Paradiegesis is called in Latine Narratio quae sit obiter atque in transitu, and properly in Rhetoricke it is called a form of speech by which the Orator telleth or maketh mention of someting that it may be a fit occasion or introduction to declare his further meaning, or principall purpose, which is a speciall and artificiall forme of insinuation. A verie apt example we have in the 17. of the Acts, of Paul who tooke an occasion by the Aultar which he saw in Athens as he passed by, both to reprove the idolatry of the Athenians, and also to teach them the true worship of the living God. The Evangelist Luke doththus record it: Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars street, & said: Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious, for as I passed by, I found an aultar wherein is written unto the unknowne GOD, whom ye then ignorantly worship, him shew I unto you, God that made the worlde, and all things that are therin, seeing he is Lord of heaven & earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is worshipped with mens hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life and breath and all things, and so consequently, he proceedeth to the full declaration of his purpose.
The use of this figure.
It is verie necessarie to foresee that the narration may be like to the purpose that shall follow, and then this figure becommeth as it were an artificial & cunning key of speech to open the doore of
To speake by apt occasion.
occasion wherby ye purpose & desire of the mind do find an apt and easie enterance into the desired lbiertie of utterance, and the way that is thus prepared, is both readie, profitable, and worthie of singular praise, and no doubt a speciall point of wisedome.
If the occasion be unlike and unfit for the matter of the drift
and desire following, it is a great deformitie to this figure, and
bewrayeth the imperfection of the speaker.
Also in this respect regard ought to be had, that this forme of
speech here described be not abused to find out a fit occasion either
for a malicious quarrell, an envious detraction or a foolish tale.