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this resource to Eloquence. Cicero often uses it in his Orations, and especially in those against Verres, where he is every moment forming suppositions more striking than the facts, with a view to render th exactions of Verres od ous to the people of Rome.
Bossuet, whom I am perpetually quoting, because I know not a better model, hath made an admirable use of Hypothesis, in his funeral Oration for Tellier. "Sleep on ye rich men of the earth, and remain in your native dust. Ah! if some ages-what do I say? if, some years after your death, ye may become men forgotten in the 'midst of the world, ye should hasten to enter in
to your tombs, that ye may not behold your names tarnished, your memories extinguished, and your foresight deceived in your friends and dependants, and still more, in your heirs and children. Is this, then, the fruit of the toil with which
have been consumed under the sun ?"
OF EGOTISM OF STYLE.
ET us reckon also amongst oratorical precau
tions, a studied attention never to speak about one's self in the pulpit.
Flechier,* who, in the composition of his funeral oration for Turenne, stands in the foremost rank of Orators, although he do not delineate the excellent character of his hero in private life, and his discourse be in other respects far inferior to the chief performances of Bossuet, affords us, in a letter which is prefixed to his funeral Orations, a singular example of egotism and vanity. He draws his own portrait in this letter; and one would imagine that he is sending to his friend the materials for a panegyric; or rather, it is a com. plete eulogium, in which he forms sparkling antitheses from the recital and contrast of his various merits. See how Flechier describes himself in this passage: he tells us that, he hath a sort of 'genius capable of executing whatever he under
takes ; his style is nature approaching to art, ( and art resembling nature. Nothing can be ad*ded to what he writes, without superfluity, nor retrenched without removing something necessary.
Не can scatter some grains of oderiferous
• "What is most distinguishable in M. Flechier, is a purity of diction,elegance of style, rich and florid expressions, beautiful thoughts, a prudent vivacity of imagination, and the consequence of it, that is, a wonderful art in painting objects, and making them, as it were, sensible and obvi.
But then, I think a kind of monotony and uniformity, runs through all his writings; he has every where almost the same turns, the same figures, the same method. The antithesis engrosses very near all his thoughts, and often enervates, by an endeavour to embellish them. ROLLIN's Belles Lettres, b. iii. c. 11, vol. ii. p. 39.
• incense to refresh, and yet not overpower ; but
he accepts of none which are not equally pure ( with those which he bestows. There is discer
nible in his eyes a certain something correspond“ing with his genius. After all, it would be better if he could inure himself to study, and if his memory, somewhat treacherous, without how*ever being unfaithful, were equally serviceable
to him as his genius. But there is no perfec'tion in the world, and every one hath his weak • side.'-It were to be wished, for the honour of Flechier, that posterity had confirmed this judgment, which he passed upon himself.
It is, without doubt, an unnecessary apprehension, that a Christian Orator could ever suffer himself to advance, in the pulpit, an egotism so preposterous. It is always dangerous to speak about oneself before a large assembly. We are even careful to avoid this absurdity in small companies; and it appears to me, that it was owing to good taste, as much as to Christian humility, that the word I was banished from the writings of Port-Royal.
The Abbé de Fleury says, that the Historian should himself be kept out of view in his narration, so that the reader
not have leisure to reflect, 6 whether the facts recorded be written well or ill; whether they be written at all; whether he have a book in his hands; whether there be an
author in the world. It is thus that Homer "wrote.'
« The poems
* What the amiable FENELON says of poets, and which he strengthens with the sanction of Plato's judgment, may, with equal propriety, be applied to historians of Homer and Virgil are full of a noble simplicity; their art is entirely concealed ; nature itself appears in all that they
say. We do not find a single word, that seems purposely • designed to shew the poet's wit. They thought it their 'greatest glory never to appear, but to employ our atten‘tion on the objects they describe ; as a painter endeavours 'to set before your eyes wild forests, mountains, rivers, • distant views, and buildings; or the adventures, actions,
and different passions of men, in such a lively manner, that * you cannot trace the masterly strokes of his pencil, for art i looks mean and coarse when it is perceived. Plato, who. hath thoroughly examined this matter, assures us, that in composing, the Poet (so also the Historian or Preacher] • should always keep out of sight, make himself to be quite forgotten by his readers, and represent only those things and persons which he would set before their eyes.'-FENELON's Dialogues concerning Eloquence, p. 63.
Mr. Knox tell us, that his opinion coincides with that • of the best judges of antiquity, that the diction of the his«torian should not be such, either in the construction or se·lection of words, as to allure the attention of the reader * from the facts to the words, from the hero to the writer.' The same author condemns "some of the most popular his. *torians of France, who have violated the gravity and digni
ty of the historic page, by perpetual attempts to be witty.' And he adds, though the works of such may afford pleasure,
it is not such as results from legitimate history. The • writer evidently labours to destroy himself, and his own
ingenuity: but it is 'one great secret in the art of writing, <that the writer should keep himself out of sight, and cause
Now, if an Historian be not suffered to attempt to shew himself in his relations, doubtless a Preacher ought to be more attentive to keep himself out of the view of his auditory. *
• the ideas which he means to convey, fully to, engross the * reader's attention. They cannot indeed otherwise pro. duce their proper effect. If there are any readers, who choose to have the writer present to their view, rather than the matter which he writes, they may be said to re. semble those spectators, who go to the theatre, rather to see and hear a favourite actor, than to attend to the persons of the drama. It is not Shakspeare's Hamlet, or Lear, whom they admire, but some name which stands in • rubric characters on the walls, and in the play bills.' Knox's Essays, vol. i. no. 23. p. 110.
Of historians, who write of themselves with propriety, Cæsar, Xenophen, and Polybius, are the most remarkable; to which number may be added St. Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles; and Capt. Cook among the moderns.
Whoever wishes for farther information on the subject of History and its style, may consult Ward's System of Ora. tury, vol. ii. p. 230--236; also Rollin's Belles Lettres, vol. iii. b. iv. p. 1, and BLAIR’s Lectures, vol. ii. p. 293.
* Let us hear what M. CLAUDE says on this subject : · When it was needful to exalt the grace of God, St. Paul
spoke of his raptures, miracles, and visions ; and when it was needful to shew the faithfulness of his conduct in discharging his ministry, against the bold accusations of his enemies, he recounted his voyages, labours, and persecu* tions; but when he had a law to impose upon men's consciences, or a doctrine of faith, or a rule of conduct to establish, he introduced it only with the name of God. Nothing but what is divine ; no consideration at all of man is mentioned here ; for faith and conscience acknowledge no