You are on page 1of 366

6

^^j^J^S^TFp^^

^OLOQicf^i

se>^^

BX 8915 .W5 1815 v.


Witherspoon, John, 1723
1794.
The works of John

Witherspoon

THE

WORKS
OF

JOHN WITHERSPOON,

D. D.

SOMETIME MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL AT PAISLEY, AND LATE


PRESIDENT OF PRINCETON COLLEGE, IN NEW JERSEY.
CONTAINING

ESSAYS, SERMONS,

&c.

ON

IMPORTANT SUBJECTS

INTENDED TO ILLUSTRATE AND ESTABLISH THE bOCTRINE OF


SALVATION BY GRACE, AND TO POINT OUT ITS
INFLUENCE ON HOLINESS OF

LIFE.

TOGETHER WITH HIS

LECTURES ON MORAL PHILOSOPHY,


ELOQUENCE AND DIVINITY;
HIS

SPEECHES IN THE AMERICAN CONGRESS

AND MANY OTHER VALUABLE

PIECES,

NEVER BEFORE

PUBLISHED IN THIS COUNTRY.

VOL. VL

EDINBURGH
PRINTED FOR

J.

OGLE, PARLI AMENT-SQUARE J M. OGLE,

GLASGOW > OGLES, DUNCAN, & COCHRAN, LONDON J


AND T. JOHNSTON, DUBLIN.
1815,

rn/ifia

<

CONTENTS
OF

VOLUME

An

VI.

Addrefs to the Students of the Senior


-

Clafs,

J^ Serious Inquiry into the Nature and


-

Letter refpeding Play- Ators,

of the Stage,

Ecclefiaftical Charaleriflics, or the

EfFe(5ls

34
1

Being an Humble Attempt

Church PoHcy.
to

open the Myftery of Moderation. Where-

in

is

(hewn,

29

Arcana of

plain

way

of attaining to the

character of a Moderate man, as at prefent


in repute in the

Dedicated

to the

Spirit, of the

The

Church of Scotland,

139

Departed Ghoft, or Surviving


Rev.

Preface,

Mr

in

141

145

Introdudtion to the Ecclefiaftical Chara(Sleriftics,i 53

Maxim
All eccteiiaftical perfons,

I.

of whatever- rank,

whether principals of 'colleges, profeflbrs of


divinity, minifters, or even probationers, that

are fufpedted of

Ij^erefy,

are to be efteemed

CONTENT

VI

S.

Page

men of great genius, vaft learning, and uncommon worth and arc by all means, to
;

he fupported and protected,

155

JIIaxim IL

When

any

man

charged with loofe prac-

is

or tendencies to immorality, he

tices,

much

be fcreened and prote(fted as


ble

is

to

as poffi-

efpecially if the faults laid to his charge

be as they are incomparably well ternved, in


a

fermon,

that

preached by a hopeful youth,

made fome

noife lately, goocd hmnoured

^jices,

Maxim
It

is

III,

a neceflary part of the character of a

derate

man, never

to give fly hints,

that he does not thoroughly believe

make

the

word

orthcdoxyy a

tempt and reproach,

it;

and

term of con-

Maxim

mo-

to fpeak of the Confefiion

of Faith, but with a fneer

to

159

162

IV,

good preacher muft not only have

all

the

above and fubfequent principles of moderation in him, as the fource of every thing that
is

good

but muil, over and above, have

the following fpecial marks and figns of a


talent for preaching,

be confined to

commend them

i.

His fubjefts muft

focial duties.

deration^, viz. the beauty

portions of virtue, and


prefent

life,

He muft

re-

only from rational confi-

its

and comely proadvantages in the

without any regard to a future

CONTENTS.

Vll

Page
flatc of

more extended

felf-intereft.

His

3.

authorises mull be drawn from heathenwriters,

few

or as

f;oncj

Maxim
A

very unaccept-

4.

able to the

from

poilible,

as

He mull be
common people,

Scriptuic.

'

l6<S

F,

minlfter muH: endeavour to acquire as great


a

degree of polltenefs, in

haviour, and to catch as

manner of a

fine

carriage and be-

much

of the air and

gentleman, as poffibly he
-

can,

Iiis

177

Maxim FL
It

is

to

man

not only unneceflary for a moderate

have much

filled
itig

learning, but he ought to be

with a contempt of

but one

*,

which is

kinds of learn-

all

to underflandLeibnitz's

which

the chief parts of

icheme well

beautifully

painted,

and

are fo

harmonioufly

fo

fung by Lord Shaftefbury, and whlcli has


been fo well licked into form and method by
the lute immortal

Mr

Maxim
A- moderate

man mud

iSj

n,

FIT.

endeavour, as

much

as

he hanufomely can, to put off any appearances of devotion, and avoid ail unnecellary
'

exercifes of religious worlhip,


lic or private.

Maxim

whether pub-

FIJI.

In church-fettlements, which are the principal


caufcs that

come before

n-iiniilers for

judg-

86

CONTENTS.

Viii

Jnent, the only thing to be regarded

who

Is,

the patron and the great and noble heritors

common

are for; the inclinations of the


ple are to be utterly defpifed,

Maxim
While

a fettlement

againft

is

peo-

ipo

IX,

carrying on, the candidate

whom there Is a ftrong oppofitionfrom

the people, muil be looked upon, and every

where declared

to be, a perfon of great

and remarkable

abilities

worth,

provided always,

that if ever the fame perfon, after he


tled,

be

at pains,

and fuccced

people's afFe6i:Ion, he fhall then

below the ordinary (landard


as before

Maxim

fall as

much

in his charadter,

he was raifed above

Whenever we have

is fet-

in gaining the

it,

15^4

X,

got a fettlement decided

over the belly of the whole people in the parifh,

by a majority

in the

General Aflembly,

the yilory fliould be Improved, by appointing fome of the orthodox oppofers of the fet-

tlement to execute

it,

efpecially thofe of

them

that pretend to have a fcruple of confclenee


at

having an active hand in any fuch

ment,

.-

fettle-

197

Maxim XL
The chara^er which moderate men give
.

their

adverfarles, of the orthodox party, rauft al-

ways be

that of knaves or fools ^ and, as oca-

CONTENTS.
fion ferves, the

may
and

fame perfon

IX
Page
pafs)

(if It will

be reprefented as a knave at one time,


as ^focl at another.

2o8

Maxim XIL
As

to the

to

world

in general, a

man

moderate

is

have great charity for Athelfts and Deiils

and for perfons that are loofc

in principle,

and vicious

but none

in their practice:

at all

for thofe that have a hfgh profelhon of reli-

gion, and a great pretence to ftriclnefs in


their

walk and converfation,

a 19

Maxim XIIL
All moderate
ftiicleil

fup4)ort

men

are joined together In the

bond of union, and do never

fail to

and defend one another to theutmoft,

be the caufe they are engaged in what

'

will,

it

215

Serious Apology for the Ecclefiaflical Cha-

223

ra^leriflics,

To

the Nobility and Gentry of Scotland,

The

225

Hiilory of a Corporation of Servants, dif-

covered a few years ago in the interior parts


of South America-, -containing fome very
furprifing events
ters,

Advertifement,

and extraordinary charac-

...
-

.2%^
28<>

Chap. L

Of

the Original State of the Servants, and their


erc6tioii into a Corporation,

2p j^

CONTENT

y.

Page

Chap.

Of

II.

the Eife(ls produced by thefe Regulations,

Chap.

298

III.

And

Continues the fame Subject.

particularly

gives an account of a very remark.ibie fiep

taken by

Servants,

tlie

303

Chap. IV.

A terrible Blow
Servants

given to the Drniination of the

and particularly

the Emperor,

Power of
-

310

Chap. V.
Reformed Eftabllfhmeat^
Northern Province ; and the happy ef-

Some Account
in a

to the

fel:s

of the

that followed

upon

it

for a time.

It

begins, however, again to degenerate,

Chap.

Of

VL

the great impropriety often feen in the ap-

pointment of fervants

and the fenciments

of the inhabitants on that fubjeV,

318

Chap. VII.
Great

partiality in the trial of Servants,

and

uncertainty in the characters given of them, 325

Chap. YIII.
Servants of different characters.
the good and bad.

fketch of

^Phe inveterate hatred


-

of the bad againfl the good,

329

Chap. IX.

The

carelefsnefs of Servarfls

in

their

work.

curious debate in a certain family, which

iflued

in.

ilbthing,

33d

CONTENTS.

XI

Chap. X.

Of

the Jimbition and coveteoufnefs of the Ser-

vants,

upon

and the various methods they

fell

to gratify their defires,

34I

Chap. XI.

Of the

fentiments of the People concerning the

Servants, and their manner of treating them, 344

Chap. XII.
Continuation of the fame fubje6l.

ments and condu^ of others,

of the behaviour of the Servants,

Co^XLUSION.

The

fenti-

in confequence
-

348
j>

AN

ADDRESS
TO THE

STUDENTS

SENIOR CLASS,

OF the

AT PRINCETON COLLEGE,
September

Who were

to receive the

23, 1775,

degree of BACHELOR

o/Arts,

Gentlemen,

AS
public

you have now

finiflied

the ufual courfe of

ftudy in this place, and are to enter upon

life

in a variety of ways, as each fhall

be

determined by inclination or other circumftances,


I willingly

embrace the opportunity of addrelTmg

an exhortation to you,

at this important

refting period of your lives.

much,

if

and inte-

do not mean to fay

any thing, that you have never heard be-

but to lay hold of your prefent fituation,

fore,

with fome hope, that what

may be

faid

now,

will

remain upon your memory, and have an influence

That

upon your future conduct.

may

the greater clearnefs and precifion,

what

have to

duty to

The

II.

fay, into three branches.

God,

and

Prudence

Vol.

intcrcft

of

divide

I.

your

Your
fouls.

profecution of your ftudies, or the im-

provement of your
III.

the

fpeak with

I will

VL

in

talents, as

members of

fociety.

your commerce with the world in

10

AN ADDRESS TO THE STUDENTS

general,

your outward provifion,

ca mflances in
I.

As

more,

to the firft of thefe,

Some

men

to all

it is

of you,

of the

know, and

hope, are intended for the fervice^f Chrift

To

in the miniftry.

we

tliis

fuffrage, that true religion

with which

is

have the univerfal


abfolutely neceiTary,

But

I heartily agree.

make

who

thofe

I wiili

are deilined for other employments,

times

cir-

life.

moment.

greatell

and other

may

not fome-

a comparifon here, unjuft in itfelf,

perhaps even ruinous,

dangerous,
fouls.

Becaufe true religion

nifter,

and they are confcious

necelTary to a ml-

is

to themfelves, or at

that they are without religion

leaft fufpecSl,

own

their

to

and

in-

flead of laying to heart the things that belong to


their peace, they only determine that they will fol-

low fome

But, alas

otlier calling.

difference to the public

is

to the perfons themfelves,

fmall.
is

of

life, it

will be but
to

little

vifible,

a detefta-

at the clofe

comfort to a man, that

the place of torment, not as a mi.

Therefore fuffer

who now

fouls

and when

but very
to be fure

but as a lawyer, phyfician, foldier, or mer-

chant.
all

me

but truly, one would think,

he mufl go
nifter,

feems to

clergyman without religion,

a dreadful charaler,

ble one

though the

very great, the difference

is

the

hear me,

me

to fay to you,

that

the care

one thing needful.

of every rank,

All

and to

of your

mankind,

denomination and profeffion, are

fmners by nature.

The mini flers

of the

New

Teftament have received a commiffion to preach


" lie that belicveth
the gofpcl to every creature
:

OF THE SENIOR CLASS.


fliall

I 5

be faved, and he that bclieveth not

fliall

be

damned."

While

beg of you to confider that


which you have enjoyed, will be an

I fay this, I

the advantages

aggravation of your guilt,

There

is

obferved in

it,

unknown to us, prejudgment will be inflidled, when a perfon

or people

fome

they are unimproved.

wifdom often to be
Unlefs reafons^
the providence of God.

of fovereignty, that
vent

if

an equity as well as

reafons

for the

ripe

is

is,

plants and feeds, both

and from the

ftroke.

from

and Gtuation

foil

Therefore,

their
in

own

as

nature,

which they are

placed, ripen fooner than others, fo fome perfons^

by the early pains taken upon them, and the privileges they have enjoyed, fill up the meafure o
their iniquities fooner than others,

and are more-

fpeedily overtaken with deferved vengeance.


are

many common

fayings that are the

error and prejudice; for example, that


will be told

men

no ground
is

But

at
if

efi'efts

of

which you

by many, that the children of good

are as bad as any.

finuate that a regular

it

There-

to

If this

is

intended to in-

and pious education affords

hope for good behaviour

in after life,

once contrary to reafon and experience.

we

fhould fay that

when young

perfons,

pioufly educated, burft reftraining bonds afunder,

and are feduced into vicious courfes, they commonly run fader and farther than others, it is a certain
fa61:,

which may be

an important

eafily

accounted

for,

and affords

inftrucSlion to all.

After intreating you to lay religion to heart,

muft befeech you


fatisfied

to

guard againft being too

in a matter of infinite

B2

moment.

eafily

Do

not

AN ADDRESS TO THE STUDENTS

12
think

enough

it

to be prudent, cautious, or decent

in your condu6t, or to

upon worldly
motives.

am

attain

formed

a charafter

and governed by worldly

principles,

not againft (as you

all

know)

in-

troducing every argument againft fm, and fliewing

you

that loofe practices are ruinous to

and

Neither

eftate.

fortify

name, body

that

you fhould

every pious refolution by the addition of

thefe motives.

Except
into the
arife

wrong

is it

But

alas

the

man be born

True

kingdom of God."

from a

evil

deeper,

lies

again, he cannot enter


religion

muft

and deep convicStion of your

clear

by nature and pra<Slice,


on the pardoning mercy and
of God.

loft

and an unfeigned re-

ftate

liance

Suffer me,

mend

to all

faniStifying grace

upon

this fubjet, earneftly to

that

fear

God,

to

recom-

apply themfelves

from

their earlieft youth, to the exercifcs of piety,

of prayer and

is

life

communion with God.

This

the fource from which a real Chriftian

mud

derive the fecret comfort of his heart, and which

alone will give beauty, confiftency, and uniformity,

exemplary

to an

mentioned
the

is

why

have

when

and the affections vigorous and

when

this habit

are advantages

tending every ftage of


will naturally

reafon

life.

the feafon

There

The

this occafion is, that youth,

fpirits are lively

ftrong,
ed.

on

it

grow

in

life.

muft be form-

and difadvantages

An

at-

aged Chriftian

prudence, vigilance, ufefuL-

nefs, attention to the courfe of providence,

and fub-

je6tion to the divine will, but will feldom attain to


greater fervor of affedion, and
Hiip, than

life in divine worhe had been accuftomed to from his

THE

OF

On

early years.
it

SENIOR CLASS.

the contrary, he will generally fee

inftead of trufting

neceflary

pulfes, to guard

J3

im-

to occafional

and ftrengthen the habit by order

and form.

Be companions of them that fear God. Efteem


them always mod highly, and fhun, as a contagion
the fociety not only of loofe perfons,

peftilence,

whom

but of thofe efpecially

you perceive

to

be in-

fected with the principles of inndelity, ov enemici

power of religion. Many of thefe are much


more dangerous to pious perfons than open proAs for thefe lafb, decency is agalnll them;
fligates.
to the

the world

itfelf

condemns them

very

mean

indeed,

talle

who

is

pleafure in diforder and riot.

reafon dcfpifc^

He mud

them, and prudence fhuns them.

capable of
If I

have

had no higher

pleafure on earth than in eating and drinking,

would not choofe

to eat

1.

and drink with the drunken.

Order, neatnefs, elegance, and even moderation


felf,

:'c

finiiinv';

it-

are neceflary to exalt and reflne the pleafuifs

of a fenfual

life.

Therefore

felf to fuppofe, that I fliall

I will

not allow

my-

afterwards hear of any

of you roaring and fwearing in taverns, or wailing

your bodies and eftates by lewdnefs and debauchery,


or that you take pleafure in thofe

be efpecially careful to avoid thofe


to vital piety,

who do

not pretend to fpeak dircOly

againd religion, but give every


think of to
fubje(Sl:,

the
fy.
ijig

and

all

who feem

vilify

who do fo. But


who are enemies

to

vile

be

in

name

they can

earned on

tliat

the exerclfes of religion, under

names of whining,

cant, grimace, ar.d hypocri-

Thefe are often unhappily fuccefsful

In raak-

fome uncautious perfons afliamed of their Ro-

B3

AN ADDRESS TO THE STUDENTS

14

deemer's name, his truths, his laws, his people, and


his crofs.

need hardly obferve, that

derflood as

recommending

percilioufnefs

far lefs

judging of the

a rafli

of others.

ftate

this is not to

pharifaical pride

be unand fu-

and prefumptuous
It is

not only law-

but our duty, to have a free communication

ful,

with our fellow- citizens, for the purpofes of


life

it

is

fecial

not only lawful, but our duty to be

courteous, and to give every proper evidence of refpet and attention to others, according to their

What

rank and place in fociety.

you

againft

is,

fuch as has inclination for


for its object.
hefitate to fay,

its

motive, and pleafure

refpel: to this,

men

panion of fools

be deftroyed."

fhall

come now

is

ftiall

be wife, but a com-

upon the profecuand the improvement of your

to fpeak a little

tion of your (Indies,


talents.

to caution

we need not
with the infpired prophet, " He that
With

walketh with wife

II.

mean

an unneceflary, voluntary intercourfe,

Tour education

in a feminary of learning,

only intended to give you the elements and

petite for

firft

which (hould whet your ap-

principles of fcience,

more, and which will enable you to pro-

ceed with an afiured hope of fuccefs.


generally a favourite point with me, to

It

hath been

recommend

the unionof piety and literature, and to guard

perfons againft the

oppofite

extremes.

young

We

fee

fometimes the pride of unfancS^ified knowledge do


great injury to religion

find

fome perfons of

-,

we
human

and on the other hand,

real piety, defpifing

OF

THE SENIOR

CLASS.

I5

learning, and difgracing the molt glorious truths,

by
meannefsand indecency, hardly lufFerable, in their
manner of handling them. On this account, indufa

try

and application

portance to thofe

to ftudy,

who

is

of the utmoft im-

are intended for the office of

the miniftry.

But
you

have

hate

it,

but

as true,

it is

you

iloth, as

not

dangerous enemy.
is a common
own weaknefs ;

It

it.

know

their

their

own ftrength.

I defire that

will receive the following information

which

to

of diligence and

and a truth more important, that

know

they do not

life

and defpife

it,

men do

faying, that

recommend

further in view, to

Avoid

application.

Fear

it

without exception, a

all,

from me,

dare fay, every perfon of judgment and ex-

perience will confirm, that multitudes of moderate


capacity have been ufeful in their generation, re-

fpeled by the public, and fuccefsful in

life,

while

thofe of fuperior talents from nature, by

mere

floth-

fulnefs and idle habits, or felf-indulgence, have

ved

ufelefs,

and died contemptible.

difpofition in

There

is

young people, which you know

li-

alfo

have

often fet myfelf to oppofe,' to think that loofe, irre-

gular

failles,

and fometimes even vicious

The

are a fign of fpirit and capacity.


is

the truth.

chief.

It

requires no genius at

liberties,

very contrary
all to

do mlf-

Perfons of the greatell ability have generally

been lovers of order.

Neither

is

there any inftance

to be found, of a man's arriving at great reputation

or ufefulnefs, be his capacity

what

it

might, with-

out induftry and application.


Suffer

me

here, in a particular manner, to recorn-

AN ADDRESS TO THE STUDENTS

mend

to

you

mind, and fteady perfe-

a firmnefs of

verance, as of the utmofl

moment

and

fuccefs.

man's talents from nature

may

be, if

Whatever

to

he apply himfelf to what

your progrefs

is

not altoge-

ther unfultable to them, and holds on with fteadinefs

and uniformity, he
if

he be loofe and

be ufeful and happy

will

volatile,

but

impatient of the llownefs

of things in their ufual courfe, and

from

fliifting

project to proje6l, he will probably be neither the

one nor the other.


I
ter

that

am fomewhat

at a lofs

and reputation

yet

what

True

muft not be omitted.

it

furnifli

you with

to fay, as to charac-

fo important a point

is

it

religion fliould

and nobler principle to

a higher

govern your conduct, than the defire of applaufe

from men.

Yet, in fubordination to what ought to

be the great purpofe of


great Judge, there

do what

is

is

life,

the approbation of the

and laudable ambition to

a juft

among men.

praife-worthy

This ought

not to be extinguifhed in the minds of youth

be-

ing a powerful fpur and incitement to virtuous or

illuftrious actions.

praife but

truly

good man

by honeft means, and

even to difgrace

itfelf,

if

will alfo be tender

careful, not to give juft caufe to

conduct.

ftep

is

it.

would

in life, will

You ought

notwithftanding

fay, confider that

already beginning to form.

you take further

fpread

and

any to impeach his

might be permitted to direl your

If I

views upon this fubjedl,

your character

no

brought upon him by ad-

Yet he

herence to his duty.

will feek

will be fuperior

all

alfo

Every

both afcertain and'

to be

informed, that

the hackneyed complaints of

tiie

"

OF THE SENIOR CLASS.


partiality

and but feldom

is

never miflaken,

That there arc

in point of morals.

many malicious and

cenforious perfons, I agree: but

There

are not half fo durable as truth.

impartiality in a diffufive public,


itfelf

and cenforioufncfs of the world, a man's

real character, in point of ability,

lies

where means of information

which

an

is

ihew

will

are afforded to

it.

Therefore reverence the judgment of mankind without idolizing

Be

it.

as cautious as poffible to

nothing that deferves cenfure, and as

ed as

what reproaches may

pofTible

undeferved.

It is

fall

do

concern-

little

upon you

not a contradiction, but perfect-

ly confiftent to fay, a

man

fhould be tender and even

jealous of his character, and yet not greedy of praife.

There

is

an amiablenefs and dignity

a meannefs and

Another advice, near a-kin

much
much

as

in the firfl,

but

littlenefs in the lafl.

you can to deferve

to the laft,

praife,

is,

do as

and yet avoid as

This

is

but an-

other view of the fame fubjeCt; and that

it

may be

^s poffible the hearing of

the more ufeful, and

my

manifeft, I will extend


praife.

come

When

it

you come

it.

intention in

it

more

both to praife and

dif-

and be-

into public life,

the objects of general attention,

guard againft

the

not only

fifhing for applaufe, and being in-

what people think or fay of you, but


avoid knowing it as much as you decently can.
ISIy reafon for this is, that whether you will or not,
quifitive after

you

will hear as

much

of the flanders of your ene-

mies as you will bear with patience, and as

much

of the flattery of your friends, or interefted perfons,


as

you

will bear with humility.

Therefore, pre-

pare yourfelf for both, but feek for neither.

Seve-

AN ADDRESS TO THE STUDENTS

eminent authors, as you doubtlefs know, hare

ral

given

an advice to young clergymen, and other

as

it

who

public fpeakers, to get a friend

and

intreat

pofition,

him

to

is

good judge,

make remarks upon

carriage,

delivery,

&c. with

their

comI

fidelity.

have nothing to fay againft the goodnefs of the


advice in

itfelf,

but at the fame time,

have no

great conviction of the neceiTity or even the utility

of

very feldom that advice

It is

it.

manner, but with a view

and

feldomer that

flill

freedom and
and

enough

felf-denial

faults, there will

Or

them.

it

impartiality.

if

be

we

to

little

is

afked in this

to

obtain a compliment;

is

given witl^ fufficient

If

any man has humility

know

wifh to
difficulty

his

own

in difcovering

could fuppofe, -there were dif-

ficulty to himfelf, his

enemies or

rivals, or talkative

people, though they be neither the One nor the other,


will fupply

the defect.

Perhaps you will think,

and envy, there

that in the ftridlures of malice

is

no great tendency
which makes a very

generally an acrimony that has


to reform; like a rufly knife,

painful

wound, though not very deep.

this fully,

and yet affirm, that there

much

is

fo

agree to

much

the

more wifdom, and perhaps I may add, fo much the more pleafure, in
making this ufe of them

more

fing

virtue, fo

conclude

you

this

the

part of

my

fubje<l:,

to maintain a friendfliip

with advi-

with one another,

and to carry the intimacies of early life through


the whole of it.
To this I add, that you ought to
defire and cultivate the correfpondence of men of
piety and learning.

Man, made

for fociety, derives

his chief advantages of every kind,

from the united

F THE SENIOR CLASS.


efforts

of

many

piety, nothing

confpiring to the fame end.


is

communication.

preme

The

love of

I^

more

properly

It

to

eflcntial

it,

confifts

God, and fervent

As

to

than focial
in

charity to

the fu-

men.

all

Chriflian alfo hath need of the afliflance of

others in his paflage through this world, where he

has fo

much

deferve this chara<ler, are

left

they lofe their way.

comfort each other in

by

and

they

diftrefs,

difficulty,

their example,

to be pilgrims and

faid

Therefore they ought tp

ftrangers in the earth.

keep together,
in doubts

Thofe who

oppofition to encounter.

afTift

They

each other

they embolden each other

and they

afTift

each other by their

prayers.

This
It

is

no

lefs

the cafe in refpe6t to literature.

has been obferved, that great and eminent

have generally, in every nation, appeared

The

reafon of this probably

is,

men

in-clufters.

that their fociety

and mutual intercourfe greatly adds

to their

im-

provement, and gives force and vigor

to the talents

which they may

Nothing

feverally

poflefs.

is

fo

powerful an incitement to diligence, or fo kindles


the befl fort of ambition, as the friendfhip, advice,

and

affiftance of

men

of learning and worth.

approbation of one fuch,

is

from an undifcerning

mir.d, than peals of applaufe

multitude.

Befides, the affiftance

letters give to

each other,

The

of more value to a noble

is

which men of

really neceflary in the

execution of particular works of great compafs and


utility.

If

that

now

it is

it is

by the labours of preceding ages,

poffible

in

a degree of knowledge as
fo

it is

one

we

life to attain to

fuch

have fometimes feen,

by the concurrence of many friends lending

AN ADDRESS TO THE STUDENTS

their afllftance, that one

man

has been fometimes

able to prefent to the public, a fyftem of fcience,

which, without that

aid,

he alone would have in

There

vain attempted to bring to perfelion.

new

circumftance which throws this

back

is

no

country fo far

of fcience, as the want of public liwhere thorough refearches might be made,

in point

braries,

and the fmall number of learned men to aflift in


making refearches pralicable, eafy or complete.

The

III.

my

you

lafl

head on which

promifed to give

was prudence

in

your communica-

advice,

tion with the world in general, your


vifion

happinefs and comfort of

begin with what


frugality in the

and exaftnefs

On

life.

this fubjeft, I

have often recommended to you,

management of your
your

in

keeping of accounts.

from

outward pro-

and other circumftances that conduce to the

my mind

affairs,

order

and
Nothing could be further

drefs, furniture, books,

than to recommend the temper or

condul of avaricious men, whofe fordid fouls have

and indeed, hardly any other


This is not only
than that of getting pelf.

no higher
defire

am.bition,

unbecoming
opinion,
I

never

a gentleman arid a fcholar, but, in

wholly inconliftent with the

knew an

inftance of a perfon in

my

chara<3:er.

whom

this

difpofition took place in early life, that could apply

to ftudy, or that

was good.

The

of youth, and

The

became eminent
oppofite vice

it is

frugality I

againft this I

in

the

and remembers the

any thing that

common

fault

would caution you.

would recommend,

dependent mind, that fears


others,

is

is

and fcorns

that of an infubjecSlion to

juft faying of

Solomon,

THE SENIOR

CF
that the horrcwer
gality

which

is

from

order

not only confident with, but


berality
It is

21

That

to the lender.

fervant

arifes

CLASS.

fru-

and ccconomy

is

the parent of

li-

it is

of fentiment and generofity of condut.

indeed the fource of beneficence, for no

On

beftow out of an empty purfe.

man can

the other hand,

covetoufnefs and profufion are by no means repug-

nant to each other; and indeed they are more frequently joined than

many apprehend.

The

ftric-

ture of Salluft in the chara6^er of Cataline, alleni


appetensj fid profufiis^ has

been often

and may

cited,

generally be applied to loofe and profligate livers.

hope therefore you

guifli

will learn betimes to diflin-

between the virtue and the

here to the one as


I will

make an

much

as

vice, and to adyou defpife the other.

may be

obfervation here, which

npplied not only to the diftin^tion of charadcr in


this

inflance, but in

been, or

fliall

intereft, if

almoll:

be mentioned.

every other that has


It will

you learn betimes

much your

be

make not

to

but a deliberate and candid judgment,


infer character
life

which men

and even
feology.

from appearances.

he?

fly

when you

The

habits of

contra6i:, give a bias to their opinions

a tinQure to their converfation and phraPerfons inclined to levity and diflipation,

will often afcribe to covetoufnefs,

very different caufes.

what

arifes

have known, even

in

from

youth,

a perfon, declining to engage in a party of pleafure,

nccufed by his companions as

and afraid of his purfe, when,


that he loved

money more, but

may fometlmes happen,


will fee

it

Vol. VI.

mean and
in reality,

fneaking,
it

pleafure

that a perfon

was not
lefs.

