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manner, against endeavouring at wit in your sermons, because, by the strictest computation, it is very near a million to one that you have none; and because too many of your calling have consequently made themselves everlastingly ridiculous by attempting it. I remember several young men in this town, who could never leave the pulpit under half a dozen conceits; and this faculty adhered to those gentlemen a longer or shorter time, exactly in proportion to their several degrees of dulness: accordingly, I am told that some of them retain it to this day. I heartily wish the brood were at an end.
either as a clergyman or a preacher, as to warn you against some mistakes, which are obvious to the generality of mankind as well as to me: and we, who are hearers, may be allowed to have some opportunities in the quality of being standers-by. Only, perhaps, I may now again trangress, by desiring you to express the heads of your divisions in as few and clear words as you possibly can; otherwise I, and many thousand others, will never be able to retain them, and consequently to carry away a syllable of the sermon.
I shall now mention a particular wherein your whole body will be certainly against me, and the laity, almost to a man, on my side. However it came about, I cannot get over the prejudice of taking some little offence at the clergy, for perpetually reading their sermons; perhaps my frequent hearing of foreigners, who never made use of notes, may have added to my disgust. And I cannot but think, that whatever is read differs as much from what is repeated without book, as a copy does from an original. At the same time I am highly sensible what an extreme difficulty it would be upon you to alter this method; and that in such a case your sermons would be much less valuable than they are, for want of time to improve and correct them. I would therefore gladly come to a compromise with you in this matter. I knew a clergyman of some distinction, who appeared to deliver his sermon without looking into his notes, which when I complimented him upon, he assured me he could not repeat six lines; but his method was to write the whole sermon in a large plain hand, with all the forms of margin, paragraph, marked page, and the like; then on Sunday morning he took care to run it over five or six times, which he could do in an hour; and when he delivered it, by pretending to turn his face from one side to the other, he would (in his own expression) pick up the lines, and cheat his people, by making them believe he had it all by heart. He further added, that whenever he happened by neglect to omit any of these circumstances, the vogue of the parish was, "Our doctor gave us but an indifferent sermon to-day." Now, among us, many clergyman act so directly contrary to this method, that from a habit of saving time and paper, which they acquired at the university, they write in so diminutive a manner, with such frequent blots and interlineations, that they are hardly able to go on without perpetual hesitations, or extemporary expletives: and I desire to know what can be more inexcusable than to see a divine and a scholar at a loss in reading his own compositions, which it is supposed he has been preparing with much pains and thought for the instruction of his people? The want of a little more care in this article is the cause of much ungraceful behaviour. You will observe some clergymen with their heads held down from the beginning to the end, within an inch of the cushion, to read what is hardly legible; which, besides the untoward manner, hinders them from making the best advantage of their voice: others again have a trick of popping up and down every moment from their paper to the audience, like an idle schoolboy on a repetition day.
Let me entreat you, therefore, to add one half-crown a year to the article of paper; to transcribe your sermons in as large and plain a manner as you can; and either make no interlineations, or change the whole leaf; for we, your hearers, would rather you should be less correct than perpetually stammering, which I take to be one of the worst solecisms in rhetoric. And, lastly, read your sermon once or twice a-day, for a few days before you preach it: to which you will probably answer some years hence, "that it was but just finished when the last bell rang to church ;" and I shall readily believe, but not excuse you.
