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6s Thought Protestant too good a name
170 “For canting bypocrites to claim, “ Whose proteftation hides a fling « Destructive to the church and king : “ Which might as well, in his opinion, 6. Become an Atheist, or Socinian.”
175 A Proteftant's a special clinker ; 6-It serves for sceptic and free thinker : “ It serves for stubble, bay, and wood, « For ev'ry thing,--but what it should. What writings has he left behind ?.
186 “ I hear they're of a diff'rent kind : " A few in verse ;, but most in profeSome high-flown pamphlets, I suppose :-*All fcribbled in the worst of times, To palliate his friend Oxford's crimes,
185 To praise Queen Anne ; nay more, defend her, As never fav’ring the pretender : Or libels yet conceal d from sight,Against the court to Thew his spite : Perhaps, his travels, part the third;
190 A lie at ev'ry second word: Offensive to a loyal ear :But--not one fermon, you may swear.
“ Sir, our accounts are diff'rent quite, “ And your conjectures are not right ;
195 “ 'Tis plain, his writings were design'd .66 To please, and to reform mankind : « And if he often miss'd his aim,
2 « The world must own it, to their name : -- The praife is his; and theirs the blame, 200 “Then, since
dread no further lashes, • You freely may forgive bis afbes."
The end of the MISCELLANIES in Verse.
A LETTER to a YOUNG CLERGYMAN
lately entered into HOLY ORDERS *.
Dublin, Jan. 9. 1719-20. LTHO' it was against my knowledge or advice,
that you entered into holy orders, under the prefent dispositions of mankind towards the church ; yet since it is now supposed too late to recede, (at least according to the general practice and opinion), I cannot forbear offering my thoughts to you. upon this new condition of life you are engaged in.
I could heartily with, that the circumstances of your fortune had enabled you to have continued some years longer in the university, at least till you were ten years standing; to have laid in a competent stock of human learning, and some knowledge in divinity, before you attempted to appear in the world : for. I cannot but lament the common course, which at least nine in ten of those who enter into the miniftry are obliged to run. When they have taken a degree, and are consequently grown a burden to their friends, who now think them. selves fully discharged, they get into orders as soon as they can, (upon which I shall make no remarks); first solicit a readership, and, if they be very fortunate, arrive in time to a curacy here in town, or else are sent to be assistants in the country, where they probably continue
ral years, (many of them their whole lives), with thirty or forty pounds a-year for their support; till fome bishop, who happens to be not over-stocked with relations, or attached to favourites, or is content to fupply his diocese without colonies from England, bestows upon them some inconfiderable benefice, when it is odds they are already incumbered with a numerous family,
* This ought to be read by all the young clergymen in the three kingdoms. Tho' it be addressed only to a young clergyman, yet it is adapted to every age and understanding. It contains observations that delight and improve every mind; and may be read with pleasure and advantage by the oldest and molt exemplary divines. Orrery.
I would be glad to know, what intervals of life such persons can poflibly set aparte for the improvement of their minds ; or which way they could be furnished with books, the library they brought with them from their college, being usually not the most numerous, or judiciously chosen. If such gentlemen arrive to be great scholars, it must, I think, be either by means fupernatural, or by a method altogether out of any road yet known to the learned. But I conceive the fact directly otherwise, and that many of them lose the greatest part of the small pittance they received at the university.
I take it for granted, that you intend to pursue the beaten track, and are already desirous to be seen in a pulpit ; only I hope you will think it proper to pafs your quarantine among some of the desolate churches five miles round this town, where you may at least learn to read and to speak, before you venture to expose your parts in a city-congregation ; not that these are better judges, but because if a man must needs expose his folly, it is more safe and discreet to do so before few witnesses, and in a scattered neighbourhood. And you will do well, if you can prevail upon some intimate and judicious friend to be your constant hearer, and allow him with the utmost freedom to give you notice of whatever he shall find amiss either in your voice or gesture ; for want of which early warning many clergymen continue defective, and sometimes ridiculous, to the end of their lives. Neither is it rare to observe, among excellent and learned divines, a certain ungracious manner, or an unhappy tone of voice, which they never have been able to shake off.