Il

of principle

proper to decline meetings of fcftivity

AN ADDRESS TO THE STUDENTS

22

diredtly finful, as an unneceflary wafte

though not

of time, or from fome

more advanced

circumftance to him

otl\er

dangerous and enfnaring.


in years,

have

who from

alfo feen perfons

a habit, perhaps

a necefliiry habit, of ftridi temperance, and retired

manner of

w^ere very fparing of perfonal

life,

pence, and even not

much

ex-

difpofed to focial inter-

courfe, and therefore called clofe or covetous, and yet

M'hen applied

to,

for pious

and charitable purpofes,

would be much more

liberal

pofite turn of mind.

Obfervations perfet:ly fimiiar

than others of an op-

might be made upon the oppofite character of


It is

berality.

that indicates proiufion.

Prov.

xi.

25. "

That

We

are told

tlie liberal

and by the prophet

fat,"

li-

not every kind of opennefs of heart

by Solomon,

foul Ihall be

Ifaiah, Ifa. xxxii. 8.

made

" That

the liberal defireth liberal things, and by liberal


things he

fliall

From

be eflablifhed."

trailed remarks, I infer, that as

thefe con-

feldom necef-

it is

fary to judge peremptorily of others, fo forbearance

and the

and

mod

charitable allowance,

is

both our duiy

intereft.

In the next place,


lity of heart

recommend

to

and meeknefs of carriage.

you humiI

confider

in this place, the grace of humility as a virtue cfpecially ferviceable

your earthly comfort.

to

mean to treat it as a maxim of worldThe fcripture feems to point it out


prudence.

confider and
ly

as peculiarly neceflary for this purpofe, and to an-

nex the promife of earthly happinefs


of

it

Matth.

v. 5.

"

our Saviour, " for they

would underftand him

to the pradlice

Biefled are the meek," fays


fliail

inherit the earth."

as faying, every

good man

OF
inherit the

fliall

THE SENIOR

eartli.

fee

the

is

more

many

In

others have comfort

all

vitiates

Nothing

proud affum-

offenfive to others, than a


It

we may

views,

different

of this conneO:ion,

propriety

ing manner.

but

23"

kingdom of heaven, but thofe who

excel in meeknefs, (hall of

on

CLAS?.

every

only magnifies

not

even good

conducSI:.

ous to virtuous perfons, but

It is
is

it

not only odi--

equally,

if

(oj to

tices

line, as

thofe

one drunkard

another; but nothing

is
is

pleafed with the fight of


fo hateful to a

offence

is

who

fooner given or taken than between thofe,

and

refpedl:,
is

not only odious to perfons of underftanding

it

is

and prepares

him

virtue of meeknefs and condefcenfion,.

man

to receive that polifli,

his behaviour generally agreeable,

for intercourfe

life.

The fame

manage

virtue,

it,

enables a

his affairs to advantage, in

be placed.

remarkable for

A
this

whatever

good (liopkeeper
quality.

faid to

not

man

whatever cal-

is

ftation he-

commonly

People love to go

where they meet with good words and gentle

ment

fits

by the compofure and

ling he m,iy be engaged, or in

may

which

and

with perfons in the higher ranks

felf-command that accompanies


to

as-

univerfally hated.

the bell ground-work even of worldly politenefs,

makes
of

but to the moft ignorant, being

perceived as

The moral
is

in

This

perfectly refemble one another.

refledtion,

eafily

man

proud

the fame chaTa6ler, nor

as another of

vice

not

who are without principle. Some


recommend a man to the vicious in the fame

more

tills

fault,

treat-

whereas the peevifh and petulant may be


have a repelling quality about them that will

fuffer

any body to approach them.

AN ADDRESS TO THE STUDENTS

24

To

complete the whole, meeknefs of

ufeful to a man's

felf,

as

meeknefs of carriage

The meek

acceptable to others.

from the unavoidable

evils

contrary difpofition.

Many

lefs

important kind,

when

of

fuffer

much

is

lefs

than thofe of a

life,

crofs accidents of the

are in a

manner

annihilated

The injury
much to their

they are borne with calmnefs.

they do us,

not owing half fo

is

feverity, as to the irritability of

weight or

own

fpirit is as

minds.

muft greatly

It is

alleviate calamities of a heavier kind

and from analogy you may perceive, that


tigates

their

evident that the fame difpofition

the forrows,

it

as

it

mi-

multiplies and adds to the

fweetnefs of the comforts of

life.

moderate por-

tion gives greater fatisfaQion to the

humble and

thankful, than the mofl ample pofTeffions to the proud

and impatient.
Nearly

ment

above virtue,

allied to the

the govern-

is

of your pafiions, and therefore of this

fay but

little.

portant

it is,

callings,-

Every one muft be

fenfible

I fhall

how Im-

both for the fuccefs of your worldly

and your ufefulnefs

in public life,

your pailions in due fubjection.

to

have

INIen of furious

and ungoverned tempers, prone to excefs in attach-

ment and refentment,

either as to perfons or things,

are feldom fuccefsful in their purfuits, or refpefled

and ufeful

in their ftatiuns.

Perfons of ungovern-

ed pafiions, are almoft always fickle and changeable in their meafures,

which

is

of

moll fatal to important undertakings.

all

things the

Thefe gene-

rally require

time and patience to bring them to

perfecV'on.

As

ticular,

to public

and

political life in par-

the neceiTity of felf-government

is

fo great^

THE SENIOR

OF

and

in

it

eminent men, not

commonly

It is

no

Without inquiring

fay, that

I will

at

into this,

only

in fa-

it is ilill

it,

have

I fhall

hypocrify does honour

If the appearance be fo necelTary or

to the virtue.

what

fo ufeful,

The

argument.

ufual to

but addref*

faid that politicians

whatever truth may be in

my

vour of

is

it

to principle,

and policy.
pafTions.

2^

acknowledged, that

fo unlverfally

impute

CLASS.

mud

be the value of the reality

here take an opportunity of confuting, or

lead correcting, a

many

fentiment,

common

faying or proverbial

of which indeed that obtain belief

in a blinded world, are nothing but falfe colouring

and deception.

It

ufual to fay, in defence of

is

fudden and violent pafllon, that

better to fpeak

it is

fredy and openly, than to harbour and cover fecret


heart malice.

be true,

if

Perhaps

might admit that

this

would

the inward rage were to be as violent,

and

continue as long, and return as often, as indulged

Every perfon muft agree, that wherever

paffion.

there

is

a deep and lafting hatred, that never for-

gets nor forgives, but waits for the opportunity of

vengeance,

it

deferves to be confidered as a temper

But

truly infernal.

in

tween man and man,

way

govern the heart.

to

tion of an injury,

and perhaps

it,

moft inftances of offence be-

refpedt like a

you

if

forget

a vent

is

if

you can confine and

pletely extinguilh

To

the

it.

the

Rageisinihis

given to

creafe and fpread, while there

but

is

you do not make mentruly and fpeedily- forgive


If

will

literally

fire

tongue

to rcllrain the

is

Itie

it, it

fuel to
it,

you

will in-

confume,
will

com-

it.

government of the

government of the tongue.

C3

pafTions fucceeds tlie

This indeed will in a

AN ADDRESS TO THE STUDENTS

26

be the efFel of the former, and

great meafure,
therefore

recommended by

is

ments, yet

the fame iirgu-

all

deferves very particular attention, fe-

it

maxim

There

are great

indifcretions in fpeech, that do not arife

from paf-

parately as a

fion,

of prudence.

but from inattention and want of judgment as

to the propriety of time

other fources.

mend

to

and place, and indeed many

would therefore

earneftly

you to habituate yourfelves

recom-

to reftraint in

" Be

this refpeft, efpeciaily in the early part of life.

fwift to hear," fays St. James,

Forwardnefs

in fpeech is

" and flow

to fpeak."

always thought an aflum-

ing thing in youth, and in promifcuous companies


is

often confidered as an infult, as well as an indif-

cretion.
ral,

and

It is

very

ftill

more

common

for the

fo for m.en of

world

gene-

in

judgment and

penetration, to form an opinion of a character

the whole,

think there are few things

way than
I

am

on

from fome one circumftance, and

more unfavourable
If the

a talkative difpofition.

in this

firft

time

in company, efpeciaily with a young man, he

talks incefTantly,

and takes the whole converfation to

himfelf, I ihall hardly be brought to have a

good

opinion of him, whether what he fays be good or


evil, fcnfe

or nonfenfe.

who, one might

fay, give

There are fome perfons,


away fo much wifdom in

their fpeech, that they leave

none behind

to

govern

their alions.

But the chief danger of an ungoverned tongue,


that

it

kindles the fire of contention

and makes enemies

Where no
littlq

to a

tale-bearer

man's
is,

felf.

among

Solomon

fays,

the flrife ceafeth."

experience will fhew you

how

unfafe

is,

others,

it is

A
to

OF
.life

SENIOR CLASS.

Tlii:

much freedom

27

with abfent perfons.

in fpeech

In that cafe you putyourfeif wholly in the powor of

from

thofe that hear you, and are in danger, not only


their treachery or malice, but

from

their miflakcs,

Perhaps

ignorance, and imprudence.

would be

it

too rigid to fay, that you ought never to fpeak to a

man's pejudice in his abfence, what you would be

Some

unwilling to fay in his prefence.


to this rule

might

exceptions

But both

be conceived.

eafily

pnulence and candour require that you

(liould

very referved in this refpecl, and either adhere

be

{lril-

ly to the rule or

be fure that good reafons

juftify a departure

from

W'ill

it.

This will be a very proper place to give you fome


directions, as to the moft proper conduct,

when you

Many and grievous are the complaints of 'what men fuffer from
the envenomed fhafts of envy and malice.
And
from the tongues of others,

fuffer

there certainly
vent, and in

The

is

a flrong difpofition in

many

fails to

fome

to in-

to believe flanderous faifehoods.

prevalence of party,

never

'

in religion or

politics,

produce a plentiful crop of

this poi-

fonous weed.

One

on

is,

this fubje<St

of the moft important rules up-

that

when an

accufation

is

in

any

.degree well-founded, or fufpicious appearances have

given any occafion for

what

really

is

it,

th6

firft

wrong, and keep

duty

is

to

reform

at a diftance

from

the difputed limit.

This will bring good out of


injury into a benefit.

liappen,

hold

it

pife

it.

when

to

But

the (lander

is

and turn an
it

may

often

perfectly groundlefs, I

be in general the bed

Time and

evil,

in cafes, as

way wholly

to def-

the pov/cr of truth, will of

AN ADDRESS TO THE STUDENT?

28

tbemfelves do juflice in almoft every cafe of

kind

but

you fliew an impatience under

if

pofition to refent

or a follcitude to refute

it,

mankind

far greateft part of

the

but the more.

lefs,

an animal,

were

It difcovers a

commands

refpedl

mind

greatnefs of

a confcious dignity, to defpife llanders,


itfelf

not

a plant or.

fay it was of a very ftrange


would very eafily die, but could

it

not eafily be killed.

of

If flander

the.

it,

it,

would

nature, for that

and

believe

will

this,

a dif

it,

which

whereas to be either

offended or diftrefled by them, fhews a weaknefs

not

whether the accufation be true

amiable,

or.

faife.

This rule

do not

fay,

There may be

tion.

is

cafes

wliolly without

excep-

where vindications may

be neceflary and effectual, but they are not many.

And

I think

have feen in the courfe of

I.

make

reafon to

my

the following diftinlion.

life,

If the

accufation or flander be fpecial, and relate to a particular

by time, place and other circum-

fixed

fa<Sl:,

and

ftances,

if it

be either wholly

ly miftaken in its nature

may be
it

explained, and juflice

or efTential-

may be done.

But if

be a general character, that. happens to be imput-

ed to a man, he ought
it,

falfe,

and tendency, the matter

attempt no refutation of

the

the more he fpeaks of


will

to

more he complains of it,


the more he denies it, it
be the more believed. For example, if it be af-

but by condu61:

firmed that a

man

it,

fpoke profanely in a certain com-

when he was

pany, at a certain place and time,


not prefent
refuted

at

but

if

all,

it

he

is

may be

eafily

and completely

accufed of being proud, con-

tentious, covetous, or deceitful,

alt^..

ugh thefe ac-

cufations are pretended to be fupportcd by a train.

OF
of fals,

better to let

is

it

THE SENIOR

CLASS.

2t>

them wholly alone, and


There are in-

fuffer his condu<Sl to fpeak for itfelf.

ftanccs in hillory, of accufations brought with


plaufibillty,

much

and urged with great vehemence, which

yet have been either from the beginning difbelieved,

or by time confuted

proverb, Alagna

ejl

which occafioned the Latin

Veritas et pravalebit.

All the above-mentioned particulars

happy

to be the

united

effe61:s

may be

faid

of wifdom and benevolence

or rather, perhaps, in the light in which they

have been ftated to you, they are chiefly the proper

wifdom which

fruits of that

But

mud

diate effect

ready to

is

"profitable to dire61:."

which

add another advice,

is

the

imme-

of benevolence and good-will ; that

aflifl:

portunity.

is,

be

others, and do good as you have op-

As

every thing

liable to

is

be abufcd,

fometimes the maxims of prudence take a wrong


direction, and clofe the heart againfl imprefTions of

fympathy and tendernefs towards others

in diitrefs.

Sometimes indeed, the coolnefs and compofure of


fpirit, and that felf-command, which is the efrecl:
of relleclion and experience,

miftaken for a cal-

is

lous and unfeeling heart, though


thing.

To

give

even under the

way

to the

it is

fineft feelings, is tlie

furprife

and anxiety,

accident that has befallen a child,


either of reflection or activity,

way

inflcad of promoting ufefulnefs.

whelmed with

a very different

agitation of pafiion,

at a

fliall

and

to prevent,

parent over-

calamitous

be incapable

fliall

fometimes

even need the aiTiftance which he ought to give.

But independently of
perfons

who

this,

there arc certainly

fome

contract a habit of indiderence as to

the wants or dcfircs of others, and are not willing to

AN ADDRESS TO THE STUDENTS

30

put themfclves to any Inconvenience, unlefs

own

particular concerns

may be promoted

theiir

at the

fame time.

mean to recommend to you a

In oppofition to this, I

difpofition to oblige, not

and an

merely by

civil expreffions,

deportment, but by taking a realintereft

affable

Be not unwilling

in the affairs of others.

your advice, your

affiClance,

your

to lend

interefl, to thofe

Thofe who cannot fpare pecuniamay do many ats of valuable friend-

that need them.

ry alTiftance,
fliip.

Let every neighbour perceive that you are

not ready to quarrel needlefsly, nor inQft pertina?cioufly on trifles

and

if

you

live to obtain credit

and

them be employed to afTift the deferrIf you undertake to do the baing of every clafs.
fmefs of others, attend to it with the fame fidelity,
and if pofTible, with greater punluality than you
v/ould to your own.
Some are ready to excufe or
influence, let

juflify

by complaining of the

a contrary condu6l,

Ingratitude or injuftice of mankind.

But

in

my

opinion, thefe complaints are contrary to truth and

experience.

There may be many

both ungrateful and unjuft

particular perfons

but in the world in ge-

neral, there will be found a clearnefs of difcern-

ment, and an exalnefs of retribution.


viour

tells us,

with

judging, what
kind,

is

refpel: to

one

Our Sa-

fault, that of rafli

equally true as to injuries of every

" with what meafure ye mete,

meafured

to

you again

it fhall
be
good meafure prefTed down

and fhaken together, and running over,

fliall

men

Luke vi. 38.


This, in my opinion, may and ought to be underflood both ways.
As the churlifli Nabal gene.--

give into your bofom."

OF THE SENIOR CLASS.


meets with his match,

rally

and friendly difpofition

them
i

or theirs.

not in

its

The

perfecStion,

but

to an immediate return.

a fpeedy recompenfe,

fo perfons of a

the difpofition

is,

when
you

If
it is

humane

reap the fruits of

fiiall

truth

3I

there

is

it

to

itfelf

no regard

give, looking for

not giving but felling.

You may however, fafely truft to the promife of God:


*

Call thy bread upon the waters, for thou (halt

find
I

it

many days." Eccl.


known many inftances

after

have

xi.

i.

of kindnefles that

were both remembered and requited,


been long forgotten by him

Nay, fometimes they may be repaid


neration.

It is

after they

had

who beftowed them.


in another ge-

no inconfiderable legacy for a man

to leave to his children, that he

had always been a

friend to others, and never refufed his afliftance to

thofe

who

It will

flood in need of

it.

not be an improper place here to introduce

a few words upon a fubje6l, which has been often

handled by writers of the


friendfhip.

firft clafs:

Some writers againft

mean

religion,

private

have adlual-

made it an obje(9:ion againll Chriftianity, that it does


not recommend private friendfliip, or the love of our
country. If this were true, it would be no fault, becaufe
theuniverfal benevolence recommended bythegofpel,
includes all private affections, when they are confiftent
with it, and is far fuperior to them when they are
ly

But

in fa61:, the inftances

of private

friendfhip mentioned and alluded to in

fcripture,

contrary to

it.

are a fufEcient lecomn-tendation of it^ and even our


blefTed Saviour himfelf

is

faid to

have

diftinguifli-

ed the youngeft of his difciples with particular

af-

fection. I will therefore obfcrvc, with moll authors,

AN ADDRESS TO THE STUDENTS

32
that there

no true

is

but what

friendfliip,

is

found*

ed upon virtuous

principles,

and diredled to

tuous purposes.

To

perfon

^srorthy

of

Neither

is

love,

not

is

who

upon perfons unprincipled

There never was


But
honeft man.

not

error.

placed in
at

bottom.

who was

true friend,

vir-

is

but an

a virtue,

there any dependance to be

trying cafes,

is

love

not an

befides this important truth,

further to be obferved, that there

is

it

a fpecies of

which is neither founded on virtue nor


mere weaknefs of mind. Some perfons,
having no refources in themfelves, are obliged to
friendlhip

vice, but

whom

have recourfe to fome other, upon

whom

and without

lean,

they feem

as if

is

tifm

may be

ranks, though, in the lower,

We may fay

ous.

that

plants

of

are falfe

it,

that

it is

obferved in

like

and fpurious

fome of thofe
their

in

tracted

friendfhips are

kind,

want the

of thofe that

efiential qualities

Such

are genuine.

all

not fo confpicu-

it is

of the appearances, but

which have fome


moil valuable and

and

generally called favori-

is

but the fame thing

fort cf

to be feen particularly in princes

perfons of high rank, and

may

they could

This

neither think, adl, nor even exift.


friendfliip

they

commonly con-

by caprice or accident, and uncertain in


by the

their duration, being Tuible to be dlfiblved

fame means. Valuable friendfhip is the refult of


it is one of the
judgment as well as affe6lion
:

greateft comforts of
eft

life as

well as one of the great-

ornaments to human nature, and

nefs

may be

that though

"When

there

difcerned
it

is

is

its

genuine-

by the following mark

particular,

it

is

not

exclufive.

a great, but virtuous attachment to

OF
a perfon
lefs,

who

THE SENIOR

deferves

all

33

make

man

not

others, as opportunity

him

or circumflances fhall call

You

will

it

it,

but more friendly to

CLASS.

to ferve

them.

will perhaps be furprifed that as I have fo

often expreiTed a defire of your beiwg accompliflied


in every refpeft, that I

have heretofore faid nothing

on that politenefs and grace in behaviour, which is fo much talked of, and which, in

or but

fome

little

late

writings, has been fo highly extolled.

has been already explained to you,

~.^^hat

hope

will lay the foundation for the moil: folid, valuable

Think of others as reafon


treat them as it is
do, and you will not be far from a

and durable politenefs.

and religion require you, and


your duty to

As
mode and

well-polilhed behaviour.
that
it

is

external in

to any thing further,

propriety of carriage,

can never be learned but by intercourfe with the

beft

company.

to, the chief

and

As

Chefterfield's

many

to the writings

above referred

of which are Rochefoucault's


Letters, I think of

other free writings, that

Maxims

them

as of

when viewed

perly, that

may be

otherwife,

they are generally pernicious.

as ufeful, as

pro-

by being viewed

They

contain a digelled fyllem of hypocrify, and betray

fuch pride and felf-fufficiency, and fuch hatred or

contempt of mankind,
againft

the

as

may

well be an antidote

poifon which they

mean

to convey.

Nay, one would think the publication of fuch fentiments

is

ridiculous, becaufe

it

is

telling

you that

they defire to be polite, and at the fame time that


this politenefs confifls in taking
fide,

and difplaying

own

their

ing yours.

Vol. VI.

you by the weak

addrefs by ov^-reach-

AN ADDRESS TO THE STUDEKTS

34
muft

fach writings give in

alfo obferve, that

general, a very unjuft as well as diflionourable view

of nature and mankind.

Swift

remember, indeed, Dean

fays,

As Rochefoucault his maxims drew


From nature, I believe them true."

*'
'

What muft

fay to this

Shall I fay that be did

not draw his maxims from nature

Am

caufe I think he did.

them

to

be true

juft

it is

principle

muft

By no means.

is

Thofe who difcover an

that

all

men

are neither fo

the

univerfal jealoufy, and In-

mankind

in general, give

Pro-

reafon to think well of themfelves.

little

bad

fo

man without

be found.

to

difcriminate contempt for

bably

nature, but

It is

It is in himfelf,

take.

be-

I will not,

obliged then to admit

fuch a view of nature, as a

error and exaggeration

very

good

as they are often

as they pretend, nor

At any

thought to be.

rate, candour in fentiment as well as conduct, as

an important duty of religion, fo

is

maxim
thefe

for

the condutt of

life

and

*,

two things are very feldom

if

it

a wife

is

it

believe

ever found

either feparate from, or oppofed to each other.

The

lait

advice that

you,

I fhall offer

to pre-

is

ferve a facred and inviolable regard to fmcerity


truth.

Thofe who have received

here, or at leaft

how much

their

who have completed

it,

muft know

pains have been taken to eftablifh the

univerfal and unalterable obligation of truth.


is

not however mentioned

general fubject,

now

to

very

This

introduce the

or to fliew the guilt, folly and

danger of deliberate interefted falfehood, but

you

and

education

againft the fmaller breaches of truth

common; fuch

as

want

to

warn

now

fo

of punctuality in ap

THE SENIOR

OF

CLASS.

35
fmall matters,

pointments, breach of promife In


ofTicious falfehoods, that

is,

deceiving children, fick

perfons or others for their good

which are not intended

tions,

without

before God, and they are

fin

hurtful than

jocular decep-

Not one of

be materially hurtful to others.


is

to continue long, or

is

commonly

a thing indeed

parture from

is
it

fuppofed.

truth, that the very


to

is

be avoided.

thefe

much more

So very facred
fhadow of de^

Suppofe

man

only to exprefs his prefent purpofe as to futurity,

he will go to fuch a place tomorrow, though there is no proper obligation given,

for example, to fay

nor any right to require performance, yet


often, he will

does fo
levity

you

truth

if

ftricfl:,

It

will

Let

me

he

the character of

and unfteadinefs, which will operate

to his difadvantage.
to

acquire

therefore

much

recommend

univerfal and fcrupulous regard to

give dignity to

will put order into your affairs

your character
;

it

It

will excite the

moft unbounded confidence, fo that whether your

view be your
it

own

intereft, or the fervlce

promifes you the moft aflured fuccefs.

fo perfuaded, that there

is

of others,
I

no virtue that has

am
a

al-

more

powerful influence upon every other, and certainly

none by which you can draw nearer to God


whofe diftinguiihing charader, is, that he
will not, and he cannot lie.
there

is

himfelf,

I) 2

SERIOUS

Q^

R Y

INTO THE

NATURE

AND EFFECTS
OF THE

E
BEING AN ATTEMPT TO SHEW, THAT CONTRIBUTING TO THfi

SUPPORT OP A PUBLIC THEATRE,

INCONSISTENT "WITH

IS

THE CHARACTER OF A CHRISTIAN.

THE

reader

therefore

will
I

and

probably conjecture,

do readily acknowledge, that

%yhat gave occafion both to the writing, and publifhing the enfuing treatife,

Douglas i

was the new tragedy of

lately afted in the theatre at

Edinburgh.

This, univerfal uncontradi6led fame fays,

is

Church of Scotland.

M'Ork of a minifter of the

the

One

of that character and office employing his time in


writing for the (lagc, every one will allow,

very

new and

is

In one refpecl

extraordinary event.

neither author nor a6lors have fuffered any thing'

from
buted

this

circumflance

its fliare

prefentation,

Natural

in

for doubtlefs,

which continued

curiofity

wliether there

it

contri-

procuring that run upon the refor

prompted many

was any

difference

days.

feveral
to

make

between

trial,

a play

A SERIOUS INQUIRY, &C.

39

written by a clergyman, and one of another author.

And

a concern for tlie fate of fuch a perfon excited

the zeal and diligence of friends, to do

power

all in

their

to procure a full houfe, that the bold ad-

venturer might be treated with refpel and honour.

Some
fcem

refolutions of the prelbytery of

Edinburgh
be taken

to threaten, that public notice will

of this author and his aflbciates by their fuperiors

Whether

in the church.

and

be,

if it

fured,

and

whether they
if

the

will be

to

iaft,

approved or cen-

what degree,

But one thing

not to foretel.

be carried on,

this will

pretend

certain, that

is

It

hath been, and will be, the fubje^l of

much thought

and converfation among the

all

muft have

that

It

ftate

of religion

tion.

though

That

among

is

no doubt

that

It

great plurality of thofe

of the ftrlcler fort.

be for the better,

condemned by the

who go by

With them,

containing one minifter

who

will be

think

It

who

all

ground to hope.

little

the appellation
it

will bring

upon the Church of Scotland,

great reproach

and many

upon the

examine the fubj6^ with

impartiality, I confefs, I fee

There

ranks, and

us, in this part of the na-

this influence will

refolvc to

of

laity

a very great Influence

a
as

writes for the ftage>

no crime to attend the

re-

no other confequences
apprehended
from
their difpleafure, than
to
be
;ire
being
provoked to unchriftian
the weaketl of them
refentment, or tempted to draw rafli and general
prefentation.

It

is

true,

conclufions from the conduct of a few to the character of the whole, or perhaps

rating
cfl^c<5lG

from the

cfl'ablilhcd

of late have been

fome of them fepa-

church, none of which

much

either feared

or

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

38

THE

However, even on this account, it v.ere


be wifhed, either that it had never happened, or

fhunned.
to

that

it

could be (hewn, to the convi^ion of unpre-

judiced minds, that

it

was

commendable

a juft and

action.

But, to be fure, the chief danger


it

bad thing,

be really a

that in cafe

is,

muft gi\f very great of-

it

fences, in the Scripture fenfe of that word, to thofe

who

are

mod

religion, or

apt to take

none

it,

An

at all.

fuch as have

viz.

offence

is

leaft

a ftumbling-

block over which the weak and unftedfaft are in

danger of

them
of

to

fin.

falling

that

Now,

if

the ftage

to a Chriftian, thofe

dicted to

them of

is

to

fay,

commit, and hardens them

it

that

it

their error,

this error,

is

who
is

emboldens

it

in the practice

unlawful or dangerous

by

are

inclination fo ad-

already difhcult to convince

muft be greatly confirmed in

by the example and countenance of fuch

as call themfelves minlfters of Chrift.

cordingly already occafioned

more

It

has ac-

among
commen-

difcourfe

the gay part of the world, in defence or

dation of the ftage, than pafied perhaps for

fome

years pr-^eding this event.

Nothing therefore can be more feafonable

at this

time, or neceftary for the public good, than a careful

and accurate difcuffion of

this queftion,

whether

fupporting and encouraging ftage-plays, by writing,


acting, or attending them,
fiftent,

is

confiftent, or incon-

with the character of a Chrlftian

no purpofe

to confine the inquiry to this,

a minifter

is

It is

to

Whether

not appearing in an improper lights

and mlfa5)plying
dicates theru to

his time

tlae

and

talents,

fervice of die ftage

when he
?

de-

That point

NATURE AND EFFECTS Of '^HE STAGE.

39

would probably be given up by mofl, and thofc


who would deny it do not merit a confutation.
But

the m?.tter

if

is

refted here,

it

be confidered

will

only as a fmaller mifdemeanor, and though treated,

condemned

or even

bad

as

fucli,

will

it

have the

ftill

(upon fuppofition of theatrical amufe-

GiQt

ments being wTong and fmful) of greatly promoting


them, though

them

to

The

>

we feem

much

to be already as

given

even v?orldly confiderations will allow.

as

felf-denying apologies

common

with authors,

of their being fenfible of their unfitnefs for the


they undertake, their doing
liand,

and

fo on, I

to

it

tafic

a better

wholly pafs, having never read

any of them with itpprobation.

and

up

ftir

would not willingly

Prudence
fight of

Icfe

it,

good,

is

but zeal

and concern for the glory of God, and ^aithfulnefs


10 the fouls of others, are duties equally necefTary
in their place, but

am

fenfible of

it,

the world

my own

teflimony

tempting

be,

it is

How

rare.

far I

unfitnefs for treating this

and of the reputation that

fubje61:,

on

much more

my own
is
\

is

rifked

by

at-

not obliged to believe up-

but in whatever degree

it

greatly overbalanced at prefent, by a view

of the declining ftate of religion


valence of national

fins,

among

us, the pre-

and the danger of defolat-

ing judgments.
It is
it

is

fome difcouragement

whofe fakes

it

is

this

attempt, that

many

of thofe, for

in

very uncertain whether

chiefly intended,

and

who

ftand

moft in need of information upon the fubje6b, will


take the pains to look into
fpirit prevails in this

it.

