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LECT.
XXXI.

FOURTHLY, The terms in which our partitions are expreffed, fhould be as concife as poffible. Avoid all circumlocution here. Admit not a fingle word but what is neceffary. Precision is to be ftudied, above all things, in laying down a method. It is this which chiefly makes a Divifion appear neat and elegant; when the feveral heads are propounded in the clearest, most expreffive, and, at the fame time, the feweft words poffible. This never fails to ftrike the hearers agreeably; and is, at the fame time, of great confequence towards making the Divifions be more easily remembered.

FIFTHLY, Avoid an unneceffary multiplication of heads. To fplit a fubject into a great many minute parts, by Divifions and Subdivifions without end, has always a bad effect in Speaking. It may be proper in a logical treatife; but it makes an Oration appear hard and dry, and unneceffarily fatigues the memory. In a Sermon, there may be from three to five or fix heads, including Subdivifions; feldom fhould there be more.

In a Sermon, or in a Pleading at the Bar, few things are of greater confequence, than a proper or happy Division. It should be ftudied with much accuracy and care; for if one take a wrong method at first setting out,

XXXI.

it will lead them aftray in all that follows. It LECT. will render the whole Difcourfe either per- C plexed or languid; and though the hearers may not be able to tell where the fault or diforder lies, they will be fenfible there is a diforder fom where, and find themfelves little affected by what is fpoken. The French writers of Sermons ftudy neatnefs and elegance in the Divifion of their fubjects, much more than the English do; whofe diftributions, though sensible and juft, yet are often inartificial and verbofe. Among the French, however, too much quaintnefs appears in their Divifions, with an affectation of always fetting out either with two, or with three, general heads of Difcourfe. A Divifion of Maffillon's on this text, "It is finifhed," has been much extolled by the French Critics: "This im

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ports," fays the Preacher, "confummation, "first, of justice on the part of God; fecond

ly, of wickednefs on the part of men; "thirdly, of love on the part of Chrift." This alfo of Bourdaloue's has been much praised, from thefe words, " My peace I give "unto you:"« :"« Peace," fays he, "first, to "the understanding, by fubmiffion to faith

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fecondly, to the heart, by fubmiffion to the « law."

THE next conftituent part of a Discourse, which I mentioned, was Narration or Expli

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XXXI.

LECT. cation. I put these two together, both because they fall nearly under the fame rules, and because they commonly answer the fame purpofe; ferving to illuftrate the caufe, or the fubject of which the Orator treats, before he proceeds to argue either on one fide or other; or to make any attempt for interefting the paffions of the hearers.

IN Pleadings at the Bar, Narration is often a very important part of the Difcourfe, and requires to be particularly attended to. Befides its being in any cafe no eafy matter to relate with grace and propriety, there is, in Narrations at the Bar, a peculiar difficulty. The Pleader must fay nothing but what is true; and, at the fame time, he must avoid faying any thing that will hurt his caufe. The facts which he relates, are to be the groundwork of all his future reafoning. To recount them fo as to keep ftrictly within the bounds of truth, and yet to prefent them under the colours moft favourable to his caufe; to place, in the most striking light, every circumstance which is to his advantage, and to foften and weaken fuch as make against him, demand no finall exertion of fkill and dexterity. He must always remember, that if he difcovers too much art, he defeats his own purpose, and creates a diftruft of his fincerity. Quinctilian very properly directs, Effugienda in hac "præcipuè

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"præcipuè parte, omnis calliditatis fufpicio ;
neque enim fe ufquam magis cuftodit ju-
"dex, quàm cùm narrat orator; nihil tum
"videatur fictum; nihil follicitum; omnia
potius a caufa, quam ab oratore, profecta
"videantur*."

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To be clear and diftinct, to be probable, and to be concise, are the qualities which Critics chiefly require in Narration; each of which carries, fufficiently, the evidence of its importance. Diftinctnefs belongs to the whole train of the Difcourfe, but is especially requifite in Narration, which ought to throw light on all that follows. A fact, or a fingle circumftance left in obfcurity, and mifapprehended by the Judge, may destroy the effect of all the argument and reafoning which the Speaker employs. If his Narration be improbable, the Judge will not regard it; and if it be tedious and diffuse, he will be tired of it, and forget it. In order to produce diftinctnefs, befides the ftudy of the general rules of perfpicuity which were formerly given, Narration requires particular attention to ascer

In this part of Difcourfe, the Speaker muft be very "careful to fhun every appearance of art and cunning. "For there is no time at which the Judge is more upon his guard, than when the Pleader is relating facts. Let "nothing then feem feigned; nothing anxioufly con"cealed. Let all that is faid, appear to arise from the "cause itself, and not to be the work of the Orator."

tain

LECT.

XXXI.

LECT. tain clearly the names, the dates, the places,

XXXI.

and every other material circumstance of the facts recounted. In order to be probable in Narration, it is material to enter into the characters of the perfons of whom we speak, and to fhow, that their actions proceeded from fuch motives as are natural, and likely to gain belief. In order to be as concife as the fubject will admit, it is neceffary to throw out all fuperfluous circumstances; the rejection of which, will likewife tend to make our Narration more forcible, and more clear.

CICERO is very remarkable for his talent of Narration; and from the examples in his Orations much may be learned. The Narration, for inftance, in the celebrated Oration pro Milone, has been often and juftly admired. His fcope is to fhow, that though in fact Clodius was killed by Milo, or his fervants, yet that it was only in felf-defence; and that the defign had been laid, not by Milo againft Clodius, but by Clodius against Milo's life. All the circumftances for rendering this probable are painted with wonderful art. In relating the manner of Milo's fetting out from Rome, he gives the moft natural description of a family excurfion to the country, under which it was impoffible that any bloody defign could be concealed. "He remained," fays he, in the Senate-houfe that day, till all

the bufinefs was over. He came home,

"changed

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