I cannot forbear warning you, in the most earnest
Before you enter into the common insufferable cant of taking all occasions to disparage the heathen philosophers, I hope you will differ from some of your brethren, by first inquiring what those philosophers can say for themselves. The system of morality to be gathered out of the writings or sayings of those ancient sages falls undoubtedly very short of that delivered in the gospel, and wants, besides, the divine sanction which our Saviour gave his. Whatever is further related by the evangelists contains chiefly matters of fact, and consequently of faith; such as the birth of Christ, his being the Messiah, his miracles, his death, resurrection, and ascension: none of which can properly come under the appellation of human wisdom, being intended only to make us wise unto salvation. And therefore in this point nothing can be justly laid to the charge of the philosophers, further than that they were ignorant of certain facts that happened long after their death. But I am deceived if a better comment could be anywhere collected upon the moral part of the gospel than from the writings of those excellent men; even that divine precept of loving our enemies is at large insisted on by Plato, who puts it, as I remember, into the mouth of Socrates. And as to the reproach of heathenism, I doubt they had less of it than the corrupted Jews, in whose time they lived. For it is a gross piece of ignorance among us to conceive that, in those polite and learned ages, even persons of any tolerable education, much less the wisest philosophers, did acknowledge or worship any more than one almighty power, under several denominations, to whom they allowed all those attributes we ascribe to the Divinity; and, as I take it, human comprehension reaches no further; neither did our Saviour think it necessary to explain to us the nature of God, because, as I suppose, it would be impossible, without bestowing on us other faculties than we possess at present. But the true misery of the heathen world appears to be, what I before mentioned, the want of a divine sanction, without which the dictates of the philosophers failed in the point of authority: and consequently the bulk of mankind lay indeed under a great load of ignorance, even in the article of morality; but the philosophers themselves, did not. Take the matter in this light, it will afford field enough for a divine to enlarge on, by showing the advantages which the Christian world has over the heathen, and the absolute necessity of divine revelation to make the knowledge of the true God, and the practice of virtue more universal in the world.
I am not ignorant how much I differ in this opinion from some ancient fathers in the church, who, arguing against the heathens, made it a principal topic to decry their philosophy as much as they could: which, I hope, is not altogether our present case. Besides, it is to be considered that those fathers lived in the decline of literature; and in my judgment (who should be unwilling to give the least offence) appear to be rather most excellent holy persons than of transcendent genius and learning. Their genuine writings (for many of them have extremely suffered by spurious editions) are of admirable use for confirming the truth of ancient doctrines and discipline, by showing the state
and practice of the primitive church. But among such of them as have fallen in my way, I do not remember any whose manner of arguing or exhorting I could heartily recommend to the imitation of young divine, when he is to speak from the pulpit. Perhaps I judge too hastily, there being several of them in whose writings I have made very little progress, and in others none at all. For I perused only such as were recommended to me, at a time when I had more leisure and a better disposition to read than have since fallen to my share.
To returu, then, to the heathen philosophers: I hope you will not only give them quarter, but make their works a considerable part of your study. To these I will venture to add the principal orators and historians, and perhaps a few of the poets; by the reading of which, you will soon discover your mind and thoughts to be enlarged, your imagination extended and refined, your judgment directed, your admiration lessened, and your fortitude increased; all which advantages must needs be of excellent use to a divine, whose duty it is to preach and practise the contempt of human things.
I would say something concerning quotations, wherein I think you cannot be too sparing, except from Scripture, and the primitive writers of the church. As to the former, when you offer a text as a proof of an illustration, we your hearers expect to be fairly used, and sometimes think we have reason to complain, especially of you younger divines; which makes us fear that some of you conceive you have no more to do than to turn over a concordance, and there, having found the principal word, introduce as much of the verse as will serve your turn, though in reality it makes nothing for you. I do not altogether disapprove the manner of interweaving texts of Scripture through the style of your sermons, wherein, however, I have sometimes observed great instances of indiscretion and impropriety, against which I therefore venture to give you a
As to quotations from ancient fathers, I think they are best brought in to confirm some opinion controverted by those who differ from us: in other cases we give you full power to adopt the sentence for your own, rather than tell us, as St. Austin excellently observes." But to mention modern writers by name, or use the phrase of "a late excellent prelate of our church," and the like, is altogether intolerable, and, for what reason I know not, makes every rational hearer ashamed. Of no better a stamp is your "heathen philosopher," and "famous poet," and "Roman historian," at least in common congregations, who will rather believe you on your own word than on that of Plato or Homer.
I have lived to see Greek and Latin almost entirely driven out of the pulpit, for which I am heartily glad. The frequent use of the latter was certainly a remnant of popery, which never admitted Scripture in the vul gar language; and I wonder that practice was never accordingly objected to us by the fanatics.