Such

a levity of

age, that very few perfons of

fafhion will read or confider any thing that

is

writ-

A sr.RIOUS INQLHRY INTO

Whoever

ten in a grave or ferious ilylc.

will look

monthly catalogues of books, publifhed

Into the

Britain for
this at

THE

fome years

What

one glance.

do romances, under the


memoirs,

hiftories,

an immenfe proportion

titles

of

adventures,

lives,

Perhaps therefore

in

convinced of

&c. bear to any other

production in this age

be thought that

may be

paft,

fort

of

may

it

would have been mor< proper to


tafte, by raifing up fome

it

have gratified the public

and handling

allegorical ftrucSlure,

wav
a

of wit and

modern

and

humour;

this fubjet: in the

efpecially as

principle, that ridicule

is

it

feems to be

the tefl of truth^^

feems to be fo large a fund for mirth,

as there

But,

the charaler of a ftage- playing prieft.

in

though,

fome

in

deny not the lawfulnefs of ufing ridicule

even

cafes, or

from thinking

far

to be

tion

it is

propriety here, yet

its

the tefb of truth.

It

am

feems

more proper for correction than for inftrucand though it may be fit enough to whip an

offender,

it is

expoftulate a

deferves
equally

little

for

it,

firit

to

wuth him, and fliew him that he

Befides,

it.

fit

not unufual, nor unfuitable,

every

and indeed,

beyond

to have been carried

man's talent

now

is

not

the matter feems

a jeft,

and

to require

a very ferious confideration.

There

is alfo,

befides

difficulty in entering

be hard to

wh It

know

in

fome difcouragment,

on

this difquifition.

what manner

principles to build.

It

unl.iwfulnefs of ftage-plays,

a real

It will

to reafon, or

on

fhew the
by fuch arguments as
were eafy

to

would appear conclufive to thofe who already hate


them and their fupportcrs: but it is not eafy

botii

to

make

it

appear to thofe

who

chiefly frequent

KATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.

4I

them, bccaufe they will both applaud and juftify

fome of the very things

word

as the

and will
on which they are condemned.

it is

is,

upon

deny the very

efFcfts of the praaice,

principles

truth

that others look

The

our having different views of the na-

upon

ture of religion, that caufes different opinions

For many ages there was no debate

this fubjeft.

upon

it

There were

at all.

players, but they did

not pretend to be Chriftians themfelves, and they

had neither countenance nor fupport from any

who

Wliereas now, there are abundance of advodid.


cates for the lawfulnefs, fome for the ufefulnefs,
of plays; not that the ftage

is

become more pure,

become

bui that Chriftians are

lefs

and have

fo,

lowered the ftandard or meafure requifite to attain

and preferve that

But there

chara<Sler.

is ftiil

another difficulty, that whoever

undertakes to wnrite againft plays, though the provocation

is

given by

upon

called

to attack

vi^hat

they are,

A writer on this

they might be.

yet always

is

them, not as they

are,

fubje(t

is

reduced to the neceility of lighting with

but as

adlually

a lliadow,

of maintaining a combat with an ideal or imaginary


fort of

drama, which never yet exifted, but which

the defenders of the cauie form by


tion,

and which

fliall

future age, which

way

of fuppofi-

appear, in faci, in that happy

fliall

fee,

what

gentlemen

thefe

are pleated to ftyle, a well regulated ftage.

ever

little

fupport

a vicious and

of plays but,

imagines

it is

may feem

to be given

corrupted ftage there

when he
his own

is

by

Howthis to

no attendev

hears this chimera defended,

cauie that

wiih great compofurc and

is

efpoufed, and

felf-fatisfaction, contiiiucs

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO THE

42

his pra<l'ce.

conduct not

one who was exprcfsly

meat before bim was poifoned,


All meat
this

is

abfurd, than

lefs

afi'ured

certain

if

of

difli

anfwer thus,

fliould

not poifoned, and therefore

may

eat

with fafety.
very plain, that were

It is

men

but ferioufly

ledge of then- duty,

it

would not be

dif-

know-

pofed, and without prejudice defiring the

neceiTary, in

order to (how the unlawfulnefs of the ftage, as

now

to

is,

Such

combat

a reformation,

imaginary reformed

in its

it

it

ftate.

were not men by the prevalence

of vicious and corrupt .affections, in love with

even

in its prefent condition,

it,

would have been long

ago given up as a hopelefs and vifionary project,

and the whole trade or employment detefled, on


account of the abufes that had always adhered to

But

it.

do

ftill

of

it

fince

defend

all
it

advocates for the ftage have and

in this

feparate from

defend

it

fo far

manner, by forming an idea

its

evil

qualities

with fuccefs, that

*,

fince

they

many who would

otherwife abftain, do, upon this very account, allow

themfelves in attending the theatre fometimes, to


their

own

hurt and that of others

and, as

am

convinced on the moft mature deliberation, that the


reafou

why

there never was a well regulated ftage, in

fa6t, is becaufe

it

not admitting of

cannot be, the nature of the thing


it

I will

endeavour to

fliew, that

Public Theatrical Representations,

either

tragedy or comedy, are in their general nature or


in

their beft polhble

ftate,

the purity of our religion


or attending them,

of a Chriftian.

is

unlawful, contrary to

and that writing, ating

inconfiflent with the character

If this

be done with fugcefs,

it

NATURE AND FFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


will give great

4^

weight to the reflections which

fliall

be acidcd upon the aggravation of the crime, confidering the circumllances that

at prelent attend the

pradice.
But, though

have thus far compHed with the

unreafonable terms impofed by the advocates for


this

amufement, they mufl not proceed

any

to

higher demand, nor expeft, bccaufe they have prevailed to have plays

they

themfelves

confidered in the

defire,

that

therefore

way
the

thing muft be done by religion, and that

it

that

fame

muft

be lowered down to the defcriptions they are fometimes pleafed to give of


attack plays

it.

by no means
modern relaxed

will

principles of

In that cafe, to be fure,

morality.
loft

upon the

caufe.

If

fome

late writers

it

would be a

on the fubjeCt of

morals be permitted to determine what are the ingredients that muft enter into the compofition of a

good man, that good man, it is agreed, may much


more probably be found in the play-houfe than in
any other place. But what belongs to the character
of a Chriftian muft be taken from the holy ScripNotwithftandtures, the word of the living God.
ing therefore, that through the great degeneracy of
the age, and very culpable relaxation of difcipline,

who

not a few continue to be called Chriftians,


a reproach to the

are

name, and fupport and coun-

tenance one another in

many

practices contrary to

the purity of the Chriftian profeffion, I fhall beg


leave

ftill

to recur to the unerring ftandard,

confider, not

but what

and to

what many nominal Chriftians

every real Chriftian

In fo doing I think

I fliall

ought

are,

to be.

reafon juftly

and

at

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

44

the fame time

my

it is

THE

refolution, not only to fpeak

the fenfe, but, as often as poffible, the very lan-

guage and phrafes of the Scripture, and of our


pious fathers.
to

me

Thefe are either become venerable

for tjheir antiquity, or they are

for expreffing the truths of the gofpel,

much

fitter

and delineat-

ing the character and duty of a difciple of Chrift,

than any that have been invented in latter times.

As

the growth or decy of vegetable nature

fo gradual

as

to

be infenfible

which

vi^orld,

verbal alterations,

thing,

do often introduce

fo

is

often

the moral

in

are counted as no-

which are

real changes,

fo

much

the ftyle, not only of

fome

firmly eftabliflied before

tlieir

approach

is

as fufpefted.

Were

modern

but of fome modern fermons, to be

eiTays,

introduced upon this fubjeft, it would greatly


weaken the argument, though no other alteration
Should we every where put virfliould be made.
tue for holinefs, honour, or even moral fenfe for
confcience, improvement of the heart for

theatrical

fan61:ifi-

between fuch things and


entertainments would not appear half fo

the

cation,

oppofition

fenfible.

By

taking

pofed, I

am

up the argument

in the light

now

pro-

faved in a great meafure, from the re-

what has been written by other authors


But let it be remembered, that
they have clearly and copioufly fhewn the corruption and impurity of the ftage and its adherents,
fmce its firft inftitutlon, and that both in the heapetition of

on the

fubjetb.

They have made it unwas oppofed and condemned

then and Chriilian world.


deniably appear, that

by the

beft

it

and wifeft men, both heathens and

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


Chrlftlans in

every age

deed alledge that


but
i^o

*.

very defenders do

Its

pretend to blame the abufe of

all

may be

far as I

feparated from

it

have feen, reprefent

or

polfible

abufe

this

future

^)5

They do

it.

however,

all

they never

it,

of them,

this feparation as

Particularly at xVthens, where

in-

not eiTential to

is

only

attempt to aiTigm

it

first

liad its bii

tJj,

both tragedy and comedy were soon abolished bj^public


anthorit}' ; and among tlie Romans, though this and other
public

shows were permitted in a certain degree,

cautious were

thflt

3'et

wise people of suffering them to be

quent, that they did not permit any public theatre,

so

fre-

when

occasionally erected, to continue above a certain

number
of days. Even that erected by M. Scaurus, which is said
to have cost so immense a sum as a million sterling, was
speedily taken down. Pompey the Great was the first
who had power and credit enough to get a theatre continued.

The opinion of Seneca maybe seen in the following


Nihil est tarn damnosum bonis moribus, quam
in aliquo spectaculo desiclere. Tunc enim per voluptateni
passage

''

facilius vitia surrepunt."

As

to the primitive Christians, see Constit. Apost.

8. cap.

32.

where actors and stage-players

among those who

are

are not to be admitted to baptism.

different councils appoint that

they

shall

lib.

enumerated

Many

renounce their

they be admitted, and if they return to them


excommunicated. Tertullian de Spectaculis, cap.

arts before

shall be

22. observes,

That the heathens themselves marked them

with infamy, and excluded them from


nity.

To

all

honours and dig-

the same purpose see Aug. de Civ. Del.

lib.

2.

" Actores pceticarum f.ibulanim removent a sO"


cietate civitatis
ab honcribus cmnibus repellunt homines
cap.

14.

scenicos."

The opinion of moderns


writers of

is

well knov/n, few Cliristian

any eminence having

tence against the stage.

Vol. VI.

failed to

pronounce sen-

THE

A SERIOUS INQUIE.Y INTO

46
any

which

in

sera

could be defended as

it

it

then

was, or could be affirmed to be more profitable than

Some

hurtful.

writers do mention a fev/ particular

plays of which they give their approbation.


thefe have never yet, in any age or place,
to fuch a

number,

But

amounted

keep one fociety of players

as to

many
The only
when it is

in conftant employment, without a mixture of

more

confelTedly pernicious.

that are

reafon of bringing this in view at prefent

not to be infifted on,

is

and candid hearing

fair

That the
which it

that

it

ought

capable,

is

procure a

to this attempt to prove.

ftage, after the greatefl


is

to

improvement of

dill inconfiftent

purity of the Chriflian profeffion.

It

with the
a ftrong

is

prefumptive evidence in favour of this affertion,


that,

many

after fo

years

trial,

fuch improvement

has never al:ually taken place.

perhaps alfo proper here to obviate a pre-

It is

which the advocates of the

tence, in

glory, that there

found

own

is

in fcripture.

ftage greatly

no exprefs prohibition of
I

it

to

be

think a countryman of our

* has given good reafons to believe, that the

apoftle Paul, in his epiftle to the Ephefians, chap. v.

vcrfe 4.

by "

filthinefs, foolifh talking,

and

jefting,''

intended to prohibit the plays that were then in use.

He

alfo thinks

it

probable,

that

the

word

KofAoig

ufed in more places than one, and tranflated " revelling," points

at the

fame thing.

conjed^ures are juft or not,


thefe,

it

is

Whether

his

very certain that

and many other paiTages, forbid the abufes of

the ftage

and

if

thefe abufes be infeparable

* TliG late Mr. Anderson.

from

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


as there

it,

47

reafon to believe, there needed no

is

Nay,

other prohibition of them to every Chrillian.


if

they never had been feparated from

time,

it

was

fuflicient

and

that

till

it

would be

it

idle to ex-

pect that the fcripture (hould determine this problematical point.

Whether they would ever be

To

after age.

afk that there

fliould

fo in

any

produ-

be

ced a prohibition of the ftage, as a ftage, univerfally, is to prefcribe to

the

Holy Ghoft, and

to re-

quire that the fcripture fhould not only forbid

but every form in which the


difpofitions of

men

fhall

think

fit

and every name by which they


call

it.

do not find

to be guilty of

fhall think

have not the

leaft

it,

proper to

any exprefs pro-

in fcripture

hibition of mafquerades, routs, and


I

fin,

and changeable

reftlefs

drums

and yet

doubt, that the alTemblies called

by thefe names, are contrary

to the will of

as bad, if not worfe, than the

God, and

common and

ordina-

ry entertainments of the ftage.

In order to
itite

make

as pofiTible,

this

inquiry as exacl and accu-

and that the flrength or weaknefs of

may

the arguments on either fide,


ceived,

it

be clearly per-

will be proper to ftate diftinlly,

Underftand by the ftage, or ftage-plays,

what we

when

afRrmed, that in their moft improved and beft


lated ftate, they are unlawful to Chriftians.
is

the

more

neceflary, that there

is

fend

in writing or converfation,
it.

They

is

This

a great indiftin<Sl:-

nefs and ambiguity in the language ufed

who,

it

re<?:u-

by thofe

undertake to de-

analyze and divide

it

into parts,

and

take fometimes one part, fometimes another, as will


beft fuit their purpofc.

They

afk,

what there can

be unlawful in the ftage abftracledly confidered

E2

.'*

THE

A SERIOUS INQUIRY IKTO

48

Comedy

expofmg the

is

and pointing

folly of vice,

And

out the ridiculous part of every charaler.


not this commendable

Is

of difcountenancing vice

And is

not the ufe of

w^arranted by the fatire and irony that


in the holy fcriptures

lemn.

It is a

is

Tragedy, they

moting the fame end

way more

in a

to be
fay,

What is
men

but reprefenting the characters of

itfelf,

may

pro-

is

moral lecture, or a moral picture, in

and plays reprefent them as

as they adlually were,

they

In their perfe6lion, plays are as like

be.

hiftory and nature, as the poet's art and actor's

can make them.

Is

who

will pretend that

it is

it

them

that they

Will any one

a crime to perfonate a charafler

any cafe, even where no deceit

in

Is

are publicly repeated or acted over

pretend, that

fkill

then the circumftance of

it

their being written in dialogue, that renders

criminal

it

found

grave and fo-

v/hich virtue appears to great advantage.


hiftory

is

not ridicule a noble means

is

intended?

Then

farewel parables, figures of fpeech, and the whole


oratorial art. Is

Then

tion ?

which

it

a fin to look

muft be

a fin to

the original, of

is

This

it

the

is

upon the reprefentalook upon the world,

which plays are the copy.

way which

thofe

who

fence of the ftage ordinarily take, and


ter than if
is

one fhould

fay,

What

is

appear in deit is little

a ftage-play

bet?

It

nothing elfe abilratedly confidered but a compa-

ny of men and women talking together 5 Where


the

harm

in that?

What

is

hinders them from talk-

ing pioufly and profitably, as well as wickedly or


hurtfully

as unjufl

thofe

who

But, rejecting this method of reafoning

and inconclufive,

let it

be obferved, that

plead for the lawfulnefs of the ftage in

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.

49

any country, however well regulated, plead for what


implies, not

by accident, but

following things,

ceflity the

eflentlally

Such

(i.)

and of nea

number

of plays as will furnifh an habitual courfe of repre-

with fuch changes

fentatlons,

human

as the love of varietv

nature necefTarily requires.

(2.) Theie

plays of fuch a kind, as to procure an

audience of

in

who

voluntary fpedlators,

are able and willing to

company of

this as their

only bufinefs

pay for being fo entertained.


hired players,

who

have

C3.)

and occupation, that they may give thenifelves wholly to

The

it,

and be expert

profits

may

(4.)

defray the expence of the apparatus, and

maintain thofe

mufl

in the performance.

reprefentation muft be fo frequent as that the

alfo

who

They

follow this bufinefs.

be maintained in that meafure of luxury,

or elegance,

if

you

which

pleafe,

their

way

of

life,

and the thoughts to which they are accuftomed, muft

make them

defire

and require.

It

is

a thing im-

practicable to maintain a player at the fame expence


as

you maintain a peafant.

Now

all

thefe things do, and

idea of a well regulated

without fuppofing

it

this,

ftage

muft enter into the


;

and

if

any defend

he hath no adverfary that

know of. Without thefe there may be poets, or


may be plays, but there cannot be a play-

there

houfe.

It is in

vain then to go about to fhew, that

there have been an Inftance or two, or


treatifes

ceptionable.
in

may

be, of

wrote in the form of plays, that are unexIt

were eafy

to

fhew very great

fome of thofe mofl univerfally applauded

this is unnecefTary.

believe

it is

faults
;

but

very pofTible to

write a treatife in the form of a dialogue, in which

E3

A SERIOUS

50

the general

NC^JIRY INTO

rules of the

drama

THE
which

are obferved,

be as holy and ferious, as any fermon that

{hall

ever was preached or printed.

Neither

any

there

is

apparent impoflibility In getting different perfons to

aflume the different charadlers, and rehearfe

But

fociety.

were of

plays

tinue in

its

may be

it

it

in

fafely affirmed, that if all

and human nature to con-

that kind,

prefent ftate, the doors of the play-houfe

would fhut of
would demand

own

their

accefs *

accord, becaufe

nobody

were an

unlefs there

acSt

of parliament to force attendance, and even in that

mu^h

cafe, as

pains

would probably be taken to

now

evade the law obliging to attend, as are


to evade thofe that
fair

and plain

ther

it is

of

us to abftain.

of this queflion then

is,

taken

The
Whe-

pofhble or practicable in the prefent ftate

human

under

flate

command

nature, to have the above fyftem of things

good

fo

a regulation, as to

make

and countenancing the flage agreeable

God, and

the ereling

to the will

of

confiflent with the purity of the Chriftlan

profelTion.

And

here

let

us conHder a

little

what

is

the pri-

mary, and immediate intention of the ftage,


* This furnishes an easy answer to

Whe-

what

is remarked byeminent Christians


have endeavoured to supplant bad plays by writing good
ones ; as Gregory Nazienzen, a father of the church and a
person of great piety, and our countryman Buchanan.

some

in favour of plays, that several

But did ever these plays come


merly, or are they
their

now

into repute

Were

acted upon the stage

the3'

f'^''-

the fate of

works proves that these good men judged wrong ia

attempting to reform the stage, and that the great majority of Christians acted more wisely who were for hyin^
it

wholly

aside.

NATURE AND EFFFXTS OF THE STAGE.

be for amufement nnd recreation, or for in


Perhap?,
ftruftion to make men wife and good.
ther

it

indeed, the greateO: part will choofe to

compound

thefe two purpofes together, and fay it is for both


for amufem.ent immediately, and for improvement
that

ultimately,

in{l:ru6ts

it

The

forms by fteahh.
flage have

it

no doubt

oF thefe ends in

pable of them

in their

power

they pleafe,

it

all

by pleafmg, and re-

patrons of a well regulated


to profefs
is

any

equally ca-

and therefore in one part or

other of this difcourfe,

it

every one of thefe lights.

becaufe of fome of

if it

tlie

mud
But

be confidered in

as

arguments

it is

of

moment,

to be afterwards

let

the reader be pleafed to confider, how-

far recreation

and amufement enter into the nature

produced,

of the flage, and are,

not only immediately and

primarily, but chiefly and ultimately, intended

by

it.

If the general nature of

from

it

when

termined from
praQice,

The

it

earlieft

it,

or the end propofed

well regulated, can be any


its firft

inftitution,

way

de-

and the fubfequent

feems plainly to point

at

amufement.

productions of that kind that are

now

extant, are evidently incapable of any other ufe,

and hardly even of that to

judgment

*.

They

a perfon of

any

tafte

or

ufually accompanied the feafts

=
This i3 confessed by a defender of the stage who says,
" Such of the comedies before his (that is Meander's)
time, as have been preserved to us, are generally very
poor pieces, not so much ludicrous as ridiculous, even a

mountebank's merry andrew would be hissed now-a-days,


for such puerilities as we see abounding in Aristophanes."

Rem. on Anderson's Positions


f.tage-plays, pai^-e8th.

cop.ceriiing the unla^^fulnes3

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

52

THE

of the ancients in the houfes of the rich and opu-

and were particularly ufed

lent *,

They have indeed

lic rejoicing.

in times of

pub-

generally been con-

fidered, in all ages, as intended for entertainment.

modern author of high rank and reputation f

who would
them

not willingly hurt the caufe, confiders

in this light,

and

and reprefents

this alone,

improvement, not

their

having a

as lying in their

greater moral tendency, but in the perfection of the


poet's art,

and the refinement of the

audience..

It is

to dignify

them with a higher

were ever confidered


and an

article of luxury,

againfl; vice.

apt to fmile

It

is

(hall

them
not

now

but

is

much contend

but an evidence of the

diftrefs

to anfwer the arguments

may

lives is

of

all

for their

them upon any

appear that they are

if

and the very bufmefs of whofe

amufement.

* Plut. de Glor. Athen.

" As

they are unable

in all ages

the rich, the

live in pleafure,

when

for the

new comedy,

&
it is

Sympos.

lib.

7.

quest.

make

8.

so necessary an ingredient

public entertainments, that so to speak, one

as well

we

indeed

we confider who have


who have attended them,
young, and the gay, thofe who

defigned for amufement,

viz,

It is

of the caufe

againft

alfo

be

and to

but overdoing, pre-

about ufefulnefs.

advocates only take up this plea

been the perfons

fo called,

amufements, and

to us as innocent

It

bulwarks

as

probable, mofl: readers will

when they hear them

other footing.

they are exalted

and reprefented

fay to their defenders. This


ferve

Formerly they

title.

an indulgence of pleafure

as

into fchools of virtue,

tafte of the

men have begun

only of late that

may

a feast without wiae, as ^vithout Meander.**


i Shaftesbury.

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.

53

to infift on thefe circumftances, I think


from the nature of the thing, that the immediate intention of plays is to pleafe, whatever
ctTetts may be pretended to flow aferwards, or by

But not

it is

plain

from

accident,

They

this pleafure.

confift in

an

exa61: imitation of nature, and the conformity of


This is the great
the perfonated to real characters.

aim, and the great perfection, both of the poet and

Now

of the aftors.

this imitation, of

gives

itfelf,

great pleafure to the fpeCtator, whether the actions

And,

reprefnted are good or bad.


fidered,

the

gives only pleafure

it

in itfelf con-

for the beauty of

hath no moral influence,

as fuch,

imitation,

nor any connection with morality, but what


derive in a diftant

which the poet or a6tors choofe

tions

thinks impartially,

may be from

that to pleafe, or attempt

the ftage, and

how

far

it

firft,

its

to

fKill

do

or rather

pollutes or purifies

depend upon the

may

to reprefent,

Every perfon

or the fpeCtators are willing to fee.

who

it

way from the nature of the ac-

is

this

fo,

convinced,
eflential to

is

main defign

its

accidental,

and honefty of

its

and muft

regulators

and managers.

Having thus prepared the way, the following


arguments are humbly offered to the confideration
of every ferious perfon,
theatre
tain

is

to

that

public

inconfiftent with the purity of the Chrif-

which if they do not


them fmgly conclufive,

profeflion:

to be each of

when

fhew,

to all

appear

will I hope,

taken together, fulhciently evince the truth

of the propofition.
In the /"r/?. place.

mufcment,

it

is

If

it

improper,

be confidered as an a-

and not fuch as

a:ny

54

men

THE

may lawfully ufe. Here we muft begin


down as a fundamental principle, that

Chriftian

by laying
all

SERIOUS INC^JIRY INTO

it

are

bound fupremely

God

ly to ferve

that

is

to love,

and habitual-

to fay, to take his

law as

the rule, and his glory as the end, not of one, but

of

nor

Every
I

it.

No

their actions.

all

"is,

God,

can be,

real Chriftian lives

know

this

It

defpifed

is

were

from reafon; but

it

and

phrafe,

derided by worldly men.


vindicate

under an habitual fenfe of

exprefhon, aiming nt the glory of

called a cant

is

man, at any time or place


from this obligation.

abfolved

eafy,

and

however, to

will fuffice, to all

it

thofe for

whofe ufe

fay,

a truth taught and repeated in the facred

it is

oracles,

that

all

this

difcourfe

made

things were

intended, to

is

for,

that

all

things (hall finally tend to, and therefore, that


intelligent creatures (hould
ly

aim

ail

fupremely and uniform-

of God.

at the glory

Now, we
pofitions,

creation
ceffiiry

glorify God by cultivating holy difand doing pious and ufeful actions. Re-

is

an intermiflion of duty, and

becaufe of our weaknefs

*,

it

is

only ne-

muft be fome

which becomes law-

aft ion indifferent in

its

nature,

and ufeful from

its

tendency to refrefh the mind

ful

and invigorate

The

ufe of lleep
is

by

it

for duties of

ufe of recreation

but one

is

though they

way

in

which

more importance.
fame

precifely the

fleep

becomes fmful,

excefs, whereas there are ten thoufand

which recreations become fmful.


produce paflages of Scripture
affertion concerning
It is the

as the

differ in this, that there

to

It

is

viz,

ways

in

needlefs to

verify the above

our obligation to glorify God.

language of the whole, and

j|

particularly

applied to indifferent actions by the apoftle Paul,

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


I

" Whether therefore ye

Cor. X. 13.

"

or whatfoever ye do, do
If there

55

eat or drink,

to the glory of

all

were on the minds of men

God."

in general, a

juft fenfe of this their obligation, flage-plays, nay,

and a thoufand other amufements now


never have been heard
of amufement

is

much

may be
in

it

is

is,

would

the need

commonly

not necefTary,

Thofe who ftand

finful.

in ufe,

truth

than people

lefs

apprehend, and, where

be

The

of.

mud

it

need of recreation

in

divided into two forts, fuch as are employed

bodily labour,

and fuch

have their

as

fpirits

often exhaufted by fludy and application of mind.

As

mere

to the firft of thefe, a

bour

is

felf gives great pleafure,

unlefs

from

la-

and indeed of

it-

ceflation

fufficient for refrefliment,

when

the appetites

are inflamed and irritated by frequent fenfual gratifications-,

and then they are importunately craved,

and become necefTary to

Of

this fort

fill

And

a recreation as the ftage.


viz, thofe

the intervals'of work.

very few are able to afford fo expenfive

whofe

fpirits are

even as to the other,

exhaufted by application

of m.ind, only a very fmall

number of them

will

chufe the diverfion of the ftage, for this very good


reafon, that focial converfe and bodily exercife, will

anfwcr the purpofe


confider the

j.ufl

and compare

it

much

better.

Indeed,

if

we

and legitimate end of recreations,


with the perfons who moft fre-

quently engage in them,

we

find, that ninetv-

fliall

nine of every hundred are fuch as do not need recreation at

all.

their hands,

Perhaps their time

and they

feel

tience under their prefent ftate

from work, but from

lies

heavy upon

an uneafinefs and impa-

idlenefs,

but this

is

not

and from the empti-

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

$6

THE

and unfatisfying nature of the enjoyments,

nefs

which they chafe with

fo

much

eagerncfs, one after

them

another, vainly feeking from

good which

that

they do not contain, and that fatisfaftion which

they cannot impart.

From

this I think it

undeniably appears, that

if

no body were to attend the ftage, but fuch as really


needed recreation or amufement, upon Chriftian
principles,

and of thefe fuch only as were able to

pay for

and of thefe only fuch

chufe

it,

there

it,

as did themfelves

not a place this day in the world

is

fo large as to afford a daily audience.

immediately obje6ted,

much

of

as

it

you

It will

be

make

as

This argument,

pleafe,

not complete, for

is

hinders not but that fome, however few,

But

be remembered, that

let it

at-

and with warrantable

tend in a proper manner,


views.

may

it

I attack

not

a play fnigly as a play, nor one perfon for being a

witnefs to a thing of that nature, but the ftage as a

fyftem containing

all

the branches

This cannot

ed above.

fubfift

have enumerat-

without a

full

ence, and frequent attendance; and therefore


its

and cannot be maintained but by the com-

mifiion of

Perhaps fome will

it.

argument

demand

ftill

objel:, that

too finely fpun, that

is

perfection, and

practice, in
will

by

conftitution, a conftant and powerful invitation

to fin,

this

audiis,

which

'there

be committed.

is

That,

it

feems to

find fault with every

to

a probability that

if this

holds,

we

fni

fliould

no more contribute to the eftablifliment of churches


tlian play-houfes,

becaufe

that no congregation
earth, but

much

fin

we have

a m.oral certainty,

ever will meet together on


will be

committed, both by

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


minlfler and people.

between

But there

is

57

a great difference

commanded duty which

is

attended with

by deret, and what is no where commanded,


which necefTarily invites to fm by its nature, and
fin

is in

fubftance finful to the great majority of thofe

who

attend

But

it.

further, the

ft age

an improper, that

is

an unlawful recreation to

fay,

tion, becaufe

it

all

confumes too much time.

a circumftance, which,

however

may make upon

who

thofe

little

to

This

impreflion

is
it

find their time often

a burden, will appear of the greatell

moment

In proportion as any

every ferious Chriftian.

is

without excep-

to

man

improves in holinefs of heart, he increafes in ufefulnefs of life, and acquires a deeper and ftronger
fenfe of the worth and value of time.
To fpend
an hour unprofitably, appears to fuch a perfon a
greater crime, than to many the commiflion of
grofs

fin.

