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cuss the question of angelical appearances under human forms. Notwithstanding these brief explications, this is a text that muft be discussed by way of observation.
Observe, in general, when explication and observation meet in one text, you must always explain the part that needs explaining, before you make any obfervations ; for observations must not be made till you have established the lenfe plain and clear.
4. Sometimes an observation may be made by way of explication, as when you would infer fomething important from the meaning of an original term in the text. For example; Acts ii. 1. And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
It will be proper here to explain and enforce the Greek word évolupador, which is translated with one accord; for it signifies, that they had the fame hope, the same opinions, the fame judgment; and thus their unanimity is diftinguithed froin an exterior and negative agreeinent, which consists in a mere profession of having no different sentiments, and in not falling out; but this may proceed from negligence, ignorance, or fear of a tyrannical authority. The uniformity of which the church of Rome boatis, is of this kind ; for, if they have no disputes and quarrels among them on religious matters (which, however, is not granted), it is owing to the stupdiity and ignorance in which the people are kept, or to that inditference and negligence which the greatest part of that cominunity dilcover towards religion, concerning which they feldom trouble themselves; or to the fear of that tyrannical domination of their prelates, with which the sonstitution of their church arins them. Now, consider fuch an uniformity how you will, it will appear a false peace. It ignorance or negligence produce it, it refembles the quiet of dead carcalles in a burying-ground, or the profound silence of night when all are alleep; and, if it be owing to fear, it is the ftillness of a galley-llave under the strokes of his officer, a mere fhadow of acquiescence produced by timidity, and unworthy of the name of unanimity. The disciples of Jesus Christ were not uniform in this fense :. but their unanimity was inward and politive; they were of one heart, and one foul. This explication, you perceive, is itself a very jutt obfervation;
and there are very many passages of Scripture which may be treated of in the same manner.
5. Observations, for the most part, ought to be theological; that is to say, they flould belong to a system of religion. Sometimes, indeed, we may make use of obfervations historical, philofophical, and critical; but these 1hould be used sparingly and feldom, on necessary occations, and when they cannot well be avoided; and even then they ought to be pertinent, and not common, that they may be heard with fatisfaction. Make it a law tu be generally very brief on observations of theic kinds, and to inforın your audience that you only make thein en passant.
There are, I allow, some cases, in which observations remote from theology are neceffary to the elucidating of a text. When these happen, make your obfervations professedly, and explain and prove them. But, I repeat it again, in general, obfervations thould be purely theological ; either speculative, which regard the mysteries of Christianity; or practical, which regard morality: for the pulpit was erected to instruct the minds of men in religious fubjects, and not to gratify curiosity; to inflame the heart, and not to find play for imagination.
6. Obfervations thould not be propofèd in fcholaftic style, nor in common-place guife. They should be seasoned with a sweet urbanity, accommodated to the capacities of the people, and adapted to the manners of good
One of the best expedients for this purpose is a reduction of obfcure matters to a natural, popular, modern air. You can never attain this ability, unless you acquire a habit of conceiving clearly of lubjects yourself, and of expressing them in a free, familiar, eaty manner, remote from every thing forced and far-fetched. All long trains of arguments, all embarraflinents of divifions and fubdivisions, all metaphyfical investigations, which are mostly impertinent, and, like the fields, the cities, and
· Acquire a habit of conceiving clearly of suhjects. “ 1. Conceive
a of things clearly and distinctly in their own natures. 2. Conceive of things completely in all their parts.
3. Conceive of thing: comprehensively in all their properties and relations. 4. Conceive of things extensively in all their kinds. 5. Conceive of things orderly, or in a proper method." Dr. Watts's Logic, chap. vi.
the houses, which we imagine in the clouds, the mere creatures of fancy, all thete thould be avoided.