The mention of quotations puts me in mind of commonplace books, which have been long in use by industrious young divines, and, I hear, do still continue so I know they are very beneficial to lawyers and physicians, because they are collections of facts or cases, whereupon a great part of their several faculties depend of these I have seen several, but never yet any written by a clergyman; only from what I am informed, they generally are extracts of theological and moral sentences, drawn from ecclesiastical and other authors, reduced under proper heads, usually begun, and perhaps finished, while the collectors were young in the church, as being intended for materials, or nurseries to stock future sermons. You will observe the
wise editors of ancient authors, when they meet a sentence worthy of being distinguished, take special care to have the first word printed in capital letters, that you may not overlook it: such, for example, as the inconstancy of fortune, the goodness of peace, the excellency of wisdom, the certainty of death: that prosperity makes men insolent, and adversity humble; and the like eternal truths, which every ploughman knows well enough, though he never heard of Aristotle or Plato. If theological commonplace books be no better filled, I think they had better be laid aside; and I could wish that men of tolerable intellectuals would rather trust their own natural reason, improved by a general conversation with books, to enlarge on a point which they are supposed already to understand. If a rational man reads an excellent author with just application, he shall find himself extremely improved, and, perhaps, insensibly led to imitate that author's perfections, although in a little time he should not remember one word in the book, nor even the subject it handled; for books give the same turn to our thoughts and way of reasoning that good and ill company do to our behaviour and conversation; without either loading our memories, or making us even sensible of the change. And particularly I have observed in preaching, that no men succeed better than those who trust entirely to the stock or fund of their own reason, advanced indeed, but not overlaid, by commerce with books. Whoever only reads in order to transcribe wise and shining remarks, without entering into the genius and spirit of the author, as it is probable he will make no very judicious extract, so he will be apt to trust to that collection in all his compositions, and be misled out of the regular way of thinking, in order to introduce those materials which he has been at the pains to gather: and the product of all this will be found a manifest incoherent piece of patchwork.
Some gentlemen, abounding in their university erudition, are apt to fill their sermons with philosophical terms and notions of the metaphysical or abstracted kind; which generally have one advantage, to be equally understood by the wise, the vulgar, and the preacher himself. I have been better entertained, and more informed, by a few pages in the "Pilgrim's Progress," than by a long discourse upon the will and the intellect, and simple or complex ideas. Others again are fond of dilating on matter and motion, talk of the fortuitous concourse of atoms, of theories, and phenomena, directly against the advice of St. Paul, who yet appears to have been conversant enough in those kinds of studies.
I do not find that you are anywhere directed in the canons or articles, to attempt explaining the mysteries of the Christian religion. And indeed, since Providence intended there should be mysteries, I do not see how it can be agreeable to piety, orthodoxy, or good sense to go about such a work. For to me there scems to be a manifest dilemma in the case; if you explain them they are mysteries no longer; if you fail, you have laboured to no purpose. What I should think most reasonable and safe for you to do upon this occasion, is, upon solemn days, to deliver the doctrine as the church holds it, and confirm it by Scripture. For my part, having considered the matter impartially, I can see no great reason, which those gentlemen you call the freethinkers can have, for their clamour against religious mysteries, since it is plain they were not invented by the clergy, to whom they bring no profit, nor acquire any honour. For every clergyman is ready, either to tell us the utmost he knows, or to confess that he doe not understand them: neither is it strange that there should be mysteries in divinity, as well as in the commonest operations of nature.