And, indeed,

it

heinous in the eyes of thofe


fentation given by our

own

procedure

ye the
nefs

at the

unprofitable
there

ought to appear very

who

Chrift, of his
day of judgment, " Cafl

fervant

be weeping,

fliall

believe the repre-

Lord Jefus

into

utter

dark-

and wailing, and

Mark this, ye
ye fons of gaiety and mirth,

gnalhing of teeth." Matt. xxv. 30,


lovers of pleafure,

who imagine you are fent into the world for no higher
end than your own entertainment and who, if you
are free from, or able any how to palliate your
j

grofier fins, never

againft

once

refleiSl

you of wafted time

Though

there

on the heavy account

were no other objedion againft

the ftage as a recreation, but this one,

Vol. VI.

it is

furely

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

58

THE

If recreations are only lawful becaufe ne-

faulty.
ceflliry,

they muft ceafe to be lawful

when

they are

no longer neceiTary. The length and duration of re-r


gular comedy and tragedy is already fixed and fettled
by

rules of long fbanding

may

other circumftance
tion, all

men

fuppofe, whatever

of tafle will agree, that thefe fhall con-

Now I leave to all who know how

tinue as they are.

much

and

beconfeffed to need reforma-

time the preparation for fuch a public ap-

pearance, and the necefl^iry attendance, muft take

up, to judge, whether

it

not too

is

much

to

be

given to mere recreation.

This holds particularly

in the cafe of recreation

of mind, between which and bodily exercife there


is

For bodily exercife in

very great difference.

fome

when

example,

cafes, for

the health requires

may be continued for a long time, only


reafon, that it may have effeds lafting in

it,

tion to the time fpent in

to pleafure
it is

by way

for this

propor-

But giving the mind

it.

of recreation muft be fhort, or

certainly hurtful

it

gives

nefs and trifling, and makes

men

a habit of idle-

them

avcrfe

from

re-

turning to any thing that requires ferioas application.

So true

is

this,

and

fo applicable to the pre-

whole arguman, who has made the trial,

fent cafe, that I could almoft reft the

ment upon

it,

that no

can deliberately and with a good confcience affirm,


that attending plays has added ftrength to his

mind

and warmth

to his affections, in the duties of de-

votion

it

that

has

made him more

able and will-

ing to exert his intelle6lual powers in the graver

and more important


nay, or even

of the Chriftian

offices

made him more

the bufinefs of

civil life.

diligent

On

life

and aftive in

the contrary,

it

is

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


commonly

59

of fuch length as to produce a fatiety

and wearlnefs of

itfelf,

and to require

freOiment to recruit the exhaufted


quite abfurd and felf-contradiaory in

and re-

reft

fpirits,

what

a thing
called

is

a recreation.

But the

ftage

is

fumption of time,

it is

further improper as a recreapafTions too violently,

agitates tlie

tion, becaufe

it

and

too

intereils

not merely an unprofitable con-

deeply,

as,

To

in

fome

cafes, to

bring people into a real, while they behold an imKeeping in view the end of reaginary dillrefs.
creation, will* enable us to
is

to refrefli

judge rightly of this. It


Therefore

and invigorate the mind.

when, inllead of

reft,

which

is

properly called re-

laxation of mind, recreations are ufed, their excel-

lence confifts in their being, not only a pleafant,

but an

eafy exercife of

Whatever

is difficult,

a ftrong application of

tention.

Now

it is

the intellectual powers.

and ehher requires or caufes


mind,

is

contrary to their in-

plain, that dramatic reprefenta-

tions fix the attention fo very deeply,

and

the aiTelions fo very ftrongly, that, in a

intereft

little

time,

they fatigue the mind thcmfelves, and however ea-

many
men will

gerly they arc defired and followed, there are


ferious and ufeful occupations, in .which

continue longer, without exhaufting the

fpirits,

than

in attending the theatre.

Indeed, in this refpet they are wholly contrary


to

what (hould be the view of every Chriftian. He


fet bounds to, and endeavour to moderate

ought to

his paffions as

and

much as poffible,

u^l!lpcel5^ri]y exciting

inftead of voluntarily

them.

fions, fince the fall, are all

F2

The human

paf-

of them but too ftrong

6o

A SERIOUS IN(^IRT INTO

and are not fmful on account of


ly true, that
lefs

it

but

fo general-

is

hardly admits of an exception

it

when they

tinguifh

which oppofe

others

For, though religion

many

un-

gain an afcendancy, extheir

gratification.

confiftent throughout, there

are mutually repugnant to

But this exception


upon the prefent argument.

each other.

of,

or no effe6l

little

Now

is

which

vices,

and deftruclive
has

This

might be counted an exception, that fomc

vicious paflions,

are

their weaknefs,

and mifapplication.

their excefs

THE

the great care of every Chriftian,

is

to

keep

has paflions and afl'etions within due bounds, and

them

to direl
fpecSl

to the

firft

upon the

fpedlator,

ftrengthen the paflions by indulgence

as

is

to dire6t

is

to

for theije

exhibited in a lively manner, and fuch

all

mofl:

re-

of thefe, the chief influence of

tlieatrical reprefentations

they are

With

to their proper objel:s.

fit

to

them

communicate the impreflion.


to their proper

objects,

it

will

As
be

afterwards fliewn, that the ftage has rather the contrary effedl

obferve, that

mean time, it is fuflicient to


may be done much more efl^edually,

in the
it

and much more

fafely another

This tendency of plays


{hews their impropriety
account.
liable to

It

fliews

way.

to intereft;

as a recreation

no

life

on another

that they mufl: be exceeding

abufe by excefs, even fuppofing them in a

certain degree to be innocent.


is

the affections,

more unworthy of

criminal in a Chrifl:ian, than a

amufement,

life

wdiere

It is

certain there

man, hardly any more


life

of perpetual

no valuable purpofe

is

purfued, but the intelle6tual faculties wholly em-

ployed in purchafing and indulging fenfual gratifica-

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STACK.


tlons.

by nature

that all of us are

It is alfo certain,

much

too

6l

inclined thus to live to ouifelves, and not

where recreations

to

God.

watchful Clirin-ian will particularly beware of

Tlicrefore,

are neccfTary,

thofe that are infnaring, and, by being too grateful

and delicious, ready

to lead to excefs.

criminating care and caution,

is

juft as

This

dif-

much

the

duty of a Chriftian, as any that can be named.

Though

immediately converfant only about the

it is

fm, and not the

temptations and incitements to


actual commiflion of

it

it,

becomes

binding, both from the

command

neceflity of the

itfelf.

thing

**

duty directly

of God, and the

Watch and

pray,

that ye enter not into temptation," Mat. xxvi. 41.


fays our

Saviour to

where, "

What

Watch," Mark

his

all

difciples

fay unto you,

xiii.

And

37.

and

fay unto

elfeali.

the apoflle Paul to

the fame purpofe, " See then that ye walk circumfpeO:ly,

not as fools, but as wife, redeeming the:

time, becaufe the days are evil," Eph. v.


If
fets

we

confider the light in

Scripture'

our prefent fituation, and the account there-

given of the weaknefs

fame thing
It

15..

which the

is

will

impoffible

of

human

refolution, the

evidently appear to be our duty.


that

we

can

refifl

the

flighted

temptation, but by the afliftance of divine grace.

Now how

can this be expe^ed,

conftancy to unneceffary
to reafon,

trials,

and a prudent regard to our

but in the face of an exprefs

be watchful.
tion,"

is

by him

if

we

put our

not only contrary

command

own
of

fafety,

God

to

" Lord, lead us not into tempta-

a petition which we are taught to ofF^r up,


who knew what was in mac. But how.

F3

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

'6z

much do

thofe act in oppofition to this, and feven

contempt of

in

And

felves.

it,

who make

in

which the mind

and the
reafon

little

temptations to them-

are not ftage-plays temptations of the

ftrongefi; kind,

pleafure,

How

THE

afFe\:ions
is

is

foftened with

powerfully excited

there to hope that

men

in the

of them will keep within the bounds of modera-

life

tion

any expel, in fuch eircumPtances, to be

If

preferved by divine power> they are guilty of the


(in,

which

is

by

in Scripture called

" tempting God.**

very circumftance, a liablenefs to abufe

It is this

excefs, that renders

many

other amufements al-

io ordinarily unlawful to Chriftians, though, per-

haps, in their general nature, they cannot be fhewn


to be criminal.

Thus.it

is

not eafy to refute the

by which ingenious men endeavour to


games of hazard are not in themfelves

reafonings,

(hew

that

finfulj

but by their enticing, infnaring nature, and

the excefs which almoft infeparably accompanies

them, there can be no difEculty in pronouncing


them highly dangerous, lawful to very few perfons,
and in very few cafes. And if they were as public
in their nature as plays, if they required the

currence of as

many

operators, and as great a

ber of perfons to join in them,

could have

con-

numlittle

fcruple in aiTjrming, that in every poflible cafe, they

would be

The

fiiiful.

preceding considerations are greatly confirm-

ed by the following, That when plays are chofen as


a recreation, for which they are fo exceedingly improper,

it is

always in oppofition to other methods of

recreation, which

and not

liable to

are perfe6i:ly ht for

apy of thefe

tlie

purpofe,

objej^lions.

Wh^re

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.

were only one>

recreations are neceflary, if there

be had, fome inconveniencies could not be

fort to

fo ftrong an

where

argument

needs be
fpetion

Such

afraid,

will

it

a fenfe of its importance


or, if

are altogether

may " have

ears to hear it," the

certain, that as the progrefs of his fandlifi-

is

cation

who

immediately efface the impreflion.

will

it,

fix

upon the mind of the read-

be done, in any meafure for a time,

it

But, however few


thing

muit

be almoft impolTible to

the example of a corrupt world,

void of

fit,

a tendernefs and circuai-

indeed, in this age, fo rare and unufual,

is

am

tliat I

to prefer thofe

which are more

to thofe

lefs,

finful.

But

againft the ufeof them.

there are different kinds,

"which are

er

6^

is

the fupreme defireand care of every Chrif-

he

tian, fo

is

continually liable to be feduced'by

temptation, and infedled by example; and therefore^

from a
fafe

ful

own

diflruft of his

luntarily

refoiution, will not vp-

and unneceffirily prefer

amufement.

dangerous to a

To prefer a very difficult and

means of attaining any worldly end,

and eafy;

to prefer a

to one perfectly

any piece of work, would be

reckoned no fmall evidence of


civil life.

If

one

doubt-

one fure

clumfy improper inftrument,

for

fit

to

folly in the affairs

in ficknefs fhould

of

chufe a medicine

of a very queilionabie nature, of very dangerous and


uncertain operation,

one entirely

fafe,

rior efficacy,

it

Is

Is

Nay,

the itronger, by

to

madnefs.

conformity between

not a like care to be

as of our bodies

much

equal accefs to

would be efteemed next

there not then a real

cafes

when he had

of approved reputation and fupe-

is

ti.kt:n

not the

how much

tjie

of our fouls
obligation

the one

is

fo

of great-

THE

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

54

er value than the other

men, and

The

defcribed by the wife man, " happy

Prov. xxviii. 14.

(hall fall into mifchief,"

ought not

to be omitted in

fhewing the impropri-

amufement

ety of the ftage as a recreation and


Chriftians, that
this

cod

it is

coftly

altogether unnecefiary, fince the

is

at

at a far

cheaper rate

no expence

at all.

for

and expenfive, and that

might be obtained, not only


ter,

man

the

is

well

is

he that hardeneth his heart

that feareth always, but

It

conduct of

different

their different fate in this refpe(^,

as well,

much

but

end
bet-

perhaps, in moft cafes,

know

treated with great contempt

this

argument

by thofe who

will be

live in af-

and know no other ufe of riches but to


feed their appetites, and make all the reft of man-

fluence,

kind fubfervient to the gratification of their violent

and ungovernable
world have any

defires.

title to

But though none

in this

hinder them from difpofing

of their wealth as they pleae, they muft: be called


to confider, that they have a mafler in heaven.

him they muft render an account

at

the

and, in this account, the ufe that they


their riches

is

The

not to be excepted.

lafl

To
day,,

make of

great have,

no doubt, the diflinguifhed honour, if they pleafe to


embrace it, of contributing to the happinefs of"
multitudes under them, and difpenfing, under God,,
a great variety of the comforts of this life. But it
would abate the envy and impatience of the lower
part of the world,
riches, if they

committed
for.

The

to

and moderate

would

their appetite after

confider, that the

more that is.

them, the more they have to account

greatefl

and riched

man on

not any licence in the vrord of

God,

earth hath
for an

unr

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE SATGE

6^

neceflary wafte of his fubftance, or

confuming

unprofitable and hurtful pleafures

and under the

it

in

one or both of thefe charaaers, that muft hll, that


out upon the ftage.

is laid

Let not any reader, who cannot find a fatiefying


anfwer to thefe objections againfi: the ftage as an
unchriftian amufement, from the

word of God, take

the pra6l:ice of the world as a refuge or fancluary,

and

fay,

thefe

This

is

maxims

carrying matters to an extreme

are rigidly adhered to, you

number of

clude from the

Chriftians, not only the

excellent and amiable charaClers.

which hath of

all
all

arguments,

it

Though
is,

make men

and

efFc61:,

fet people's

eafe in a doubtful or dangerous pradtice.


to

this is

perhaps, that

others the ftrongeft

moft powerfully contributes to

is it

if

mankind, but many otherwife of

far greater part of

the weakeft of

will ex-

minds

at

How hard

fenfible of the evil of fuch fins as

cuftom authorifes and

fafliion juftifies

There

is

no

afhamed of them, becaufe they are

making them
common and reputable, and there is no making
them afraid of what they fee done without fufpiBut is there any
cion by numbers on every hand.

reafon to believe, that the example of others will

prove a juft and valid excufe for any practice

judgment

feat of Chrift

number of

Or

who

at

the

Will the greatnefs or

th/?

offenders fcreen

can that

him,

man

them from

his

power?

expect a gracious acceptance with

has fufFered his

commands

to

be qualifi-

ed by prevailing opinion, and would not follow him


farther than the bulk of

mankind would bear him

company.
I (hall clofe

the reflexions

fubjcCl by obfcrving,

upon

that there

this part

are

of

tlio

two general

66

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

charal:ers of the difciples of Chrift,

pear,

we

if

THE
which

will ap-

confult the fcriptures, to be efTential

them, and which feem altogether inconfiftent

to

The
Though we

with theatrical amufements.

firft is

and mortification.

fhould not

upo;i the particular

there

pomp and

fomething of

is

gaiety in

it,

on the

inconfiftent with the

is

The

character of a Chriflian.

infift

againft the ftage,

obje61:ions

beft poflible fuppofition, that

felf-denial

gofpel

is

the reli-

gion of finners who are favcd from wrath by the


rich

mercy and

then,'

muft be

a life

The

tification.

muft bear the


fufFering

free grace of

and

fore them.

God.

The

life

of fuch

of penitence, humility and mor-

followers of a crucified Saviour

crofs,

and tread

in the

fame path of

which he hath gone be-

felf-denial, in

In their baptifmal covenant they re-

nounce the world, by which

is

not meant fuch grofs

crimes as are a violation of natural light, as well as


a tranfgreflion of the law of

God, but

that exceflive

attachment to prefent indulgence, which


properly exprefled by the

world
*

It

*.

is

It is true

satann\

more

pomp and vanity of the


many precepts in

there are

not improper hereto consider the ancient form of

baptism, and what was supposed


plied in

is

by the

fathers to be im-

Apotassomai to
he, " I renounce Satan and his works, and his
Apost. Const,

it,

lib.

7. cap. 41.

pomps, and his service, and his angels, and his inventions,
and all things that belong to him, or are subject to him."
Ambros. de Initiatis. Ingressus es regenerationis sacrari-

um,

&:c.

" Thou

lect

his

repeat

works, and his world, and his luxury and pleasures."


Com. in Matt. xv. 26. Renuntio tibi diabole, &c.
renounce thee, Satan, and thy pomp, and thy vices,

Hieron.

"

hast entered into the holy, place of re-

what you were there asked, and recolwhat you answered. You renounced the devil, and

generation

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


Scripture,

which require us

67

to maintain an habit-

ual gratitude and thankful frame of fpirit, nay, to


rejoice in the

Lord alway.

Bat there

is

a great dif-

ference between this joy, and that of worldly


as they

do not

rife

from the fame fource,

men;

fo they

cannot poflibly exprefs themfelves in the fame way.

Another branch of the Chriftian tern; er, between


which and theatrical amufements, there appears a
very great oppofition,
linefs of

Is

fpirituality

and heaven-

All real-Chriftians are, and account

mind.

themfelves pilgrims and llrangers on the earth, fet


their affetlioiis

on things above, and have

verfation in heaven.

Whatever tends

their con-

to

weaken

thcfe difpofitions, they will carefully avoid, as contrary to their duty

and their

intereft.

the cafe with theatrical amufements

Is

not this

Are they not

and thy world, wliich lieth in wickedness." And that


we may know what they had particularly in view by the

pomps of the workl which they renounced, they are sometimes expressly said to be the public shows. Thus Salvian
GLuas est enim in baptislib. 6. page 197,
" For what is the first profession of a Christian
in baptism ? What, but that they profess to renounce the
Theredevil, and his pomps, his shows, and his works.
fore shows and pomps, by our own confession, are the
works of the devil. How, O Christian, wilt thou follow the public shows after baptism, which thou confessest
to be the works of the devil r"
There are some who pretend, that Christians were only
kept from the shows, because they were mixed with idola-

de Piovident.

mo, &c.

trous rites

but

it

is

to be noted, that in the time of Sal-

was abolished, and the shows were no longCyril of Jerusalem


exhibited in honour of idol gods.

vian, idolatry
er

aho, after idolatry was destroyed, continues the charge


against the shows.

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO THE

dd

very delicious to a fenfual and carnal mind

Do

they not excite, gratify, and ftrengthen thefe af-

which

fections,

ian to reftrain

is

it

moft the bufinefs of a Chrift-

Are not the indulgence of worldly

pleafure, and heavenlinefs of mind,


ftructive of each other?

who

ly thofe

holinfs

and

This

is

gave themfelves up to a

piet", ufed

mutually de-

fo plain, that ancient-

to retire

life

of eminent

wholly from the

commerce of the world and the fociety of men.


this was wrong in itfelf, and foon found

Though

to be very liable to fuperftitious abufe,

it

plainly

fhews how much they err upon the oppofite fide,


who being called to wean their affelions from the
world, do yet voluntarily and unneceflarily indulge

htemfelves in the moft delicious and intoxicating


pleafures.

What is offered

above,

hope, will fuffice to (hew

that the ftage, confidered fimply as an entertain-

ment, cannot be lawfully ufed by a Chriftian.

we

now

muft

fider the

flrudlive

modern pretence,
j

that

or, to fpeak in the

defenders, "

its

But

proceed in the fecond place, to con-

warm

it

is

ufeful and in-

language of one of

incentive to virtue, and

powerful prefervative againft vice *."

The fame

author gives us this account of tragedy

tragedy

is

a ferious lecture

**

True

upon our duty, fhorter

than an epic poem, and longer than a fable, otherwife differing from both only in the method, which
is

dialouge inftead of narration

its

province

is

to

bring us in love with the more exalted virtues, and

Remarks on Anderson's Positions concerning the un-

lawfulness of stage-plays.

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.

and (humanly

to Create a deteftation of the blacker

fpeaking)

work

one purpofe, the one manages us

In order to treat this part of the


precifion, I

muft beg the reader

mind the

implied in the

is

even under the beft poflible regulation; be-

ilage,

me,

caufe, unlefs this be allowed


to be defective.

and are

be,

to

confefs the argu-

not denied, that there

It is

be found,

in

fome dramatic per-

formances, noble and excellent fentiments.


indeed are
as

with

fubjel:

to recal to

account formerly given of what

ment

as child-

men."

ren, the other convinces us as

may

Thus,

comedy

they are well intended, tragedy and


to

he

infinuating mirth laughs us out of our

by making u^ afliamed of them.

frailtes

when

On comedy

more enormous crimes."

" An

fays,

6(^

much fewer

than

is

commonly

Thefe

fuppofed,

might be fhewn by an examination of fome of

the moft celebrated plays.

ence between the

fliining

ed in the world by

men

There

of

tafle,

ed, that there are

it is

which no

eafy to

fome things

to

jull obje^ion

and the

exift

folid

and

it is allov;^-

be found in plays,

can be madej and

form an idea of them

than any that do yet

a great differ-

However,

profitable truths of religion.

againft

is

thoughts that are applaud-

ftill

more pure

but the queftion

is.

Whether it is poflible now to find, or reafonable to


hope to find, fuch a number of pieces, in their prevailing

tendency,

agreeable

to

the

holinefs

and

purity of the Chriftian chara<Sber, as are necefl*ary


to fupport a public theatre

ed,

all

mean

that

time,

done

is

is

VL

Till this

done to fupport the

and wickednefs

Vol.

is

accomplish-

to fupport the theatre in the

whatever

it

intereft of vice

may be

in itfelf,

and

THE

SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

70

And

fingly confidered.

if

fuch an entire reforma*

tion be impoffible, a partial reformation, or

mixing a

few good things with it, is not only ineffeO:ual, but


hurtful.
It makes a bad caufe a little more plaufitle, and therefore the temptation fo much the more
formidable.

There

is

a difcourfe of a foreigner of

In which he exerts

of plays,

when

all

ufed in the public fchools, for the

improvement of youth

in aftion

and elocution, under

As

the dire^lion of their mafters.

was

a clergyman, his authority

But

fubjecSi:.

fome note,

commendation

his eloquence in

it

ought

to be

is

gentleman

this

often ufed

on

this

obferved, that as he

was a young man when he employed his eloquence


in this caufe, fo, what he fays, ftrongly fupports
the propriety of the diftinction I have laid down.

He

argument

exprefsly confines the

were prefented by youths

to fuch plays as

in the fchools,

and rejefts

with great abhorrence the public ftage, and fuch as

were aied by meixenary players. Of the lafl fort


" At hie
he hath the following ftrong words.
*' vereor A. ne qui fint inter vos qui
ex me^'qure-

"

rant

**

Hiftriones,

<*

paras? Egone? Hiftriones? Quos?

**

qui in fcenam prodeunt mercede condul:i

"
"

qu?eflus caufa quamlibet perfonam induant

paffim per urbes vagantes artem

fuam venalem

*'

habent

Romano
mo abfit,

ut in hac im-

Quid

" notantur?

agis

adolefcens

Tune comcedos,

mimos, ex eloquentix

Qui,

merito,
Abfit, a

fludiofis facere

An

jure,

viles illos

infamia

adolefcentium animos clo-

<^

pietatis fchola teneros

*<

qucntla imbui vellm.

Quanticunque earn

tr.nti

tamen nou

Satius eflet balbutire,

eft.

Qui
Qui

facio,

imo

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


<

mutum

(atlus

efle,

quam non

periculo eloquentiam

may

fine

difcere *."

be tranflated thusj " But here

71

fummo animi^
Which paflage
am afraid fome

of you will he ready to challenge me, and to fay,


" what is this you aim at, young man ? Do you
" intend to make all who ftudy eloquence com edians, players, buffoons ? Do I indeed ? What
fort of players ? Thofe contemptible wretches,
" who are hired to come upon the ftage, and who
for gain will perfonate any charader whatever ?
Who go about through different cities making
merchandize of their art ? AVho are juftly mark*<

Roman

ed with infamy in the

law?

Far, far

minds
" of youth fliould be taught eloquence in this
" fchool of impiety. However much I value it, I
*

be

it

from me

*<

value

"

fliould

it

to propofc, that the tender

Better

not at this rate.

Hammer in fpeech,
were dumb and incapable

it

were they

nay, better that they

of fpeech, than that

they {hould learn the art of eloquence, by putting


their fouls in the moft imminent danger." Now,
whether

author's

this

fcheme was right or not,

have no occafion at prefent to debate with him as


an adverfary, for he rejedls with abhorrence the
imputation of favouring the caufe againil which I
plead.

When

a public theatre

inflrucSiion,

is

defended as a means of

cannot help thinking

tance to obferve, that

it is

method

commanded and unauthorized

in the

it is

of impor-

altogether un-

word of God.

This will probably appear a very weak argument to

many, but

it

will not appear fo to thofe

* Wer^nfels Oratio de Ccmcxdiis,

G2

who have

A 6ERI0US INQTJIRY INTO

72

THE

firm belief of, and a juft efteem for that book of

Such

life.

will not expeV, that

prove efFectual to make


tion,"

men

any method will


wife unto falva-

without the blefling of God, and they will

hardly be induced to look for this blefling upon the

And

ilage.

let

it

be remembered, that

it is

now

pleaded for in a higher light, and on a more important account, than merely as an amufement, viz.
as proper to

fupport the intereft of religion

fliould therefore

employed

have a pofitive warrant before

meet with, "

Who

all

it

be

it

fliould

meet with

other

human

devices will

in this caufe, left

the fame reception that

it

hath required thefe things at

your hands ?"

And
and

that

fhift

none may ufe a delufory fort of reafoning,

from one pretence

to another, faying,

it

becomes a lawful amufement by its tendency to inftruft, and an effedlual inftrul:ion by its power to
pleafe at the fame time ; it muft be obferved, that
a finful amufement is not to be indulged on any
pretence whatfoever; for we muft not " do evil,
that

good may come/*

Nay,

call it

only a danger-

ous amufement, even in that cafe, no pretence of


poflible or probable inftru6i:ion (though fuch a thing

were not contrary to the fuppofition) is fufficient to


warrant it. Nothing lefs than its being neceflary,
could autkorife the practice, and that I hope none
will be fo
It

hardy as to

affirm..

can never be affirmed to be neceffiiry, without

a blafphemous impeachment of the divine wifdom.


If the holy fcriptures,

and the methods there autho-

rifed and appointed, are full and fufficient for our


fpiritual

improvement,

all

others muft be

wholly

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.

73

And if they are the mofl: powerful


and the moil effectual means, no others mull bo

unneceflary.

fulTcred

come

to

with them

demned

into rivalfliip and competition


on the contrary, they muft be conwrong, or laid afide as comparatively

as

The

weak.

truth is, the (lage can never be defended on a more untenable footing, than when

it:

is

reprefented as having a moral or virtuous, that

What

to fay, a pious or religious tendency.

can hear fuch a plea with patience

tian

i.s

ChrifIs tlie

" law of the Lord perfect:, converting the foul ?


Is it able to make the man of God perfecl: thoroughly furnifhed to every good work?" What then
are its defeats which muft be fupplied by the theatre ? Have the faints of God, for {o many ages,
been carried

fafely

through

all

the dark and diiH-

cult fteps of their earthly pilgrimage, with his


as a

"

and yet

is it

now

lamp

from

a well regulated ftage

there been for fo long a time pallors employed,

bearing a divine commiffion

ordinances adminif-

tered according to divine inllitution

Have

been hitherto elFecbual for " perfecting the


for the

work of

body of Chrift

among
days,

law

to their path,"

necelTary, that they fhould have

additional illumination

Have

and

light to their feet,

the

who

And

fcoffers

fliall

that

we

were

afTift ?

If

inllitution, all

any

to

not count them

come

in the lafl

new commilTion

pretend to open a

the players to

no divine

and for edifying the

the minillry,
?"

thefe
faints,

fliall

men

for

fiy, there necd:^

are called to inflruCl

one another, " the lips of the riglitcous Ihould feed


many," and this way of the drama is but a mode
of

tlie

inllrudlion

we

all

owe

G3

to

one another

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO THE

74
anfwer,

it is

mode

as a

I attack

This very mode

it.

has been fhewn to be dangerous, nay fmful, as an

amufement ; who then can ihew its necefhty, in


mode, for inftrudlion or improvement ?
If the ftage be a proper method of promoting
the interefts of religion, then is Satan's kingdom
divided againfl: itfelf, which he is more cunning
the fame

than to fuffer

men may

whether good

be,

For whatever debate there

to be.

it

there can be no queftion at


cious man,
part of

OPENLY

is

an enemy to

them do

that

no openly

vi-

and that far the greateil

it,

palTionately

man

vicious

attend the theatre,

all,

love

fay

it.

for doubtlefs there

no

may be

feme hypocrites wearing the habit of the Chriflian


pilgrim,

may

who

fliew

nothing

more

is

according to
it

word

are the very

abundance of zeal

its

of men, and yet

againfl: the ilage.

