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INDUSTRY OF DEMOSTHENES. 1. DEMOSTHENES had a weak voice, a thick way of speaking, and a very short breath; notwithstanding which, his periods were so long, that he was often obliged to stop in the midst of them for respiration. This occasioned his being hissed by the whole audience. As he withdrew, hangiog down his head, and in the utmost confusion, Satyrus, one of the most excellent actors of those times, who was his friend, met him ; and, having learnt from himself the cause of his being so much dejected, he assured him that the evil was not without remedy, and that the case was not so desperate as he imagined.
2. He desired him to repeat some of the verses of Sophocles or Euripides to him, which he accordingly did. Satyrus spoke them after him, and gave them such a tone, gesture, and spirit, with which he pronounced them, that Demosthenes himself found them to be quite different from what they were in his own manner of speaking. He perceived plainly what he wanted, and applied himself to the acquiring of it.
3. His efforts to correct his natural defect of utterance, and to perfect himself in pronunciation, of which his friend hat made him to understand the value, seem almost incredible, and proves that industrious perseverance can surmount all things. He stainmered to such a degree, that he could not pronounce some letters ; among others the letter R, with which the art he studied begins ; and he was so short breathed, that he could not utter a whole period without stopping.
4. He overcame these obstacles at length, by putting pebble stones into his mouth; and pronouncing several verses in that manner without interruption, and with walking and going up steep and difficult places, so that at last no letter made him hesitate, and his breath held out through the longest periods. He went also to the sea shore ; and whilst the waves were in the most violent agitation, he pronounced harangues, to accustom himself
by the confused noise of the waters, to the roar of the people, and the tumultuous cries of public assemblies.
5. Demosthenes took no less care of his action than his voice. He had a large looking glass in his house, which served to teach him gesture, and at which he used to declaim, before he spoke in public. To correct a fault which he had contracted by an ill habit of shrugging up his shoulders, he practised standing upright in a very narrow pulpit, over which hung a sword, in such a manner, that if, in the heat of the action, that motion escaped hin, the point of the weapon might serve at the same time to admonish and correct him.
6. His application to studies was no less surprising. To be the more removed from noise, and less subject to distraction, he caused a small room to be made for him un. der ground, in which he shut himself up sometimes for whole months,shaving on purpose half his head and face, that he might not be in a condition to go abroad. It was there, by the help of a small lamp, he composed his admirable orations, which were said by those, who envied him, to smell of the oil, to imply they were too elaborate.
7. His pains were well bestowed; for it was by these means that he carried the art of declaiming to the highest degree of perfection, of which it was capable ! Whence it is plain he well knew its value and importance. When he was asked three several times which quality he thought most necessary in an orator, he answered each time, “ Pronunciation."
8. By making the reply three times successively, he insinuated that pronunciation is the only qualification of which the want could least be concealed, and which is the most capable of concealing other defects, and that alone could give considerable weight even to an indifferent orator, when without it the most excellent could not hope the least success. As to Demosthenes, Cicero tells us, that his success was so great, that all Greece came in crowds to Athens to hear him speak; and he adds, that merit so great as his could not but have the desired effect.
CHAPTER XIV.* PROOFS OF THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL, AND A
FUTURE STATE. 1. YOU acknowledge there is oneself-existent Being, and that from him all derive their existence, whether rational, animal, vegetable, or inanimate; from what we see and know from his works, may we not reason with some degree of precision, by analogy, to what is less certainly understood ? Amongst all the works of creation, that come under our observation, is there
any waste of powers, abilities, qualities, or properties? Every plant can receive from that single spot , to which it is confined, all that is necessary for its support and nourishment; the power of motion which would have been injurious, is therefore wisely denied.
2. Observe the variousanimals, see how their different powers, forms, qualities, and clothing are proportioned to their different natures, and the different occupations, or climates, to which they are destined. Of what use to the mole would have been the eagle's eye, or to the horse the tiger's claw, feet to the fish, or fins to birds ? Not one superfluous gift is bestowed, but each species has exactly that form, construction, and those powers which are most useful, necessary, and best suited to itself.