7. Care, however, must be taken to avoid the opposite extreme, which confilis in making only poor, dry, fpiritlefs observations, frequently taid under pretence of avoiding school-divinity, and of speaking only popular things. Endeavour to tink clearly, and try also to think nobly. Let your obtervations be replete wiih beanty, as well as propriety, the fruits of a fine tancy under the direction of a fober judgment. If you be inattentive to this article, you will pass for a contemptible declaimer, of mean and İhallow capacity, exhausting you feit' and not edifying your hearers; a very ridiculous character! Το
open more particularly fome fources of obfervations, remark every thing that may help you to think and facilitate invention, You may rise from species to genus, or descend from genus to fpecies. Tou may remark the
' different characters of a virtue commanded, or of a vico prolaibited. You may enquire whether the subject in question be relative to any other, or whether it do not fuppofe fomething not expreffed. You may reflect on the perfon speaking or acting, or on the condition of the perfon speaking or acting. You may obterve time, place, perfons addressed, and fee whether there be any useful considerations ariling from either. You may contider the principles of a word or action, or the good or bad consequences that follow. You may attend to the end proposed in a speech or action, and see if there be any thing remarkable in the manner of speaking or acting. You may compare words or actions with others inilar, and reinark the differences of words and actions on different occasions. You may oppose words and actions to contrary words and actions, either by contrasting speakers or hearers. You may examine the foundations and causes of words or actions, in order to develope the truth or falsehood, equity or iniquity of them. You may fometimes make fuppofitions, refute objections, and distinguish characters of grandeur, majesty, meannels, infirmity, neceffity, utility, evidence, and so on. You
advert to degrees of more or less, and to different interests. You may distinguish, define, divide, and, in a word, by turnVOL. I.
ing ing your text on every side, you may obtain various me- . thods of elucidating it. I will give you examples of all.
RISE FROM SPECIES TO GENUS b.
Pfal. I. 14. Sacrifice to God thanksgiving, and pay thy vows unto the Most High. In discuffing this text, I would observe first the terins Sacrifice thanksgiving, and would elucidate them by going from the species to the genus. The dignity of facrifice in general would lead me to obferve- that it is the immediate commerce of a creature with his God; an action, in which it is difficult to judge whether earth ascend to heaven, or heaven descend to earth--that in almost all the other acts of religion the creature receives of his Creator; but in this the Creator receives of his creature--that the Lord of the universe, who needs nothing, and who eternally lives in a rich abundance, hath such a condescension as to be willing to receive offerings at our hands—that, of all dignities, that of the pricfthood was the highest, for which reason the ancient priests dwelt in the tabernacle, or temple of Godthat, when God divided Canaion among the children of Ifrael, each tribe had its portion except that of Levi, to which God affignod nothing. Why? because he loved them less? No, but because he gave them the priesthood, and because he, who had the priesthood, the altar, and the cenfer, had God for his portion, and, consequently could have no need of temporal things. This is, you see, to rise from fpecies to genus; for the text does not speak of sacrifice in general, but of the facrifice of praise in particular: yet, when these general conliderations are pertinent, they cannot fail of being well received.
DESCIND FROM GENUS TO SPECIES.
An example may be taken from Pfal. cxxiii. 2. Behold! as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their
$ This is a topic peculiarly proper in an exordium.
master's, *nasters, so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God. Here you may aptly observe, in masters with regard to servants, and in God with regard to us, three senses of the phrase. There is a hand of beneficence, a hand of proteftion or deliverance, and a hand of correction. A servant expects favours from the hand of his master, not from that of a stranger. He looks to him for protection and deliverance 'in threatening dangers, and refuses all help, except that of his master. He expects correction from hin when he commits a fault, and, when corrected, humbles himself under his master's frown, in order to disarm him by tears of repentance. The application of these to the fervants of God is easy. The word succour is general, and may very well be considered by defcending from the genus to the species, and by observing the different occafions which we have for divine assistance, and, consequently, the different affifiances and fuccours which God affords us--as the help of liis word, to remove our ignorance, doubts, or errors—the help of his providence, to deliver us out of afflictions--the help of his grace and spirit, to guard us from the temptations of the world, and to aid us against the weaknetles of nature--the help of divine confolations, to sweeten the bitterness of our exercises under distrefling circumstances, and to give us courage to bear afflictions----the help of his mercy, to pardon our fins, and to reftore to our consciences that tranquillity which they have lost by offending God. You will meet with a great number of texts which may be difcuffed in this manner : but great care muft be taken not to strain the subject; for that would make you look like a school-boy. The best way is, to make only one
a general observation, and then to apply it to several particular subjects, collecting all at laft into one general point of view.
REMARK THE DIVERS CHARACTERS OF A VICE, WHICH IS
FOR 31DDEN, OR OF A VIRTUE, WHICH IS COMMANDED,
For example, 2 Theff. iii. 5. The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. Here I should describe the characters of true love to God ;