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fecting; delivered with the most insipid calmness, insomuch, that should the peaceful preacher lift his head over the cushion, which alone he seems to address, he might discover his audience, instead of being awakened into remorse, actually sleeping over his methodical and laboured composition,
This method of preaching iss however, by some called an address to reason, and not to the passions; this is styled the making of converts from conviction; but such are indifferently acquainted with human nature, who are not sensible that men seldom reason about their debaucheries till they are committed ; reason is but a weak antagonist when headlong passion dictates; in all such cases we should arm one passion against another; it is with the human mind as in nature, from the mixture of two opposites the result is most frequent neutral tranquillity. Those who attempt to reason us out of our follies begin at the wrong end, since the attempt naturally presupposes us capable of reason : but to be made capable of this is one great point of the cure.
There are but few talents requisite to become a popular preacher, for the people are easily pleased if they perceive any endeavours in the orator to please them; the nieanest qualifications will work this effect, if the preacher sincerely sets about it. Perhaps little, very little more is required, than sincerity and assurance; and a becoming sincerity is always certain of producing a becoming assurance. Si vis me Aere, dolendum est primum ipsi tibi, is so trite a quotation, that it almost demands an apology to repeat it; yet, though all allow the justice of the remark, how few do we find put it in practice; our orators, with the most faulty bashfulnes, seem impressed rather with an awe of their audience than with a just respect for the truths they are about to deliver ; they of all professions seem the most bashful, who have the greatest right to glory in their eommission.
The French preachers generally assume all that dignity which becomes men who are ambassadors from Christ; the English divines, like erroneous envoys, seem more solicitous not to offend the court to which they are sent, than to drive home the interests of their employer. The Bishop of Massillon, in the first sermon he ever preached, found the whole audience, upon his getting into the pulpit, in a disposition no way favourable to his intentions; their nods, whispers, or drowsy behaviour, shewed him that there was no great profit to be expected from his sowing in a soil so improper : however, he soon changed the disposie tion of his audience by his manner of beginning: “ If," says he, “a cause, the most important that could be conceived were to be tried at the bar before qualified judges; if this cause interested ourselves in particular; if the eyes of the whole kingdom were fixed upon the event; if the most eminent counsel were employed on both sides ; and if we had heard from our infancy of this yet undetermined trial would you not all sit with due attention; and warm expectation to the pleadings on each side ? Would not all your hopes and fears be hinged upon the final decision ? And yet, let me tell you, you have this moment a cause of much greater importance before you; a cause where not one nation but all the world are spectators, tried not before a fallible tribunal, but the awful throne of Heaven, where not your temporal and transitory interests are the subject of debate, but your eternal happiness or misery; where the cause is still undetermined: but, perhaps, the very moinent ( ain speaking may fix the irrecoverable decree that shall last for ever; and yet, potwithstanding all this, you can hardly sit with patience to hear the tidings of your own salvation; I plead the cause of Heaven, and yet I am scarcely attended to, &c." The style, the abruptness of a beginning like this, in the closet would appear absurd, but in the pulpit it is attend. ed with the most lasting impressions ; that style, which in the closet might justly be called flimsy, seems the true mode of eloquence here. I never read a fine composition, under the title of a sermon, that I do not think the author has miscalled his piece, for the talents to be used in writing well entirely differ from those of speaking well. The qualifications for speaking, as has been already observed, are easily acquired; they are accomplishments which may be taken up by every candidate who will be at the pains of stooping. Iinpressed with a sense of the truths he is about to deliver, a preacher disregards the applause or the contempt of his audience, and he insensibly assumes a just and manly sincerity. With this talent alone we see what crowds are drawn around enthusiasts, even destitute of common sense; what numbers converted to Christianity. Folly may sometimes set an example for wisdom to practise, and our regular divines may borrow instruction from even Methodists, who go their circuits, and preach prizes among the populace.
eellencies of a preacher to proper assurance, earnestness, and openness of style, I make the qualifications top trifling for estimation : there will be something called oratory brought up on this occasion; action, attitude, grace, elocution, may be repeated as absolutely neces, sary to compleat the character ; but let us not be deceived, common sense is seldom swayed by fine tones, musical periods, just attitude, or the display of a white handkerchief; oratorial behaviour, except in very able hands indeed, generally sinks into aukward and paltry affectation. - It must be observed, however, that these rules are calculated only for him who would instruct the vulgar, who stand in most need of instruction; to address philosophers, and to obtain the character of a polite preacher among the polite, a much more useless, though more sought-for character, requires a different method of proceeding. All I shall observe on this head is, to entreat the polemic divine, in his controversy with the Deists, to act rather offensively than to defend ; to .push home the grounds of his belief, and the impracticability of theirs, rather than to spend time in solving the objections of every opponent. It is ten to one, says a writer on the Art of War, but that the assailant who attacks the enemy in his trenches is always victorious.
