciſe,
I take to be, of all others, the moſt
nouriſhing, and even inflaming to human
Pride. for they turn the Mind
of the Preacher often, and very naturally,
on himſelf. His own Sentiments
and Geſtures, the various Looks
and Emotions of the Hearers, give
him back the Image of himſelf; and
as Vanity generally interprets thoſe in
the moſt favourable way, the reflected
Image borrows new Charms in every
Reflexion. Is it any wonder then, if
in his Cloſet he is ever and anon figuring
to himſelf, how this and the other
Sentiment will be admired, and how
the whole Production will be applauded;
if when he delivers it he conſtrue
every Mark of the Hearer's Approbation,
or even Sufferance, into Admiration
and Applauſe, and if when he returns
home, he review the whole Scene
with ſecret Tranſport, and re-enjoy the
Raptures he gave and received? Is it
eaſy for the Preacher often to go over
ſuch Scenes, and not to conceive big
Ideas of his own Importance, and not
to give way to thoſe natural Overflowings
of Vanity, which are apt to break
in upon a Mind not properly guarded
againſt them?
If, therefore, Self-admiration ſhall
happen to riſe in ſuch Circumſtances,
as moſt certainly it will, what ſhall
bring the Mind down from its Flights?
Or if the real Applauſe of others ſhall
consenter all his Thoughts on himſelf,
and his own Reputation, and make him
loſe ſight of the Intereſt of his Audience,
what ſhall wake him from the ſweet
Delirium, into Sobriety of Thought,
and ſtrict Attention to the End of his
Office? For my part, I know no Antidote,
no Security againſt ſuch certain
Dangers, but the Humility and Selfdenial
which true Chriſtianity inſpires:
Therefore I do not ſee how a Preacher,
who has not been thoroughly tutored
and principled in the School of his divine
Maſter, can poſſibly defend himſelf
againſt thoſe prevailing Infirmities
of human Nature, and the Force of
ſuch ſtrong Temptations, but muſt
inevitably fall into an abandoned Conceit
of his own Merit, or a mean Paſſion
for Popularity, thoſe fatal Rocks
on which to many Preachers ſplit, and
by that means loſe the real Dignity of
their Character, and often their Proſpect
of Succeſs.
But ſuppoſing theſe Paſſions much
ſubdued, there is another, arid perhaps
no leſs conſiderable, Danger, to which
the Generality of Preachers are expoſed,
and againſt which they had need
to be armed with a very elevated and
heavenly Temper, ſuch as inſpired the
Breaſt of their great Maſter. The
mean Appointments of many of the
inferiour Clergy, and the conſequence
Neceſſities in which they and their Families
are involved, prove too often,
ſtrong Temptations to them to flatter
the Vices, and become Tools to the
Paſſions of People of Rank and Fortune,
who have it in their power to
promote them, and ſerve their Children.
Such is the almoſt unavoidable
Infirmity of human Nature, that a
Preacher who cannot brook Obſcurity,
or be reconciled to Poverty, and his
Maſter's Croſs, will often chooſe to
ſpeak ſmooth things, when harſh would
ſhock his Audience, will palliate Faults,
when he cannot entirely overlook them,
affect to recommend popular Opinions,
which in his Conſcience he diſapproves,
and ſeek to pleaſe a Taſte which he
ought to correct, or if he cannot correct,
at leaſt to condemn. Suppoſing
him, therefore, to depend either on
his Audience, or on ſome who belong
to it, for his preſent Subſiſtence, or
future Preferment, he muſt be much
raiſed above the World, and the more
minute Conſiderations of Intereſt and
Popularity, to maintain a proper Freedom
and Independence of Spirit, to
dare to pull Iniquity from its high
Places, to ſtem the general Torrent of
Corruption, to brand notorious and
Mighty Offenders, to attack fatal yet
favourite Opinions, and purſue Vice
through its ſecret Windings, as well as
its more open Walks, with a bold and
unrelenting Indignation. Now to be
able to incur the Reſentment of the
Great, to deſpiſe the Frowns as well as
Smiles of the People, to riſk preſent
Advantages, and to give up future
Proſpects of Wealth and Honour for
one's ſelf and one's Family, and to
be willing to ſhake Hands with Obſcurity,
Indigence, and Contempt, are
ſuch hardy and heroic Virtues, as I
fear are to be found with but a few,
yet are obviouſly neceſſary, and highly
ornamental, to the whole Order. And
ſurely they take deepeſt Root, and
flouriſh beſt, in the Chriſtian Nurſery,
under the Protection and Culture of
that mild and divine Hero, who practiled
them in perfection.
Though a Preacher ought, no doubt,
to have a Spirit above the World,
and entirely reſigned to that humble
Lot which generally falls to his Share,
yet I hope, Sir, ſaid AGORETES, he
may have a due Reſpect to temporal
Advantages, to his Fortune, Reputation,
and Advancement in Life. A
ſtrong regard to theſe, ſeems to be very
cloſely warped with the human Conſtitution:
Prudence, I ſhould think, not
only allows, but requires that Regard;
and a Deſire of more extenſive Uſefulfulneſs
concurs to recommend it.
I hardly expect, replied THEODORUS,
angelic Strains of Piety or Virtue from
Preachers of the moſt exalted Minds:
even thoſe of the fineſt Compoſition,
are ſtill but Men; and after thir higheſt
Flights, muſt be content to deſcend
to the ordinary Sphere of human Life.
Whilſt I venture to recommend to a
Preacher a noble Diſengagement from
the World, I neither expect, nor deſire,
that he should be inſenſible of the
Wants of Life, or diveſt himſelf of.
the innocent Paſſions of Humanity. I
am ſo conſcious myſelf of the Infirmities
of human Virtue, that I would rather
chooſe to call in every allowable
and prudential Aid, that may ariſe
from the Frame and State of our Nature
in general, or the peculiar Circumſtances
of one's Lot, to ſhore it
up, and protect it againſt the many
ſevere Trials to which it is expoſed.
But ſtill, my Friend, I look for a genuine
Strain of Chriſtian Virtue from a
Chriſtian Preacher. I expect he ſhould
be entirely devoted to the Service, and
in ſome good meaſure governed by the
Spirit of his divine Maſter. He ought
frequently to ſteal away from Company,
and diſentangling himſelf from
the Ceremonial of Life, caſting off its
Cares, and ſilencing its Paſſions, to go
into the Preſence of GOD; that, by
means of ſuch Approaches he may wear
away that earthen Ruſt, with which
the World encruſts the Soul, feed the
pure Flame of Devotion, and by borrowing
one Ray of the Divinity after
another, gradually brighten up into an
heavenly and immortal Creature. A
Preacher who converſes much with his
GOD and Saviour, who aſpires daily
after Heaven, that is the Perfection of
Wiſdom and Virtue, and pants for the
Immortality of both, will know how
to uſe the World, without over-rating
it: he will enjoy the Pleaſures of
Health and Society, without abuſing
them; and whilſt he preſerves a noble
Indifference of Mind, with regard to
the Acquiſitions of Fame or Fortune,
will make both ſubſervient to the important
Ends of his Function. You
know, Gentlemen, how much the ſoundeſt
of the ancient Philoſophers required,
as well as recommended, a previous
Courſe of Trial and Preparation, before
they admitted their Scholars, or thought
them fit to be admitted, to a Participation
of the more ſublime Myſteries
of Science. What Compoſure of Mind
and Paſſion, what Diſcipline of Silence
and Retirement, what Diſengagement
from Senſe and the World, what Purity
of Heart and Manners, were deemed
neceſſary to qualify them for being
let into the Arcana, the fundamental
Principles of their Philoſophy? Now
as the Chriſtian Inſtitution is only a
more refined Species of Philoſophy, a
more efficacious Art of purging the
Soul from the Dregs of Senſe and Paſſion,
and reuniting it to Truth, Reaſon,
and Virtue, and by conſequence
to the Divinity; as JESUS CHRIST is
the Author of this divine Philoſophy,
and our great Myſtagogue to introduce
us into the Holy of Holies, and to impart
the auguſt Myſteries of Faith;
he muſt certainly expect of all his Diſciples,
and particularly require of thoſe
who are to miniſter to others a more
than ordinary Refinement and Simplicity
of Manners. A Man muſt have
converſed much with JESUS, muſt have
long ſtudied his Maxims, and been
formed after his holy and ſelf-denying
Spirit, before he can thoroughly comprehend
and reliſh his pure and heavenly
Doctrines, or be qualified to
teach them to others. What watchful
Diſcipline of the Heart, what ſevere
Correction of the Fancy, what
Struggles with himſelf, what Contrition,
what Penitence, what Humiliation
muſt he have gone through; in
order to conquer the Prejudices of Nature,
and the Prepoſſeſſions of Habit,
to reconcile him to the Myſteries of
the Croſs, and to make him ſubmit
chearfully to the Strictneſs of the Goſpel-Law?
How often muſt he have
ſat at the Feet of JESUS, before he
learned to love the Subtilty of the Man
in the Simplicity of the Child, the Art
of the Sceptic in the Candour and Ingenuity
of the Believer? I will be bold
to ſay, that no Man can truly underſtand
the Dogmata of the Chriſtian
Faith, whole Mind is ſwelled with Vanity,
ſullied with Vice, or ſunk in
Pleaſure. This divine Light cannot
dwell amidſt ſuch impure Fumes.
Whatever Principles of Knowledge,
whatever Rules of Life, we pretend
to communicate to others, will take a
Tincture of the Veſſel through which
they paſs. To the Clean all will be
clean, and to the Impure all will be
impure. The good Man, out of the
Abundance of his Heart, will bring
forth good Things, but a wicked Man
evil Things. And ſurely it may be
laid down as a Maxim, "That as a
"corrupt Heart can dictate no Lan"guage,
that is not in ſome reſpect
"adulterated; ſo a corrupt Life can
"enforce no Practice, but what is of
"a Colour with itſſelf."
Pray, Sir, ſaid AGORETES, may not
a bad Man have Genius and Capacity
enough, to repreſent Virtue in an engaging
Dreſs, to ſhew in what it conſiſts,
to deſcribe the Advantages which
accompany it, and to recommend it
with great Eloquence; in the ſame
manner as a Man, who is no Muſician,
may explain the Principles and Power
of Muſic; or as one who is no Painter,
may judge of Painting, and unfold the
whole Myſtery of Deſign? And has
he not a peculiar Advantage, when
Vice is the Subject? There he muſt
ſpeak like a Maſter, and from his own
Experience deſcribe its feelings, Energy,
and various Diſguiſes, with natural,
and therefore inimitable Strokes of
Eloquence.
I am apt to believe, replied THEODORUS,