And here I am at a loss what to say upon the fre
quent custom of preaching against atheism, deism, freethinking, and the like, as young divines are particularly fond of doing, especially when they exercise their talent in churches frequented by persons of quality; which, as it is but an ill compliment to the audience, so I am under some doubt whether it answers the end because persons under those imputations are generally no great frequenters of churches, and so the congregation is but little edified for the sake of three or four fools, who are past grace: neither do I think it any part of prudence to perplex the minds of well-disposed people with doubts, which probably would never have otherwise come into their heads. But I am of opinion, and dare be positive in it, that not one in a hundred of those who pretend to be freethinkers are really so in their hearts. For there is one observation, which I never knew to fail, and I desire you will examine it in the course of your life, that no gentleman of a liberal education, and regular in his morals, did ever profess himself a freethinker: where then are these kind of people to be found? among the worst part of the soldiery, made up of pages, younger brothers of obscure families, and others of desperate fortunes; or else among idle town fops, and now and then a drunken squire of the country. Therefore nothing can be plainer than that ignorance and vice are two ingredients absolutely necessary in the composition of those you generally call freethinkers, who, in propriety of speech, are no thinkers at all. And since I am in the way of it, pray consider one thing further: as young as you are, you cannot but have already observed what a violent run there is among too many weak people against university education: be firmly assured that the whole cry is made up by those who were either never sent to college, or, through their irregularities and stupidity, never made the least improvement while they were there. I have above forty of the latter sort now in my eye; several of them in this town, whose learning, manners, temperance, probity, good-nature, and politics are all of a piece; others of them in the country, oppressing their tenants, tyrannizing over the neighbourhood, cheating the vicar, talking nonsense, and getting drunk at the sessions. It is from such seminaries as these that the world is provided with the several tribes and denominations of freethinkers; who, in my judg ment, are not to be reformed by arguments offered to prove the truth of the Christian religion, because reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired for in the course of things men always grow vicious before they become unbelievers but if you would once convince the town or country profligate by topics drawn from the view of their own quiet, reputation, health, and advantage, their infidelity would soon drop off: this, I confess, is no easy task, because it is almost, in a literal sense, to fight with beasts. Now to make it clear that we are to look for no other original of this infidelity, whereof divines so much complain, it is allowed on all hands that the people of England are more corrupt in their morals than any other nation at this day under the sun and this corruption is manifestly owing to other causes, both numerous and obvious, much more than to the publication of irreligious books, which indeed are but the consequence of the former. For all the writers against Christianity since the Revolution, have been of the lowest rank among men in regard to literature, wit, and good sense, and upon that account wholly unqualified to propagate heresies unless among a people already abandoned.
In an age, where everything disliked by those who think with the majority is called disaffection, it may perhaps be ill interpreted, when I venture to tell you, that this universal depravation of manners is owing to the perpetual bandying of factions among us for thirty
years past, when, without weighing the motives of justice, law, conscience, or honour, every man adjusts his principles to those of the party he has chosen, and among whom he may best find his own account; but by reason of our frequent vicissitudes, men who were impatient of being out of play have been forced to recant, or at least to reconcile their former tenets with every new system of administration. Add to this, that the old fundamental custom of annual parliaments being wholly laid aside, and elections growing chargeable, since gentlemen found that their country seats brought them in less than a seat in the house, the voters, that is to say, the bulk of the common people, have been universally seduced into bribery, perjury, drunkenness, malice, and slander.
Not to be further tedious, or rather invidious, these are a few, among other causes, which have contributed to the ruin of our morals, and consequently to the contempt of religion: for, imagine to yourself, if you please, a landed youth, whom his mother would never suffer to look into a book for fear of spoiling his eyes, got into parliament, and observing all enemies to the clergy heard with the utmost applause, what notions he must imbibe, how readily he will join in the cry, what an esteem he will conceive of himself, and what a contempt he must entertain, not only for his vicar at home, but for the whole order.
I therefore again conclude, that the trade of infidelity has been taken up only for an expedient to keep in countenance that universal corruption of morals which many other causes first contributed to introduce and to cultivate. And thus Mr. Hobbes's saying upon reason may be much more properly applied to religion-that if religion will be against a man, a man will be against religion. Though after all I have heard a profligate offer much stronger arguments against paying his debts than ever he was known to do against Christianity; indeed, the reason was, because in that juncture he happened to be closer pressed by the bailiff than the parson.
