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Richard Green Parker.

Exercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice online

. (page 15 of 38)
Online LibraryRichard Green ParkerExercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice → online text (page 15 of 38)
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Unmoulds, and stamps the monster on the man.
Eager we taste, but in the luscious draught
Forget the poisonous dregs that lurk beneath.
Few know that elegance of soul refined

20 Whose soft sensation feels a quicker joy

From Melancholy's scenes than the dull pride
Of tasteless splendor and magnificence
Can e'er afford.

Thus Eloise, whose mind

25 Had languished to the pangs of melting love.
More genuine transport found, as on some tomb
Reclined she watched the tapers of the dead ;
Or through the pillared isles, amid pale shrines
Of imaged saints and intermingled graves,

30 Mused a veiled votaress ; than Flavia feels.
As through the mazes of the festive ball.
Proud of her conquering channs and beauty's blaze,
She floats amid the silken sons of dress.
And shines the fairest of the assembled fair.

r. Wartm.



EXERCISE VII.

The Amiable Character of the Patriarch Joseph.

35 No human character exhibited in the records of Scrip-
ture is more remarkable and instructive than that of the
patriarch Joseph. He is one whom we behold tried in aU
the vicissitudes of fortune ; from the condition of a slavp



168 Parker's exercises in [ex. vii.

rising to be ruler of the land of Egypt ; and in every sta-
tion acquiring, by his virtue and wisdom, favor with God
and man. When overseer of Potiphar's house, his fidelity
was proved by strong temptations, which he honorably

5 resisted.

When thrown into prison by the artifices of a false
woman, his integrity and prudence soon rendered him
conspicuous, even in that dark mansion. When called
into the presence of Pharaoh, the wise and extensive plan

10 which he formed for saving the kingdom from the miseries
of impending famine, justly raised him to a high station,
wherein his abilities were eminently displayed in the pub-
lic service.

But in his whole history there is no circumstance so

15 striking and interesting as his behavior to his brethren
who had sold him into slavery. The moment in which
he made himself known to them was the most critical
one of his life, and the most decisive of his character. It
is such as rarely occurs in the course of human events,

20 and is calculated to draw the highest attention of all who
are endowed with any degree of sensibility of heart.

From the whole tenor of the narration, it appears, that
though Joseph, upon the arrival of his brethren in Egypt,
made himself strange to them, yet, from the beginning, he

25 intended to discover himself; and studied so to conduct
the discovery as might render the surprise of joy com-
plete. For this end, by affected severity, he took measures
for bringing down into Egypt all his father's children.
They were now arrived there ; and Benjamin among

30 the rest, who was his younger brother by the same mother,
and was particularly beloved by Joseph. Him he threat-
ened to detain ; and seemed willing to allow the rest to
depart. This incident renewed their distress. They all
knew their father's extreme anxiety about the safety of

35 Benjamin, and with what difficulty he had yielded to his
undertaking this journey.

Should he be prevented from returning, they dreaded
that grief would overpower the old man's spirits, and prove
fatal to his life. Judah, therefore, who had particularly

40 urged the necessity of Benjamin's accompanying his broth-
ers, and had solemnly pledged himself to their father for
his safe return, craved, upon this occasion, an audience of
the governor, and gave him a full account of the circum-
stances of Jacob's family.



EX. Vn.] RHETORICAL READLNG. 169

Nothing can be more interesting and pathetic than this
discourse of Judah. Little knowing to whom he spoke,
he paints, in all the colors of simple and natural eloquence,
the distressed situation of the aged patriarch, hastening to

5 the close of life ; long afflicted for the loss of a favorite
son, whom he supposed to have been torn in pieces by a
beast of prey ; laboring now under anxious concern about
his youngest son, the child of his old age, who alone was
left alive of his mother, and whom nothing but the calam-

JO ities of severe famine could have moved a tender father to
send from home, and expose to the dangers of a foreign
land.

" If we bring him not back with us, we shall bring down
the gray hairs of thy servant, our father, with sorrow to

J 5 the grare. I pray thee therefore let thy servant abide,

instead of the young man, a bondman to our lord. For

how shall 1 go up to my father, and Benjamin not with

me ? lest I see the evil that shall come on my father."

