« AnteriorContinuar »
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.'
Theodorus now enters into some detail, and shews how the case stands with respect to pleasure, &c. After which, he proceeds as follows: It appears then, gentlemen, by this detail, that those who are under the influence or dominion of any vice, are deceived by some false fpecies 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 itselt is ill founded, or the passion built upon it faulty, either in excess or defect; and to paint this pasfion in all its appearances and forms fo 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 loath the draught. And this affection or averfion 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 fee, 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 serioufly on our own dispositions and conduct, and by fo doing, interest every sensible, ingenuous, and humane principle about us,'
Theodorus now proceeds to explain how the business of drawing characters is to be managed, and how that kind of moral painting, which is a lowable in preaching, is to be distinguished from the other kinds of it. He concludes with a few hints relating to the method of digesting, ranging, and setting off the materials of a discourse; and with Thewing, in what manner the whole should be delivered, so as to produce the strongest and most lasting effect.
• The grand secret, says he, lies in following nature in every part, in the method and connexions, the sentiments
and language, 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 what 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 ftring, that belongs to the heart of man. Then be sure to feel every fentiment 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 paffion. If you are thoroughly touched with the importance and dignity of the great subjects of religion and virtue, you will not be am• bitious of the reputation of fine speakers, nor study the little ornaments of a gaudy eloquence, such as pretty fimiles, ftrained antitheses, polished periods, and the play of wit or words. I am far from discouraging the clofest study and application of mind to one's subject, previous to the appearing in public: but a great deal roust be left to the extemporary efforts of nature, when the fpeaker is enlivened with all the animating circumstances which attend public speaking. That man who has ranged every thought, measur'd every sentence, transition, and circumstance of his discourse, and fettled 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 infipid 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 feets himself the passion he means to inspire, nature, in that case, will suggest the most becoming ornaments and figni . ficant 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 charms in discourse, will force his way, thro' all oppofition, into the bowels and soul of the hearer, and will kindle and fet on fire his whole frame ; while
your smooth and studied declaimer will send him away as cool and unmoved as he found him.'
The amiable Theodorus closes the dialogue with recommending, as the best model of eloquence, the DIVINE TEACHER AND SAVIOUR of mankind, who spoke as never man spake. Happy the preacher, who copies after so noble an example ! Happy the people, who are committed to his charge!
ART. XLVIII, Remarks on ecclefiaftical history. Vol. II. 8vo. 5s. C. Davis, &c. See the ist volume, Review, vol.4.
HE learned and candid mr. Jortin's principal design
in this performance is, to recommend and defend christianity : his remarks being intended, in some measure, as a supplement to his excellent discourses on the christian religion. As far as he has touched upon some lately controverted questions concerning the post-apoftolical miracles, he has shewn great candour and moderation, as well as learning; he has steer'd a kind of middle course between the contending parties, admitting indeed but few of the iniracles that are said to have been wrought, but not absolutely rejecting them all.
He introduces this his second volume of remarks, with giving the sum and substance of those arguments which are usually urged in defence of the miracles recorded in the new teftament; and then proceeds to observe, that our Saviour's miracles were prophecies at the same time; that they were such miracles as in a particular manner suited his character, fignificant emblems of his designs, and figures aptly representing the benefits to be conferred by him upon mankind. So much, says he, may be urged in behalf of this interpretation of them, as shall probably fecure it from being ranked amongst those fanciful expofitions which are generally flighted by wise men : for many cabbalistic notions have made their appearance in this, as well as in other centuries and countries, which are
even beneath censure or mention, and neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dung-hill
. Our Saviour's miracles were then of a beneficent nature, and such as might be expected from one who came to be an universal blessing. He cast out evil spirits, who, by the divine providence, were permitted to exert themselves at that time, and to poffefs many persons. By this he shewed, that he came to destroy the empire of Satan, and seemed to foretel, that, wherefoever his doctrine should prevail, idolatry and vice should be put to flight. - He foresaw, that the great and popular objection to him would be, that he was a magician, and therefore he confuted it before-hand, and ejected evil spirits, to fhew that he was in no confederacy with them.
• The miracle which he first wrought, and which on that account was remarkable, was his turning water into wine, at a marriage-feaft. There arose in the church, from antient times, fects of heretics, who condemned wine, and the use of animal food, and marriage, and not only heretics, but the orthodox also ran into extravagant notions of the same kind, crying up celibacy and a folitary life beyond measure, together with rigid and uncommanded austerities and macerations of the body. Chrift therefore, as we may conjecture, was present at this feast, and honoured it with this miracle, that it should stand in the gospel as a confutation of these foolish errors, and a warning to those who had ears to hear, not to be deluded by such fanatics. St. John, who records this miracle, lived to see these false doctrines adopted and propagated.
• He gave fight to the blind, a miracle well fuiting him who brought immortality to light, and taught truth to an ignorant world. He cured the deaf, and the dumb, and the lame, and the infirm, and cleansed the lepers, and healed all manner of ficknesses, to fhew, at the fame time, that he was the physician of souls, which have their dif- . eases corresponding in some manner to those of the body, and are deat, and dumb, and impotent, and paralytic, and leprous in the spiritual sense. He fed the hungry multitudes by a miracle, which aptly represented his heavenly doctrine, and the gospel preached to the poor. The figtree, which, with all its fair appearance, was deftitute of fruit, and died away at his rebuke, was plainly a figure of the pharifaical religion, which was only out-fide fhew; and of the rejection and fall of the Jewish nation.--At his direction the disciples twice cast the net, and had an asto
nishing draught of fishes, when without him they had long toiled in vain and caught nothing; an image of the success they should have when they became fishers of men, as he himself explained it.-His rebuking the winds and waves into filence and peace may be considered as an emblem of his spiritual victories over the mad rage of Jews and Gentiles; and his walking upon the sea seems to have been a prelude of the amazing progress of his gospel, which croffed the wide ocean, and reached the remoteft lands.
• He cured fome persons at a distance, without visiting and seeing them, to shew, that he should convert and save by his facred word those who should not see and converse with him here on earth. The darkness which was spread over the land, shewed the spiritual blindness of the Yews which continued when the gospel shone in the Gentile world, and was an omen of their destruction. The veil of the temple, which was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, portended the abolition of the ceremonial law, and of the separation between Jerus and Gentiles, and an entrance for believers by the death of Christ into the holy of holies.- The earthquakes at the death and resurrection of Christ shewed the great revolutions which should come to pass in the establishment of the gospel, and in the fall of Judaism and Paganism; for, in the facred writing, great changes in the political world are foretold and denoted by earthquakes, by shaking heaven and earth, and sea, and dry land.'
Our author observes, that, if Christ never wrought a miracle, and his disciples, mean and illiterate persons, feigned all these things, they were extremely ingenious to fix upon miracles, which io exactly suited the character that he affumed, and amazingly fortunate to invent miracles which so aptly prefigured events that came to light in latter times. After this he proceeds to sum up the main evidences of the truth of our religion, as follows.
"J. Christ was foretold by the prophets. Of the things predicted concerning him, some were miraculous, some improbable, some seemingly irreconcileable, and all of them beyond the reach of huinan conjecture; and yet in him they all centered, and were united, and reconciled. To this must be added, the amazing harmony, analogy, and correspondence between the old and new testament, not only in the direct prophecies, but in the types, rites, ceremonies, and events contained in the former, and fulfilled in a sublimer sense in the latter, which, upon the whole,