Ignorance may perhaps be the mother of superstition, but experience has not proved it to be so of devotion; for Christianity always made the most easy and quickest progress in civilized countries. I mention this, because it is affirmed that the clergy are in most credit where ignorance prevails, (and surely this kingdom would be called the paradise of clergymen if that opinion were true,) for which they instance England in the times of popery. But whoever knows anything of three or four centuries before the Reformation, will find the little learning then stirring was more equally divided between the English clergy and laity than it is at present. There were several famous lawyers in that period, whose writings are still in the highest repute, and some historians and poets, who were not of the church. Whereas, now-a-days, our education is so corrupted, that you will hardly find a young person of quality with the least tincture of knowledge, at the same time that many of the clergy were never more learned, or so scurvily treated. Here, among us at least, a man of letters out of the three professions is almost a prodigy. And those few who have preserved any rudiments of learning are (except perhaps one or two smatterers) the clergy's friends to a man; and I dare appeal to any clergyman in this kingdom, whether the greatest dunce in the parish be not always the most proud, wicked, fraudulent, and intractable of his flock. I think the clergy have almost given over perplexing themselves and their hearers with abstruse points of predestination, election, and the like; at least it is time they should; and therefore I shall not trouble you further upon this head.
I have now said all I could think convenient with relation to your conduct in the pulpit: your behaviour
in the world is another scene, upon which I shall readily offer you my thoughts if you appear to desire them from me by your approbation of what I have here written; if not, I have already troubled you too much.-I am, sir, your affectionate friend and servant.
AN ESSAY ON THE FATES OF
THERE is no talent so useful toward rising in the world, or which puts men more out of the reach of fortune, than that quality generally possessed by the dullest sort of men, and in common speech called discretion; a species of lower prudence, by the assistance of which people of the meanest intellectuals, without any other qualification, pass through the world in great tranquillity and with universal good treatment, neither giving nor taking offence. Courts are seldom unprovided of persons under this character, on whom, if they happen to be of great quality, most employments, even the greatest, naturally fall when competitors will not agree; and in such promotions nobody rejoices or grieves. The truth of this I could prove by several instances within my own memory; for I say nothing of present times.
And, indeed, as regularity and forms are of great use in carrying on the business of the world, so it is very convenient that persons endued with this kind of discretion should have that share which is proper to their talents in the conduct of affairs, but by no means meddle in matters which require genius, learning, strong comprehension, quickness of conception, magnanimity, generosity, sagacity, or any other superior gift of human minds. Because this sort of discretion is usually attended with a strong desire of money, and few scruples about the way of obtaining it; with servile flattery and submission; with a want of all public spirit or principle; with a perpetual wrong judgment, when the owners come into power and high place, how to dispose of favour and preferment; having no measure for merit and virtue in others but those very steps by which themselves ascended; nor the least intention of doing good or hurt to the public further than either one or t'other is likely to be subservient to their own security or interest. Thus, being void of all friendship and enmity, they never complain or find fault with the times, and indeed never have reason to do so.
Men of eminent parts and abilities, as well as virtues, do sometimes rise in the court, sometimes in the law, and sometimes even in the church. Such were the lord Bacon, the earl of Strafford, archbishop Laud, in the reign of king Charles I., and others in our own times, whom I shall not name; but these, and many more, under different princes and in different kingdoms, were disgraced or banished, or suffered death, merely in envy to their virtues and superior genius, which emboldened them in great exigencies and distresses of state (wanting a reasonable infusion of this aldermanly discretion) to attempt the service of their prince and country out of the common forms.
This evil fortune, which generally attends extraordinary men in the management of great affairs, has been imputed to divers causes that need not be here set down, when so obvious a one occurs, if what a certain writer observes be true, that when a great genius appears in the world, the dunces are all in confederacy against him. And if this be his fate when he employs his talents wholly in his closet, without interfering with any man's ambition or avarice, what must he expect when he ventures out to seek for preferment in a court but universal opposition when he is mounting the ladder, and every hand ready to turn him off when he is at the top? and in this point fortune generally acts directly
contrary to nature; for in nature we find that bodies full of life and spirits mount easily and are hard to fall, whereas heavy bodies are hard to rise, and come down with greater velocity in proportion to their weight; but we find fortune every day acting just the reverse of this.
This talent of discretion, as I have described it in its several adjuncts and circumstances, is nowhere so serviceable as to the clergy, to whose preferment nothing is so fatal as the character of wit, politeness in reading or manners, or that kind of behaviour which we conhigh station and eminency; these qualifications being tract by having too much conversation with persons of reckoned, by the vulgar of all ranks, to be marks of levity, which is the last crime the world will pardon in a clergyman; to this I may add a free manner of speaking in mixed company, and too frequent an appearance in places of much resort, which are equally noxious to spiritual promotion.
