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Reflections upon Pbysucks.
IX. A Censure of modern Pbysocks
ture, without looking up to the Creator..
Reflections upon Metaphyficks.
1. Ariftotle's Dekgin bis Metapbyficks, with an
fupernatural Things, and spiritual Subftances.
II. We ought to be forft Chriftians, before we commence Philo.
Pule by which it can explain it felf, efpecially Ariftotle's
presions, but likewise with a Method of Reafoning.
blishment of Religion.
Τ Ο Τ Η Ε
Reflections on ELOQUENce.
F the several
Subjects to be treated of in this Second Volume, there is none that I can better account for to the Publick, than
this of Eloquence; being furnish'd with such admirable Memoirs from the Rhetorical InstruEions of Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian ; whole Works in this kind are so exalt, and their Pourtrait of Eloquence so just, and so accomplish’d, as to leave no Room for our Improvements, nor even for our Wishes. But in as much as they proceed by different Ways to their common End, which is Perswasion, ic will not be improper to explain their particular Meshods for the Information of those who shall apply themselves to the Art of Speaking ; that every one may choose that Way which he finds best to comport with his own Genius.
Aristotle, who by his profound Judgment and great Capacity, dives farther into almost all Subjects, than all other Writers, has discours'd of Eloquence mich the truest Accuracy and Strictness of Method. He divides his Work into three Books. In the First he comprizes whatever may seem essential to Rhetorick, its Nature and Definition, the Matter about which it is conversant, the End which it proposes, the Means which it imploys in order to the Attainment of this
End, which are, its Proofs or Arguments. From hence he passes on to the Division of Rhetorick into three kinds, tho Deliberative, the Demonstrative, and the Judiciary. Each of these is subdivided into imo Parts,' the Deliberative into Exhortation and Dehortation, the Demonstrative into Praise and Dispraise, the Judiciary into Accusation and Defence. The End of the Deliberative kind is to Shew what is useful and expedient, and what is not; as also to debate whether a Profitable Good ought to be preferr’d to an Honest of Moral Good, or a small Good to a greater. The Demonstrative kind is exercised in the praising of Vertae, and the dispraising of Vice : ' And here the Author enters upon a large Enquiry concerning the proper Subjects of Praise and Dispraise. The use of the Judiciary kind is to supply us with offensive or defenfive Weapons, for the attacking of others, or the securing of our selves.
In the Second Book he delivers the true Knowledge of Humane Nature, by his curious Descriptions of the Manners and Pasions, which are the fhortest and Jurest Ways that lead to the Heart of Man. In this consists all the Art and Method of his Second Book, and indeed all the Force, and the very Life of Eloquence.
In the Third Book, he explains the Nature of Discourse, as compos'd of Diction and Elocution. Here be distinguishes the several Species of Orations, and their several Parts; in regard to the choice of Reasonings, the use of Figures, and the well-ranging of Sentences. And tho’ bis Design be admirable as propos'd' in general, it is still more wonderful, as executed in particular. The whole is truly a Masterpiece, in which the several Lines and Features meet with exact proportion in the finishid Draught. For this great nan, who had as perfect Comprehension of Eloquence, as of Nature, bas
sheron the utmost reach of Genius in his Explications.
Cicero in his Oratorical Treatises is not so Methodical as Aristotle, but more elegant and polite, which is his infeparable Character. We must omn bim to be always folid, but then he is not always the most regular, as aiming rather to please than to inftruet. Not but that upon strict Attention and a closer View, we may discover a secret Order and Method which be bas very faithfully observ’d. But he is not willing that all the World should be acquainted with his Method. The Rules ke follows, are such as the Learned only can distinguish, and such as he makes use of only to guard his Discourse from that Dryness, and that Incoherency to which an Au. thor must expose himself, who undertakes to reduce Things to Art, and Principles, which have not hitherto been brought under the same Confinement. Al which he has perform’d with that Order and Grace, that we may affirm there's no Author from whom a Man may gather so much Fruit and Benefit, so much Politeness and Elegance, so much Solidity and good Sense, as from Cicero. In which regard we cannot but applaud the happy Fate of Eloquence, that he who Carry'd it to its highest Perfection in Practice, should et the same time adorn it with his Precepts.
He had in his younger Years; and for his own pria vate Use, drawn some Sketches of this Art, which in his Maturity of Age and Judgment his Brother prevaild with him to touch over and finish. The Sum of his three Books de Oratore, is as follows. At the Entrance of the first Book, he demonstrates, that an Orator who would excel in his Profession, must be an universal Scholar ; contrary to his Brother's Opinion, who thought a less extended Knowledge to be sufficient; and to ibat of Scævola, w'a maintain'd, that nothing more was necessary, than to be skil'd in the Practice and forms of the Bar.
The B 2
. Discourse which Crassus makes on this Argument (for the whole is written by way of Dialogue, and enrich'd with all the Graces of fine Conversation ) is rather a Panegyrick upon Eloquence, to give us a noble Idea of it, than an Instruction to assist us in attaining to it.
In a word, bis whole Business is to draw the PiEt ure of an accomplish'd Orator. Having settled the End of Eloquence, he proceeds to distinguish its three Kinds, according to Aristotle ; and observes, that the Judiciary Kind is wholly directed to Right and Equity, the Deliberative Kind to Profit, and the Demonstrative to Glory and Dignity. Hence he passes to the Division of Parts, and the universal Oeconomy of a Discourse; and descends to the several Rules that concern the Purity, the Perspicuity, the Ornaments and the Decorum of Speech. He concludes with the Laws of Pronunciation ; and observes, that Things which depend most upon Nature may yet be improv’d and rectify’d by the Succours of Art. And upon this occafion he censures those who pretend that the Gift of Speaking is attain’d by meer Use.and Exercise, not considering that Men learn to speak ill
, only by speaking ill
, that is, by speaking without due Preparation of Thought. For, says he, as much as i Things that are digested by Study, excel those that are unpremeditated; so much Things committed to Writing excel those that are barely studied, or conceiv’d. He then enlarges upon the several Sciences that are necessary to supply an Orator with a good Stock of Sense ; Eloquence being but a Trifle if not Supported by such a Fund. These are the Springsli from whence an Orator is to draw all his Streams; and this is the way that Crassus, in this First Book chalks out to Cotta and Sulpitius to lead them to a compleat Mastery in the Art of Speaking.
And because the same Gentlemen are urgent with him to explain his own Method, and to lay open the