Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

teft nisi qui prudenter intelligit. One grain of SERM:
good sense and sound reason is more truly valu- XXXI.
ble, than all the flourishes of rhetorick; who-
soever is rational and plain will be eloquent,
and whosoever is not so, may amuse and sur-
prize his hearers, but will never convince or
persuade them.

3. Another advantage peculiar to him that
our Saviour was possessed of, was, that extraor-
dinary concurrence of the Holy Spirit in all he
said and did, which proceeded more immedi-
ately by emanation from himself. This
wrought in the hearts of those he spoke to, in
a secret and powerful manner, and gave

his words an irresistible force in the minds and consciences of all that were rightly disposed to receive the truths of God. It was by this that he so frequently touched their hearts, and the Disciples who were going to Emmaus, felt the

power of it when they found their hearts burn within them. Now though this be a perfection which no mere man can attain to, yet there are two ways of arriving at some de

[ocr errors]

gree of it.

ist. By a lively imagination, which does not only enable men to form clear and distinct ideas and perceptions of things, but gives them a strange power of conveying them with great strength and clearness into the minds of others; nay, it enables them even mechanically, to raise the like passions in others by which they themselves are actuated. We are all inftruments of the same make and frame, and others

SBRM. being men of like passions with ourselves, XXXI. when our fancy is disposed to receive vigorous

and strong expressions of things, by a secret power in nature we stampt the like on alt about us; there is inchantment in it, and by the help of this alone, strange effects have been wrought: many things have been attributed to magick, which were effected by working up men's imaginations to a mighty pitch, so as to strike the minds and bodies with a fecret and irresistible force.

We see it to be the constant practice on the ftage for men to impregnate their minds strongly with those passions they would raise in others ; they endeavour to forget themselves, and believe they are the very persons they represent; and by this means their pafsions move us, though we know them to be feigned. Now if the imagination has such an influence


the hearts of men in things fictitious and imaginary, what may


power be in things real and serious, and of the most exalted and important nature ? So that we Ihould direct the whole force of our minds that way,

if we hope to incline others to be affected as we would persuade them to be ; we must plainly and strongly appear to have a quick and a feeling sense of those truths which we would persuade our hearers to be lieve.

But the 2d and most effectual way of fupplying the want of that holy Spirit our Saviour


[ocr errors]

had, is by our earnest and incessant prayer to SE RM.
Almighty God, that his Spirit would lead us XXXI.
into whatsoever thall be most for his glory.
This is absolutely necessary, if we desire that
our words should not fall to the ground, but
be fruitful in the hearts of our hearers.

But this and the further prosecution of this
subject, I shall defer to another opportunity.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]


The divine eloquence of our Saviour


This was preached before the Convocation

January the 30, being Sunday, 1703.

JOHN vii. 46.
The officers answered, Never man spake like

this man.



former discourse


these words, XXXII.

when I had shewn the occasion of them, and observed the transcendent excellency of the divine eloquence of our blessed Saviour beyond that of the most celebrated orators among the Heathen ; I proposed to enter upon the consideration of this divine eloquence of our blessed Saviour ; that through the assist

nce of that Spirit that was upon him with: out measure, we may in some degree copy after him in this, which is the great privilege and glory of our order. And in doing this, I did, as I then proposed, in the first place,


[ocr errors][merged small]

consider the matter and substance of what he SERM: spoke, and the style he used.

XXXII. I then also, in the second, proposed to con- m sider some of those advantages our blessed Saviour had beyond all others, to speak as never man spake, and how far he is imitable by us in these particulars. At which time I shewed you,

that the first advantage he had, was that peculiar authority with which he spoke.

The second was that excellent spirit of knowledge which he was endued with.

The third was that extraordinary concurrence of the holy Spirit in all he said, and that too by a more immediate emanation from himself. There were twothings, I then obseryed, were to supply this defect in us; the one was the power of the imagination, the use of which I then shewed.

2. And therefore I am now to proceed to
the other thing, which is to supply the want of
this in us; and that is, the fame concurrence
of the holy Spirit of God; which, because it
cannot operate with us after the same manner
by emanation from ourselves, is therefore to be
obtained by earnest and incessant .
mighty God. This is absolutely necessary in
order to the forming our conceptions, and then
giving them power in the hearts of men.

That concurrence of the Spirit is neceffary
to the right forming the conceptions of our
mind, and the cloathing them with such ex-
pressions, as shall make them conduce most to
Vol. II.


prayer to Al

« PreviousContinue »