« PreviousContinue »
detracting spirit ;' and therefore they should not be separated. • The fifteenth rule applies equally to cases in which the relative is not expressed, but understood : as, 'It was from piety, warm and unaffected, that his morals derived strength.' "This sentiment, habitual and strong, influenced his whole conduct.' In both of these examples, the relative and the verb which was, are understood.
RULE XVI. A simple member of a sentence, contained within another, or following another, must be distinguished by the comma : as, 'to improve time, whilst we are blessed with health, will smooth the bed of sickness.' Very often, while we are complaining of the vanity, and the evils of human life, we make that vanity, and we increase those evils,
If, however, the members succeeding each other, are very closely connected, the comma is unnecessary; as, "Revelation tells us how we may attain happiness.'
When a verb in the infinitive mode follows its governing verb, with several words between them, those words should generally have a comma at the end of them : as, 'It ill becomes good and wise men, to oppose and degrade one another.'
Several verbs in the infinitive mode, having a common dependence, and succeeding one another, are also divided by commas : as, To relieve the indigent, to comfort the afflicted, to protect the innocent, to reward the deserving, are humane and noble employments.'
RULE XVII. When the verb to be is followed by a verb in the infinitive, which, by transposition, might be made the nominative case to it, the former is generally separated from the latter verb, by a comma : as, 'The most obvious remedy is, to withdraw from all associations with bad men.' The first and most obvious remedy against the infection, is, to withdraw from all association with bad men.'
RULE XVIII. When adjuncts or circumstances are of importance, and often when the natural order of them is inverted, they may be set off by commas : as, 'Virtue must be formed and supported, not by unfrequent acts, but by daily and repeated exertions. Vices, like shadows, towards the evening of life, grow great and monstrous.' "Our interests are interwoven by threads innumerable ; • By threads innumerable, our interests are interwoven.'
RULE XIX. Where a verb is understood, a comma may often be properly introduced. This is a general rule, which, besides comprising some of the preceding rules, will apply to many cases not determined by any of them : as, From law arises security ; from security, curiosity ; from curiosity, knowledge. In this example, the verb
arises' is understood before curiosity' and 'knowledge;' at which words a considerable pause is necessary.
RULE XX.. The words, nay, so, hence, again, first, secondly, formerly, now, lastly, once more, above all, on the contrary, in the next place, in short, and all other words and phrases of the same kind, must generally be separated from the context by a comma : as, ' Remember thy best and first friend ; Formerly, the supporter of thy infancy, and the guide of thy childhood ; now, the guardian of thy youth, and the hope of thy coming years.? 'He feared want, hence, he over-valued riches. This conduct may heal the difference, nay, it may constantly prevent any in future.' 'Finally, I shall only repeat what has been often justly said. If the spring put forth no blossoms, in summer there will be no beauty, and in autumn no fruit ; so, if youth be trifled away without improvement, riper years may be contemptible, and old age miserable.'
In many of the foregoing rules and examples, great regard must be paid to the length of the clauses, and
the proportion which they bear to one another. An attention to the sense of any passage, and to the clear, easy communication of it, will, it is presumed, with the aid of the preceding rules, enable the learner to adjust the proper pauses, and the places for inserting the commas.
OF THE SEMICOLON. The Semicolon is used for dividing a compound sentence into two or more parts, not so closely connected as those which are separated by a comma, nor yet so little dependent on each other, as those which are distinguished by a colon.
The Semicolon is sometimes used, when the preceding member of a sentence does not of itself give a complete sense, but depends on the following clause : and sometimes when the sense of that member would be complete without the concluding one : as in the following instances : 'As the desire of approbation, when it works according to reason, improves the amiable part of our species in everything that is laudåble ; so nothing is more destructive to them, when it is governed by vanity and folly.
Experience teaches us, that an entire retreat from worldly affairs, is not what religion requires ; nor does it even enjoin a long retreat from them.
"Straws swim upon the surface; but pearls lie at the bottom.'
Philosophers assert, that nature is unlimited in her operations ; that she has inexhaustible treasures in reserve ; that knowledge will always be progressive ; and that all future generations will continue to make discoveries, of which we have not the least idea.'
• But all subsists by elemental strife ;
OF THE COLON. The Colon is used to divide a sentence into two or more parts, less connected than those which are separated by a semicolon ; but not so independent as separate, distinct sentences.
The colon may be properly applied in the three following cases.
1. When a member of a sentence is complete in itself, hut followed by some supplemental remark, or further illustration of the subjeet : as, Nature felt her inability to extricate herself from the consequences of guilt : the Gospel reveals the plan of Divine interposition and aid.'
Nature confesseth some atonement to be necessary : the gospel discovers that the necessary atonement is made.'
“Great works are performed, not by strength, but perseverance : yonder palace was raised by single stones; yet you see its height and spaciousness.'
• In faith and hope the world will disagree ;
2. When a semicolon, or more than one, have preceded, and a still greater pause is necessary, in order to mark the connecting or concluding sentiment : as, 'As we perceive the shadow to have moved along the dial, but did not perceive it moving; and it appears that the grass has grown, though nobody ever saw it grow : so the advances we make in knowledge, as they consist of such insensible steps, are only perceivable by the digtance.'
"A Divine Legislator, uttering his voice from heaven ; an almighty governor, stretching forth his arm to punish or reward ; informing us of perpetual rest prepared hereafter for the righteous, and of indignation and wrath awaiting the wicked: these are the conside
rations which overawe the world, which support integrity, and check guilt.
3. The Colon is commonly used when an example, a quotation, or a speech, is introduced : as, "The Scriptures give us an amiable representation of the Deity, in these words : God is love.' He was often heard to say: 'I have done with the world, and I am willing to leave it."
The propriety of using a colon, or semicolon, is sometimes determined by the presence, or absence, of a conjunction : as, 'Do not flatter yourselves with the hope of perfect happiness : for there is no such thing in the world.'
Where grows !_Where grows it not? If vain our toil,
OF THE PERIOD. When a sentence is complete and independent, and not connected in construction with the following sentence, it is marked with a Period.
Some sentences are independent of each other, both in their sense and construction : as, Fear God. Honor the King. Have charity towards all men.' Others are independent only in their grammatical construction : as, "The Supreme Being changes not, either in his desire to promote our happiness, or in the plan of his administration. One light always shines upon us from above. One clear and direct path is always pointed out to man.'
A period may sometimes be admitted between two sentences, though they are joined by a disjunctive or copulative conjunction. For the quality of the point does not always depend on the connective particle, but on the sense and structure of sentences : as, 'Recreations, though they may be of an innocent kind, require