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on my shoulders, that I confess he was much merrier than I. I was half angry; but resolved to keep up the good humour of the company; and after hollaing a3 loud as I could possibly, I drank off a bumper of claret, that made me stare again. Nay, says one of the honest fellows, Mr. Isaac is in the right, there is no conversation in this: what signifies jumping, or hitting onę another on the back? Let us drink about. We did so from seven of the clock until eleven ; and now I am come hither, and, after the manner of the wise Pythagoras, begin to reflect upon the passages of the day. I remember nothing but that I am bruised to death; and as it is my way to write down all the good things I have heard in the last conversation, to furnish my paper, I fan from this only tell you my sufferings and my bangs.
ON PREACHERS. No. 66,
Of all the people on the earth, there are none who puzzle me so much as the clergy of Great Britain, who are, I believe, the most learned body of men now in the world ; and yet the art of speaking with the proper ornaments of voice and gesture is wholly neglected among them; and I will engage, were a deaf man to behold the greater part of them preach, he would rather think. they were reading the contents only of some discourse they intended to make, than actually in the body of an oration, even when they are upon matters of such a nature, as one would believe it were impossible to think of without emotion.
I own there are exceptions to this general observation, and that the dean we heard the other day together is an
orator. He has so much regard to his congregation, that he commits to his memory what he is to say to them; and has so soft and graceful a behaviour, that it must attract your attention. His person, it is to be confessed, is no small recommendation ; but he is to be highly commended for not losing that advantage ; and adding to the propriety of speech, which might pass the criticism of Longinus, an action which would have been approved by Demosthenes. He has a peculiar force in his way, and has many of his audience who could not be intelligent hearers of his discourse, were there not explanation as well as grace in his action. This art of his is used with the most exact and honest skill. He never attempts your passions until he has convinced your reason. All the objections which he can form are laid open and dispersed before he uses the least vehemence in his sermon; but when he thinks he has your head, be very soon wins your heart; and never pretends to show the beauty of holiness, until he hath convinced you of the truth of it.
Would every one of our clergymen be thus careful to recommend truth and virtue in their proper figures, and show so much concern for them as to give them all the additional force they were able, it is not possible that nonsense should have so many
find it has in dissenting congregations, for no reason in the world but because it is spoken extempore. For ordinary minds are wholly governed by their eyes and ears, and there is no way to come at their hearts, but by power over their imaginations.
There is my friend and merry companion Daniel*. He knows a great deal better than he speaks, and can form
hearers as you
* Daniel Burgess.
a proper discourse as well as any orthodox neighbour. But he knows very well, that to bawl out, My beloved ! and the words grace! regeneration! sanctification ! a new light! the day! the day! ay, my beloved, the day! or rather the night! the night is coming ! and judgment will come, when we least think of it! and so forth-He knows, to be vehement is the only way to come at his audience. Daniel, when he sees my friend Greenhat come in, can give a good hint, and cry out, This is only for the saints ! the regenerated ! By this force of action, though mixed with all the incoherence and ribaldry imaginable, Daniel can laugh at his diocesan, and grow fat by voluntary subscription, while the parson of the parish goes to law for half his dues. Daniel will tell you, It is not the shepherd, but the sheep with the bell, which the flock follows.
Another thing, very wonderful this learned body should omit, is, learning to read; which is a most necessary part of eloquence in one who is to serve at the altar: for there is no man but must be sensible that the lazy tone and inarticulate sound of our common readers depreciate the most proper form of words that were ever extant in any nation or language, to speak their own wants, or his power from whom we ask relief.
There cannot be a greater instance of the power of action than in little parson Dapper*, who is the common relief to all the lazy pulpits in town. This smart youth has a very good memory, a quick eye, and a clean hand. kerchief. Thus equipped he opens his text, shuts his book fairly, shows he has no notes in his bible, opens both palms, and shows all is fair there too. Thus, with a decisive air, my young man goes on without hesita. tion; and though from the beginning to the end of his pretty discourse he has not used one proper gesture, yet at the conclusion the churchwarden pulls his gloves from off his hands; Pray, who is this extraordinary young man? Thus the force of action is such, that it is more prevalent, even when improper, than all the reason and argument in the world without it. This gentleman concluded his discourse by saying, I do not doubt but if our preachers would learn to speak, and our readers to read, within six months time we should not have a dissenter within a mile of a church in Great Britain.
October 9, 1709. YESTERDAY I had the misfortune to drop in at my lady Haughty's upon her visiting-day. When I entered the room where she receives company, they all stood up indeed; but they stood as if they were to stare at rather than to receive me. After a long pause, a servant brought a round stool, on which I sat down at the lower end of the room, in the presence of no less than twelve persons, gentlemen and ladies, lolling in elbowchairs. And, to complete my disgrace, my mistress was of the society. I tried to compose myself in vain, not knowing how to dispose of either my legs or arins, nor how to share my countenance; the eyes of the whole room being still upon me in a profound silence, My confusion was at last so great, that without speaking, or being spoken lo, I fled for it, and left the as sembly to treat me at their discretion. A lecture from
you upon these inhuman distinctions in a free nation, will, I doubt not, prevent the like evils for the future, and make it, as we say, as cheap sitting as standing. I am, with the greatest respect,
J. R. P.S. I had almost forgot to inform you, that a fair young lady sat in an armless chair upon my right hand, with manifest discontent in her looks.'
Soon after the receipt of this epistle, I heard a very gentle knock at my door: my maid went down, and brought up word, that a tall, lean, black man, well dressed, who said he had not the honour to be acquainted with me, desired to be admitted. I bid her show him up, met him at my chamber door, and then fell back a few paces. He approached me with great respect, and told me with a low voice, he was the gentleman that had been seated upon the round stool. I immediately recollected that there was a joint stool in my chamber, which I was afraid he might take for an instrument of distinction, and therefore winked at my boy to carry it into my closet ; I then took him by the hand, and led him to the upper end of my room, where I placed him in my great elbow chair ; at the same time drawing another without arms to it, for myself to sit by him. I then asked him, at what time this misfortune befell him? He answered, Between the hours of seven and eight in the evening. I further demanded of him, what he had eat or drank that day? He replied, Nothing but a dish of water-gruel with a few plums in it. In the next place, I felt bis pulse, which was very low and lan