that Virtue is an Art or Habit
of Mind, which differs conſiderably
from the others you mentioned. Thoſe
may, no doubt, be underſtood by Perſons,
who are no Performers themſelves:
for a good Eye or Ear may
make them Judges of Deſign and Harmony,
though they have had neither
Study nor Practice, to give them an
Hand. But I much queſtion, whether
Virtue can be underſtood, where it is not
firſt felt. It is not ſo much a Point of
Speculation, as a Matter of Practice,
and ſeems properly to depend on the
Soundneſs of the Heart, not on the
Sagacity of the Head. It requires no
peculiar Strain or Depth of Genius, to
comprehend the Principles of this practical
Art: a Man of the moſt ordinary
Size of Underſtanding, may be as
knowing here, as one of the largeſt.
A certain Simplicity, or Plainneſs of
Mind, bids fairer for apprehending and
reliſhing it, than Artifice or Refinement.
Experience, AGORETES, Experience
is the great Teſt:, the ſupreme
Rule of Judgment in this Caſe. We do
not allow one to be a Judge of Friendſhip,
who never felt the friendly Sympathy;
or a mere Ruſtic to decide concerning
the Decorums of Behaviour.
And ſhall we allow a Man of depraved
Sentiments, and a rotten Heart, to be
ſit to judge, or ſpeak with Propriety,
of the pureſt Emanations of a Mind,
Truth, Candour, Goodneſs, thoſe fair
Forms of Virtue, to which he feels no
Reſemblance in himſelf? How can he
underſtand that Harmony of Affections
which is neceſſary to conſtitute the virtuous
Character, who feels nothing but
Diſcord among his own? With what
Savour can he recommend Religion,
who is a Stranger to thoſe exalted Sentiments
it inſpires? With what Feeling
can he ſpeak of the almighty Parent
of the World, who never thought
of Him with any Emotion of Rapture.
or Eſteem? How ſhall one, whoſe
Heart was never warmed with a ſingle
Spark of divine Love, impart that
vital Flame to others? Whilſt he is conſcious
of nothing but Diſorder and Deformity
within, what Juſtice or Beauty
can appear to him in the Conſtitution
of his own Nature, or that of the Univerſe?
If it be natural to judge of
other Minds by our own, the immoral
Preacher will aſcribe the ſame Selfiſhneſs
and Diſhoneſty he feels in himſelf,
to the whole Species. The moſt ſhining
Characters in Life, will be eſteemed
only a more artful kind of Villains, and
the nobleſt human Qualities, reputed
but mock Forms of Integrity, Honour,
and Humanity. Where then can he
trace Order in the Government of Nature,
amidſt a Scene of ſuch Depravity;
or how diſcover Regularity in
the whole, when Diſtortion prevails in
the chief Work? And if he ſees or
apprehends nothing fair and worthy,
neither round him, nor above him,
what Original remains, from which to
copy the various Species of moral Excellence;
what Fund, to ſupply him
with great and elevated Sentiments, or
from whence he can animate and enrich
his Imagery?
But you ſaid, my Friend, that a
wicked Man muſt be a Judge in Vice,
and therefore he can ſpeak of it like a
Maſter. Doubtleſs. It is his own Province,
and being a Maſter in Iniquity,
he can reveal its manifold Myſteries,
and give admirable Rules to his Pupils,
how to make Proficiency in ſo hopeful
a Trade. The original Concert of his
own Mind is broken, and Confuſion
and Riot introduced. No wonder then
if he can paint feelingly the Havock
which Paſſions let looſe muſt make, the
Pangs and Agonies of a Mind at variance
with itſelf, diſguſted with Nature,
and hoſtile to Mankind. But pray,
AGORETES, can he teach others how a
broken Conſtitution is to be repaired,
how diſordered Paſſions are to be calmed
and moderated, how the governing,
Judgment and Taſte of Life is to be
rectified, in ſhort, how internal Freedom
and Self command are to be reſtored?
Therefore if the unhappy Patient
gain nothing, by his Experience
of the Power of Vice, but a Capacity
of deſcribing more feelingly the Miſeries
that accompany it, without any
Knowledge of the Method of Cure,
the Truth of my Concluſion is ſtill
more manifeſt, that the good Man
alone can be an able and well-qualified
Preacher.
But have we not ſeen, Sir, ſaid I
many Men who talked with great Pomp
and Zeal of the Beauty of Virtue, of
Integrity, Honour, and what not; and
have we not heard others preach eloquently
and pathetically of its Power
and happy Effects, whom yet we knew
to be falſe and worthleſs at bottom?
Nay, do we not daily ſee many Men,
who can declaim warmly in favour of
certain Virtues, as Charity, Humility,
and Contempt of the World, who yet
are notorious for the oppoſite Vices?
What Connexion then is there between
Speaking or Preaching, and Doing well?
It muſt be confeſſed, ſaid THEODORUS,
that the Corruption of the Heart
does not deſtroy, however it may impair,
the natural Powers of the Underſtanding,
nor efface the Knowledge a
Man has acquired. Nay, the greateſt
Villains have had ſometimes the higheſt
Tones of Action, and an infinite deal
of Eloquence and Addreſs. for the
ſame Fire of Genius, and Strength of
Mind, which fit a Man for being an
Hero in Virtue, qualify him likewiſe
for being a Giant in Vice. A vicious
Man may, no doubt, know the Theory
of the Paſſions, and the ſeveral ways
of addreſſing to them. He may be
acquainted with the Powers of Rhe.
toric, and be able to embellih even
moral Subject in a ſprightly and fanciful
manner: but then, wanting a good
and honeſt Heart, he wants the Life
and Soul of all. Conſcious of his own
Hollowneſs and Falſehood, I do not
ſee how he can praiſe, or even talk of
Virtue, with that Confidence and Boldneſs,
with which an Advocate for it
ought. Can he paint Virtue with Expreſſion
and Majeſty, who beholds her
with a Mixture of Averſion and Remorſe;
or recommend her with real
Warmth to others, who pines at his
own Loſs; or deſcribe with proper
Life the Raptures ſhe beſtows, to which
he is an entire Stranger?
As is a Man's internal Character
and Taſte, ſuch will his Sentiments
and Conduct be. For from what
other Fund does he think, ſpeak, and
act? If his Taſte be vitiated, his Sentiments
and Language will favour ſome
how of that inward Corruption; and
his Conduct and Manners will betray,
as well as partake of, the Depravity
of his Heart. Whereas if he is conſcious
of native Honour and Integrity,
his Sentiments will be great and worthy,
his Language animated and clear;
and every Part of his Behaviour will
diſcloſe the Rectitude of his Mind,
and appear with that Dignity which is
the natural Attendant of Goodneſs.
— But ſuppoſing the bad Man endowed
with ſuperiour Talents of Reaſon,
Fancy, and Elocution, that hismoral
Senſe is not quite depraved, and
that being aware of the fatal Influence
of Vice upon Society, and of its dangerous
Conſequence to one's Reputation,
he can counterfeit an high Eſteem
for Virtue, and paint its Power
and Effects in ſtrong Colours; yet
the Preſumption which his Hearers
have, that he is deſtitute of all Pretenſions
to it, will leaven his fineſt
Compoſitions, and throw an unſurmountable
Bar in the Way of their
Succeſs. for I doubt not, Gentlemen
but you have often obſerved how wonderfully
the Mind is pleaſed with tracing
Similitudes, and making Compariſons
between Objects which have often
little Connexion, or Affinity to
each other. Thus we not only compare
the Picture with the Original, but
ſometimes with the Painter too; at
leaſt in moral Painting, as in drawing
Characters, and deſcribing Virtues
and Vices. Let any Teacher there
undertake to delineate a Character morally
excellent, we do not ſtop at inquiring
whether it is juſt, or conformable
to the Idea we have of that particular
Species of moral Excellence
as we would do with regard to a common
Piece of Painting: but we naturally
go on to make Compariſons between
the Picture and the Painter
we are curious to know from what
Fund of Senſe and Manners he draws,
and are impatient to trace the Connexion,
if there be any, between the
Life he repreſents, and that which he
practiſes. If we find an Incongruity
between theſe, it is ten to one but we
are more ſhocked with that Deformity,
than pleaſed with the Beauty of the
Picture. The more ſplendidly Virtue
is drawn by any Man, the more deeply
will the Attention of the Audience be
fixed on his Character; and the ſounder
his Inſtructions are, they will only ſerve
to make the Corruption of his Life the
more glaring. The ſillieſt Critic will
take an ill-natured Pleaſure in obſerving
the Inconſiſtency. The Unthinking
will be ready to join with the vicious
Part of the Audience in believing,
that Virtue is a mere Name, ſince it
has ſo little Effect upon a profeſſed
Teacher of it. And as Men are more
affected by Example than Inſtruction,
they will be more prone to imitate the
Villain, than to mind the Preacher. The
Good will be ſcandalized, to ſee the
Wretch's Life bely his Profeſſion, and
the Vices he commits baffle the Effect
of thoſe Doctrines which he preaches.
His very Breath will appear infected
by the Foulneſs and Rottenneſs that is
within him, and the Subject itſelf ſeem
polluted, coming through ſuch defiled
Hands. Whereas, when a good Man
opens his Mouth in the Cauſe of Virtue,
we acknowledge him to be Maſter of
his Subject, and pay a Deference to his
Authority, as believing that he ſpeaks
from ſure Experience. We are highly
charmed, when we can diſcover a full
Conformity between the Counſels and
the Manners of our Teacher; when
we perceive all his Addreſſes animated
with a real Paſſion, and every Feature
of Virtue which he draws, exhibited
more ſtrongly in the Innocence and
Goodneſs of his Life. His Words are
pure and tranſparent, like his own
Mind; and his honeſt Sentiments,
though expreſſed in the moſt artleſs
and ſimple Language, will move the
Judicious more than the fineſt Turns
of a ſtudied and artificial Eloquence.
Even a common Subject will receive
natural Graces from his Touch, becauſe
of the Sincerity of his Meaning:
but, when raiſing his Voice, he
launches out into the higher Themes
of Religion, the Love of GOD, and
of Mankind, and diſplays theſe in all
their Energy and Beauty, his Eloquence
will riſe with the Grandeur of
the Subject: his own Worth will add
Weight to every Argument, give Dignity
and Luſtre to his Countenance;
Life and Expreſſion to his Action;
and being deeply affected himſelf, he
can hardly fail of affecting others.
For of all the Forms which draw the
Mind's Attention, Virtue is the lovelieſt;
and of all the Pictures of this
lovely Form, that which is copied warm
