Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

per, when making the application of a sermon to the different classes of hearers. It is by this figure, that he recapitulates his proofs; and then he points to the open grave, as if the listening congregation, ready to descend into it, were not thenceforward to hear any other instruction, or rather, as if he himself were preaching for the last time.

The sermons of Saurin, on the wisdom of · Solomon,' and on the discourse of St. Paul to

Felix and Drusilla,' appear to me the masterpieces of this Orator.

[ocr errors]

It is commonly supposed, that he never allowed himself to make use of 'declamations against the church of Rome ; but I apprehend that fanaticism cannot break out more passionately, than in his sermons on the dedication of the church of

Woorburg ;' on the afflictions of the church ;' on the incomprehensibility of God;' on the • fast observed before the campaign of 1706.'

Saurin is transformed. He rises to the level of Demosthenes, when he speaks of the emigration of the Protestants ; above all, when he thunders against Louis XIV. He is never more eloquent, nor more sublime, than when wasting his fury against this monarch, whose name perpetually recurs in his discourses, and, principally, in the sermons which I am about to quote.

This apostrophe is well known; and thou for"midable Prince, whom I once honoured as my * king, and whom I still regard as the scourge of the Lord,' &c. Saurin finishes this passage by saying, that he forgives Louis XIV; but he does not attempt to impress this insulting moderation on the minds of the people of Holland. It is, perhaps, in the pulpit of Saurin, where have been fabricated the arms of Hochstet, of Malplaquet, and Rammillies; and where that implacable resentment hath been produced, which presided at the conferences of Gertruidemberg.

Never did an Orator conceive any thing more daring than the dialogue of Saurin between God and his auditory, in his sermon on the fast of 1706. "My people,' saith the most High,' my

people, what have I done unto thee?' 'Ah, Lord! • how many things hast thou done unto us! the

ways of Zion covered with mourning,' &c. • Answer and bear witness here against the • Eternal.'

[ocr errors]

The long enumeration of the afflictions of the Protestants, which precedes these last words, gives them an energy, which causes one to tremble, at the very moment when Saurin pauses, - order to vindicate the ways of Providence. *

in

* See a Translation of select Sermons of Saurin, by RoBINSON; in which the animated passage referred to by Mi

In his sermon on the contempt of life,' he falls into a digression, which, at first, appears whimsical, but which presently introduces a sublime pássage. An author has published a book with 'a very singular title; this title is Rome subter(ranean ;

a title full of instruction and truth, teaching that Rome which strikes the senses, • that there is another Rome of dead people, • another Rome under ground, a natural image

of that, which living Rome must one day be. My brethren, I present unto you this day ' a similar object; I present unto you your

Republic, not such as you see it, composed of sovereigns, of generals of the heads of families; this is merely the surface of your Republic. But I would describe before you the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

MAURY, is thus rendered : "Say now, in the presence of • heaven and earth, what ills hath God inflicted on you. O

my people, what have I done unto thee ? Ah, Lord, how 'many things hast thou done to us! Draw near ye mourn' ing ways of Zion, ye desolate gates of Jerusalem, ye sigh

ing priests, ye afflicted virgins, ye deserts peopled with * captives, ye disciples of Jesus Christ, wandering over the face of the whole earth, children torn from your parents, prisons filled with confessors, galleys freighted with martyrs, blood of our countrymen, shed like water, carcasses, 'once the venerable habitation of witnesses for religion, now thrown out to savage beasts and birds of prey, ruins of our churches, dust, ashes, sad remains of houses dedi"cated to our God, fires, racks, gibbets, punishments, till

nów unknown'; draw nigh hither, and give evidence against “the Lord'-SAURIN's Sermon, entitled, God's Controversy with Israel, vol. iv. p. 121.

[ocr errors]

• interior, the Republic subterranean—for there ‘ is another Republic under your feet. Descend

there-survey those sepulchres which are in the • heart of the earth. Let us lift up a stone. · Whoin do we see there?My God! what in

habitants ! what citizens ! what a republic !

The same Orator who wrote this passage so full of vivacity and enthusiasm, sometimes suffered his genius to cool, and then he adopted the forms of expression, which are used in solving geometrical problems.

We even find in one of his discourses a pretty long arithmetical calculation; it is, I believe, the only example of this sort, which the Eloquence of the pulpit affords.*

* Dr. PriesTLEY, in his funeral discourse on the deatli of Dr. Price, introduces a pretty singular calculation and idea, founded upon the supposition of the soul's sleeping betwixt death and the resurrection :

6

• Supposing the amount of the expectation of life to be in my case, as I find, about fourteen years, in many of you • not more than half that number, and at the most not much more than twenty, in those whose age admitted of any long acquaintance with him; and the interval betwixt the time of our death and that of our resurrection to be nothing at all, because not perceived by us, it is in effect only four. teen, or about twenty years, that we expect to be separated • from him; and in this life we often pass more time without • seeing those whom we most respect.'-PRIESTLEY's Ser: mons, p. 27.

OF ELOQUENCE.

191

The following is to be found in his sermon on the numbering of our days,' 'I suppose that the

devotion of this day hath drawn eighteen hundred persons to this exercise. I reduce these ! eighteen hundred persons to six classes :

• The first, of persons between

ten and twenty years consist

ing of five hundred and thirty 530
The second, of those between

twenty and thirty years, con-
sisting of four hundred and
forty

440
The third, of those between

thirty and forty years, con-
sisting of three hundred and
forty-five

345
The fourth, of those from forty

to fifty years, consisting of

two hundred and fifty-five 255
The fifth, of those from forty to

sixty years, consisting of one
hundred and sixty

160
And the sixth, of those who are

about seventy years, and up-
wards, consisting of seventy 70

1800 According to the computation of those who * have applied themselves to such sort of inquiries, each of these classes will furnish at death a yearly tribute of ten persons ; and upon this principle,

« AnteriorContinuar »