« ÖncekiDevam »
and I see no Reason why it is not as good as inftalled) 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 little to the precarious Tenure on which he holds his new Preferment. When a Man is in peaceable Possestion 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.
But with a Letlurer 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. dred, for it is all Whim and Caprice. If he has a loud Voice, perhaps he may be called a Brawler, he takes too much Pains, labours, and so forth ; if he is weak and low, he is censured as spiritless and inanimate; if his Action is slow 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, spirited, and diffused Gesture. In most other Professions, those who apply for your Aid and Instruction will at least allow
* The Reader is desired eu fill up these blank Spacis with the Namțs of the best and worit Preacher he is acquainied with.
some Knowledge in your own Business, and have come plaisance 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 fhew his Judgment with regard to Stile, Sentiment, and Delivery, tho' he knows no more of either than the Desk you
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 hapa pened to myself.
Being engaged one whole Week in Writing an Answer to a political Pamplet against the Dof 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 faluted by one of the Overseers with • Thank you, Doctor, for your 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 bis • Complaisance) but upon the Whole it was really a
good Discourse, and I am sure all your own ; but • 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
Word, • Word, I assure you, and you will find it when you go home, Vol. and Page---so and so,'
But let a Man preach his own Sermons, or any Body's else, he can never expect to please for any Length of Time; I have scarce ever known a Lecturer continue a Favourite above two or three Years : If he always preaches himself he grows tiresome, and if he puts in another he is censured as Idle and Negligent: If his Deputy preaches better, or which is the fame Thing, appears to preach better than himself, it finks the Principal into Contempt ; and if the Deputy does not preach fo well, Hints are given him that it would be better if some Folks would do their own Duty; add to this, that your constant Church-trotters and Text-markers, who take down the Heads in their Pocket-Books, are always smoaking your ftale Divinity, and expect a new Discourse to tickle their Ears every Sunday. We can see the same Play at the Theatre, hear the same Story abroad, or read the fame Book at home, perhaps once in a Month at least, with Pleasure ; but to listen to the same Discourse from a Pulpit once in three Years, though perhaps we do not actually remember a Line more than the Text, is, for what Reason I know not, most intolerable.
I am as thoroughly convinced, as I am of my own Existence, that Lectureships greatly promote and increase Methodism. A Desire of striking out something new and uncommon to tickle the Ears of the Groundlings, has led many a plain well-meaning Preacher into romantic Sallies, and theatrical Gestures, and insensibly drawn them into methodistical Rant and Enthusiasm.
There never was a duller Hound than that * Hound of King's, whom your Lordship must remember as
* The Servitors, as they are t-rmed at Oxford, or what we call in Cambridge Sizers, go, at King's College, and there only, by the Name of Hounds. Mr. Jones was a Hound of King's.
well as myself, the famous Mr. Jones of St. Saviour's: He had preached for some Time in the old dog-trot Stile of First to the First, Secondly to the Second, and administered his gentle Soporifics to no Purpose for a Year or two, when, finding it would not do, all on a sudden he shook his Ears, set up a loud Bark, and by mere Dint of Noise, Vociferation and Grimace, mouthed and bellowed himself into Reputation amongst the Gentlemen of the Clink, out heroded Herod, and almost eclipsed the Fame of Wifley, Whitefield, and Nadan.
I shall now proceed, my Lord (to speak in the Parsonick Stile) to my third general Head, viz. the Manner in which Lectureships are usually paid, which is equally injurious to our Character and Function.
I know a little too much of the World, my Lord, to expect that a Parson should be paid like a firstrate Player, a Pimp, or a Lord of the Treasury, whose Incomes I believe are pretty near equal; but at the same Time cannot help thinking, that a Labourer in the Vineyard is'as well worthy of his Hire, as a Journeyman Carpenter, Mason, &c. and has as good a Right to two Pound two on a Sunday as he has on a Saturday Night; and yet not one in a Hundred of us is paid in that Proportion.
The Lecturer's Box generally goes about with the rest of the Parish Beggars a little after Christmas; and every Body throws in their Charity (for it is always considered in that Light) as they think proper. Were I to tell your Lordship how many paltry Excuses are made to evade this little annual Tribute by the Mean and Sordid, how very little is given even by the most Generous, and what an inconsiderable Sum the Whole generally amounts to, the Recital would not afford you much Entertainment, and, for aught I know, might even give you some small Concern.
You cannot imagine, my Lord, with what an envious Eye we poor Lecturers have often lcoked over a Waiter's Book at a Coffee-house, where I have seen such a Collection of Guineas and half Guineas as made my Mouth water : To give less than a Crown at least, would be to the last Degree ungenteel, for the immense Trouble of handing a Dish of Coffee, or a News-paper ; whilst the poor Divine, who has toiled in the Ministry for a Twelvemonth, and half worn out a Pair of excellent Lungs in the unprofitable Service, shall think himself well rewarded with the noble Donation of Half a Crown.
But to illustrate my Subject, I will give your Lordship another Story: There is nothing like a little Painting from the Life on these Occafions : Suppose yourself then, my Lord, an Eye-witness of the following Scene, which passed not long since in a certain Part of this Metropolis.
Enter the Church-warden and Overfeer into the Shop of Mr. Prim the Mercer..- Well, Mr. Iwift, what are your Commands with me!---We are come to wait on your Honour, with the Lecturer's Book, Sir,---a voluntary Subscription of the Inhabitants of the Parish of St. for the Support of Well, well, you need not read any further; what is it?Whatever you please, Sir,-Aye, here's another Load, another Burthen: D’ye think I am made of Gold? There's the Poor's Rate, the Doctor's Rate, the Window Rates; the Devil's in the Rates, I think however, I can't refuse you ; but I'll not give another Year-here, Buckram, reach me Half a Crown out of the Till-your Servant, Madam[A Lady cornes out of a back Parlour, walks through
the Shop, and gets into a Chair.] Aye, there's another Tax-a Guinea for two Box Tickets, as fure as the Benefit comes round, for my Wife and Daughter, besides Chair-b [Twilt takes his Head.]