from the Life, or from a good Heart,
is the moſt engaging. For here, beſides
the Beauty of the Picture, Virtue
herſelf becomes viſible, as it were, in
the Perſon of the Preacher; and therefore,
in conſequence of this joint Attraction,
muſt allure and captivate an
ingenuous Spirit, with a Force that is inexpreſſible.
This lovely Form I ſpeak
of, is grown ſo familiar to him in all
her Aſpects and Attitudes, that he has
an inward Teſt ſtill at hand, ready to
aſſiſt him in making the proper Diſtinctions
between Right and Wrong, Good
and Ill; and is therefore qualified to
mark with Preciſion the Characteriſtics
of each. He cannot readily be impoſed
on by a falſe Appearance of
Virtue; whilſt every Feeling that ſtirs
within him reflects its true Image, and
not an Affection riſes which does not
call up the fair Idea. Such a Speaker,
when he makes the Deity his Theme,
is in a manner tranſported beyond himſelf:
for being poſſeſſed with the nobleſt
Sentiments of the ſupreme Parent,
formed into a near Reſemblance of his
moral Attributes, and, to uſe the ſublime
Language of an inſpired Author,
"filled with all the Fulneſs of GOD,"
he can in ſome ſort copy out the divine
Character from within, and will paint
every Perfection which belongs to it,
with ſuch Enthuſiaſm and Majeſty, as
muſt not only command the Attention
of all who hear him, but kindle in each
ſuſceptible Mind the ſtrongeſt Fervour
of Veneration and Love. In ſhort, it
is he only who feels with Spirit, that
can paint with Spirit; nor can any
Man communicate a Paſſion to others,
till he has firſt felt it himſelf. Therefore
though an artful Hypocrite may
counterfeit the outward Appearances
of Worth, he can never juſtly expreſs
the inward Temper, nor inſpire others
with Sentiments to which he is an utter
Stranger. Something hollow and artificial
will appear, ſome time or other,
in his Manner of thinking, or expreſſing
himſelf, that will ſhew the Force
put upon Nature: it is almoſt impoſſible
to carry on the Diſguiſe through
Life: in ſome unguarded Hour the
Maſk will fall of; or he will lay it
aſide, when a ſuperior Bait from Intereſt
or Paſſion bids him ſhew his
Face; and when the Knave ſtands once
detected, his Character is blown, and
all his Eloquence and Succeſs gone
with it, irretrievably gone. —
Here THEODORUS pauſed, and gave
AGORETES room to ſay, it is very
poſſible, Sir, that we may be much
miſtaken in the Eſtimate we make of
Mens Charcters, and may, through
an Ignorance or Miſrepreſentation of
Facts, reckon thoſe, who are pretty
univerſally eſteemed good Preachers,
bad Men; or we may be impoſed on
by a ſpecious Parade of Eloquence, in
thoſe of a ſuſpected Character. But
be that as it will, we muſt certainly
allow, that the good Man has great
Advantages over the bad, in recommending
Religion and Virtue. But
pray, THEODORUS, what would you
reckon the next Qualification of an
able Preacher?
Another eſſential and indiſpenſible
Qualification, replied THEODORUS, is
the Knowlege of human Nature, and
of Life. The End of Preaching,
which may be conſidered as the Art of
ſpiritual Medicine, is to remove a vicious
Temperament of Mind, to introduce
a good one, and to confirm it by
proper Applications and a right Regimen.
But it is evident, that this
End can never be attained, without a
thorough Knowlege of the Heart of
Man, of the Diſorders which ariſe
there, and the various Appearances
which theſe put on in the Characters
of Men, and the Conduct of Life. In
order to acquire this neceſſary Branch
of Knowlege, the Paſſions muſt be accurately
ſurveyed, becauſe theſe are the
grand Springs of Action: the Motives
and Cauſes which influence them, thoſe
Species of Good and Ill which impel
or reſtrain their Motions, their mutual
Connexions and Dependance, together
with thoſe Circumſtances and Relations
in Life that contribute to their Growth
or Decay, muſt be carefully ſtudied.
For it is from a full and exact Detail
of the Proceſs of Nature in the Structure
and Operations of its leading
Powers, that we muſt deduce the true
healing Art, or the ſureſt Rules for reſtoring
and perfecting the human Conſtitution.
Therefore a Preacher muſt
ſtudy his own Heart well, and be much
converſant with Mankind, with thoſe
eſpecially who reſign the Health of
their Souls to his Care, if he would
practiſe with Succeſs upon ſuch nice
Subjects.
By the way, I cannot help obſerving,
that the Truth of this Maxim we
were lately eſtabliſhing, I mean the
Neceſſity of being a good Man, in order
to be an able Preacher, appears
ſtrongly in this Inſtance. for I ſcarce
conceive how a bad Man can know his
own Heart, or think juſtly on that prime
Subject MAN, or human Life. How
ſhould he know himſelf who finds no
pleaſure in Self-Inſpection, who has no
Sentiments worthy of his Attention,
who dares not to aſcertain thoſe he
has, without Shame, nor canvaſs his
own Paſſions, for fear they ſhould turn
like Furies upon him. But if any
Accident or Calamity ſhould force him
to turn his Eye inward, how is it poſſible
for him to judge coolly of his
Temper and Conduct, whilſt all is in
a State of Confuſion and Violence within;
Reaſon at War with Paſſion, and
one Paſſion claſhing with another;
new Impreſſions aſſaulting him from
abroad, and freſh Wants importuning
him at home? To be tolerably eaſy
and pleaſed with himſelf in ſuch a caſe,
he muſt either bribe his Judgment to
palliate his Views, and diſguiſe his Inclinations,
or debauch his Senſe of
Right or Wrong, that he may reconcile
his Conduct to that Standard. In
either caſe, he muſt impoſe upon himſelf
as to the Scope and Tenor of his
Actions, and continue as ignorant of
his real Character as ever. Beſides,
how can he underſtand the true Meaſures
of Life, when his own is a continued
Piece of Incoherence, governed
by no Rule but Fancy, and ever varying
in its Ends, and the way of coming
at them? How can he judge ſoundly
of human Nature in general, who
blunders in the moſt important Subject
relating to it, his own Happineſs;
who imagines that it is to be
found in the Road to Vice, or the uncontrouled
Indulgence of Appetite?
How diſtorted muſt that Turn of
Thought be, which fancies that Health
may conſiſt with a broken Conſtitution
and diſordered Affection, and
that we may enjoy ourſelves amidſt
Sickneſs, Remorſe, and Pain? Whereas
the good Man knows himſelf, being
daily converſant with himſelf. He
is encouraged to turn his Attention
within, by the Conſciouſneſs of inward
Rectitude: he watches over the various
Turns of his own Humour, and
obſerves the Play of the ſeveral Paſſions:
therefore he cannot be a Stranger
to the Order and Revolutions of the
Affection, or to the Anatomy of human
Nature. Having gone through
the moral Diſcipline, and born the
Severities neceſſary for eſtabliſhing the
virtuous Principle, he can beſt deſcribe
the various Struggles of the
Soul, give the moſt proper Rules for
Self-correction, and point out the Road,
by which Religion makes its way into
the Heart. his own Mind has been
a Theatre, on which different Paſſions
and Characters have been acted; and
therefore he can eaſily give Speech an
Action to theſe, when he repreſents
them to others. Now he who can
draw Voice and Accent from the
Heart, make the Affections ſpeak the
genuine Language, and in ſhort hold
out as it were a Mirrour to us, in
which we cannot avoid ſeeing ourſelves,
has hit upon the true Art
not only of intereſting but perſuading
us, and conſequently bids faireſt for
being the moſt powerful and ſucceſsful
Preacher.
You ſeem, Sir, ſaid AGORETES, in
the hit Part of your Diſcourſe, to have
mentioned a very material Branch
the Preacher's Buſineſs: We ſhould
be glad to hear it explained at mo
Length, and to know what are the
beſt Methods for carrying on the Cure
of diſeaſed Minds.
For my part, AGORETES, replied
THEODORUS, I know no certain or
univerſal Recipe's for the Recovery of
mental Diſorders. After the utmoſt
Care that Mortals can take of them,
they muſt be left at laſt in the Hands
of the almighty Phyſician of Souls, who
knows their inmoſt Frame, and can
apply ſovereign and infallible Remedies.
Different Minds muſt be treated
differently, according to their ſeveral
Conſtitutions. We ſhall, however, apply
the healing Art the more ſucceſsfully,
if we remember what is the immediate
Cauſe of moſt Diſtempers that
attack the human Conſtitution. Now
by obſerving the various Complexions
and Characters of Men, and analyſing
the ſeveral Diſorders to which they are
obnoxious, we ſhall find, that it is
generally ſome miſtaken Opinion of
Right and Wrong, of GOD or Religion,
or the Admiration of ſome partial,
and generally of ſome external Good,
that miſleads and governs the Bulk of
Mankind, and gives Riſe to all the
irregular Paſſions which diſquiet their
Minds, and to all the wild Diſorders
which deform their Lives. Some falſe
Species of Good, borrowing deluſive
Colours from the fair and genuine
Forms of Virtue, Beauty, or Happineſs,
and having paſt into the Region
of Fancy, unexamined and undiſtinguiſhed
by the judgment, firſt raiſes
Admiration, then Paſſion; which, being
ſucceeded by Choice, gives birth
to Reſolution, and that iſſues in a
wrong Conduct. for I can hardly
think it compatible with the Conſtitution
of human Nature, to purſue
Ill as ſuch, or to take pleaſure in Deformity
and Vice, unleſs under ſome
Maſk of Good.
See, for inſtance, how the Caſe
ſtands with reſpect to PLEASURE. It
offers itſelf to Mankind in various
Forms and Poſitions: But whatever
theſe are, it ſtill appears as a natural,
or a moral, or a mixed Good. And
when Men purſue any particular Species
of it, they do it, either becauſe
they think it more worthy and honourable,
or greater in Quantity than any
other, or becauſe being preſent and of
eaſy Purchaſe, it fills the Eye more
than thoſe which are future, and harder
to come at; or over-balances, in their
Account, the Pains and Inconveniencies
conſequent to it. Now where ſo
many Things muſt be taken into Conſideration,
it is eaſy to ſee how poſſible
it is for giddy, thoughtleſs, and fallible
Men to be miſtaken in their Calculations.
In order to ſet them right,
when they are deceived by a wrong
Choice, there will be need for all that
Goodneſs of Heart, and Acquaintance
with human Nature and Life, which
we thought neceſſary to furniſh out a
Chriſtian Orator. From theſe beſt of
Sources he may draw the nobleſt Colouring,
to paint the ſuperior Plealures