But

certain than that taking the

world

appearance,

it is

the worft part of

that fhews mofl; paffion for this

and the bed that avoids and

entertainment,

fears

it,

than which

there can hardly be a worfe fign of

it,

as a

of doing good.

words of our

Whoever

bleffed

means

believes the following

Redeemer,

will never be per-

fuaded that poets and aftors for the ftage have received any commiflion to fpeak in his name.
flieep

my

hear

follow me,

voice,

John

and

x. 27.

<

know them, and

My

they

liranger will they not

follow, but will flee from him, for they

know

not

the voice of ftrangers," John x. 5.*


*

It is to

be observed here, to prevent mistakes, that

the argument

is

founded on the general and prevailing

clination of the greatest part of each character,

upon

particular instances, in

many of which

it is

in-

and not
confes-

NATURE AND EFtLCTS OF THE STAGE.

75

This leads us to obfcrve, that the ftage

not

is

only an improper method of inllrudlion, but that

number of pieces there reupon the whole, a pernicious

or the far grcateft

all,

prefented, muft have,

This

tendency.

and

to the tafte

attend

it.

The

for the theatre,

evident, becaufe they muft be

is

of the bulk of thofc

relifh

difficulty

not

I fhall

upon, but what-

infifc

ever the authors are able or willing to do,


that their

tain,

who

of getting good authors

cer-

it is

productions in fact can

rife

no

higher in point of purity, than the audience fhall

be willing to receive.
ftrained,

their entertainment
will have

Their attendance

but voluntary

it

is

not con-

nay they pay dearly for

and therefore they mull, and

to their tafte.

This

a part of the

is

fubjet that merits the particular attention of

who

are inclined to judge impartially, and

in the ftrongeft
3ed,

it

all

proves

manner, the abfurdity of forming

will not hold.

real character

it

For, as

it is

of scrae persons, in

difficult to

whom

know

there are

the

some

marks and signs of true rehgion, and at the same time,


feme symptoms of unsoundness, so it is still more difficult
to determine the quality of single actions. Therefore, it is
little or no argument that any practice is safe or good,
because one good man, or one supposed to be good, hvis bteu
known to do it ; on tlie contrary, ill, because one bad
man has been known to do it. But as, when we retire
farther from the limit that divides them, the characters
are

more

practice

clearly
is

and sensibly distinguished,

passionately desired by wicked

so,

men

whatever
in general,

and shunned by the good, certainly Is of bad tendency. If it


were otherwise, as said above, " Satan's kingdom would be

God " who keepeth covefail in his promise, of


would
for
ever,"
trath
and
nant
*' giving" his people " counsel,"
and " teaching them the
way in which they ought to walk,"
divided against itself," and the

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

76

THE

chimerical fuppofitions of a ftage fo regulated, as,


inftead of being hurtful, to promote the intereft of

piety and virtue.

Here

fome truths be called to mind which


mentioned in the holy Scriptures,

let

are frequently

but feldom recollected, and their confequences very


attended

little

There

to.

the children of

Thefe are mixed together

many

cannot, in

by

is

often

diftinl:ion

new Teftament, between


God and the men of the world.

both in the old and

ftated,

cafes,

outward appearance

their

not only

and

in the prefent ftate,

be certainly diftinguifhed
yet

is

bottom

there at

of charafter, but a per-

a real diflin6lion

fect oppofition

between them,

ing principle of

all

as to the

And

their actions.

command-

as there

is

an

oppofition of character between them, fo there mull

Our

be an oppofition of interefls and views.

blefl^

ed Redeemer, when he came into the world, was


'*

men

defpifed and rejetfted of

where

tells

when men

and
for

fliall

(hall fay all

my

great

Matt.

v.

11,

and perfecute you,

revile you,

mamier of

evil againft

you

your reward in heaven

the other hand,

men

fathers
19.

"

vi.

26.

<f

for

Wo

And on

unto you

when

fpeak well of you, for fo did their

fhall

to the

falfe prophets."
Again, John xv.
were of the world, the world would

If ye

love his

but

Luke

for fo perfecuted

they the prophets that were before you."

all

falfely,

Rejoice and be exceeding glad

fake.

is

and he every

muft expert no
12. " BlefTed are

his difciples, that they

better treatment.

ye

:"

own

but becaufe ye are not of the world,

have chofen you out of the world, therefore

the world hateth you."

His

apoitles. fpeak

always

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


fame language

in the
xii.

thus the apoftle Paul,

" And be not conformed

2.

77

to this

Rom.

world."

Nay, he lays it down as an univerfal pofition,


2 Tim. ili. 12. " Yea, and all that will live godly in
.

Now

Chrift Jefus Ihall fuffer perfecution."

Whether
11

thofe

on to true

who have

which

holinefs,

is

not the chara^er of

the fincere Chriftian, will voluntarily


theatre,
4!)reathe

to

hear and

nothing but what

is

if

to the

agreeable to the pure

God

and perfecute the

delight in the ftagej

crowd

fuch performances as

fee

and uncorrupted word of


revile, injure,

I afk.

a ftrong and rooted aver-

honour

is

Will thofe

who

faints themfelves,

there put

upon true

religion, and be pleafed with that character in the

reprefentation

This

wliich

would be

to

they hate in

expct

the original

impoffibilities.

therefore, while the great majority of thofe

tend the ftage are unholy,


plays

upon the whole, but have


If

it

is

which they behold with

And
who at-

certain, that the

pleafure,

cannot,

a criminal tendency.

any alledge, that the poev's

art

may be

means to make religion amiable to them, I anfwer,


that he cannot make it amiable, but by adulteration,
by mixing it with fomething agreeable to their own
tafte j and then it is not religion that they admire,
but the erroneous, debafed, and falfe refem.blance
of

Or even

it.

fuppofing, that, in a fnigle inftance

or two, nothing in fubilance fhould be fet before

them but

true religion, and this drefled to the very

higheft advantage by the poet's genius and alor*s

would be little gained bccaufe thcfe


only would be the oh]eO: of their admiration, and they would always prefer, and fpcedifkill,

there

human

arts

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

78

more

upon

a fub-

This

we

indeed,

agreeable to their corrupt minds.

ly procure, a difplay of the

je6t

THE

fame

arts,

are not left to gather

by way of

in-

ference and deduction from other truths, but are


exprefsly taught

natural

of

God

man
:

receiveth not the things of the Spirit

for they are foolifhnefs unto

know them,

can he

cerned."

of

For

this.

For " the

word of God.

in the

it

Cor.
if

becaufe they are fpiritually


14. Experience

ii.

him, neither

man

any

is

mak#

will take the pains of

ing up a fyftem of the morality of the ftage,

mean

not

the

obfcenity, that
that

which

is

horrid
is

found

in the worft,

from Chriftian morals

herence to

it

do

but of

called virtue in the beft of the pieces

wrote for the theatre, he will find


different

and fcandalous

profanity,

to be

dif-

a flrong proof

would

be, in moil inftances, a wilful

departure from the rules of a holy

However plainly
God, and found

exceeding

it

and, that an ad-

this is

life.

founded upon the word of

reafon, there are

fome very unwill-

ing to think, that ever their duty as Chriftians fliould


conflrain
life,

age.

them

to

be

at

odds with the delicacies of

or the polite and fafliionable pleafures of the

And,

as the

mind of man is very ingenious


which it loves, they

in the defence of that pollution

fometimes bring in criticifm to their


alledge, that
ly

by the

through the

<*

world"

New

is

aid.

They

underftood, general-

Teftament, thofe

who were

heathens by profeflion ; and that the fame oppofition


to true religion, in

aferibed to

church.

It is

judgment and

who

heart,

is

not to be

members of the
anfwered, the word did indeed

thofe

are

vifible

fignify

as they fay, for this plain reafon, that in the early

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE


when

days of Chriflianity,

few

01"

it

But

it.

is

79

was under perfccutlon,

none would make profeflion of

did really believe

STAGE,

it,

unlefs they

not the meaning

flill

the

Can we fuppofe that the hatred of the then


world, was at the name of religion only, and not at
fiime

the fubftance

Was

the devil

and has he not

**

the prince of this

now

world" then

over, and

he not equally ferved by thofe

is

tifed

Was

he not the

ilill

flate,

who

hate true religion in their hearts,

have fomething very different before they can

There

is

say against

it

on the

flage. *

an excellent passage to this purpose in an es-

plaj'S, to

be found in one of the volumes pu-

blished about a hundred years ago,


tlie

in the child-

The truth therefore remains


who are in a natural and unre-

be pleafed with feeing


'^

" now works,"

fpirit that

the fame; thofe

mud

are

lives,

ren of difobedience

generate

who

though they were once baphe the fpirit that " then worked," and

profane in their

is

equal dominion

by the gentlemen of

Port-Ro3'al in France, a society of Jansenists, of great

parts and eminent piety.

Tliis essay in particular,

is

by

by the prince of Conti. Section


13th of that essay, he says, " It is so true that plays are

some

said to be written

almost always a representation of vicious passions, that the


most part of Christian virtues are incapaljle of appearing

upon the stage. Silence, patience, moderation, wisdom,


poverty, repentance, are no virtues, the representation of
which can divert the spectators ; and above all, we never
hear liumility spoken of, and the bearing of injuries.

It

modest and silent religious person n^presented. There must be something gieat and renowned according to men, or at least something lively and

would be strange

;;nnnatcd,

which

to see a

is

not met withal in Christian gravity

and therefore those who have been desirous


to introduce hol^- men and women upon tlie stage, have
and wisdom

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

8a
That

this

argument may have

how

ought to confider,

its

THE

proper force,

we

great a proportion of per-

sons under the dominion of vice and wickednefs


there mail always be

The

theatre.

among thofe who attend the


numoer of the world in

far greateft

This

general are ungodly.

is

which could

a Fa6t

hardly be denied, even though the following paffage

had not flood

is

way

the

" Enter ye

in the oracles of truth,

in at the ftrait gate

for

wide

is

the gate, and broad

that leadeth to deflrution, and

many

Becauie ftrait is the


there be which go in thereat
unto life, and
narrow
leadeth
is the way that
gate, and
:

few there be
as

that find

it.''

none can attend the

and more

is ft ill

a greater proportion of

to his difciples,

fay unto you, that a rich

kingdom of heaven.

it is

13, 14.

eafier for a

them

dom

man

purpofe the apoftle Paul fays, "

To

Ye

fee

not

the fame

your

how that not many wife men


many mighty, not many noble

ing brethren,

Cor.

i.

to enter into the king-

of God.'' Matt. xix. 23, 24.

flefh,

" Verily

man fhall hardly enter into


And again I fay unto you,

camel to go through the eye of a

needle, than for a rich

ed."

And

are enemies to pure and undefiled religion.

Thus, fays our Saviour


the

vii.

affluent circumftances than the bulk of

mankind, there

who

Matt.

flage, but thofe in higher life,

26.

that thofe in high

This does not


life

are originally

in their nature than others, but

it

call-

after the

are call-

at all fuppofe

more corrupt

arifes

from

their

been forced to make them appear proud, and to make them


utter discourses more proper for the ancient

Roman heroes,

Their devotion upon the


than for saints and martyrs.
stage ought to be always a little extraordinary."

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF tHE STAGE.


being expofed to

Now,

tations.

much

greater and flronger temp-

from the fmall number of

if

Chriftjans in the upper ranks of


tfaiS

Si

we

life,

real

again fub-

fuch as count the flage unlawful or danger-

ous, or have no inclination to

few remain of thofe who


to feafon the

are

it,

" the

probation of fuch judges

of the earth,"

What

unhallowed aflembly.

ductions then muft they be, which

to pollute

there will very

fait

How much

fort

of pro-

have the ap-

fliall

more

fitted

than to reform, to poifon than to cure

If

fuch in fal the great bulk of plays have always hi-

from what has been

therto been,
to

be wondered
It is

at,

becaufe

faid,

ought not

it

cannot be otherwife.

it

may be

very poffible, that fome

all this

while

holding the argument very cheap, and faying with


lord Shaftefbury,

" The

true genius

is

of a nobler

nature than fervilely to fubmit to the corrupt or vitiated tafle of

gain,

any age or place

but defpifes

it

he

fwerve from the truth of

art

noble and excellent in

its

is

the public ear, and teach

he works not

kind

them
I

he

to

rial,

folved.

and

to hold

or any

The

will refine

admire in the

da not

of them exprelTions, of that author fo

ed among modern philofophers.


is eafily

for

not

cite

any par-

them fentiments, and moft

ticular paflage, are all of

juft,

will

he will produce what

Thefe, though

right place.'*

knows, and

much admir-

But the objection

obfervation

is

allowed to be

with refpeCt to the poetic, orato-

human

becaufe

art,

we know

of no

human
moft admire, when

higher flandard in any of thefe, than what


nature in
it is

its

prefent itate, will

exhibited to view.

Accordingly, jhc great poet

and the great orator, though, through the prevalence

Vol. VI.

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

82
of a bad

tafte,

may

they

find

it

THE

difficult at firft to

procure attention, yet they will procure

it

at laft

and when they are heard, they carry the prize from
all inferior pretenders
and indeed, their doing fo
:

is

the very touchftone and

In this cafe there

lies

of their art

trial

itfelf.

no appeal from the judgment

of the public or the multitude (as David

Hume

has faid for once according to truth) to the judg-

ment of
to

a wifer few.

But there cannot be any thing more abfurd than


fuppofe, that the fame thing will hold in^morals

and

religion.

the ftage

was

Tfie dramatic poets in Athens, where


firft eftabliflied,

improved upon one

own

another, and refined their

tafte,

and that of

their audience, as to the elegance of their compofi-

Nay, they foon brought tragedy,

tions.

as a great

* obferves, to as great perfection as the nature

critic

of the thing feems to admit

from

this infer, that

of.

But whoever

in the fame proportion, or

by that means,

into a very grofs miftake.

This indeed feems

modern

the great error of


there

is

no more

in

will

they improved in their morals

infidels,

will fall
to

be

to fuppofe that

morals than a certain tafte and

fenfe of beauty and elegance. Natural talents in the

human mind
tions,

are quite diftint

from moral

and the excellence of the one

at all of the prevalence of the other.


trary, the firft are

perfection,

And

many

where there

is

difpofi-

no evidence

On

the con-

times found in the higheft

is

a total abfence of the

therefore, that true genius

verfal approbation, hinders

is

laft.

the objeCl of uni-

net but that true good-

* i^riatotle.

nefs

N ATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.

^3

The

Scrip-

the objet of general averfion.

is

ture aiTures

us, that

the power of

"

iui,

man

thoughts of

is

mind

by nature under

are

that every imagination of the

only evil from his youth, and

Gen.

that continually,"

men

all

vi.

5.

" That the carnal

enmity againft God, and," till it be renewed by divine grace, " is not fubjel to the law of
is

God, neither indeed can be." Rom.

Now

men

tory, that

wliich

is

utterly impoflible

is

it

approve and delight

fliould

and

to bring

that

about a change in

not in the power of any

is

in

contrary to the habitual prevailing temper

of their hearts

them

viii. 7.

and felf-contradic-

human

but

art,

with the concurrence of the Spirit and grace of

God.
ers to

In this he has given no authority to the play-

ad

under him, nay, he has exprefsly toid us,

way whatever,
human art, but of
and weakeit outward m.eans.
Thus
Paul tells us his Mafter fent him

that he will not ordinarly, in any

make

plained

the
the

"

ufe of the perfection of

apoftle
to

words,

preach

the

not

gofpel,

with

wifdom of
made of

the crofs of Chrift fliould be

left

erTecb." i Cor. i. 17.


And, <* after that in
wifdom of God, the world by wifdom knew
not God, it pleafed God by tlie fooliihnefs of preaching to fave them that believe." i Cor. i. 21.
He

none
the

that

alfo profeiTes

conformed
I

came

fpcech

his

practice had

" A.id

to this rule.

to

or

you,
of

my

been

always

brethren,

when

came not with excellency

wifdom,

teftimony of God."

fpeech and

I,

declaring
i

Cor.

ii.

unto you
l.

" And

of
the

my

preaching was not with enticing

words of man's wifdom, but

in demonftration of tha

THE

A SERIOUS IN<^IRy INTO

84

That your
wifdom of men, but

Spirit

and of power.

Hand

in the

God
It

*."

Cor.

may be

ii.

faith fhould

4, 5.

neceflary here to obviate an objection,

that in the holy Scriptures themfelves


ral paiTag^s

though

it

is

which feem to

not the choice of

" the righteous

brance, but the

ihall

memory

we

find feve-

fignify that true religion,


all

be

men,

yet the

is

Thus we

objet of univerfal approbation.


that

not

power of

in the

in everlafting

are told,

remem-

of the wicked fhall rot."

Nay, we are exhorted by the

apoftie Paul to the

practice of our duty in fuch terms as thefe,

* Perhaps some will ask here,

<*

What-

human art, and


God, wholly excluded from his service ? I answer they are not. And yet
the instances of their being eminently useful are exceeding
rare, ^uch is the imperfection of the human mind that it can
hardly at the same time, give great attention and application
to two distinct subjects ; and therefore, when men give that
intense application to human art, which it is necessary to
bring it to its perfection, they are apt to overlook the powe.T and grace of God, without which all art is vain and ineffectual. Agreeably to this, when men of eminent talents
have been of service in religion, it has been commonly by the
exerci^ of self-denial, by making a very sparing and moderate use of them, and shewing themselves so deeply penetrated with a sense of the important truths of tlie everlastare natural talents,

which

then

Is

are the gifts of

ing gospel, as to despise the beauties and embellishments


of human skill, too great an attention to which is evidently inconsistent with the other.
this

is

Well, say refined observers,


it with great reserve,

the very perfection of art to use

and to k^ep

it

out of view as

much

as possible.

And

it is

indeed the perfection of art to have the appearance of thisj


but

it is

peculiar to a leriCwed heart to have

it

in reality.

AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.

NATTfRfi

85

foever things are true, whatfoever things are lovely,

whatfoever things are of good report,

any

virtue, if there be

But thefe muil

there be

furely be explained in fuch a

as to be confident with the clear

mentioned above
matter of

if

which

many good

it is

manner,

and (trong paiuiges

not difficult to do.

The

aiStions, particularly focial vir-

tues, the duties of the fecond table of the law,

men do

any

on thefe things."

praife, think

often approve, nay, they

may

wicked

not only fee

fome beauty, but feel fome pleafure in them, from nathough unfancSiified affections leading to them.

tural,

But truly good a<Stions, inftances of holy obedience


to God, in their manner, and in the principles from

which they ought

to flow, they neither

can approve

nor perform.

Nothing can be done agreeable


God, but what hath the following
muft be done from

to the

will of

properties.

BC:

a fenfe, not only of the unalter-

able obligation, but the perfect excellence of the

law of God, Rom.

vii.

renouncing

2.

of merit in the ator. Gal

20. Phil,

ii.

all
iiiv

pretence
8.

de-

pending for afliftance entirely on divine ftrength,

John
glory,

XV. 5.;
I

and with a

Cor. x. 31.

1.

fingle

Pet.

iv.

eye to the divine

11.

matter of an adlion that renders

it

It

is

not the-

truly holy, but

the prevalence of thefe principles in the heart of


the performer.

And

they are fo far from, being,

generally approved, that they are hated and defpifed,.

and the very profeflion of moft of them, at lead, riThe truth is, it is
diculed by every worldly man.
not eafy to difcover thefe principles otherwife than

bv narration.

They

lie

deep

in the heart,

they do.

not feet to difcover themfclves, and the (hewing

H3

A SERIOUS IN(^1RY INTO^rHB

8(5

on the

tliem

would be

flage

to their nature.

believe

a fort of contradicStion

it

would exceed the

art

of mofl poets or aclors, to exhibit by outward figns>


true felf-deiiia], without joining to
tion, as

would deflroy

fuch oflenta-

it

Or

its effel.

could be

if it

would be fo far from being delightful to


thofe who " through the pride of their heart will
not feek after God," that it would fill them with
difgufl or difdain.
So that all friends of the ftage
ought to join with David Hume, who hath exclu-

done,

ded
the

rt

humility,

felf-denial,

number

and mortification, from

of the virtues, and ranked

them among

the vices.

Prom

this

it

men

appears, that worldly

a form of godlinefs, but the fpirit and

When

they cannot endure.

therefore,

tures reprefent religion, or any part of


able in the eyes of

giving one view of

mankind

its

it

the Scripas

ami-

it is

only

it,

in general,

excellence in

will bear

power of

or in

itfelf

its

matter; but this can never be intended to make


the

judgment of bad men

And when

an argument

any other

its

ftandard or meafur^.

men

the approbation of
to

duty,

it

than as an

light,

motive to preferve us from

afliftant

men,

If there be

as the

that

own

is,
;

it is

will, they

as

do

us

any more than what

to

for the

aim

at

the

men

is

faid

above in

give In favour of

but the voice of natural confcience,

the voice of

and

fubordinate

reward of our compliance.

the teftimony which wicked


religion,

propofed as

violation

its

Scriptures will never warrant


praife of

is

cannot be confidered in

it is

all

God

in

them, and not their

extorted from

ia their

power

them

againft their

to deflroy the force

NATURE A^D LrFECTS OT THE STAGE.

will

that

many

we may

This

of the evidence.

we

recollect, that

religion

is

it

87

be fenfible

of, if

always general, and

fpeak well of fomcthing which they

when

in general,

yet there

is

call

hardly any

of the fervants of God, h] whofe character and

conduct they will not endeavour either to find or

make

The

flaw.

heroes in profanity

and

in all

you

this

its

and the other thing

fame time,

or other

you

is

though fome few

is,

itfelf

dire6lly,

parts, the plurality of fcoffers only tell

llition, precifenefs,

at the

truth

vilify religion in

is

not religion, but fupej-

fancy or whim, and fo on.

if

you take away

on under thefe

reflected

Which

will leave little behind.

us this truth, that no

all

man

that by

But

fome

appellations,

plainly teaches

will cordially approve of

fuch a fcheme of religion as he does not believe

and embrace, or inwardly and without difllmulation


p.pplaud a charaSler that

than his

at lead,

fumes
*

it

own
For

to be *.

is

either

better than his


is,

this reafon the apoftle

For ascertaining the sense, and confirming the

John

trutli

of

proper to observe, Tliat by the word


not so much to be understood higher in degree,

this passage,

hetUr

own

or he falfely pre-

is

it

is

as diff*erent in kind.

Tliough even in the

seems to hold pretty generally

first

sense

it

comparisons between
commonly extend their charity to

man and man. Men


who have less, and

not to those

those

They

goodness than themselves.

when

done,

may

is

have more

who,

strict

to wickedntss or hypocrisy.

of this

who

are very lew,

and regular in their conwilling to be, do not ascribe it either

the3' see others

duct than they are

move

in

Perhaps, indeed, the reason

be, that a gradual difference as to the actions

considered as constituting a specific difference in

the moral character; and

men condemn

others

iiot for

88
gives

"

We

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO


It

as

THE

mark or evidence of regeneration;,


vi^e have pafled from death to life,

knov7 that

becaufe

we

love the brethren ;" that

is

to

faint as fuch,

dwell in no heart but that which

is

It wili

fiiy,

fmcere and prevalent love to a

caa

fanftified.

be proper here to take notice, becaufe

it

has fome relation to this fubjet of what the advocates of the ftage often

make

their boafl, that before

a poliflied audience things grofsly criminal are not


fuiFered to be aled

of the drama, that

if

and' that

it is

one of the rules

fuch things be fuppofed they

mull be kept behind the fcenes.

We

are often

put in mind of the pure tafte of an Athenian audience, who, upon one of the adiors expreffing a

profane thought,

all

rofe

up and

left

the theatre.

A famous French tragedian, Corneille, alfo takes notice of

it

as an evidence of the

improvement of the

ftage in his time, that one of his beft written pieces

being better than themselves, upon their

own

notion of

goodness, but for placing religion in the extremes, which

they apprehend ought to be avoided. This confirms the


remark made above, that every man's own character is the
standard of his approbation, and shews at the same time
its

inconsistency with that humility which

every Christian.

Wherever there

is

is

essential to

a real approbation,

and sincere confession of superior worth, there is also an


The Christian not only knows
himself to be infinitely distant from God, whom yet he
supremely loves, but thinks himself less than the least of
all saints; but he could neither love the one nor the other,
if he had not a real, however distant Kkeness ; if he had
unfeigned imitation of it.

not the seeds of every good disposition implanted in him,


the growth of which

is

provement of Vrhich

the constant object of his care and

diligence.

is

his supreme desire, and the

im-

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


had not fucceeded, " Becaufe

it

8p

ftruck the fpec-

tators

with the horrid idea of a proflitution to

which

a holy

woman had

As

been condemned."

to the cafe of the Athenians,

were eafy

it

from the nature and circumftances of the

(hew

to

that

fa\:,

this refentment at tlie profanity of the poet, though


it was exprefled in the theatre, was by no means
But it is needlefs to enter.4nto any
learned there.

nice difquifition

upon

this fubjecSl, for all that fol-

lows from any fuch inllances,

fome things

but a few of the

mod abandoned

fo the reft of the

that there are

is,

and ihocking,

fo very grofs

will

that,

as

commit them,

world can have no delight

in be-

no doubt, a great variety


from another in the dediffering
one
of chara>ers
gree of their degeneriicy, and yet all of them eflenThere

holding them.

tially diftinl

To

from true

fet this

member,

piety.

matter in a
as

that,

form of

jufl;

light,

virtue,

actions, or a defe6!:ive
is

fore, they are

vice

is

monly

by

view

im-

much fwayed
There-

to public praife.

mutually checks to one another, and

not feen on a theatre in a grofs, but comin a

more dangerous, becaufe an engaging

and infinuating form.

The

prefence of fo

witnelTes does reftrain and difguife

change

re-

approved by the generality

of the world; and, that they are very


in their actions

we muft

has been confefTed above, the

many good

matter of
perfe<Sl

is,

nature, or render

its

it

many

fin,

but cannot

innocent.

The purity

of the theatre can never be carried farther by the


tafte

of the audience, than what

verfation

There

is

required in con-

with the polite and falhionable world.

vice

is

in

fome meafure reftraincd

men may

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO THE

90

be wicked, but they muft not be rude.

amounts to

this

How much

but too well known;

is

is

it

no

more than that we muft not difguft thofe with


whom we converfe, and varies with their characThis

ter.

is

fo

from being agreeable

far

rules of the gofpel, that a ferious Chriftian

from

obliged,

to
is

the

often

fenfe of duty, to be guilty of a

breach cf good manners, by adminiftring unacceptable reproof.

Thus

it

appears, that, in the ftage, the audience

which

gives law to the poet,

this

be a

eafy to judge.

it

will

lefTon

the fame thing


j

and whether

method of inll:rution, is
Every one who knows human na-

who believes

the reprefentation given

muil conclude, that the young

fcripture,

in

much

fafe or profitable

.ture, efpecially

.of

is

own

as the fcholar chuling his

be feduced into the commiflion, and the older

confirmed and hardened in the practice of


caufe

characters,

fin

be-

wrong, will be
an amiable light, and divelted

fundamentally

there painted out in

of what is moft {hameful and (hocking.


By this
means confcience, inftead of being alarmed, and
giving faithful teftimony,

party in the caufe.

In

is

deceived and

ftiort,

made

vice in the theatre

muft wear the garb, aflume the name, and claim the
reward of virtue.

How

ftrong a confirmation of this have

experience

Have not

plays in fa6t

we from

commonly

turn-

ed upon the characters moft grateful, and the events


moft interefting to corrupt nature
the

name

Pride, under

of greatnefs of mind, ambition, and re-

venge, under thofe of valour and heroifm, have been


their conftant fubjeCls.

But

chiefly love: this>

which

is

NATURE AN D EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.

9I

the {trongeftpaflion,and the moft dangerous in

tlie

human

frame, and from which the greateft number

of crimes the moil atrocious, have fprung, was al-

ways encouraged upon the

There women

itage.

are fweiled with vanity, by feeing their fex deified

and adored

men

there

learn the language, as well

as feel by fympathy, the tranfports of pafiion

and

there the hearts of both are open and unguarded to


receive the imprelFion, becaufe

Hath

mafk of honour.
at particiilar

want of

this

it is

covered with a

then been only the cafe

times of occafional corruption,

or for

? No, it is
Such hath been

a proper regulation of the ftage

infeparable from

conllitution.

its

the nature and tendency of plays in

and fuch, from the

who attend

them,

tafte

it is

all

former ages,

and difpofition of thofe

certain they will for ever con-

tinue to be *.
* Perhaps

will be alledged, that the

it

may

reasoning

be evaded,

whole force of this

by supposing

a stage directed

by the magistrate, and supported at the public charge. In


this case tlie performers would be under no temptation, for
gain, to gratify the taste of the audience, and the managers would have quite a different intention. It is confessed, that this supposition seems considerably to weaken
the arguments above used, though perhaps more in theory
than it would do in practice. But I would ask any who

make such

a supposition,

to the ^tage
serve
fits,

it

in

that

Why

why

this inviolable

must so many

some shape or other


must be forced as

it

tural course in order to

make

What are
it

it

t^fforts

attachment

made to premighty bene-

be

its

were, out of

its

own nawe will

lawful, rather than

give it up as pernicious
It is also to be observed that,
however useful an ordinance of God magistracy be for
?

public ordvr, there

is

very

little

security in the direction

of magistrates, for sound and wholesome instruction in


ligion or mcrals.

