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The FIRST DIALOGUE, between
A. and B. and C.
A. DELL, Sir, I suppose you
have been hearing the Sermon to which you wou'd
have carry'd me. I have but very
little Curiosity that way, and ain content with our Parish-Minister.
B. I was charm'd with my Preacher. You had a great loss, Sir, in not hearing him. I have hir'da Pew, that I may not miss one of his Lent-Sermons. O! he's
a wonderful Man. If you did but once hear hiin, you cou'd never bear any other.
A. If it be so, I'm resolv'd never to hear him. I wou'd not have any One Preacher give ine a distaste of all Others; on the contrary, I fou'd chuse one that will give me such a Relish and Respect for the Word of God, as may dispose me the more to hear it preach'd every wherê. But since I have lost so much by not hearing this fine Discourse you are so pleas'd with, you may inake up part of that loss, if you'll be so kind as to communicate to us what you remember of it.
B. I shou'd only mangle the Serinon, by endeavouring to repeat any part of it. There were an hundred Beauties in it that one cannot recollect, and which none but the. Preacher himself cou'd display -
A. Well; but let us at least know something of his Design, his Proofs, his Doctrine, and the chief Truths he enlarg’d
Do you reineinber nothing? Was you uriattentive?
B. Far from it : I never listen'd with inore Attention and Pleasure. C. What is the Matter then? Do
you want to be intreated?
B. No: but the Preachers Thoughts were so refin'd, and depended so inuch on the Turn and Delicacy of his Expressions, 3
that tho' they charm'd ine while I heard thein, they cannot be easily recollected; and tho' one cou'd remember them, if they be express’d in other words, they wou'd not seem to be the same Thoughts ; but lose all their Grace and Force.
A. Surely, Sir, these Beauties must be very fading, if they vanish thus
the Touch, and will not bear a Review: I shou'd be much better pleas'd with a Discourse which has more Body in it, and less Spirit; that things might inake a deeper Impression on the Mind, and be more easily remember'd. What is the End of speaking, but to persuade People, and to instruct them in such Truths as they can retain? C. Now you liave begun, Sir, I hope
goon with this useful Subject. A. I wish I cou'd prevail with you, Sir, to give us some general Notion of the elegant Harangue you heard.
B. Since you are so very urgent, I'll tell you what I can recolleět of it. The Text was this, I have eaten ashes like Pfal, cij. 9. bread. Now cou'd any one inake a happier choice of a Text for Ash-Wednesday ! He shew'd us that, according to this Pasfage, Ashes ought this Day to be the Food of our Souls : Then in his Preamble he ingeniously interwove the Story of Artemefia, with regard to her Husband's
Ashes. His ☆ Tranfition to his Ave
Sign of Repentance, it is a Principle of
Felicity : Tho'it seems to humble us,
gave such just Characters of common
* The Romilh Preachers, in the Preamble of their Sermons, address themselves to the Virgin Mary; and are ofttimes very artful in their Transition to it, as our Author observes. We have a remarkable Example of this in one of the greatest French Orators, M. L'ESPRIT FLECHIËR, Bishop of Nismes, who seems to be oftner than once alluded to in these Dialogues. In his Panegyrick on S. JOSEPH he introduces his Ave Maria thus, ---- Every thing seems to concur to the Glory of my Subject; the Holy Spirit, Jesus Chrift, and Mary, are concern'd in it; why may I not hope for the Assistance of one of them, the 'Grace of the other, and the Intercessions of the Virgin ; to whom we will address ourselves in those words that the Angel said to hei, and which S. Joseph no doubt often repeated ; Hail ! Mary, o'. Panegyriques, Vol. I. p.71.
Maxims of the Great ROCHEFOUCAULD,
A. I'ın unwilling to tell you iny Thoughts, or to lessen yöur Esteein, of it, We ought to reverence the Word of God; to improve ourselves by all the Truths that a Preacher explains; and avoid a critical Humour, lest we should lessen the Authority of the Sacred Function.
B. You have nothing to fear, Sir, at present. It is not out of Curiosity that I alk your Opinion; but because I wou'd have clear Notions of it; and such solid Instru&ions as may not only satisfy myself, but be of use to others : for you know my Profession obliges me to preach. Give us your Thoughts therefore, without any reserve; and don't be afraid either of contradicting, or offending me.
A. Since you will have it so, I must obey your Commands. To be free then; I conclude, from your own Account of this Sermon, that it was a very sorry one,
B. Why fo?
A. Why; can a Sermon in which the Scripture is fallly apply'd; a Scrap of prophane History is told after a dry childish manner;
and a vain Affectation of Wit