I have known, indeed, a few exceptions to some parts of these observations. I have seen some of the dullest tensions, affecting politeness in manners and discourse; men alive aiming at wit, and others, with as little preguilt, they grew into considerable stations, upon the but never being able to persuade the world of their because they were of a size too low to deceive the world firm assurance which all people had of their discretion, trial too dangerous often to engage in. to their own disadvantage. But this, I confess, is a
There is a known story of a clergyman, who was recourt, to an archbishop [Tenison.] commended for a preferment by some great men at His grace said, and swobbers; that as to playing now and then a sober "he had heard that the clergyman used to play at whist game at whist for pastime, it might be pardoned, but he could not digest those wicked swobbers;" and it was him. with some pains that my lord Somers could undeceive prelate ascended so high, or what sort of qualifications I ask, by what talents we may suppose that great he would expect in those whom he took into his patronage, or would probably recommend to court for the government of distant churches?
for a small free-school in Yorkshire, where a gentleman Two clergymen, in my memory, stood candidates have a better understanding than his neighbours, proof quality and interest in the county, who happened to cured the place for him who was the better scholar and more gentlemanly person of the two, very much to pointed, came up to London, where he became the the regret of all the parish: the other being disapknown, and possessed it with as heavy intellectuals ; greatest pattern of this lower discretion that I have gravity of his deportment, carried him safe through which, together with the coldness of his temper and many difficulties, and he lived and died in a great station; while his competitor is too obscure for fame to tell us what became of him.
and do most heartily recommend, has one advantage This species of discretion, which I so much celebrate not yet mentioned: it will carry a man safe through all the malice and variety of parties so far, that, whatever allowed for a share of what is going. And the thing faction happens to be uppermost, his claim is usually seems to be highly reasonable; for in all great changes the prevailing side is usually so tempestuous that it rate men, and I call men of discretion; whom people wants the ballast of those whom the world calls modein power may, with little ceremony, load as heavy as they please, drive them through the hardest and deepest roads without danger of foundering or breaking their backs, and will be sure to find them neither resty nor vicious.
clergymen in England, the characters of each, and I will here give the reader a short history of two
be a chaplain in ordinary, and in due time a parish in town, and a dignity in the church.
the progress of their fortunes in the world; by which the force of worldly discretion, and the bad consequences from the want of that virtue, will strongly appear:
Corusodes, an Oxford student and a farmer's son, was never absent from prayers or lecture, nor once out of his college after Tom had tolled. He spent every day ten hours in his closet, in reading his courses, dozing, clipping papers, or darning his stockings; which last he performed to admiration. He could be soberly drunk at the expense of others, with college ale, and at those seasons was always most devout. He wore the same gown five years without draggling or tearing. He never once looked into a play-book or a poem. He read Virgil and Ramus in the same cadence, but with a very different taste. He never understood a jest, or had the least conception of wit.
For one saying he stands in renown to this day. Being with some other students over a pot of ale, one of the company said so many pleasant things, that the rest were much diverted, only Corusodes was silent and unmoved. When they parted, be called this merry companion aside, and said, "Sir, I perceive by your often speaking, and our friends laughing, that you spoke many jests; and you could not but observe my silence; but, sir, this is my humour: I never make a jest myself, nor ever laugh at another
Corusodes, thus endowed, got into holy orders; having by the most extreme parsimony, saved 347. out of a very beggarly fellowship, he went up to London, where his sister was waiting-woman to a lady, and so good a solicitor that by her means he was admitted to read prayers in the family twice a-day, at 10s. amonth. He had now acquired a low, obsequious, awkward how, and a talent of gross flattery both in and out of season; he would shake the butler by the hand; he taught the page his catechism, and was sometimes admitted to dine at the steward's table. In short, he got the good word of the whole family, and was recommended by my lady for chaplain to some other noble houses, by which his revenue (besides vales) amounted to about 301. a-year; his sister procured him a scarf from my lord, who had a small design of gallantry upon her; and by his lordship's solicitation he got a lectureship in town of 60l. a-year; where he preached constantly in person, in a grave manner, with an audible voice, a style ecclesiastic, and the matter (such as it was) was suited to the intellectuals of his hearers. Some time after, a country living fell in my lord's disposal; and his lordship, who had now some encouragement given him of success in his amour, bestowed the living on Corusodes, who still kept his lectureship and residence in town; where he was a constant attendant at all meetings relating to charity, without ever contributing further than his frequent pious exhortations. If any woman of better fashion in the parish happened to be absent from church, they were sure of a visit from him in a day or two, to chide and to dine with them.
