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During the period that preceded the restoration of king Charles II. the sermons of the English divines abounded with scholastic casuistical theology. They were full of minute divisions and subdivisions, and scraps of learning in the didactic part; but to these were joined very warm pathetic addresses to the consciences of the hearers, in the applicatory part of the sermon. Upon the restoration, preaching assumed a more correct and polished form. It became disencumbered from the pedantry and scholastic divisions of the sectaries; but it threw out also their warm and pathetic addresses, and established itself wholly upon the model of cool reasoning, and rational instruction. As the dissenters from the church continued to preserve somewhat of the old strain of preaching, this led the established clergy to depart the farther from it. Whatever was earnest and passionate, either in the composition or delivery of sermons, was reckoned enthusiastic and fanatical; and hence that argumentative manner, bordering on the dry and unpersuasive, which is too generally the character of English sermons. Nothing can be more correct upon that model than many of them are; but the model itself on which

notre perte est presque assurée, et nous n'y pensous pas. Quand meme dans cette terrible séparation qui se fera un jour, il ne devroit y avoir qu'un seul pecheur de cette assemblée du côté des réprouvés, et qu'une voix du ciel viendroit nous en assurer dans ce temple, sans le designer; qui de nous ne craindroit d'etre de malheureux : qui de nous ne retomberoit d'abord, sur sa conscience, pour examiner fi ses crimes n'ont pas méritez ce chatiment? qui de nous, saili de fraycur, ne demanderoit pas à Jesus Christ comme autrefois les Apôtres : Seigneur, ne seroit-ce pas moi? Sommes nous sages, mes chers Auditeurs ? peut-etre que parmi tous ceux qui m'entendent, il ne se trouvera pas dix justes : peut-etre s'en trouvera-t-il encore moins. Que sai je, O mon Dieu! je n'ôse regarder d'un œil fixe les abismes de vos jugemens, et de votre justice; peut-etre ne s'en trouvera-t-il qu-un scul; et ce danger ne vous touche point, mon cher Auditeur? et vous croyez etre ce seul heureux dans le grand nombre qui perira? vous qui avez moins sujet de la croire que tout autre; vous sur qui seul la sentence de mort devroit tomber. Grand Dieu! que l'on connoit peu dans le monde les terreurs de vctre loi, &c." After this awakening and alarming exhortation, the orator comes with propriety to this practical improvement. "Mais que conclure de ces grandes verites? qu'il faut desesperer de son salut? à Dieu ne plaise; il n'y l'impie, qui pour se calmer sur ses disordres, tache ici de conclure en secret que tous les hommes periront comme lui; ce ne doit pas ette là le fruit de ce discours. Mais de vous detromper de cette erreur si universelle, qu'on peut faire ce que tous les autres font; et que l'usage est une voie sure; mais de vous convaincre que pour se sauver, il faut se distinguer des autres; etre singulier, vivre à part au milieu du monde, et ne pas ressembler à la foule."

Sermons de MASSILLON, Vol. IV.

they are formed, is a confined and imperfect one. Dr. Clark, for instance, every where abounds in good sense, and the most clear and accurate reasoning; his applications of scripture are pertinent; his style is always perspicuous, and often elegant; he instructs and he convinces; in what then is he deficient? In nothing, except in the power of interesting and seizing the heart. He shows you what you ought to do; but he excites not the desire of doing it: he treats man as if he were a being of pure intellect, without imagination or passions. Archbishop Tillotson's manner is more free and warm, and he approaches nearear than most of the English divines to the character of popular speaking. Hence he is, to this day, one of the best models we have for preaching. We must not indeed consider him in the light of a perfect orator: his composition is too loose and remiss; his style too feeble, and frequently too flat, to deserve that high character; but there is in some of his sermons so much warmth and earnestness, and through them all there runs so much ease, and perspicuity, such a vein of good sense and sincere piety, as justly entitle him to be held as eminent a preacher as England has produced.

In Dr. Barrow, one admires more the prodigious fecundity of his invention, and the uncommon strength and force of his conceptions, than the felicity of his execution, or his talent in composition. We see a genius far surpassing the common, peculiar indeed almost to himself; but that genius often shooting wild and unchastised by any discipline or study of Eloquence.

