Billeder på siden

most valuable qualities are united; such as beauty and force of genius, delicacy of wit, solidity of judgment, a refined taste, a vast extent of knowledge, and long experience. There we see combats fought every day between famous champions, in the presence of learned and judicious magistrates, and amidst an extraordinary concourse of spectators, drawn thither by the importance of the affairs, and the reputation of the speakers. There Eloquence exhibits herself in every shape; in one, grave and serious; in another, sprightly and gay; sometimes unprepared and negligent ; at others in her finest attire, and arrayed with all her ornaments; diffusive or contracted, soft or strong, sublime and majestic, or more simple and familiar, as causes vary. Not a single word is there lost ; no beauty, no defect, escape the attentive and intelligent auditors; and whilst the judges on one hand, with the scale in their hands, in the presence and in the name of Supreme Justice, determine the fate of private persons ; the public, on the other, in a tribunal no less inaccessible to favour, determine concerning the merit and reputation of lawyers, and pass a sentence from which there is no appeal.

Nothing, in my opinion, can raise the glory of the Bar more than to see such a spirit of equityandmoderation prevailin the body of lawyers, as gives everyone his due, and banishes all jealousy and envy, and that amidst all those exercises which are so capable of fomenting self-love; and when the ancient lawyers, almost upon the point of quitting the lists, in which they have been so frequently crowned, joyfully see a new swarm of young orators entering, in order to succeed them in their labours, and support the honour of a profession that is still dear to them, and for which they cannot forbear interesting themselves; and when the latter, so far from suffering themselves to be dazzled by their growing reputation, pay a great deference to their seniors, and respect them as their fathers and masters; in a word, when the same emulation prevails young lawyers, which was seen formerly between Hortensius and Cicero, of which the latter has left us a fine description. [g]I was very far, says he, speaking of Hortensius, froni looking upon him as an enemy, or a dangerous rival. I loved and esteemed him as the spectator and companion of my glory. I was sensible how advantageous it was for me to have such an adversary, and the honour which accrued to me from having sometimes an opportunity to dispute the victory with him. Neither of us ever opposed the other's interest. It was a pleasure to us to assist one another, by communicating our lights, giving advice mutually, and supporting each other by reciprocal esteem; which had such an effect, that each placed his friend above himself.


among the

The Bar therefore may be an excellent school for young lawyers, not only with regard to Eloquence, but to virtue, if they are capable of improving by the good examples it affords. They are young and unexperienced, and consequently ought to determine little, but to hear and consult very much. How great soever their understandings or abilities may be, they yet ought to be very modest. This virtue, which is the ornament of their age, at the same time that it seems to conceal, sets off their merit the more. But above all, they should shun that mean kind of jealousy which is tortured at another's glory and reputation ; that ought to [1] form the bond of friendship and unity. They must, I say, shun jealousy, as the most

Ibid. n. 323.

[8] Dolebam quòd non, ut ple. Brut. n. 2, 3. rique putabant, adversarium autob. Sic duodecim post meum consua trectatorem laudum mearum, sed latum annos in maximis causis, socium potiùs & consorten gloriosi cùm ego mihi illum, sibi me ille laboris amiseram. . . Quo enim ani- anteferret, conjunctissimè versati mo ejus mortem ferre debui, cùm sumus. quo certare erat gloriosius, quàm [b] Æqualitas vestra, & artium omnino adversarium non habere ? studiorumque quasi finitima vicini. cum præsertim non modò nunquam tas, tantum abest ab obtrectatione sit, aut illius à me cursus impeditus, invidiæ, quæ solet lacerare plerosaut ab illo meus, sed contrà semper que, uti ea non modò non exulcealter ab altero adjutus & commu- rare vestram gratiam, sed etiam con. nicando, & monendo, & favendo. ciliare videatur. Brut. n. 156.


shameful of vices, the most unworthy a man of honour, and the greatest enemy to society.



SAINT Austin, in his excellent work, called the Christian Doctrine, which we cannot recommend too much to the professors of Rhetoric, distinguishes two things in the Christian orator; what he says, and

; his manner of saying it; the things in themselves, and the method of discussing them, which he calls sapienter dicere, eloquenter dicere. I will begin with the latter, and conclude with the former.




[i] Saint Austin, pursuant to Cicero's plan of the duties of an orator, tells us they consist in instructing, pleasing, and moving the passions. Dixit quidam eloquens, 8; verum dixit, ita dicere debere eloquentem, ut doceat, ut delectet, ut flectat [k]. He repeats the same thing in other terms, saying, the Christian orator must speak in such a manner as to be heard intelligenter, libenter, obedienter : viz. that we should comprehend what he says, hear it with pleasure, and consent to what he would persuade us. [l] For preaching has three ends : That the truth should be known to us, should be heard with pleasure, and move

Vt veritas pateat, ut veritas placeat, ut veritas moveat. I shall pursue the same plan, and go through the three duties of a Christian orator.