Upon this relation, Joseph could no longer restrain him-

20 self. The tender ideas of his father, and his father's
house, of his ancient home, his country, and his kindred,
of the distress of his family, and his own exaltation, all
rushed too strongly upon his mind to bear any further con-
cealment. ** He cried, Cause every man to go out from

25 me ; and he wept aloud."

The tears which he shed were not the tears of grief.
They were the burst of affection. They were the effu-
sions of a heart overflowing with all the tender sensibili-
ties of nature. Formerly he had been moved in the same

30 manner when he first saw his brethren before him. *' His
bowels yearned upon them ; he sought for a place where
to weep. He went into his chamber ; and then washed
his face and returned to them."

At that period, his generous plans were not completed.

35 But now, when there was no further occasion for constrain-
ing himself, he gave free vent to the strong emotions of
his heart. The first minister to the king of Egypt was
not ashamed to show that he felt as a man and a brother.
" He wept aloud ; and the Egyptians and the house of

40 Pharaoh heard him."

The first words which his swelling heart allowed him

to pronounce are the most suitable to such an affecting

situation that were ever uttered : — "I am Joseph ; doth

my father yet live ? " What could he, what ought he, in

15



170 Parker's exercisks in [ex. vin.

that impassioned moment, to have said more? This is
the voice of nature herself, speaking her oM^n language ;
and it penetrates the heart : no pomp of expression ; no
parade of kindness ; but strong affection hastening to utter

5 what it strongly felt. " His brethren could not answer
him ; for they were troubled at his presence." Their si-
lence is as expressive of those emotions of repentance and
shame, which on this amazing discovery filled their breasts
and stopped their utterance, as the few words which Jo-

10 seph speaks are expressive of the generous agitations
which struggled for vent within him.

No painter could seize a more striking moment for dis-
playing the characteristical features of the human heart
than what is here presented. Never was there a situation

15 of more tender and virtuous joy, on the one hand, nor, on
the other, of more overwhelming confusion and conscious
guilt. In the simple narration of the sacred historian, it
is set before us with greater energy and higher effect than
if it had been wrought up with all the coloring of the

20 most admired modern eloquence. — Blair.



EXERCISE VIII.

The Rainbow.

The evening was glorious, and light through the trees
Played in sunshine, the rain-drops, the birds, and the breeze ;
The landscape, outstretching, in loveliness lay
On the lap of the year, in the beauty of May.

25 For the bright queen of spring, as she passed down the
vale,
Left her robe on the trees, and her breath on the gale ;
And the smile of her promise gave joy to the hours,
And fresh in her footsteps sprang herbage and flowers.

30 The skies, like a banner in sunset unrolled,

O'er the west threw their splendor of azure and gold ;
But one cloud at a distance rose dense, and increased,
'Till its margin of black touched the zenith and east.
We gazed on these scenes, while around us they glowed

35 When a vision of beauty appeared on the cloud ;
'T was not like the sun, as at mid-day we view.
Nor the moon, that rolls lightly through starlight and blue



EX. VITI.J RHETORICAL READING. 171

• Like a spirit it came in the van of a storm,

And the eye and the heart hailed its beautiful form;

For it looked not severe, like an angel of wrath.

But its garments of brightness illumed its dark path.
') In the hues of its grandeur sublimely it stood.

O'er the river, the village, the field, and the wood ;

And river, field, village, and woodland grew bright.

As conscious they felt and afforded delight.

'T was the bow of Omnipotence, bent in his hand
lO Whose grasp at creation the universe spanned ;

'T was the presence of God, in a symbol sublime,

His vow from the flood to the exit of time ;

Not dreadful as when in a whirlwind he pleads.

When storms are his chariot, and lightning his steeds;
15 The black cloud of vengeance his banner unfurled.

And thunder his voice to a guilt-stricken world ;

In the breath of his presence when thousands expire.

And seas boil with fury, and rocks burn with fire,

And the sword and the plague-spot with death strew the
20 plain.

And vultures and wolves are the graves of the slain.
Not such was that rainbow, that beautiful one !

Whose arch was refraction, its key-stone — the sun;

A pavilion it seemed, with a deity graced,
25 And justice and mercy met there and embraced.
A while, and it sweetly bent over the gloom,

Like love o'er a death-couch, or hope o'er the tomb;

Then left the dark scene, whence it slowly retired,

As love had just vanished, or hope had expired.
30 I gazed not alone on that source of my song,

To all who beheld it these verses belong ;

Its presence to all was the path of the Lord !

