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the least trouble, for they came as if by inspiration. over our heads; that time was passed, and eternity To pretend that cold and didactic precepts will begun; that Jesus Christ in all his glory, that man nake a man eloquent, is only to prove that he is of sorrows in all his glory, appeared on the tribunal, incapable of eloquence.
and that we were assembled here to receive our But, as in being perspicuous it is necessary to final decree of life or death eternal! Let me ask, have a full idea of the subject, so in being eloquent impressed with terror like you, and not separating it is not sufficient, if I may so express it, to feel hy my lot from yours, but putting myself in the same halves. The orator should be strongly impressed, situation in which we must all one day appear be. which is generally the effect of a fine and exquisite fore God, our judge ; let me ask, if Jesus Christ sensibility, and not that transient and superficial should now appear to make the terrible separation emotion which he excites in the greatest part of his of the just from the unjust, do you think the greataudience. It is even impossible to affect the hear- est number would be saved? Do you think the ers in any great degree without being affected our number of the elect would even be equal to that of selves. In vain it will be objected, that many the sinners? Do you think, if all our works were writers have had the art to inspire their readers examined with justice, would we find ten just perwith a passion for virtue, without being virtuous sons in this great assembly? Monsters of ingratithemselves ; since it may be answered, that senti- tude! would he find one?” Such passages as these ments of virtue filled their minds at the time they are sublime in every language. The expression were writing. They felt the inspiration strongly, may be less speaking, or more indistinct, but the while they praised justice, generosity, or good-na- greatness of the idea still remains. In a word, we ture; but, unhappily for them, these passions might may be eloquent in every language and in every have been discontinued, when they laid down the style, since elocution is only an assistant, but not pen. In vain will it be objected again, that we a constituter of eloquence. can move without being moved, as we can convince Of what use then, will it be said, are all the prewithout being convinced. It is much easier to de- cepts given us upon this head both by the ancients ceive our reason than ourselves; a trifling defect in and moderns? I answer, that they can not make reasoning may be overseen, and lead a man astray, us eloquent, but they will certainly prevent us from for it requires reason and time to detect the false- becoming ridiculous. They can seldom procure a hood; but our passions are not easily imposed upon, single beauty, but they may banish a thousand our eyes, our ears, and every sense, are watchful to faults. The true method of an orator is not to atdetect the imposture.
tempt always to move, always to affect, to be conNo discourse can be eloquent that does not ele tinually sublime, but at proper intervals to give rest vate the mind. Pathetic eloquence, it is true, has both to his own and the passions of his audience. for its only object to affect ; but I appeal to men of In these periods of relaxation, or of preparation sensibility, whether their pathetic feelings are not rather, rules may teach him to avoid any thing accompanied with some degree of elevation. We low, trivial, or disgusting. Thus criticism, properinay then call eloquence and sublimity the samely speaking, is intended not to assist those parts thing, since it is impossible to possess one without which are sublime, but those which are naturally feeling the other. Hence it follows, that we may mean and humble, which are composed with coolbe eloquent in any language, since, no language ness and caution, and where the orator rather en. refuses to paint those sentiments with which we deavours not to offend, than attempts to please. are thoroughly impressed. What is usually called I have hitherto insisted more strenuvusly on that sublimity of style, seems to be only an error. Elo- eloquence which speaks to the passions, as it is a quence is not in the words but in the subject; and species of oratory almost unknown in England. in great concerns, the more simply any thing is At the bar it is quite discontinued, and I think with expressed, it is generally the more sublime. True justice. In the senate it is used but sparingly, as eloquence does not consist, as the rhetoricians as the orator speaks to enlightened judges. But in sure us, in saying great things in a sublime style, the pulpit, in which the orator should chiefly adbut in a simple style; for there is, properly speak- dress the vulgar, it seems strange that it should be ing, no such thing as a sublime style, the sublimity entirely laid aside. lies only in the things; and when they are not so, The vulgar of England are, without exception, the language may be turgid, affected, metaphorical, the most barbarous and the most unknowing of but not affecting.
any in Europe. A great part of their ignorance What can be more simply expressed than the fol- may be chiefly ascribed to their teachers, who, with lowing extract from a celebrated preacher, and yet the most pretty gentleman-like serenity, deliver what was ever more sublime? Speaking of the their cool discourses, and address the reason of men small number of the elect, he breaks out thus among who have never reasoned in all their lives. They bis audience: “Let me suppose that this was the are told of cause and effect, of beings self-existent, last hour of us all; that the heavens were opening and the universal scale of beings. They are informed of the excellence of the Bangorian contro-| long and obvious; where the same thought is often versy, and the absurdity of an intermediate state. exhibited in several points of view; all this strong The spruce preacher reads his lucubration without sense, a good memory, and a small share of experilifting his nose from the text, and never ventures ence, will furnish to every orator; and without to earn the shame of an enthusiast.