We

re-

can never depend upon them for

A SERIOUS

PZ

INC^TiitT

INTO TUB

AnotKer argument, which fhews the ftage to be


an improper method of inftrudion, or rather that
'

it is

pernicious and hurtful,

own

In

nature.

pibure of

its

human

may

be drawn from

moft improved

Hfe,

ftate,

it

its

is

and muft reprefent charac-

this, unless thej' are themselves persons

of true piety, and

when that is the case, because they may


of many errors in judgment. Now it is not rea-

not always even


be

giiilt}^

sonable to hope, that magistrates in

any country,

will be

Such,
with the other qualifications necessary to magistrates, are
always, or even generally, persons of true piety.

not always to be found.


for

it

Neither

is

there

because though doubtless, those

any necessity

who

fear

God

will

be the most faithful magistrates, and the most dutiful sub-

yet the greatest part f the duties of both may be


performed without this, in a manner in which the public

jects,

Magistracy has

will see aiKi feel very little difference.

only the outward carriage, and not the heart for

and

it is

its

object;

the sensible effect v/hich the public looks for, and

not the principle from which any thing

is

done.

There-

on the one hand, if a subject obeys the laws, and


outwardly fulfils the duties of his station, the magistrate
hath nothing farther to demand, though it be only for
" wrath," and not " for conscience sake ;" so on the
fore, as

other,

if

a magistrate be diligent in preserving order,

and promoting the general good, though the motive


of his actions be no better than vanity, ambition,
or the fear of

man

well concealed, the public reaps the

and has no ground of complaint, even whilst his


character is detestable in the sight of God. But this magisbenefit,

trate

can never be safely intrusted with the direction of

what regards our moral and spiritual improvement, and he


would be going out of his own sphere should he attempt
After all, it makes little difference whether the
it.
magistrate or any body else directs the stage, wliile the
attendance is voluntary; for in that case, it must either be
suited to the teste of the audience, or
deserted*

it

will be

wholly

KATUEE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.

An

ters as they really are.

author for the ftage

not permitted to feign, but to

Though he

paint

is

and copy.

fhould introduce things or perfons ever

fo excellent,

there

if

were not difcerned

blance between them and real


fo far

93

a refem-

they would be

life,

from being applauded, that they would not be


would be condemned, as a tranfgref-

fuffered, but
fion of the

fundamental rules of the

Now,

art.

are not the great majority of characters in real life

bad

on

Mufl not

the greateft part of thofe reprefented

the ftage be bad

And

therefore muft not the

which they make upon the fpecbe hurtful in the fame proportion ?

ftrong impreflion
tators

It is

of

all

known

truth, eftabliflicd

ages, that bad

by the experience

example has a powerful and un-

happy influence upon human charaClers. Sin is of


a contagious and fpreading nature, and the human
heart

is

This

but too fufceptible of the infection.

may be

afcribed to feveral caufes, and to one in

particular

which

is

'applicable to the prefent cafe,

that the feeing of fin frequently committed,

gradually abate that horror wliich

of

it

upon our minds, and which

from yielding

to

Its follcitations.

we

ought

muft

to

have

ferves to keep us

Frequently fee-

ing the moft terrible objects renders them familiar


to our view,

emotion.

and makes us behold them with

And from

the tranfitlon

is

Icfs

feeing fin without relul:ance,

cafy, to a

compliance with

its

re-

peated importunity, efpecially as there are latent

remaining difpofitions to finning


is

but imperfedly fancllficch

aflign

any other reafon,

why

in every heart that

It will

be

difficult to

wickednefs

is

always

carried to a far greater height in large and populous

Vol. VI.

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

94
cities,

and

fedately,

would

Do

than in the country.

come

places of great refort,

THE

not multitudes, in

to perpetrate, calmly

without any remorfe, fuch crimes as

furprife a lefs

knowing fmner

fo

much

as to

Can it then be fafe, to be prefent at the exhibition of fo many vicious charadlers as always muft
appear upon the ftage ? Muft it not, like other exhear of

amples, have a ftrong, though infenfible influence,

and indeed the more ftrong, becaufe unperceived ?


Perhaps fome will fay, This argument draws
very deep, it is a reproaching of Providence, and
which God hath ap-

finding fault with the order

pointed, at leaft permitted, to take place in the

world, where the very fame proportion of wicked


characters
difference

is to be feen.
But is there not a wide
between the permiffion of any thing by a

wife, holy, and juft

God, or

its

making part of the

plan of Providence, and our prefuming to do the

fame thing, without authority, and when


neither reftrain
it

to

it

proper end

its

There

are proper and competent to

are

many

it

is

things

God, which

be the moft atrocious wickednefs in

Becaufe

we

can

within proper bounds, nor dire6V

it

man to
God

both good and juft in

which
would

imitate.
to vifit

us with ficknefs, or to take us away by death

when he

fees

it

proper,

ful in us, to bring

our

own

think,

pleafure

that thefe

would

it

therefore be law-

any of them upon ourfelves


I

at

fhould rather be inclined to

fportive reprefentations

on

-the

ftage, inftead of being warranted by their counter-

part in the world, are a daring profanation, and as


It

were

mockery of divine Providence, and

fo to

be confidered in a light yet more dreadful, than

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


any

95

which they have been hitherto viewed. Beought to be remembered that, though evil

in

(ides,

it

a6lions, as permitted,

make

a part of the will of

God, yet

who

deferve the

hitherto, all

Chriftians have affirmed, that


atSlion is to

as

human

name

finful in

is

of

any

be afcribed to the will of the creature

adequate caufe

its

what

and therefore, exhibiting

upon the

a6tions and chara^ers

flage, is

not only reprefenting the works of God, but repeating the

The

(ins

of men.

criminal and dangerous nature of fuch a

conduct will farther appear from


jufl:

There we

it is

by

forbidden in the

and neceffary confequence

word of God.

that

this,

that

find,

though

in his

fovereign providence he permits the commiffion of

fm, fufFers his

own

fmners in this

people to continue mixed with

and makes

ftate,

connection

tlielr

with them in fome meafure unavoidable, as a part


of their trial, yet he hath exprefsly prohibited them

from having any more communication with fuch,


than he himfelf hath

warned

in Scripture,

made
"

that

We

neceflary.
evil

corrupt

good manners," and therefore, that

muft

fly

the fociety of the ungodly.

tells

us,

"

Blefled

is

the

man

are

communications

The

we

Pfalmifl

that walketh not in

the counfel of the ungodly, nor flandeth in the >vay

of finners, nor fitteth in the feat of the fcornful,"


Pfal.

i.

I.

Agreeably to

this

the characters of

good

men

Thus

the Pfalmill David records his

tion,

"

in

Scripture

I will fet

I hate the

always

reprefented.

own

refolu-

no wicked thing before mine eyes.

work of them

cleave to me.

are

that turn afide,

froward heart

I2

fliall

it fiiall

not

depart from

A SERIOUS INC^JRT INTO

-9^

me,

I will

not

The fame
all

them

know

THE

wicked perfon,"

fays elfe where,

that fear thee,

"I am

Pfal.

ci.

3,4.

a companion of

and of them that keep thy


"Depart from me ye

precepts," Pfal. cxix. 63.

my

keep the commandments of

evil doers, for I will

God.*' ver. 115.

But there

is

no need of

ture to this purpofe

men, though they

citing pafTages of Scrip-

it is

will

well

known,

good

that

be very cautious of raihly

determining charaflers that are doubtful, and will

proud and pharifaical contempt

far lefs difcover a

who may

of any

yet be veflels of mercy, will,

ever, carefully avoid all unneceflary

with

They

finners.

how-

communication

will neither follow their per-

fons from inclination, nor view their conduct with

On

pleafure.

wholly

fly

burden,

from

and

in

the

contrary,

their fociety,

fome

when
it

they cannot

becomes a hezvj

cafes intolerable,

and fo

as ta

require the interpofition of the fame kind Provi-

dence that " delivered


filthy

juft

Lot, vexed with the

converfation of the wicked.**

-Is tliere

any

confiftcncy between fuch a character, and attending

the ftage with delight

Will thofe who " behold

crowd with eagernefs


where the fame perfons and aftions
are brought under review ? Will what afFe6led
them with forrow in the commiflion, be voluntarily
tranfgrefibrs,

and are

grieved,*'

to the theatre,

chofen, and
the repetition
I

made

fubfervient to their pleafure in

cannot help here calling to mind the anxious

concern which wife and pious parents


for their children,

they are

How

ufur.Ily fiiew

on account of the fnares to which


in an evil world.

unavoidably expofed

carefully do they point out,

and

how

folemnly

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE


do they charge them

and

paths in which

fliun the

ufe this caution with refpccl

even as under the government of

to the world,

God

to

They

deftroyers go.

97

STAGE.

in fo doing they follow the

example of

their Saviour,

who,

in the profpet

difciples,

many

excellent advices, puts

after

of leaving his

" And now

up

for

them
more

this interceflbry prayer

and

come to tliee. Holy Father, keep through


own name thofe whom thou haft given me,

in the world,

thine

may

that they

but thefe are

be one as

we

are

pray

am no
world,

the

in

not- tliat

thou (houldeft take them out of the world, but


thou
11.

fliouldeft

15.

keep them from the

that this prayer will bo

are not content with fee-

God, but muft


It will

tliat

xvii.

who

ing the world as

a finful

John

Can any expecl

heard in their behalf,

by

evil,"

man

is

it

fee

it

ordered by a wife and hoi y

oyer again, in a

vile imitat ion

probably be

faid, that tliis flrikes as

much

againfl hiftory, at leaft the writing and reading of hu-

man, commonly called, profane

hiftory, as againft the

writing and feeing of dramatic reprefentations.


the cafes are by no
hiftory

is,

in

means the fame

many

ters,

ried

Were not

difficulty

Perhajis, even as

quence.
for the

little

But

the knowledge ot

refpe^bs, neceff^ry for the great,

purpofes of religion.

would be

this the cafe, there

in admitting the confcit is,

it

had been better

world that feveral ancient (acYs and charac-

which now ftand upon record, had been buin oblivion *.


At any rate it may be fafely af-

* Perhaps some will be surprised


the subject of history,
this b'glit,

Aad

who

at

what

is

herd said

have not usually viewed

it

on
5u

ijidted this is the great difficulty in th#

13

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

98

THE

firmed, that romances and fabulous narrations are

from which the world


and as much hurt, as

a fpecies of compofitlon,

hath received as

benefit,

little

any that can be named, excepting plays themfelves,


to

which they

The

are fo nearly allied.

only exceeded by the

laft,

doing mifchief, by the

and the prefence

at

fir ft

are

as to their capacity

of

circumftances of aiion,

once of

fo

many

perfons,

among

whole of the present argument, to overcome gtrong prepossessions, and to shev/ men the sin and danger of a praotice which they know to be common, and have been long
accustomed to look upon as lawfnl and safe. For this reason,

it is

probable, that the best

way of

proving that the


is agieeable to

above assertion on the subject of history,

by

Scripture and reason, will be

a case perfectly similar

bat more frequently handled.

Do

who

treat

ters,

without exception,

the tongue, lay down this as a


report the sins of others though
the facts, unless where

Now why

it

is

not

all

Christian wri-

of the government of

rule, that

we -know

we

are not to

the truth of

necessary to some good end

should there be any different rule in writing,

What is done either w^y, is the


?
same in substance, viz. communicating information ; and
v/riting, wliichmay be called visible speech, is much moi

than in conversation

lasting in

How

or

its

why

nature and extensive in

its effects.

the knowledge of history

purposes of religion ?

answer

it is

is

If an^' ask.

necessary to the

necessary for proving the

truths of natural and confirming those of revealed religion

for repelling the attacks of adversaries, and giving us such a

view of the plan of providence,

as

may

excite us to the ex-

ercise of the duties of adoration, thankfulness, trust,

and

submission to the supreme Disposer of all events. Real facts

only are proper for this purpose, and not feigned stories,
in the choice and dressing of which, experience teaches
us, the great

may

end

be glorified.

is,

that

man

be pleased, and not that

God

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.

whom

by mutual fympathy, the

^i^

fpiritual poifon

fpreads fafter and penetrates deeper.

Left

{hould be pretended that fuch a turn

it

Is

given to things in the reprefentation, as that, though


the greateft part of the actions reprefented are

themfelves, yet vice

is

tue fet upon a throne, rewarded and honoured


it

be called to mind

the author

rules he

is

He

pleafes.

is

them

is

lefs

let

has been {hewn above,

that, as

left

muft

in

at liberty to

do

in this as

gratif)^ the public tafte,

he

and the

obliged to obferve, have rather the con-

For he muft

trary eiFe<^.

of what

not

ill

reproached or ridiculed, vir-

diveft his

bad characters

moft horrid and {hocking, and prefent

deformed than they

though he may conceal

really are.

Befides,

he muft not

a part,

nature fo far as he goes, but take

Accordingly fome of our modern

it

alter

he {inds

as

it.

critics tell us, that

there ought to be no particular moral in a dramatic

performance, becaufe that

and
It

is

a departure

from nature,

fo not in tafte.

ought not to be forgotten, that attending dra-

matic reprefentations
rality of

is

not only feeing a great plu-

bad characters without

necelTity,

and feeing

them with patience, but it is feeing them with pleafure.


Whether or not entertainment be yielded
to be the only or ultimate efFet of plays, furely

it

cannot be denied to be one efFeCt fought and expected from them, and from every part of them.

An

aCtor

is

much

applauded, and gives as

pleafure to the fpeCtators,

when he

much

reprefents a

bad character

to the life, as a good.


Is there no
danger then, that a heart foftened by delight, ftiould

be more

liable to infeClion

from

evil

than at other

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO THE

100
times

no danger that an ailbciation fhould


the mind, between the fenfe of pleafure

Is there

be formed

in

and the commiffion of fm

Will any perfon affirm,

that in fuch circumftances he feels that holy indigna-

which every Chriftian ought to conupon feeing it committed? or, that he is able to
preferve that awe and fear, which he ought to have
of the juft judgment of God, when he fees the
tion againft fin

ceive

crimes that merit

micked

So

it

boldly re-aled, and finely mi-

in a perfonated characSler ?

far

is

this

from being the

c'afe,

that every per-

fon attending the reprefentation of a play, enters in

fome meafure himfelf,


the

fpirit

as well as the al:ors, into

of each charadler, and the more fo the

better the alion

is

performed.

His attention

is

ftrongly fixed, his afFedtions are feized and carried

away, and a

total forgetfulnefs

place, except

what

is

of every thing lakes

immediately before him.

Can,

the various paffions be fo ftrongly excited as they


are fometimes

known

and no

to be,

effedl

Will not the paffion of love, for example,


has been ftrongly

felt

remain?
after it

by the

fpe):ator in

fympathy

little

more ready

to recur,

with the adlor, be a

efpecially as nature prompts,

and various fohcitin^

objects are daily prefented to his eye

The author

terminates his plot as he fees* beft, and draws what


conclufions he thinks proper from his charalers

but he has no reafon to think that he can controul


the paflions which he raifes in the fpetators in the

fame manner,, and not

bounds of

fuffer

his defcription.

them

to exceed the

Will not the pallion of

revenge, that right hand of falfe greatnefs of mint^,


after

it

has been ftrongly excited in the theatre, be

KATURE AND EFrECTS OF THE SATGE.


upon every

apt to rife again


tion

Some

real or

fuppofed provoca-

learned obfervers of nature

we

every paflion

new

feel caufes a

the blood and fpirits;

there

if

is

101

tell us,

that

modification of

any truth in

this,

then every pafTion excited in the theatre takes poffefhon for a time of the very animal frame, makes
a feat to

itfelf,

and prepares for a fpeedy return.

Having thus endeavoured

to (hew, that the ftage,

whether amufement or inllruflion be aimed

at in

cannot be attended by any Chriftlan without


there

is

argument

a third general

merits confideration.

It is, that

againfl: it,

fins

to be attended to, as

it

ftage,

This

of others.

is

which

no perfon can con^

encouragement of the

tribute to the

being partaker of the

it,

fin j

without
is

proper

againft a public theatre

that the arguments in this efiay are chiefly levelled


fo that, if

ing

it,

is

it

be criminal

at all, every perfon attend-

not only faulty by his

duct, but

is

own

proper con-

farther chargeable with the guilt of

feducing others.

Befides, without this the arga-

ment, to fome, would not be altogether complete,


for after all that has

few,

who

been advanced, there may be a

good meafure yield

in a

it

to be true,

and

They

ac-

yet have another fubterfuge remaining.

knowledge, perhaps, that

amufement,
preferred

to

it

is

a moft hazardous

which others ought

That the bulk of plays

ordinarily to

will,

be

much more

probably, pollute than improve the far greateft part


of thofe

who

attend them.

Yet

ftili

they are apt

to figure to themfelvcs particular cafes as exceptions

from the general


Jome plays

rule,

and to fuppofe, there are

which may be attended, or

there -iXQ/ome perfons,

who

have fo

at leaft, that

much

clearnefs

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO THE

102

of judgment, and fo
to feparate the corn

much

conflancy in virtue, as

from the

At

chafF.

a particu-

they fuppofe, a perfon of this kind may,

lar time,

without receiving any hurt, be improved by the fine


fentiments contained in plays

and

alfo learn

fome-

thing to be applied to other purpofes, of that force

and juftnefs of action, that grace and beauty of behaviour,


tion as

which

on the

Upon

is

no where feen

in fo great perfec-

ftage.

it may be affirmed,
who have this confidence in the ftrength
of their own virtue, are far from being the perfons
who may be mofl fafely trufted in a place of dan-

this fubje6i: in general,

that thofe

On

ger.

the contrary, thofe will probably be moll

when expofed

truly ftedfaft,

are

mod

to temptation,

who

and do not wan-

diffident of themfelves,

Yet, fince fome may take entonly run into it.


couragement from fuch apprehenfions, it is proper
to obferve that,

pretence, yet

them

though there were truth

would

it

in

their

not therefore be lawful for

to attend the theatre.

without contributing to the

They could not do


fins

fo

of others, a thing

exprefsly prohibited in the holy Scriptures, and in-

deed diametrically oppofite to the two principal


branches of true religion, concern for the glory of

God, and compaffion to the fouls of men.


There are two ways in which the occafional
tending of plays, by thofe
ter,

even fuppofing

it

who

are of

at-

good charac-

not hurtful to themfelves,

contributes to the fins of others,

(i.)

By

fupport-

ing the players in that unchrifl:ian occupation.

(2.)

Encouraging, by their example, thofe to attend

all

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


plays indifcrimlnately,

who

are

I03

molt danger of

in

infection.
FirJ}^ It contributes to

fupport the players in an

After what has been (;ud

unchriftian occupation.

above, and which

now

take for granted, on

the

impropriety of plays as an amufement, and the im-

of furnlfhing a (tage with nothing but

poflibllity

found and wholefome productions,

doubt can

little

remain, that the occupation of players

Is

occafional prefence

may be

fome

to

Inconfif-

Whatever

tcnt with the character of a Chriftian.

fpeClators, con-

tinual performing can never be lawful to the aClors.

On
al

the very

befl:

.fuppofition,

amufement, which

and

religion.

It

is

it is

life

of perpetu-

equally contrary to reafon

is

mean

proflitution of the ra-

powers, to have no higher end in view, than

tional

contributing to the pleafure and entertainment of

the idle part

of mankind, and inftead of taking

amufement with the moderation of a Chriftian, to


make it the very bufinefs and employment of life.

How

ftrange a chara6ler does

live,

in

much
ter

it

make

a manner, perpetually in

for one to

malk, to be

oftener in a perfonated than in a real charac-

And

yet this

is

the cafe with

all

players, if to

the time fpent in the reprefentation, you add

which

is

neceffary to prepare

pearances;
be,

What

which are fuch

bcfides their

own

foul polluted

that

their public ap-

minds muft thofe

a receptacle of foreign vanities,

natural corruption, and

fyftem or plan of folly

way

for

is

where one

obliterated only to

make

for another!

But the Hfe of players is not only idle and vain,


and therefore inconfiflent with the charadler of a

THE

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

104

Chrifllan, but

We

minal.

more

it is ftill

directly

and grofsly

cri-

have feen above, that not only from

the tafte of the audience, the prevailing tendency

of

all

fuccefsful plays

mull be bad, but that

in the

very nature of the thing, the greateft part of the


What then
charadlers reprefented muft be vicious.
is

the

of a player

life

It is

wholly fpent in endea-

vouring to exprefs the language, and exhibit a per-

men. For

fect picture of the paflions of vicious

purpofe they muft ftrive to enter into the

Un-

feel the fentiments proper to fuch characters.


lefs

this

and

fpirit,

they do fo, the performance will be quite faint

and weak,

if

And

not faulty and wholly unnatural.

an they do this fo frequently without retaining much


of the impreffion, and at laft becoming what in truth
they are fo often in appearance ? Do not the charac-

men

ters of all

and way of

who

infeled,

employment
more muft theirs be

take a tinlure from their

How much

life ?

are converfant, not in outward occu-

pations, but in characters themfelves, the ad^ions,


paflions

and affeClions of men

If their

perform-

ance touch the audience fo fenfibly, and produce in

how much more muft

them

fo lafting

fame

efFeCts take place in themfelves,

time

is

This

an

effeCl,

fpent in this
is

fo certain,

manner
and

at the

ledged a truth, that even thofe


theatrical

fame time

who

fo

acknow-

are fondeft of

amufements, do yet notwithftanding efteem

the employment of players a


feffion.

the

whofe whole

mean and

fordid pro-

Their character has been infamous

in all

ages, juft a living copy of that vanity, obfcenity,

impiety which
they reprefent.

is

and

to

be found in the pieces which

As

the world has been polluted by

THE STAGE.

NATURfe AND EFFECTS OF

the ftage, fo they have always been


ly (oj as

it is

it is

more eminent-

natural to fuppofe, being the very cii-

terns in W^hich this pollution

which

diilributed to others.

It

makes no

we muft

ference in the argument, that

from

collected, and

is

dif-

here fuppofe

the ftage to be regulated and improved; for as

hath been fliewn, that


as to

be

never can be

it

fafe for the fpe6bators,

it

muft be always

worfe for the alors, between

whom

ence the fame proportion will

ftill

and the audi-

remain.

then be lawful in any to contribute, in the


gree, to fupport
Is

men

in this

it

regulated

fo

Can
leaft

it

de-

unhallowed employment?

not the theatre truly and eflentially, what has

been often called rhetorically, the fchool of impiety,

where

And

their very

it is

will a Chriftian,

bufmefs to learn wickednefs

God,

to himfelf, join in this confederacy againft

and

feminary

endowing and upholding the dreadful

in

affift

Men

Secondly^

of good character going occafion-

ally to the theatre, contribute to the fins

by emboldening thofe
nately,

who

all,

whom

number, to

the ftage

apoftle Paul cxprefsly

is

them would make

to fay,

heed,

left

come

For

if

would

lead

noxious and

bound

is

commands

thians to abftain from lawful

is

If

efpecially if there be a great

every one without exception

ufing

of others,

to attend all plays indifcrimi-

are in moft danger of infection.

there be any at

The

upon any pretended advantage

things,

finfu?,

to abftain.

the Corin-

when

their

their brother to offend, that

him

by any means

into

fin.

this liberty

<

But take

of yours be-

ftumbling-block to them that are weak*

any

man

Vol. VI.

fee thee

which

haft knowledge,

fit

I06
at

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

ment

the idols temple,

in

THE
not the con-

fliall

him that is weak, be emboldened


things which are offered to idols ?

fcience of

thofe

through thy knowledge

to eat

And

weak brother perifh, for whom Chrift died.


But when ye fin fo
againfl the brethren, and wound their weak confcience, ye fin againil Chrift.
Wherefore if meat
make my brother to offend, T will eat no flefh
while the world ftandeth, left I make my brother
to offend,"

Cor.

viii.

the

fhall

13.

There are many who feem

to

have entirely forgot

be found

word of

that this

precept

God, and

difcover not the leaft fenfe of their obli-

to

is

gation to comply with

it.

If

in the

by any plaufible pre-

tences they imagine they can vindicate their condul

with regard to themfelves, or


they

cufes,

are

which they do

palliate

unmindful of

quite

to others.

it

with ex-

the

injury

fpeak not here of of-

fending, in the fenfe in which that

monly, though unjuftly taken,

word

is

Such

jis

who

attend the theatre, becaufe they efteem

be

are difpleafed

with the condu6b of thofe


it

to

not thereby offended in the Scripture

finful, are

fenfe of the word, except fo far as

them

com-

as difpleafing others.

fome few of

are provoked to unchriftian refentment, or in-

duced

to

draw

rafli

and general conclufions, from

the indifcretion of particular perfons, to the preju-

But

dice of whole orders of men.


are truly offended, or

made

vaft multitudes

to offend, as they are

led into a pracSbice, which, whatever

who

fet the

them.

Is

it

example,

is

it

be to thofe

undoubtedly pernicious to

poffible to deny, that

regulation of the theatre that

under the beft

can reafonably be

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


hoped

numbers

to great

for,

efpecially as

it is

enticing to

I07

muft be hurtful,

it

And,

all ?

be

that

if

but allowed, perfons of character and reputation


cannot attend without contributing to the mifchicf
that

done.

is

Perhnps

it

will be objected to this application of

the paflage of fcripture cited above, that the particular danger there pointed out by the apoille,

inducing

men

upon a

to venture

doubting confcience.

think

highly probable,

it

that this very precife cafe happens with

go

to the theatre following the

They
ftill

are not entirely fatisfied of

is

practice with a

many, who

example of others.
lawfulnefs, they

its

have fome inward relutance of mind, but ad-

venture to gratify a carnal inclination, being

em-

boldened by the example of thofe who^ are efteemed

men

their impHcit ttuft

them,

and

is

fo ftrong as fully to fatisfy

minds

fet their

argument holds with equal


are unavoidably led into

This

will probably

law, and

it

at eafe,

fin.

be looked upon as a very hard

will be aiked. Is a

mifinterpreted,

if

The

man then never

or abufed by others to their

that

it is

nature,

own

we

confined to things indif-

are under no obligation to pay

to the opinion of others,

quences of our condudb upon them.


originally- indifferent,

precifely

to

be

In duties binding of their

ferent in their nature.

any regard

to believe will

hardnefs of the law will wholly vanilh,

we remember,

own

the apofl;le*s

force, if thereby they

do any thing that he has reafon


hurt?

But even where

of underflanding and worth.

which become

on account of

or the confe-

But

in things

duties,

or not,

their confequences,

K2

there

I08

we are to beware
The fcripture rule
though

of making our brother to olFend.


is this,

it

were

we

ence,

by infnaring

any prefent

it

from

endanger the falvation of one

And
law

this equitable

can a real beliethe leaft rifing

objelion,
?

Shall

gratification equally, nay, fhalf

in the balance

immortal foul

with the

Now, who

neceflary duty

fpiritual intereft of

fee

table to every

it

and yet

it

or that

is,

this is the cafe, it

apoftolic rule.

The

morality of Stage-

This author convinces

that I have v/ithout fufficient

ground fuppofed,

nobody would affirm attending plays

that

neceffary duty
fo very near

it,

has either done

for he

it,

to be a

or gone

that probably the next author

the fame fide will do


all

him a

to

have met with a pam-

phlet juft publifned, entitled,

plays ferioufly confidered.

that

till

condemned by the

Since writing the above,

me,

is

regulated fo as to be fafe or profi-

mind

evidently ftands

an

defender of the ftage

be fo fanguine as to affirm, that

he hopes to

Or what

we value
we once

will be fo fhamelefs as

to afiert, that attending a public ftage

v/ill

incom-

fins

in matters of indiffer-

into fin.

fmallefl

thought againft

it

But

are not to value the moft beloved enjoy-

fo highly as to

ver have the

put

mult not commit the

to fave multitudes

parably more heinous.

ment

We

under pretence of the moil important end,

leafl fin

foul

THE

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

it in

plain terms, and

above the ftation of tradefmen

upon
allert,

who do

not go

to the play-houfe, are living in the habitual neglet

of

,their

duty, and finning grievoufly againft God.

If this looks ridiculous

fpeak

it

ferioufly

it is

and

it

none of
is

my

fault, for I

much more

natural

natuhe and effects of the stage.


confequence from

drawn from

it

(which

he has

reafoning, than any

.his

himfelf.

is

and

the paiTiigc of the apoille Paul,

Ho <;onriders
fays,

109

true) that

holds only in the cafe of

it

we are to " do good in


The way in which he (hews

indifferent al:ions, but that

the face of prejudice."


it

to

by

be doing good,

much accuftomed
of fcripture

is

pretty fingular, but I pafs

and obferve, that probably he

for a little,

commenting on fuch paflages

to

good indefinitely

is

good

may be exchanged
or better, may be

is

not oppofed to

any Cmilar

indifferent actions in this, or

that

it

not

for even granting his unreafonable fup-

pofition, doing

a<flion

is

in itfelf, is indifferent

for another

put in

its

when one

when

pofed to indifferent alions here, but what

is

is

op-

indif-

penfably neceflary, and abfolutely binding, both in


felf,

and

he

afraid at

is

making

at laft,

it-

indeed, though

he feems to carry the

to fay fo,

firft

matter that length


little

And

in its circumftances.

it

as good,

Nothing

place.

