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CH A P. VI.
SECT. Í. Wisdom better than Learning in the Pulpit.
TERO is a young Preacher just come
I from the Schools of Logick and Divinity, and advanced to the Pulpit; he was counted a smart Youngster in the Academy for analysing a Proposition, and is full, even to the Brim, with the Terms of his Art and Learning. When he has read his Text, after a short Flourish of Introduction, he tells you, in how many Senses the chief Word is taken, first among Greek Heathen Writers, and then in the New Testament; he cites all the Chapters and the Verses exactly, and endeavours to make you understand many a Text before he lets you know fully what he means by his own. He finds these Things at large in tlie Criticks which he has consulted, where this sort of Work is necessary and beautiful, and therefore he imagines it will become his Sermon well. Then he informs you very learnedly of the various false Exposicions which have been given by Divines and Commentators on this Part of Scripture, and it may be the Reafons of each of them too ; and he refutes them with much Zeal and Contempt. Having thus cleared his Way he fixes upon the Exposition which his Judgment best approves, and dwells, generally five or ten Minutes, upon the Arguments to confirm it; and this he does not only in Texts of Darkness and Difficulty, but even when scarce a Child could doubt of his Meaning,
attentive to opposite Truth, and in Proportion to the Degree in which their Minds open, and their Tempers grow more generous and virtuous, may be induced to resign it. And surely nothing can give a benevolent Mind more Satisfaction, than to improve his Neighbour in Knowledge and in Goodness at the same Time.
This Grammatical Exercise being performed he applies himself to bis Logick. The Text is divided and subdivided into many little Pieces; he points you precisely to the Subject and the Predicate, brings you acquainted with the Agent and the Object, shows you all the Properties and the Accidents that attend it, and would fain make you understand the Mutter and the Form of it, as well as he does himself. When he has thus done, two thirds of the Hour is
spent, and his Hearers are quite tired; then he begins to draw near to his Doctrine or grand Theme of Discourse; and having told the Audience, with great Formality and Exactness, what it is, and in what Method he shall manage it, he names you one or two Particulars under the first General Head; and by this Time finds it necessary to add, " He intended indeed to have “ been larger in the Illustration of his Suba rjeet, and he should have given you some 5 Reasons for the Doctrine, but he is forrry that he is prevented; and then he “ designed also to have brought it down to “ the Conscience of every Man by a warm " Address; but his Time being gone he “ must break off.” He hurries over a Hint or two, which should have been wrought up into Exhortation or Instruction, but all in great Haste, and thus concludes his Work. The obftinate and the careless Sinner go away unawakened, unconvinced ; and the mourning Soul departs uncomforted: The Unbeliever is not led to Faith in the Goffel, nor the immoral Wretch to hate or forsake his Iniquities : The Hypocrite and the Man of Sincerity are both unedified, because the Preacher had not Time. In thort, he has finished his Work, and he has done nothing,
When I hear this Man preach, it brings to my Remembrance the Account which I have heard concerning the Czar of Muscovy,
the the first Time that his Army befieged a Town in Livonia : He was then just come from his Travels in Great Britain, where he and his Ministers of State had learned the Mathematicks of an old Acquaintance of mine : The Czar took great Care to begin the Siege in Form, he drew all his Lines of Circumvallation and Contravallation according to the Rules of Art; but he was so tedious and lo exact in these Mathematical Performances that the Seafon was spent, he was forced to break up the Siege, and retire without any Execution done upon the Town.
ERGATES is another Sort of Preach. er, a Workman that need not be ashamed: · He had in his younger Days but few of these learned Vanities, and Age and Experience have now worn them all off: He preaches like a Man who watches for our Souls, as one that must give an Account; he' pasits over lefler Matters with Speed, and pursues his great Delign, (viz.) to save binself and them that bear bim, I Tim. iv. 16. And by following this Advice of St. Paul, he happily complies with that great and natural Rule of Horace, always to make Haste towards the most valuable End:
Semper ad eventum feftinat: He nevet affects to chuse a very obscure
Text, left he should waste too much of the Hour in explaining the literal Sense of it: He reserves all those Obscurities till they come in Course at his Seasons of publick Exposition; for it is his Opinion, that preaching the Gospel for the Salvation of Men, carries in it a little different Idea from a learned and critical Exposition of the difficult Texts of Scripture.' .
He knows well how to use his L gick in his Composures; but he calls no Part of the Words by its logical Name, if there be any vulgar Name that answers it : Reading and Meditation have furnished him with extenfive Views of his Subject, and his own good Sense hath taught him to give sufficient Reasons for every Thing he asserts; but he never uses one of them till a Proof is needful. He is acquainted with the mistaken Gloffes of Expositors, but he thinks it needless to acquaint his Hearers with them, unless there be evident Danger that they might run into the fame Miftake. He understands well what his Subject is not, as well as what it is; but when he would explain it to you he never says, first, negatively, unless some remarkable Error is at Hand, and which bis Hearers may easily fall into for want of such a Caution.
Thus in five or ten Minutes at the most, he makes his Way plain to the Propofition or Theme on which he deligns to discourse;