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  • SECTION IV.


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    Of Gesture.

    1.THAT this silent language of your face and hands may move the affections of those that see and hear you, it must be well adjusted to the subject, as well as to the passion which you desire either to express or excite. It must likewise be free from all affectation, and such as appears to be the mere, natural result, both of the things you speak, and of the affection that moves you to speak them. And the whole is so to be managed, that there may be nothing in all the dispositions and motions of your body to offend the eyes of the spectators. 2. But it is more difficult to find out the faults of your own gesture, than those of your pronunciation. For a man may hear his own voice, but he cannot see his own face: Neither can he observe the several motions of his own body; at least, but imperfectly. To remedy this, you may use a large looking-glass, as Demosthenes did, and thereby observe and learn to avoid every disagreeable or unhandsome gesture. 3. There is but one way better than this; which is, to have some excellent pattern as often as may be before your eyes; and to desire some skillful and faithful friend to observe all your motions, and inform you which are proper and which are not. 4. As to the motion of the body, it ought not to change its place or posture every moment; neither, on the other hand, to stand like a stock, in one fixed and immovable posture; but to move in a natural and graceful manner, as various circumstances may require. 5. The head ought not to be holden up too high, nor clownishly thrust forward; neither to be cast down, and hang, as it were, on the breast; nor to lean always on one or the other side; but to be kept modestly and decently upright, in its natural state and position. Farther, it ought neither to be kept immovable, as a statue; nor to be continually moving and throwing itself about. To avoid both extremes, it should be turned gently, as occasion is, sometimes one way, sometimes the other; and at other times remain, looking straight forward, to the middle of the auditory. Add to this, that it ought always to be turned on the same side with the hands and body: Only in refusing a thing; for this we do with the right hand, turning the head at the same time to the left. 6. But it is the face which gives the greatest life to action: Of this, therefore, you must take the greatest care, that nothing may appear disagreeable in it; since it is continually in the view of all but yourself. And there is nothing can prevent this, but the looking glass, or a friend who will deal faithfully with you. You should adapt all its movements to the subject you treat of, the passions you would raise, and the persons to whom you speak. Let love or joy spread a cheerfulness over your face; hatred, sorrow, or fear, a gloominess. Look with gravity and authority on your interiors; on your superiors; with boldness mixed with respect. 7. You should always be casting your eyes upon some or other of your auditors, and moving them from one side to the other, with an air of affection and regard; looking them decently in the face, one after another, as we do in familiar conversation. Your aspect should always be pleasant, and your looks direct, either severe nor askew; unless you design to express contempt or scorn, which may require that particular aspect. 8. If you speak of heaven or things above, lift up your eyes; if of things beneath, cast them down; and so if you speak of things of disgrace; but raise them in calling God to witness, or speaking of things wherein you glory. 9. The mouth must never be turned awry; neither must you bite or lick your lips, or shrug up your shoulders, or lean upon your elbow; all which give just offense to the spectators. 10. We make use of the hand a thousand different ways; only very little at the beginning of a discourse. Concerning this, you may observe the rules following:

         (1.) Never clap your hands, nor thump the pulpit.

         (2.) Use the right hand most; and when you use the left, let it be only to accompany the other.

         (3.) The right hand may be gently applied to the breast, when you speak of your own faculties, heart, or conscience.

         (4.) You must begin your action with your speech, and end it when you make all end of speaking.

         (5.) The hands should seldom be lifted higher than the eyes, nor let down lower than the breast.

         (6.) Your eyes should always have your hands in view, so that they you speak to may see your eyes, your mouth, and your hands, all moving in concert with each other, and expressing the same thing.

         (7.) Seldom stretch out your arms side-ways more than half a foot from the trunk of your body.

