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and ornament, and requires that we dwell longer on the most affecting circumstances. When the preacher's 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. Thus 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
such a purpose, may very properly be divided in a simi lar manner, is that in 1 Pet. iii. 18. "Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." This is all of the verse, that, in a consistency with the unity of scope and design, should be taken into the text. The subject, in effect, perfectly coincides with the former; and the distribution may be in other words the same. First, Christ the just. Secondly, us the unjust. Thirdly, "he suffered for sins." Fourthly, "that he might bring us to God." Each consideration severally enhances the obligation, and consequently the gratitude. In the manner of treating the different topics, one ought carefully to avoid all dry, minute, abstract and metaphysical explanations, as well as every thing, that may savour too much of argumentation and dispute. We are to remember, that this kind of discourse is very different in its nature and complexion, both from the explanatory and from the controversial. These are intended only to enlighten, but the other to warm. The view of the speaker, in these several topics in a pathetic discourse, is not to inform the hearers of what they did not know before, it is not to convince them of what they did not believe before; but it is to bring to their remembrance, truths which, though both known and believed, require often to be depicted in the most striking colours, that they may produce their congenial effect on the susceptible heart of the christian. It is manifest therefore, that cold and formal explanations, critical discussions, and abstract ratiocinations are here carefully to be avoided. A few lively strictures on the several heads, exhibiting all the principal considerations in the most glowing colours, are the surest way
of raising such images in the fancy, as not only will give a greater permanency to the perception of the truths themselves, but will make them more effectually operate on the passions. In discourses of this kind, there is less occasion also for a formal peroration or conclusion than in any other. The reason is, that whereas a certain application in the other kinds, of the points discussed in the body of the discourse, requires a particular address to the passions, there cannot be the same propriety of ending in this manner here, where the whole discourse is addressed to the passions. Something therefore, which in few words may serve to set the whole object full in view, to recall and infix the impressions already made, is all that is necessary in discourses of this nature.
I shall now, in the last place, consider the fifth species of discourse mentioned, that which was intended to operate upon the will, and which was denominated persuasive. Under this I include not only those sermons, whose end is to persuade to good, but those also which are calculated to dissuade from evil; for the structure and the rules of composition in both kinds are much the same. Here the distinguishing excellence results from a proper mixture of the argumentative and the pathetic, as it were, incorporated together. Let it be observed, that I use the word pathetic, in the largest acceptation, for whatever is fitted for exciting passion, affection or desire. The argumentative is necessary, because the intention of the speaker compriseth in it to convince the judgment, that is, for example, to satisfy me, that the conduct which you recommend, is agreeable to my duty, that it serves to promote my true interest, or is conducive to my hon
our or my peace. The pathetic is also necessary, because the speaker's intention does not terminate in the conviction of the judgment, he intends also, and principally, by means of the judgment, to influence the will. To make me believe, it is enough to shew me that things are so; to make me act, it is necessary to shew that the action will answer some end. That can never be an end to me, which gratifies no passion or affection in my nature. In order to persuade, it is always necessary to move the passions. Passion is the mover to action, reason is the guide. Good is the object of the will, truth is the object of the understanding. It is only through the passions, affections and sentiments of the heart, that the will is to be reached. It is not less necessary, therefore, in the orator to awaken those affections in the hearers, which can be made most easily to co-operate with his view; than it is to satisfy their understandings that the conduct to which he would persuade them, tends to the gratification of the affections raised. But though both are really purposed by the speaker, it is the last only, that is formally presented to them, as entering into his plan. To express a formed purpose to work upon their passions, would be like giving them warning to be upon their guard, for that he has a design upon them. Artis est celare artem. Such a method, on the contrary, would be to lay the artifice quite naked, and thereby totally to defeat its end. The emotion with which they perceive him agitated, and the animation of his language, far from being the result of a deliberate settled purpose, ought to appear in him, the necessary, the unavoidable consequences of the sense that he has of the unspeakable importance of the truths
he utters, joined with an ardent desire of promoting the eternal happiness of them who hear him. It is not, therefore, here one part that is pathetic, and another argumentative; but these two are interwoven. The most cogent arguments are earnestly urged and pathetically expressed.
With regard to the whole of the introductory part, and explanation in this sort of discourses, I have nothing peculiar to remark. I shall only observe, that as to the text, it suits this kind better than any other, that it be in the form of a precept. I do not say however that this form is absolutely necessary. The end of the speaker may be, either to persuade to a christian life in general, or to the performance of any christian duty in particular. On the other hand, it may be to dissuade from a vicious course in general, or from the practice of any sin in particular. Nay further, it may be a persuasive or a dissuasive general or particular, either from all the motives that the nature of the subject will afford, or from one class of motives only. There is such a richness and variety in the motives, that may be urged, where religion is in the question, that in order to avoid being superficial, it may be very proper for a pastor amongst his own flock, as he has frequent opportunities of addressing them, sometimes to enforce the same duty from one set of motives, and sometimes from another. If the speaker's design be to comprehend in the same discourse, all the arguments which the nature of the subject admits, his text should be either a simple precept, wherein the duty is enjoined, or the sin prohibited, but no motive urged; or perhaps a simple proposition, wherein such a practice is barely pronounced right or wrong. If the intention is to per