these a clergyman may be called a fine preacher, a By this means, though his audience feel not one judicious preacher, and a man of good sense; he word of all he says, he earns, however, among his may make his hearers admire his understandingacquaintance, the character of a man of sense; but will seldom enlighten theirs. among his acquaintance only did I say? nay, even When I think of the Methodist preachers among with his bishop
us, how seldom they are endued with common The polite of every country have several motives sense, and yet how often and how justly they affect to induce them to a rectitude of action; the love of their hearers, I can not avoid saying within myself virtue for its own sake, the shame of offending, and had these been bred gentlemen, and been endued the desire of pleasing. The vulgar have but one, with even the meanest share of understanding, the enforcements of religion ; and yet those who what might they not effect! Did our bishops, who should push this motive home to their hearts, are can add diguity to their expostulations, testify the basely found to desert their post. They speak to same fervour, and entreat their hearers, as well the 'squire, the philosopher, and the pedant; but as argue, what might not be the consequence! the poor, those who really want instruction, are The vulgar, by which I mean the bulk of mankind, left uninstructed.
would then have a double motive to love religion, I have attended most of our pulpit orators, who, first from seeing its professors honoured here, and it must be owned, write extremely well upon the next from the consequences hereafter. At present 'ext they assume. To give them their due also, the enthusiasms of the poor are opposed to law; they read their sermons with elegance and pro- did law conspire with their enthusiasms, we should priety; but this goes but a very short way in true not only be the happiest nation upon earth, but the eloquence. The speaker must be moved. In this, wisest also. in this alone, our English divines are deficient. Enthusiasm in religion, which prevails only Were they to speak to a few calm dispassionate among the vulgar, should be the chief object of hearers, they certainly use the properest methods politics. A society of enthusiasts, governed by of address; but their audience is chiefly composed reason among the great, is the most indissoluble, of the poor, who must be influenced by motives of the most virtuous, and the most efficient of its own reward and punishment, and whose only virtues decrees that can be imagined. Every country, poslie in self-interest, or fear.
sessed of any degree of strength, have had their How then are such to be addressed? not by enthusiasms, which ever serve as laws among the studied periods or cold disquisitions; not by the la- people. The Greeks had their Kalokagathia, the bours of the head, but the honest spontaneous dic- Romans their Amor Patria, and we the truer and tates of the heart. Neither writing a sermon with firmer bond of the Protestant Religion. The regular periods and all the harmony of elegant ex- principle is the same in all; how much then is it pression; neither reading it with emphasis, pro- the duty of those whom the law has appointed priety, and deliberation; neither pleasing with teachers of this religion, to enforce its obligations, metaphor, simile, or rhetorical fustian; neither and to raise those enthusiasms among people, by arguing coolly, and untying consequences united in which alone political society can subsist. a priori, nor bundling up inductions a posteriori; From eloquence, therefore, the morals of our neither pedantic jargon, nor academical trifling, people are to expect emendation; but how little can can persuade the poor: writing a discourse coolly they be improved by men, who get into the pulpit in the closet, then getting it by memory, and de- rather to show their parts than convince us of the livering it on Sundays, even that will not do. truth of what they deliver; who are painfully cor What then is to be done? I know of no expedient rect in their style, musical in their tones; where to speak, to speak at once intelligibly, and feeling- every sentiment, every expression seems the result ly except to understand the language. To be con- of meditation and deep study? vinced of the truth of the object, to be perfectly ac. Tillotson has been commended as the model of quainted with the subject in view, to prepossess pulpit eloquence; thus far he should be imitated, yourself with a low opinion of your audience, and where he generally strives to convince rather than to do the rest extempore : by this means strong ex- to please; but to adopt his long, dry, and some pressions, new thoughts, rising passions, and the times tedious discussions, which serve to amuse true declamatory style, will naturally ensue. only divines, and are utterly neglected by the gene
