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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 extent of the duties which they are required to practise, and of the truths and doctrines which serve as motives to practice, is absolutely 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 art 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 error.
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 giving 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 Chirst 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 ad dressed. It may not want its use, on the contrary, to delineate sometimes in proper colours the conduct of the vicious. To do justice 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, rais eth 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 commendatory.
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 deserves however to be remarked, that the pathos excited 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 wherein 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 devo
tional writers have distinguished by the name of
be hereby made a greater bigot and a greater fool. The two last kinds of discourses, it must be owned, are near a-kin to each other, and very apt to be confounded. The enemies they combat are indifference and listlessness. If we thought it necessary to observe a scrupulous exactness in distinguishing, we should rather say (for the words are not synonymous) that the enemy of the former is indifference, and of the latter listlessness. And let me add, these often prove more dangerous adversaries to religion, than others of more hostile appearance and of more formidable names.
Finally, it will not be questioned, that it will frequently be proper, to make it the direct design of a discourse to persuade to a good, or to dissuade from a bad life in general, or to engage to the performance of any particular duty, or to an abstinence from any particular sin, and that either from all the arguments, or from any one class of arguments afforded by the light of nature, or by revelation, and adapted to the purpose. Discourses of this sort fall under the fifth and last class above mentioned. They are addressed to the will; their aim is persuasion. The enemies they combat, are irreligion and vice. Such sermons we discriminate by the term persuasive.
Let us now, for further illustration of the subject, consider whether the different sorts of discourses from the pulpit above enumerated bear any analogy to the different sorts of orations treated of by ancient rhetoricians. These both Greeks and Romans, after Aristotle, have distributed into three kinds, the judiciary, the demonstrative, and the deliberative. The judiciary, is the name by which the Stagyrite has thought fit to distinguish the pleadings of advocates or counsellors, whether in accusation of an adversary, or in defence of a client. As in all such pleadings, and indeed in all litigation whatever, there is something affirmed by one of the litigants, which is denied by the other, so the aim of each is to convince the bench, that his representation is agreeable to truth, and to refute the arguments of his antagonist. The point in dispute is sometimes a question of fact. Did the defendant do, or not do, the action, with which he is charged by the plaintiff? Sometimes it is a