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These should be alluded to and enlarged upon. In such cases, the text may be divided into two parts; one referring to what is implied, and the other to what is expressed.

Subdivisions also should be made, for they are of great assistance to the writer; they need not, however, be mentioned in the discourse, for there is a risk of overburdening the hearer's memory.

Methods of Discussion.

These are four in number. According to the nature of the subject, one or more may be employed. Clear subjects must be discussed by observation or continued applica tion; difficult and important ones, by explication.

EXPLICATION.-This consists in explaining the terms used, or the subject, or both. There are two sorts of explications: the one, simple and plain, needs only to be proposed, and agreeably elucidated; the other must be confirmed, if it speak of fact, by proofs of fact; if of right, by proofs of right; if of both, by proofs of both. A great and important subject, consisting of many branches, may be reduced to a certain number of propositions or questions, and these may be discussed one after the other.

I. Explication of Terms.-The difficulties of these arise from three causes; either the terms do not seem to make any sense; or they are equivocal, forming different senses; or the sense they seem to make at first appears perplexed, improper, or contradictory; or the meaning, though clear, may be controverted, and is exposed to cavil. First propose the difficulty: then solve it as briefly as possible.

What we have to explain in a text consists of one or more simple terms; of ways of speaking peculiar to Scripture; or of particles called syncategorematica.

1. Simple terms are the divine attributes, goodness, &c., man's virtues or vices, faith, hope, &c. These are either literal or figurative; if figurative, give the meaning of the figure, and, without stopping long, pass on to the thing itself. Some simple terms should be explained only so far as they bear on the meaning of the sacred author. Sometimes the simple terms in a text must be discussed at length, in order to give a clear and full view of the subject.

2. Expressions peculiar to Scripture deserve a particular explanation, because they are rich in meaning; such as, "to be in Christ," "come after Christ," &c.

3. Particles called syncategorematica (such as none, some, all, now, when, &c.) which augment, or limit the meaning of the proposition, should be carefully examined for often the whole explication depends upon them.

2. Explication of the Subject.-If the difficulty arise from errors, or false senses, refute and remove them; then establish the truth. If from the intricacy of the subject itself, do not propose difficulties, and raise objections, but enter immediately into the explication of the matter, and take care to arrange your ideas well.

In all cases, illustrate by reasons, examples, comparisons of the subject; their relations, conformities or differences. You may do it by consequences; by the person, his state, &c., who proposes the subject; or the persons to whom it is proposed; by circum stances, time, place, &c.

OBSERVATION.-This method is best for clear and historical passages. Some texts require both explication and observation. Sometimes an observation may be made by way of explication. Observations, for the most part, ought to be theological; historical, philosophical, or critical, very seldom. They must not be proposed in a scholastic style, or common-place form; but in an easy, familiar, manner.

CONTINUAL APPLICATION.-This method may be entirely free from explanations and observations; it is appropriate to texts exhorting to holiness and repentance.

PROPOSITION.-Texts may be reduced to two propositions at least, and three or

four at most, having a mutual dependence and connection. This method opens the most extensive field for discussion. In the former modes of discussion you are restrained to your text but here your subject is the matter contained in your propo


The way of explication is most proper to give the meaning of Scripture: this, of systematic divinity; and it has this advantage, it will equally sorve either theory or practice.

Peroration, or Conclusion.

This ought to be short, lively, and animating; full of great and beautiful figures; aiming to move Christian affecticas,-to confirm our love of God, our gratitude, zeal, repentance, self-condemnation, consolation, hope of felicity, courage, constancy in affliction, and steadiness in temptation. Let some one or more striking ideas, not mentioned in the discussion, be reserved for this part, and applied with vigor,


The Existence of God.

The fool hath said ia his heart, there is no God." Psalms xiv., 1.

"The fool hath said,”-it is evident that none but a fool would have said it.

The fool, a term in Scripture signifying a wicked man; one who hath lost his wisdom, and right apprehension of God; one dead in sin.

"Said in his heart"; i. e., he thinks, or he doubts, or he wishes. He dares not openly publish it, though he dares secretly think it; he doubts, he wishes, and sometimes hopes.

"There is no God,"-no judge, no one to govern, reward, or punish. Those who deny the providence of God, do in effect deny his existence; they strip him of that wisdom, goodness, mercy, and justice, which are the glory of the Deity.

The existence of God is the foundation of all religion. The whole building totters, if the foundation be out. We must believe that he is, and that he is what he has declared himself, before we can seek him, adore him, or love him.

It is, therefore, necessary we should know why we believe, that our belief be founded on undeniable evidence, and that we may give a better reason for his existence, than that we have heard our parents and teachers tell of it. It is as much as to say, “There is no God," when we have no better arguments than those. Let us look at the evidences which should establish us in the truth.

I. All nature shows the existence of its Maker. We cannot open our eyes but we discover this truth shining through all creatures. The whole universe bears the character and stamp of a First Cause, infinitely wise, infinitely powerful. Let us cast our eyes on the earth which bears us, and ask, “Who laid the foundation?" Job xxxviii., 4. Let us look on that vast arch of skies that covers us, and inquire, "Who hath thus stretched it forth?" Isaiah xl., 21, 22. "Who it also who bath fixed so many luminous bodies with so much order and regularity?" Job xxvi., 13. Every plant, every atom, as well as every star, bears witness of a Deity. Who ever saw statues, or pictures, but concluded there nad been a statuary and limner? Who can behold garments, ships, or houses, and not understand there was a weaver, a carpenter, an architect? A man may as well doubt whether there be a sun, when he sees his beams gilding the earth, as doubt whether there be a God, when he sees his works. Psalms xix., 1-6. The Atheist is, therefore, a fool, because he denies that which every creature in his constitution asserts. Can he behold the spider's net, or the silk-worm's web, the bee's closets, or the ant's granaries, without acknowledging a higher being than a creature, who hath planted that genius in them? Job xxxix. Psalms civ., 24. All the stars in heaven and the dust on earth, oppose the Atheist. Romans i., 19, 20.


