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speaker in a legislature, the very utmost that can be said, is that the good of his country may, in a great measure, depend upon his tongue.
But the infinitely important object of preaching, is the reformation of mankind, upon which depends their happiness in this world, and throughout the whole of their being. And here, if the preacher possesses talents and industry, what a field of eloquence is open before him! The universal and most important interests of mankind! far beyond those for which the thunder of Demosthenes rolled in Athens; far beyond those for which Cicero shook the senatehouse of Rome. It is for him to rouse his auditors to a valiant resistance of the most formidable slavery, of the tyranny which is set up in man's own bosom ; and to exhort his hearers to maintain the liberty, the life, and the hopes of the whole human race for
Of what consequence is it then, that the art of preaching be carried to such perfection, that all may be drawn to places of public instruction, and that those who attend may receive benefit! And if so important a part of preaching be delivery, how necessary must be the study of delivery! That delivery is one of the most important parts of public instruction, is manifest from this, that very indifferent matter well delivered, will make a considerable impression; while bad utterance never fails to defeat the whole effect of the noblest composition ever produced.
While exorbitant appetite, and unruly passion within, while evil solicitation, with alluring example without; while these invite and ensnare the frail and thoughtless into guilt, shall virtue and religion hold forth no charms to engage votaries? Pleasure decks herself out with rich attire. Soft are her looks, and melting is the sweetness of her voice. And must religion present herself with every disadvantage? Must she appear quite unadorned? What chance can she then have, in competition with an enemy so much
better furnished with every necessary invitation and allurement? Alas! our preachers do not address innocents in paradise; but thoughtless and often habituated sinners. Mere cold explaining will have but little effect on such. Weak is the hold which reason has on most men. Few of men have able heads; but all have hearts, and all hearts may be touched, if the speaker is master of his art. The business is not so much to open the understanding, as to warm the There are few, comparatively speaking, who do not know their duty. To allure them to the doing of it, is the difficulty. This will never be effected by cold reasoning, either read or delivered in such a manner as to disgust, or lull the audience to sleep. Can it be supposed, that an audience is to be warmed to the love of virtue, by a cold though learned oration, either ill-read, or, what is worse, wretchedly delivered? Can it be supposed, that a preacher will win the affections of his hearers, whilst he neglects all the natural means for working upon their passions? Will he kindle in them that burning zeal which suits the most important of all subjects, by talking to them with all the coolness of a stoic philosopher, of the terrors of the Lord, of the worm that never dies, and the fire that is not quenched, and of future glory, honour, and immortality, of everlasting kingdoms and heavenly thrones ?
Did preachers labour to acquire a masterly delivery, places of public instruction would be crowded, as well as places of public diversion. Rakes and infidels, merely to show their taste, would frequent them. Could all frequent them, and none profit? It is not supposable, but some who came to scoff, might remain to pray. That such a manner might be acquired, there is no reason to doubt, if preachers were only to bestow due pains to obtain it. What time and labour is requisite to acquire even a tolerable knowledge of the Latin language? Were only one half of these spent upon the art of delivery, what an astonishing degree of improvement would take place
in all kinds of public speaking! What infinite advantage would accrue to pulpit oratory! Let us only reflect for a moment, upon the time necessary to acquire a competent knowledge of any of the mechanical arts. A taylor, a shoemaker, or a blacksmith, must be under a master five, generally seven years, before he is capable of setting up for himself. Are these arts more difficult to obtain than the art of oratory? And yet, the preacher goes into the pulpit at once, without having had one lesson, or article of instruction in this part of his art, towards gaining the end of preaching. What could be imagined more elegant, if entertainment alone were sought; what more useful, if the good of mankind were the object, than the sacred function of preaching, properly performed. Were the most interesting of all subjects delivered to listening crowds, with that dignity which becomes a teacher of divine truth, and with that energy, which would show that the preacher spoke from his own heart, and meant to speak to the hearts of his hearers, what effects might not follow?
It has been observed, "that mankind are not wood or stone; that they are undoubtedly capable of being roused and startled; that they may be drawn and allured. The voice of an able preacher, thundering out the divine threatenings against vice, would be in the ear of the offender, as if he heard the sound of the last trumpet summoning the dead to judgement. And the gentle call of mercy, encouraging the terrified and almost despairing penitent, to look up to his offended heavenly Father, would seem as the song of angels. A whole multitude might be lifted to the skies. The world of spirits might be opened to the eyes of their minds. The terrors of that punishment which awaits vice; the glories of that state to which, through divine favour, the pious will be raised, might be, by a powerful preacher, rendered present to their understanding, with such conviction, as would make indelible impressions upon their hearts, and work a substantial reform in their lives."
REMARKABLE FAULTS OF BAD
Ludovicus Cresollius, a Jesuit of Brittanny, who wrote a treatise upon the perfect action and pronun ciation of an orator, published in Paris in 1620, gives the following description of the delivery of a public speaker, whose style was polished and whose composition was learned.
"When he turned himself to the left, he spoke a few words accompanied by a moderate gesture of the hand, then bending to the right, he acted the same part over again; then back again to the left, and presently to the right, almost at an equal and measured interval of time, he worked himself up to his usual gesture, and his one kind of movement; you could compare him only to the blindfolded Babylonian oxen going forward and returning back by the same path.” The Jesuit was so disgusted, that he shut his eyes, but even so he could not get over the disagreeable impression of the speaker's manner. He concludes, "I therefore give judgement against, and renounce all such kind of orators.' In another place he has made an enumeration of the most remarkable faults of bad speakers, it is peculiarly spirited and characteristic.
"Some hold their heads immoveable, and turned to one side, as if they were made of horn; others stare with their eyes as horribly, as if they intended to frighten every one; some are twisting their mouths continually, and working their chins while speaking, as if, at all times, they were cracking nuts; some like the apostate Julian, breathe insult, express in their
countenance contempt and impudence. Others as if they personate the fictitious heroes in a tragedy, gape enormously, and extend their jaws as widely as if they were going to swallow up every body; above all, when they bellow with fury, they scatter their foam about and threaten with contracted brow and eyes like Sat
These, as if they were playing some game, are continually making motions with their fingers, and by the extraordinary working of their hands, endeavour to form in the air, I may almost say, all the figures of the mathematics. Those, on the contrary, have hands so ponderous and so fastened down by terror, that they could more easily move beams of timber; others labour so with their elbows, that it is evident, either that they had been formerly shoemakers themselves, or had lived in no other society but that of coblers. Some are so unsteady in the motions of their bodies, that they seem to be speaking out of a cock-boat; others again are so unwieldy and uncouth in their motions that you would think them to be sacks of tow painted to look like men. I have seen some who jumped on the platform, and capered nearly in measure: men that exhibited the fuller's dance, and as the old poet says, expressed their wit with their feet. But who in a short compass is able to enumerate all the faults of bad gesture, and all the absurdities of bad delivery ""
ON FEMALE ATTRACTIONS.
Flavella had a multitude of charms. She is sensi-ble, affable, modest, and good-humoured. She is tall without being awkward, and as straight as an arrow. She has a clear complexion, lively eyes, pretty mouth, and white even teeth; and will answer the descrip-