of Religion, Purity, friendſhip,
and Humanity; and by confronting
theſe with the inferior Kinds, ſhew
the Meanneſs, Hollowneſs, and dire
Effects of the laſt in the moſt convincing
and lively Manner.
Again, if the Mind be upon the
cooler Key of INTEREST, and be deceived
by ſome ſordid Species of Advantage
or Gain; then the true and
laſting Good of Man is to be diſplayed;
and it muſt be made appear
how far that is from lying in Riches,
or Fame, or Pomp, or Power, or in
any of thoſe external Acquiſitions which
are purſued, with ſuch Contention and
Ardour, by the Generality of Mankind.
And here there will be large
room for a juſt Calculation of the different
Rates and Proportions, the various
Mixtures and Abatements of
Good, for ſtrong and affecting Pictures
of Life, and the different Purſuits of
Men, of their Conſequences, and the
Cauſes of Happineſs and Miſery.
Let us next ſuppoſe, what is very
poſſible, that our Patient, whoſe Diſorder
we want to remove, is miſled by
ſome partial View of VIRTUE itſelf.
The Mind, whoſe Conceptions have
not been ſufficiently opened, by being
taught or accuſtomed to attend to one
particular Appearance or Form of it,
has been ſo captivated and engroſſed
by that, as to deſpiſe, at leaſt to neglect
other Views of it, equally intereſting,
and far more noble. Thus, for
inſtance, many place all Virtue in a
certain Politeneſs and Decorum of Behaviour,
which teaches a Man to moddel
his outward Carriage, with a eaſy
Accommodation to the Humours and
Characters of others, without any Re
gard to the Temper of the Mind or
the Conduct of the Affections. Others
make it to conſiſt in a ſcrupulous and
delicate Senſe of Honour, or an elated
Conſciouſneſs of one's own Rank, Fortune,
Merit, or Dignity, which ſpurns
at the meaner Kinds of Vice, and can
not brook the leaſt Affront or Injury;
but which can, without any Remorſe,
trample on the moſt ſacred Laws of Religion,
Juſtice, and Humanity. Some
there are, who contract all Virtue to a
cold, dry, rigorous Honeſty, that will
do nothing actually unjuſt, violate no
Promiſes, and break no Engagements,
but will not exert one kind Affection
or do one generous Deed, though Miſery
were to ſolicit it in the moſt importunate
and piteous Shape. Others
from a narrow View of public Good
think the Sum of Virtue compriſed in
Zeal for a Sect or Party, and an entire
Devotion to its Intereſts; which is
often excluſive of Benevolence, nay,
ſometimes of Juſtice to one's Country,
and Mankind. This is generally a
Source of the moſt inveterate Antipathies
and cruel Feuds that happen
among Men. Now as Virtue is ſo
glaring and commanding an Object,
even thoſe partial Aſpects of it muſt
have a powerful Effect, and often produce
very irregular and exceſſive Paſſions.
In order to moderate and rectify
theſe, the Mind muſt be gradually
opened to larger Views: the more
grand and elevated Forms of Goodneſs
muſt be exhibited before it; our more
extenſive Connexions, and higher Obligations,
ſhewn; the Rank and Value
of the ſeveral Virtues determined, the
unhappy Conſequences of a lame and
partial Virtue pointed out, and what is
principal and moſt excellent in each
Kind explained.
In fine, if the Patient is deluded by
falſe Species of RELIGION, whether
that conſiſts of ſuperſtitious Fears,
childiſh Ceremonies, a blind and furious
Zeal for Opinions, extatic Impulſes,
a total Receſs from the World,
Monkiſh Auſteries, or even an aſſiduous
and ſtrict Devotion, ſeparated from
Practice, and an active Commerce with
Mankind; a more genuine and excellent
Form of Religion muſt be held
up to View, and aſcertained to the
miſtaken Votary, from the Conſtitution
of Man, the Nature of GOD, the Revelations
He has given, and the Inſtitutions
He has appointed; and the
Diſagreement of the falſe kinds with
theft, muſt be ſtrongly marked. The
Objects about which Religion is con
verſant are of the vaſt and majeſtic
kind, and therefore apt, unleſs they
are guided by juſt and proportioned
Views, to raiſe the moſt imperious and
overſtrained Paſſions, ſuch as Bigotry,
amazing Panics, and the wildeſt Sallies
of Enthuſiaſm: therefore in order to
cure theſe moſt dangerous ſpiritual Diſtempers,
the Conſtitution of the Patient
had need to be carefully ſtudied,
and the Sources of thoſe Diſtempers
nicely examined; whether they ariſe
from narrow Conceptions of Religion,
Miſtakes concerning the Character of
GOD, natural Melancholy, Diſappointments
in Life, the Prejudices of Education,
Aſſociations with other miſguided
Votaries, or from whatever
other Cauſes. By obſerving theſe accurately,
the moſt proper Methods of
Cure may he diſcovered. One thing
in general is to be remarked of thoſe
religious Paſſions, as well as of many
others that prevail among Mankind,
that it is beſt to ſet upon them indirectly,
and by Sap, rather than Battery:
As in ſome bodily Diſeaſes, let a
Revulſion be made to another Part,
and what is peccant be thrown off, by
giving vent to the Paſſion in an innocent
manner, and employing it upon a
nobler Object. Thus that violent Zeal
for mere Opinions and Forms, may be
converted into a more juſtifiable Ardour
for the fundamental Truths and
important Duties of Religion: the
ſlaviſh Dread of GOD into a filial Reverence;
an Attachment to a Party,
and Rancour againſt different Sects,
into a more enlarged Benevolence, and
a greater Severity againſt Vice, among
whatever Denominations of Men it is
to be found. But theſe mental Applications
muſt be made and conducted
with a very ſoft and tender Hand:
Prejudices muſt be gradually unravelled,
and Truth let into the Mind by
ſlow and gentle Steps: for Men may
be perſuaded and reaſoned out of their
Errors and Vices; but they will not be
ſcolded and beaten out of them.
It appears then, Gentlemen, by this
Detail, that thoſe who are under the
Influence or Dominion of any Vice,
are deceived by ſome falſe Species or
another, according to which they regulate
their Character and Conduct;
and that it muſt therefore be of the
utmoſt Conſequence to expoſe that
falſe Species, by ſhewing that the Opinion
itſelf is ill founded, or the Paſſion
built upon it faulty, either in Excels
or Defect; and to paint this Paſſion
in all its Appearances and Forms
ſo exactly, that no Man, who attends
without Prejudice to the Picture, may
miſtake his own Features. The Effect
of ſuch a Delineation will be, that
he muſt take part one way or other,
and either approve or condemn himſelf.
for hardly can any human Creature
behold a juſt Repreſentation of
his own Character with Indifference:
therefore when one diſplays to him
the Images of himſelf, and preſents
him with his own Views, Sentiments,
and Paſſions, he muſt either love or
lothe the Draught. And this Affection
or Averſion muſt be excited, in
proportion to the Likeneſs of the Picture,
and the Attention with which it
is ſurveyed. This, I apprehend, is the
firſt Step towards the Recovery of a
Mind enſnared by Vice. But it is
eaſy to ſee that he muſt not be unacquainted
with the human Heart, and
the various Diſeaſes to which it is ſubject,
and muſt be no mean Artiſt
in moral Painting, who can thus make
us paſs in review before ourſelves, reflect
ſeriouſly on our own Diſpoſitions
and Conduct, and by ſo doing, intereſt
every ſenſible, ingenuous, and humane
Principle about us.
I much fear, Sir, ſaid AGORETES,
this Method which you propoſe, how
juſt ſoever it may appear, is hardly
practicable in Preaching. The Gravity
and Solemnity of that, will ſcarce admit
of ſuch moral Painting, ſuch Exhibitions
of human Characters and Paſſions,
or, in ſhort, thole minute Deſcriptions
of the ſeveral Phantoms which delude
Mankind into ſo many Mazes of
Vice and Folly. But though it ſhould
I much doubt whether mere Deſcription
will anſwer the End propoſed. To
make Men know themſelves, and diſtinguiſh
their own Faces, Perſons muſt
be introduced, acting, and ſpeaking,
ſuitably to their reſpective Characters;
and theſe Characters muſt be marked
with ſuch Truths and Expreſſions, as
none may take them for what they are
not. This, perhaps, can only be performed
by the Drama, that faithful
Mirror of Men and Manners. Whereas
the Painting, which is conſiſtent with
the Gravity of Preaching, will appear
only faint Sketches, or general and unaffecting
Delineations of this or the
other Character and Diſpoſition; which,
if beautifully turned, may indeed make
the Hearer attend to what is ſaid, but
will hardly ſuggeſt to him his own Feelings
and Paſſions, or accuſtom him to
that uſeful Habit of Self-inſpection.
for who will think himſelf intereſted
in the cold Definitions, and dry Deſcriptions,
of a formal Preacher, let
him define or deſcribe ever ſo well?
From what other Cauſe ariſes that frequent
Complaint of Preachers, that no
Man applies what is ſpoken to himſelf,
but every Man to his Neighbour? —
And were they to attempt the dramatic
way in Preaching, they would not only
deſcend from the Dignity of their Character,
but convert Preaching into an
inconſiſtent Medley of Solemnity and
Farce, quite remote from Nature, and
unfit for the Purpoſes of Inſtruction.
Your Scruples, AGORETES, replied
THEODORUS, are very ingenious, and
ſhew that you are no Stranger to the
Subject we are upon. No doubt the
Drama has its Advantages, and can
deſcend to the Correction of leſſer
Enormities and Follies, which fall not
within the Cognizance of the Chair.
But that the lasſt entirely excludes Perſonating
or Characterizing Men and
Manners in the trueſt Senſe, I cannot
allow. It does not admit the Introduction
of real Perſonages; and yet
their Sentiments, Manners, and Language
may be repreſented in Narration:
the ambitious, the voluptuous,
the covetous Man may be exhibited,
and made to talk in character: the
Maxims and Diſpoſitions of the Villain,
the Bigot, the Enthuſiaſt, may
be detected: the Hypocrite, the Formaliſt,
the Self-deluded may have their
Countenances plainly expoſed to view,
and their various Arts of Falſehood
and Self-deceit laid open; ſo that they
than be forced to feel, if they will not
confeſs a Likeneſs, and to abhor the
mean, the falſe, the odious Forms,
which they have worn, whilſt they
juſtify and approve their Contraries.
It muſt be confeſſed, however, that
there is ſomething in the Genius and
Style of Preaching peculiar to itself,
and diſtinguiſed from all other kinds
of Compoſtion. It is not ſo minute
and particular as the Drama, nor ſo
general and abſtracted as a philoſophical
