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one of his epistles, it will be easy for him to discover the
general truth to which the particular event narrated, belongs;
and by abstracting this truth from it, he will be able to make
a profitable use of the various parts and representations of
the text.
The Sermon delivered on the eleventh Sunday
after Trinity, from the Epistle 1 Cor. 9: 6—13, affords
the best illustration of this point.

This lively conceiving of the circumstances to be present,
under which the apostles wrote their letters and sent them
to the churches, is also adapted to lead a man to general
ideas under which to arrange and connect together in an
appropriate manner, all the various contents of a text.
The twelfth chapter of the epistle of Paul to the Chris-
tians at Rome, is well known to be divided into three les-
sons, which must be explained on the first, second, and
third Sunday after the feast of Epiphany. At the first
glance, this chapter appears to contain a multitude of ad-
monitions and moral precepts having but little connexion
with each other, and that, altogether of an incidental char-
acter. If however a man imagines himself altogether in
the condition of the apostle; if he asks, why the apostle
made exactly these suggestions and admonitions and no
others; if he only endeavors to ascertain, whether they
had reference to the condition of Christians in that place
and their relations to the other parts of the world, it will
soon be made to appear, that the object which the apostle
had before him, was, the peculiar and decided character
which the Gospel gave to those who embraced it; thus
rendering them the choicest men of the age. If any one
comprehends this general idea, he will discover the order
and connexion which prevails, at a single glance. He will
perceive, that in the first lesson, Christians are distinguish-
ed from the rest of the world by being members of a
church; in the second, by their noble personality; and in
the third, by their excellencies.

But enough, upon this subject. I must ask your par-
don, my dear friend, for having entered into such a de-
tailed explanation of my usual manner of inventing themes.
you known how talkative I should be upon this sub-
ject, you would scarcely have mentioned it. If however,

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I have said any thing which will be of use to young ministers, I am certain before hand of your indulgence. Farewell.


-Answered-The ar

Many object to the logical arrangement of sermons-
rangement should not be concealed-Points out faulty arrangements in his
sermons--Warns young preachers against too great attention to arrange-
ment-Against uniformity of arrangement.


You are right in expecting me now to give you a more extensive account of the arrangement and construction of my sermons.

I have already told you how I was led to the habit of planning my sermons with great strictness and precision, according to the rules of logic. This close and sometimes almost painful adherence to order and arrangement, from the manner in which my intellectual powers were formed and developed, became to me, as you will observe, like a second nature. The perverseness of my memory, of which I have already spoken, rendered it very difficult for me to get words and phrases by heart, or any thing but a strictly connected and methodically arranged series of thoughts. I was obliged, therefore, as a matter of necessity entirely independent of my will, to pay attention to order. And finally, having, as I told you above, after many years of experience, found it of great utility for a man to make his hearers acquainted with the several principal steps by which his discourse advances, I am convinced, that upon the whole it is necessary and beneficial for him, to give every sermon a logical arrangement and a firmly

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connected and easily remembered plan, in order that thus, attentive hearers may know distinctly of what the discourse treats, and be able to give an account of it after it is delivered.

I am well aware, that objections have been made to this manner of sermonizing, Many preachers who would fain be looked upon as great orators, are of the opinion, that it is at variance with the laws of eloquence, to bind one's self in logical fetters, and altogether incompatible with that free soaring of thought, that fiery vehemence, with which the orator must express himself. I have only to reply, that strict order in a discourse is not only consistent with the idea of genuine eloquence which I drew from the ancients and stated above, but absolutely indispensable to it. Have not those gentlemen then, who would fain be considered as Demostheneses and Ciceros in the pulpit, (for I take it for granted that they have made themselves familiar with these wonderful men and read their works for themselves,) attentively observed with what accuracy, art, and constant reference to the specific object before them, they arranged their discourses, and, by disposing of the several parts agreeably to their relative importance, endeavored, by the happiest means, to render them useful and productive of the intended effect? Of the particular rules for arrangement laid down by all rhetoricians, and the earnestness with which attention to order is recommended, I will here say nothing. In general, however, people are acquainted with the so called fiery and overpowering eloquence of the ancients, only by hearsay; and hence, they confound it with the irregular, half-poetical, and chattering declamations of the would be orators of modern times, which rush as it were from one thing to another, and would cease to be overpowering, that is, puzzling, if reduced to logical order. And who, let me ask, among modern orators, has paid stricter and more careful attention to order, than the most celebrated preachers, as Saurin, Bourdaloue, Massillon, Blair, for instance, and others; and yet no one accuses these men of being destitute of vehemence and strength. Whether we look therefore to the nature of the case or to the best examples of every age, it is as clear as the sun, that the rules of oratory not only permit

