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His labors to acquire knowledge have been productive of great satisfaction and success.
He did every thing in his power to serve his benefactor; and had a grateful sense of the benefits received.
Many persons give evident proof, that either they do not feel the power of the principles of religion, or that they do not believe them,
The comfort annexed to goodness is the pious man's strength. It inspires his zeal. It attaches his heart to religion. It accelerates his progress; and supports his constancy.
303. Regard must be paid to the disposition of the relative pronouns, who, which, what, whose, and of all those particles which express the connexion of the parts of speech with one another.
304. A small error in the position of these words may cloud the meaning of the whole sentence; and even where the meaning is intelligible, we always find something awkward and disjointed in the structure of the sentence, when these relatives are out of their proper place. “ This kind of wit,” says an author, “ was very much in vogue among our countrymen, about an age or two ago; who did not practise it for any oblique reason, but purely for the sake of being willy. We are at no loss about the meaning here; but the construction would evidently be mended by disposing the circumstance, " about an age or two ago," in such a manner as not to separate the relative who from its antecedent our countrymen; in this way :
“ About an age or two ago, this kind of wit was very much in vogue among our countrymen, who did not practise it, &c.
305. With regard to relatives, it may be further observed, that obscurity often arises from the too frequent repetition of them, particularly of the pronouns who, and they, and them, and theirs, when we have occasion to refer to different persons; as in the following sentence of Tillotson. “Men look with an evil eye upon the good that is in others, and think that their reputation obscures them, and their commendable qnalities stand in their light; and therefore they do what they can to cast a cloud over them, that the bright shining of their virtues may not obscure them.” This is altogether careless writing. When we find these personal pronouns crowding ioo fast upon us, we have often no method left, but to throw the whole sentence into some other form, which may avoid those frequent references to persons who have before been mentioned.
The pupil may now correct the following sentences.
306. These are the master's rules, who must be obeyed.
They attacked Northumberland's house, whom they put to death.
He labored to involve his minister in ruin, who had been the author of it.
It is true what he says, but it is not applicable to the point.
The French marched precipitately as to an assured victory whereas the English advanced very slowly, and discharged such flights of arrows, as did great execution. When they drew
near the archers, perceiving that they were out of breath, they charged them with great vigor.
He was taking a view, from a window, of the cathedral in Litchfield, where a party of the royalists had fortified themselves.
The laws of nature are, truly, what lord Bacon styles his aphorisms, laws of laws. Civil laws are always imperfect, and often falsé deductions from them, or applications of them; nay, they stand, in many instances, in direct opposition to them.
If we trace a youth from the earliest period of life, who has been well educated, we shall perceive the wisdom of the maxims here recommended.
THE UNITY OF A SENTENCE.
307. THE SECOND requisite of a perfect sentence, is its Unity.
308. The unity of a sentence implies that it contains one principal idea, and has one subject, or nominative, which is the governing word, from the beginning to the end of the sentence.
309. In every composition, there is always some connecting principle among the parts. Some one object must reign and be predominant. But most of all, in a single sentence, is required the strictest unity. For the very nature of a sentence implies that one proposition is expressed. It may consist of parts, indeed, but these parts must be so closely bound together, as to make the impression of one object, upon the mind, not of many. To
preserve this unity of a sentence, the following rules must be observed.
RULES FOR PRESERVING THE UNITY OF A SENTENCE.
1. During the course of the sentence, the subject or Nominative should be changed as little as possible.
2. Ideas which have but little connexion should be expressed in separate sentences, and not crowded into one.
3. A parenthesis should not occur in the middle of a sentence.
4. The sentence should be brought to a full and perfect close.
310. In obedience to the above rules, the pupil in correcting sentences which violate them, must remodel them entirely. If there are a number of nominatives, or subjects which cannot be connected by a conjunction, or thrown into some other case or forin, the sentence must be divided, and the parts constructed in independent sentences.
311. Thus, in the account of a “ Romantic Story," taken from the Quarterly Review, the writer says, “ The youth who had found the cavern, and had kept the secret to hiniself, loved this damsel ; he told her the danger in time, and persuaded her to trust herself to him.” In this sentence there is perfect unity: The word “ youth” is the governing word, and the pronoun “he” its representative, to prevent tautology, is substituted, to avoid the repetition of the conjunction " and.” But the writer continues, “They got into a canoe; the place of her retreat was described to her on the way to it-these women swim like mermaids,--she dived after him, and rose in the cavern; in the widest part, it is about fifty feet, and its medium height is guessed at the same, the roof hung with stalactites.” Here, every one of the rules of unity are violated. The nominative is changed six different times. Ideas having no connexion with each other, namely: Their getting into a canoe—the description of the place of her retreat—the swimming of the women,-her diving and rising in the cavern,—the dimensions of the cave, and the ornaments of its roof, are all crowded into one sentence. The expression “ these women swi like mermaids” is properly a parenthesis. occurring in the middle of the sentence: and the clause “the roof hung with stalactites,” does not bring the sentence to a full and perfect close. The same ideas intended to be conveyed, may be expressed as follows, without violating either of the laws of unity.