Diſcourſe, nor ſo looſe and declamatory
as a popular Harangue. "It is rather
"a fober and ſerious, yet a moſt
"awakening and pathetic Addreſs to
"the HEART of Man, or to his Rea"ſon,
Imagination, and moral feelings,
"accompanied with Circumſtances of
"the greatſt Solemnity and Awe, being
"delivered in a Place commonly re"garded
with religious Veneration, in
"the immediate Preſence of the beſt
"and greateſt Being in the Univerſe,
"and by Perſons of a ſuppoſed Sanc"tity
of Character, concerning Sub"jects
which are generally believed by
"the Audience to affect their higheſt
"Intereſts." In this Method of Addreſs,
a pointed and awful Appeal is
lodged to the Conſcience; the inward
Character, Principles, and Springs of
Action are laid open to view; the habitual
Tenour of one's Life is canvaſ
ſed; the Mind is arraigned, interrogated,
and tried, in the Preſence of
GOD, and of one's fellow-creatures, a
Circumſtance which rouſes Attention,
and adds not a little to the Solemnity
of the Proceſs; and in conſequence of
the Whole, the Sinner is condemned or
acquitted, not by the Speaker only,
but, which is of infinitely greater Moment,
by a Sentence which he paſſes
on hinsſelf. Who that has Eyes, or
Ears, or any remaining Ingenuity of
Mind, can ſtand by unconcerned and
unmoved, whilſt this Home-trial is carrying
on? And who can forbear recognizing
himſelf, and making perſonal
Application, whilſt the Workings
of his own Mind are exhibited,
his moſt natural Senſe and intimate
Convictions appealed to, and he himſefl
actually engaged as a Party in the
Trial? If this be fo, I fear, AGORETES,
the Ground of that Complaint
you mentioned as familiar to Preachersmuſt
be charged, not upon the Hearers,
but on their Incapacity or Neglect who
draw Characters which none can apply,
and launch out into general Deſcriptions,
and vague Obſervations, which
have no Connexion with Life and Nature,
and in which no one finds himſelf
concerned.
Pray, Sir, ſaid I, will you be ſo
good as to explain to us, yet a little
more particularly, how this Buſineſs of
drawing Characters is to be managed,
and how that kind of moral Painting,
which is allowable in Preaching, is to
be diſtinguiſed from the other Kinds
of it.
There is without queſtion, ſaid
THEODORUS, a ſingular Delicacy and
Caution required in the Management
of this Affair; and perhaps, like all
the reſt of the Art, it is better learned
by Practice than by any Rules. I
ſhall, however, frankly tell you what
occurs to me at preſent on the Subject.
— I ſaid before, that the Method
of Characterizing proper to Preaching,
was not ſo minute and particular as
the Drama, nor admitted of ſuch direct
Imitation. There are peculiar Humours,
Oddities of Character, and little
Specks of human Folly, which become
the Stages well enough, and furniſh
out agreeable Portraits of ordinary
Life. Theſe ſuit not the Genius of
Preaching; nor even thoſe Draughts
of rare and extraordinary Characters,
which lie beyond the Reach of common
Obſervation. Man muſt be painted
more in the Groſs, according to his
ordinary Size and Meaſures, and with
thoſe more ſtriking Features and Proportions,
in which he uſually appears,
and which are obvious even to a vulgar
Eye. Though our graver Corrector of
Manners, had need to know, the general
Boundaries of Virtue and Vice,
yet it is not neceſſary, that he ſhould
be able to determine preciſely in every
Caſe, where one ends, and the other
begins. But he ſhould, I think, underſtand
in the main, what Degree of
Imperfection is, or is not, reconcileable
with the virtuous Character, and
what Meaſures of Virtue may be found
where Vice has the aſcendant; ſſſo that
whilſt he is exhibiting the Out-lines of
both, the loweſt Degrees of Goodneſs
may not be diſcouraged, nor the Vicious
have their Indolence, or their Preſumption,
fed with the View of any
thing ſhort of real Virtue, or a prevailing
Piety. To proceed, however,
with the greater Caution in this Affair,
the moral Painter muſt draw thoſe
Contraſts and Alloys which are to be
found in the ſame Character, thoſe
Struggles of interfering Principles and
Paſſions, which often ariſe in the Breaſts
of good Men, but eſpecially of thoſe
in whom the Seeds of Virtue are but
juſt forming; the Defects which are
obſervable in fome Affections, and the
Exceſſes of others; the frequent Variations
of Characters in the ſame Perſon,
owing to the different Circumſtances
in which he is placed, and the
Influence of different Principles which
govern him in their turn. for there
are few of a Character ſo ſteady and
uniform, as not to differ often from
themſelves. And nothing is more notorious,
than that great Virtues are frequently
allied to great Imperfections
and ſome of the fineſt Diſpoſitions do,
by a native Vigour and Impetuoſity,
run up ſometimes to the higheſt Exceſſes,
as we ſee the richeſt Soils produce
the rankeſt Weeds. Therefore,
when the virtuous Character is not too
much raiſed on one hand, nor the
vicious too much ſunk on the other,
but when the features of each are
marked with their proper Shades and
Softenings, the Picture will have a
much ſtronger Effect on every intelligent
Spectator; becauſe it approaches.
nearer to the general Rate of Men,
and to what we feel ourſelves in the
common Run of Life.
But beſides thoſe Contraſts of Character
in the ſame Individual, there
are Diverſities in that of the ſame
Claſs of Men, which ought to be nicely
diſtinguiſhed; leſt Characters which
are really diſtinct, be confounded by
the Similarity of their Appearance.
Thus there are Hypocrites of very different
kinds: there are ſeveral Sorts
of Superſtition, according to the Turn
of the Temper, the different Aſpects
of the Deity, and of Religion, or
the various Circumſtances of Mens
Education, Buſineſs, and Life. In
short, Selfiſhneſs, Ambition, the Love
of Pleaſure, of Praiſe, and of Wealth,
may appear in a Variety of Shapes,
and form very different Characters, as
they operate more or leſs powerfully;
as they are influenced by the Mixture
of other Paſſions, or employ different
Means to come at their reſpective Ends.
Unleſs then this Diſtinction of Characters
be maintained, and the Peculiarities
of each, though reducible to the
ſame general Claſs, be accurately marked,
particular Characters may be overcharged,
and diſcordant features of
different Perſons may be patched together,
in ſuch a manner, that all real
Likeneſs ſhall be loſt, and no Man be
knowable either by himſelf, or by any
body elſe. Such an uncertain and undiſtinguiſed
kind of Limning can anſwer
no moral Purpoſe it intereſts no
particular Perſon, and leaves the Spectator
juſt where it found him. How
then is the Pencil to be guided, ſo as
to mark the peculiar Colour of a particular
Temper or Affection, and to
preſent a full and diſtinct Image of
any Character, without falling into that
Minuteneſs and Nicety of Deſcription,
which we thought was to be avoided?
— This, I imagine, is to be done by
tracing every Man's predominant Paſſion
through his Life and Manners,
not by diſcuſſing nicely, how his Paſſions
are ranged with one another, or
in what Proportions they are ballanced;
but by exhibiting the Man entire and
at full length, ſpeaking and acting in
the View of all preſent. I would give
a Plan of his Life, of his Principles,
his Ends, and the general Courſe of his
Actions: I would purſue the favourite
Inclination through all its Doubles and
Windings, ſhew how it exerts itself in
Youth, and a more advanced Age, in.
Proſperity and Adverſity; what Forms
and Diſguiſes it puts on in different
Circumſtances and Relations, and by
what Maxims it is governed in all theſe.
I would particularly exhibit the Man in
thoſe grand and intereſting Lights, in
which the peculiar Turn of his Character,
or Strength of his ruling Paſſion,
appears moſt conſpicuous. And
becauſe no Man is invariably guided by
one Principle, I would take notice of
thoſe ſubordinate and interfering Paſ
ſions, that govern him by turns. If
Nature is faithfully copied in ſuch a
Detail as this, and the principal Lines
of his Life expoſed clearly to view, I
do not ſee how the Perſon or Perſons
aimed at, and included in, ſuch a Character,
can fail of diſtinguiſhing their
own faces, or forbear honeſtly juſtifying
the Draught, or Charge, call it
which you will. This, I think, is
ſomething more than cold Deſcription,
or looſe Obſervation; and if it is not
Imitation in a dramatic Senſe, it is at
leaſt an hiſtoric Painting and charactrizing
of Men and Manners; and if well
executed, may fully anſwer the End of
moral Delineation and Inſtruction. It
differs, indeed, from Hiſtory, in not
ſufficiently particularizing Facts and
Circumſtances: nor is it the ſame with
Poetry, which conſiſts chiefly of Fiction:
yet by the Truth of its Repreſentations,
it appeals to every Man's
Experience of his own Conduct, and
Obſervation of that of others. And
this moral Painting of particular Characters,
will both be better underſtood,
and have a more powerful Effect, if
Characters of an oppoſite kind are
placed by them, as Foils, to ſet them
in a ſtronger Light. Thus if over--
againſt the ſelfiſh griping Miſer, we ſet
the generous and diſintereſted Friend of
Mankind, if we confront the haughty
and double-minded Sinner with the
humble and ſingle-hearted Chriſtian,
the Lines of each Character will appear
much brighter, and be more ſtrongly
felt.
But beſides theſe particular Draughts
now mentioned, there are more general
Characters of Virtue and Vice, peculiar
to certain Times, Ages, Ranks,
Conditions, and other Circumſtances
of Life, which muſt be carefully obſerved,
and diſtinctly drawn by a profeſſed
Corrector of Manners. Or if I
may uſe the Words of an able Maſter in
his own way, "Virtue muſt be ſhewn
"her own feature, Scorn her own
"Image, and the very Age and Body
"of the preſent Time his form and
"Preſſure." Some Vices are faſhionable
in certain Seaſons, and ſeem to dare
the Attack of a public Cenſor, as ſheltering
themſelves under fome ſpecious
Maſk of Virtue, or triumphing in the
Number and Rank of Offenders. Theſe,
if he would be faithful to his Truſt, he
muſt drag forth into the Light, diveſt
of their borrowed Colours, and brand
with juſt Infamy. But even here a
diſcreet Delicacy is very neceſſary; and
the Satire will be fo much the more
piercing and effectual, the more artfully
it is couched, and the greater
Mildneſs that is mixed with this Severity.

