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For my own Part, I cannot but think the very fingle Circumstance of trapesing about from Door to Door in one's Canonicals, perhaps for a Week, is sufficient to deter any Man, who has the least Regard for Cleanliness and Decorum, from canvassing for a City Lectureship. There is not in Nature a more ridiculous Sight than a draggletail Divine, holding up his spattered Sacerdotals, and dabbling through dirty Streets and blind Alleys, in Search of Civic Preferment.
And now I am upon this Head, my Lord, you must pardon me
CONCERNING GOWNS AND C ASSOCKS.
A certain right reverend Prelate, now with God, (that I think, my Lord, is the Phrase when we ipeak of departed Episcopacy) had, amongst other reforming Schemes, entertained a Design of obliging all the Clergy, and especially those of the Metropolis, to appear constantly in their proper Uniform, and on no Account permitting them to be seen in publick without a Gown and Caflock. Of what Service this Reformation could possibly be to Religion and Virtue, I must own I could never discover, whilst the Inconveniencies attending it to the poor Clergy are sufficiently obvious. It has been said, I know, by the Advocates for this Plan, that whenever a Clergyman appears as such, he will always meet with the Respect due to his Function ; and that if he is not treated with Civility, he may thank himself for it. But let us examine a little, and see if these Things are fo.
You, my Lord, I make no doubt, meet with all the Deference and Respect which are due to your
exalted exalred Station and Character: But I must beg your Lordship not to attribute it to wrong Motives, or imagine that the Bows made to you in the Street are a Tribute to your Rose and Beaver: The Incense, I assure your Lordship, is offered to the Mitre only. The Reverence is not paid to you as a Paftor of the Flock of Christ; it is your temporal, and not your fpiritual Dignity, that attracts the Attention, and commands the Homage of the Multitude: It is not because you have Three thousand Souls under your Care, but that you have Three thousand Pounds per Annum. I have read, my Lord, and do verily believe, that there was a Time, though not within our Memory, when the Clergy of all Ranks, dignisicd or undignified, met with some Degree of Reipect, as such, even in this Kingdom ; but those Days are gone and past, and so very different are the Manners of this Age, that I would venture one of my bcft Sermons against your Lordship’s last new Gown and Cairock, (we Philosophers, my Lord, confider one another's Wants) that if your Lordhip, when you go next to the House of Peers, will step out of your Chariot at Claring-Cross, without your purple-fringed Gloves, your Footman behind, or any other external Mark that might betray your Cuality, you shall walk from thence to Palaceyard, without once being obliged to pull off your Hat, in Return for any Compliments paid to your Cloth. Nobody, my Lord, in these our Days, takes any Notice of a Gown and Caftock, except perhaps a Parish Girl, a Chimney-sweeper's Boy, who falutes you as a brother Black, or now and then a common Soldier, who does not know, (as Chaplains seldom attend) but you may belong to his Regiment. On the other Hand, it is at least forty to one that you meet with some grofs Affront before you get half way: It is odds but a Hackney Coach man gives his Horses a Lick as soon as he sees
you, you, splashes you all over, and then winks to his Brother, with — Smoke the Doctor's new Cal( fock.' Add to this, that if you do not give the Wall to every Tinker and Taylor you meet, you will be called a proud Priest: If you happen to be fat, they will be sure to say you have got the Church in your Belly ; if you walk fast, you are in a dead Hurry for your Dinner; if you go flow, and pick your Way, it is, -- Mind Parson Prim, how gins gerly he steps. If your Gown is draggled, a Carman will call out to you to hoid up your Petticoats ; and if you chance to turn up an Alley on any necessary Occasion, the Witticisms upon you are in. numerable: For after all, my Lord, it is a strange Thing, and what all the World wonders at, that Parsons should eat and drink, and sleep, and do a hundred vulgar Things, just like other Men.
