Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

The Warmth of our Lawyers to gain a Cause relating to the Estate of a private Person, cannot equal the Ambition that the Greek Orators had to possess theinfelves of the supreme Authority in a Commonwealth. A Lawyer loses nothing : nay he gets his Fee, tho' he lose the Cause he undertook. Is he young ? he applys himself to plead elegantly, that he may acquire some Reputation, without having ever study'd either the Grounds of the Law, or the great Models of Antiquity. Has. he establish't his Character? he leaves-off pleading, and enriches himself by Chamber-Practice. The most valuable Lawyers are those who set Facts in a clear Light; who recur to some fixt Principle of Law; and answer all Objections according to it. But where are those who have the Art of forcing the Affent, and moving the Hearts of a whole People?

Shall I presume to speak with the same Freedomn, concerning Preachers ? GOD knows how inuch I reverence the Minifters of his Worit. But I cannot offend any particular Person ainong them, by observing in general, that they are not all equally humble and disinterested. Young Men who have little Reputation are too forward in Preaching. People fancy they see that those seek their own Glory, inore

than

than God's: and that they are more earnest about making their Fortune, than for the Salvation of Souls. They talk like sparkling Orators, rather than like Ministers of CHRIST, and Stewards of his Mysterys. It was not with this vain Pomp of Words that S. PETER preach't the Crucify'd Jesus in those Sermons that converted so many thousand People.

Wou'd we learn the Rules of a serious effectual Eloquence from S. AUSTIN? He follows ĈICERo in distinguishing three different kinds of speaking. He says we must speak of submisively, in an † submija húnble familiar way: 8 mildly, in an temperatè engaging, foft, insinuating manner, to make People love the Truth : and || nobly, Il grandi that is, in a lofty vehement Strain, when we wou'd captivate Men, and rescue them from the Dominion of their Paflions. He adds, that the only Reason for using such Expressions as may please People, is, because there are few Men reasonable enough to relish such Truths in a Discourse as are quite dry and naked. As for the sublime and vehement kind, he wou'd not have it florid; * embellish't

ter,

nor

66 with

Non tam verborum ornatibus comtum eft, quam violentum animi affectibus Fertur quippe impetu fuo, & elocutionis pulchritudinem, si occurrerit, vi rerum rapit, non cura decoris assumit.

AUG. de Doct. Chr. L. IV.

« with the Ornaments of Speech : but “ rather full of the most pathetick Emo« tions .... For the Speaker following “ the inpulse of his Thoughts, does not « industriously study the Beauties of E. « locution ; but naturally uses such as “ rise from the Subject itself.”. The fame Father observes that a Man who fights resolutely with a Sword enrichit with Gold and Jewels, uses these Arms, (without regarding the Value of them,) because they are fit for fighting. He adds that Gov had permitted S. CYPRIAN to use some affected Ornaments in his Letter to Donatus ; that Posterity 'might see how much the Purity of the Christian Doctrine had corrected this superfluous Vanity, and brought him to a more grave and modest Eloquence.

But nothing can be more affecting than the two Storys that S. AUSTIN relates to shew us the true way of preaching with Success. In the first Instance, he was as yet but a Priest. The holy Bishop VALERIUS appointed him to preach to the People of Hippo, in order to reclaim then from * riotous Feasting on folemn Days. He open’d the Scriptures, and read to them the most vehement and threatning Reproaches. He earnestly befouglit his Hearers,“ by the Ignominys " and the Sorrows, by the Cross, by the

Epist.

xxix. ad Days.

in Blood

Alyp.

[ocr errors]

“ Blood of CHRIST, not to destroy " themselves; to pity him who spake to " them with so much Affe&ion; and to “ shew fome Regard to their venerable

old Bishop, who, out of Tenderness to

them, had commanded him to instruct ć them in the Truth. I did not make " them weep, (fays he,) by first weeping

over them: but while I preach't, their “ Tears prevented mine. I own that " then I cou'd not restrain my-felf. Af

ter we had wept together, I began to “ entertain great Hope of their Ainend“ ment.” On this Occasion he quite vary'd from the Discourse he had prepard; becaufe he did not now think it futable to their penitent Disposition. In fine, he had the Satisfaction of seeing this People tractable, and reform'd from that very day.

The other Occasion wherein he powerfully fway'd the Minds of his Audience, is thus related by himself: “ We must

not imagine that a Man has spoken in

a lofty sublime Manner, when he re« ceives many Acclainations, and great

Applause. These are sometimes given “ to the lowest Turns of Wit, and the 66 Ornaments of the moderate sort of E

loquence. But the fublime Strain oft“ times overwhelms People's Minds with “ its Vehemence: it renders them speech

si less :

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Man en

CG

« less : it melts them into Tears. When “ I endeavour'd to perswade the People “ of Cæfarea in Mauritania to abolish

a Combat among the Citizens, in which « Relations, Brothers, Fathers, and Sons,

being divided into two Party's, fought

publickly for several Days, at a certain « time of the Year, and every

deavour'd to kill the Person he attack't: According to the utinost of my Abili

ty, I us'd the most pathetick Expres“ sions to extirpate such a cruel inveterate « Custom from the Minds and Manners 6 of this people. However I thought “ I had done nothing, while I only heard © their Acclamations. But their Tears

gave me foine Hope : Their Applausęs " shew'd that I had instructed them

3 “ and that they were pleas'd with my c Discourse : but their Tears declar'd “ that their Minds were chang’d. When “ I saw them weer, I believ'd that this “ horrible Custom they had receiv'd from " their Ancestors, and been so long en“ slavd to, wou'd be abolish't 'Tis

now eight years ago, and upwards, “ and by the Grace of God they have “ been restrain'd from attempting any “ such Practice.” If S. AUSTIN had weaken’d his Discourse by the affected Ornaments of the florid kind of Rhetorick, he wou'd never have been able

[ocr errors]

to

« ZurückWeiter »