Again, there are certain Enormities,
which ſeem to grow out of particular
Profeſſions, and are the natural Product
of ſome Periods and Situations of Life.
Thus Fraud is peculiarly apt to enter
into ſome Employments, Love of Gain
into others: Pride and Statelineſs are
the Attendants of ſome Conditions,
Meanneſs and Servility of others. Againſt
theſe the Chriſtian Orator is to
point his Thunders: yet it ſhould be
done with ſo cautious an Hand, as to
appear to level at the Vices, not the
Perſons or Reputations of Men.
But beſides this general Acquaintance
with Characters, and the prevailing
Corruptions of certain Times and Profeſſions,
he who would wiſh to ſucceed
in the preaching Art, had need to be
no Stranger to the particular Characters
and Manners of his Audience, or
the People who are his immediate Pupils,
that he may know how to rank
them into their ſeveral Claſſes, and addreſs
to them in a manner ſuitable to
their reſpective Capacities and Tempers.
He ſhould know not only the Size of
their Underſtandings, but the Variety
of their moral Bent and Complexion,
that he may copy exactly from the
Life, paint ſuch Characters as they are
acquainted with, apply thoſe Arguments
which are proper to perſuade,
and excite thoſe Convictions which are
neceſſary to reform them. It is very
evident that different moral Diſpoſitions
muſt be treated in as different a manner,
juſt as various bodily Conſtitutions
require different Applications. Sullen
and ſtubborn Minds muſt be wrought
upon by more harſh Methods, than the
Gay and the Gentle: the Humble
ſhould be encouraged, the Melancholy
comforted, the Grounds of their Dejection
tenderly canvaſſed and carefully
obviated, and the Sources of true Joy
opened: the lethargic Sinner muſt be
awakened, and the haughty and preſumptuous
one humbled and terrified.
In ſhort, Hearers of every Rank and
Character are to be diſtributed and applied
to, according to their reſpective
Genius, Tempers, Paſſions, and Foibles,
if the public Teacher would play the
Part either of a ſkilful Phyſician or an
able Painter.
I ſhould think it no ill Method of
enforcing theſe moral Paintings, and
making the general Delineations more
palpable and affecting, to ſelect from
Scripture, or from proper Books of
Biography, the moſt ſingular and ſtriking
Characters of the virtuous or vicious
kind, whoſe Hiſtory and Actions
convey the moſt inſtructive Leſſons,
and are told with the moſt beautiful
Simplicity. Such are thoſe of ABRAHAM,
JOSEPH, JOB, MOSES, BALAAM,
SAUL, DAVID, PETER, JUDAS, PAUL,
and ſeveral others in holy Writ. Whatever
Inſtructions are thus borrowed
from Life, and whatever Models are
drawn from thence, be it done in ever
ſo plain and artleſs a manner, are the
beſt adapted to touch the Heart of
Man, and to ſet in motion every Power
and Spring of Action.
But now, Gentlemen, how much ſoever
I approve of this characteriſtical
Method of Preaching, of which I have
given you my Sentiments: I muſt
frankly confeſs to you, that I do
not believe either this or any other
Method whatever, will be ſufficient,
tho' ſupported with the utmoſt Force
of human Eloquence, to produce real
and laſting Reformation, unleſs the
great Father of Spirits concur with a
divine Energy, and transfuſe Life and
Vigour into thoſe Pictures of the Heart
and Manners. It is but too evident
from Experience, that thouſands return
from the juſteſt Repreſentations
of the Theatre, either without diſcerning
their own Follies, or being in the leaſt
diſpoſed to mend them; and that as
many more peruſe the fineſt Productions
of Poetry, Hiſtory, and Philoſophy,
without any Conviction or Concern.
And we daily ſee, that higher kinds
of Inſtruction are no leſs inſufficient;
ſo that after the laſt Efforts of human
Skill, we moſt have recourſe to a
ſuperior Hand, to open the inmoſt
Springs of the Soul, and to carry
along every Sentiment and Paſſion
with a Current of irreſiſtible Perſuaſion.
We are much obliged to you, Sir,
ſaid AGORETES, for having ſatisfied us
fo fully upon a ſubject that had ſo much
engaged our Curioſity, and which, as
eſſential as it is to the Buſineſs of
Preaching, ſeems to be very little
minded now-a-days. But pray, Sir,
does this moral Painting you talk of
conſtitute the whole of Preaching? Or
is it not connected with other Methods
of Addreſs, which at once. ſupport and
ſtrengthen it?
The Method I have been recommending,
ſaid THEODORUS, is far from
being the Whole of Preaching: there
are others alike Important, and from
which that Method borrows its moſt
powerful Reinforcements. Therefore,
I was likewiſe to have mentioned theſe:
for it would require more time, than I
am now maſter of, to do more than
mention them, or to ſpeak of them as
their Importance and Dignity deſerve.
— It is from REVEALED RELIGION as
diſplayed to us in the ſacred Writings,
and thoſe grand Views which it opens
of the Origin, Connexions, and Obligations
of Man, as well as thoſe Diſcoveries
it contains relating to GOD,
to Providence, and a future Life, that
the peculiar Tenour and Efficacy of
Preaching are to be derived. There
the vaſt and complicated Scheme of
the divine Adminiſtration as it reſpects
Mankind, is unfolded in a plain and
ſimple, yet a moſt marvellous and affecting
Story of its principal Periods
and Revolutions, from it firſt Opening
to its laſt Reſult. The ſeveral States
of Man, his orginal Rectitude, his Degradation,
and his final Reſtoration,
are all diſtinctly deſcribed. The principal
Agent by whom, and the ſeveral
Steps by which, the great Plan of Redemption
was carried on from the Beginning,
is gradually advanced, and
will be at laſt accompliſhed in the Reſtitution
of the Sons of GOD, are exhibited
at full length. Now, I apprehend,
it will be a main Part of the
Buſineſs of a chriſtian Preacher, to
trace thole glorious Deſigns of Wiſdorn,
Juſtice, and Mercy, which appear
in the divine Diſpenſations, to
vindicate the Ways of Providence, as
to the Choice of the Inſtruments that
have been employed, and the Methods
that have been taken, to execute
theſe Deſigns, and particularly
to explain what has been done by
the great Meſſenger and Miniſter of
Heaven, and what muſt be done by
his followers in concurrence with the
Intentions of the benevolent Father
and Ruler of all; in a word, to ſhew
how Purity and Love are to be reeſtabliſhed
in the Hearts of Men, and
Order and Happineſs in the Creation
of GOD. Theſe ſublime and intereſting
Subjects will afford a Preacher the
moſt admirable Topics of Perſuaſion,
and the moſt powerful Machinery to
affect and raiſe the human Mind. They
will enable him to preſent to the Hearer
the moſt majeſtic and commanding
Exhibitions of the Deity, to diſplay in
the nobleſt Lights the various Relations
which he bears to us, and the
extenſive Connexions which he has
formed between us and other Beings;
to point out, in conſequence of thoſe
Views, the moſt auguſt and amiable
Forms of Religion and Virtue; and
laſt of all, to open the moſt enlarged
and ſtriking Proſpects of an inviſible
and eternal World, and of the Solemnity
and Grandeur of thoſe Scenes that
will bring on the general Conſummation.
Theſe, AGORETES, theſe are Topics
the niceſt adapted of any in the
whole Compaſs of Nature to rouſe and
fix the Attention of Mankind, to awaken
and exalt their Reaſon, to alarm
their Conſcience, to seize their Imagination,
to excite their Hopes and their
Fears, and, by conſequence, to reclaim
them from Impiety and Vice to the Love
and Practice of univerſal Righteouſneſs.
When thoſe affecting Topics are
employed as Enforcements to the aforeſaid
Repreſentations of Virtue and Vice,
in the Characters of particular Perſons,
theſe will appear of vaſtly greater Moment,
with regard as well to our preſent,
as to our future Happineſs. Our
inward Senſe and feelings, relating to
our Conduct, will be wonderfully quickened,
when it is viewed in a Connexion
with Deity, an all-ſuperintending Providence,
the Plan of our Recovery,
the awful Proceſs of a future Judgment,
and an Immortality of Happineſs
and Miſery. And this inward
Senſe, thus enlivened by ſuch a Combination
of grand and ſolemn Views,
will raiſe quite other Affections, and inſpire
more active and vigorous Reſolutions
than the moſt elaborate Reaſonings,
and beautiful Paintings, could do
without them. On theſe Accounts, as
well as on many others, a Chriſtian
Orator had need to be much converſant
with his Bible, as the great Treaſury
of divine Knowlege and Wiſdom,
from which he may draw the ſublimeſt
Lights, the pureſt moral Precepts, the
moſt ſimple and lofty Repreſentations,
the richeſt Variety of Characters, and
the moſt natural and affecting Eloquence.

