Paradigma is the same which the Latines called Exemplum, and we in English an example, and in Rhetoricke it is called the rehearsall of a deede or saying past and applying of it to our purpose, whereof there be two kindes, the one true which is taken from Chronicles & Histories of credit, and it is of great force to moove, perswade, and enflame men with the love of vertue, and also most mightie to deterre and disswade them from vice: It is also used not onely to confirme matters, but even to augment, enrich, bewtifie, and garnish them with much comelinesse.
Examples which are usually applied in these respects, be either like, unlike, or contrarie, and therefore they are used commonly in a comparative forme, and being aptly compared, and fitly applied, they present to the view and contemplation of our minde, the true of lively Image of time past, for by them it is that we know and see what was done long before our birth, not onely at home, but also in countries far distant from us, for by histories and memorials of deedes done and saying uttered, which are the fountaines from whence we take our examples: we behold ancient deedes and sayings of antiquitie, not as past but as present, Princes, Patriarchs, Prophets, tirants wise men and fooles, holie and wicked, not as dead, but as living, ruling, teaching, doing or speaking, everie one following the inclination of his will, either directed by godly wisedome, or seduced by ignorance, and malice.
These are they whom wee diligently looke uppon with the eies of our mindes, and also deepely considering both what they were, what they did, what they received, and what they suffered: if they were Kinges how they ruled and governed, if Patriarches how they lived, if wisemen what they said, if fooles, what they committed, if godly what they reaped, and also if wicked, how and in what manner they were punished, whereby wee do plainly appeareth, that there is a most just justice in GOD, by whose wisedome, love, favour and mercie good men are protected, advanced, and made happie: and contrariwise, the evill and wicked by his judgement and power are justly punished.
These and other such like frutes we reape by the benefit of examples, and therefore their use in doctrine is to be greatly commended, so be it, that they be aptly applyed and truely expressed, for they instruct plainly, move mightily, & perswade effectually. Finallie, their use is generall, for they are in their natures and severall properties apt to enrich, garnish, confirme and amplifie any matter or cause be it never so great, so grave, or so excellent. Thus much for the use and commendation of examples.
In the use of examples there are diverse and necessarie observations to be diligently regarded.
First, that a good example be not ill applied, as to a false purpose and wrong end.
Secondly, that we make not publicke examples of private actions.
Thirdly, that we alledge not an ill example of a good man to confirm sin, as to alledge the bigamie of Jacob, the adulterie of David, and the crimes of other holy men to confirme the like sinnes.
Fourthly, that we confirme not holy Scriptures by prophane examples.
Fiftly, that we use not reverend examples unreverently, nor such as be grave in light matters, nor contrariwise light and wanton examples in reverend, and grave causes.
Sixtly, the extraordinary examples of extraordinarie persons are not to commended to imitation.
The other kind of example is fained by Poets and inventors of fables for delecations sake, & those fained examples are taken from Poets inventions, and from the devises of Apollogies, and fables attributed to brute creatures, as to beastes, birds, fishes, bees, antes, and creeping wormes, also to trees, hearbs, fountains, meadowes, mountaines and vallies, in like maner to the Sunne, Moone, and Starres.
This kinde bringeth a marvellous delectation to the hearers, but especially to the simpler sort, yet being wittilie invented, and aptly applied, they are not onely allowed of wise men, but also are much commended: the use whereof ought to be verie rare, namely in great and grave causes.
Fained examples and Apologies, ought to be used verie seldome, and then not without some fit occasion.
Secondly, regard ought to be had, that they be not alledged in the forme and countenance of true histories, whereby the truth is violated, and the simple and silly hearer seduced.
Thirdly, that they be not applied in the stead and place of true examples, to confirme grave and serious causes.
Fourthly, it is necessarie that discretion be used in their choice, that they be not unfit, foolish, unchast, or any way undecent, all which are in wisedome and vertue to be avoided.