Paramythia, in latine Consolatio, is a forme of speech which the Orator useth to take away, or diminish a sorrow conceived in the minde of his hearer.
An example of Aeneas in Virgil, and thus translated.
O mates (quoth he) that many a wo have big, & borne ere this,
Worse have we seene, and these also shall end, when Gods will is.
Another of Eliphas the Themanite, who hath in his example left an excellent president for a profitable forme of consolation. First, he observeth oportunitie, staying til time had made a preparation for the salve of consolation, and then he commeth as a most prudent and divine Phisition, and ministreth his medicine of spirituall comfort, in these words saying: Blessed is the man whom God correcteth, therefore refuse not thou the chastening of the almightie, for he maketh the wound and bindeth it up, he smiteth and his hand maketh whole. AFter this he addeth many branches of Gods mercy, loving kindnesse, and fatherly protection towards his children, and thereupon concludeth that Job ought to apply all these considerations to himselfe, as most precious medicines able to minister consolation and strength to his fainting spirit.
The use of this figure.
The use of this figure is great, and most necessarily required in this vale of misery, where mens harts are often fainting, and their mindes falling into despaire, for so great are mens losses in this fraile life, and so little is their fortitude to beare them, that they fall downe in their weaknesse lying still opprest under their heavy burthen, never able to rise againe, without the strength of comfort and consolation: for so great is the infirmitie and frailty of man being left alone to himselfe in affliction and misery, that he is compared to the waxe that melteth at the heate of the fire & to the smok ye is driven away with ye power of ye wind. Against this weaknesse, consolation ministreth strength & restoreth men to life and joy, that were dying in misery and sorrow.
The first point of care and regard in the use of this figure is
1. Consolation among scorners unmeete.
to take heede that consolation be not applyed where correction and commination be more needefully required, as thy do which apply the use of comfort to hypocrites and scorners of Gods judgements.
Secondly, that it be not minsistred out of season, as either too
2. Oportunity necessary to be observed.
soone, when the wound is new made, and the bloud running swiftly in the streame of effusion, I meane the sorrow newly begun, and the affections confounded with the beholding, and consideration of the wofull losse or miserie: or too late, as when the sorrow is either forgotten, or wel asswaged, for then it may by a needlesse remembrance rather renew and call against the sorrow nye at an end, then utterly quench it.
Thirdly, that it be not unproper and impertinent to the cause and necessitie to which it is applyed.
Fourthly, that it be not weake by reason of the foundations consisting only in Philosophy and humane wisedome which do many times rather increase sorrow theen diminish it: these and many mo such like faultes offending against the true forme of consolation ought most carefully and diligently to be shunned, otherwise the use of consolation shall take small effect.