I could likewise have been glad, if you had applied yourself
a little more to the study of the English language, than I fear you have done ; the neglect whereof is one of the most general defects among the scholars of this kingdom, who seem not to have the least conception of a style, but ron on in a flat kind of phraseology, often mingled with barbarous terms and expreffions peculiar to the nation : neither do I perceive, that any person either finds or acknowledges his wants upon this head, or in the least defires to have them suppliedi Proper ri words in proper places make the true definition of a style..
But this would require too ample a difquifition to be now dwelt on. However, I Mall venture to name one or two faults, which are easy to be remedied with a very small portion of abilities.
The first is, the frequent use of obscure terms, which by the women are called bard words, and by the better fort of vulgar fine language; than which I do not know a more universal, inexcusable, and unnecessary mistake, among the clergy of all diftinctions, but especially the younger practitioners. I have been curious enough to iake a list of several hundred words in a sermon of a new beginner, which not one of his hearers among a handred could poflibly understand: neither can I easily call to mind, any clergyman of my own acquaintance, who is wholly exempt from this error, altho many of them agree with me in the dislike of the thing. But I am apt to put myself in the place of the vulgar, and think many words difficult or obscure, which the preacher will not allow-to be so, because those words are obvious to scholars. I believe the method observed by the famous Lord Falkland, in some of his writings, would not be an ill one for young divines. I was assured by an old perfon of quality, who knew him well, that when he doubted whether a word were perfectly intelligible or no, he used to consult one of his lady's chambermaids, (not the waiting-woman, because it was poffible she might be conversant in romances), and by her judgment was guided whether to receive or reject it. And if that great person thought such a caution neceffary, in treatises of fered to the learned world, it will be fure at least as proper in sermons, where the meanest hearer is supposed to be concerned, and where very often a lady's chamber. maid may be allowed to equal half the congregation, both as to quality and understanding. But I know not how it comes to pass, that professors in most arts and fciences are generally the worst qualified to explain their meanings to those who are not of their tribe. A common farmer shall make you understand, in three words, that his foot is out of joint, or his collar-bone broken ; where. in a surgeon, after a hundred terms of art, if you are not a scholar, shall leave you to seek. It is frequently the fame case in law, phyfic, and even many of the mean er arts.
AND upon this account it is, that, among hard words, I number likewise those which are peculiar to divinity as it is a science, because I have observed several clergymen, otherwise little fond of obscure terms, yet in their sero mons very liberal of thofe which they find in ecclefiafti cal writers, as if it were our duty to understand them; which I am sure it is not. . And I defy the greateit dl. vine to produce any law, either of God or man, which obliges me to comprehend the meaning of omniscience, omniprelence, ubiquity, attribute, beatific vision, with a thou. fand others so frequent in pulpits, any more than that of eccentric, idiosyncracy, entity, and the like. I believe I may venture to infift further, that many terms used in holy writ, particularly by St Paul, might, with more discretion, be changed into plainer speech, except wher they are introduced as part of a quotation.
I am the more earnest in this matter, becanse-it is a ; general complaint, and the juftest in the world. For a divine hath nothing to say to the wiseft congregation of any parish in this kingdom, which he may not express in a manner to be understood by the meanest among them. And this assertion must be true, or else God rem quires from us more than we are able to perform. However, not to contend whether a logician might posibly put a case that would serve for an exception, I will appeal to any man of letters, whether at least nineteen in twenty of those perplexing words might not be changed into easy ones, such as naturally first occur to ordinary men, and probably did so at first to those very gentlemen who are so fond of the former:
We are often reproved by divines from the pulpits on account of our ignoran
rance in things facred, and perhaps with justice enough : however, it is not very reasonable for them to expect, that common men should understand expressions which are never made use of in common life. No gentleman thinks it safe or prudent to send a servant with a message, without repeating it more than once, and endeavouring to put it into terms brought down to the capacity of the bearer : yet, after all this care, it is frequent for servants to mistake, and sometimes occasion P 3