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of a fashion suited to it, when our discourses shall, in their turn, be antiquated and forgotten among men; though, if any good be wrought by them in this their day, our hope is, with that of faithful Nehemiah, that our God will remember us concerning them !
But as the productions of every author, who adds to the number, are expected to contain something new, either in matter, or manner, it will naturally be asked, what are my pretensions ? I will beg leave to deliver
my sentiments on the subject in the words of the excellent and amiable FENELON, extracted from the last of his most admirable Dialogues on the Eloquence of the Pulpit.
“ I would have a preacher explain the “ whole plan of religion, and unfold every “ part of it in the most intelligible manner,
by Thewing the origin and establishment, “ the tradition and connection of it's principles, it's facraments and institutions.
“ For every thing in Scripture is con“ nected ; and this connection is, perhaps, “ the most extraordinary and wonderful
thing to be seen in the sacred writings.
“ An audience of persons, who had heard
the chief points of the Mosaic history “ and law well explained, would be able 66 to receive far more benefit from an ex
plication of the truths of the Gospel, than “ the generality of Christians are now.
« Preachers speak every day to the people, of the Scriptures, the Church, the “ Patriarchs, the Law, the Gospel; of Sa“ crifice, of Moses, and Aaron, and Mel“ chisedek; of Christ, the Prophets, and
Apostles : but there is not sufficient care
taken to instruct men in the meaning of “ these things, and the characters of these
“ This way of having recourse to the “ first foundations of religion, would be so “ far from seeming low, that it would give “ most discourses that force and beauty “ which they generally want; since the “ hearers can never be instructed or per“ suaded in the mysteries of religion, if you “ do not trace things back to their source.
“ For example—How can you make • them understand what the church says, “ after St. Paul, that Jesus Christ is our « PASSOVER,
do not explain to “ them the Jewish Passover, which was
appointed to be a perpetual memorial of « their deliverance from Egypt, and to ty
pify a more important redemption, that " was reserved for Mefliah?
“ Almost every thing in religion is hir66 torical. The best way of proving it's
truth, is to represent it justly; for then “ it carries it's own evidence along with 66 it. A coherent view of the chief facts “ relative to any person, or transaction,
“ should be given in a concise, lively, close,
pathetic manner, accompanied with such “ moral reflections as arise from the several “ circumstances, and may best instruct the 66 hearers,
“ A preacher ought to affect people by “ strong images ; but it is from the Scrip« ture that he should learn to make
power“ ful impressions. There he may clearly “ discover the way to render sermons plain “ and popular, without losing the force * and dignity they ought always to possess.
** If the clergy applied themselves to “ this mode of teaching, we should then “ have two different forts of preachers,
They who are not endowed with a great share of vivacity, would explain the Scripture clearly, without imitating it's lively and animated manner; and if they expounded the word of God judiciously, and supported their doctrine by an ex
“ einplary emplary life, they would be very good
preachers. They would employ what “ St. Ambrose requires, a chaste, simple, « clear style, full of weight and gravity, “ without affecting elegance, or despising - the smoothness and graces of language. “ The other fort, being of a poetical turn “ of mind, would explain the holy book “ in it's own style and figures; and by that “ means become accomplished preachers. « The former would instruct their hearers “ with solidity and perspicuity; the latter " would add to this instruction the fublimi
the vehemence, and divine enthusiasm “ of the Scripture, which would be (if I
may so say) entire and living in them, as much as it can be in men, who are not miraculously inspired from above."
This, Reader, is the model which I have chosen, and after which I have humbly endeavoured to work.
I count not myself to have attained -Far, very far indeed a 4