Each full heart expanded, grew warm and adored.
Like a visit, the converse of friends, or a day,
35 That bow from my sight passed forever away ;

Like that visit, that converse, that day, to my heart.

That bow from remembrance can never depart.
'T is a picture in memory, distinctly defined,

With the strong and imperishing colors of mind :
40 A part of my being beyond my control.

Beheld on that cloud, and transcribed on my soul.

Campbell.



172 parker'5- exercises in [ex. rr.

EXERCISE IX.

On the Immortality of the Soul,

I WAS yesterday walking alone, in one of my friends'
woods, and lost niyself in it very agreeably, as I was run-
ning over, in my mind, the several arguments that estab-
lish this great point, — which is the basis of morality, and

b the source of all the pleasing hopes and secret joys, that
can arise in the heart of a reasonable creature ? I consid-
ered those several proofs drawn.

First, from the nature of the soul itself, and particularly
its immateriality ; which, though not absolutely necessary

10 to the eternity of its duration, has, I think, been evinced
to almost a demonstration.

Secondly, from its passions and sentiments ; as, particu-
larly, from its love of existence, its horror of annihilation,
and its hopes of immortality ; with that secret satisfaction

15 which it finds in the practice of virtue, and that uneasi-
ness which follows upon the commission of vice.

Thirdly, from the nature of the Supreme Being, whose
justice, goodness, wisdom, and veracity, are all concerned
in this point.

20 But among these, and other excellent arguments for
the immortality of the soul, there is one drawn from the
perpetual progress of the soul to its perfection, without a
possibility of ever arriving at it ; which is a hint that I do
not remember to have seen opened and improved by others

25 who have written on this subject, though it seems to me
to carry a very great weight with it.

How can it enter into the thoughts of man, that the
soul, which is capable of immense perfections, and of re-
ceiving neAV improvements to all eternity, shall fall away

30 into nothing almost as soon as it is created? Are such
abilities made for no purpose ? A brute arrives at a point
of perfection that he can never pass ; in a few years he
has all the endowments he is capable of ; and were he to
live ten thousand more, would be the same thing he is at

35 present.

Were a human soul thus at a stand in her accomplish-
ments, — were her faculties to be full blown, and incapable
of further enlargements, — I could imagine she might fall
away insensibly, and drop at once into a state of annihila-

40 tion. But can we believe a thinking being, that is in a
perpetual progress of improvement, and travelling on from



EX. IX. j RHETORICAL READING. 173

perfection to perfection, after having just looked abroad
into the works of her Creator, and made a few discoveries
of his infinite goodness, wisdom, and power, must perish
at her first setting out, and in the very beginning of her



inquines



Man, considered only in his present state, seems sent
into the world merely to propagate his kind. He provides
himself with a successor, and immediately quits his post
to make room for him. He does not seem born to enjoy

10 life, but to deliver it down to others. This is not surpris-
ing to consider in animals, which are formed for our use,
and which can finish their business in a short life.

The silk-worm, after having spun her task, lays her
eggs and dies. But a man cannot take in his full meas-

15 ure of knowledge, has not time to subdue his passions,
establish his soul in virtue, and come to the perfection of
his nature, before he is hurried off the stage. Would an
infinitely wise Being make such glorious creatures for so
mean a purpose? Can he delight in the production of

20 such abortive intelligences, such short-lived reasonable be-
ings ? Would he give us talents that are not to be exert-
ed ? capacities that are never to be gratified ?

How can we find that wisdom which shines through all
his works, in the formation of man, without looking on

25 this world as only a nursery for the next ; and without
believing that the several generations of rational creatures,
which rise up and disappear in such quick successions,
are only to receive their first rudiments of existence here,
and afterwards to be transplanted into a more friendly

30 climate, where they may spread and flourish to all eternity ?
There is not, in my opinion, a more pleasing and tri-
umphant consideration in religion, than this of the perpet-
ual progress which the soul makes towards the perfection
of its nature, without ever arriving at a period in it. To

35 look upon the soul as going on from strength to strength ;
to consider that she is to shine forever with new accessions
of glory, and brighten to all eternity ; that she will be
still adding virtue to virtue, and knowledge to knowledge ;
carries in it something wonderfully agreeable to that am-

40 bition which is natural to the mind of man. Nay, it
must be a prospect pleasing to God himself, to see his cre-
ation forever beautifying in his eyes, and drawing nearer
to him, by greater degrees of resemblance.

