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In sermons, where there is seldom any occasion for narration, explication of the subject to be discoursed on, comes in the place of narration at the bar, and is to be taken up much on the same tone; that is, it must be concise, clear, and distinct; and in a style correct and elegant, rather than highly adorned. To explain the doctrine of the text with propriety; to give a full and perspicuous account of the nature of that virtue or duty which forms the subject of the discourse, is properly the didactic part of preaching; on the right execution of which much depends for all that comes afterward in the way of persuasion. The great art of succeeding in it, is to meditate profoundly on the subject, so as to be able to place it in a clear and strong point of view. Consider what light other passages of scripture throw upon it; consider whether it be a subject nearly related to some other from which it is proper to distinguish it; consider whether it can be illustrated to advantage by comparing it with, or opposing it to, some other thing; by inquiring into causes, or tracing effects; by pointing out examples, or appealing to the feelings of the hearers; that thus, a definite, precise, circumstantial view may be afforded of the doctrine to be inculcated. Let the preacher be persuaded, that by such distinct and apt illustrations of the known truths of religion, it may both display great merit in the way of composition, and, what he ought to consider as far more valuable, render his discourses weighty, instructive, and useful.

aut non multo secus. Statim complures cum telis in hunc faciunt de loco superiore impetum; adversi rhedarium occidunt; cúm autem hic de rheda, rejecta penula desiluisset, seque acri animo defenderet, illi qui erant cum Clodio, gladiis eductis, partim recurere ad rhedam, &t a tergo Milonem adorirentur; partim, quod hunc jam interfectum putarent, cædere incipiunt ejus servos qui post erant; ex quibus qui animo fideli in dominum et præsenti fuerunt, partim occisi sunt; partim cum al rhedam pugnare vidernut et domino succurrere prohiberentur, Milonemque cccisum etiam ex ipso Clodio audirent, et ita esse putarent, fecerunt id servi Milonis (dicam enim non derivandi criminis causa, sed ut factum est) neque imperante, neque sciente, neque præ:ente domine, quod suos quisque ecivos in tali re facere voluisset."

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IN treating of the constituent parts of a regular discourse or oration, I have already considered the introduction, the division, and the narration or explication. I proceed next to treat of the argumentative or reasoning part of a discourse. In whatever place, or on whatever subject one speaks, this beyond doubt is of the greatest consequence. For the great end for which men speak on any serious occasion, is to convince their hearers of something being either true, or right, or good; and, by means of this conviction, to influence their practice. Reason and argument make the foundation, as I have often ineulcated, of all manly and persuasive Eloquence.

Now, with respect to arguments, three things are requisite. First, the invention of them; secondly, the proper disposition and arrangement of them; and thirdly, the expressing of them in such a style and manner, as to give them their full force. The first of these, invention, is, without doubt, the most material, and the ground-work of the rest. But, with respect. to this, I am afraid it is beyond the power of art to give any real assistance. Art cannot go so far, as to supply a speaker with arguments on every cause, and every subject; though it may be of considerable use in assisting him to arrange, and express those, which his knowledge of the subject has discovered. For it is one thing to discover the reasons that are most proper to convince men, and another, to manage these reasons with most advantage. The latter is all that rhetoric can pretend to.

The ancient rhetoricians did indeed attempt to go much farther than this. They attempted to form rhetoric into a more

complete system; and professed not only to assist public speakers in setting off their arguments to most advantage, but to supply the defect of their invention, and to teach them where to find arguments on every subject and cause. Hence their doctrine of topics, or," Loci Communes ;" and "sedes argumentorum,” which makes so great a figure in the writings of Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian. These topics, or loci, were no other than general ideas applicable to a great many different subjects, which the orator was directed to consult, in order to find out materials for his speech. They had their intrinsic and extrinsic loci; some loci, that were common to all the different kinds of public speaking, and some that were peculiar to each. The common or general loci, were such as genus and species, cause and effect, antecedents and consequents, likeness and con⚫ trariety, definition, circumstances of time and place; and a great many more of the same kind. For each of the different kinds of public speaking, they had their "loci personarum,” and “loci rerum:" as in demonstrative orations, for instance, the heads from which any one could be decried or praised; his birth, his country, his education, his kindred, the qualities of his body, the qualities of his mind, the fortune he enjoyed, the stations he had filled, &c. and in deliberative orations, the topics that might be used in recommending any public measure, or dissuading from it; such as, honesty, justice, facility, profit, pleasure, glory, assistance from friends, mortification to enemies, and the like.