[i] De Doctr. Chr. I. 4. n. 27. [*] N. 30.

(1) De Doctr. Chr. n. 61.


I. DUTY OF A PREACHER. To instruct, and for that End to speak clearly.

Since the preacher speaks in order to instruct, and has equal obligations to all, to the ignorant and the poor, as much, and perhaps more, than to the learned and the rich ; his chief care should be to make himself clearly understood: every thing must contribute to this end : the disposition, the thoughts, the expression, and the utterance.

It is a vicious taste in some orators, [m]to imagine they are very profound, when much is required to comprehend them. They do not consider, that every discourse which wants an interpreter, is a very bad one. [n] The supreme perfection in a preacher's style should be to please the unlearned as well as the learned, by exhibiting an abundance of beauties for the latter, and being very perspicuous for the former. But in case those advantages cannot be united, [0] St. Austin would have us sacrifice the first to the second, and neglect ornaments, and even purity of diction, if it will contribute to make us more intelligible; because it is for that end we speak. This sort of neglect, which requires some genius and art, as [p] he observes after Cicero, and which proceeds from our being more attentive to things than to words, must not, however, be carried so far as to make the discourse low and grovelling, but only clearer and more intelligible.

St. Austin wrote at first against the Manichees, in a florid and sublime style; whence his writings were

[m] Tunc demum ingeniosi sci- ageret, esse in eâ quandam diligenlicet, si ad intelligendos nos tem negligentiam. Hæc tamen sic ingenio. Quint. in Præm. l. 8. c. 2. detrahit ornatum, ut sordes non con

Otiosum (or, vitiosum)sermonem trahat. S. August. de Doct. Christ. dixerim, quem auditor suo ingenio 1. 4. n. 24. non intelligit. Ibid.

Melius est reprehendant nos [] Ita & sermodoctis probabilis, grammatici, quàm non intelligant & planus imperitis erit. Ibid. populi. Idem in Psal. cxxxviii.

Lo] Cujus evidentiæ diligens ap- 10] Indicat non ingratam negli. peritus aliquando negligit verba gentiam, de re hominis magis, cultiora, nec curat quid benè sonet, quàm de verbis, laborantis. . . sed quid bene indicet atque intimet Quædam etiam negligentia est diliquod ostendere intendit. Unde ait gens. Orai. n. 77,78. quidam,cùm de tali genere locutionis




[ocr errors]


not intelligible to those who had but a moderate share of learning, at least not without great difficulty. [9]. Upon this he was told, that if he desired to have his works more generally useful, he must write in the plain and common style, which has this advantage over the other, that it is equally intelligible to the learned and the unlearned. The holy father received this advice with his usual humility, and made proper use of it in the books he afterwards wrote against the heretics, and in his sermons. His example ought to be a rule to all those who are to instruct others.

As obscurity is the fault which the preacher should chiefly avoid, and that his auditors are not allowed to interrupt him, when they meet with any thing obscure; [r] St. Austin advises him to read in the

eyes and countenances of his auditors, whether they understand hiin or not; and to repeat the same thing, by giving it different turns, till he perceives he is understood; an advantage which those cannot have, who, by a servile dependance on their memories, learn their sermons by heart, and repeat them as so many lessons.

[s] That which generally occasions obscurity in discourse, is our endeavouring to explain ourselves always with brevity and conciseness. One had better say too much than too little. A style that is every where sprightly and concise, such as that of Sallust or of Tertullian, for instance, may suit works which are

(9) Me benevolentissimè monue. da multitudo ; quod donec signifirunt: ut communem loquendi con- cet, versandum est quod agitur mul. suetudinem non desererem, si er- timodâ varietate dicendi : quod in rores illos tam perniciosos ab ani- potestate non habent, qui præparata mis etiam imperitorum expellere & ad verbuin memoriter retenta cogitarem. Hunc enim sermonem pronunciant. S. Aug. de Doctr. usitatum & simplicem etiam docti Christ. 1. 4. n.25. intelligunt, illuin autem indocti [s] Cavenda, quæ nimiùm cornon intelligunt. De Gen. contra ripientes omnia sequitur, obscuriManich. l. 1. c. 1.

tas; satiusque est aliquid (orationi) [r] Ubi omnes tacent ut audiatur superesse, quàm deesse. . .Vitanda linus, & in eum intenta ora con- illa Sallustiana (quanquam in ipso vertunt, ibi ut requirat quisque virtutis locuin obtinet) brevitas, & quod non intellexerit, nec moris est, abruptum sermonis genus,quod otincc decoris : ac per hoc debet maxi- osum fortasse lectorem minùs fallit, mè tacenti subvenire cura dicentis. audientem transvolat, nec dum reSolet autem motu suo significare petatur exspectat. Quint. l. 4. c. 2. utrùin intellexerit cognoscendi avi.


« ForrigeFortsæt »