Methinks this single consideration of the progress of a
lb*



174 Parker's exercises in [ex. i.

finite spirit to perfection will be sufficient to extinguish all
envy in inferior natures, and all contempt in superior.
That cherub, which now appears as a god to a human
soul, knows very well that the period will come about in

5 eternity when the human soul shall be as perfect as he

himself now is ; nay, when she sball look down upon that

degree of perfection as much as she now falls short of it.

It is true, the higher nature still advances, and by that

means preserves his distance and superiority in the scale

10 of being ; yet he knows that, how high soever the station
is of which he stands possessed at present, the inferior
nature will, at length, mount up to it, and shine forth in
the same degree of glory.

With what astonishment and veneration may we look

15 into our own souls, where there are such hidden stores of
virtue and knowledge, such inexhausted sources of perfec-
tion ! We know not yet what we shall be ; nor will it ever
enter into the heart of man to conceive the glory that will
be always in reserve for him.

20 The soul, considered with its Creator, is like one of
those mathematical lines that may draw nearer to another
for all eternity, without a possibility of touching it : and
can there be a thought so transporting, as to consider our-
selves in these perpetual approaches to Him who is the

25 standard not only of perfection, but of happiness !

Addiscm.



EXERCISE X.

Winter.

'T IS done ! dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,
And reigns tremendous o'er the conquered year.
How dead the vegetable kingdom lies !
How dumb the tuneful ! horror wide extends
30 His desolate domain.

Behold, fond man !
See here thy pictured life ; pass some few years, —
Thy flowering spring, thy summer's ardent strength,
Thy sober autumn fading into age, —
35 And pale concluding winter comes at last,
And shuts the scene.

Ah ! whither now are fled
Those dreams of greatness ? those unsolid hopes



EX. XI.] RHETORICAL READING. 175

Of happiness ? those longings after fame ?

Those restless cares ? those busy, bustling days ?

Those gay-spent, festive nights ( those veering thoughts.

Lost between good and ill, that shared thy life ?
5 All are now vanished ! Virtue sole survives,

Immortal, never-failing friend of man.

His guide to happiness on high. And see !

'T is come, the glorious morn ! the second birth

Of heaven and earth ! awakening nature hears
10 The. new-creating word, and starts to life,

In every heightened form, from pain and death

Forever free.

The great eternal scheme,

Involving all, and in a perfect whole
15 Uniting, as the prospect wider spreads,

To Reason's eye refined clears up apace.

Ye vainly wise ! ye blind presumptuous! now,

Confounded in the dust, adore that Power

And Wisdom oft arraigned : see now the cause
20 Why unassuming worth in secret lived.

And died neglected : why the good man's share

In life was gall and bitterness of soul :

Why the lone widow and her orphans pined

In starving solitude ; while Luxury,
25 In palaces, lay straining her low thought

To form unreal wants : why heaven-born truth,

And moderation fair, wore the red marks

Of superstition's scourge : why licensed pain.

That cruel spoiler, that embosomed foe,
30 Embittered all our bliss. Ye good distressed !

Ye noble few ! who here unbending stand

Beneath life's pressure, yet bear up a while,

And what your bounded view, which only saw

A little part, deemed evil, is no more :
35 The storms of wintry time will quickly pass.

And one unbounded spring encircle all. Thomson.



EXERCISE XI.

Sabbath Exercises.

Many Christians who feel deeply the hnportance of
spending the Sabbath in a proper manner, find, notwith



176 Parker's exercises in [ex. xi.

standing all their endeavors, that the sacred hours do at
times pass heavily along. Now the Sabbath should be
not only the Christian's most profitable, but most happy
day. I once knew a young Christian who resolved that

5 he would pass the whole day in prayer ; but very soon he
became exhausted and weary. He, however, persevered
through the whole day, with the exception of a few neces-
sary interruptions; and when night came, he felt a dead-
ness and exhaustion of feeling which he unhappily mis-

lO took for spiritual desertion. No human mind can, in
ordinary cases, sustain such long and intense application
to one subject ; there must be variety, to give cheerfulness
and to invigorate. Often a conscientious young Christian
takes his Bible, resolving to spend the Sabbath in reading

15 the Bible and in prayer. He perhaps passes an hour or
two in this way very pleasantly, and then he feels tired ;
he tries to rouse his feelings, and bitterly condemns him-
self for unavoidable languor. I have known persons to be
greatly disquieted and distrustful of their Christian char-

20 acter, because they could not pass the whole of the Sab-
bath pleasantly in uninterrupted reading of the Bible or in
continual prayer.

