Imagens da página

gorgeous pair of shoes of the said lady to set a heelpiece thereon; and I received such praise therefore, that it was said all over the parish, I should be recommended unto the king to mend shoes for his majesty: whom God preserve Amen.

[The rest of this chapter I purposely omit, for it must be owned, that when he speaks as a shoemaker he is very absurd. He talks of Moses pulling off his shoes, of tanning the hides of the bulls of Basan, of Simon the tanner, &c. and takes up four or five pages to prove, that when the apostles were instructed to travel without shoes, the precept did not extend to their successors.]

[The next relates how he discovered a thief with a Bible and key, and experimented verses of the psalms, that had cured agues.]

[I pass over many others, which inform us of parish affairs only, such as of the succession of curates; a list of the weekly texts; what psalms he chose on proper occasions; and what children were born and buried: the last of which articles he concludes thus:]

That the shame of women may not endure, I speak not of bastards; neither will I name the mothers, although thereby I might delight many grave women of the parish: even her who hath done penance in the sheet will I not mention, forasmuch as the church hath been witness of her disgrace: let the father, who hath made due composition with the churchwardens to conceal his infirmity, rest in peace;

my pen shall not beWray him, for I also have sinned. [The [ The next chapter contains what he calls a great revolution in the church, part of which I transcribe.]

Now was the long expected time arrived, when the psalms of king David should be hymned unto the same tunes, to which he played them upon his harp; so was I informed by my singing-master, a man right cunning in psalmody. Now was our over-abundant quaver and trilling done away, and in lieu thereof was instituted the sol-fa, in such guise as is sung in his majesty's chapel. We had London singing-masters sent into every parish, like unto excisemen; and I also was ordained to adjoin myself unto them, though an unworthy disciple, in order to instruct my fellow parishioners in this new manner of worship. What though they accused me of humming through the nostril as a sackbut; yet would I not forego that harmony, it having been agreed by the worthy parish-clerks of London still to preserve the same. I tutored the young men and maidens to tune their voices as it were a psaltery, and the church on the Sunday was filled with these new hallelujahs.

[Then follow full seventy chapters, containing an exact detail of the lawsuits of the parson and his par rishioners concerning tithes, and near a hundred pages left blank with an earnest desire that the history might be completed by any of his successors, in whose

time these suits should be ended.]
[The next contains an account of the briefs read in
the church, and the sums collected upon each. For
the reparation of nine churches, collected at nine se-

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

veral times, 2 s. and 7 d. 3. For fifty families ruined by fire, I s. s. For an inundation, a king Charles's groat, given by lady Frances, &c.]

[In the next he laments the disuse of wedding-sermons, and celebrates the benefits arising from those at funerals, concluding with these words: Ah! let not the relations of the deceased grudge the small expense of a hatband, a pair of gloves, and ten shillings, from the satisfaction they are sure to receive from a pious divine, that their father, brother, or bosom wife are certainly in Heaven.]

[In another he draws a panegyrick on one Mrs. Margaret Wilkins; but, after great encomiums, concludes, that notwithstanding all, she was an unprofitable vessel, being a barren woman, and never once having furnished God's church with a christening.]

[We find in another chapter, how he was much staggered in his belief, and disturbed in his conscience by an Oxford scholar, who had proved to him by logick, that animals might have rational, nay, immortal souls; but how he was again comforted with the reflection, that if so, they might be allowed christian burial, and greatly augment the fees of the


[In the two following chapters he is overpowered with vanity. We are told, how he was constantly admitted to all the feasts and banquets of the church officers, and the speeches he there made for the good of the parish. How he gave hints to young clergyIIlCIl men to preach; but above all, how he gave a text for the 30th of January, which occasioned a most excellent sermon, the merits of which he takes entirely to himself. He gives an account of a conference he had with the vicar concerning the use of texts. Let a preacher (says he) consider the assembly before whom he preacheth, and unto them adapt his text. Micah the 3d and 11th affordeth good matter for courtiers and court-serving men. “The heads “ of the land judge for reward, and the people thereof “judge for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for “money; yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, “is not the Lord among us?” Were the first minister to point out a preacher before the house of commons, would not he be wise to make choice of these words “give, and it shall be given unto ye.” Or before the lords, “giving no offence that the “ministry be not blamed, 2 Cor. vi. 3.” Or praising the warm zeal of an administration, “who ma“keth his ministers a flaming fire, Psal, civ. 4.” We omit many others of his texts as too tedious.]

[From this period the style of the book rises extremely. Before the next chapter was pasted the effigies of Dr. Sacheverell, and I found the opposite page all on a foam with politicks.]

We are now (says he) arrived at that celebrated year, in which the church of England was tried in the person of Dr. Sacheverell. I had ever the interest of our high-church at heart, neither would I at any season mingle myself in the societies of fanaticks, whom I from my infancy abhorred more than the heathen or gentile. It was in these days I bethought myself, that

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

that much profit might accrue unto our parish, and even unto the nation, could there be assembled together a number of chosen men of the right spirit, who might argue, refine, and define, upon high and great matters. Unto this purpose I did institute a weekly assembly of divers worthy men, at the Rose and Crown alehouse, over whom my elf (though unworthy) did preside. Yea, I did read to them the Post boy of Mr. Roper, and the written letter of Mr. Dyer, upon which we communed afterward among ourselves. Our society was composed of the following persons: Robert Jenkins, farrier; Amos Turner, collar-maker ; George Pilcocks, late exciseman; Thomas White, wheelwright; and myself. First, of the first, Robert Jenkins. He was a man of bright parts and shrewd conceit, for he never shoed a horse of a whig or a fanatick, but he lamed him sorely. Amos Turner, a worthy person, rightly esteemed among us for his sufferings, in that he had been honoured in the stocks for wearing an oaken bough. George Pilcocks, a sufferer also ; of zealous and laudable freedom of speech, insomuch that his occupation had been taken from him. Thomas White, of good repute likewise, for that his uncle by the mother's side had formerly been servitor at Maudlin college, where the glorious Sacheverell was educated. Now were the eyes of all the parish upon these our weekly councils. In a short space the minister came among us; he spake concerning us and our councils to a multitude of other ministers at the visitation, and they spake thereof unto the ministers at LonWol. XVII. K don,

« AnteriorContinuar »