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eypt, and to typify a more important Redemption that was reserv'd for the Meffiah. It is for this Reason, I said that almost every thing in Religion is Historical. And if Preachers wou'd have a full Knowledge of this Truth, they inust be very conversant in the Scripture
B. You must excuse my interrupting you on this Subject; Sir, you told us in the Morning that the Scriptures are eloquent: and I was glad to hear you say fo. Let me intreat you to fhew us how we may difcern the Beauties of Scripture; and in what its Eloquence consists. The Latin Bible seems to me inost vulgar and inaccurate. I see no Delicacy in it. What is it then that you so much admire ?
A. The Latin is only a literal Verfion in which out of respect to the Original, there are many Greek and Hebrew Phrases retain'd. Do you despise HoMER because he has been forrily translated into French ?
B. But the Greek it-self (which is the original Language of the New Testament) appears to me very coarse and unpolite.
A. The Apostles were not acquainted with the genuine Greek, but us’d that corrupted kind which prevail'd among the
Hellenistical Jews. For this Reason *2 Cor. St. Paul says * I am rude in speech, xj, 16. but not in Knowledge. It is very
obviqus that the Apostle here only meant he
was not a Master of the Greek Tongue; tho' he solidly explain’d the Doctrine of the Holy Scripture.
C. Had not the Apostles the Gift of speaking unknown Tongues ?
A. Üridoubtedly: and they even convey'd that Gift to great Numbers of their illiterate Converts. But as for the Languages that the Apostles had learnt in a natural
way, we liave Reason to believe that the Spirit of God permitted them to speak as they did before, St. Paul who was a Citizen of Tarsus, in Cilicia, naturally spake the corrupted Greek us'd among the Jews there : and we find that this is the Language he wrote in. St. LUKE seems to have understood Greek a little better.
C. But I always thought that in the Passage you mention’d, St. PAUL gave up
all Pretences to Oratory: and regarded nothing but the Simplicity of the Evangelical Doctrine. Nay I have heard several Persons of Worth and good Judgment affirin that the Holy Scripture is not eloquent. St. JEROM was punish't for being disgusted at the Simplicity of Scripture ; and liking TULLY better. St. AUSTIN (in his Confessions ) seeins to have fallen into the same Fault. Did not God intend to try our Faith by the Obscurity, and even by the Lowness of
the Scripture-Stile, as well as by the Poverty of our Redeemer?
A. You seein, Sir, to carry this Point too far. Whether do you chuse to believe St. JEROM when he was punish't for having follow'd his youthful Studies too closely in his Retreat, or when he had made the greatest Progress both in sacred and profane Learning; and, in an Epistle to PAULINUS, invited him to ftudy the Scripture ; assuring him that he wou'd find more Charins in the Prophets than he had discover'd in the Heathen Poets ? Or, was St. AUSTIN's Judgment better in his Youth, when the seeming Meanness of the sacred Stile difgusted him; than when he compos'd his Books Of the Christian Doctrine ? There he often says that St. Paul was powerfully perswalive; and that the Torrent of his Eloquence must be perceiv'd by the most unattentive Reader. He adds that in the Apostle, Wisdom did not seek after the Beauty of Language ; but that the Beauties of Language offer'd theinselves, and attended his Wisdoın. He quotes inany lofty Passages of his Epifles; wherein he shews all the Art and Address of the Heathen Orators far outdone. St. AUSTIN excepts only two Things in this Comparison : He says, that these Orators study'd the Ornaments
of Eloquence; but that the Beauties of Oratory naturally follow'd St. PAUL, and others of the sacred Writers. And then he own's that he did not sufficiently understand the Delicacies of the Greek Tongue, to be a coinpetent Judge, whether there be the fame Nuinbers and Cadence of Periods in the facred Text, that we meet with in profane Authors. I forgot to tell you that he quotes that Palsage of tlie Prophet Amos which begins thus * Wo to them that are at ease * Ch. vj. in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria ---- ; and assures us that in this Place the Prophet has surpass't every thing that is sublime in the Heathen Orators.
C. But how do you understand these Words of St. PAUL; + My speech and t . Cor. my preaching was not with the enticing *j. 4[perfwasive] words of man's wisdom -Does he not tell the Corinthians that he came not to preach CHRIST to them, with the Sublimity of Discourse and of Wisdom : that he knew nothing among them but Jesus, and him crucify'd: that his preaching was founded not upon the perswalive Language of human Wifdoin, and Learning, but upon the sensible Effects of the Spirit and the Power of God; to the end (as he adds) that their Faith shou'd not depend upon the wil dom of men, but on the power of God,
What is the Meaning of these Words, Sir? What stronger Expressions cou'd the Apostle use to condemn this Art of Perswasion that you wou'd establish? For my part, I freely own that at first I was glad when you censur'd all those affected Ornaments of Discourse that vain Declaimers are so fond of : but the Sequel of your Scheme does not answer the pious Beginning of it. I find that
wou'd still make Preaching a human Art; and banish Apoftolical Simplicity from the Pulpit. A. Tho
you judge very unfavourably
Esteem for Eloquence; I am not dissatisfy'd at the Zeal with which
you censure it. However, Sir, let us endeavour to understand one another aright. There are several worthy Persons who
you, that eloquent Preaching is repugnant to the Simplicity of the Gospel." But when we have mutually explain’d our Sentiinents, perhaps they may be found to agree. What then do
you mean by Simplicity ? and what do
you call Eloquence ?
C. By Simplicity, I inean a Discourse without any Artifice or Magnificence. By Eloquence, I mean a Discourse full of Art and Ornaments,
A. Wlien you require an artless simple Discourse, wou'd you have it without