An

cafe.

his conclufion

broader than the premifes, and faying in the

clofe of the

paragraph upon that fubjel, "

What

they do to this purpofe, either in oppofing the bad


or promoting the good,
condu(l: in

it is

any perfon who

But how
xlo6lrine,

is

Ihall

of

is

matter of duty, and

pleafe4 to take offence *."

we

its

way of doing

it,

and

good

than tearing off fome

fetting his
*

own

it is

qf the

adorned and dif-

affertions together ia

Page 23.

K3

mea

cannot think -of a bet-

drapery of words, with which


guifed^

new and wonderful

refute this

being neceffary that

Ihould attend the theatre


ter

their

not to be regulated by the opinion o

no

THE

A SERIOUS IN<^IRY INTO

The manager of every


company,

the form of a fyllogifm.

theatre mufl fuit his entertainments to the

and if he

is

mud

himfelf to the Hcentious and profane."

"

fuit

not fupported by the grave and fober, he


.

We know that in every nation there mud be amufe-

ments and pubHc entertainments, and the ftage has


always made one in every civilized and poliflied na-

We.

tion.

cannot hope to abolifh

According to

this author,

But

to attend the ftage.

from the

\\niiether

a certain truth,

firft

it is

of his propcfitions, which

who

for the Chriftian ear

fit

will never be,

no Chriftian ought

go there.

And what

a iliameful

his fecond propofition,

aboliih it."
iii

is

till

attend the ftage are good,

entertainment cannot be

its

and becaufe that

men

leave the reader to judge,

not more juft to infer, that

the majority of thofe

to

-Ergo,

it.'*

the duty of good

it is

It is

ed.

we may hope

for

infift

Nay, we do hope

other vices.

tell

that

to

v/hat
it

ought to be abolifh-

preach againft

ftill

ver exhort good

men

fuade them to play


the pra6lice.

In

to

fair,

ftiort,

much as
when
or lying; but we

r.\:olifti it

Wc cannot hope

fuch vices, and will ne-

all

go

juft as

to fee the time

there Avail be no gaming, cheating,

muft

is

to

hard to

we

but

this age,

begging of the queftion

" That we cannot hope

to gaming-tables, to per-

and

leflen the

wickednefs of

a full refutation of the

it is

men

extravagant afiertlon of good

being obliged, as

matter of duty, to go to the theatre, that no fuch


thing
fore

is
it

* It

is

commanded
is

not,

in the

word of God, and

and cannot be neceifary

proper here to remark,

]^ose; that

the argument would

how

Ifee

natural

it

to

there-

any

*.

was to sup-

carried this length,

when

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.

And fince it is
it

I I I

evidently pernicious to great numbers,

can be lawful to none.

would give Chriftians a much more jufl, as


more extenfive view of their duty, than
they commonly have,- if they would confider their
It

well as

relation to,

and neceflary influence on one another.

All their vifible al:ions have an

makes fome impreflion on


part unperceived, and
to

form each

among

we

it

upon others

us,

give

though for the moil

contribute every

other's character.

view then does

elTecfb

Every thing v/e fee or hear

as well as themfelves.

What

moment,

a melancholy

us of the ftate^f religion

when piety towards God


been excluded from many moral fyflems, and

has

us at prefent, that

the whole of virtue confined to the duties of focial


life,

the better half of thefe alfo iliould be cut

and

all

derided
fions of

ofF,

regard to the fouls of others forgotten or


?

Nothing indeed

is left

but a few expref-

compliment, a few infignificant

prefent conveniency

for that

offices

of

which fome modern

refiners

have dignified with the name of virtue,

nothing

elfe

is

but poliflied luxury, a flattering of

each other in their vices,

a provocation of

each

other to fenfual indulgence, and that " friendfliip


of the world," which "
I

would now

is

enmity with God."

alk the reader, after perufing the

preceding arguments againfl the ftage, Whether he


convinced that it is inconfment with the charac-

is

the stage came to be pleaded for as useful in promoting the


interests of virtue.
Aiiu therefore 1 have above taken nothat these prophets run unsent, the propriety of
tice,

which remark

will

now

clearly appear,

SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

12

ter of a Chriftian, or not

the negative,

ment

in its

he

If

THE

fhall

anfwer

fome remaining argumethod, which has^


fome
defence, or
he has

if

flill

not occurred to me, to take off the force of the

would next

reafoning, I

at leaft render

it

afk.

Whether

a doubtful point

does not

it

Whether,

join-

ed with the concurrent teftimony of the beft and


wifeft men in all ages againft it, as it appeared

among them, and


ftill

attends

it,

of hefitation
Chriftian,

And,

becomes on

who

is

not at

is

if fo

this very

of his conduct.
fuafion

the impurity and corruption that

there

but allowed,

it

account unlawful to every

word of God

takes the

There

fome ground

leaft

much be

clear evidence

for the rule

and

per-

full

required before an a^ion can be lawful,

and where doubt arifes, we are commanded to ab" Happy is he that condemneth not himfelf
ftain.

which he alloweth and he that doubtdamned, if he eat becaufe he eateth not of

in that thing

eth

is

faith, for

whatfoever

is

not of faith

Rom.,

is fin,"

xiv. 22, 23.

Hitherto

we have

a " well-regulated

reafoned againft what

ftage."

attacking the corruptions

we have endeavoured to
intended by
tafte of

it,

to

is

called

is

to fay, inftead of

which now adhere

make

it

from the prefenr

is

ftate,

itfelf,

not capable of fuch a regulation,

confiftent with the purity of


It.

complain, that part of the above reafoning

and not quite

every reader,

let it

it,

and general

Chriftian profeflion to attend or fupport

ftra6led,

to

fhew, that from the purpofe

mankind, and the nature of the thing

a public theatre
as

That

is

If

thie

any

too ab-

level to the apprehenfion of'

be remembered, that

it is

direct-

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


ed agalnft an idea fo abfl:raled, that
did,

to believe

never can

it

in

it,

it

have feen, there

exift.

It is

13

never yet
is

reafon

indeed altogether

up by every author who dethe manner and form that beft: pleafes

imaginary, and

fends

we

and from what

is

himfelf, fo that

drelTcd

infniitely lefs difficult to refute

it is

or Ihew the unlawfuln(?fs of a well regulated ftage,

than to

know what

If the authors

ftru6live plays with

down

this fubje6t

and give us a

particulars,

lay

it is.

on

lilt

which our

a plan of ftri^l

would enter

ftage

is

to

whom
it

and fliew

the managers are to be chofen, and

their fidelity tried, with

conduct,

be ferved j

difcipline, for introducing

and prefervlng purity among the alors


us by

into

of the ufeful and in-

fome general

rules for their

might foon be determined by plain and

fimple arguments, whether fuch an entertainment

could be fafely permitted to a Chriftian, or not.

But,

when

they give us no farther account of

than by calling

it

it,

a ftage properly regulated, they

involve themfelves at once in obfcurity, as to the

very fubje^l of their difcourfe.


then, that they can

make

It

is

no wonder

a parade with a

few

glit-

tering phrafes, as picture of nature, moral lecture,

amiable character, compaflion for virtue in

diftrefs,

decency of the drama, and feveral others.

We

put to a ftand what to fay to fuch things, for

if

are

we

fpcak of the impure fentiments of authors, or the

wanton

gefticulations

mediately given up, and


tire as ever.

trcatife,

with

all

thefe are im-

yet the fort

remains as en-

of alors,

Therefore, the method taken in this


all

was looked upon

the difadvnntagcs that attend


to

it,

be the beft and the clearcft that

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO THE

114

could be chofen-, to fhew, that thofe from

whom

reformation of the ftage

mud

nor willing to make

that the very materials of

which

naught, and

this fine fyftem is to confift are

therefore, fo

on

it;

come, are neither able

muft the product be always found up-

trial.

may indeed be matter of wonder, that among


many fchemes and proje6ls daily offered to the

It

the

confideration of the public, there has never been

any attempt
flage

way, how the

to point out a plaufible

may be brought

and kept

into,

in fuch a (late

of regulation as to be confiltent with the Chriftian


character.

There have been attempts

money may be

in

how

to fliew

a manner created, and the na-

tional debt paid, or the annual fupplies raifed, with-

Some, who have no-

out burdening the fubje^.

thing of their own, have endeavoured to perfuade


the reft of mankind, that
ginable to

grow

rich

it is

in

the eafieft thing ima-

few

years,

with

little

labour, by the improvement of moor, mofs, or bees.

But none,

fo far as I

have heard or feen, have been

fo bold as to lay

down

provement of the

ftage.

confiderations already

a diftin<3t plan

When this
mentioned,

is
it

for the

im-

added to the
will confirm

every impartial perfon ii the belief, that fuch im-

provement

is

not to be expected.

hope therefore, there may now be fome profpet of fuccefs, in warning every one who wifhes
I

to be efteemed a difciple of Chrift againft the ftage,

hitherto has been, and

as

it

of

all

now

is.

Experience

is

others the fureft teft of the tendency of any

practice.

It is ftill

more

to

be depended on than the

moft plaufible and apparently conclufiye reafgning^

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


upon what hath never vet been

tried.

II5

Let us then

what hath been the fpirit and tendency of


almoft the whole plays which have been reprefented, from time to time, upon the ftage.
Have not
confidcr,

love and intrigue been their perpetual theme, and


that not in a
fiftance

common and

orderly way, but with re-

and impediments, fuch

as rivalfliip

and jea-

loufy, the oppofition of parents, and other things of

a fimilar nature, that the pafTions

may be

excited, and that the force of love, and

over every obflacle,


as a leflbn

Is

may be

fet

its

ftrongly

triumph

before the audience

not the polite well-bred

man

the he-

ro of fuch plays, a character formed upon the

max-

ims of the world, and chiefly fuch of them as are


? Are not unchriftian
honour the charaderiftics of

moll contrary to the gofpel


refentment and

falfe

every fuch perfon

What

the chara\:er of a clergyman

is

taken from the ftage

fuppofed to pofTefs any degree of


is

ability,

the leading part of the charader.

moft

part,

when

is

hypocrify

But for the

aukwardnefs, ignorance, dulnefs, and pe-

dantry, are reprefented as infeparable from

men

of

This

is

not done to correi: thefe

when appearing

in

fome of

that function.
faults

it

If the perfon introduced is

that profeflion,

by

comparing them with others free from fuch reproachful defels, but

clergyman
fingle, and,

in general,

it

who

is

the character of the

commonly

introfiuced

compared with ihe men acquainted

the world, very


is,

is

it

little

to his advantage.

The

wiLi

truth

feems to be a maxim with dramatic authors,

to ftrip

men

of every profcffion of their feveral ex-

cellencies, that the rake

may be adorned with

the

16

fpolls

how

THE

SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

even learning

commonly

is

afcribed to

him

confidently with truth or nature, and confe-

quently with tafte

the reader to de-

I leave

itfelf,

termine.

And where

can the plays be found,

dies, that are free

by

allufion

from impurity,

and double meaning

women who

think, that

How

It is

by

defty, fhould continue to abet,

much

unchaftity, as

come-

amazing to

pretend to decency and re-

whofe brighteft ornament ought

putation,

fo

at leaft

either direftly or

is

found

to be

to

be mo-

their prefence,
in the theatre.

few plays are aled which a modeft woman

can

fee, confidently

And

even

felves,

when

with decency in every part

the plays are

more referved them-

they are fure to be feafoned with fomething

of this kind in the prologue or epilogue, the mufic

between the

which the

al:s,

or in fome fcandalous farce with

diverfion

cuflom and falhion

The power

concluded.

is

is

of

very great, in making people

blind to the moil manifelt qualities and tendencies

There

of things.
the flage,

who

if

are ladies

who

frequently attend

they were but once entertained with

the fame images in a private family, with

they are often prefented there, would

rife

dignation, and reckon their reputation ruined

they fliould return.


thefe things, but

public

bills

which

with inif

ever

no knowledge of

I pretend to

from printed accounts, and the

of what plays are to be

a<Sled,

fometimes

l^ the particular defire of ladies of quality; and yet

may

fafely affirm, that

it is

called in the world)

no

woman
much

of reputation (as

lefs

of piety,

who

has been ten times in a play-houfe. durft repeat in

company

all

that fhe has heard there.

With what

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.

II7

confiflcncy they gravely return to the fame fchools

of lewdnefs, they themfelves beft know.


It

ought to be confidered, particularly with re-

gard to the younger of both fexes, that, in the thea-

minds muft

their

tre,

infcnfibly acquire an inclina-

romance and extravagance, and be unfitted

tion to

the fober and ferious affairs of

mon

or

for

Com-

life.

upon the
There muft

things give no entertainment

little

when

except

flage,

common

they are ridiculed.

always be fomething grand, furprifing and ftriking.


In comedies,

marriage
the

when all

obftacles are removed,

agreed on, the play

is

mind fuch

a turn, that

apt to defpife ordi-

it is

nary bufinefs as mean, or deride

Alk

a merchant,

tices fhould

the itage

go

or,

and the

This gives

done.

is

as

ridiculous.

whether he chufes that

his appren-

to learn exaftn^fs

whether he

it

and frugality from

expedls"" the

moft punctual

payments from thofe whofe generofity


ened there, by weeping

is

ftrengtli-

over virtue in diftrefs

Suppofe a matron coming hoine from the theatre

fill-

ed with the ideas that are there imprefTed upon the


imagination,

how low and

contemptible do

all

the

how much muft

of her family appear, and

affairs

{he be difpofed, (befides the time already confum-

them

ed) to forget or mifguide

The
this.

a6tors themfelves

Mow feldom

does

it

are

of them live fober and regular


debts with honelly, or
difcretion

They

conipofition

manage

are originally

with others,

proof

of

ever, that

any

fjgnal

happeUj

if

lives,

pay

their affairs

men

gives

them

VoL. VI.

with

of the fame

but their employment

whuily incapacitates them for prudence ana


rity,

their

a dilfipation of

mmd an.l

re^^ula-

uiiltayed-

A SERIOUS

l8

NQUIRY INTO THE

nefs of fpirlt, fo that they cannot attend to the affairs

of

Nay,

life.

deprives
a

if I

am

rightly informed, that va-

which they put on

riety of characters

them of common

manner no charaber

at

confidently faid, by thofe

while to make the

trial,

all

who

in thej:heatre,

and leaves them in

fenfe,

of their own.

have thought

than that of his profeflion.

anfwer for

remark, having

this

and never having exchanged

my

that em.ployment in

It

degree of the fame eiFeft

cannot indeed

only by report,

it

word with one of

-a

m.uft

if it

holds,

neceiTarily

wrought upon thofe who attend the ftage.


But folly or bad management is not all that
be laid to the charge of players
univerfally vicious, and of fuch
ters, as

might

make

juftly

Can men

fuch mafters.

harlots

players

And

will

who

defend the

learn piety

under

from the promodefty

fenfua), or

any deny that hired ftage-

and tliat defervedly, borne


Nay, though it could be fuppofed,

have always,

thefe characters

that the fpeCtators received nohurtthemfeives,


is it

to

abandoned charac-

thofe

fane, mortification from the

from

is

be

they are almoft

to fpeak of learning virtue

ftage, aftiamed

more

on any other

However,

life.

is

worth

that nothing can be

infipid than the converfation of a player


.fubje6):

it

pofTible that the

can be attended, or

how

performances of fuch perfons

tkeir trade

encouraged, without

fin ?

This (hews

alfo, that

fuppofing there were

be

vixidicated

ed

for the

attending a good play, even

few unexceptionable, cannot

upon Chrillian principles.

new

theatre, that

it

It is piei.d-

tragedy * lately introduce. into our


i

is

an attempt to reform the


* Douglas,

Itage,

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


and make

it

more innocent or more

this piece

is

in itfelf,

ty
it

ufeful.

Wliat

nobody can fay with

certain-

is

not exceeding favourable.

be ever fp excellent in

it

is

for reforming

it.

author of a truly good piece would rather bury

in oblivion, than lend his

his

let it

altogether infufficient,

method quite improper

is

But

the bringing of one

itfelf,

good play viQon the flage

An

19-

be publilhed, though the account given of

till it

by report

nay,

own

credit,

and that of

work, for the fupport of thofe that are bad.

Chrillian can never

with his character,

made innocent

attend the ftage, confidentlythe fcheme in general be

till

He

or ufeful.

nor contribute to the

fins

mufl not

fin

himfelf,

of others, in a certain de-

gree, becaufe, unlefs he do fo, they will fin without

him

in a higher degree

In

fliort,

fuch an attempt

can be confidered in no other light, than as encouraging a pernicious pra6i:ice, and fupporting a criminal

The

pJlbciation.

better the play

chara6i:ers of thofe

who

attend

is,
it

or the better the


are, the greater

the mifchief, becaufe the ftronger the temptation

who

to others

There
flage,

obferve

it.

one inducement to attendance on the


which hath more influence than all the arguis

ments with which

its

advocates endeavour to colour

it is become a part of faWithout it, young perfons


of rank think they cannot have that knowledge of
the world which is necefTary to their accom-

over the pralice

that

fliionable education.

plifliment

that they will be kept in ruflicity

carriage, or narrownefs of mind, than

thing

is

more contemptible

mankind

of
which no-

in the eyes of the refl of

that they will acquire the charadler of

L2

120

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

THE

ftifFand precife, and be Incapable of joining In po-

converfation, being ignorant of the topics

lite

which

it

No

chiefly turns.

to be feared, are

difficulty

Why

and the pride of


the world."
eft

madnefs

truly,

by faying with the apoflle

flefh,

i6.

il.

we remove

fnall

All that

it, *

and the

lull

to feek the

It is certainly

in the

is

of

the great-

knowledge of the world by

men

Whatever

in their fins.

knowledge cannot otherwife be acquired,


and not honourable.

How

their children with a holy

is

fhame-

cruel then are thofe

who, inftead of endeavouring

parents,

is

this

of the eyes,

not of the Father, but

life, is

John

partaking with bad

ful

parents

and other fafhion-

then

of the

lull

it is

How

John, to fuch as will receive


world, the

many

the reafons that

fuffer their children to attend this

able diverfions.

upon

better than thefe,

to infpire

and manly refolutlon, of

daring to appear fmgular in an adherence to thenduty, fuffer

may

them

be plunged

t(^

not be defel:ive in polltenefs.

world, or any thing

* This

is

plishments,

elfe,

Why

that they
fliould the

be known, but in order

improvement

to our fpiritual

in fni,
.

Therefore,

all

that

not meant to condemn all human accomwhich ^lave not an immediate reference

improvement, but to

to our religioiis

ought to be kept

in

they
and subservi-

affirm, that

a just subordination

There are,
ency, to the great and chief end of man.
no doubt, a great number of arts, both useful and ornamental, v.'hich have other immediate effects, than to

make men holy

and because they

are,

by the

greatest

part of the world, abused to the worst of purposes, they


are considered as having

But this

is

mistake

no connection with reh"gion at r.ll.


gccd man will be directed in

for a

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


is

121-

by the very fuppofitlon, be

truly valuable, muft,

innocently learned, and to bear with a noble difdain

more experienced fmners

the fcofFs of

is

the great-

eft glory.

Like to the above

another argument in favour

is

men muft have amufements, and


is much better than many others,

of the ftage, that


that

the ftage

which would probably be put


faid, tliat

of

all

in

its

place.

It is

the time fpent by the fafliionable part

of the world, at prefent in diverfions, that which

they

moft innocently, or

allot to the ftage is

hurtfully employed.

there 'any

Is

more

in

leaft.
this,

than a declaration of the fhameful luxury and de-

generacy of the prefent age, an alarming tokeh of


approaching judgment? Do not fuch perfons know,
that

ferious

all

Chriftians

condemn every one of

criminal pleafures, and will never allow

thcfe

it

as

any advantage to exchange one of them for another?

But

it is

lefs

ments ufed

furprifmg to hear fuch palliative arguin

converfation

an author above re-

ferred to has been bold enough,, in print, to reafon


in the

fame way.

He

fays^

the choice and application of

and leading purpose of his

all

life.

" That no abufe

such

was--

by the generalr
he who eats for

arts,

And

as

no other or higher end than pleasing his palate, is justly


condemned :\s a mean and groveling sensualist, so, who-*
ever has no farther view in his education and accomplishment, than to shine and make a figure in the fashionable

world does not in that respect act the part of a Christian.


In short, these arts are among the number of indifferent

which should be supremely and ultimately directed


Wlien they are not capable of this,
either immediately or remotely, much more v/hen they,
are contrary to it, they must be condemned.
things,

to the glor}' of God.

laa

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO TrlE

ever admitted on any flage, but might pafs for per-

when compared

fect decency,

been often heard

what may have

to

of, at a gofTipping, a

merry making,

or a meeting of young fellows *."

Again, after

we cannot hope to abolifh the ft age, he


" And if we could, we fhould only make way

telling us that
fays,

for the return of drunkennefs, gaming, and rude

which the more decent converfation and

cabals,

manners of
abolilhed."

who

civilized times
I lay

have in a great manner

hold of this gentleman's reafoning,

pleads for civilizing the world, and not fanc-

tifying

it,

as a

confeiTion pf the weaknefs

caufe, and a confirmation of

duced

all

in this treatife againft the ftage.

meant

to

For,

indeed

He

muft

if

he

fhew, that ftage-plays were agreeable to

the purity of the gofpel, that drunkennefs


(if

of his

the arguments pro-

it

be

fo)

is

could be no evidence of

tJierefore,

if

worfe,

it

at all.

he fpeaks to any purpofe,

plead for the toleration of fmful diverfions, becaufe

thev are incomparatively


if

that

is

lefs finful

than others; and

the cafe, I deteft his principles, and (o

will every Chriftian.

Having mentioned

this author,

perhaps

it

may

be expefted, that I would take fome notice of the


other arguments brought by him in defence of the
itage.

It

is

not eafy either to enumerate or

com-

prehend them, they are thrown together in fuch


confufion, and exprefled in fuch vague and general
terms.
ifland

He

fays,

(page 3.)

"The

people of thi^

are not inferior to thofe of any other age or

Gountry whatever.

This will be a prefumption,

* Morality of Stage Plays seriously considered, p. 19.

NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE STAGE.


that

plays are a poifon,

If

And,

operation."

its

It is

23

but flow in

at leaft

Wc

<<

p. 17.

may

venture to

Whether knowledge, whether induftry, and


commerce have declined in this city, (Edinburgh)
afic,

fmce the play-houfe was

owned,

be.

that

opened here

firft

It

will

they have rather increafed.'*

would venture to afl-c, What fort of an argument


is this, and what follows from it, though both his
aflertions

were allowed

be in many

eafily

ftage, as

which yet may

to be true,

controverted

refpe<Sls

If the

he would infmuate, be the caufe of our

improvement, then

is

we ought

tory, for

his

argument felf-contradic-

to be greatly inferior in purity

to the peoplj of other countries, v/ho have enjoyed

the reforming ftage


to his fuppofition.

much
The

longer, which
truth

is,

is

contrary

the ftage

the caufe, but the confequence of wealth

not

is

and

it is

neither the

caufe nor confequence of goodnefs or

knowledge,

except fo far as

certainly

it

implies

more knowledge than uncultivated favages pofTefs,


and is only to be found in what this author calls
nations.

civilized

name

feveral vices

prevail

in

Should

places
at

How

eafy were

unknown
of

tafte

it

me

for

to barbarians,

to

which

and polilhed manners.

the fame time infmuate,

tliat

thefe

vices have contributed to improve us in

and

tafte,

it

here ufed

in

ing of both

of

would be

juft

knowledge
fuch an argument as is

favour of the ftage, and the plain meanis,

the abufe of knowledge

is

the caufe

it.

It

were worth while

provements

in

to confider a little

knowledge

in

this

often the boaft of not the moft

our im-

age, whicli are

knowing

writers.

may

Perhaps

it

"world a

good deal of knowledge of

but

plain

it is

deceflbrs,

be allowed, that there

we owe

it

v/e

know

therefore,

It

is

mod

it is

to the eafy pofTef-

the worth nor the ufe of

away, in the

idly

purfuits.

in the

no better than

it

They

wealth of their father's getting.

fion of

now

different kinds,

And

may improve
many young men do, who come

it

is

to the labours of our pre-

and not our own.

to be feared,

ther

THE

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO

421

it,

nei-

but fquander

unprofitable or hurtful

doubtlefs, an eafy thing at prefent,

to acquire a fuperficial knowledge,

from magazines,

reviews, dictionaries, and other helps to the llothful fludent.

He

now

is

able, at a very fmall ex-

pence, to join the beau and the fcholar, and triumphs


in the tafte of this enlightened age, of

hath the comfort to

But

a part.

for

reileCl:,

our mortification,

let

that as feveral writers have obferved,

never continue long

which he

makes

that he himfelf

us recolle61:,

human things
is commonly

There

at a fland.

a revolution of knowledge and learning, as of riches,

and power.

For as

induftry, wealth, and

ftates

grow

power;

ceed to luxury and vice

fo,

up-

ner, with refpe61: to learning,

rance to application
;

from a

',

to

and by them are brought

back to poverty and fubje6tion.

ledge

from poverty

from thefe they proIn the fame

men

rife

from application

this ripens into tafte

man-

from igno-

know-

to

and judgment

then,

defire of diftinguifhing themfelves, they fu-

peradd afFeCled ornaments, become more fanciful


than

folid

and they

fall

their tafte corrupts

with their manners,

back into the gulph of ignorance.

The

commonly

corre-

feveral fteps of thcfe gradations

fpond

and

if

we

defire to knovi^ in

what period of

THE STAGE.

NATtJRE AND EFFECTS OF


each,

we

of this nation arc at prefent,

WG

the eve at leaft of

a falfe

very elegant writer exprefles


faft into

firft,

fear,

it,

in

as a late

that

We

**

and

tafte as to

and frothy

and may therefore

learning;

25

probable,

it is

are in the age of luxury, as to the

fhall relapfe

barbarifm."

Another argument produced by

this

author

is,

that the apoftle Paul, in preaching at Athens, quotes

from one of the Greek poets

a fentence

facred text a line from a


fubfifts.-^" This

Greek

(he fays)

play,

irt

which now

fuh'icient to

is

and,

inferted into the

has

writing to the Corinthians,

connect

the defence of plays with the honour of fcripture

The

itfeif."

facl

is

not denied, though he has given

but a poor fpecimen of the knowledge of

by mittaking,

in the firll of thefe

remarks, the ex-

by the apoRle

for this fentence,

preliion quoted

"

In

him we

which, he

age,

this

live,

fays,

and move, and have our being,"

is

from the poet, but the following,


his offspring."

-*

was not

cited

For we are

But fuppofing he had

(as

he

it ?

could

poet

thina: that

If

it

write,

was true

fpired writer

mouths

Did ever any body


or
?

fol-

affirm, that

And what

is

to hinder an in-

concern has

this

their

own

with the ftage

implies any defence of the flage in general,

muft imply

no

no player could fpeak any

from judging them out of

What

alfo

eafily

mightj have hit upon the true citation, what

lows from

and

a very fublime exprellion,

beautifully applied by the apollle,

it

ftronger defence of the particular

play and poem, from which the citations are taken.

Now,

dare fay, neither this author, nor any other

will alTert, that thef^ arc in all refpe6ls agreeable to

A SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO TFIE

126
the

Thefe

Chriftlan chara6ler.

other

way connel

do no

citntions

the defence of the ftage with

the honour of fcriptiire, than a mlnifter's citing


in writing, or difcourfe, a paiTage

from Horace or

Juvenal, would connect the defence of


fcenity that

is

to

be found in the

reft

the ob-

all

of their works,

with the honour of preaching.

The
in the

only thing further in this elTay not obviated

preceding difcourfe,

fubjeb of the poor.

on the

what he

at laft

fuft'er

on the

laid out

no

by

it,

is

for

it

paid

Every player muft be

maintained, clothed, and lodged."

my

lofs

into the hands of the poor, and

as the price of their labour.

with

fays

expence

tlie

ftage does irot hinder the charitable fupply

of the poor, and that they

comes

is

" That

It

does not fuit

prefent purpofe to enter into controverfial

altercation, or to treat this author

with that feverity

he deferves ; and therefore I ftiall only fay, that his


reafoning upon this fubjel is the very fame from
which Doftor Mandeville draws this abfurd and
hated confequence, " Private vices are public benefits."

The

truth

is,

a ferious perfon can fcarce have a

flronger evidence of the immorality of the ftage,

than the

perufal of thefe

which have been

little

pieces

of

fatire,

publiftied, in fo great a variety,

againft the prefbytery of Edinburgh, within thefe

few weeks, becaufe of their public admonition


againft it.
They offer no other defence, but deriding the preaching of the gofpel, blafphemoufly com-

paring the pulpit with the ftage, and recrimination

upon fome who

are fuppofed to live inconfiftently

with their character.

It

is

not worth while to

NATURE AND EFFECTS

THE STAGE.

