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a translator to retain in his version into another language, whilst the expression is totally changed. Thus to preserve the metaphor of soul and body already adopted) we may say, that a discourse in being translated undergoes a sort of transmigration.
soul passes into a different body. For if the ideas, the sense, the information conveyed to the hearers or readers be not the same in the version, as in the original performance, the translation is not faithful. Now all that regards the soul or sense may be distributed into these four different forms of communication, namely, narration, explanation, reasoning and moral reflection. This last is sometimes by way of eminence called sentiment.
To the first of these, narration, there will be pretty frequent occasion of recourse, both for the illustration of any point of doctrine or portion of scripture wherewith the subject happens to be connected, and also for affecting the hearers in a way suitable to the particular aim of the discourse. And indeed it often happens, that nothing is better adapted to this end, than an apposite passage of history properly related. But what are the rules, it will be asked, by the due observance of which propriety in this matter may be attained? One of those most commonly recommended is to be brief. But this rule needs explanation, as there is nothing we ought more carefully to avoid than a cold uninteresting conciseness, which is sometimes the consequence of an excessive desire of brevity. Brevity in relating, as in every thing else, is only so far commendable, as it is rendered compatible with answering all the ends of the relation. Where
these are not answered, through an affectation of being very nervous and laconic, comprehending much in little, the narration ought not to be styled brief, but defective. In strictness, the relation ought to contain enough, and neither more nor less. But what is enough? That can be determined only by a proper attention to the end for which the narration was introduced. A narrative may contain enough to render the story and its connection intelligible to the hearer, yet not enough to fix his attention and engage his heart, and may therefore be justly chargeable with a faulty conciseness. But if this extreme ought to be carefully guarded against, it well deserves your notice, that the contrary, and no less dangerous, extreme of prolixity, by entering into a detail too minute and circumstantial, ought with equal care to be avoided. If, in consequence of the first error, the hearer's mind remains unsatisfied, in consequence of the second, it is cloyed. Both faults can be avoided only by such a judicious selection of circumstances, as at once excludes nothing essential to the purposes of perspicuity and connection, or conducive to the principal scope of the narration, and includes nothing, that in the respects aforesaid can be deemed superfluous. Such is every circumstance that can be denominated remote, trivial, or necessarily implied in the other circumstances mentioned. But to assist the preacher in conducting such narratives, when pertinent, nothing will serve so well for a model, as the historical part of sacred writ. No where else will he find such simplicity, as brings what is said to the level of the meanest capacity, united with such dignity, as is sufficient to engage
the attention of the highest. Passages of scripturehistory, when they happen to coincide with the speaker's view, are much
preferable to those which may be taken from any other source; and that on a double account. First, it may be supposed, that not only all the serious part, but even the much greater part of the audience, being better acquainted with these, will both more readily perceive and more strongly feel the application which the preach er makes of them; and secondly, the authority of holy writ gives an additional weight to that which is the intent of the narrative. I do not say however, that a preacher, in quoting instances, examples, and authorities, ought to confine himself entirely to the sacred history. Our blessed Lord, though addressing himself only to Jews, did not hesitate to lay the foundation of some of his parables in those customs, which had arisen solely from their intercourse with the Romans. Of this the parable you have, Luke xix. 12, &c. of the nobleman who travelled into a distant land, in order that he might obtain the royal power, and return king over his countrymen, is an evident instance. Such was become the general practice in all the provinces and states dependant upon Rome. The royalty was often not to be attained without applications to the Roman senate; and these were often thwarted, as in the parable, by counter applications, either from the people, or from some rival for power. Nay, there is very probably in that parable an allusion to some things, which had actually happened in regard to the succession of Archelaus, son of Heroi king of Judea, with which many of his hearers could not fail to be acquainted,
the thing having happened but recently and in their own time. Nor was the apostle Paul at all scrupulous in illustrating the sublimest truths of the gospel, by the exercises and diversions which obtained at that time among the idolatrous Greeks. But even in those cases wherein scripture doth not furnish the facts, it supplies us with an excellent pattern of a natural, simple, and interesting manner in which the relation ought to be conducted. I shall only add on this article that the different circumstances ought to be so fitly and so naturally connected, that those which precede may easily in- . troduce those which follow, and those which follow may appear necessarily to arise out of those which precede. This, by adding to the credibility and verisimilitude, greatly increases the effect of the whole. I shall not at this time say any thing of those qualities which more regard the expression than the thought, as there will be scope for this afterwards.
The second thing comprised under the term thought, or sentiment, was explication, in which I include also description and definition. And on this, the rules Taid down upon the former article will equally hold good. The same care and attention will be requisite, both in culling and disposing the particulars, that the whole may be neither tedious nor unsatisfactory. In regard to disposition and arrangement, there is rather more art necessary in this case than in the former. In the former, to wit, narrative, all the material circumstances are successive, and the order of introducing them must in a great measure be determined by the order of time. But in explication, they are simultaneous,
and therefore require the exercise of judgment and reflection, in assigning to each its proper place and order in the discourse. Need it be added, that in all descriptive enumerations particular care ought to be taken, that nothing foreign be comprehended, and that nothing which properly belongs to the subject be omitted. The logical rules in regard to definition are sufficiently known, and therefore shall not here be repeated. On the whole, in regard to both the preceding articles, a certain justness of apprehension is of all things the most important in a speaker. If he has not a clear conception of the matter himself, it can never be expected, he should convey it to others.
The third thing mentioned as belonging to the thought was reasoning. When it is considered, what a mixed society a christian assembly for the most part is, and how little the far greater number, even of what are called the politest congregations, is accustomed to the exercise of the discursive faculty, it will be evident that any thing in the way argument would need to be extremely simple, consisting of but a very few steps, and extremely clear, having nothing in it that is of an abstract nature, and so not easily comprehended by them, and nothing that alludes to facts which do not fall within ordinary observation. If the argument is not deduced from experience, or the common principles of the understanding, but from the import of the words of scripture, one would need to be particularly distinct in setting the sacred text before them, avoiding as much as possible every thing that savours of subtlety, conceit, or learned criticism. Something indeed of criticism, when the point to