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and support each other; and though you do not distinguish your Discourse into Parliculars, yet you have kept some invisible Method all the Way, and by some artificial Gradations, you have brought your Sermon down to the concluding Sentence.
It may be so sometimes, and I will acknowledge it : But believe me Fluvio, this artificial and inviGble Method carries Darkness with it instead of Light; nor is it by any Means a proper Way to instruct the Vulgar, that is, the Bulk of your Auditory: Their Souls are not capable of so wide á Stretch, as to take in the whole Chain of your long connected Consequences: You talk Reason and Religion to them in vain, if you do not make the Argument so short as to come within their Grasp, and give a frequent Rest for their Thoughts: You must break the Bread of Life into Pieces to feed Children with it, and part your Discourses into distinct Propofitions, to give the Ignorant a plain Scheme of any one Doctrine, and enable them to comprehend or retain it. ,
Every Day gives us Experiments to confirm what I say, and to encourage Ministers to divide their Sermons into several diftinct Heads of Discourse. Myrtilla, a little Creature of nine Years old, was at Church twice Yesterday: In the Morning the Preacher entertain’d his Audience with a running Oration, and the Child could give her Parents
no other Account of it, but that he talked smoothly and sweetly about Vertue and Heaven. It was Ergates's Lot to fulfil the Service of the Afternoon ; He is an excellent Preacher, both for the Wise and Unwise: In the Evening, Myrtylla very prettily entertained her Mother with a Repetition of the most considerable Parts of the Sermon ; for “ Here, said she, I can fix my Thoughts " upon First, Secondly, and Thirdly, upon the “ Doctrine, the Reasons, and the Inferences, « and I know what I must try to remember, " and repeat it when my Friends thall alk “ me: But as for the Morning Sermon I “ could do nothing but hear it, for I could « not tell what I should get by Heart."
This manner of talking in a loose Harangue, has not only injured our Pulpits, but it makes the several Essays and Treatises, that are written now-a-days less capable of improving the Knowledge, or enriching the Memory of the Reader.
I will easily grant, that where the whole Discourse reaches not beyond a few Pages, there is no Necessity of the formal Proposal of the several Parts, before you handle each of them distinctly, nor is there need of such a fet Method: The unlearned and narrow Understanding can take an easy View of the Whole, without the Authors pointing to the several Parts. But where the Eflay is prolonged to a greater Extent, Contusion grows
upon the Reader almost at every Page, without some Scheme or Method of succeflive Heads in the Discourse, to direct the Mind and Aid the Memory.
If it be answered here, That neither such Treatises nor Sermons are a mere Heap, for there is à juft Method observed in the Composure, and the Subjects are ranked in a pro. per Order. It is ealy to reply, That this Me. thod is so concealed, that a common Reader or Hearer can never find it; and you must suppose every one that peruses such a Book, and much more that attends such a Dilcourse, to have some good Knowledge of the Art of Logic before he can distinguish the various Parts and Branches, the Connections and Transitions of it. To an unlearned Eye or Ear it appears a mere Heap of good Things without any Method, Form or Order ; and if you tell your young Friends they should get it into their Heads and Hearts, they know not how to set about it.
If weenquire, how it comes to pass that our moderu ingenious Writers should affect this Manner? I know no juster Reason to give for it, than a humorous and wanton Contempt of the Customs and Practices of our Fore-fathers; a senlible Disgust taken at some of their Mistakes and ill Conduct at first tempta ed a vain Generation into the contrary Extreme near fixty Years ago ; and now even to this Day it continues too much in Fashion,
'fo that the Wise as well as the Weak are alhamed to oppose it, and are borne down with the Current.
Our Fathers formed their Sermons much upon the Model of Doctrine, Reason and Ule; and perhaps there is no one Method of more universal Service, and more easily applicable to most Subjects, though it is not necessary or proper in every Discurse: But the very Names of Doctrine and Use are become now: a-days such stale and old-fashion'd Things, that a modith Preacher is quite ashamed of them, nor can a modish Hearer bear the Sound of those Syllables : A direct and distinct Addrefs to the Consciences of Saints and Sinners, must not be named or mentioned, though these Terms are Scriptural; left it should be hiss'd out of the Church, like the Garb of a Round-head or a Puritan.
SOMĘ of our Fathers have multiplied their Particulars under one fingle Head of Difcourse, and run up the Tale of them to fixteen or seventeen. Culpable indeed, and tco numerous ! But in Opposition to this Extreine, we are almost ashamed in our Age to say Thirdly; and all Fourthly's and Fifthly's are very unfashionable Words.
Our Fathers made too great account of the Sciences of Logic and Metaphysicks, and the Formalities of Definition and Division, Sylbogifm and Method, when they brought them
so often into the Pulpit ; but we hold those Arts so much in Contempt and Defiance, that we had rather Talk a whole Houe with. out Order and without Edification; than be suspected of using Logic or Method in our Discourses.
SOME of our Fathers neglected Politeness perhaps too much, and indulged a Coarse: ness of Style, and a rough or awkward Pronounciation ; but we have such a Value for Elegancy, and so nice a Taste for what we call Polite, that we dare not spoil the Caa dence of a Period to quote a Text of Scripture in it, nor disturb the Harmony of our Sentences, to number or to name the Heads of our Discourse. And for this Reason, i have heard it hinted, that the Name of Christ has been banished out of polite Sarmon's, because it is a Monosyllable of so many Consonants, and so harth a Sound.
But after all, our Fathers with all their Defects, and with all their Weaknesses, preached the Gospel of Christ to the sen Gible Instruction of whole Parishes, to the Conver Gon of Sinners from the Errors of their Way, and the Salvation of Multitudes of Souls. But it has been the late Complaint of Dr. Edwards, and other worthy Sons of the establish'd Church, that in two many Pulpits now-a-days, there are only heard some smooth Declamations, while the Hearers that were ignorant of the Gospel, abide