The Grecian sophists were the first inventors of this artificial system of oratory; and they showed a prodigious subtility, and fertility in the contrivance of these loci. Succeeding rhetoricians, dazzled by the plan, wrought them up into so regular a system, that one would think they meant to teach how a person might mechanically become an orator, without any genius at all. They gave him receipts for making speeches, on all manner of subjects. At the same time, it is evident, that though this study of common places might produce very showy academical declamations, it could never produce useful discourses on real business. The loci indeed supplied a most exuberant fecundity of matter. One who had no other aim, but to talk copiously and plausibly, by consulting them on every ject, and laying hold of all that they suggested, might discourse


without end; and that too, though he had none but the most superficial knowledge of his subject. But such discourse could be no other than trivial. What is truly solid and persuasive, must be drawn" ex visceribus causæ," from a thorough knowledge of the subject, and profound meditation on it. They who would direct students of oratory to any other sources of argumentation, only delude them; and by attempting to render rhetoric too perfect an art, they render it, in truth, a trifling and childish study.

On this doctrine, therefore, of the rhetorical loci, or topics, I think it superfluous to insist. If any think that the knowledge of them may contribute to improve their invention, and extend their views, they may consult Aristotle and Quintilian, or what Cicero has written on this head, in his Treatise De Inventione, his Topica, and second book De Oratore. But when they are to prepare a discourse, by which they propose to convince a judge, or to produce any considerable effect upon an assembly, I would advise them to lay aside their common places, and to think closely of their subject. Demosthenes, I dare say, consulted none of the loci, when he was inciting the Athenians to take arms against Philip; and where Cicero has had recourse to them, his orations are so much the worse on that account.

I proceed to what is of more real use, to point out the assistance that can be given, not with respect to the invention, but with respect to the disposition, and conduct of arguments.

Two different methods may be used by orators in the conduct of their reasoning; the terms of art for which are, the Analytic, and the Synthetic method. The Analytic is, when the orator conceals his intention concerning the point he is to prove, till he has gradually brought his hearers to the designed conclusion. They are led on step by step, from one known truth to another, till the conclusion be stolen upon them, as the natural consequence of a chain of propositions. As, for instance, when one intending to prove the being of a God, sets out with observing that every thing which we see in the world has had a beginning; that whatever has had a beginning must have a prior cause; that in human productions, art shown in the effect necessarily infers design in the cause; and

proceeds leading you on from one cause to another, till you arrive at one supreme first cause, from whom is derived all the order and design visible in his works. This is much the same with the Socratic method, by which that philosopher silenced the Sophists of his age. It is a very artful method of reasoning; may be carried on with much beauty, and is proper to be used when the hearers are much prejudiced against any truth, and by imperceptible steps must be led to conviction.

But there are few subjects that will admit this method, and not many occasions on which it is proper to be employed. The mode of reasoning more generally used, and most suited to the train of popular speaking, is what is called the synthetic ; when the point to be proved is fairly laid down, and one argument after another is made to bear upon it, till the hearers be fully convinced.

Now, in all arguing, one of the first things to be attended to is, among the various arguments which may occur upon a cause to make a proper selection of such as appear to one's self the most solid; and to employ these as the chief means of persuasion. Every speaker should place himself in the situation of a hearer, and think how he would be affected by those reasons which he purposes to employ for persuading others. For he must not expect to impose on mankind by mere arts of speech. They are not so easily imposed on, as public speakers are sometimes apt to think. Shrewdness and sagacity are found among all ranks; and the speaker may be praised for his fine discourse, while yet the hearers are not persuaded of the truth of any one thing he has uttered.

Supposing the arguments properly chosen, it is evident that their effect will in some measure, depend on the right arrangement of them; so as they shall not justle and embarrass one another, but give mutual aid; and bear with the fairest and fullest direction on the point in view. Concerning this, the following rules may be taken:

In the first place, avoid blending arguments confusedly together, that are of a separate nature. All arguments whatever are directed to prove one or other of these three things; that something is true; that it is morally right or fit; or that it is VOL. II. O

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