Fine declamation does not consist in flowery rality of mankind; to praise the intricacy of his periods, delicate allusions, or musical cadences; but periols, which are too long to be spoken; to conin a plain, open, loose style, where the periods are tinue his cool phlegmatic manner of enforcing every truth, is certainly erroneous. As I said be. Custom, or the traditional observance of the practice fore, the good preacher should adopt no model, of their forefathers, was what directed the Romans write no sermons, study no periods; let him but as well in their public as private determinations. understand his subject, the language he speaks, Custom was appealed to in pronouncing sentence and be convinced of the truth he delivers. It is against a criminal, where part of the formulary was amazing to what heights eloquence of this kind more majorum. So Sallust, speaking of the expulmay reach! This is that eloquence the ancients re- sion of Tarquin, says, mutato more, and not lege presented as lightning, bearing down every op. mutato; and Virgil, pacisque imponere morem. So poser; this the power which has turned whole as-that, in those times of the empire in which the semblies into astonishment, admiration, and awe; people retained their liberty, they were governed by that is described by the torrent, the flame, and custom; when they sunk into oppression and tyevery other instance of irresistible impetuosity. ranny, they were restrained by new laws, and the
But to attempt such noble heights belongs only laws of tradition abolished. to the truly great, or the truly good. To discard As getting the ancients on our side is half a victhe lazy manner of reading sermons, or speaking tory, it will not be amiss to fortify the argument sermons hy rote; to set up singly against the op- with an observation of Chrysostom's; "That the position of men who are attached to their own er- enslaved are the fittest to be governed by laws, rors, and to endeavour to be great, instead of being and free men by custom.” Custom partakes of the prudent, are qualities we seldom see united. A nature of parental injunction; it is kept by the minister of the Church of England, who may be people themselves, and observed with a willing possessed of good sense, and some hopes of prefer- obedience. The observance of it must therefore ment, will seldom give up such substantial advan- be a mark of freedom; and, coming originally to tages for the empty pleasure of improving society. a state from the reverenced founders of its liberty, By his present method, he is liked by his friends, will be an encouragement and assistance to it in admired by his dependants, not displeasing to his the defence of that blessing: but a conquered peobishop; he lives as well, eats and sleeps as well, as ple, a nation of slaves, must pretend to none of this if a real orator, and an eager assertor of his mis- freedom, or these happy distinctions; having by sion : he will hardly, therefore, venture all this to degeneracy lost all right to their brave forefathers' be called perhaps an enthusiast ; nor will he de- free institutions, their masters will in a policy take part from customs established by the brotherhood, the forfeiture; and the fixing a conquest must be when, by such a conduct, he only singles himself done by giving laws, which may every moment out for their contempt.
serve to remind the people enslaved of their conquerors; nothing being more dangerous than to
trust a late subdued people with old customs, that CUSTOM AND LAWS COMPARED. presently upbraid their degeneracy, and provoke
them to revolt. What, say some, can give us a more contempti- The wisdom of the Roman republic in their ble idea of a large state than to find it mostly gov- veneration for custom, and backwardness to introerned by custom; to have few written laws, and no duce a new law, was perhaps the cause of their boundaries to mark the jurisdiction between the long continuance, and of the virtues of which they senate and the people? Among the number who have set the world so many examples. But to show speak in this manner is the great Montesquieu, in what that wisdom consists, it may be proper to who asserts that every nation is free in proportion observe, that the benefit of new written laws is to the number of its written laws, and seems to merely confined to the consequences of their obser hint at a despotic and arbitrary conduct in the pre- vance; but customary laws, keeping up a venera sent king of Prussia, who has abridged the laws tion for the founders, engage men in the imitation of his country into a very short compass, of their virtues as well as policy. To this may be
As Tacitus and Montesquieu happen to differ ascribed the religious regard the Romar.. paid to in sentiment upon a subject of so much importance their forefathers' memory, and their adhering for (for the Roman expressly asserts that the state is so many ages to the practice of the same virtues, generally vicious in proportion to the number of its which nothing contributed more to efface than the laws,) it will not be amiss to examine it a little introduction of a voluminous body of new laws over more minutely, and see whether a state which, like the neck of venerable custom. England, is hurdened with a multiplicity of written The simplicity, conciseness, and antiquity of laws; or which, like Switzerland, Geneva, and custom, give an air of majesty and immutability some other republics, is governed by custom and that inspires awe and veneration : but new laws the determination of the judge, is best.
are too apt to be voluminous, perplexed, and indeAnd to prove the superiority of custom to writ- terminate, whence must necessarily arise reglec! ten law, we shall at least find history conspiring. contempt, and ignorance.