He had a select number of poor constantly attending at the street-door of his lodging, for whom he was a common solicitor to his former patroness, dropping in his own half-crown among the collections, and taking it out when he disposed of the money. At a person of quality's house, he would never sit down till he was thrice bid, and then upon the corner of the most distant chair. His whole demeanour was formal and starch, which adhered so close, that he could never shake it off in his highest promotion.
His lord was now in high employment at court, and attended by him with the most abject assiduity; and his sister being gone off with child to a private lodging, my lord continued his graces to Corusodes, got him to
He paid his curates punctually, at the lowest salary, and partly out of the communion money; but gave them good advice in abundance. He married a citizen's widow, who taught him to put out small sums at ten per cent., and brought him acquainted with jobbers in Change-alley. By her dexterity he sold the clerkship of his parish when it became vacant.
He kept a miserable house, but the blame was laid wholly upon madam; for the good doctor was always at his books, or visiting the sick, or doing other offices of charity and piety in his parish.
He treated all his inferiors of the clergy with a most sanctified pride; was rigorously and universally censorious upon all his brethren of the gown, on their first appearance in the world, or while they continued meanly preferred; but gave large allowance to the laity of high rank or great riches, using neither eyes nor ears for their faults: he was never sensible of the least corruption in courts, parliaments, or ministries, but made the most favourable constructions of all public proceedings; and power in whatever hands or whatever party, was always secure of his most charitable opinion. He had many wholesome maxims ready to excuse all miscarriages of state; men are but men, erunt vitia donec homines; and quod supra nos, nil ad nos; with several others of equal weight.
It would lengthen my paper beyond measure to trace out the whole system of his conduct; his dreadful apprehensions of popery; his great moderation towards dissenters of all denominations, with hearty wishes that, by yielding somewhat on both sides, there might be a general union among Protestants; his short, inoffensive sermons in his turns at court, and the matter exactly suited to the present juncture of prevailing opinions; the arts he used to obtain a mitre, by writing against Episcopacy; and the proofs he gave of his loyalty, by palliating or defending the murder of a martyred prince.
Endued with all these accomplishments, we leave him in the full career of success, mounting fast toward the top of the ladder ecclesiastical, which he has a fair probability to reach; without the merit of one single virtue, moderately stocked with the least valuable parts of erudition, utterly devoid of all taste, judgment or genius; and, in his grandeur, naturally choosing to haul up others after him whose accomplishments most resembled his own, except his beloved sons, nephews, or other kindred, be in competition; or, lastly, except his inclinations be diverted by those who have power to mortify or further advance him.
Eugenio set out from the same university and about the same time with Corusodes; he had the reputation of an arch lad at school, and was unfortunately possessed with a talent for poetry; on which account he received many chiding letters from his father and grave advice from his tutor. He did not neglect his college learning, but his chief study was the authors of antiquity, with a perfect knowledge in the Greek and Roman tongues. He could never procure himself to be chosen fellow; for it was objected against him that he had written verses, and particularly some wherein he glanced at a certain reverend doctor famous for dulness; that he had been seen bowing to ladies as he met them in the street; and it was proved that once he had been found dancing in a private family with half a dozen of both sexes.
He was the younger son to a gentleman of good birth but small estate; and his father dying, he was driven to London to seek his fortune; he got into orders, and became reader in a parish church at 207. a-year; was carried by an Oxford friend to Will's coffee-house, frequented in those days by men of wit,