11. The power of conscience is an argument to convince us of this truth. one that findeth me shall slay me," Genesis iv., 14, was the language of Cain; and similar apprehensions are frequent in those who feel the fury of an enraged conscience. The psalmist tells us concerning those who say in their heart "There is no God", that "they are in fear where no fear is." Psalms liii., 5. Their guilty minds invent terrors, and thereby confess a Deity, while they deny it,-that there is a sovereign Being who will punish. Pashur, who wickedly insulted the propbet Jeremiah, had this for his reward, "that his name should be Magor-missabib," i. e., "fear round about". Jeremiah xx., 8, 4. When Belshazzar saw the handwriting, "his countenance was changed," Daniel v., 6. The apostle who tells us that there is a "law written in the hearts of men ", adds, their "consciences also bear witness." Romans ii., 15.

III. Universal consent is another argument. The notion of a God is found among all nations; it is the language of every country and region; the most abominable idolatry argues a Deity. All nations, though ever so barbarous and profligate, have confessed Bome God.

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IV. Extraordinary judgments. When a just revenge follows abominable crimes, especially when the judgment is suited to the sin; when the sin is made legible by the inflicted judgment. "The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth." Psalms ix., 16. Herod Agrippa received the flattering applause of the people, and thought himself a God; but was, by the judgment inflicted upon him, forced to confess another. Acts xii., 21-23; Judges i., 6, 7; Acts v., 1-10.

V. Accomplishment of Prophecies. To foretell things that are future, as if they already existed or had existed long ago, must be the result of a mind infinitely intelligent. "Show the things that are to come hereafter." Isaiah xli., 23. "I am God, declaring the end from the beginning." Isaiah xlvi., 9, 10. Cyrus was prophesied of, Isaiah xlv., 28, and xlv., 1, long before he was born; Alexander's sight of Daniel's prophecy concerning his victories, moved him to spare Jerusalem. The four monarchies were plainly deciphered in Daniel, before the fourth rose up. That power, which foretells things beyond the wit of man, and orders all causes to bring about those predictions, must be an infinite and omniscient power.

What folly, then, for any to shut their eyes, and stop their ears; to attribute thoso things to blind chance, which nothing less than an infinitely wise and powerful Being could effect!

Peroration, or Conclusion.

I. If God can be seen in creation, study the creatures; the creatures are the heralds of God's glory. "The glory of the Lord shall endure." Psalms civ., 31. The world is a sacred temple; man is introduced to contemplate it. As grace does not destroy nature, so the book of redemption does not blot out the book of creation.

'II. If it be a folly to deny or doubt the being worship God when we acknowledge his existence? mandments, is the whole duty of man." We are not Romans xil., 1.

of God, is it not a folly also not to "To fear God, and keep his comreasonable if we are not religious.

III. If it be a folly to deny the existence of God, will it not be our wisdom, since we acknowledge his being, often to think of him? It is said of the fool only, "God is not in all his thoughts." Psalms x., 4.

IV. If we believe the being of God, let us abhor practical atheism. Men's practices are the best indexes to their principles. "Let your light shine before men." Matthew F., 16.






8474. STRICTLY speaking, those compositions only fall under the head of poetry, into which the language of the imagination largely enters; which abound in metaphors, similes, personifications, and other rhetorical figures. Such writings, even if they have the form of prose, must be regarded as poems; while, on the other hand, prosaic matter, even if put into the form in which poetry generally appears, is still nothing more than prose. The distinction between prose and poetry, therefore, has reference to the matter of which they are respectively composed.

Poetry being the language of imagination and passion, we naturally expect to find in it more figures than in prose. These, having been already fully treated, need no further consideration here. As regards its form, poetry is generally characterized by deviations from the natural

474. What compositions fall under the inction between prose and poetry refer?

head of poetry? To what does the dis What do we naturally expect to find in

order and mode of expression, which are known as poetical licenses. Examples of some of these follow :

I. Violent inversions.

"Now storming fury rose, And clamor such as heard in Heaven till now Was never."

IL Violent ellipses.

• While all those souls [that] have ever felt the force
Of those enchanting passions, to my lyre
Should throng attentive."

III. The use of peculiar words, idioms, phrases, &c., not generally found in prose; as, morn, eve, o'er, sheen, passing rich.

IV. Connecting an adjective with a different substantive from that which it really qualifies; as in the following lines, in which wide is joined to nature instead of bounds :—

"Through wide naturo's bounds Expatiate with glad step."

V. Using a noun and a pronoun standing for it [in violation of a syntactical rule] as subjects or objects of the same verb; as,

"The boy-oh! where was he?"

VI. The use of or for either, and nor for neither.

"Whate'er thy name, or Muse or Grace."

"Nor earth nor Heaven shall hear his prayer."

VIL The introduction of an adverb between to, the sign of the infinitive, and the verb with which it is connected; as,

"To slowly trace the forest's shady scene." VIII. Making intransitive verbs transitive; as,

"Still, in harmonious intercourse, they lived
The rural day, and talked the flowing heart."

IX. The use of foreign idioms; as,

"To some she gave To search the story of eternal thought."

475. Verse is the form in which poetry generally appears. It consists of language arranged into metrical lines, called verses, of a length and rhythm determined by rules

poetry? What is meant by poetical licenses? Enumerate the poetical licenses mentioned in the text, and give an example of each.

§ 475. What is verse? Of what does it generally consist? What is the difference

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