         (8.) Your hands are not to be in perpetual motion: This the ancients called the babbling of the hands. 11. There are many other things relating to action, as well as utterance, which cannot easily be expressed in writing. These you must learn by practice; by hearing a good speaker, and speaking often before him. 12. But remember, while you are actually speaking, you must not be studying any other motions, but use those that naturally arise from the subject of your discourse, from the place where you speak, and the characters of the persons whom you address. 13. I would advise you, lastly, to observe these rules, as far as things permit, even in your common conversation, till you have got a perfect habit of observing them, so that they are, as it were, natural to you. And whenever you hear an eminent speaker, observe with the utmost attention what conformity there is between his action and utterance, and these rules.

    You may afterwards imitate him at home, till you have made his graces your own. And when once, by such assistances as these, you have acquired a good habit of speaking, you will no more need any tedious reflections upon this art, but will speak as easily as gracefully. —————————— NOTES 1. The former Mrs. Brackenbury. —EDIT. 2. The Minutes of the year 1770, which gave occasion to Mr. Fletcher to write his Checks to Antinomiznism. —EDIT 3. No delay will occur. —EDIT. 4. I do not yet perceive sufficiently strong ground for proceeding. —\parEDIT. 5. In its compound sense. —EDIT. 6. Proceed with caution. —EDIT. 7. Cokesbury College, twice burned down. The name was formed from the name of its founders. — Coke and Asbury. —EDIT. 8. The direction of this letter is lost; but it appears to have been addressed to Mr. Bradburn, who was then stationed in Bradford, only a few miles from Bristol, where an attempt was made to settle a Methodist chapel upon the plan of Independency. —EDIT. 9. Concerning the burning of heretics. —EDIT. 10. Athanasius against the world. —EDIT. 11. This letter, which is supposed to have been addressed to Mr. Wilberforce, and which, as its date shows, was written by Mr. Wesley only four days before his death, evinces the deep and unabated interest which he took in the abolition of Negro slavery.

    Against that most iniquitous system he published a very able pamphlet in the year 1774, which has been often reprinted. The following remarks on his correspondence with life Clarkson are also worthy of notice. They are extracted from that gentleman’s “History of the Abolition of the Slave-Trade,” vol. 1, page 447. The date referred to is the year 1787, when the Abolition Committee was formed. “Mr. Wesley, whose letter was read next, informed the Committee of the great satisfaction which he also had experienced when he heard of their formadon. He conceived that their design, while it would destroy the slave-trade, would also strike at the root of the shocking abomination of slavery. He desired to forewarn them, that they must expect difficulties and great opposition from those who were interested in the system; that these were a powerful body; and that they would raise all their forces when they perceived their craft to be in danger. They would employ hireling writers, who would, have neither justice nor mercy. But the Committee were not to be dismayed by such treatment, nor even if some of those who professed goodwill toward them should turn against them. As to himself, he would do all he could to promote the object of their institution. He would reprint a new, large edition of his ‘Thoughts upon Slavery,’ and circulate it among his friends in England and Ireland, to whom he would add a few words in favor of their design.

    And then he concluded in these words: ‘I commend you to Him who is able to carry you through all opposition, and support you under all discouragements. “On the 30th of October, 1787, a second letter was read from Mr. John Wesley. He said that he had now read the publications which the Committee had sent him, and that he took, if possible, a still deeper interest in their cause. He exhorted them to more than ordinary diligence and perseverance: to be prepared for opposition; to be cautious about the manner of procuring information and evidence, that no stain might fall upon their character; and to take care that the question should be argued as well upon the consideration of interest, of humanity and justice; the former of which, he feared, would have more weight than the latter: And he recommended them and their glorious concern, as before; to the protection of Him who was able to support them. —EDIT. 12. The memorandum at the bottom of this letter, in all probability, was the last line Mr. Wesley ever wrote. It bears the date of February 28, and he died on the 2d of March: only two days afterwards. The original letter, as a curiosity, was bequeathed to the late Rev. Samuel Bradburn; and is now in the possession of his daughter, Miss Eliza Weaver Bradburn, by whose permission it has been transcribed. —\parEDIT. 13. Addressed to him when he was pressed for a soldier. The particulars of his case are detailed in his very interesting and edifying Journal. —\parEDIT 14. Addressed to him about the year 1744, when Mr. Haime was abroad in the army. An account of his very remarkable life and experience was written by himself, and is well known. —EDIT. 15. This quotation from Horace is thus translated by Francis: - “When flames your neighbor’s dwelling seize, Your own with instant rage shall blaze.” —EDIT. 16. This quotation from Horace is thus freely rendered by Francis: — “Firm in himself, who on himself relies; Polish’d and round who runs his proper course.” —EDIT. 17. I will not be persuaded, even though you should convince me. —\parEDIT. 18. The Hymns here referred to are seven in number, and most of them of considerable length. They were appended to Mr. Wesley’s “Reasons” when published in a separate pamphlet; and are strongly descriptive of the fallen state of the Established Church, with regard to doctrine, discipline, and morals, and of that spirit of zeal, devotion, and self-denial by which the early Methodist Preachers were distinguished. —EDIT. 19. For propagating the Christ-an faith, and extirpating heresics. —EDIT. 20. This quotation from Terence is thus translated by Colman: — “It is my way:

    So, if you like me, use me.” —EDIT. 21. A veteran warrior, who has seen his sixtieth year, and is entitled to his discharge. —EDIT. 22. This proposal was afterwards superseded by the “Deed of Declaration” which constituted one hundred of the Preachers the legal Conferenee. —EDIT. 23. See Vol. 4., page 503, of the present edition of Mr. Wesley’s Works. —EDIT. 24. This letter was read at the first Conference after Mr. Wesley’s death; when it was unanimously resolved, “That all the Preachers who are in full connection with them shall enjoy every privilege that the members of the Conference enjoy, agreeably to the above-written letter of our venerable deceased father in the Gospel.’ —EDIT. 25. This document is introduced by Mr. Wesley in the following manner: — “What is the state of our societies in North America? A.

    It may best appear by the following letter. If any one is minded to dispute concerning diocesan Episcopacy, he may: But I have better work.” —EDIT. 26. Thus translated by Francis:— “The grave a gay companion shun; Far from the sad the jovial run; The gay, the witty, and sedate, Are objects of each other’s hate; And they who quaff the midnight glass Scorn them who dare the bumper pass.” —EDIT. 27. After laboring as an Itinerant Preacher about nine years, Mr. Atlay was appointed Mr. Wesley’s Book-Steward in London; and when he had sustained that office fifteen years he renounced his connection with Mr. Wesley, and became the Minister of the chapel at Dewsbury, which had been unjustly alienated by the Trustees from the Methodist body. —EDIT. 28. This appears to refer to a weak and disingenuous pamphlet published by Mr. Atlay, about two months before, on the subject of his separation from his old friends; and in which he introduced some unjust reflections upon Mr. Wesley. —EDIT. 29. This quotation from Juvenal is thus translated by Gifford: — “Swift from the roof where youth, Fuscinus, dwell, Immodest sights, immodest sounds, expel; The place is sacred.” —EDIT. 30. Either two persons, or none at all. —EDIT. 31. Not to mention persons of a still viler description. —EDIT. 32. This History is, in the main, an abridgment of Mr. Wesley’s Journaly with occasional remarks. It was appended to his “Concise History of the Church.” Dr. Maclaine, whose name is mentioned in the first paragraph, was the translator of “Mosheim’s Ecdesiastical History;” and in the Appendix to that work, placed the names of Messrs. Wesley and Whitefield in the list of heretics who had infested the church.—EDIT. 33. Such was the stateliness of the man. —EDIT. 34. Poor Ralph Mather! What is he now? 35. This is the source of their regrets. —EDIT. 36. For the use of Christian youth. —EDIT. 37. By divine right. —EDIT. 38. This Letter was first inserted in the “London Magazine.” —EDIT. 39. A thing unknown, by one equally unknown. —EDIT. 40. These Remarks were first published in “Lloyd’s Evening Post,” Nov. 30, 1774; and afterwards inserted in the “Arminian Magazine,” for 1785. —EDIT. 41. This quotation from Horace is thus translated by Boscawen: — “To Academic groves in search of truth.” —EDIT. 42. It is the perfection of art to conceal itself. —EDIT. 43. With a rapid pen. —EDIT. 44. The “passages” here referred to were inserted by Mr. Wesley in the fifth, sixth, and seventh volumes of the Arminian Magazine. —EDIT. 45. Sir William Temple. 