« ElőzőTovább »
( 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 tirefome, 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 sinks 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 fame 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 incrcase Methodism. A Delire 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 Enthufiasm.
There never was a duller Hound than that* Hound of King's, whom your Lordship must remember as 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 Madan.
* The Servitors, as they are tormed 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 Flound of King's.
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 You cannot imagine, my Lord, with what an envious Eye we poor Lecturers have often looked over a Waiter's Book at a Coffee-house, where I have seen such a Collection of Guineas and half Guineas as made my Niouth water : To give less than a Crown at least, would be to the last Degree ungenteel, for the immenfe Trouble of handing a Dith of Coffee, or a News-paper; whilst the poor Divine, who has coiled 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 Occasions : Suppose yourself then, my Lord, an Eye-witness of the following Scene, which paired not long since in a certain Part of this Metropolis.
Enter the Church-warden and Overseer into the Shop of Mr. Prim the Mercer--- Well, Mr. Twist, 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 thinkhowever, I can't refuse you; but I'll not give another Year-here, Buckram, reach me Halí a Crown out of the Till-jour Servant, Madam[ A Lady comes cut 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 sure as the Benefit comes round, for my Wife and Daughter, belides Chair-hire. [Twift Jhukes bis Head.]
O Master Prim, Master Prim! had not you better now have given us a Guinea for the Doctor and his four Children, and reserved your Half Crown for the Lady, who, if I may judge from her Garb and Equipage, does not want it half so much as the poor Parson ; but you will be in the Fashion, so give us your Mite ; set down Mr. Prim Two and Sixpence. Sir, Good Morrow to you--Gentlemen, your Servant
Such, my Lord, you see, is the Force of Fashion, and such the Influence of Example, that a constant Church-goer, and one perhaps who fancies himself a very good Christian, ihall throw away one Pound one with all the Pleasure imaginable for an Evening's Entertainment at the Theatre, and at the same Time grudge Half a Crown for two and fifty Discourses from the Pulpit, which, if he turns to his Arithmetic Book, he will see amounts to about ---three Farthings a Sermon---and a sober Citizen too, as Lady Townly says, “ Fye! fye!'
These, my Lord, are melancholy. Truths, and, though you and I who are Philosophers may laugh at them, have made many an honest Man's Heart ake.
I will leave your Lordship to imagine, without entering any further into this Subject, what the great and desirable Emoluments must be arising from a Town Lepureship ; hardly equal at the best to the Wages of a Journeyman Staymaker, and by no Means upon a Level with the Profits of Drawers, Coffee-house Waiters, or the Footmen of our Nobility. This very lucrative Employment, notwithstanding, as being too considerable for one Man, is frequently split in two and divided, like the Places of Poft Matter General, Secretary, &c. amongst the Great. I have myself the Honour, my Lord, of being what is called a joint-Lecturer, not having Interest enough in the Parish, where I had been CuVOL. II.
rate for twenty Years, to secure the Whole. I cannot indeed fo far agree with our old Friend Hefiod as to think the Half better than the Whole, but, embracing the + Engiżsh instead of the Greek Proverb, fit myself down contentedly, and eat my half Loaf in Quiet. But, to confess the Truth, I find the Profits of both Preferments (for your Lordship fees I am a Pluralist) rather too small, to provide, in these hard Times, for the Necessities of a growing Family, and have lately been obliged to eke out Matters by entering myself on my Friend H---w's List. As there is something curious in this Mr. H-, both with Regard to himself, and the Bufiness he is engaged in, I shall beg Leave to introduce him to your Lordship’s Acquaintance, as I believe, during what I may call your Minority in the Church, no such Character or Occupation was in being.
You must know then, my Lord, that the ingenious Mr. H- has found out a new Method of being serviceable to the Ciergy and himself, by keeping a Kind of Ecclefiaftical Register Office, or, more properly speaking, Divinity-Shop, in the City, where Parsons are hired by the Day, Week, Month, &c. as Occasion requires. For this Purpose he keeps a regular alphabetical List of unemployed Divines, from the Age of threescore and ten, to two and twenty, ready to be let out for certain ftipulated Sums, deducting a proper Premium for the Agent from every one of them. If any labouring Curate, Lecturer, Morning Preacher, &c. is too busy or too idle to perform his own Duty, he may immediately repair to the faid Office, and be supplied with as much found and orthodox Divinity as he is able or willing to pay for. To this very useful Gentleman, I had myself, not long since, Occasion to apply,
πλεον ημισυ παντG». . # Half a Loaf is better than no Bread.