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But, notwithstanding his authority and his arguments, I cannot help being of opinion, that the present method of dividing a sermon into heads, ought not be laid aside. Established practice has now given it so much weight, that, were there nothing more in its favour, it would be dangerous for any preacher to deviate so far from the common track. But the practice itself has also, in my judgment, much reason on its side. If formal partitions give a sermon less of the oratorical appearance, they render it, however, more clear, more easily apprehended, and, of course, more instructive to the bulk of hearers, which is always the main object to be kept in view. The heads of a sermon are great assistance to the memory, and recollection of a hearer. They serve also to fix his attention. They enable him more easily to keep pace with the progress of the discourse; they give him pauses and resting places, where he can reflect on what has been said, and look forward to what is to follow. They are attended with this advantage too, that they give the audience the opportunity of knowing, beforehand, when they are to be released from the fatigue of attention, and thereby make them follow the speaker more patiently: "Reficit audientem," says Quintilian, taking notice of this very advantage of divisions in other discourses, "Reficit audientem certo singularum partium fine; non aliter quàm facientibus iter, multum detrahunt fatigationes notata spatia inscriptis lapidibus; nam et exhausti laboris nôsse mensuram voluptati est; et hortatur ad reliqua fortius exequenda, scire quantum supersit.”* With regard to breaking the unity of a discourse, I cannot be of opinion that there arises, from that quarter, any argument against the method I am defending. If the unity be broken, it is to the nature of the heads, or topics of which the speaker treats, that this is to be imputed; not to his laying them down in form. On the contrary, if his heads be well chosen, his marking them out, and distinguishing them, in place of impairing the unity of the whole, renders it more conspicuous and complete; by showing how all the parts of a discourse hang upon one another, and tend to one point.

"The conclusion of each head is a relief to the hearers; just as upon a journey, the mile-stones, which are set up on the road, serve to diminish the traveller's fatigue. For we are always pleased with seeing our labour begin to lessen; and, by calculating how much remains, are stirred up to finish our task more cheerfully."

In a sermon, or in a pleading, or any discourse, where division is proper to be used, the most material rules are,

First, That the several parts into which the subject is divided, be really distinct from one another; that is, that no one include another. It were a very absurd division, for instance, if one should propose to treat first, of the advantages of virtue, and next, of those of justice or temperance; because, the first head evidently comprehends the second, as a genus does the species; which method of proceeding involves the subject in indistinctness and disorder.

Secondly, In division, we must take care to follow the order of nature; beginning with the simplest points, such as are easiest apprehended, and necessary to be first discussed; and proceeding thence to those which are built upon the former, and which suppose them to be known. We must divide the subject into those parts, into which most easily and naturally it is resolved; that the subject may seem to split itself, and not to be violently torn asunder: "Dividere," as is commonly said, "non frangere.'

Thirdly, The several members of a division ought to exhaust the subject; otherwise we do not make a complete division; we exhibit the subject by pieces and corners only, without giving any such plan as disp'ays the whole.

Fourthly, The terms in which our partitions are expressed, should be as concise as possible. Avoid all circumlocution here. Admit not a single word but what is necessary. Precision is to be studied, above all things, in laying down a method. It is this which chiefly makes a division appear neat and elegant ; when the several heads are propounded in the clearest, most expressive, and, at the same time, the fewest words possible. This never fails to strike the hearers agreeably; and is, at the same time, of great consequence towards making the divisions. be more easily remembered.

Fifthly, Avoid an unnecessary multiplication of heads. To split a subject into a great many minute parts, by divisions and subdivisions without end, has always a bad effect in speaking. It may be proper in a logical treatise; but makes an oration appear hard and dry, and unnecessarily fatigues the memory. In a sermon, there may be from three to five or sis heads, including subdivisions; seldom should there be more.

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In a sermon, or in pleading at the bar, few things are of greater consequence, than a proper or happy division. It should be studied with much accuracy and care; for if one take a wrong method at first setting out, it will lead him astray in all that follows. It will render the whole discourse either perplexed or languid; and though the hearers may not be able to tell where the fault or disorder lies, they will be sensible there is a disorder somewhere, and find themselves little affected by what is spoken. The French writers of sermons study neatness and elegance in laying down their heads, much more than the English do; whose distributions, though sensible and just, yet are often inartificial and verbose. Among the French, however, too much quaintness appears in their divisions, with an affectation of always setting out either with two, or with three, general heads of discourse. A division of Massillon's on this text, “It is finished," has been much extolled by the French critics: "This imports," says the preacher," the consummation, first, of justice on the part of God; secondly, of wickedness on the part of men; thirdly, of love on the part of Christ." This also of Bourdaloue's has been much praised, from these words: "My peace I give unto you.” “ Peace,” says he, “ first to the understanding, by submission to faith; secondly, to the heart, by submission to the law."