You have ſuggeſted ample Materials,
Sir, ſaid I, to furniſh out a never-failing
Fund of Preaching to the brighteſt
Genius: but how theſe are to be digeſted,
ranged, and ſet off, and in
what Manner the whole ſhould be delivered,
ſo as to produce the ſtrongeſt
and moſt laſting Effect, we are ſtill to
learn. Could you condeſcend to give
us a few Hints on this Head likewiſe,
you would complete our Obligations.
In theſe Points, Gentlemen, replied
THEODORUS ſmiling, your own Senſe
of what is decent, orderly and fit, and
your Experience of what you find moſt
efficacious, will be your ſureſt Guides.
Every Book on the Subject of Eloquence
is full of Rules: but the leſs
you are cramped and fettered by theſe,
your Eloquence will be the more natural,
maſterly, and original. The
grand Secret lies in following Nature in
every Part, in the Method and Connexions,
the Sentiments and Languages,
the Voice, the Action, and the whole
external Manner. Be Maſter of your
Subject, and as it were inſpired with it;
and then Light and Order will naturally
dawn upon it: every thing will
fall into the Place which becomes it
beſt: one Part will introduce another,
juſt at the time that the Minds of the
Audience are prepared to receive it;
and what follows will ſupport and fortify
that which went before: the more
plain and ſimple Truths will pave the
Way to the more. abſtruſe and complex
ones; and the Proofs or Illuſtrations
will ſtill riſe, one above the other, in
a regular and eaſy Gradation, till the
whole Force of Conviction breaks
upon the Mind, and now allows you
fair Scope to play upon every tender
and paſſionate String, that belongs to
the Heart of Man. Then be ſure to
feel every Sentiment yourſelf, and to
enter firſt into every Paſſion you want
to communicate to others: and unleſs
your Imagination plays its Part very
ill, the boldeſt Figures, the ſtrongeſt
Images, and the moſt moving Expreſſions
will pour in upon you, and animate
your whole Diſcourſe and Manner
with ſuch Life and Spirit, as cannot
fail of winding up the Hearer's
Mind to the utmoſt Pitch of Attention
and of Paſſion. If you are thoroughly
touched with the Importance and
Dignity of the great Subjectof Religion
and Virtue, you will not be
ambitious of the Reputation of fine
Speakers, nor ſtudy the little Ornaments
of a gaudy Eloquence, ſuch as
pretty Similes, ſtrained Antitheſes, poliſhed
Periods, and the Play of Wit
or Words. I am far from diſcouraging
the cloſeſt Study and Application
of Mind to one's Subject, previous to
the appearing in public: but a great
deal muſt be left to the extemporary
Efforts of Nature, when the Speaker
is enlivened with all the animating Circumſtances
which attend public Speaking.
That Man who has ranged every
Thought, meaſured every Sentence,
Tranſition, and Circumſtance of his
Diſcourſe, and ſettled the whole Method
of his Delivery in his Cloſet,
may be indeed an elegant and correct
Speaker; but I will venture to ſay, he
can never be a popular and powerful
Orator: he will fall into a cold phlegmatic
manner of Speaking; or if he throw
himſelf into a forced Heat, it will appear
artificial, or elſe evaporate in a
tedious inſipid Sameneſs of Voice and
Action; either of which are the dead
Weights of genuine Eloquence. Whereas
if the Speaker be thoroughly enlightened
and warmed with his Subject,
and feels himſelf the Paſſion he means
to inſpire, Nature, in that caſe, will,
ſuggeſt the moſt becoming Ornaments,
and ſignificant Phraſes; will vary the
Tone of the Voice according to the
Riſes and Falls, and different Turns of
the Paſſion; and, in fine, will animate
with the moſt expreſſive Air, Look,
and Action, according to the ſeveral
feelings and Movements of the Mind.
for Nature and Paſſion are more able
Prompters than the moſt eminent Maſters
of Elocution. — Such a Speaker,
with all his Repetitions, Breaks, Inaccuracies,
and Chaſms in Diſcourſe, will
force his way, through all Oppoſition,
into the Bowels and Soul of the Hearer,
and will kindle and ſet on fire his whole
Frame; whilſt your ſmooth and ſtudied
Declaimer will fend him away as cool
and unmoved as he found him.
But what need I enter farther into
the Detail of Pulpit eloquence? If you
want to ſee the whole Machinery and
Apparatus of it, diſplayed in the compleateſt
Manner, I refer you to the
great and good Prelate of Cambray's
Dialogues on that Subject; who was
himſelf the juſteſt Critic, and one of
the beſt Models, of Eloquence that I
know. — But indeed, Gentlemen, there
is a much higher Example than any
merely human one, which I would
recommend to you, even the divine
Teacher and Saviour of Mankind, who
ſpake as never Man ſpake. Study his
Diſcourſes, imitate his Practice
theſe you will find all the Maxims
and Principles I have propoſed, executed
in the higheſt Perfection: you
will find the moſt ſenſible and palpable
Manner of Inſtruction, clothed in the
very Garb of Nature, and admirably
proportioned to the rude and low Underſtandings
of Men; the moſt juſt,
and ſimple Paintings of the Heart and
Life, borrowed from common Experience;
the moſt pointed, and awful
Appeals to the Conſcience; the ſtrongeſt
Addreſſes to the Hopes and Fears
of Mankind; the moſt ſublime and
comprehenſive Views of GOD and Religion,
Providence, and another World;
the moſt ſevere and exquiſite Satire
againſt the Vices of the Time; and the
moſt gentle and alluring Applications
to the Modeſt, the Fearful, and Singlehearted
— all delivered with a Simplicity,
Vehemence, and Majeſty, which
are truly wonderful, and which, however
they may be imitated, can never
be equalled by mortal Men.
We thanked the amiable Divine for
his uſeful Inſtructions, and walked
home to our reſpetive Dwellings.
THE END.
ERRATA.
P.16. l. ii. Draugh read Draught.
120. l. 2o. is be done, read is to be done.
135. l. 16. for any, read many.
175. l. 11. Knowlege, read Knowledge.
Books printed for R. Dodſley.
1. POlymetis: or, An Enquiry concerning
the Agreement between the Works
of the Roman Poets, and the Remains of the
ancient Artiſts. Being an Attempt to illuſtrate
them mutually from one another. By
the Rev. Mr. Spence. [The Subſcribers
Books not yet taken up, are ready to be delivered.]