And now, my Lord, do you seriously think it would be any Advantage, or contribute to the Honour and Dignity of the Cloth, to be for ever scarfed and caffucked in the Streets of London? For my own Part, till I am forced to do otherwise, I shall content myself with fkulking unnoticed in my Iron Grey; as, whilst I am mistaken for a Parish Clerk, a Grazier, or an Undertaker, I may at least escape without Ridicule and Abuse, which, if I appear in my Regimentals, as Things are now circumstanced, I can never expect.
But to return to my Subject, or, as we say every Sunday, to proceed to my second Head, and con: sider
What is expected from Lecturers, and how they are generally treated when they become so. Let us now then suppose that the poor Candidate, after going through ail these fiery Trials, should at length be so fortnpate as to make his Calling and Election sure; behold him cholen, licensed, and in-pulpited, (there, my Lord, is another new Word for you,
and I see no Reason why it is not as good as installed) he will find that Seat, or rather Standing of Honour, a painful Pre-eminence ; for, as high as he may there imagine himself, not a Creature who fits below, but thinks himself far above him. Every Man that gave you his Vote will consider you, from that Day forth, and as long as you continue in that Situation, as his Inferior: He looks upon himself as one of your Feeders, to whom you are indebted for your daily Bread, and therefore expects you will honour him accordingly; and for this special Reason, because if you withdraw your Complaisance, he may withdraw his Subscription. But let us attend a liť. tle to the precarious Tenure on which he holds his new Preferment. When a Man is in peaceable Porsession of a good Living, scarce any Body takes Notice of his Preaching; it matters very little whether he is as elegant as *
, or as contemptible as Dr. m. But with a Leclurer the Case is extremely different: He is considered by his Hearers as a Kind of Divinity-cook, and is expected, like other Cooks, to adapt every Thing to every Body's Palate: And let him have ever so much Merit, it is a Hundred to one he does not please one in a Hun
loud Voice, perhaps he may be called a Brawler, he takes too much Pains, Jabours, and so forth ; if he is weak and low, he is censured as fpiritless and inanimate; if his Action is flow and folemn, he shall be termed listless and indolent; if it be strong, and varied, it shall be called vehement and theatrical : For the poor Judges he is talking to never consider the different Subjects to be treated ; that one may require sober and composed Behaviour in the Utterance, another lively, fpirited, and diffused Gefture. In most other Professions, those who apply for your Aid and Instruction will at least allow you some Knowledge in your own Business, and have Complaisance enough to suppose you have a tolerable Idea of and Acquaintance with the Matter of it; but in Divinity it is quite otherwise : Every Auditor in a Church is as good a Judge (or at least thinks himself fo) both of the Subject and the Manner of treating it as yourself, and will not fail to shew his Judgment with regard to Stile, Sentiment, and Delivery, tho' he knows no more of either than the Dell you write upon.
* The Reader is desired to up these blank Spac s with the Mames of the buft and worit Preacher he is acquain.ed with.
They will tell you the Sermon you preached was borrowed from another, when it is really your own; and, vice versa, Compliment you upon it as your own, when it is every Word of it stolen from another.
The following, my Lord, is a Fact which happened to myself.
Being engaged one whole Week in Writing an Answer to a political Painplet against the D of N--, for which I had twenty Pieces (more, by the bye, than I got by Preaching in a Twelvemonth) I ventured on the Saturday Night to transcribe a Discourse of Tillotson's, and preached it on the Sunday Morning to a very polite Audience. On my coming out of Church, I was saluted by one of the Overseers with “ Thank you, Doctor, for your 6 excellent Sermon; but let me tell you, it was a
dangerous Topic for a young Man ; to be sure you "might have treated it a little more fully (observe his • Complaisance) but upon the Whole it was really a good Discourse, and I am fure all your own; bui I remember a glorious one of Tillotson's on that very Subject. I remember'-... That you do not indeed, my Friend,' replied I (I could not help it, my Lord, for the Life of me) · for the Sermon • you just now heard is the very fame, Word for