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with thatch. I have preached the rigours of penance to the unfortunate who wanted bread. • I have declared to the good inhabitants of the
country the most awful truths of my religion. Unhappy man! what have I done? I have • made sad the poor, the best friends of my God!
I have conveyed terror and grief into those simple and honest souls, whom I ought to have
pitied and consoled! It is here only where I be"hold the great, the rich, the oppressors of suffer‘ing humanity, or sinners daring and hardened. "Ah! it is here only where the sacred word should be made to resound with all the force of its thunder ; and where I should place with me in this pulpit, on the one side, Death which " threatens you, and on the other, my great God, who is about to judge you. I hold to-day your sentence in my hand. Tremble then in my presence, ye proud and disdainful men who hear me! The necessity of salvation, the certainty of · death, the uncertainty of that hour, so terrifying 'to you, final impenitence, the last judgment, the number of the elect, hell, and above all, E
ternity! Eternity! These are the subjects upon "which I am come to discourse, and which I 'ought, doubtless, to have reserved for you alone. “Ah! what need have I of your commendation, which perhaps, might damn me, without saving you? God is about to rouse you, while his unworthy minister speaks to you! for I have had a long experience of his mercies. Penetrated
with a detestation of your past iniquities, and shedding tears of sorrow and repentance, you will then, throw yourselves into my arms; and, by this remorse, you
that I am sufficiently eloquent.'
Who doth not by this time, perceive, how much this Eloquence excels the frigid and miserable pretensions of modern wit? In apologi. zing, so to speak, for having preached upon hell in the villages, Bridaine boldly assumed all the authority over his auditory, which belonged to his office, and prepared their hearts for the awful truths, which he intended to announce.
This Exordium alone gave him a right to say every thing. Many persons still remember his sermon on Eternity, and the terror which he diffused throughout the congregation, whilst blending, as was usual with him, quaint comparisons with sublime transports, he exclaimed, “What foun
dation, my brethren, have you for supposing 'your dying day at such a distance? Is it your youth? “Yes, you answer, 'I am, as yet, but twenty, but thirty.' Sirs, it is not you who are twenty or thirty years old, it is death which has advanced twenty or thirty years towards you: • Observe: Eternity approaches. Do you know
what this Eternity is? It is a pendulum whose vibration says continually, Always-ver
EverAlways-Always! In the mean while, "a reprobate cries out, What o'clock is it. And " the same voice answers, Eternity.'
The thundering voice of Bridaine, added on those occasions, a new energy to his Eloquence and the Auditory, familiarized to his language and ideas, appeared at such times in dismay before him. The profound silence which reigned in the congregation, especially when he preached until the approach of night, was interrupted from time to time, and in a manner very perceptible, by the long and mournful sighs, which proceeded, all at once, from every corner of the Church where he was speaking.
Orators ! ye who are wholly engrossed about your own reputation, fall at the feet of this apostolic man, and learn from a missionary, wherein true Eloquence consists. The people ! the people! they are the principal, and perhaps, the best judges of your talents. *
* "Whoever, upon comparison, is deemed, by a common 'Audience, the greatest Orator, ought most certainly to be • pronounced such by men of science and erudition. And, 'though an indifferent Orator may triumph for a long time, ' and be esteemed altogether perfect by the vulgar, who are satisfied with his accomplishment, and know not in what
he is defective ; yet, whenever the true genius arises, he • draws to him the attention of every one, and immediately appears superior to his rival!--HUME's Essays, Ess. xii.
ON THE CHOICE OF SUBJECTS.
is infallible, when there is united a voice sufficiently strong to maintain its vehemence, and a taste sufficiently delicate to avoid its eccentricities.
Hence we draw this conclusion, that it is a great error to discard, from the gospel-ministry, those awful subjects, which enkindle the imagination of the Preacher, while they tend to arouse every conscience. Besides that religion is founded upon those awful truths, which its ministers ought not to conceal, and which men are afraid to hear, in proportion to their tendency to produce a conversion, I know no subjects which give a more ample scope to the art of Oratory.
The Christian Orator, who is above enriching his compositions with them, renounces his greatest advantages.
But, while we present these objects of terror, we cannot be too strongly convinced that it would be better to leave sinners in supineness than to drive them to despair ; that this is not so much to reach the end as to exceed all bounds; that the gospel is a law of love, and not a code of wrath; that men are naturally so weak that their faults ought to excite more compassion than anger ; that a Preacher is not the minister of the vengeance of Heaven, but the dispenser of its mercies; that instead of repelling sinners, it is proper to affect, to win, to reclaim them through fear to love ; and to attemper the rigour of the law with the attraction of the rewards of the gospel. Yes, it would be doubtless too severe, only to announce threatenings to men, who need continually to be encouraged and consoled.
Make choice of affecting subjects, which lay hold of, and interest, the man and the christian. Be scrupulous about choosing those confined sub, jects, which circumscribe the Orator within too narrow bounds, which are connected with no moral precept, or which make a part of all discourses on morality. Avoid frivolous subjects, whose surface appears showy, but which, when we attempt to search into them, only present us with particulars too insignificant and slender for Eloquence ;-„such as treat of matters of decorum rather than of duty ;-such as suggest materials for a letter rather than grounds for a sermon.–Avoid quaint subjects which are improper for the multitude, merely serving the Orator himself for a pompous declamation, in which the human heart can take no interest ; philosophical and abstract subjects, equally remote from religion and Eloquence, and more adapted to the