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passions and affections of the mind. The gradation is perfectly smooth and natural from approbation to admiration, from admiration to esteem and love, from esteem and love of the virtuous and praiseworthy, to detestation and abhorrence of the contrary dispositions, and from these to corresponding desires and aversions. The orator has only to take the advantage of this gra. dation, and that frame of spirit which the whole scope of the discourse was calculated to produce.
Of Pathetic Discourses, or those addressed to the Passions. Of Persua
sive Discourses, or such as are intended to operate on the Will.
HAVE now gone through the explanation of the principal parts, of the three first kinds of pulpit discourses, the explanatory, the controversial, and the commendatory, and the rules to be severally observed in composing each. I come now to the fourth kind, the pathetic, or that which is addressed immediately to the passions, and which is specially intended to rouse the mind from a state of languor and indifference to the impressions of fervour and affection. The occasions of discourses for this kind with us, it must be owned, are not very frequent. For though in some of the other kinds, particularly in the persuasive, a great deal is addressed to the passions, yet these are, in that species of sermon, only employed as means to persuade to the particular practice or duty recommended. Whereas in the pathetic properly so called, the rouzing of suitable affections is apparently the ultimate end. I acknowledge, that the whole of preaching either directly or indirectly points to persuasion. But I denominate that only, the endkof any species of discourse,
which is the declared and apparent end of the speaker. I have observed, that the occasions of discourses of this kind are few; there are however some. None is more remarkable or occurs oftener, than those calcu. lated for disposing a congregation to a suitable commemoration of the sufferings of our Lord, in the sacrament of the supper, or Eucharist, as it is commonly named in Ecclesiastical History. I do not say however, that this is the only kind of discourse that is adapted to such occasions. By no means. If that were the case, as the subject of exciting the affections on such occasions is always the same, it would lay a minister in his own parish under the necessity of recurring so often to the same topics, as could not fail to prove tiresome to the majority of the hearers, and that though the things advanced by him were ever so good. An explanatory, a commendatory, or a persuasive discourse may also at such times be very pertinent. A little of the grace of novelty in form and manner, is exceedingly neces. sary for commanding the attention of the greater part of audiences. The only kind that I think ought to be excluded entirely from occasions of this nature, is the controversial. When the pathetic at such a time is made choice of, the preacher's aim is not to persuade the people to communicate. He supposes, that they have come to church with that intention. It is not to persuade them to the performance of any preparatory duty; all this he supposes to have been performed already. But it is to operate on all the grateful and devoui affections of the heart, and to put his hearers, I may say, in a proper frame of spirit for discharging the duty for which they are assembled, in such a reverend and pious man. ner, as may produce the best effect upon their minds, and tend most to the edification and confirmation of themselves, and others. The subject for this purpose may be more or less comprehensive, as the preacher shall judge convenient. Indeed, for the sake of giving a little variety to what does not, from its nature, admit a great deal, it may not be improper at different times to follow different methods; at one time, for instance, the subject may be the love of Christ as manifested in the whole scheme of redemption ; at another, the same thing, as manifested in his sufferings and death. It is discourses of the last kind, which are commonly called passion-sermons. · In regard to the exordium or introduction, there will be less occasion for much art, when the solemnity of the time or the purpose of their meeting tends itself to rouse the attention of the hearer, and to supersede the address of the speaker. The topics for introducing the subject may then very pertinently be raised either from the intention for which the day was set apart, or from the nature and importance of the matter to be treated in the sermon. There is nothing peculiar to be observed in regard to the explanation of the text and context. If the discourse is intended merely to display the sufferings of our Lord, from his being betrayed into the hands of his enemies, to his death, the cruelty which was exercised upon him, and the meekness, piety and patience with which he bore it, it does not appear to be necessary, formally to lay down a method. It is enough in your narrative to follow the order of the history. In the manner of the exhibition, there will not be here a very material difference between that of the commendatory or panegyrical discourse and this of the pathetic. Only the latter admits less show
and ornament, and requires that we dwell longer on the most affecting circumstances. When the preachers subject is such as doth not confine him within so narrow a compass, but affords an opportunity of expatiating on topics in themselves very distinct, but as it were concentrating in the tendency they all have to kindle the same affection in the breast; this common tendency gives a sufficient unity in discourses of this kind. The reason is obvious.
It may be remarked, that in this sort of discourses, more of the common textuary method may sometimes be followed, than any other species of sermon will properly admit. Tlus suppose the text to be 2 Cor. viii. 9. “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye, through his poverty, might be rich.” The whole intention of the discourse being to stir up grateful and devout affection, these topics may severally and very pertinently be touched as tending all to the same important point. First, the consideration of the
person, whose grace the apostle here celebrated, the Lord Jesus Christ who was rich. Secondly, the consideration of the persons, on whom this grace was bestowed, you (it was for your sakes) the posterity of fallen Adam, poor and helpless. Thirdly, the evidence and effect of his grace," he became poor.” Fourthly, the happy fruits and purchase of his grace, “ that ye, through his poverty, might be rich.” It is manifest, that each of these considerations, as it were, assists the other, all conspiring to kindle the warmest return of gratitude and love. Thus all pointing to one end, a grateful commemoration, gives unity to the discourse. Another instance of a text, which on such an occasion, and for