There is a wide difference between spiritual desertion
and mental exhaustion. To avoid this mental exhaustion,

25 and to keep the spirits animated and cheerful, much vari-
ety of pursuit is necessary. Who would be willing to go
to church, and have the whole time occupied with a ser-
mon, or a prayer, or a hymn ? How few are there who
can, with pleasure and profit, listen to a sermon of one

30 hour's length ! There must be a diversity of exercises to
make public worship agreeahle, and there must be diver-
sity to give pleasure to private devotion.

Let the sacred hours of the Sabbath, then, be appropri-
ated to a variety of religious employments. Suppose the

35 case of a young married man. He wishes to pass the
Sabbath in a way acceptable to God, and to enjoy his
religious duties. He rises in good season in the morning,
and commences the day with a short but fervent prayer
for the divine blessing ; he then passes the time till break-

40 fast in reading the Bible. Perhaps, for the sake of variety,
he spends a part of the time in reading the devotional
portions, and a part in perusing its interesting history. At
the breakfast-table, with cheerful countenance and heart,
he leads the conversation to religious subjects ; after break-



EX. XI.] RHETORICAL READING. 177

fast he passes an hour in reading some valuable religious
book. Books are so numerous now, that the best practical
works upon Christianity are easily obtained by all. Bun-
yan's Pilgrim's Progress, Baxter's Saint's Kest, Law's

5 Serious Call, Doddridge's Rise and Progress, Imitation of
Christ, &c., are works of standard merit, and works with
which all Christians may and should be acquainted. It
is very desirable that the Christian should have on hand
some such book, which he will read in course, taking a

10 moderate portion every day, until he has finished it.

At length the time arrives for the assembling of his
family for morning prayers. He carries his principle, for
securing an interesting variety, here. Sometimes he will
read religious intelligence from a periodical; sometimes

15 he reads an interesting narrative from a tract; always
taking care to select something which will excite attention.
After finishing this, he opens the Bible and selects some
appropriate passage and reads it, with occasional remarks,
intended to deepen the impression upon his own mind, and

20 upon the minds of those in the circle around him. He
then reads a hymn, and after singing a few verses, if the
family are able to sing, bows at the family altar in prayer.
The variety which he has thus introduced into the exercise
has continued to interest the feelings, and no occasion has

25 been offered for lassitude or tedium.

He now walks the room for exercise, and reviews the
past week ; he thinks of the opportunities to do good which
he has neglected, examines his feelings and his conduct,
and in ejaculatory prayer seeks forgiveness. When he

30 enters the place of public worship, his mind is ready for
active service there — he unites with his pastor in prayer.
When a hymn is read, he attends to the sentiment, and
makes melody in heart to God when singing his praises.
He listens attentively to the sermon, feeling that the re-

35 sponsibility of being interested in it comes upon him, and
he prays that God will bless it to his own soul, and to the
conversion of others.

Perhaps, in the interval between forenoon and after-
noon service, he has a class in the Sabbath -school, or is

40 himself a member of the Bible class : these duties he per-
forms with a sincere desire to do good. After the close
of the afternoon services, he retires for secret prayer. He
appropriates a proper period to this duty, and presents his
own private and personal wants, and the spiritual interests



178 Parker's exercises in [ex.xd.

of others, in minute detail, to God; — he looks forward, too,
to the duties of the week : he brings before his mind the
temptations to which he will be exposed, the opportunities
for exerting a Christian influence which he possesses, and

5 forms his plans of Christian usefulness for the week ; he
thinks of some good object which he will try to advance,
of some individual whom he will try to lead to the Saviour.
He forms his resolutions, and perhaps writes them down,
that he may refer to them again the next Sabbath, in the

10 review of the week. At the appointed hour he assembles
his family for evening prayers. A brief reference to the
religious exercises of the day, or some interesting narra-
tive, followed by the Bible, singing and prayer, again give
variety and animation to the exercise ; and when all the



Online LibraryRichard Green ParkerExercises in rhetorical reading : with a series of introductory lessons, particularly designed to familiarize readers with the pauses and other marks in general use, and lead them to the practice of modulation and inflection of the voice → online text (page 15 of 38)