As every human institution is subject to gross by the prodigious numbers of mechanics who flock imperfections, so laws must necessarily be liable to to the races, gaming-tables, brothels, and all pub the same inconveniencies, and their defects soon lic diversions this fashionable town affords. discovered. Thus, through the weakness of one You shall see a grocer, or a tallow-chandler part, all the rest are liable to be brought into con- sneak from behind the counter, clap on a laced tempt But such weaknesses in a custom, for coat and a bag, fly to the E O table, throw away very obvious reasons, evade an examination ; be- fifty pieces with some sharping man of quality sides, a friendly prejudice always stands up in their while his industrious wife is selling a pennyworth favour.
of sugar, or a pound of candles, to support her But let us suppose a new law to be perfectly fashionable spouse in his extravagances. equitable and necessary; yet if the procurers of it I was led into this reflection by an odd adrenhave betrayed a conduct that confesses by-ends and ture which happened to me the other day at Epsom private motives, the disgust to the circumstances races, whither I went, not through any desire, I do disposes us, unreasonably indeed, to an irreverence assure you, of laying bets or winning thousands, of the law itself; but we are indulgently blind to but at the earnest request of a friend, who had the most visible imperfections of an old custom. long indulged the curiosity of seeing the sport, Though we perceive the defects ourselves, yet we very natural for an Englishman. When we had remain persuaded, that our wise forefathers had arrived at the course, and had taken several turns good reason for what they did; and though such to observe the different objects that made up this motives no longer continue, the benefit will still go whimsical group, a figure suddenly darted by us, along with the observance, though we do not know mounted and dressed in all the elegance of those how. It is thus the Roman lawyers speak : Non polite gentry who come to show you they have a omnium, que a majoribus constituta sunt, ralio little money, and, rather than pay their just debts reddi protest, et ideo rationes eorum que constitu- at home, generously come abroad to bestow it on untur inquiri non oportet, alioquin multa ex his gamblers and pick pockets. As I had not an opqua certa sunt subvertuntur.
portunity of viewing his face till his return, 1 Those laws which preserve to themselves the gently walked after him, and met him as he came greatest love and observance, must needs be best ; back, when, to my no small surprise, I bebeld in but custom, as it executes itself, must be necessari- this gay Narcissus the visage of Jack Varnish, a ly superior to written laws in this respect, which humble vender of prints. Disgusted at the sight, are to be executed by another. Thus, nothing can I pulled my friend by the sleeve, pressed him to be more certain, than that numerous written laws return home, telling him all the way, that I was so are a sign of a degenerate community, and are fre-enraged at the fellow's impudence that I was requently not the consequences of vicious morals in a solved never to lay out another penny with him. state, but the causes.
And now, pray sir, let me beg of you to give Hence we see how much greater benefit it would this a place in your paper, that Mr. Varnish may be to the state, rather to abridge than increase its understand he mistakes the thing quite, if he imalaws. We every day find them increasing acts and gines horse-racing recommendable in a tradesman; reports, which may be termed the acts of judges, are and that he who is revelling every night in the every day becoming more voluminous, and loading arms of a common strumpet (though blessed with the subject with new penalties.
an indulgent wife), when te ought to be minding Laws ever increase in number and severity, un- his business, will never thrive in this world. He til they at length are strained so tight as to break will find himself soon mistaken, his finances de themselves. Such was the case of the latter em-crease, his friends shun him, customers fall ofi, and pire, whose laws were at length become so strict, himself thrown into a gaol. I would earnestly that the barbarous invaders did not bring servitude recommend this adage to every mechanic in Lon. but liberty.
don, “Keep your shop, and your shop will keep
you.” A strict observance of these words will, I
am sure, in time gain them estates. Industry is OF THE PRIDE AND LUXURY OF THE the road to wealth, and honesty to happiness; and MIDDLING CLASS OF PEOPLE.