2. An Eſſay on Mr. Pope's Tranſlation of
Homer's Odyſſey, in five Dialogues, by the
Rev. Mr. Spence 2d Edit. 12mo. bound 3s.
3. Odes of Pindar, with ſeveral other
Pieces in Proſe and Verſe, tranſlated from
the Greek. To which is prefixed a Differtation
on the Olympick Games. By Gilbert
Weſt, Eſq; L.L.D. Quarto. Price bound
15s.
4. Obſervations on the Hiſtory and Evidences
of the Reſurrecttion of Jeſus Chriſt.
By Gilbert Weſt, Eſq; 8vo. Bound 5s.
Fourth Edit.
5. Obſervations on the Converſion and
Apoſtleſhip of St. Paul, in a Letter to Gilbert
Weſt, Eſq; 1s. 6d. Fourth Edit.
6. The Letters of Pliny the Conſul: With
occaſional Remarks. By William Melmoth,
Eſq; 2 vols. 8vo. Price bound 8s. Edit.
7. The Letters of Sir Tho. Fitzoſborne,
on ſeveral Subjtcts. By the Tranſlator of
Pliny's Letters. 3d Edition. Price bound 5s.
8. The Pleaſures of Imagination, a Poem,
in three Books. By Mark Akinſide, M.D.
4to. Price 4s. 8vo. 2s.
9. Odes on ſeveral Subjects. By the Author
of the Pleaſures of Imagination. 4to.
1s. 6d.
10. An Ode to Lord Huntingdon. By
the ſame. 1s.
11. A Collection of Old Plays, from the
earlieſt Account of the Eighth Stage to the
Death of Charles the Firſt. Selccted, according
to the Order of Time, from our beſt
dramatic Authors, ſerving to ſhew the gradual
Improvement of our Language, and the
Taſte, Humours, and Manners of the Times
in which they were written. In 12 Pocket
Volumes. Price 2l. 2s.
N.B. To each Play is prefixed (where
any Materials were to be had) a brief Account
of the Life and Writings of its Author;
alſo, by Way of Preface, an hiſtorical Deducton
of the Riſe and Progreſs of the Engliſh
Stage.
12. Les Avantures de Telemaque, Fils
d'Ulyſſe, in two neat Pocket Volumes, printed
on a ſuperfine writing Paper, with an Elzevir
Letter, and a complete Set of new Cuts, 26
in Number, done from the Deſigns of that
fine Edition printed in Holland, and engraved
by the beſt Maſters. Being a very handſome
Preſent for young Gentlemen or Ladies at
Boarding Schools. Price 14s.
13. The Complaint: Or Night-Thoughts,
on Life, Death and Immortality, 8vo. Price
bound 5s. 12mo. 3s.
14. The Life and Exploits of the ingenious
Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha.
Tranſlated from the original Spaniſh of Miguel
Cervantes de Saavedra. By Charles Jarvis,
Eſq; beautifully printed in two Volumes
Royal Quarto, adorned with 69 ſine Copper
Plates, engraved by Vandergucht from the
humourous Deſigns of Vanderbank: Together
with the Life of Cervantes; written by
Don Gregorio Mayans and Siſcar, his Catholick
Majeſty's Library Keeper, and tranſlated
from the Spaniſh Manuſcript, by Mr. Ozell.
Price bound 2l. 10s.
15. The ſame Book in two Volumes, 8vo.
with good Copies of the Prints. Price bound
12s.
16. The Life of Socrates, collected from
the Memorabilia of Xenophon, and the Dialogues
of Plato, and illuſtrated farther by
Ariſtotle, Diodorus Siculus, Cicero, Proclus,
Apuleius, Maximus Tyrius, Boetius, Diogenes
Laertius, Aulus Gellius, and others.
By John Gilbert Cooper, junior, Eſq; 8vo.
Price bound 3s. 6d. Third Edition.
17. Leonidas, a Poem, Fourth Edition,
12mo. Price bound 3s.
18. The Hiſtory of Pompey the Little, or
the Life and Adventures of a Lap-Dog, 12mo.
Price bound 3s. Third Edition.

Close

Cite this Document

APA Style:

Theodorous: Dialogue Concerning the Art of Preaching. 2021. In The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved December 2021, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=96.

MLA Style:

"Theodorous: Dialogue Concerning the Art of Preaching." The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2021. Web. December 2021. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=96.

Chicago Style

The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing, s.v., "Theodorous: Dialogue Concerning the Art of Preaching," accessed December 2021, http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=96.

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. 2021. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/.

Close

Theodorous: Dialogue Concerning the Art of Preaching

Document Information

Document ID 96
Title Theodorous: Dialogue Concerning the Art of Preaching
Year group 1750-1800
Genre Instructional prose
Year of publication 1752
Wordcount 34335

Author information: Fordyce, Mr David

Author ID 227
Title Mr
Forenames David
Surname Fordyce
Gender Male
Year of birth 1711
Place of birth Broadford, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Occupation Academic
Education University
Locations where resident Aberdeen