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Reason being that faculty of the mind which he has to deal with in his pupil, let hiin endeavour by all proper and familiar methods to call it into exercise, and to enlarge the powers of it. He should take frequent opportunities to shew them an idea is elear or confused, when the proposition is evident or doubtful, and when an argument is feeble or strong. And by this mean the mind will be so formed, that whatsoever he proposes with evidence and strength of reason, they will readily receive.
When any uncommon appearances arise in the natural, moral, or political world, he should invite and instruct them to make their remarks on it, and give them the best reflections of bis own, for the improvement of their minds.
He should by all means make it appear that he loves his popils, and that he seeks nothing so much as their increase of knowledge, and their growth in all valuable acquirements; this will engage their affection to his person, and procure a just attention to his lectures.
And indeed there is but little hope, that a teacher should obtain any success in bis instructions, unless those that hear him bave some good degree of esteem and respect for his person and character. Aod here I cannot but take notice by the way, that it is a matter of infinite and unspeakable injury to the people of any town or parish, where the minister lies under contempt. If he has procured it by bis own conduct, he is doubly criminal, because of the injury he does to the souls of them that hear him : but if this contempt and reproach be cast apon him by the wicked, malicious and unjust censures of men, they must bear all the ill consequences of receiving no good by his labours, and will be accountable hereafter to the great and divine Judge of all. It would be very necessary to add in this place, if tutors were not well apprized of it before, that since learners are obliged to seek a divine blessing on their studies, by fervent prayer to the God of all wisdom, their tutors should go before them in this pious practice, and make daily addresses to heaven for the success of their instructions.
CHAP. II.-Of an instructive Style. THE most necessary, and the most useful character of a style fit for instruction is, that it be plain, perspicuous and easy. And here I shall first point out all those errors in style, which diminish or destroy the perspicuity of it, and then mention a few directions how to obtain a perspicuous and easy style. The errors of a style which must be avoided by teachers, are these that follow :
I. The use of many foreign words, which are not naturalized
sufficiently and mingled with the language which we speak or write. It is true, that in teaching the sciences in English, we must sometimes use words borrowed from the Greek and Latio, for we have not in English names for a variety of subjects which belong to learning ; but when a man affects upon all occasions, to bring in long sounding words from the ancient languages without necessity, and mingles French and other outlandish terms and phrases, where plain English would serve as well, he betrays a vain and foolish genius unbecoming a teacher.
II. Avoid a fantastic learned style, borrowed from the various sciences, where the subject and matter do not require the use of them. Do not affect terms of art on every occasion, nor seek to shew your learning by sounding words and dark phrases ; this is properly called pedantry. Young preachers just come from the schools, are often tempted to fill their serions with logical and metaphysical terms in explaining the text, and feed their hearers with sonorous words of vanity. This scholastic language, perhaps, may flatter their own ambition, and raise a wonderment at their learning among the staring multitude, without any manner of influence toward the instruction of the ignorant, or the reformation of the immoral or impious : these terms of art are but the tools of an artificer, by which his work is wrought in private ; but the tools ought not to appear in the finished workmanship.
There are some persons so fond of geometry, that they bring in lines and circles, tangent and parabolas, theorems, problems and postulates, upon all occasions. Others who have dealt in astronomy, borrow even their nouns and their verbs, in their common discourse, from the stars and the planets ; instead of saying Jacob had twelve sons, they tell you, Jacob had as many sons as there are signs in the zodiac. If they describe an inconstant person, they make a planet of him, and set him forth in all his appearances, direct, retrograde and stationary. If a candle be set behind the screen, they call it eclipsed; and tell you fine stories of the orbit and the revolutions, the radii and the limb, or circumference of a cart-wheel. Others again dress up their sense in chymical language ; extracts and oils, salts and essences, exalt and invigorate their discourses : a great wit with them, is subliinated spirit; and a block head, is caput mortuum. A certain doctor in his bill, swells in his own idea when he tells the town, that he has been counsellor to the counsellors of several kings and princes, and that he has arrived at the knowledge of the green, black, and golden dragon, known only to magicians and fermetic philosophers. It would be well if the quacks alone had a patent for this language.
III. There are some fine affected words that are used only at court, and some peculiar phrases that are sounding or gaudy, and belong only to the theatre ; these should not come into the lectures of instruction, the language of poets bas too much of
metaphor in it, to lead mankind into clear and distinct ideas of things : the business of poesy is to strike the soul with a glaring light, and to urge the passions into a flame by splendid shews, by strong images and a pathetic vehemence of style ; but it is another sort of speech, that is best suited to lead the calip enquirer into just conceptions of things.
IV. There is a mean vulgar style borrowed from the lower ranks of mankind, the basest characters and meanest affairs of life: this is also to be avoided ; for it should be supposed, that persons of liberal education, have not been bred up within the hearing of such language, and consequently they cannot understand it: besides, that it would create very offensive ideas, should we borrow even similes for illustration from the scullery, the dunghill, and the jakes.
V. An obscure and mysterious manner of crpression and cloudy language is to be avoided. Some persons have been led by education, or by some foolish prejudices into a dark and unintelligible way of thinking and speaking, and this continues with them all their lives, and clouds and confounds their ideas. Perlaps some of these may have been blessed with a great and comprehensive genius, with sublime natural parts, and a torrent of ideas flowing in upon them : yet for want of clearness, in the manner of their conception and language, they sometimes drown their own subject of discourse, and overwhelm their argument in darkness and perplexity. Such preachers as have read much of the mystical divinity of the papists, and imitated their manner of expression, have many times buried a fine understanding under the obscurity of such a style.
