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a poojoofollando *of goodfood topudiodiacindiatodore N° 633. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15.

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Omnia profeétò, cùm fe à cæleftibus rebus referet ad humanas, excélsiùs magnificentiusque et dicet et sentiet.

CICERO. The contemplation of celestial things will make a

man both speak and think more fublimely and magnificently, when he descends to human affairs, THE following discourse is printed, as it came to my hands, without variation,

Cambridge, Dec. 11. IT T was a very common inquiry among the an

cients why the number of excellent orators, ' under all the encouragements the most flourilh

ing states could give them, fell fo far short of the number of those who excelled in all other scien

A friend of mine used merrily to apply to • this case an observation of Herodotus, who says, • that the most useful animals, are the most fruitful

in their generation; whereas the species of those beasts that are fierce and mischievous to mankind

are but scarcely continued. The historian instan'ccs in a hare, which always either breeds or brings

forth ; and a lioness, which brings forth but

once, and then loses all power of conception. • But, leaving my friend to his mirth, I am of opi. • nion, that in these latter ages we have greater < cause of complaint than the ancients had. And * since that solemn festival is approaching, which • calls for all the power of oratory, and which af.. • fords as noble a subject for the pulpit as any re"velation has taught us, the design of this paper « shall be to show, that our moderns have greater " advantages towards true and folid eloquence, than • any which the celebrated speakers of antiquity enjoyed.

• The

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The first great and fubftantial difference is, that ' their common places, in which almost the whole ' force of amplification consists, were drawn from

the profit or honesty of the action, as they regarded only this present state of duration. But Christianity, as it exalts morality to a greater per

fection, as it brings the confideration of another • life into the question, as it proposes rewards and

punishments of a higher nature and a longer con• tinuance, is more adapted to affect the minds of ' the audience, naturally inclined to pursue what it

imagines its greatest interest and concern. If Pe. ricles, as historians report, could shake the firmest

resolutions of his hearers, and set the paflions of • all Greece in a ferment, when the present welfare • of his country, or the fear of hoftile invasions,

was the subject: What may be expected from ' that orator, who warns his audience against those

evils which have no remedy, when once undergone, either from prudence or time? As much greater as the evils in a future state are than these at present, so much are the motives to persuasion

under Christianity greater than those which mere ! moral confiderations could supply us with. But • what I now mention relates only to the power of

moving the affections. There is another part of eloquence, which is indeed its mafter piece ; I mean the marvellous or sublime. In this the Christian orator has the advantage beyond con• tradiction. Our ideas are fo infinitely enlarged by revelation, the eye of reason has fo wide a prospect into eternity, the notions of a Deity are

so worthy and refined, and the accounts we have ' of a state of happiness or misery fo clear and evi. ident, that the contemplation of such objects will

give our discourse a noble vigour, an invincible

force, beyond the power of any human conside* ration. Tully requires in his perfect orator some ' skill in the nature of heavenly bodies, because, Dd 2

says

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fays he, his mind will become more extenfive and • unconfined ; and when he defcends to treat of • human affairs, he will both think and write in a ' more exalted and magnificent manner. For the • fame reason that excellent mafter would have re

commended the study of those great and glorious ' mysteries which revelation has discovered to us ;

to which the noblest parts of this fystem of the ' world are as much inferior, as the creature is less . excellent than its Creator. The wifest and most • knowing among the heathens had very poor and

imperfect notions of a future state. They had • indeed some uncertain hopes, either received by • tradition, or gathered by reason, that the exist. • ence of virtuous men would not be determined • by the feparation of the foul and body : But

they either disbelieved a future state of punishment and misery; or, upon the fame account that Apelles painted Antigonus with one side only towards the spectator, that the loss of his eye might not cast a blemish

upon the whole piece; so these represented the condition of man in its faireft ( view, and endeavoured to conceal what they

thought was a deformity to human nature. I • have often observed, that whenever the above

mentioned orator, in his philofophical discourses, • is led by his argument to the mention of immor• tality, he seems like one awaked out of sleep; • rouled and alarmed with the dignity of the subject, he stretches his imagination to conceive

something uncommon, and, with the greatness of • his thoughts, cafts, as it were, a glory round the fentence. Uncertain and unsettled as he was, he

feems fixed with the contemplation of it. And • nothing but such a glorious prospect could have & forced so great a lover of truth as he was, to de• clare his resolution never to part with his persua* fion of immortality, though it should be proved . to be an erroneous one.

But had he lived to see

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all that Christanity has brought to light, how • would he have lavished out all the force of elo.

quence in thofe noblest contemplations which hu

man nature is capable of, the resurrection and ' the judgment that follows it? How had his breast

glowed with pleasure, when the whole compass

of futurity lay open and exposed to his view ? • How would his imagination have hurried him on • in the pursuit of the mysteries of the incarnation? • How would he have entered, with the force of lightening, into the affections of his hearers, and

fixed their attention, in spite of all the opposition . of corrupt nature, upon those glorious themes · which his eloquence hath painted in such lively • and lasting colours.

• This advantage Christians have; and it was • with no small pleasure I lately met with a frag"ment of Longinus, which is preferved, as a testi'mony of that critic's judgment, at the beginning • of a manuscript of the New Testament in the Vatican library.

Afrer that author has numbered up

the most celebrated orators among the Gre' cians, he says, Add to these Paul of Tarsus, the pa

tròn of an opinion not yet fully proved. As a hea• then, he condems the Christian Religion; and,

as an impartial critic, he judges in favour of the

pronoter and preacher of it. To me it seems, • that the latter part of his judgment adds great • weight to his opinion of St. Paul's abilities, since,

under all the prejudice of opinions directly opposite, he is constrained to acknowledge the inerit of • that Apostle. And no doubt, such as Longinus • describes St. Paul, fuch he appeared to the inha• bitants of those countries which he visited and « blessed with those doctrines he was divinely com• miffioned to preach. Sacred story gives us, in • one circumstance, a convincing proof of his elo

quence, when the men of Lyftra called him Mercury because he was the chief speaker, and would

• have

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• have paid divine worship to him, as to the god • who invented and presided over eloquence. This . one account of our Apostle sets his character,

confidered as an orator only, above all the cele. • brated relations of the skill and influence of De. • mofthenes and his contemporaries. Their power ' in speaking was admired, but still it was thought ' human : Their eloquence warmed and ravished 'the hearers, but still it was thought the voice of a

man, not the voice of God. What advantage • then had St. Paul above those of Greece or Rome? I confess I can ascribe this excellence to

nothing but the power of the doctrines he delivered, which

may

have still the fame influence on the hearers; which have still the power, when preached by a skilful orator, to make us break out in the fame expreffions, as the disciples, who

met our Saviour in their way to Emmaus, made • use of: Did not our hearts burn within us, when he

talked to us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures ? I may be thought bold in my judgment by fome; but I must affirm, that no one orator has left us fo visible marks and foot

steps of his eloquence as our Apoftle. It may • perhaps be wondered at, that in his reafonings

upon idolatry at Athens, where eloquence was • born and flourished, he confines himself to striet • argument only; but my reader may remember ' what many authors of the best credit have affur• ed us, that all attempts upon the affections and • strokes of oratory were expressly forbidden by the • laws of that country, in courts of judicature. · His want of eloquence therefore here, was the

effect of his exact conformity to the laws. But his discourfe on the resurrection to the Corinthia ans, his harangue before Agrippa upon his own • converfion, and the necefficy of that of others,

are truly great, and may serve as full examples to · those excellent rules for the sublime, which the

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