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you. Should I offer to engage you in worldly concerns, and you to undertake the management of my "affairs which are your own, I then will allow you "to have no regard or consideration for the laws of nature; the pains I have taken in bringing you up; "the respect which is due unto a mother, or any such "motive; but shun me as the enemy of your repose, and as one who is laying snares to ruin you. "But in case I do all that lies in my power to make "your life easy and happy, let this consideration at

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least, prevail upon you, if all others should fail. "How many friends soever you may have, none of "them will allow you to live with so much liberty as "I do; and indeed, no one so passionately wishes your advancement and felicity."

St. Chrysostom was unable to resist these tender expressions, and though his friend Basilius continued his solicitations, he could not be prevailed upon to leave a mother so very indulgent, and so highly worthy of his love.

Do we meet with any thing among heathen authors, more beautiful, more lively, more tender, or more eloquent, than the discourse before us; but of that simple and natural Eloquence, which infinitely excels the most shining strokes of elaborate art? Is there one far-fetched thought in it, or any uncommon or affected turn? Is not the whole dictated by nature itself? But the circumstance I admire most in it is, the inexpressible reservedness of a deeply afflicted mother, who, though excessively afflicted, does not however vent one passionate expression, or complain of him who was the cause of her violent uneasiness, I mean Basilius. But undoubtedly his virtue checked her resentments on this occasion, or her fear that such words would exasperate her son, whom she desired to work upon by soft and gentle methods.




WHAT I have hitherto delivered, relates only to the style and method proper for the Christian orator, and which St. Austin calls eloquenter dicere. It remains for me to treat that which forms the knowledge indispensably necessary to a preacher, which the above-mentioned saint calls, sapienter dicere,

Without this learning, [n] a preacher, how eloquent soever he might appear, would be but a mere declaimer; and so much the more dangerous to his hearers, as the more agreeable to them; and as, by dazzling them with this false splendor, he might accustom them to mistake an empty sound of words for truth, which is the only solid food of the mind. It is well known, says St. Austin, how greatly the heathens themselves, who were not enlightened by Divine Wisdom, but guided only by reason and good sense, despised this false species of Eloquence. What are we therefore to think of it, we who are the children and the ministers of this very Wisdom.

It is but too usual with many who prepare for preaching, to be more studious about embellishing their discourses, than of filling them with solid truths. Nevertheless, it is a maxim in Rhetoric, established by all who have written on that art, that the only way to speak well, is to think justly; and to be able to do that, a person must be well instructed, be a master of his subject; and his mind must be adorned with a variety of knowledge.

[o] Scribendi rectè sapere est & principium & fons.

It was from philosophy, and especially in that of Plato, the ancients imagined that fund of knowledge

[*] Qui affluit insipienti eloquen tia, tanto magis cavendus est, quanto magis ab eo in iis quæ audire inutile est, delectatur auditor, &

eum, quoniam disertè dicere audit,
etiam verè dicere existimat. Aug.
lib. iv. de Doctr. Christ. c. s.
[0] Horat de Art. Poet.

L 3


might be imbibed, which only can form the good


Rem tibi Socraticæ poterunt ostendere chartæ.

This made Cicero so carefully enjoin this study; and he confesses, [p] as was observed elsewhere, that if he has made any advances in Eloquence, he owes it more to philosophy than to Rhetoric.

But Christian orators have infinitely more pure and more abundant sources, whence they ought to draw this fund of knowledge. These springs are the Scripture and the fathers. What riches do they contain? And how culpable would that person be, who should neglect so precious a treasure? That man, who is much conversant in them, will easily be master of elocution. The just thoughts and great truths with which his mind may there be stored, will naturally suggest proper expressions; and such an orator can never want words:

Verbaque provisam rem non invita sequentur.


A preacher ought to make the Sacred Writings his chief study: and St. Austin lays it down as an incontestable principle, that the Christian orator will be more or less able to deliver himself with justness and solidity, in proportion to his knowledge of the Scriptures: [q]Sapienter dicit homo tanto magis vel minus, quanto in scripturis sanctis magis minusce profecit.

All the religion, and all the knowledge of man, for this life and for that which is to come, consists in knowing the only true God, and Christ whom he has sent: [] Hæc est vita æterna, ut cognoscant te solum Deum verum & quem misisti Jesum Christum. What can be wanting in that man who possesses this double knowledge? And where can it be taken but from

[] Fateor me oratorem, si modò sim, aut etiam quicumque sim, non ex rhetorum officinis, sed ex Acade

miæ spatiis extitisse. Orat. n. 12.
[9] De Doct. Christ. 1. iv c. 3.
[r] John. xvii. 3.


the Sacred Writings? [s] Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his counsellor? O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! Who can boast, [t] that he has all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God the Father, and of Jesus Christ? Those only [u] to whom God will make known what are the riches of the glory of the double mystery, that is, the evangelists and apostles, who can say, [r] We have received... the Spirit of It is known, God; we know the mind of Christ.

that this gift was indulged to St. Paul in an eminent degree, who declared [y] I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified; all other things [z] he counted but loss, in comparison of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. [a] He declares in more places than one, that his vocation is, [b] to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see, what is the fellowship of the mystery, which, from the beginning of the world, hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ,

What is a preacher of the Gospel properly, but an embassador sent by the Creator to men, to declare his designs to them, to lay before them the conditions of the covenant he will make with them; and of the peace he will condescend to grant them, agreeable to that majestic expression of St. Paul, [c] We are embassadors for Christ? Now, from whom should an embassador receive his instructions, or the words he is commanded to deliver to those he is to treat with, but from the master who sent him? It was this made St. Paul exhort the Ephesians to offer up prayers continually for him; in order, says he, [d] that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the Gospel... that

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therein I may speak boldly. And the same apostle declares in another place, that all things are of God, who hath reconciled us unto himself by Jesus Christ, [e] and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. When can preachers say truly to their hearers, [f] Now then we are embassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us... [g] We speak before God in Christ, or rather, [h] it is Jesus Christ speaks in us, unless when the truths they declare, and the proofs by which they support them, are drawn from the Sacred Writings, and are warranted from God's word? These are likewise infinitely fruitful, whether we desire to inculcate tenets, or to explain mysteries; or would unfold the principles of morality, or censure vices. [i] All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

It must be confessed, that the truths which are declared to Christians, are much stronger, and make a much greater impression, when they are thus invested with the divine authority; because every man, at the same time that he has an idea of the Deity, has naturally a veneration for him. Besides, these truths take much deeper root in the mind, when they are joined with some passages of Scripture, the sense and energy of which have been shewn. The hearer may have the text explained, before his eyes, which makes him much more attentive; at least he has it at home, and, by reading it, he easily recals whatever was said to explain it. But a bare citation, often very short, and of which the auditor has seldom notice, passes away with great rapidity, leaves no trace behind it, and is lost and confounded in the rest of the discourse. We cannot expect much fruit from instructions, when they are founded merely on human


[e] 2 Cor. v. 15.

[f] Ibid. v. 29. [g] Ibid. xii. 19.

[b] Ibid. xiii. 3.

[] 2 Tim. iii. 16.


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