“ As they got into a canoe, to proceed to the cavern, the place of her retreat was described to her. Like the rest of her country women she could swim like a mermaid, and accordingly diving after him, she rose in the cavern; a spacious apartment of about fifty feet in each of its dimensions, with a roof beautifully adorned with stalactites.”
312. The unity of a sentence may sometimes be preserved by the use of the participle instead of the verb. Thus: “ The stove stands on a platform which is raised six inches and extends the whole length of the room.” This sentence is better expressed thus : “ The stove stands on a platform, raised six inches and extending the whole length of the room.
Sentences to be corrected by the pupil, in which the first rule of
unity is violated.
313. A short time after this injury, he came to himself; and the next day, they put him on board a ship, which conveyed him first to Corinth, and thence to the island of Egina.
The Britons, daily harassed by cruel inroads from the Picts, were forced to call in the Saxons for their defence; who consequently reduced the greater part of the island to their own power; drove the Britons into the most remote and mountainous
parts; and the rest of the country, in customs, religion, and language, became wholly subject to the Saxons.
He who performs every employment in its due place and season, suffers no part of time to escape without profit; and thus his days become multiplied ; and much of life is enjoyed in
Desires of pleasure usher in temptation, and the growth of disorderly passions is forwarded.
In the following sentences the second rule of unity is violated.
314. The notions of lord Sunderland were always good; but he was a man of great expense.
In this uneasy state, both of his public and private life, Cicero was oppressed by a new and deep affliction, the death of his beloved daughter Tullia ; which happened soon after her divorce from Dolabella; whose manners and humors were entirely disagreeable to her.
Disappointment will often happen to the best and wisest men, (not through any imprudence of theirs, nor even through the malice or ill design of others; but merely in consequence of some of those cross incidents of life which could not be foreseen,) and sometimes to the wisest and best concerted plans.
Without some degree of patience exercised under injuries, (as offences and retaliations would succeed to one another in endless train,) human life would be rendered a state of perpetual hostility:
Never delay till to-morrow, (for to-morrow is not yours; and though you should live to enjoy it, you must not overload it with a burden not its own,) what reason and conscience tell you ought to be performed to-day.
OF THE STRENGTH OF A SENTENCE.
315. THE THIRD requisite of a perfect sentence, is, Strength.
By this is meant such a disposition and management of the several words and members, as shall bring out the sense to the best advantage, and give every word and every member, its due weight and force.
316. A sentence may be clear, it may also be compact in all its parts, or have the requisite unity, and yet, by some circumstance in the structure it may fail in that strength of impression, which a better management would have produced.
RULES FOR PRESERỒING THE STRENGTH OF A SENTENCE.
317. 1. Take from it all words which are not necessary for the full expression of the sense.
2. Pay particular attention to the use of conjunctions, relatives and particles employed for transition and connexion.
3. Place the principal word or words in a situation, where they will make the most striking impression.
4. Make the members of the sentence rise in their importance above one another in the form of a climax. When a sentence consists of two members, the longer should generally be the concluding one.
5. Avoid ending the sentence with an adverb, preposition or any insignificant word, unless it be emphatical.
6. In the members of a sentence in which two things are compared or contrasted, where either resemblance or opposition is to be expressed, some resemblance in the language or construction ought to be observed.
The pupil may correct the following sentences in which the first
rule relating to the strength of a sentence is violated.*
318. It is six months ago, since I paid a visit to my relations.
Suspend your censure so long, till your judgment on the subject can be wisely formed.
If I mistake not, I think he is improved, both in knowledge and behavior.
When he sees me, he always inquires concerning his friends.
I hope this is the last time that I shall ever act so imprudently
The reason of his sudden departure, was on account of the case not admitting of delay.
The people gained nothing farther by this step, but only to suspend their misery.
* It is a general maxim, that any words which do not add some importance to the meaning of a sentence, always injure it. Care should therefore be exercised with respect to synonymous words, expletives, circumJocutions, tautologies, and the expression of unnecessary circumstances. The attention becomes remiss, when words are multiplied without a corresponding multiplication of ideas. “ Content with deserving a triumph, he refused the honor of it,” is better language than to say, “ Being content with deserving it,” &c.
“ In the Attick commonwealth,” says an author," it was the privilege and birthright of every citizen and poet, to rail 'aloud and in public." Better simply thus : “In the Attick commonwealth, it was the privilege of every citizen to rail in public."