Yet, upon the whole; nur clergy might employ themselves tnore to the benefit of society, by declining all controversy, than by exhibiting even the profoundest skill in polemic disputes; their contests with each other often țurn on speculative trifles, and their disputes with the Deists are almost at an end, since they can have no more than victory, and that they are already possessed of, as their antagonists have been driven into a confession of the necessity of revelation, or an open avowal of atheism, To continue the dispute longer would only endanger it; the sceptic is ever expert at puzzling a debate which he finds himself unable to continue, “and, like an Olympic boxer, generally fights best when undermost.”.
WEALTH AND RANK. THERE is no instance in which the words and actions: of mankind are more at variance, than in the affected contempt of riches and distinction. We all çagerly VOL. IV.
court wealth and honours, though we 'generally see the possessors of them differ from the rest of mankind only by the insipidity of their enjoyments. Even those who arrive unexpectedly at them are in the same predicament after the first novelty is past : and during the short period it lasts, they commonly shew their sense of it by exercising that insolent and supercilious behaviour to their foriner equals, which is the usual distinguishing character of the NOVUS HOMO. . - Riches, and rank, however, are certainly advantages in themselves, when enjoyed with moderation, and not substituted in the place of inore solid advantages. The enjoyment of all the conveniences and elegancies of life, in the highest degree, if not abused by folly and intemperance, is a real good, in spite of all the empty declamations of affected stoicism. Surely to be received every . where with respect and attention instead of neglect; to have every look courted, and every word listened to; and above all, to be able to relieve poverty and distress by actions of benevolence, instead of empty wishes, must appear solid blessings in the eye of the most rigid philosophy. Yet the man who misapplies these blessings, who over-rates their value, or depends on them in circum·stances where they cannot avail him, will often meet disgust and disappointment where he expects pleasure and, esteem. He who is above conciliating the favour of mankind by good humour and affability, because he is a Lord, will find knaves who will fatter him to his face, and abuse him behind his back, and fools. who will submit to his insolence, for the degrading honour of being seen in his company; but he will never find a real friend, or even an independent companion. And he who will not put on his own shoes and stockings because he keeps a valet, or is not able to girt his horse because he is always attended by a groom, is a complete slave. Neither is this species of slavery confined to the indolent only; it may be found among persons engaged in the most active pursuits. I have known an officer in camp as unable to get up in the morning without assistance as a sucking babe, or a turtle turned on its back; and I have seen a foxhunter, who, if the girt of his saddle got loose, was completely unhorsed for the day, if he could not find a servant or a countryman to help him.
But the most degrading reliance on wealth and rank is in the service of love. The man who only bribes his misa
tress to his arms by the dignity of title, or the splendour of equipage, sacrifices every thing that is dear to a man of sensibility and spirit. The certainty that he is solely indebted to the disinterested love of his mistress for the possession of her, is an advantage that fully compensates to the man of small fortune his dericiency in more shewy attainments. A Duke may perhaps be assured of the fidelity and affection of his wife, but he never can know if he was the object of the undisguised passion of his bride..
H. J. P.,
LIBELS *. CONCERNING libels and libellers, much hath been said, and much hath been done. Indeed too much, as I am free to think; and I have often wished, that the public personages of the realm would not be quite so tender-fibred and irritable with regard to what is said or written about them.
The famous reformer, Calvin, told Francis I. that " there would be no such thing as innocence, either in words or deeds, if a simple accusation was sufficient to destroy it :" nullam neque in dictis, neque in factis, innocentiam fore, si accusásse sufficiat f. Now, if this be really so, as I verily believe it is : if censorious criticism, detraction, and calumny, must more especially acconpany men engaged in the turbid sphere of active life: and if nothing can secure from these but imbecility, insignificancy, indolence, or obscurity,—of all which I am most firmly persuaded, what is satire and abuse? no criterion, surely, of innocence or guilt : nothing, or it may be nothing, but the fermentations and ebullitions: of human prejudices and human passions 1.-Besides,
* Lord Bacon calls libels “ the females of sedition;" as if the scolding, or tongue-part, of the conflict, were performed by them. Hist. of Henry VII.
In Dedicat. Institut. | What is scandal? It is, as thus very justly defined, Sermo sine ullo certo auctore dispersus, cui malignitas ; initium dedit, incrementum credulitas ; quod nulli non, etiam innoentissimo, possit accidere: that is a vague aud scandalous report, from no certain author, in-. vented by malice, and nurtured by credulity; and which” (contrary to the proverb of no smoke without fire “ may be propagated of the most innocent man alive.” Quintilian, V. 3.