VI. A long and tedious style is very improper for a teacher, for this also lessens the perspicuity of it. Some learned writers are never satisfied, unless they fill up every sentence with a great pumber of ideas and sentiments ; they swell their propositions to an enormous size by explications, exceptions and precautions, lest they should be mistaken, and crowd them all into the same period ; they involve and darken their discourse by many a parenthesis, and prolong their sentences to a tiresome extent, beyond the reach of a common comprehension : such sort of writers or speakers may be rich in knowledge, but they are seldom fit to communicate it. He that would gain a happy talent for the instruction of others, must know how to disentangle and divide his thoughts, if too many of them are ready to crowd into one paragraph ; and let him rather speak three sentences distinctly and perspicuously, which the bearer receives at once with his ears and bis soul, thao crowd all the thoughts into one sentence, which the hearer has forgotten before he can understand it. But this leads me to the next thing I proposed, which was to mention some methods, whereby such a perspicuity of style may be obtained as is proper for instruction.
1. Accustom yourself to read those authors who think and write with great clearness and evidence, such as convey their ideas into your understanding, as fast as your eye or tongue can ruu over their sentences; this will imprint upon the mind an habit of imitation, we shall learn the style with which we are very conversant, and practise it with ease and success.
2. Get a distinct and comprehensive knowledge of the subject which you treat of ; survey it on all sides, and make your self perfect master of it, then you will have all the sentiments that relate to it in your view and under your command, and your tongue will very easily clothe thi se ideas with words which your mind has first made so familiar and easy to itself.
Scribendi recte sapare est et principium et fons,
Hor. de Arte Poet.
Good teaching from good knowledge springs,
Words will make haste to follow things. 3. Be well skilled in the language which you speak ; acquaint yourself with all the idioms and special phrases of it, which are vecessary to convey the needful ideas on the subject of which you treat, in the most various and most easy manner to the understanding of the hearer ; the variation of a phrase in several forms is of admirable use to instruct, it is like turning all sides of the subject to view ; and if the learner happens pot to take in the ideas in one form of speech, probably another may be suc cessful for that end.
Upon this account I have always thought it an useful manner of instruction, which is used in somne Latin schools, which they call variation. Take some plain sentence in the English tongue, and then turn it into many forms in Latin ; as for instaoce, a wolf let into the sheep-fold, will devour the sheep. If you let a wolf into the fold, the sheep will be devoured; the wolf will devour the sheep, if the sheep-fold be left open ; if the fold be not left shut carefully, thc wolf will devour the sheep; the sheep will be devoured by the wolf if it find the way into the fold open; there is no defence of the sheep from the wolf, unless it be kept out of the fold; a slaughter will be made among the sheep, if the wolf can get into the fold. Thus by turning the active voice of verbs into the passive, and the nominative case of nouns into the accusative, and altering the connexion of short sentences by different adverbs or conjunctions, and by ablative cases with a preposition brought instead of the nominative, or by participles sometimes put instead of the verbs, the negation of and the contrary, instead of the assertion of the thing first proposed, a great variety of forms of speech will be created, which shall express
the same sense.
4. Acquire a tariety of words, a copin verborum; let your memory be rich in synonymous terms or words, expressing the salge happy effect with the variation of the same thing ; this will not only attain the phrases in the foregoing direction, but it will add a beauty also to your style, by securing you from an appearance of tautology, or repeating the same words too often, which sometimes may disgust the ear of the learner.
3. Learn the art of shortening your sentences, by dividing a long complicated period into two or three small ones. When others connect and join two or three sentences in one by relative pronouns, as which, whereof, wherein, whereto, &c. and by parentheses frequently inserted ; do you rather divide them into distinct periods, or at least if they must be united, let it be done rather by conjunctions and copulatives, that they may appear like distinct sentences, and give less confusion to the bearer or reader. I know no metbod so effectual to learn what I mean, as to take dow and then some page of an author, who is guilty of such a long involved parenthetical style, and translate it into plainer English, by dividing the ideas or the sentences asunder, and multiplying the periods, till the language become smooth and easy, and intelligible at first reading.
6. Talk frequently to young and ignorant persons, upon such subjects which are new and unknown to them; and bc diligent to enquire whether they understand you or no; this will pat you upon changing your phrases and forms of speech in a variety till you can bit their capacity, and convey your ideas into their understandings.
CHLAP. III.-Of Convincing other Persons of any Truth ; or
delivering them from Errors and Mistakes. WHEN we are arrived at a just and rational establishment in an opinion, whether it relate to religion or common life, we are naturally desirous of bringing all the world into our sentiments; and this proceeds from the affectation and pride of superior influence upon the judgment of our fellow-creatures, much more frequently than it does from a sense of duty or love to truth, so vicious and corrupt is human nature. Yet there is such a thing to be found as an honest and sincere delight in propagating truth, arising from a dutiful regard to the honour of our Maker, and an hearty love to mankind. Now if we would be suocessful jo our attenipts to convince men of their errors, and to promote the truth, let us divest ourselves as far as possible of that pride and affectation, which I mentioned before, and seek to acquire that disinterested love to men and zoal for