an accurate arrangement of what a man has to say, but absolutely demand it.

But a sermon, continues one, should not consist of dry speculation, or cold instruction for the intellect. Whatever a man says in the church should excite and cherish religious feeling,—should operate upon the heart and awaken pious emotions,-should exalt the hearers above the affairs of time and sense, and fill them with a holy ardor for what is divine, and eternal. Now, what is less adapted to effect this great object, than a scholastic declamation carefully cut out and arranged according to the rules of art?

In reply to this, in the first place, it may be observed, that to impart instruction has at all times and with justice, been looked upon, as the principal object of preaching; and hence, the preacher has been called the teacher of the Gospel. He who banishes instruction from the pulpit and attempts to reduce every thing to the excitement of emotion, robs the ministerial office of a great part of its usefulness, and deprives the great mass of the people of almost every opportunity for the enlargement and correction of their religious knowledge. Moreover, I must absolutely deny the possibility of a man's exciting religious feeling and rendering it salutary and productive of exalted effects, otherwise than by commencing with convincing instruction and taking the way through the intellect to the heart. All his efforts to raise emotion operating upon the imagination, will result in inflaming it and enkindling a wild-fire, which can prove of no advantage to genuine piety, and may positively injure it. A religious emotion, to be salutary and improving, and in a rational and profitable manner effect the exaltation of the mind, must be founded upon a lively perception of important truths vividly represented. Indeed, it is impossible to conceive of a discourse, which shall in reality take hold of, awaken and inspire the man, and prepare the way for, and raise, the emotions of the heart, without instruction. Now as this instruction will produce the most effect, if delivered with clearness and proper arrangement, it is impossible to see why strict method should not be combined with the object of affecting the heart.


you are meditating upon a subject, then, some









one will say, let every thing be arranged in its proper place; but when you come to write it out and dress up this skeleton with skin and flesh, carefully conceal the various parts from the audience addressed, and then, their eyes will not discover a skeleton without spirit and life.

Let me tarry a while at the image which lies at the foundation of this remark. Nature does, indeed, cover up the bony fabric of a beautiful body with tender parts of various kinds, and thereby impart to it those powerful charms by which it allures the beholder; but does she, in so doing, reduce it to a mass of flesh, and make it impossible for us any longer to distinguish its single parts and members, discover their relation to each other, or point out their joints? On the other hand, is not this bony fabric, which constitutes the firm basis of the whole, so completely visible, that one can readily see where each member begins and ends, and how they are all connected together; and is it not this appropriate and natural compactness and these regular proportions, which render a beautiful form so pleasing? Now, to continue the image employed, a discourse, the whole organization, and the skeleton of whose thoughts are concealed by the manner in which it is written out, and the language in which it is clothed, will not constitute a beautiful body, full of life and motion, but can be looked upon, as nothing more than an unformed and helpless mass of flesh, which cannot be made into any thing, or be reckoned among any known class of forms. This, indeed, is the impression which such discourses ordinarily leave behind them. One who listens to them, hears much that is beautiful, but he cannot tell definitely in what it consists, and is unable to reduce it to any clear and distinct shape. I cannot persuade myself that such discourses ever accomplish any good.

Pardon my prolixity, my dear friend, in speaking of this subject. You agree with me, in the opinion, that every good sermon must be founded upon a correct, close, logical connexion, and have often told me that you were highly pleased with the particularity with which my sermons are generally composed, in this respect. I feel myself, however, under so much the greater obligations, not only honestly to point out some errors into which I have

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