Изображения страниц

to this sweet-minded youth: how happy should I be, if he lived nearer to these parts, that I might give him the best advice in my power!

Loveg. Sir, his wishes thoroughly correspond with yours.

Mrs. Wor. I am sure they thoroughly correspond

with mine.

Loveg. Why, madam, he says the air of Grediton will never agree with his constitution; he exceedingly longs to find a habitation somewhere near these parts, especially while his father lives; though his mother seems somewhat more reconciled to him, since his old uncle has left him such a large portion of money and estates. Mer. But, Sir, could Mr. Lovely prevail on Mr. Saveall to lend you the pulpit for the Sunday?

Loveg. O no, Sir; there was plenty of objections started against that attempt. He first said, he did not see the use of paying another for doing his duty, when he could do it himself. And when that difficulty was obviated, that no money would be needed, the next was, that "it was very wrong to encourage a modern set of ministers to do duty for nothing, when the labourer is worthy of his hire.”

Mer. Yes; and that is the way these hirelings pervert the word of God. He forgot to quote, how happy Paul and the rest of the Apostles were, when they had it in their power to preach Christ, without being burdensome to the people.

Wor. Ah, that doctrine stands in a part of the Bible they do not want to read. But what other objections could he have?

Loveg. Why, that I could be so weak as to go gadding about with that young man, who was so foolish as to spatter about his money, which Mr. Alderman Greedy had collected together with so much frugality; and that this was bringing a sad disgrace on the memory of the

worthy Alderman, who was the father of the corporation; though he rather thought in some instances of frugality, he might have overshot the mark. And further, that at a private meeting of the corporation over a dish of sprats, sheep's trotters, and other such rarities, (though while they could feast themselves at the public expence, they were liberal enough) Mr. Frugal, the present mayor, agreed that Mr. Lovely's conduct was an unpardonable offence. Alderman Stingy was also of the same opinion, and Mr. Closefist, the town-clerk, entirely agreed with them; though it seems Mr. Closefist, at times, affects even to be generous, and boasts of his numerous applications; and now and then gives away a trifle; as he finds it for his interest to be liberal, that he may thereby not only avail himself of the custom of the people of the town, but take in those also that are not among its original natives. He is of the family of the Longheads, and is himself, supposed to be one of the most long-headed of any of that famous family: he is a poor thin-looking fellow, and seems to be made up of nothing but low cunning and mean designs.

Wor. What a strange set they all are! However, amongst them all, it seems you were to be kept out of the pulpit. I wonder you were not almost determined to act like our good old reformation bishops, and preach out in the street, upon this text, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

Loveg. I do not know what my dear honest friend Mr. Slapdash might have done, had he been in my situation.

Mer. I am sure you shewed very little of your constitutional timidity, when you preached your visitation sermon: but it is a terrible calamity that people should be left in such a state, and with such a teacher, to keep them all quiet and contented in their sins.

Loveg. Why, Mr. Lovely, at one time thought of hinting it to Mr. Saveall, that if he would let Mr. Goodman

be the curate, he would secretly pay the salary for him ; but his pride and enmity will never let him submit to that. At another time he thought of building them a chapel, and sending some good man to preach among them but it is a sad soil for the gospel; the cares of the world, would be very apt to choke the seed in that town.

Mer. Did you not preach in any church on the Sunday?

Loveg. O yes, Sir, I went to Fairfield with Mr. Lovely, to see his father, who seems to be one of a very excellent mind and temper, and he obtained leave of the pulpit from Dr. Nescience at a word; for it seems they at once put me into his good graces by saying I was a man of learning, and this pleased him hugely. Poor thing! he happens to be one of the most stupid conceited pedants, I ever met with in my life.

Wor. Had you an interview with him?

Loveg. Sir, Mr. Lovely's father invited him to sup with us; and at once he began saying, how delighted he was to be acquainted with men of learning, and how glad he should be, if I had but time to see some of his animadversasions, (as he called them,) on the book of Tobit, and on Bel and the Dragon, which he meant to publish; but that now the world was grown so ignorant, that he could find no publisher who would venture to undertake the work.

Wor. Why, to be sure, the little Doctor is half mad. Loveg. Quite so, I should rather apprehend, if what some have observed be true, "A little learning makes a man mad, while a deal of it will bring him back again into his senses." But with what astonishing rapidity he ran on, with his curious expressions, and hard words! many of which he murdered as bad as the former. However, in the course of our conversation, I found he had been a great student in all the whimsical nonsense that

had found its way into the world, through the crazy brains of Jacob Behmen, Count Swedenburgh, and others, by which means he had almost been deprived of the small share of sense that nature had bestowed upon him. And, one night, they say, while he was sitting up, reading these visionary authors, he was overtaken with the cramp, upon which he immediately ran up stairs to Mrs. Nescience, crying that he was sure he was bewitched.

Wor. How in the world could you answer this whimsical Doctor?

Loveg. Sir, it was impossible to answer him; dowrright nonsense never can be answered; so that I did nothing but hum and hah, and say yes, and no, while Mr. Lovely did all in his power to put another turn upon the conversation.

Mer. But, Sir, how did it fare with you on the Sunday?

Loveg. Why, during the summer months, it seems they have two sermons, and I thought I should have been permitted to preach them both; but after he had heard my morning sermon, urging the necessity of a divine change, and recommending, according to the best of my ability, the need of a personal application to our Lord Jesus Christ, that this blessed work might be accomplished, through the operation of his Holy Spirit; the little Doctor skipped about in his gown and cassock, like a jumping joan, saying, that with my leave, he should preach himself in the afternoon, and that he was sure he could confute all that I said in the morning; for that he could not bear to hear the true religion he preached, contradicted before all the people.

Wor. Consequently you were under the necessity of giving up the point.

Loveg. Yes, Sir; I told him I should be open to conviction, and said how willing I should be to read prayers for him, as in reading them, I was satisfied I should

neither wound my conscience, nor contradict my


Mer. And what sort of a sermon did he give you?

Loveg. O Sir, Mr. Lovely's father remembers that the little Doctor had given it them three or four times before.

Wor. What was the substance of it?

Lovey. Why, first he began stammering and stuttering over a few lines, which he went home purposely to compose, by way of prefixing a few new thoughts as a preface to his old sermon; and though these were written down, yet he was so terribly out of temper, from what he had heard in the morning, that he appeared much more like a man bewitched, than when he was seized with the cramp.

Wor. Do let us hear the drift of the Doctor's sermon. I'll warrant it was a curious performance.

Loveg. Indeed, Sir, it was. He first pretended to prove that we were all made Christians by baptism, Then that we were confirmed in our Christianity, when we` were confirmed by the Bishop. And lastly, we were perfected in our Christianity, by receiving the holy sacrament: and this he said, was better than the strange notions that some people were fond of preaching up, about regeneration and inspiration, which he said, must be all false doctrine; because that if we were inspired, we could work miracles; making no difference between the extraordinary operations of the Divine Spirit, and the implantation of the divine nature, which must exist in every real Christian, to the latest ages of the world.

Mer. One wonders that people can be so ignorant, as to suppose that a mere outward ordinance, however good in its place, will do as a substitute for that new and divine nature, mentioned so frequently in the word of God,

Loveg. Why, Sir, I was told by Mr. Lovely, that when

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »