« הקודםהמשך »
causes, or tracing effects; by pointing out examples, or appealing to the hearts of the hearers; that thus a precise and circumstantial view may be afforded of the doctrine inculcated. By distinct and apt illustrations of the known truths of religion a preacher may both difplay great merit, as a composer ; and, what is infinitely more valuable, render his discourses weighty, instructive, and useful.
THE ARGUMENTATIVE PART OF
A DIS. COURSE, THE PATHETIC PART, AND THE
S the great end, for which men fpeak on any serious occasion, is to convince their hearers, that something is true, or right, or good; and thus to in:fluence their practice ; reason and argument must constitute the foundation of all manly and persuasive cloquence.
With regard to arguments three things are requi. lite. Firit, invention of them; fecondly, proper difpofition and arrangement of them; and thirdly, expref<ing them in the most forcible manner. Invention is undoubtedly the most material, and the basis of the rest. But in this art can afford only small assistance. It can aid a speaker lowever in arranging and exprefsing those arguments, whiclı his knowledge of the fuba ject has discovered.
Supposing the arguments properly chosen, we must avoid blending those together, that are of a separate .nature. / All arguments whatever are intended to prove one of these three things'; that something is true ; that it is right or fit; or that it is profitable and good. *Truth, duty, and interest are the three great subjects of discussion among men. But the arguments employed upon either of them are generally distin& ; and he, who blends them all.under one topic, which he calls his argument, as in sermons is too freqnently done, will render his reasoning indiftin&t and inelegant.
With respect to the different degrees of strength in arguments the common rule is to advance in the way of climax from the weakest to the most forcible. This method is recommended, when the speaker is convinced, that his caufe is clear, and easy to be proved.
But this rule must not be univerfally observed. If he -distrust his cause, and have but one material argument, it is often proper to place this argument in the front; to prejudice his hearers early in his favor, and thus dispose them to pay attention to the weaker rea. fons, which he may afterward introduce.
When amid a variety of arguments there is one or two more feeble, than the rest, though proper to be used ; Cicero advises to place them in the middle, as a situation less 'conspicuous, than either the beginning or end of the train of reafoning.
When arguments are strong and satisfactory, the more they are separated, the better.' Each can then bear to be introduced alone, placed in its full light, amplified and contemplated. But, when they are of a doubtful or presumptive nature, it is safer to crowd them together, to form them into a phalanx, that, though individually weak, they may mutually fupport each other.
Arguments should never be extended too far, nor multiplied too much. This serves rather to render a cause suspicious, than to increase its strength. A need. less multiplicity of arguments burdens the memory, and diminishes the weight of that convi&ion, which a few well chosen arguments produce. To expand them also beyond the bounds of reasonable illustration is always enfeebling. When a speaker endeavours to expose a favorable argument in every light possible, faa tigued by the effort, he loses the spirit, with which he set out; and ends with feebleness, what he began with force.
Having attended thus far to the proper arrangement of arguments, we proceed to another essential part of a discourse, the pathetic ; in which, if any where, eloquence reigns, and exerts its power. On this head the following directions appear useful.
Consider carefully, whether the subject admit the pathetic, and render it proper; and, if it do, what part, of the discourse is most fit for it. To determine these points belongs to good sense. Many subjects admit not: the pathetic; and even in those, that are susceptible of it, an attempt to excite the passions in a wrong place, may expose an orator to ridicule. It may in general be observed, that, if we expect any emotion, which we raise, to have a lasting effect, we must secure in our favor the understanding and judgment. The hearers must be satisfied, that there are sufficient grounds for their engaging in the cause with zeal and ardor. When argument and reasoning have produced their full effect, the pathetic is admitted with the greatest force and propriety.
A speaker should cautiously avoid giving his hear. ers warning, that he intends to excite their passions! Every thing of this kind chills their sensibility. There is also a great difference between telling the hearers that they ought to be moved, and actually moving them. To every emotion or passion nature has adapta ed certain corresponding objects; and without settin these before the mind it is impoffible for an orator to excite that emotion. We are warmed with gratitude, we are touched with compassion, not when a speaker shows us that these are noble dispositions, and that it is our duty to feel them ; nor when he exclaims against us for our indifference and coldness. Hitherto he has addressed only our reason or conscience. He must describe the kindness and tenderness of our friend;
he must exhibit the distress, suffered by the person, for whom he would interest us. Then, and not before, our hearts begin to be touched, our gratitude or compassion begins to flow. The basis therefore of all fuccessful exécution in pathetic oratory is to paint the object of that passion, which we desire to raise, in the most natural and striking manner; to describe it with such circumstances, as are likely to awaken it in the minds: of others.
To succeed in the pathetic, it is neceffary to attend! to the proper language of the passions. This, if we consult nature, we shall ever find is unaffected and fimple. It may be animated by bold and strong fige. ures, but it will have no ornament, nor finery. There is a great difference between painting to the imagina-tion and to the heart. The one may be done with de-liberation and coolness; the other must always be rapid and ardent. In the former art and labor may be fufa. fered to appear; in the latter no proper effect can be. produced, unless it be the work of nature only. Hence. all digressions should be avoided, which may interrupt or turn aside the swell of passion. Hence comparisons. are always dangerous, and commonly quite improper in the midst of the pathetic. It is also to be observed, that violent emotions cannot be lasting. The pathetic therefore should not be prolonged too much. Due re.. gard should always be preserved to what the hearers