46. The dialogue between the Prince and the parrot may be thus rendered into English: — Prince. — “Whence come ye?” Parrot. — “From Marinnan.” Prince. — “To whom do you belong?” Parrot. — “To a Portuguese.” Prince. — “What do you there?” Parrot. — “I look after the chickens.” The Prince laughed, and said, “You look after the chickens?” The parrot answered, and said, “Yes, I; and I know well enough how to do it.” —EDIT. 47. These remarks form the introduction to a series of extracts from the work, inserted by Mr. Wesley in the sixth and seventh volumes of the Arminian Magazine. —EDIT. 48. Mr. Wesley has here altered a line of Virgil, and applied to Persepolis that which was said concerning Troy. It stands thus in the Aeneid: — Trqjaque nunc stares, Priamto, ue arl alla maneres; and is thus translated by Pitt:— “Old Priam still his empire would enjoy, And still thy towers had stood, majestic Troy.” —EDIT. 49. This article terms the introduction to Mr. Wesley’s “Compendium of Natural Philosophy,” in five volumes, 12 mo. The work was compiled from various authors; but the introduction and conclusion appear to have been his own composition. —EDIT. 50. These remarks form the conclusion of Mr. Wesley’s “Compendium of Natural Philosophy.” Some of them occur in his sermon “On the Imperfection of Human Knowledge,” Vol. 6., page 339; but they are here considerably enlarged. —EDIT. 51. Of a kind peculiar to itself. —EDIT. 52. O tormenting source of vexation to philosophers! —EDIT. 53. Next akin to deep. —EDIT. 54. No breath, no life. —EDIT. 55. This conversation appears to have taken place in the year 1739. It has been preserved in the hand-writing of Mr. Wesley. See his Life by Mr. Moore, Volume 1., p. 463. —EDIT. 56. This is, substantially the definition in the Homily, but Mr. Wesley thought more correctly afterwards. See his Sermon on the Scripture Way of Salvation, Volume. 6, p; 47. It would appear from the Homily, that the faith by which justification is obtained, is a belief that we already possess it. —EDIT. 57. Mr. Moore says, “Mr. Wesley told me, that, at the time he wrote this, he believed, with Macarius, that all who are perfected in love, John 4., were thus elect. But he afterwards doubted of this.” — Life of Mr. Wesley, Volume 1, p. 503.

    The entire document, which appears to have been written at an early period of Mr. Wesley’s public life, shows, to great advantage, his logical acumen and love of peace; but “evidently learns too much towards Calvinism,” as will appear on comparing it with his later writings, and especially with his “Predestination calmly considered.” —EDIT. 58. These Queries seem to have been addressed to Mr. Wesley by some person in Holland or Germany. The document bears the date of 1741; and appears to have been written before Mr. Whitefield’s separation from him. See Mr. Moore’s Life of Mr. Wesley, Volume 1, p. 543. —EDIT. 59. Extracted from the Minutes of the Annual Conferences. —EDIT. 60. The late Mr. Robert Hopkins used to say, that in the early part of his life, and was once in company with Mr. Wesley and several other friends, when Mr. Wesley referred to the opinion which Dr. Watts had expressed concerning “Wrestling Jacob;” and added, apparently with great emotion, “O what would Dr. Watts have said if he had lived to see my brother’s two exquisite funeral hymns, beginning, ‘How happy every child of grace, That knows his sins forgiven;’ and, ‘Come let us join our friends above, That have obtain’d the prize!’” —EDIT. 61. He died vomiting blood.

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