The next constituent part of a discourse, which I mentioned, was Narration or Explication. I put these two together, both because they fall nearly under the same rules, and because they commonly answer the same purpose; serving to illustrate the cause, or the subject of which the orator treats, because he proceeds to argue either on one side or other; or to make an attempt for interesting the passions of the hearers.

In pleadings at the bar, Narration is often a very important part of the discourse, and requires to be particularly attended to. Besides its being in any case no easy matter to relate with grace and propriety, there is in narrations at the bar, a peculiar difficulty. The pleader must say nothing but what is true; and, at the same time, he must avoid saying any thing that will hurt his cause. The facts which he relates, are to be the groundwork of all his future reasoning. To recount them so as to keep strictly within the bounds of truth, and yet to present them under the colours most favourable to his cause; to place,

in the most striking light, every circumstance which is to his advantage, and to soften and weaken such as make against him, demand no small exertion of skill and dexterity. He must always remember, that if he discovers too much art, he defeats his own purpose and creates a distrust of his sincerity. Quintilian very properly directs, " Effugienda in hac præcipuè parte, omnis calliditatis suspicio; neque enim se usquam magis custodit judex, quàm cùm narrat orator: nihil tum videatur fictum; nihil sollicitum; omnia potius à causa, quam ab oratore, profecta videantur."*

To be clear and distinct, to be probable, and to be concise, are the qualities which critics chiefly require in narration; each of which carries sufficiently, the evidence of its importance. Distinctness belongs to the whole train of the discourse, but is especially requisite in narration, which ought to throw light on all that follows. A fact, or a single circumstance left in obscurity, and misapprehended by the judge, may destroy the effect of all the argument and reasoning which the speaker employs. If his narration be improbable, the judge will not regard it; and ifit be tedious and diffuse, he will be tired of it, and forget it. In order to produce distinctness, besides the study of the general rules of perspicuity which were formerly given, narration requires particular attention to ascertain clearly the names, the dates, the places 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 persons of whom we speak, and to show, that their actions proceeded from such motives as are natural, and likely to gain belief. In order to be as concise as the subject will admit, it is necessary to throw out all superfluous circumstances; the rejection of which will likewise 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 instance, in the celebrated oration pro Milone, has been often and justly admired. His scope is to show, that

"In this part of discourse, the speaker must be very careful to shun 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 sem feigned; nothing anxiously concealed. Let all that is said, appear to arise from the cause itself, and not to be the work of the orator."


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though in fact Clodius was killed by Milo, or his servants, yet that it was only in self-defence; and that the design had been laid, not by Milo against Clodius, but by Clodius, against Milo's life. All the circumstances for rendering this probable are painted with wonderful art. In relating the manner of Milo's setting out from Rome, he gives the most natural description of a family excursion to the country, under which it was impossible that any bloody design could be concealed. "He remained," says he, "in the senate-house that day, till all the business was over. He came home, changed his clothes deliberately, and waited for some time, till his wife had got all things ready for going with him in his carriage to the country. He did not set out, till such time as Clodius might easily have been in Rome, if he had not been lying in wait for Milo by the way. By and by, Clodius met him on the road, on horse-back, like a man prepared for action, no carriage, not his wife, as was usual, nor any family equipage along with him whilst Milo, who is supposed to be meditating slaughter and assassination, is travelling in a carriage with his wife, wrapped up in his cloak, embarrassed with baggage, and attended by a great train of women servants, and boys." He goes on, describing the rencounter that followed, Clodius's servants attacking those of Milo, and killing the driver of his carriage; Milojumping out, throwing off his cloak, and making the best defence he could, while Clodius's servants endeavoured to surround him; and then concludes his narration with a very delicate and happy stroke. He does not say in plain words, that Milo's servants killed Clodius, but that "in the midst of the tumult, Milo's servants, without the orders, without the knowledge, without the presence of their master, did what every master would have wished his servants, in a like conjuncture to have done."*

« * Milo, cùm in Senatu fuisset co die; quod Senatus dimissus est domum venit Calceos et vestimenta mutavit; paulisper, dum se uxor (ut fit) comparat, commoratus est: deinde profectus est, id temporis cùm jam Clodius, si quidem eo die Romam venturus erat, redire potuisset. Obviem fit ei Clodius expeditus, in equo nulla rheda, nullis impedimentis, nullis Græcis comitibus, ut solebat; sine uxore, quod numquam fcrè. Cum hic insidiator, qui iter illud ad cædem faciendam apparasset, cum uxore veheretur in rheda, penulatus, vulgi magno impedimento ac muliebri et delicato ancillarum puerorumque comitatu. Fit obviam Clodio ante fundum ejus, hora fere undecima,

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