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si * ought not to be refused, and would not that have been, think ye, a very edifying sight? Some hundreds of people worshipping God by spying one another's features through glasses, the preacher in his turn spying them all! But to return.
When I had heard all this, I own, I was struck: but having, I know not what; partiality for the gown, I tried to excuse what I could not in my conscience approve. I urged their youth. That, said the good old men, is no excuse ; on the contrary,
it aggravates their crime. The virtue of youth is modesty, and when a young man has lost his modesty, possess what he will, he is an object of horror. I pleaded their birth · but that would not do. For, said my opponents, if they be gentlemen's sons, they sin against their own knowledge; and if they be poor lads, they sin against humility. Does it become poor lads, said they, to disguise themselves in a gown, and insult us who would have disdained to have set their fathers with the dogs of our flocks ? Such as they,
Forget the dunghills where they grew,
I said, they were members of a famous university. They replied, that therefore they should be concerned for the honour of that reverend body; that this was the way to disgrace the whole university; that the worst part of the worst man's cha
They come to be seen.
racter was, he ate of my bread, and he lift up Irie heel against me. I added, that as Mr. Hussey preached often, preached to a plain people, and for their sakes preferred a popular familiar dialect before a scholastic accuracy, or before an elegant delicacy of style, perhaps he not only thought with Quintilian that perspicuity was the first, but the only virtue of a public speech, and, intent on answering the great end of his ministry, the salvation of his people's souls, he might sometimes offend against the laws of speech. They answered, it was not likely that a man of learning should do so; that if he did, it would be easy, though not generous, to say to an undergraduate censor, phyșician, heal thyself ; that every man of sense would attend to a public speaker's design more than to his address in delivering himself. At length, I had exhausted my pleas, and, as I could not excuse, I was forced to content myself with pitying and blushing for young men, whom, with all their faults, I sincerely loved,
Nothing of this, however was urged for the continuance of the old rigid discipline, and I took the pastoral office only on condition of their abrogating laws, the manifest tendency of which was the maintenance of party prejudices, the murder of christian love.
You will perhaps ask me, what effects followed? I will tell you. The living God, the guardian of his own gospel, always ready to succour the well meant though weak efforts of all who endeavour to extend his empire of love, this God mercifully overruled providences to answer our wishes, and caused the relief to proceed from the very men, whose order had caused the scandal. Aware of the prejudices of the good people of the congregation, I endeavoured to conceal my acquaintance with some pious gownsmen then in college; however, it came out, and, as I feared, of fended several worthy people, who even suspected my orthodoxy, and questioned me about it. I made the best apology, that I could, for my
intimacy with these good men. I said nothing of their families; for my dissenting brethren had no idea of a gentleman without virtue. I said nothing of their learning: for they did not care for all their latin and greek unless subservient to piety. I endeavoured to prove them GOOD MEN. How! said they, can any good come out of Nazareth ? Should any say so now, I would answer, come and see. In short these gentlemen, with their modest deportment at meeting, with their friendly and edifying visits among the people, with abstaining from all that could give offence to any, with practising the virtues that approve men the servants of God, effectually destroyed party zeal; and now, blessed be God, churchmen are seen frequently at meeting, dissenters occasionally at church, and people begin to act as if they thought the religion of christians a religion of love. In those days of yore, how often have dissenting ministers in Cambridge bewailed this thorn in their nest : how often have they envied their brethren, whose lots were cast in the least civilized parts of his Majesty's do
minions! Happy you, said they, who in sea port towns preach to a rough ship’s crew! happy you who preach to plowmen and vine dressers ! you enjoy the toleration allowed to protestant dissenters in the fullest sense. You ask, where is THE PLACE OF WISDOM? The gold and the crystal cannot equal it : for the price of wisdom is above rubies! For our parts, we answer, the fear of the Lord that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding How often did these good men, when preaching in country towns, remember the saying of a certain nobleman, who, when he saw the kind actions of the beasts in the Tower to each other, exclaimed, we have been mistaking, these are the rationals, and we are the brutes !
To come into our places of worship now, after such scenes as these, is like coming home after a long rough voyage. Indeed some imperfections attend us still.' Still there is, as there always will be, an Ishmael in Abraham's family. Notwithstanding all the just and generous efforts of the heads of houses; notwithstanding the frequent attendance of proctors; notwithstanding the example of hundreds of well behaved gownsmen ; there will be now and then an aukward, an ignorant, or an intoxicated lad, whose vanity and brutality will be insensible to all.Such a person appears among you, gentlemen! as satan presented himself among the sons of God: but, as a proof of the extreme folly of such a lad, to what a disadvantage does he appear in your company in the house of God? Contrasted with you, who behave well, he produces
the same effect on spectators, as an ill-drawn daubing hung by the side of a finely finished picture would produce ; the beauty of the one aggravates the horror of the other. With the greatest disgust all behold, the more delicate sex especially, behold the frightful creature, and every tongue proclaims his enormous praise. All think him too bad for reason, and punish him with the severest ridicule; and, should that question, somctimes put up in the schools, be ever put up in a circle of ladies, detur vacuum ?* they would be provoked to answer Detur.f It is in the brain of him who behaves ill at divine worship.
Let us neither dissemble, nor be ungrateful. We derive an advantage from even such as these; an advantage great enough to induce us to waive every power, which college rules, university statutes, and the laws of the land give us over such culprits. It is never necessary for dissenting ministers in this town to teach their people reasons of dissent. Why should you puzzle yourselves, my brethren, with reading or hearing long disser, tations on church discipline? Why compare the established hierarchy with the apostolic simplicity? Why trace this subject through the writings of your Owens, and Goodwins, and Watts’s, and Doddridges ? Behold a more popular way. Look at these members—members, yea ministers of the established church. These are thy Gods, O Israel!
* Is there an empty place in nature.
+ There is