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the emphasis, and give the proper accent to each word, and how to vary the voice, according to the nature of the sen. tence. There is certainly a difference between reading a prayer and a gazette. These are often pretty classical scholars, and would think it an unpardonable sin to read Virgil, or Martial, with as little taste, as they do divine service.”
Spect. No. 147. And the same standard author, in his 407th paper, complains as follows.
“Our preachers stand stock still in the pulpit; and will not so much as move a finger to set off the best sermons in the world. We meet with the same speaking statues at our bars, and in all public places of debate. Our words flow from us in a smooth continued stream, without those strainings of the voice, motions of the body, and majesty of the hand, which are so much celebrated in the orators of Greece and Rome. We can talk of life and death in cold blood, and keep our temper in a discourse, which turns upon every thing that is dear to us.
“ It is certain, that proper gestures, and vehement exertions of the voice, cannot be too much studied by a public orator. They are a kind of comment upon what he utters, and enforce every thing he says with weak hearers,” (and surely the bulk of hearers are weak)“ better than the strongest argument he can make use of. They keep the audience awake, and fix their attention to what is delivered to them ; at the same time that they shew the speaker is in earnest, and affected himself with what he so passionately recommends to others.
“How cold and dead a figure in comparison of these two great men, (Demosthenes and Cicero) does an orator often make at the British bar, holding up his head with the most insipid serenity, and stroking the sides of a long wig,” &c.
Dean Swift (who was no friend to over-doing on the serious side) advises his young clergyman as follows:
“I take it for granted that you are already desirous to be seen in a pulpit. But I hope you think it prudent to pass quarantine among the desolate churches five miles round this town, where you may at least learn to read and speak before, you venture to expose your parts in a city congregation. Not that these are better judges, but
because, if a man must needs expose his folly, it is more safe and discreet to do so before few witnesses, and in a scattered neighbourhood. And you will do well, if you can prevail with some intimate and judicious friend to he your constant hearer, and to beg of him to give you notice, with the utmost freedom, of whatever he finds amiss either in your voice or gesture. For want of such early warning, many clergymen continue defective, and sometimes rediculous, to the end of their lives. Neither is it rare to observe, among excellent and learned divines, a certain ungracious manner, or unhappy tone of voice, which they have never been able to shake off.”
Are the faults complained of by these authors, who wrote almost fifty years ago, amended, or likely to be amended ? Let the answer to this question be collected from the following verses, by Dr. Byram, prefixed to Fordyce's ART OF PREACHING, published a few years ago.
For, what's a fermon, good, or bad,
To make ambasadors of God.
In point of sermons, 'tis confeft,
They make the best, and preach the worst. If there is, as we have seen, so inuch room to lament the deficiences of those who are to lead the devotions of congregations, and to instruct them in their duty, and whose business it is to win them, by every engaging, and powerful art, to the faithful performance of it; if there is so much reason to wish that those failures might be made up, and those errors amended, which are undoubtedly a great cause of the reluctance we observe, in many to attend, and their coldness and indifference in places of
public worship and instruction; if the clergy are so deficient in their public perforınances, what is left for me to say of those devotion-confounding, ear-splitting pests of our churches, I mean the parish-clerks and parish children? I would only ask, whether, if we had declared a final and irreconcilable hostility against common decency, not to say propriety, and had set ourselves to find out the most
eciual means possible for turning worship into burlesque ; I would ask, I say, whether, if this was our design, there could be a inore certain way to gain it, than to place a set of people in every church, who should come in between every two sentences spoken by the minister, with a squall as loud as the sound of ten trumpets, and totally discordant from one another, and from the key in which the minister speaks. If the minister speaks properly, why do not the clerk and the charity-children speak in concord with him If the clerk speaks properly, why do not the minister and the children speak in the same key with him? Or if the children are right, why do not the minister and clerk scream as high, or at least, take a concordant key with theirs ? They cannot be all right, and all different from one another. How much more rational would it be spend the time, which is now so ridiculously thrown away in teaching the poor children to set the ears of the whole parish on edge, in making them understand thoroughly what they so often repeat by rote, without understanding', I mean the answers to those useful questions in their catechism, “ What is your duty to God ?” and,“ What is your duty to your neighbour ?” This would be of service to thein all their lives ; whereas the other answers no end, that has the least connection with common sense.
It is by keeping clear of every thing disagreeable or grating, and by consulting all that may please, entertain, and strike, that the sagacious Roman Catholics keep up in their people, a delight in the public services of their foolish religion. If we were wise, and as much in earnest as we ought, we should imitate them in this. But what avails it to attempt to oppose that which has power to make wrong right, and absurdity proper, I mean the irresistible tyrant, Custom, whose dominion is in no nation more absolute' (where there are so many so capable of judging) than in this our dear countrye
HISTORICAL NARRATION. (1) The HE Trojans ( 2 ) ( if we may believe tradi- Narration..
9' tion) were the first founders of the Roman Commonwealth ; who under the conduct of Æneas, having inade their escape from their own ruined country, got to Italy, and there for sometime lived a rambling and unsettled life, without any fixed place of abode, among the natives, an uncultivated people, who had neither law nor regular government, but were wholly free from all rule or restraint. This mixed multitude, however, crowding together into one city, though originally different in extraction, language and customs, united into one body, in a surprising (3) short space of time. And as their little state came to be improved by additional numbers, by policy, and by extent of territory, and seemed likely to make a figure ainong the nations ; ac-. cording to the common course of things, the ap-. pearance of prosperity drew upon them the envy
(1) Narration requires very little of what is properly caled expreffion, in pronouncing it; I have, however, ordered the emphatical words in this, and all the lesons, to be printed in Italics, for the reader's help. See in the EssAY, Narration, and the other : paffions put upon the margin of the lelons.
(2) Of the manner of prononncing matter contained in a parenthefis, fee the Essay, p. 13.
(3) A small elevation of the voice will be proper here, to ex-. press moderate wonder, See Wonder.
of the neighbouring states ; so that the princes and people who bordered upon them, began to seek occasions of quarrelling with them. The alliances they could form, were but few : for most of the neighbouring states avoided embroiling themselves on their account. The Romans seeing, that they had nothing to trust to, but their own conduct, found it necessary (1) to bestir themselves with great diligence, to make vigorous preparations, to excite one another to face their enemies in the field, to hazard their lives in defence of their liberty, their country, and their families. And when, by their valour, they repulsed the enemy, they gave assistance to their allies, and gained friendships by often giving, (2) and seldom demanding favours of that sort. They had, by this time, established a regular form of government, to wit, the monarchial. And a senate, consisting of men advanced in years, and grown wise by experience, though infirm of body, consulted with their king's upon all important matters, and, on account of their age, and care of their country, were called Fathers. Afterwards, when kingly power, which was originally established for the preservation of liberty, and the advantage of the state, came to degenerate into lawless tyranny, they found it necessary to alter the form of government, and to put the supreme power into the hands of two chief magistrates, to be held for one year only ; hoping, by this contrivance, to prevent the bad effects naturally arising from the exorbitant licentiousness of princes ; and the indefeasible tenure by which they generally imagine they hold their sovereignty, &c. [Sal. (3) BELL. CATILINAR.]
(1) This sentence is to be spoken somewhat quicker than the neft, to express earneftness.
(2) The words, often giving and seldom demanding, being antithelist to one another, must be expressed with such an emphasis, as may point out the antithesis, or oppsition.
(3) The reacter is, once for all, desired to take notice, that I have not scrupled to alter both the sense and the words in many, if