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and we blame the French preachers for being orators and declaimers, fitter for the stage than for the pulpit. The point of taste may be for ever disputed; but, upon the whole, we think it more consonant to national good sense, and more conducive to national morality, to abide by our own sober modes of pulpit eloquence. Even at a charity sermon, is there not something rather humiliating in having contributions extorted from us by declamation, which we refuse to reason and humanity ? As a German preacher said to his weeping congregation, after he had worked upon their passions by an oratorical sermon, “ Now are not you all ashamed? Had I “ told you the same truths in plain language, you would not “ have listened to me.” This effect of oratory and scenic pathos is generally transient, but the influence of reason and conviction is permanent, and sometimes, at least, operates upon the conduct. Well-dressed crowds weep while they listen to a fashionable orator in the pulpit, the next moment they relapse into habits of dissipation, and run to crowd and be crowded at some equally fashionable spectacle: but there is some chance that a congregation, who are not drawn together merely by the magic of a name, and who attend to a plain address to their understandings, and a clear explanation of their duties, immediately applicable to their situations, may derive some lasting, practical advantage from the exertions of their pastor. It should therefore be established in the minds of young clergymen, as an article of morality, as well as a principle of criticism, that the excellence of sermons, especially for country congregations, depends more on simplicity, and clearness of expression, than upon ornament, or what is commonly called fine writing.
On the arts of literary composition, on the methods of forming a writer, or an orator, it is not necessary here to descant; because, however useful or ornamental they may be to members of the church, there can be nothing peculiar in the mode of teaching these to a clergyman. He may in his youth be instructed in these by the same means, which should be used in teaching them to pupils intended for other professions". It may be added as part of the education which the student can give himself, either at the university or after leaving it, that he should hear some of the best preachers. To these he should attend, not with a design to form himself upon some fashionable model, but with a desire to discover in what the peculiar excellencies of different oratórs consist, and on what their powers of persuasion principally depend: these he should'endeavour to acquire, but he should employ them in a style and manner of his own. Beside listening to the best, that he may know what to follow, he should hear specimens of the worst preachers, that he may know what to avoid. Among the worst should be classed all those clerical coxcombs, who show, that they are more intent upon the nice management of a cambric handkerchief, or the display of a brilliant ring on their white hands, than upon the truths of the Gospel, or the salvation of their auditors.
In the course of his education, the pupil should be accustomed to read aloud, and before numbers; this exercise is necessary to his attainment of that self-possession, which is admired in all who are to speak or read in publick; by this
See chapter on the education of men intended for public life.
practice he may acquire that command of voice, clear enun-, ciation, and appropriate emphasis, which add so much force and persuasion to just sentiments and harmonious language. Lectures on pulpit eloquence, or on the graces of delivery, will only alarm him with the idea of difficulties which do not exist, or teach him affectation, which in a preacher is worse than any other defect of manner ; but it is of greater consequence to him than it may at first sight appear, to avoid, whilst he is young, any peculiarities of accent or gesture, or any habitual tricks whilst he is studying or thinking earnestly; because these habits may recur in publick when he is speaking with earnestness, and when he is so far engrossed by his subject as to speak as he would do in private conversation. Nothing therefore should be considered as trivial, which may lessen the effect of that earnestness, that total forgetfulness of self, which is the most powerful charm of eloquence. A preacher should be able, without apprehension, to let his natural gestures appear, and his auditors, when they are moved by his earnestness, should not be in danger of having their feelings checked or changed by any thing in his manner, or accent, that could raise any disagreeable or ludicrous ideas. Indeed, the best methods of learning to read well are, first to learn to speak well, then to read as we speak; and at all times to listen attentively to those, who excel in the art of elocution. Against the danger of contracting vicious habits of pronunciation or awkward gestures, the keeping good company, that is to say, the company of those who have knowledge and good manners, is the best security. It may not perhaps be always in a young man's power to select elegant and cultivated
companions ; but it may be always in his power to avoid the vicious, illiterate, and illbred. Virtus est vitium fugere. He will never, at the university or elsewhere, from false spirit, or false shame, join in setting an example of fashionable proAligacy. Nothing puritanical or austere should however characterize his conversation or appearance; he may be as easy in society, and as cheerful, as youth, good-nature, and a good conscience can make him. The cautions against singularity of manners and behaviour, which were given to philosophers, by one who had studied human nature in the most profligate of courts, and the most dangerous of times, is still more applicable to clergymen than to philosophers.
“ Consider, that it is our duty to live better than the con“ mon people, but not in opposition to them, as if philosophy “ were a faction; for by austerity, instead of reforming, or “ gaining upon them, we drive them away; and when they “ find it unreasonable to imitate us in all things, they will “ imitate us in nothingo.”
There are a few perhaps to whom this caution may be useful ; but austerity or singularity of manners are not the faults of the present day.
It may seem superfluous to observe that a clergyman should be thoroughly acquainted with the tenets of sectaries as well
• Id agamus, ut meliorem vitam sequamur quam vulgus, non ut contrariam: alioqui quos emendari volumus, fugamus, et a nobis avertimus. Illud quoque efficimus, ut nihil imitari velint nostri, dum timent ne imitanda sint omnia. Seneca, Epist. v.
as with the doctrines of the established church ; but ignorance on this subject, however shameful, is more common, than well educated persons may imagine. This ignorance leads to party prejudice and intolerance: for ignorance is always more positive than knowledge, more impatient and more implacable. Therefore a young man of sense and humanity will not be in danger of becoming a polemic divine, from studying the tenets and arguments of men of other persuasions; on the contrary he will become more candid, mild, and liberal ; he will see with pity the errors and furious zeal of his fellow creatures; that they have frequently shed their blood and sacrificed their lives for mere verbal disputes ; and that Christians have reviled, persecuted, and hated one another with immitigable fury for centuries, merely for slight differences of opinion, which probably not one in ten of the disputants, perhaps not one in a hundred, understood or could explain. A clergyman who has an accurate knowledge of the differences, which in the present times exist between various beliefs and forms of worship, will often have it in his power to moderate the anger, by dissipating the ignorance of disputants; and in all polemic arguments, from the consciousness of being well informed, he will be able to bear contradiction and petulance with patience and candour. He who has the vantage ground in battle, can easily be calm, preserve his presence of mind, and wait securely for victory. But victory will not be the object of a good clergyman; he will not desire to triumph over his fellow creatures, but to instruct and make them happy. Beside this accurate knowledge of the tenets of different religions, a clergyman should complete his education by taking a general philosophical view of the progress and fate of different ecclesiastical establish