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I am often delighted with those cogent questions in the Discourses of MASSILLON, which engage the attention of the hearers, at the very moment when they might be apt to withdraw it.
An example of this sort occurs in his sermon “ on the mixture of the righteous and the wick
“ The righteous deprive iniquity of every ex
have done no more than to follow established precedents ? But have the righteous, who are among you, conformed to them? Do you plead the unavoida*ble consequences of illustrious descent? You 'know some, who, with a name still more distin'guished than your own, impart sanctity to splendor. Do you plead the vivacity of your years !--the weakness of your sex? Every day ' will shew you some, who, in the bloom of
youth, and with all the talents suited to this world, have their minds supremely bent on
Heaven. Is it the destraction of business? You may see those engaged in the same cares with . yourself, who, notwithstanding, make salvation their principal concern. Is pleasure your
de light? Pleasure is the first desire of all men, and of the righteous, in some of whom it is even stronger, and whose natural dispositions
are less favourable to virtue, than in you. Do 'you plead your afflictions ? There are some
' good men distressed. Or prosperity? There are those to be met with, who, amidst their abundance, devote themselves to God. Or the state of your health ? You discover some, who ' in sickly bodies, possess souls filled with divine • fortitude. Turn yourself which way you will;
as many righteous, as many the witnesses which "testify against you.'*
* The discussion of a variety of important subjects in the form of DIALOGUE has been frequently adopted. The an. cient Greek and Roman Writers abounded in this method of composition. Among others, PLATO, LUCIAN, CICERO, MACROBIUS, the author of the Dialogue concerning the Causes of the Corruption of Eloquence, (ascribed by some to Tacitus, and by others to Quintilian ;) ÆSCHINES, SOCRATICUS MINUTIUS, Felix, Xenophent, give us specimens of entire Discourses drawn in this manner. VOLUSENUS has left an elegant Latin dialogue, De ammi tranquillitate, which is much in the spirit of the ancients, and possesses pure and chaste latinity.
Various instances of the same sort may be traced so early as in the writings of Moses, and the Prophets, as well as in those of the Evangelists. Such are these ; Isa. xlix. 14, 15: • But Zion said, the Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord
hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking • child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb ? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.'-Rom. vi. 1. "What shall we say then ? Shall we
+ XENOPHEN may, without much impropriety, be called a Dialogue-writer; for, though his writings are not in the direct form of Dialogue, yet he continually makes his characters speak in their own language. HOMER, also, abounds in this form of Dialogue.
OF AN ARDENT STYLE.
IN proportion to the frequency of Dialogue in
cessary; and the less lavish we are of this figure, the greater will be its effect.
continue in sin that grace may abound ? God forbid ; How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein ?'In like manner, Rom. ix. 19. • Thou wilt say unto me, why .
doth he yet find fault ? for who hath resisted his will ? Nay .but O man, who art thou that repliest against God ? Shall
the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus ? Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour ?"-So 1 Cor. xv. 35-39. * some man will say, How are the dead raised up ? and with • what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die, &c.'
Modern, as well as ancient, writers, have handled subjects in this form of Dialogue, or immediate address.
Mr. Addison hath left behind him his Dialogues upon the usefulness of ancient medals, which he seems to have formed upon the plan of Cicero. We have also BERKELEY's Alciphron ; BAXTER's Matho · Hurd's and FORDYCE's Dialogues on Education, Fordyce on the Art of Preaching ; Fenelon on Eloquence ; FONTENELLE's and LYTTLETON's Dialogues of the Dead; More's divine Dialogues ; HARRIS, of Salisbury; and honest John Bunyan in his Pilgrim, &c. DR. WARD observes, that,
« this method seems to be attended with very considerable advantages, if well and judiciously managed. For it is capable to make the driest
It is in Apostrophes that the Orator should display all his vehemence, if he would avoid the danger and confusion, attending himself, alone, being warmed with his subject. Feeling suc. ceeds better than reasoning in those moments of effervescence, in which the soul ought to burst forth with sufficient impetuosity to hurry the Auditory along, one while by the strength of the proofs, another while by the energy of rhetorical strokes.
When Apostrophes are multiplied, they discover a declaimer, who cannot write, who is confused rather than moved, and who substitutes affected convulsions for the transports of Eloquence. • subjects entertaining and pleasant, by its variety, and the s different characters of the speakers. Besides, matters,
which seem to clear up a subject, may be introduced with a better grace by questions and answers, objections and * replies, than can be conveniently done in continued dis
There is likewise a farther advantage in this way of writing, that the author is at liberty to choose his • speakers. And, therefore, as Cicero well observed, when • we imagine that we hear persons of an established repu• tation for wisdom and knowledge talking together, it ne. cessarily adds a weight and authority to the discourse t, • and more closely engages the attention. The subject mat* ter of it is very extensive ; for whatever is a proper argu. •ment of discourse, public or private, serious or jocose ;
whatever is fit for wise and ingenious men to talk upon, 'either for improvement or diversion, is suitable for a Dia. • logue.'-WARD's System of Oratory, vol. ii. p. 219. See to the same effect in Blair's Lectures, vol. ii. p. 293.
+ De Amic, c. 1.
It is necessary, without doubt, that the Orator should enliven his compositions with that ardour of soul which indicates and awakens sensibility.
If his writings be destitute of those glowing ideas, which proceed from the heart, his most emphatic language will only be insipid jargon.
The dull writer is a wretched author. This maxim of Boileau is incontestable.
But, if, by the term ardour, be understood, the fermentations of a roving brain, paradox united to a depraved taste, unceasing apostrophes, exclamations, obscure hyperboles ; in a word, a style inflated with extravagant metaphors ; ah! guard against such digressions, O young Orator, who hast received from nature the inestimable gift of genius. Be assured that genuine enthusiasm is no other than reason warmed by the voice of the passions, and that Eloquence is not a delirium,*
*• Ancient Eloquence,' says Mr. Hume, i.e. the sublime • and passionate, is of a much juster taste than the modern,
or the argumentative and rational; and, if properly execu“ted, will always have more command and authority over • mankind. The ancients, upon comparison, gave the pre• ference to that kind, of which they have left us such applauded models. lysius, and others, were esteemed in “their time : but, when compared with Demosthenes and
Cicero, were eclipsed like a taper when set in the rays of ra meridian sun. Those latter Orators possessed the same