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tropes and figures are derived, which have such a marvellous efficacy in rousing the passions, and, by some secret, sudden and inexplicable association, awakening all the tenderest emotions of the heart. In that case, the address of the orator is intended not ultimately, to astonish by the loftiness of the images, or to charm by the beauteous resemblance, which the painting bears to nature, nay it will not permit the hearers even a moment's leisure for making the comparison, but as by some magical spell, hurries them, before they are aware, into love, pity, grief, terror, aversion or desire. It therefore assumes the denomination of pathetic, which is the characteristic of the third species of discourses, that are addressed to the passions.
The fourth and last kind, the most complex of all, which is calculated to influence the will, and persuade to action, as it is in reality an artful mixture of that which proposeth to convince the judgment, and that which interests the passions, its distinguishing excellency results from these two, the argumentative and the pathetic incorporated together. These acting with united force, constitute that vehemence, that warm eviction, that earnest and affecting contention, which is admirably fitted for persuasion, and hath always been regarded as the supreme qualification in an orator. Of the four sorts of discourses now enumerated it may be observed in general, that each preceding species, in the order above exhibited, is preparatory to the subsequent, that each subsequent species is founded on the preceding, and that thus they ascend in a regular progression. Knowledge, the object of the understanding, furnisheth materials for the fancy; the fancy culls, compounds, and by her mimic art disposes these ma
terials so as to affect the passions; the passions are the natural spurs to volition or action, and so need only to be right directed. So much in general for the different kinds of discourses on whatever subject, from the bare consideration of the object addressed, understanding, imagination, passion, will, and those fundamental principles of eloquence in the largest acceptation which result from these. But as the kind addressed to the understanding, has been subdivided into two, that which barely explains, and that which proves, I shall henceforth consider them as five in number.
I come now to apply these universal principles to the particular subject, with which we are immediately concerned. It hath been occasionally observed, oftener than once, that the reformation of mankind is the great and ultimate end of the whole ministerial function, and especially of this particular branch, preaching or discoursing from the pulpit. But it is not necessary, that the ultimate end of the whole should be the immedi.
every part. It is enough, that the imme. diate scope of the part be such, that the attainment of it is manifestly a step towards the ultimate end of the whole. In other words, the former ought always to serve as a means for the effecting of the latter. Let us proceed in considering the propriety of particular and immediate ends by this rule.
First then, in order to effect the reformation of men, that is, in order to bring them to a right disposition and practice, there are some things which of necessity they must be made to know. No one will question, that the knowledge of the nature and exent of the duties which they are required to practise, and of the truths and doctrines which serve as motives to practice, is ab
solutely necessary. The explication of these in the pulpit forms a species of discourses which falls under the first class above mentioned. It is addressed to the understanding, its aim is information, the only obstacle it hath to remove is ignorance. Sermons of this sort we shall henceforth distinguish by the term explanatory. Now if knowledge is the first step in religion, faith is certainly the second, for the knowledge of any tenet influenceth our conduct only so far as it is believed. My knowledge of the peculiar doctrines maintained by Mahometans nowise affects my practice. Why? Because I do not believe them. When therefore revelation in general, or any of its fundamental doctrines in particular are known to be called in question by a considerable part of the congregation, it is doubtless incumbent on the preacher earnestly to contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints, and consequently it must be a proper subject for the pulpit to defend the cause of religion by refuting the cavils of gainsayers and publicly evincing the truth. Such defence and confutation form a species of discourses which falls under the second class above mentioned. It is addressed to the understanding, its aim is conviction; the adversaries it encounters are scepticism and
Discourses of this sort we shall distinguish by the name controversial. Both the above sorts, the explanatory and the controversial, as they coincide in the object addressed, the understanding of the hearers, go also under the common name of instructive.
Further, as one way, and indeed a very powerful way, of recommending religion is by example, it must be conducive to the general end of preaching above mentioned, to make it sometimes the business of a sermon,
to exhibit properly any known good character, by giv. . ing a lively narrative of the person's life, or of any signal period of his life, or of any particular virtue, as illustrated through the different periods of his life. For performances of this kind the history of our Lord Jesus Christ affords the richest fund of matter. In like manner the lives of the saints recorded in scripture, the prophets, apostles, and martyrs, such at least with which from the accounts given in holy writ we have occasion to be acquainted, make very proper subjects. Add to these, what are called funeral sermons, or merited encomiums on the life and actions of deceased persons, eminent for virtue and piety, whose character is well known to the people addressed. It may not want its use, on the contrary to delineate sometimes in proper colours the conduct of the vicious. To do jus. tice to the respectable qualities and worthy actions of a good man is to present an audience with an amiable and animated pattern of christian excellence, which by operating on their admiration and their love, raiseth in their mind a pious emulation. That we are, without attending to it, induced to imitate what we admire and love, will not admit a question. Exhibitions of this kind from the pulpit form a species of discourses which falls under the third class above mentioned. They are addressed to the imagination, and their scope is to promote virtue by insinuation; the view of excellence engages love, love awakes emulation, and that as naturally produces imitation. In order to distinguish such discourses, we shall henceforth denominate them com. mendatory.
Again, when an audience is about to be employed in any solemn office of religion, which, that it may prove edifying to those engaged in it, requires in them a devout, a recollected, and a benevolent disposition of soul, it will doubtless tend to promote the general end, reformation, to make it the immediate scope of the sermon, by working on the affections of the audience, to mould them into a suitable frame. Sermons of this sort fall under the fourth class above mentioned, they are addressed to the passions, and their scope is to beget virtuous and devout habits by conformation. This species of discourses we call pathetic. It de serves however to be remarked, that the pathos excit-. ed by the preacher, ought ever to be accompanied with, and chastened by piety, submission and charity. At the same time, that it conveys both light and heat to the soul, it is pure and inoffensive; like that where. in God appeared to Moses in the bush which burned but was not consumed. It is this kind of pathos in its lowest degree, which the French devotional writers have distinguished by the name of onction, but for which we have not a proper term in English. Mr. Gibbon, a late celebrated historian, says in one place, after Jortin, that what the French call onction the English call cant. This on some occasions may be true; but it is not the constant or even the general meaning of the word. What the English call cant in preaching, is no other than a frequent recurrence to certain common words and phrases, with which the people are delighted merely through habit, but which convey no sound instruction whatever. That termed onction by the French is such a manner in the speaker, as convinces the hearers that he is much in earnest, that he speaks from real affections to them, and thereby strongly engages their attention. That cant with ignorant