I cannot attempt to give particular characters of that great number of writers of sermons which this, and the former age, have produced, among whom we meet with a variety of most respectable names. We find in their composition much that deserves praise; a great display of abilities of different kinds, much good sense and piety, strong reasoning, sound divinity, and useful instruction; though in general the degree of Eloquence bears not, perhaps, equal proportion to the goodness of the matter. Bishop Atterbury deserves being particularly mentioned as a model of correct and beautiful style, besides having the merit of a warmer and more eloquent strain of writing, in some of his sermons, than is commonly met with. Had Bishop Butler, in place of abstract philosophical essays, given us more sermons,

in the strain of those two excellent ones, which he composed upon self deceit, and upon the character of Balaam, we should then have pointed him out as distinguished for that species of characteristical sermons which I before recommended.

Though the writings of the English divines are very proper to be read by such as are designed for the church, I must caution them against making too much use of them, or transcribing large passages from them into the sermons they compose. Such as once indulge themselves in this practice, will never have any fund of their own. Infinitely better it is, to venture into the public with thoughts and expressions which have occurred to themselves though of inferior beauty, than to disfigure their compositions, by borrowed and ill-sorted ornaments, which, to a judicious eye, will be always in hazard of discovering their own poverty. When a preacher sits down to write on any subject, never let him begin with seeking to consult all who have written on the same text, or subject. This, if he consult many, will throw perplexity and confusion into his ideas; and, if he consults only one, will often warp him insensibly into his method, whether it be right or not. But let him begin with pondering the subject in his own thoughts; let him endeavour to fetch materials from within; to collect and arrange his ideas : and form some sort of a plan to himself; which it is always proper to put down in writing. Then, and not till then, he may inquire how others have treated the same subject. By this means, the method and the leading thoughts" in the sermon are likely to be his own. These thoughts he may improve, by comparing them with the track of sentiment which others have pursued; some of their sense he may without blame, incorporate into his composition; retaining always his own words and style. This is fair assistance: all beyond is plagiarism.

On the whole, never let the principle with which we set out at first, be forgotten, to keep close in view, the great end for which a preacher mounts the pulpit; even to infuse good dispositions into his hearers, to persuade them to serve God, and to become better men. Let this always dwell on his mind when he is composing, and it will diffuse through his compositions, that spirit which will render them at once esteem

ed, and useful. The most useful preacher is always the best, and will not fail of being esteemed so. Embellish truth only, with a view to gain it the more full and free admission into your hearers' mind; and your ornaments will, in that case, be simple, masculine, natural. The best applause by far, which a preacher can receive, arises from the serious and deep impressions which his discourse leaves on those who hear it. The finest encomium, perhaps, ever bestowed on a preacher, was given by Louis XIV. to the eloquent Bishop of Clermont, Father Massillon, whom I before mentioned with so much praise. After hearing him preach at Versailles, he said to him," Father, I have heard many great orators in this chapel; I have been highly pleased with them; but for you, whenever I hear you, I go away displeased with myself; for I see more of my own character."




THE last Lecture was employed in observations on the peculiar and distinguishing characters of the Eloquence proper for the pulpit. But as rules and directions, when delivered in the abstract, are never so useful as when they are illustrated by particular instances, it may, perhaps, be of some benefit to those who are designed for the church, that I should analyze an English sermon, and consider the matter of it, togather with the manner. For this purpose, I have chosen Bishop Atterbury as my example, who is deservedly accounted one of our most eloquent writers of sermons, and whom I mentioned as such in the last Lecture. At the same time, he is more distinguised for elegance and purity of expression, than for profoundness of thought. His style, though sometimes careless, is, upon the whole, neat and chaste; and more beautiful than that of most writers of sermons. In his sentiments he is not only rational, but pious and devotional, which is a great excellency. The sermon which I have singled out, is, that upon praise and thanksgiving, the first sermon of the first volume, which is reckoned one of his best. In examining it, it is necessary that I should use full liberty, and together with the beauties, point out any defects that occur to me in the matter, as well as in the style.,

PSALM 1. 14. Offer unto God Thanksgiving.

"Among the many excellencies of this pious collection of hymns, for which so particular a value hath been set upon it by the church of God in all ages, this is not the least, that the true price of duties is there justly stated; men are called off from resting in the outward shew of religion, in ceremonies and VOL. II.


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