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In conversation frivolous, in dress
Extreme, at once rapacious and profuse;
Frequent in park with lady at his fide,
Ambling and prattling scandal as he goes;
But rare at home, and never at his books,
Or with his pen, save when he scrawls a card ;
Constant at routs, familiar with a round
Of lady ships, a stranger to the poor;
Ambitious of preferment for its gold,
And well-prepared, by ignorance and floth,
By infidelity and love of world,
To make God's work a finecure; a slave
To his own pleasures and his patron's pride :
From such apostles, oh ye mitred heads,
Preserve the church! and lay not careless hands
On sculls, that cannot teach, and will not learn.
Would I describe a preacher, such as Paul, Were he on earth, would hear, approve, and own, Paul should himself direct me. I would trace His master-strokes, and draw from his design. I would express him fimple, grave, fincere; In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain, And plain in manner; decent, folemn, chaste,
And natural in gesture; much impressed
Himself, as conscious of his awful charge,
And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds
May feel it too; affectionate in look,
And tender in address, as well becomes
A meslenger of grace to guilty men.
Behold the picture!--Is it like?-Like whom?
The things that mount the rostrum with a skip,-
And then skip down again; pronounce a text;
Cry-hem; and reading what they never wrote,
Just fifteen minutes, huddle up their work,
And with a well-bred whisper close the scene !
In man or woman, but far most in man, And most of all in man that ministers And serves the altar, in my soul I loath All affectation. 'Tis my perfect scorn; Object of my implacable disgust. What!-will a man play tricks, will he indulge A filly fond conceit of his fair form, And just proportion, fashionable mien, And pretty face, in presence of his God? Or will he seek to dazzle me with tropes, As with the diamond on his lily hand,
And play his brilliant parts before my eyes,
When I am hungry for the bread of life?"
He mocks his Maker, proftitutes and Thames
His noble office, and instead of truth,
Displaying his own beauty, ftarves his flock !
Therefore avaunt all attitude, and stare,
And start theatric, practised at the glass !
I seek divine fimplicity in him,
Who handles things divine; and all besides,
Though learned with labour, and though much
By curious eyes and judgments ill-informed,
To me is odious as the nasal twang
Heard at conventicle, where worthy men,
Milled by custom, strain celestial themes
Through the prest noftril, fpectacle-bestrid.
Some decent in demeanour while they preach,
That talk performed, relapse into themselves;
And having spoken wisely at the close
Grow wanton, and give proof to every eye,
Whoever was edified, themselves were not!
Forth comes the pocket mirror.–First we stroke
An eye-brow; next compose a straggling lock;
Then with an air most gracefully performed
Fal} back into our seat, extend an arm
And lay it at its ease with gentle care,
With handkerchief in hand depending low:
The better frand more busy gives the nose
Its bergamot, or aids the indebted eye
With opera glass, to watch the moving scene,
And recognize the flow-retiring fair.-
Now this is fulsome; and offends me more
Than in a churchman flovenly neglect
And rustic coarseness would. An heavenly mind
May be indifferent to her house of clay,
And Night the hovel as beneath her care;
But how a body so fantastic, trim,
And quaint, in its deportment and attire,
Can lodge an heavenly inind-demands a doubt.
He, that negotiates between God and man
As God's ambassador, the grand concerns
Of judgment and of mercy, fhould beware
Of lightness in his fpeech. 'Tis pitiful
To court a grin, when you should woo a soul;
To break a jest, when pity would inspire
Pathetic exhortation; and to address
The skittish fancy with facetious tales,
When sent with God's commission to the heart!
So did not Paul. Direct me to a quip
Or merry turn in all he ever wrote,
And I consent you take it for your text,
Your only one, till sides and benches fail.
No: he was ferious in a serious cause,
And understood too well the weighty terms
That he had taken in charge. He would not stoop
To conquer those by jocular exploits,
Whom truth and soberness affailed in vain.
Oh popular applause! what heart of man Is proof against thy sweet feducing charms ? The wisest and the best feel urgent need Of all their caution in thy gentlest gales; But swelled into a gust—who then alas ! With all his canvass set, and inexpert, And therefore heedless, can withstand thy power? Praise from the riveled lips of toothless bald Decrepitude, and in the looks of lean And craving poverty, and in the bow Respectful of the smutched artificer, Is oft too welcome, and may much disturb The bias of the purpose. How much more,