he who strenuously endeavours to pursue thenu
both, may never fear the critic's lash, or the sharp Of all the follies and absurdities under which cries of penury and want. this great metropolis labours, there is not one, I believe, that at present appears in a more glaring and ridiculous light, than the pride and luxury of SABINUS AND OLINDA. the middling class of people. Their eager desire of being seen in a sphere far above their capacities In a fair, rich, and flourishing country, whose and circumstances, is daily, nay hourly instanced, cliffs are washed by the German Ocean, lived Sa
jinus, a youth formed by nature to make a con- Olinda to comfort him in his miseries. In thie quest wherever he thought proper ; but the con- mansion of distress they lived together with resigstancy of his disposition fixed him only with nation, and even with comfort. She provided the Olinda. He was indeed superior to her in fortune, frugal meal, and he read to her while employed in but that defect on her side was so amply supplied by the little offices of domestic concern. Their fellow. her merit, that none was thought more worthy of prisoners admired their contentment, and when. his regards than she. He loved her, he was be- ever they had a desire of relaxing into mirth, and loved by her; and in a short time, by joining enjoying those little comforts that a prison affords, hands publicly, they avowed the union of their Sabinus and Olinda were sure to be of the party. hearts. But, alas! none, however fortunate, how- Instead of reproaching each other for their mutual ever happy, are exempt from the shafts of envy, wretchedness, they both lightened it, by bearing and the malignant effects of ungoverned appetite. each a share of the load imposed by Providence. How unsafe, how detestable are they who have Whenever Sabinus showed the least concern on this fury for their guide! How certainly will it his dear partner's account, she conjured him, by lead them from themselves, and plunge them in the love he bore her, by those tender ties which now errors they would have shuddered at, even in ap- united them forever, not to discompose himself; prehension! Ariana, a lady of many amiable that so loi.g as his affection lasted, she defied all qualities, very nearly allied to Sabinus, and highly the ills of fortune and every loss of fame or friendesteemed by him, imagined herself slighted, and ship; that nothing could make her miserable but injuriously treated, since his marriage with Olinda. his seeming to want happiness; nothing please By incautiously suffering this jealousy to corrode but his sympathizing with her pleasure. A conin her breast, she began to give a loose to passion; tinuance in prison soon robbed them of the little she forgot those many virtues for which she had they had left, and famine began to make its horrid been so long and so justly applauded. Causeless appearance; yet still was neither found to mursuspicion and mistaken resentment hetrayed her mur: they both looked upon their little boy, who, into all the gloom of discontent; she sighed with insensible of their or his own distress, was playout ceasing; the happiness of others gave her in- ing about the room, with inexpressible yet silent tolerable pain; she thought of nothing but re- anguish, when a messenger carne to inform them renge. How unlike what she was, the cheerful, that Ariana was dead, and that her will in favour the prudent, the compassionate Ariana ! of a very distant relation, who was now in another
She continually laboured to disturb a union so country, might easily be procured and burnt; in firmly, so affectionately founded, and planned which case all her large fortune would revert to every scheme which she thought most likely to him, as being the next heir at law. disturb it.
A proposal of so base a nature filled our unFortune seemed willing to promote her unjust happy couple with horror; they ordered the mesintentions; the circumstances of Sabinus had been senger immediately out of the room, and falling long embarrassed by a tedious law-suit
, and the upon each other's neck, indulged an agony of sorcourt determining the cause unexpectedly in favour row, for now even all hopes of relief were banished. of his opponent, it sunk his fortune to the lowest The messenger who made the proposal, however, pitch of penury from the highest affluence. From was only a spy sent by Ariana to sound the dispothe nearness of relationship, Sabinus expected sitions of a man she at once loved and persecuted. from Ariana those assistances his present situation This lady, though warped by wrong passions, was required; but she was insensible to all his en-naturally kind, judicious, and friendly. She found treaties and the justice of every remonstrance, un- that all her attempts to shake the constancy or the less he first separated from Olinda, whom she re- integrity of Sabinus were ineffectual; she had garded with detestation. Upon a compliance with therefore begun to reflect, and to wonder how she her desire in this respect, she promised that her could so long and so unprovokedly injure such unfortune, her interest, and her all, should be at his common fortitude and affection. command. Sabinus was shocked at the proposal ; She had from the next room herself heard the he loved his wife with inexpressible tenderness, reception given to the messenger, and could not and refused those offers with indignation which avoid feeling all the force of superior virtue ; she were to be purchased at so high a price. Ariana therefore reassumed her former goodness of heart; was no less displeased to find her offers rejected, she came into the room with tears in her eyes, and and gave a loose to all that warmth which she had acknowledged the severity of her former treatment. long endeavoured to suppress. Reproach generally She bestowed her first care in providing them all proluces recrimination ; the quarrel rose to such the necessary supplies, and acknowledged them as e height, that Sabinus was marked for destruction, the most deserving heirs of her fortune. From and the very next day, upon the strength of an this moment Sabinus enjoyed an uninterrupted old family debt, he was sent to gaol, with none but happiness with Olinda, and both were happy i