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1. ACCUSTOM yourself to read those Authors who think and write, with great Clearness and Evidence, such as convey their Ideas into your Underítanding, as fast as your Eye or Tongue can run over their Sentences; this will imprint upon the Mind an Habit of Imitation, we Thall learn the Style with which we are very conversant, and practise it with Eafe and Success.
2. GET a distinct and comprehenhve Knowledge of the Subject which you treat of, survey it on all Sides, and make yourself perfect Master of it, then you will have all the Sentiments that relate to it in your View and under your Command, and your Tongue will very easily clothe thore Ideas with Words which your Mind has first made so familiar and easy to itself.
Scribendi re&tè sapere eft & principium & fons, Verbaque provifam rem non invita Jequentur.
Hor. de Arte Poet. Good Teaching from good Knowledge Springs, Words will make hafte to follow Things.
3. BE well filld in the Language which you speak; acquaint yourself with all the Tidoms and special Phrases of it, which are necessary to convey the needful Ideas on the Subject of which you treat, in the most various and most easy manner to the Under
standing standing of the Hearer : The Variation of a Phrase in several Forms is of admirable Use to instruct, 'tis like turning all sides of the Şubject to view; and if the Learner happen not to take in the Ideas in one Form of Speech, probably another may be successful for that End.
Upon this Account I have always thought it a useful Manner of Instruction, which is used in some Latin Schools, which they cell Variation. Take some plain Sentence in the English Tongue, and then turn it into many Forms in Latin ; as for Instance, A Wolf let into the Sheep-fold, will devour the Sheep. If you let a Wolf into the Fold, the Sheep will be devour'd: The Wolf will devour the Sheep, if the Sheep-fold be left oper. If the Fóld be not left shut carefully, the Wolf will devour the Sheep : The Sheep will be devour'd by the Wolf, if it find the Way into the Fold open. There is no Defence of the Sheep from the Wolf, unless it be kept out of the Fold. A Slaughter will be made amongst the Sheep, if the Wolf can get into the Fold. Thus by turning the active Voice of Verbs into the passive, and the nominative Cale of Nouns into the accurative, and altering the connection of hort Sentences by different Adverbs or Conjunctions, and by ablative Cases with a Prepo. sition brought instead of the Nominative, or by Participles sometimes put instead of the Verbs, the Negation of the contrary, in
stead of the Assertion of the Thing first proposed a great Variety of Forms of Speech will be created, which shall express the same Sense.
4. ACQUIRE a Variety of Words, a Copia Verborum, let your Memory be rich in synonymous Terms or Words, exprelling the saine Thing : This will not only attain the same happy Effect with the Variation of Phrases in the foregoing Direction, but it will add a Beauty also to your Style, by securing you from an Appearance of Tautology, or repeating the same Words too often, which sometimes may disgust the Ear of the Learner.
5. LEARN the Art of shortning your Sentences, by dividing a long complicated Period into two or three small ones. When others connect and join two or three Sentences in one by relative Pronouns, as whicb, whereof, wherein, whereto, &c. and by Parentheses frequently inserted, do you rather divide them into distinct Periods, or at least if they must be united, let it be done rather by Conjunctions, and Copulatives, that they may appear like distinct Sentences, and give less Confufion to the Hearer or Reader.
I KNOW no Method fo effectual to learn what I mean as to take now and then some Page of an Author, who is guilty of such a long involved parenthetical Style, and tranflate it into plainer English, by dividing the Ideas or the Sentences asunder, and multiplying the Periods, till the Language become smooth and easy, and intelligible at first Reading.
6. I AL K frequently to young and ignorant Perfons, upon Subjects which are new and unknown to them, and be diligent to enquire, whether they understand you or no; this will put you upon changing your Phrases and Forms of Speech in a variety, till you can hit their Capacity, and convey your Ideas into their Understanding.
CH A P. III. Of convincing other Persons of any
Truth; or delivering them from · Errors and Mistakes. W H EN we are arrived at a just and
W rational Establishment in an Opinion, whether it relate to Religion or common Life, we are naturally desirous of bringing all the World into our Sentiments; and this proceeds from the Affectation and Pride of superior Influence upon the Judgment of our Fellow-Creatures, much more
frequently than it does from a Sense of Duty or Love to Truth: so vicious and corrupt is human Nature. Yet there is such a Thing to be found as an honest and sincere Delight in propagating Truth, arising from a dutiful Regard to the Honour of our Maker, and an hearty Love to Mankind. Now if we would be successful in our Attempts to convince Men of their Errors and to promote the Truth, let us diveft ourselves as far as possible of that Pride and Affectaion, which I mentioned before, and seek to acquire that difinterested Love to Men and Zeal for the Truth, which will naturally lead us into the best Methods to promote it. And here the following Directions may be useful.
I. If you would convince a Person of his Mistake “ choose a proper Place, a happy “ Hour, and the fittest concurrent Circumstan“ ces for this purpose.” Do not unseasonably set upon him when he is engaged in the midst of other Affairs, but when his Soul is at Liberty and at Leisure to hear and attend. Accost him not upon that Subject, when his Spirit is ruffled or diícomposed with any Occurrences of Life, and especially when he has heated his Passions in the Defence of a contrary Opinion ; but rather seize fome golden Opportunity when some Occurrences of Life may cast a favourable Aspect upon the Truth of which you would convince him, or which may throw some dark and unhappy