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MORAL AND RELIGIOUS
A COLLECTION OF
SEVERAL THOUSAND FACTS, INCIDENTS, NARRATIVES
EXAMPLES, AND TESTIMONIES,
BEST OF THE KIND IN MOST FORMER COLLECTIONS, AND SOME HUNDREDS
IN ADDITION, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED.
THE WHOLE ARRANGED AND CLASSIFIED ON A NEW PLAN
WITH COPIOUS TOPICAL AND SCRIPTURAL INDEXES.
BY REV. K. ARVINE, A.M.,
PASTOR OF THE PROVIDENCE CHURCH, NEW-YORK.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION, BY REV. CEORGE B. CHEEVER, D.D.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1848,
By LEAVITT, TROW & COMPANY,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New-York.
Tuz importance of illustration for the purpose of enforcing truth is so obvious, that it seems a work of supererogation to say one word concerning it. Much has been said in books of rhetoric in regard to the use of figures, tropes, metaphors, and so forth, to add animation to style, and vigor and beauty to eloquence. But the best rhetorical rules will be insensibly discovered and adopted by the mind itself
, in familiarity with the most thoughtful, suggestive, and illustrative writers. Principal Campbell, in his Philosophy of Rhetoric, observes, that the senator and the lawyer, in the matter of eloquence, have the advantage of the preacher, because, their subject is generally persons, while his is mainly things. preacher ought, therefore, to endeavor to personify, as far as possible, the things ül his argument
, the truths he is called to announce; putting them in the shape of persons, and showing them in action. Interesting relations of fact, will sometimes accomplish this object with great power and success.
In the selection and use of such facts, there is need of judgment. A greater benefit can hardly be bestowed upon the cause of truth, than a good collection of authentic and interesting points in the current of man's life and God's providence. Such an encyclopedia may be a book of reference, in which a man may often find materials to enliven and render attractive a discourse which might otherwise have proved very dull, or to fasten on the conscience a truth or a warning, which otherwise would have fallen on the ear unnoticed, and glided past the mind unfelt. It is not enough that truth be pointed, like a straight, smooth piece of steel; it needs side points, as a dart, that it may not draw out, When it effects an entrance.
Sometimes, a discourse may be so smooth, so polished, and pointed so finely, that it may go quite through the understanding and the heart, without stopping in it, or leaving any trace of its passage. It is a great mistake to have truth go through its mark, and fall out and be lost on the other side.
Barbed arrows are good, not for the purpose of inflicting unnecessary pain, but of compelling notice ; they may be barbed with anecdote and illustration, in such
a way, that it shall be hardly possible for them to fail. But barbs alone are useless. An archer would be poorly off, if he had nothing in his quiver but arrow-heads or feathers. For an illustration to be useful or successful, there must be something to be illustrated. A sermon made up of anecdotes and fowers
, is quite as deficient as a sermon of the driest abstractions. Anecdotes and illustrations, may not only illustrate a point, and make an audience see and feel the argument, but they may themselves add to the argument; they may be at once a part of the reasoning, and an elucidation of it. Indeed
, a just figure always adds power to a chain of logic, and increases the amount of truth conveyed. It is also of great use in relieving the attention ; as å stopping place where the mind is rested, and prepared to resume the reasoning without fatigue, without loss. Almost any expedient, which decorum permits, may be justified in order to prevent drowsiness, keep the mind awake, and fix the attention of an audience. Nevertheless, such attention, however it may be gained by extraordinary expedients, cannot be kept but by truth worth illustrating.
We have heard of an eccentric preacher, who had a church member named Mark, in the habit of sleeping under the discourses of his pastor. One day, in the midst of his sermon, the preacher, being about to enunciate an important