himself to join a little in the pleasure which his words confer upon us."

“In truth,” remarked one of the party, "it is a pity to think, that a man who enables you to pass an hour so replete with instruction and interest, should pass it himself in anguish,—in a feverish state of torture. With a better memory—"

"He does not complain of his memory," said the Abbé de la Broue. "He would be unjust if he did; I do not believe that there are many who would succeed as well as he does in getting through such long discourses so prodigiously filled with ideas. But it seems to me, that if he had no other motive, this very fatigue would have induced him to change his style of composition. For my own part,—if I may venture to adduce my own case after that of such a man,—I have always noticed, that those sermons into which I had put more feeling than thought,—at which I had labored rather with my heart than my head, gave me scarcely any trouble to learn, and, that on the contrary, those in which, either from the subject, or from my own fault, the mind had predominated over the heart, were memorized slowly, and with labor.* Again, and most important in this connection, I have also remarked, that the first,-those which I had memorized without trouble, produced the most impression, and gained me the most commendation; not perhaps, from those frivolous hearers whose approbation is worth very little, but from pious and serious people. Furthermore, I have several times happened to discover, that even those who only came to hear a rhetorical discourse, went away again, confessing that a christian discourse was of far more value. Finally, I have had

"When the orator studies his sermon, he is the first judge of it. Experience shows him, that those passages which he has the most trouble in learning, are those which least deserve to be learnt."-MAURY. Pulpit Eloquence.

occasion to make the same observation in respect to the memory of all classes, ignorant or learned, pious or not,--that I have in regard to my own, viz. that it is incomparably quicker and more retentive, when anything comes into it through the heart than when it comes through the head. The preacher, however, is always inclined to fancy the contrary when he is composing his sermon. It seems to him, that the more his subject is divided and subdivided, the clearer it will be; that the more minute the morsels into which the nourishment is separated, the more will be gained from it. Error! error!* When I see him thus exercising his ingenuity in parcelling out some grand and beautiful idea, I fancy I see a man to whom a huge stone has been given in order to break down a door, and who, instead of throwing it with all his might against the obstacle to be vanquished, exhausts himself in breaking up the missile, and in throwing it piece by piece. There is the same difference between a methodical sermon and an eloquent one, as between a chessboard and a picture. In vain might the frame of the chess-board be perfectly beautiful,-in vain, by a refinement of luxury, might each square be ornamented with a different little picture; you would praise the skill and industry of the workman,—but if any one told you that he relied upon your memory to retain the arrangement and the subjects of all these little designs,—would you not be considerably astonished? Would you not say, that the very regularity of the plan, by preventing your fixing your eye upon any one square rather than another, rendered it impossible for you to carry away a distinct and settled idea of it? The workman himself, would probably not without difficulty accomplish that which was required of you."

* "What preparations for a sermon of three quarters of an hour! The more they strive to digest and explain it, the more I am perplexed."-LA BRUYERE.

"I like your comparison," said the Marquis. "Allow me, however, to add one limitation. Does not the difficulty of learning by heart proceed sometimes from quite an opposite reason? You speak only of those sermons which are too full, too compact; those which are not enough so would have the same disadvantage, it seems to me."

"Doubtless,” replied the Abbé. "Accordingly, I do not mean to say, that the less a discourse have, of logical regularity, the more easily it will impress itself upon the memory of author and hearer. Est modus in rebus. A body ought not to be all bones, —but neither should it be all flesh. Let us imitate nature; let us conceal the skeleton, but not banish it entirely; and in the same manner as the human body allows the bony frame which supports it to be perceived beneath the noblest and most graceful outlines, so, in a discourse apparently the most inartificial, a practised eye must always be able, if it will, to follow and discover the frame and connection. Keep within these limits, and instead of burdening the memory, this order and these divisions are its most powerful aids. Yet even if this be the case, it is useless to have it forced upon our attention."

"It is worse than useless," said Fénélon, "for it can but serve to cool our enthusiasm, and deprive eloquence of the illusions with which it must of necessity surround itself."

"That it cools us," said the Abbé Fleury, "is quite certain. This is my first division, this my second, are forms which I detest; they not only cool, but freeze me. But I do not quite comprehend what you mean by the illusions of eloquence. Illusion has a bad sound, in connection with the christian pulpit.”

"Let us change the word if you will; you are quite ready to grant me the thing itself, I am sure. When a preacher affects you, carries you away with him,-what would be the most likely to cut short your emotion?"

"The idea that the emotion of the orator was not sincere."

"Yes, but what else?"

"The idea that he knew his discourse by heart."

"Precisely, but does this idea often come into your mind ?” "Never,—that is unless the speaker has the air of reciting a lesson, or unless he runs after his words. Even in this case, so soon as he begins to go on well again, I begin again to give myself up to him.”

"Well, that is the illusion of which I spoke. You ask nothing better than to receive this discourse,-which you know to be written and learned by heart,-which you have perhaps already heard, as if it sprung at the very instant from the heart of him who addresses you. Far from struggling against your natural inclination to forget the circumstances, the remembrance of which would spoil all, you struggle, on the contrary, against all that could remind you of them. Admirable instinct, for which we cannot be too grateful to Providence, and without which we would be forced to resign all the delights as well as all the advantages of literature, eloquence and the arts! Where would be the charm of the most beautiful verses, if we were condemned to recall what they had cost, to feel the shackles which the rhyme and the rhythm have imposed upon the thoughts! Where would be the charm of painting, if we were not able to abstract the mind from the wooden frame, which interrupts the perspective, and from the time, labor and retouching which the picture has required! From this springs a rule-to return to preaching too often disregarded, which, however, should regulate all that is human and exterior in pulpit art; it is, that all which tends to indicate that the preacher is not extemporizing, should be carefully avoided. "Naturalize art," said Montaigne, "rather than artialize nature." Now the multiplication of divisions, and the too blunt announcement of them, will recall

that to the hearer, which cannot be present to his mind without destroying the effect of the discourse; it is like showing the bellows of the organ to those who would prefer much to be ignorant of its mechanism, in order to concentrate all their attention and all their soul upon the sounds which it produces. Not being able to avoid wishing for the energy and naturalness of extemporization in every discourse, we undertake to endow it with this. Only save appearances, and our hearts, our imaginations will do the rest. But if the audience receive nothing for their expenditure of good-will; if the reality be so palpable as to render illusion impossible, their vexation increases in proportion to all the attempts they have made. We only ask to be deceived; so much the worse then for the orator if he undeceive us, and despoil himself of the crown which we wish to place upon his head. Unhappily it is upon ourselves also, that the consequences of his fault falls, for, this illusion once destroyed, it is scarcely possible that the sermon can edify us.* We may get some ideas from it, if it contain any, but as for deep and edifying impressions, they are not to be dreamed of. A sermon perfect in this respect, is one in which labor and art are imperceptible to those who are not thinking of looking for them; that in which I find a plan when I seek one, but where nothing forces me to see it when I am not looking for it, and when the understanding of the head is willing to give place to that of the heart."

* "If the audience be affected by the dread of seeing you stop short, it can be affected by nothing you say."-LA BRUYERE.

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