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next day one preached apon these words, Abraham begat Isaac ; when he had gone a good way, at last he observed, that Abraham was resident; for if he had been non-resident he could never have begot Isaac, and so fell foul upon the nonresidents.
Do as I
say, not as I do. But if a physician had the same disease upon him that I have ; and he would bid me do one thing, and he do quite another, could I believe him?
PREACHING the same sermon to all sorts of people, is, as if a schoolmaster should read the same lesson to his several forms. If he reads amo, amas, amavi, the highest fornis laugh at him, the younger boys admire him ; so 'tis in preaching to a mixed auditory. Objection. But it cannot be otherwise; the parish cannot be divided into several forms: what must the preacher then do in discretion ? Answer. Why, then, let him use some expressions, by which this or that condition of people may know such doctrine does more especially concern them, it being so delivered, that the wisest may be contented to hear. For if he delivers it altogether, and leaves it to them to single out what belongs to themselves (which is the usual way) 'tis as if a man would bestow gifts upon children of several ages: two years old, four years old, ten years old, &c. and there he brings tops, pins, points, ribbands, and casts them all in a heap together upon a table before them; though the boy of ten years old knows how to choose his top, yet the child of two years old, that should have a ribband, takes a pin, and the pin, ere he be aware, pricks his fingers, and then all's out of order, &c. Preaching, for the most part, is the glory of the preacher, to sbew himself a fine man; catechizing would do much better.
FIRST in your sermons use your logic, and then your rhetoric. Rhetoric without logic, is like a tree with leaves and blossoms, but no root; yet I confess more are taken with rhetoric than logic, because they are catched with a free expression, when they understand not reason. Logic must be natural, or it is worth nothing at all: your rhe toric figures may be learned. That rhetoric is best, which is most seasonable and most catching. An instance we have in that old blunt commander, at Cadiz, who shew'd himself a good orator, being to say something to his soldiers (which he was not used to do) he made them a speech to this purpose; “ What a shame will it be, you ENGLISH“ MEN, that feed upon good beef and brewers, to “ let those rascally Spaniards beat you, that eat “ nothing but oranges and lemons ?” And so put inore courage into his men, than he could have done with a more learned oration. Rhetoric is very good, or stark naught: there is no medium in rhetoric. If I am not fully persuaded, I laugh at the orator.
THEY that talk of nothing but predestination, and will not proceed in the way of heaven till they be satisfied in that point, do as a man that would not come to London, unless, at his first step, he might set his foot upon the top of St. Paul's.
DR. PRIDEAUX, in his lectures, several days used arguments to prove predestination; at last tells his auditory they are damned that do not believe it. Doing herein just like school-boys, when one of them has got an apple, or something the rest have a mind to, they use all the arguments they can to get some of it from him, “ I gave
you some t'other day.” “ You shall have some “ with me another. time." When they cannot prevail, they tell him he's a jackanapes, a rogue, and a rascal.
USE the best arguments to persuade, though but few understand; for the ignorant will sooner believe the judicious of the parish than the preacher himself, and they teach when they dispute what he has said, and believe it the sooner, con
firmed by men of their own side. For betwixt the laity and the clergy, there is, as it were, a continual driving of a bargain ; something the clergy would still have us be at, and therefore many things are heard from the preacher with suspicion. They are afraid of some ends, which are easily assented to, when they have it from some of themselves. 'Tis with a sermon as 'tis with a play; many come to see it which do not understand it; and yet, hearing it cried up by one, whose judgment they cast themselves upon, and of power with them, they swear, and will die in it, that 'tis a good play, which they would not have done if the priest himself had told them so. As in a great school, 'tis not the master that teaches all; the monitor does a great deal of work, it may
be the boys are afraid to see the master; so in a parish, 'tis not the minister does all; the greater neighbour teaches the lesser; the master of the house teaches his servants, &c.
THERE were some mathematicians that could with one fetch of their pen, make an exact circle, and with the next touch, point out the centre; is it therefore reasonable to banish all use of the compasses ? Set forms are a pair of compasses.
IT is not so proper to hew out religious reformations by the sword, as to polish them by fair
and equal disputations among those that are most concerned in the differences, whom not force, but reason ought to convince.
SOME kind of zeal counts all merciful modera. tion lukewarmness, and had rather be cruel, than counted cold; and is not seldom more greedy to kill the bear for his skin, than for any harm he bath done. The confiscation of men's estates being more beneficial, than the charity of saving their lives or reforming their errors.
IT is no news to have all innovations ushered in with the name of Reformation, in Church and State, by those, who, seeking to gain reputation with the vulgar for their extraordinary parts and piety, must needs undo whatever was formerly settled never so well and wisely. So hardly can the pride of those that study novelties, allow former times any share or degree of wisdom or godliness.
FOR the manner of using set and prescribed forms, there is no doubt, but that wholesome words being known and fitted to men's understandings, are soonest received into their hearts,
aptest to excite and carry along with them judicious and fervent affections.