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- ceeded all bounds, and should be checked.
es the morality of the Gospel, or withholds its threats. In one of the sermons which he preached before the monarch, he described, with matchless eloquence, the horrors of an adulterous life, its abomination in the eye of God, its scandal to man, and the public and private evils which attend it: but he managed his discourse , with so much address, that he kept the king from suspecting that the thunder of the preacher was ultimately to fall upon him. In general, Bourdaloue spoke in a level tone of voice, and with his eyes almost shut. On this occasion, having wound up the attention of the monarch and the audience to the highest pitch, he paused. The audience expected something terrible, and seemed to fear the next word. The pause continued for some time: at length, the preacher, fixing his eyes directly on his royal hearer, and in a tone of voice equally expressive of horror and concern, said, in the words of the prophet, “ thou art the man!” then, leaving these words to their effect, he concluded with a mild and general prayer to heaven for the conversion of all sinners. A miserable courtier observed, in a whisper, to the monarch, that the boldness of the preacher ex“ No, sir,” replied the monarch, “the preacher has done his duty, let us do ours.” When the service was concluded, the monarch walked slowly from the church, and ordered Bourdaloue into his presence. He remarked to him, his general protection of religion, the kindness which he had ever shown to the Society of Jesus, his particular attention to Bourdaloue and his friends. He then reproached him with the strong language of the sermon: and asked him, what could be his motive for insulting him, thus publicly, before his subjects? Bourdaloue fell on his knees: “ God is my witness, that it was not my wish to insult your majesty; but I am a minister of God, and must not disguise his truths. What I said in my sermon is my morning and evening prayer: ——May God, in his infinite mercy, grant me to see the day, when the greatest of kings shall be the holiest.”— The monarch was affected, and silently dismissed the preacher: but, from this time, the court began to observe that change which afterward, and at no distant period, led Lewis to a life of regularity and virtue.
EXERCISE 114. Eloquence of Bridaine.—BUTLER. . fir
“The missionary orator, most renowned in our days, says Maury, was M. Bridaine. Highly gifted with popular eloquence, full of animation, abounding in figures and pathos, no one possessed, in an equal degree, the rare talent of commanding an assembled multitude. The organ of his voice was so powerful and happy, as to render credible what ancient history relates of the declamation of the ancients; he made himself as well heard in open air, to an assembly of 10,000 persons, as if he spoke under the vault of the most sonorous temple. In all he said, there might be discovered that natural eloquence, which originates from genius; that bound of natural vigour, which is superior to any imitation. His bold metaphors; his quick and vivid turns of thought and expression, equally surprised, affected and delighted. His eloquence was always simple, but it was always noble in its simplicity. With-these endowments, he never failed to raise and preserve the attention of the people; they were never tired of listening to him.”
In 1751, he preached in the church of St. Sulpice, at Paris. His renown had preceded him; and the temple was filled with the highest dignitaries of the church and state, decorated with the various insignia of their ranks and orders. The venerable man ascended the pulpit, cast a look of indignation and pity on his audience, remained in silence for some moments, and then began his sermon in these words:—“ In the presence of an audience of a kind so new to me, it might, my brethren, be thought, that I should not open my mouth, without entreating your indulgence to a poor missionary, who does not possess any one of the talents, which you are pleased to require from those, who address you on the salvation of your souls. My feelings are very different. May God forbid, that any minister of the gospel shall ever think he owes an apology for preaching Gospel truths to you; for, whoever you are, you, like myself, are sinners in the judgement of God. Till this day, I have published the judgements of the Most High in the temples roofed with straw: I have preached the rigours
of penance to an audience, most of whom wanted bread. I have proclaimed, to the simple inhabitants of the villages, the most terrible truths of religion—Unhappy manl—what have I done P—I have afilicted thmoor, the best friends of my God. I have carried cqsternation and wo into simple and honest bosoms, which I ought rather to have soothed and comforted.
“ But here .'—where my eyes fall on the great, on the rich, on the oppressors of suH'ering humanity, or on hold and hardened sinners; it is here,—in the midst of these scandals,-—that I ought to make the holy word resound in all its thunders, and place on one side of me, death, that threatens you, and the great God, who is to judge us all. Tremble, ye proud, disdainful men, who listen to me! Tremble! for the abuse of' favours of every kind, which God has heaped on you! Think on the certainty of death: the uncertainty of its hour: how terrible it will be to you! Think on final impenitence,-—on the last judgement,—on the small number of the elect, and, above all, think on eternity! These are the subjects upon which I shall discourse to you, and which, with the feelings I have mentioned, I oughtqto unfold to you all in all their terrors.”
“ Who,” exclaims cardinal Maury, “ does not feel, both while he reads, and after he has read such an exordium, how much this eloquence of the soul is beyond the cold pretensions of the elegant men, with which our pulpits are now filled? Ye orators, who attend only to your own reputation, acknowledge here your master! Fall at the feet of this apostolic man, and learn, from a missionary priest, what is true eloquence.
The eloquence of W'hitefield was indeed very great, and of the truest kind. He was utterly devoid of all appearance of afi'ectation. He seemed to be quite unconscious of the talents he possessed. The importance of his subject, and the regard due to his hearers engrossed all his concern. He spoke like one who did not seek their applause, but was concerned for their best interests; and who, from a principle of unfeigned love, earnestly endeavored to lead them in the right way. And the 10 effect, in some measure, corresponded to the design. ey did not amuse themselves with commending his ourses; but being moved and persuaded by what he , entered into his views, felt his passions, and were willing for a time, at least, to comply with all his requests. 15 The charm, however, was nothing else but the power of his irresistible eloquence; in which respect, it is not easy to say, whether he was ever excelled either in ancient or modern times. He had a stron and musical voice, and a wonderful 20 command of it. Tiis pronunciation was not only prm per, but manly and graceful. Nor was he ever at a loss for the most natural and strong expressions. Yet, these in him were but lower qualities. The grand sources of his eloquence were an exceed- _ 25 ing lively imagination, which made people think they saw what he described: an action still more lively, if possible, by which, while every accent of his voice spoke to the ear, every feature of his face, every motion of his hands, an Very gesture spoke to the eye. 30 An inti te friend of the infidel Hume, asked him what he thought of 1\Ir. Whitfield’s preaching; for he had listened to the latter part of one of his sermons at Edinburgh. “ He is, sir,” said Mr. Hume, “the most ingenious preacher I ever heard. It is worth while to go twenty miles to hear him.” He then repeated the following passage which he heard, towards the close of that discourse: “ After a solemn pause, Mr. ‘Vhitfield thus addressed his numerous audience;—‘ The attendant angel is just about to leave the threshold, and ascend to 40 heaven. And shall he ascend and not bear with him the news of one sinner, among all this multitude, reclaimed from the error of his ways?’ To give the greater effect to this exclamation, he stamped with his foot, lifted up his hands and eyes to heaven, and with gushing tears, 45 cried aloud, ‘ Stop, Gabriel!—Slop, Gubriel!—Stop, ere you enter the sacred portals, and yet carry with you the news ‘of one sinner converted to God.’ He then, in the most simple, but energetic language, described a Saviour’s dying love to sinful man; so that almost the whole 50 assembly melted into tears. This address was accom
' ed what he then heard, “ as the word of God,
panied with such animated, yet natural action, that it
freely; but not now, for thee seems to he oukof thy right senses.”
0 had his pow’rful destiny ordain’d