3. Let us go on then to examine man upon the same plan. Compare him with all the different kinds of animals, over which he claims, and exerts a sovereign power. Some of these are made his food, others necessary to the comfort and convenience of his life in different capacities; neither of which could be obtained by the corporeal qualities he is endowed with, the brute creation being all, either by strength, swiftness, or the region they inhabit, beyond the reach of his arm.
4. The superior sagacity, therefore, which has enabled him to supply, by various arts, this natural defect of corporeal powers, was undoubtedly necessary to his subsistence; becausę, without it, he would have been the most defenceless of all animals, equal to himself in size ; unable to procure the smallest kinds for his food, and an easy
See Rale V. page 17.
prey to the larger. Supposing his whole duration to end with this life, or, at least, that no after consciousness remains; was not this sort of sagacity, by which he braves the lion's force, binds to the yoke the stubborn bullock's neck, breaks to the curb the foaming steed, overtakes with sudden death the distantbird , or from the rapidstream drags to the shore the scaly fry; was not, I say, on such a supposition, this sort of sagacity, by which he reigns acknowledged lord of this planet, sufficient to answer all the ends of his creation ?
5. Wherefore then this waste of rational powers? This capacity of diving into the philosophical difference between matter and spirit? Of tracing effects up to their probable causes, and accounting rationally for almost all the phenomena of nature? To what end is he endowed with the reasoning faculty in a degree so saperior to his fellow mortals here, as to feel his derivatica from some eternal existence, and form to himself not only a wish, but even a probable prospect of immortality? And that this is the result of the natural powers of his mind, exclusive of any supposed revelation, is evident from the constant, though doubtful hope of philosophers, in the earliest ages of the world, from all the accounts that have been transmitted to us.
6. Of what use to man, if consciousness ends with respiration, is it to see and admire the eternal beauty of truth, the fitness of things, the unalterable difference between right and wrong actions, or moral good and evil ; the beauty of virtue, and the deformity of vice? And is it reasonable to suppose, that in a world wherein we see every creature below us exactly suited to the manifest end of its creation, possessing just what is necessary and useful to it, and not a superfluous gift bestowed, that the Creator should have been thus wantonly lavish in the formation of man alone; and stored his mind with useless faculties, in contradiction to the general plan of creation, which is evidently calculated for the utility, convenience, and happiness of every other species ?
7. Admitting this to be the whole duration, how eminently wretched is he made by the superior power of which he boasts ! Every animal, in the different scales
below himself, enjoys the present moment, unconscious of futurity; indulges every rising wish, and fearless sevels in every joy to which his inclination leads; whilst man, unhappy man! for no end restrains his every passion by the rigid rules of reason; and almost from the cradle to the grave, treads with trembling steps, at every moment, on the verge of ruin ; in the delusive hope of bringing his mind to a state of such perfection, as will qualify it for immortal happiness, in that futureexistence he is formed to expect. Should his expectation be vain, can the Being who interwove it in his nature be justly deemed benevolent, kind, or good? If not, what are the attributes of the God you pretend to own?
8. By the consciousness which the immortal mind expects to carry with it into another world, and either to suffer, or enjoy for ever in some future state of existence, is meant an exact and indelible remembrance of all the passions, affections, propensities, actions, and inclinations of the mind, during the whole period in which it was united to matter. According to the nature of this retrospect it must unavoidably be productive of perfect happiness or extreme misery; the remembrance of having checked every propensity, or rising inclination to vice, and so regulated every affection, as to bring the mind into an habitual state of conscious purity, even in sentiment; must afford that uninterrupted felicity, which conscious rectitude alone is capable of enjoying.
9. Should the mind, thus supremely blessed, behold the object of its tenderest love rendered irretrievably wretched, by a retrospect directly opposite to its own, the deformity of the character must raise a just abhor. rence ; while grateful pleasure would be more strongly excited at the thought of being reinoved to a state of existence, where vice no more could hide its hateful form beneath the fair semblance of a virtuous garb.
CHAPTER XV. THE INDIAN AND BRITISH OFFICER. 1. DURING the last American war, a company of Delaware Indians attacked a small detachment of the British troop, and defeated them.
and defeated them. As the Indians had