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and being fo wife as to know well what to fay and what to leave out, he proportions every Part of his Work to his Time; he enlarges a little upon the Subject by way of Illuftration, till the Truth becomes evident and intelligible to the weakest of his Hearers; then he confirms the Point with a few convincing Arguments where the Matter requires it, and makes Hafte to turn the Doctrine into Ufe and Improvement. Thus the Ignorant are inftructed, and the growing Chriftians are established and improved: The ftupid Sinner is loudly awakened, and the mourning Soul receives Confolation: The Unbeliever is led to truft in Chrift and his Gofpel, and the Impenitent and Immoral are convinced and foftened, are melted and reformed. The inward Voice of the Holy Spirit, joins with the Voice of the Minifter; the good Man and the Hypocrite have their proper Portions affigned them, and the Work of the Lord profpers in his Hand.
THIS is the ufual Courfe and Manner of his Ministry. This Method being natural, plain and easy, he cafts many of his Difcourfes into this Form; but he is no Slave to Forms and Methods of any Kind: He makes the Nature of his Subject, and the Neceffity of his Hearers, the great Rule to direct him what Method he fhall choofe in every Sermon, that he may the better enlighten, convince and perfuade. Ergates F 3 well
well knows that where the Subject itself is entirely practical, he has no Need of the Formality of long Ufes and Exhortations: He knows that Practice is the chief Design of Doctrine; therefore he beftows most of his Labour upon this Part of his Office, and intermingles much of the pathetic under every Particular: Yet he wifely obferves the fpecial Dangers of his Flock, and the Errors of the Time he lives in, and now and then (though very feldom) he thinks it neceffary to spend almoft a whole Difcourfe in mere doctrinal Articles. Upon fuch an Occafion he thinks it proper to take up a little larger Part of his Hour in explaining and confirming the Senfe of his Text, and brings it down to the Understanding of a Child.
AT another Time perhaps he particularly defigns to entertain the few learned and polite among his Auditors, and that with this View, that he may ingratiate his Difcourfes with their Ears, and may fo far gratify their Curiofity in this Part of his Sermon as to give an eafier Entrance for the more plain, neceffury and important Parts of it into their Hearts. Then he aims at and he reaches the fublime, and furnishes out an Entertainment for the fineft Tafte; but he fcarce ever finishes his Sermon without Compaffion to the Unlearned, and an Address that
that may reach their Confciences with Words of Salvation.
I HAVE obferved him fometimes after a learned Difcourfe come down from the Pulpit as a Man afhamed and quite out of Countenance: He has blushed and complained to his intimate Friends, left he should be thought to have preached himself, and not Chrift Jefus his Lord: He has been ready to wish he had entertained the Audience in a more unlearned Manner and on a more vulgar Subject, left the Servants and the Labourers and Tradesmen there should reap no Advantage to their Souls, and the important Hour of Worfhip fhould be loft as to their Improvement. Well he knows, and keeps it upon his Heart, that the middle and lower Ranks of Mankind, and People of an unlettered Character, make up the greater Part of the Affembly; therefore he is ever feeking how to adapt his Thoughts and his Language, and far the greatest Part of all his Miniftrations to the Inftruction and Profit of Perfons of common Rank and Capacity: It is in the midst of these that he hopes to find his Triumph, his Joy and Crown in the laft great Day, for not many Wife, not many Noble are called.
THERE is fo much Spirit and Beauty in his common Conversation, that it is fought and defired by the ingenious Men of his Age; but he carries a fevere Guard of Piety F 4 always
always about him, that tempers the pleafant air of his Difcourfe, even in his brighteft and freeft Hours; and before he leaves the Place (if poffible) he will leave fomething of the Savour of Heaven there: In the Parlour he carries on the Defign of the Pulpit, but in fo elegant a Manner that it charms the Company, and gives not the leaft Occafion for Cenfure.
His polite Acquaintance will fometimes rally him for talking fo plainly in his Sermons, and finking his good Sense to fo low a Level: But Ergates is bold to tell the gayeft of them, "Our publick Business, ic my Friend, is chiefly with the Weak and "the Ignorant; i. e. the Bulk of Mankind : "The Poor receive the Gofpell: The Me"chanicks and Day-Labourers, the Women "and Children of my Affembly, have Souls "to be faved; I will imitate my bleffed "Redeemer in preaching the Gospel to the "Poor, and learn of St. Paul to become "all Things to all Men, that I may win Souls, and lead many Sinners to Heaven. by Repentance, Faith and Holiness.
A Branching Sermon.
HAVE always thought it a Miftake in the Preacher to mince his Text or his Subject too fmall, by a great Number of Subdivifions; for it occafions great Confufion to the Understandings of the Unlearned. Where a Man divides his Matter into more general, lefs general, fpecial, and more particular Heads, he is under a Neceffity fometimes of faying, Firftly or Secondly, two or three Times together, which the Learned may observe, but the greater Part of the Auditory, not knowing the Analyfis, cannot fo much as take it into their Minds, and much less treasure up in their Memories in a juft and regular Order; and when fuch Hearers are defired to give fome Account of the Sermon, they throw the Thirdlys and Secondlys into Heaps, and make very confused Work in a Rehearsal, by intermingling the general and the special Heads. In writing a large Difcourfe this is much more tolerable but in Preaching it
*Efpecially as Words may be ufed to number the Generals and Figures of different Kinds and Forms, to marshal the primary and secondary Ranks of Particulars under them.