페이지 이미지

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."


Section I.


Ludovicus Cresollius, a Jesuit of Brittanny, who wrote a treatise upon the perfect action and pronunciation 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 characteris


"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 ?"

Section II.


Flavella had a multitude of charms. She is sensible, 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

tion which any rhiming lover can give of the mistress of his affection, after having ransacked heaven and earth for similies; yet I cannot admire her. She wants in my opinion, that nameless something, which is far more attractive than beauty. It is, in short, a peculiar manner of saying the most insignificant things and doing the most trifling actions, which captivates us, and takes our hearts by surprise.

Though I am a strenous advocate for a modest decent, and unaffected deportment in the fair sex, I would not, however, have a fine woman altogether insensible of her personal charms, for she would then be as insipid as Flavella. I would only have her conscious enough of them, to behold with modest freedom, and to converse with fluency and spirit.— When a woman stalks majestically into a room, with the haughty air of a first-rate beauty, and expects every one who sees her to admire her, my indignation rises, and I get away as fast as I can, in order to enjoy the conversation of an easy, good-humoured creature, who is neither beautiful nor conceited enough to be troublesome, and who is as willing to give pleasure, as desirous to receive it.

Section III.


Flirtilla is a gay, lively, giddy, girl; she is what the world calls handsome; she dances and sings admirably, has something to say upon every fashion, person, play, opera, masquerade, or public exhibition, and has an easy flow of words, that pass upon the multitude for wit. In short, the whole end of her existence seems to be centered in a love of company and the fashion. No wonder it is, that she is noticed only by the less worthy part of the world.

Amelia, the lovely Amelia, makes home her great

est happiness. Nature has not been so lavish of her charms, as to her sister; but she has a soft pleasing countenance, that plainly indicates the goodness of her heart. Her person is not striking at first, but as it becomes familiar to the beholder, is more so than that of her sister. For her modest deportment, and her sweet disposition, will daily gain ground on any person who has the happiness of conversing with her. She reads much and digests what she reads. Her serenity of mind is not to be disturbed by the disappointment of a party of pleasure, nor her spirit agitated by the shape of a cap, or the colour of a ribbon.


speaks but little when in company, but when she does, every one is hush, and attends to her as an oracle; and she has one true friend with whom she passes her days in tranquility. The reader may easily judge, which of these two sisters are the most amiable.

Section IV.


Sophia is not a beauty, but in her presence beauties are discontented with themselves. At first, she scarcely appears pretty; but the more she is beheld, the more agreeable she appears. She gains where others lose, and what she gains she never loses. She is equalled by none in a sweet expression of countenance, and without dazzling beholders, she interests them. She loves dress, and is a good judge of it; despises finery, but dresses with peculiar grace, mixing simplicity with elegance. Ignorant she is of what colours are in fashion; but knows well what suits her complexion. She covers her beauties; but so slightly, or rather artfully, as to give play to the imagination. She prepares herself for managing a family of her own, by managing that of her father. Cookery is familiar to her, with the price and quality of provision,

« 이전계속 »