OF

127

fpend three words in determining whether drunken-

and hypocrily are worfe than the Itage

nefs, deceit,

or not

but

if

that

can be offered in
attend

its

That

old faying,
If this
it

fupport,

to

all

There

known by

is

thofe

who

tragedy has indeed

in its advocates.

man

his

is

an

company.

be true alfo of a play, which one would


fliould, as

it

muft be

congenial minds, by thofe

defence

wo

The new reformed

it.

been very unlucky

think

the ftrongeft argument that

is

of Douglas,

it

is

chiefly to the tafte of

who have
a

appeared in

work of very

little

merit.

may be

It

expelled, that, having brought this

field, I fliould add fome further


upon the aggravated fm of Minifters
writing plays, or attending the ftage.
But though

performance on the
reflections,

a very plain point,

it is
it

would draw out

length.

any

If

and indeed, becaufe

this treatife

man makes

to an

it is

fo,

immoderate

a queftion of this,

he

muft be wholly ignorant of the nature and importance of the minifterial character and
therefore,

and

it

would

to cojifider the

be neceflary to

office.

open

Thefe,

diftintlly,

folemn charge given to minifters

watch over the fouls of their people


" who muft give an account unto God,"

in fcripture, to
as thofe

to give themfeives

wholly to their duty, fince fome

of thofe committed to them are from day to day,

entering on an unchangeable

when they
hand

die unconverted,

ftate,

fliall

whofe blood,

be required

at the

None can entertain


fubjecSt, who believe the

of the unfaithful paftor.

the leafl doubt upon this

teftimony of Mofes and the prophets, of Chrift and

A SEP.IOUS INQUIRY INTO THE, 6cC,

128

his apoftles, and, if they believe not their writings,

my

neither will they believe

words.

Inftead therefore of endeavouring to prove,

make bold

to afErm, that writing plays

ployment wholly foreign

to the office,

is

I will

an em-

and attending

theatrical reprefentations an entertainment unbe-

coming the charafter of a minifter of Chrift And


muft not both, or either of them, be a facrilegious
abftra61:ion of that time and pains, which ought to
:

have been
it

laid

out for the benefit of his people

not alfo flying in the face of a clear and late

Is
aiSt

of parliament, agreeably to which the Lords of

Council and Seffion not long ago found the ftage


contrary to law in this country

law

And though

the

eluded, and the penalty evaded, by adverti-

is

fing a concert, after

a tragedy,

&c

which

will be performed, gratis,

yet furely, the

world

in

judging

of ch.iraters, or a church court in judging of the

conduct of

its

members,

will

poor and fhameful evafion.


this

audacious

attempt

at

pay no regard to the

Can we then
the

prefent

witliout applying to ourfelves the


**

And

in that

to weeping,

day did the Lord

nefs,

flaying

oxen and

and drinking wine

morrow we
ears

die.

by the Lord of

let

And

of hofts,"

Ifa. xxii.

Ifaiah,

of hofls call

to baldnefs,

and

and behold joy and glad-

killing

Iheep, eating flefh

us eat and drink, for toit

was revealed

hofts, Surely

not be purged from you

words of

God

and to mourning, and

to girding with fackcloth,

think of

juncture,

till

you

12, 13, 14.

in

mine

this iniquity fliall

die, faith the

Lord

LETTER
RESPECTING

PLAT^ACTORS,
Sir,

HERE
the

appeared in the national Gazette of

of

March

laft,

a paflage faid

to

be

taken from a French publication, which no doubt


the editor of the Gazette thought worthy of the
public eye.

It

was

to the

following purpofe:

muft appear very furprifing that even down


expiration of the French

It

to the

Monarchy, there was a

character of difgrace affixed to the profeffion of a


player,

efpecially

when compared

to the kindred

profeflions of a preacher or pleader,

although the

much

talents neceflary to thefe occupations are as

inferior to thofe of a

good comedian,

as the talents

of a drug- pounding apothecary to thofe of a regular


bred phyfician and that it is hoped that the reco,

very of the charaler due to theatrical merit, will


contribute not a little to the improvement of future

manners.
I

have long expel:ed to fee fome remarks pubon this fmgular fentiment, but, either no-

lifhed

body has thought

it

worthy of

the flrllures have not fallen in


as this fubje6l

is

their attention, or

my way

therefore

not one of thofe that lofe their im-

portance or propriety by a fhort lapfe of time

Vol. VI.

nnrl

LETTER RESPECTING PLAT-ACTORS.^

73

on the contrary, the prefent controverfy in Phlladephia, on the application to the legiflature againft
as,

the ftage, feems to render


I

pecuUarly feafonable,

it

beg the favour of you to

the following

publifli

obfervations.

The

author of the paragraph publifhed by

warm

Freneau, though a

vouches for

me

as to the fal that there has

many
Though he had
profefllon.

firmed

the fab

it,

is

been a

ages, imprefled

charaler of difgrace for


the theatrical

Mr

advocate for the theatre,

upon

not af-

undoubtedly certain, that the

theatrical profefllon has

had a difgrace

from the earliefl times, and in


where theatres have been in ufe.

affixed to

it

the countries

all

Public alors on the ftage were counted Infamous

by the Roman law, they were excommunicated by


the church from the time of the introduction of
Chriftianity into the

Roman

time mentioned by the author

empire, even to the


-of the

above para-

graph, the expiration of the French Monarchy.


If this

porary,

had been only

it

occafional, local,

and tem-

might have been confidered as owing to

fome of thofe

accidental, but tranfient caufes,

fometimes produce remarkable


time, and theft wholly ceafe.

which

efFets for a little

But

fo uniform and
muft have fome adequate and
permanent caufe or caufes to produce it which Is

fo general

an

effect

to be the*fubjet of the prefent inquiry.


I

have only to add as to the fa6t, that even the

prefent living, warmeft and moft zealous advocates


for the ftage have not
preffion

from

their

been able to

own

exift in Philadelphia, or

minds.

any where

efface this

im-

There does not


elfe,

any perfon

LETTER RESPECTING PLAY-ACTORS.


f rank or character,

131

be pleafed with an

who would

with the ftage, either by their fon's maran aftrefs, or by their daughters being
with
riage
alliance

married to adtors.
Before entering into the principal part of the fub]eCt, it will be neceflary that the reader ftioUld give

The

particular attention to the following remark.

infamy which

has attended the profclTion of players

belongs wholly to the profeflion

itfelf,

the perfons, or rather circumftances by

may be

when

Players

diftinguifhed.

and not to

which they

they are feen

ftage, are drefled in the fincft habits, afliime

on the

the manners,- and fpeak the language of kings and

queens, princes and princefles, heroes and heroines,

which

is

from thofe

a very different fituation

who

belong to what are fometimes called the lower clafles


of

life.

Thofe who follow the mechanic

fometimes confidered as in a
it is

wholly owing not to their profeflion, but to

want of education of

the poverty and


rity

arts are

of difgrace, but

ftate

of th'em.

The

profeflion

and neceflary. Let

ufeful,

me

is

a great majo-

lawful, laudable,

fuppofe a blackfmith,

a weaver, a flioemaker, a carpenter, or i^ny other

of the machanic profeflions, and fuppofe that, by


a6livity

and induftry he becomes wealthy, and

ftead of a work-fhop, fcts

comes

rich early

enough

a good education and a

who

is

the perfon,

up

if

handfome fortune,

be afliamed of his connection

in-

he be-

GaiTick,

tell

me

refufe his alliance or

whom

their profelhon, as Molierc

ron in France,

in life, to give his children

who would

wife as to players, with

a factory

Is

it

not quite other-

though eminent in

and Madamoifelle Clai-

Mrs Siddons, and Mrs


2

LETTER RESPECTING PLAY-ACTORS.

132

Bellamy

in

England,

believe there

example of any perfon of decent

hardly any

is

ftation, or of

mid-

dling fortune who would be ambitious of fuch a family

connection.

may be

Therefore, I repeat

it,

and

defire it

kept in view in the whole of this reafoning,

ihat the difgrace imprefled

upon the character of

players belongs to the profeffion, and not to the

Nay, though according

perfon.

to the old faying,

exceptio

firmat regulatn, there fhould be an inflance

or

picked up in diftant ages, in which fupcr-

tVv'o

merit,

lative

overcame the general prepofleflion,

fuch a Rofcius in Rome, Moliere in France, and


Shakefpeare in England,

this

would not hinder the

certainty or importance of the remark in general, of

the opprobrium that follows the profeffion.

proceed to the reafons on which the fal


Firft,

is

now

founded,

All powers and talents whatever, though ex-

cellent in themfelves,

when

fmgle purpofe of anfwering

they are applied to the


tlie

idle,

vain, or vi-

become contemptible.
upon
record
among the fayings of bold
There is not
men, one more remarkable than that of Sobrius
the tribt^^ie, to Nero tlie Roman Emperor ; when
alked by the emperor, why he who was one of his
perfonal guards, had confpired againft him ? He anfvv^ered, I loved you as much as any man, as long
cious part of fociety,

as you deferved to be loved, but I began to hate you,


when, after the murder of your wife and mother,

you become a charioteer, a comedian and a buffoon.


I

am

fenfible, that in this reafoning, I confider thea-

tricalpieces, properly fpeaking, as intended


.

ment.

am

foramufe-

not however ignorantj that fome have

LETTER RESPECTING PLAY-ACTORS.


dignified

them with the character of

33

fchools or Icf-

fons of morahty.

But

as they

dill called

have been generally called, and are

by the writers

muft perceive, that


and

am

feems to

me

ferve, that

was

this

will be their capital

and

confident every body


their original purpofc,

their principal effect.

of confequence in

what

is

News-

in the, Pliiladelphia

papers, arntifementSy fo I

argument

this

to

It

ol-

true of thea trical exhibitions

true of every other efFe^l of

human

is

genius or art

when

applied to the purpofes of

amufement and

folly,

they become contemptible.

Of

accomplifliments, there

many

is

all

external

none that has been for

ages held in greater efteem than good horfe-

manfliip.

It

has been faid, that the

human form newhen a hand-

ver appears with greater dignity, than

fome man appears on horfeback, with proper and


Yet
elegant management of that noble creature.

when men employ


fical feats,
tit

whim-

themfelves in fingular and

(landing in (lead of riding upon a horfe

full gallop,

or upon two horfes at once, or other

amufe the vain,

feats of the like nature, in order to

and gather money from the

foolifh,

And

appears contemptible.

it

immediately

my own

for

part, I

would no more hold communication with a mafter of


And I
the circus than a manager of the theatre.
Ihould be forry to be thought to have any intimacy

with either the one or the other.

The

general obfervation which

human

have made, ap-

of every kind and

clafs.

^lufic has always been efteemed one of the

finell

plies to all

arts,

arts

and was originally ufed

and the praife of heroes.

in the worfliip of

Yet when

Ms

niufjc

God,

is

ap.

LETTER RESPECTING PLAY-ACTORS.

IJ4

amufement only,

plied to the purpofes of

And

wholly contemptible.

I believe,

it

becomes

the public per-

formers, from the men-fingers and women-fingers

of Solomon, to the fingers in the prefent theatres,


are confidered as in a difgraceful calling.

py

my

am

hap-

have even Lord Chefterfield on politenefs, for

to

afiiftarft

in this caufe

for

though he acknow-

ledges mufic to be one of the fine arts, yet he thinks


to be too great a connoiiTeur,

dling and playing,

is

and to be always

fid-

not confident with the charac-

ter of a gentleman.

As

In the fecond place,

players have been general-

employment

ly perfons of loofe morals, fo their

redlly leads to the corruption of the heart.

allowed principle, among

critics,

that

'

di-

It is

an

no human

pailion or chara6ler, can be well reprefented, unlefs


it

be

felt

the part.

this they

Now,

phical remark

is

I,

call entering into the fpirit

equally certain, that every

paflion, efpecially

when

human

ftrongly felt, gives a cer-

tain modification to the blood

the

of

fuppofe, the following philofo-

whole frame more

and

fpir its,

fufceptible

of

and makes
its

return.

Therefore, whoever has juftly and flrongly a6ted

human
to thefe

paflions, that are vicious, will be

fame paflions

*,

more prone

and indeed, with refpeft

to

the whole charadler, they will foon be in reality,

what they have

fo often

^rhis applies to the

prefentation.

feemed to be.

whole extent of

Whoever

proud or revengeful perfon,


in his

theatrical re-

has a61:ed the part

way, when offended

I fliould

and

if

truft

fall

any man has of-

ten a6led the part of a rogue or deceiver,

be willing to

of a

not like to

him with my money.

I fliould

It

may

not
ei-

LETTER RESPECTING PLAY-ACTORS.

135

ther be added, as another remark, or confidered as


a further illuftration of the one hifl made, that play

ers,

by

fo frequently appearing In an

aflumcd cha-

racter, lofe all charafter of their

own. Nothing,
fays an eminent and learned writer, " is more aukward and infipid, than a player out of the line of

own profellion." And indeed what muft that


memory and brain be, where the conftant bufinefs

his

of

pofTeflbr is to obliterate

its

make way

only to

folly,

In the third place,


of feme

moment

one fcene or fyftem of

for another

cannot help thinking,

it

is

to obferve, that players, in confe-

cjuence of their profeffion, appearing continually in

an afTumed

it,

Truth

is

truth.

being employed in prepa-

chara6t:er, or

ring to aflume

mull

fo facred a

leall violation of

it, is

and danger.

was

It

lofe all fenfe of fmcerity

not without

its

from being

far

and

thing, that even the

degree of guilt
fo abfurd as it

what the old Spartan anfpoke to him of the


" I think I
their tragedies

often has been faid to be,

who

fwered to an Athenian,
fine

lefTons

found

could learn virtue

in

much

better

from our own rules

of truth and juftice, than by hearing your lies."


I

will here obferve, that

cious perfons have given


tant advice to

it

fome very able and judias a ferious

young perfons,

to

micking and taking off others, as


guage, voice, and gefture
flroy the fimplicity

and behaviour.

man

and impor-

guard againft miit is

becaufe

it

called, in lan-

tends to de-

and dignity of perfonal manners

myfclf, in early

of good talents,

who

felf for public fpeaking,

by

life,

knew

young

abfolutely unfitted
this pracSlice.

him-

He was

educated for the miniftry, and was in every refpedt

LETTER RESPECTING PLAY-ACTORS.

13^

well qualified for the office

but having without fuf^

amufed himfelf and others, by


imitating the tones and geftures of the moft emipicion, frequently

nent preachers of the city where he Hved, when he


began to preach himfelf, he could not avoid falling
into one or other of thofe tones and manners which

he had

fo often

mimicked.

This, as foon as

it

was

perceived, threw the audience into a burft of laughter,

and he was foon obliged to quit the profeflion

altogether, for

no other reafon, than he had thus

fpoiled himfelf

by the

talent of imitation

may

fay further, in fupport of this remark, that I have

known no inflance of one eminent for mimicking,


who did not in time make himfelf contemptible.
But the huma paffion that makes the moft con*
fpicuous figure in the theatre,

is

A play with-

love.

out intrigue and gallantry, would be no play at

This paflion

is

of

all

others, that

duced the greateft degree of


hiftory of mankind.

Now

guilt

is it,

which has pro-

and mifery, in the

or can

that a6lors in the theatre are trained

up

ledge and exercife of this paflion, in


It

feems to have been a fentiment of

pect:,

form

their

a^ll

its

know-

forms

this kind, that

young peo-

manners,

that they will learn virtue

and modefty from harlots."


Thefe remarks feem to me

be denied,

it

in the

led a certain author to fay, that to fend

ple to the theatre to

all.

from

is

to ex-

profligates,

fully fuflkient to ac-

count for the difgrace that has fo generally followed


the profeffion of an acSlor.
I fhall only add a few
words upon an opinion to be found in Werenfels
and fome other eminent authors. They condemn

public theatres, and defpife hired players

but they

LETTER RESPECTING PLAY-ACTORS.

137

recommend acting pieces by young perfons, in fchools


or in private families, as a mean of obtaining grace
and propriety

Of

in pronunciation.

obferve, that though this practice

gerous than a public theatre, yet

me

to be of

propofed.

is

this I fhall juft

much

dan-

lefs

does not feem to

it

much neceifity for obtaining the end


And I dare fay, that if this pradlice were

often repeated, the fame that


exhibitions, would,

may be

acquired at fuch

upon the whole, be very

honour or benefit of thofe who acquired

to the

I will

little
it.

conclude this eflay by an obfervation on the

comparifon made by the French writer, mentioned


in the beginning,

between the

talents neceffary to a

good preacher or pleader, and thofe neceflary to a


good play-adlor. I wifh he had mentioned the talents

and

able

to

part, I

his reafoning.

can recollet but two which are

requifite to a player,
I

we might have been


As for my own

qualifications, that

examine

eflentially

memory and mimickry

and

have knowi) both thefe talents pofleffed in great

perfedlion,

many

by men who were not

degrees above fools

fome of the

firft

men whom

were no way remarkable

in underftanding

and on the contrary,


hiftory records, that

in point

of

totally deftitute of the otlier quality.

memory, and

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS

ARCANA 6f CHURCH

POLICY.

BEING AN

HUMBLE ATTEMPT
TO OPEN THE

MTSTERT

OF

MODERATION.

WHEREIN

IS

SHEWN,

WAY OF ATTAINING TO THE CHARACTER


OF A MODERATE MAN, AS AT PRESENT IN REPUTE IN THE

A PLAIN AND EASY

CHURCH OF SCOTLAND.

TO THE

DEPARTED GHOST,
OR

SURVIVING

SPIRIT,

OF THE LATE

Mr,

Reverend

Worthy

Minijlir in

^.

Sir,

DURING

a great part of the time I fpent in

compofing the following Treatife,


refolved to have fent

to have dedicated

and indeed,

you

fee I

to

abroad by

any perfon

my

ftill

kept

my

was

fully

and not

itfelf,

the world

in

in a confined fenfe of the

have

fon of this

it

it

word

refolution.

*,

worldy

The

intended purpofe was, that

rea-

find

the right honourable the Earl of Shaftefbury, in an


advertifement, or ticket, prefixed to his works, hath
^xpreiTed a contempt and difdain of
prefaces, or other difcourfes,

This he feeras to think

to a book.

ardly

way

in

all

dedications,

by way of forerunners
a

mean and

cow^-

an author of creeping into the world,

and begging the reception which he dares not claim.


Being fatisfied, therefore, of the juftnefs of this

fomcwhat confident

obfervation, and being alfo


his

lordfliip

worth of

my

feems to have been) of the


performance,

(as

intrinfic

intended to have

come

forth in this mafterly manner.

But, upon more mature deliberation,

I difcover-

ed, that the only objections againft dedications

Vol. VI.

wcrt

DEDICATION.

142

now

the felf-diffidence juft

mentioned,

ar;d the fuf-

picion of flattery for felfifh ends, which


trary to difinterefted benevolence

is

con-

To

fo that if I could

frame a dedication which fhould be quite beyond


the imputation of any of thefe two purpofes,

then wholly efcape his

This aim,

when

trious

SHADE

I 'think,

have fallen nothing (hcrt

have dedicated
as

my

not but grant, that

this

book

to you,

poor

it

moft

of,

illuf-

moft malignant enemies cancould have no expedlation of

my

your encouraging me, either by buying

commending

I fliculd

lordfliip's cenfure.

to others, or giving

it

nay, or even fo miich ^s for

book, re-

away

my

to the

tranllation

to a better benefice in aflembly or commiffion.


It ftartled

me

a little, that this

conduft might per-

haps by evil-diipofed perfons, be Tepr-efented as an

approach to popery, and refembling their worfhipping of faints

puted to me,

in

were efteemed

but

hope

this

can fcarcely be im-

the prefent cafe, fince you never


a faint whrie

you

lived,

nor ever

thirfted after that title.

Another more material

That

objccSlion occurred to

a dedication to a dead man,

altogether unprecedented.

But

is

me.

either almoft or

am

not

much

con-

cerned though this method of proceeding fnould be

thought bold and new, becaufe

this is the charadler

gives of his own


which the incomparable Mr
CiTays upon the principles of morality and natural
Befides, I

religion.

authority

am

not altogether deftitute of

for the mem-orable

Dean Swift

has ufed

the freedom to dedicate his Tale pf a Tub to Prhice


I have alfo ken a fatiiical poem, called
Poferhy.

Jure DlvbiOy

dedicated,- v/ith

great

folemnity, to

PLICATION.
Prince (or rather,

book

to a faculty of the

to an abftradl idea, I

me

tion in

to dedicate

mortuorum

tue

;"

King) Reafon.

believe, to

therefore, one of thefe

144
L",

authors might dedicate a

human mind, and

hope

mine

it

is

the other

no great prefump-

to you,

though "in

efpecially as there

is

not a

i\:i-

livin*^

man who

hath fo good a claim to the compliment of

a treatife

upon

But

my

fubjel.

more gravelling difficulty than any of thefe,


kept me fome time in fufpence, viz. how to get the
a

book prefented

to

you, as

did not find in myfelf

any inclination

to depart this life in order to tranf-

port

much

After

it.

lieved

by

trouble, I

reflecting, that

was

Mr Pope

at

length re-

has afiured us,

that the ghofls of departed ladies always haunt the

places in

which they delighted while they were

and therefore, from analogy,


that the

tain, that

If this

is

your chief refideace

is

I will

to departed
it

as cer-

in the afiembly-

Edinburgh, where you have,

For though

alive;

be fuppofed,

the cafe, I look upon

time, both given and received fp

in

much

your

life-

plcafure.

not limit you, in your miembodied

from making

flatc,

to

is

fame thing holds with regard

minifters.

Iioufe at

it

through the cov.ntry,

circuits

and

viflting fynods, or prefbyteries, particularly in

the

men

fe

after

and

your

own

y,

where there

are fo

many

heart; yet, I dare fay, you will

not be abfent from the aiTembly, nor any of the


quarterly meetings of the commifrion, which hath
fo often faved the
It is

therefore

church from impending dangers.


puvpofe to go to Edinburgh in

my

May next, when the afliimbly meets, of which I am


a member, and there to lay before vou mv P'^rfcr-

'

DEDIGATICN.

144
rnaiice,

hoping

voury to

all

manner
H ranger.

the

it

will preve moft delicious and fa-

your fenfes, to the names of which, and


of their prefent operation, I

am

wholly

It is probable you have not been accuflomcd, thefe


two or three years pad, to hear your own praifes

celebrated

-,

and therefore

I fhall

no farther launch

ut into them than to fay, that there

f the charaler recommended

is

ges in which you were not eminent

never was one ftone by you


ting the

left

not one branch

in the
;

following pa-

and that there

unturned, for promo-

That you may

good caufe

flill

fit

upon

the throne, and, by your powerful, though invifible


influence,
is

make

the intereft of moderation prevail,

the ardent wifh, and the pious prayer of.

Sir,

Your Most Obedient,

And Admiring Servant*

T:IE

PREFACE,
^''...'Vm^'-^'*

GRATITUDE

obligctli

mc

to acknovvloJge the

kind reception which the world hath given


to the following generous efforts, for tlie honour of
our church. This fliews, either that panegyric is
by no means fo unacceptable to mankind in general,

fomc ill-natured authors infmuate j or that this


of mine hath been executed with very uncommon
as

If this laft

flvill.

would give me

fliould be the

true folution,

it

However,

as

a double fatisfaclion.

the love of dctradion, in fome perfons,

and
is

many have fuch

as

no

poflibiiity

foftcft

them

-,

Incurable^

is

ulcerated minds, that

and moil friendly manner, without ofTending


to prevent the fpreading of any fuch baleful

influence, I think

proper to add a few things

it

upon the {lru6ture of this performance ;


which fhould have accompanied the firft
if it

tli^^re

of applying to them, even in the

had not pleafed the

publiflicr to print

part of
eal-tion,
it

with-

out any communication with the author.

From

the beginning I forefaw

an objection, that
ed that party

in the

would occur

it

as

have not properly denominat-

church which

have chofen to

celebrate by the words moderaikn and moderate men.


It is alledged that, for thefe two or three years pafl,

ihey have

chofen

made

rather

little

to

ufe of thefe words, and have

reprefent

porters of the conRitution,

themfclvcs
as acting

as

fup-

upon cou-

146

PREFACE.

ftitiitlonaJ principles, as lovers

to confuusn,

&c. while

of order, and eneniies-

at the

very fame time, the

oppofite party have taken up the

and pretend

to,

title

of moJerath;!,

be ^acting upon moderate

It is alfo hinted,

that the juft feverities

pri^icip/es.

which the

times render necefhiry, require a different pln^afeology.

In anfvver to this

obferve, that

my

treatife

has

been a work of time Cas, I hope, appears


from its maturity) the moft part of it having been
really

compofed above two years ago, "and before


change of language was introduced. It was

thi&
ori-

ginally intended only to exhibit a general view of

the different parties in religion and learning

US

though

it

now

hath

account of the

lateft

among

admitted a very particular

and moil recent differences

in the church, chiefly becaufe the prefent feerns iike"


ly to be an ra of

fome confequence, and to be big

with fome very great events,


Befides,

conlider, that this

was miich longer the

at prefent aliov/ the

that charaler,

up

it is

*,

perfons

my

friends,

and as they do not

claim of their enemies to

probable they intend to take

again, as foon as the deligns

fliall

as

of moderate men

d^fignation of

than thofe lately invented

even

as well

name

be completely executed.

it

now upon the anvil


As to the name of

moderation being Inconfiflent with a proper vigour,


in fiippcrt of their ov^'n meafures,
fcveritiv'S againfl their

enemies,

it

and wholefome
is

an objection

altogether frivolous, as appears from the following

examples
ra<l:er

certain minifter being afked the cha-

of a friend of his,

aiTcpibly,

and

p.irticularly

who had come up

to the

whether or not he was

;^

FKEFACE.

man?

moderate

unfwered,

/4^

yes, fierce

for modera-

tion !

I think

proper to inform

It

great reafon of the

tlic

uncommon

one

reader, that

choice of a patron

work was, an opinion I had long entertainand in fupport of which I could alledge very

to this

ed,

ftrong arguments, from the fiiyings of fonie great

men and

philofophers, as well as the practice of a

famous ancient nation, with regard to their kings


that the true and proper time of afcertaining and
fixing a man's charaiSler is when he has done his
whole work ; and that pofterity hath as good a
and ufe of

poflellion

right to the

fame

his

after

death, as his contemporaries to his abilities during


his life.

At the fame

a particular hero

time, though

in view, yet

author had

tlie

he chofe

to publifh it

without mentioning his name, or place of abode, or


indeed any circumfhance foreign to the character

which might

diftinguifh the perfon.

The

defign

of al:ing in this manner was, that in cafe the world


fhould univerfally agree to afcribe

perfon he had in his eye,

it

it

to the

might be fuch

fame

a juftift-

cation of the truth of the charadler, as very

modern

few

dedications can boaft of.

This invention

challenge as wholly

my own

and do hereby allow and recommend the ufe of it


to all future authors, hoping it will change the.
fafhion

among

writers of chara6\er and fetf-efteem,

from ufing no dedications at all, to forming them upon a plan entirely new. Let them each keep his patron in his eye,
graphically

name,

or

as

draw

poffible,

^ith this

his chara^er as exactly

and

publifli

ir.fcription

it

Dctur

and

without a
dign'fjimo

r4S

then

if

PREFACE.
the world do unlverlail)^ afcribe

perfon Intended,

fecond

ec'itioii

and

and acceptable

ling,

name be

his

let

it

will be

praifjp,

more

But

to a

it

to th?

and

true,

iler-

than any hitherto found

in that clafs of panep;yric3.

the world Pnall afcribe

it

prefixed to the

on the contrary,

if,

perfon, let

different

the author acquiefce in that determination, rejoice

good an expedient

in *fo

and make

his court

to

for preventing a blunder,

who

nev/ patron,

his

will

hardly refufe to admit him after fo refined and de-

compliment.

licate

I dare not

recommend any

thing like this method, with refpecl to the books


already printed, bccaufe

would occafion

it

fo vio-

many

lent a controverfy about the propriety of

de-

could not be ended but by the fword

dications,, as

they being mofl of them addrefied to great men,

who

having agreed upon

this

method of revenging

grofs affronts, and terminating in the laft refort,

Should any

important difputes.

my own

not followed

name

my

of

for reafons,

patron

known

rule,

They

afk,

why

all

have

by now prefixing the

are to underfland, that,

to myfelf, I intend to defer

it till

the nineteenth or twentieth edition.


If any fhall tliink
fo bold

my

fit

to

blame me,

for writing in

and aflumkig a way, tlirough the whole of

bock,

being the

anfwer,

lateft

and the fucccfs


monflration of
thing alfo, to

and
it

its

my

have chofen

it

on purpofe,

mod modern way

of writing

has already met with,

is

is

j^

a de-

The fame

propriety and beauty.


great fatisfaclion,

as

proof of

fhe jufliee of a late author's fcheme of Moral Philofophy,


humility,

who

has expelled mortification,

felfrdetiialy

and Jihnce^ from among the uumber of the

;j

PREFACE.
virtues,

and transferred them,

column

to the oppofite

felf,

column of vices.

149
as
;

he exprefleth him-

that

This fcheme,

to

is

fay, the

dare fay, will

its ground ; and, as a critic, I obferve, that


was probably the fmgle circumftance juft now

fland
it

mentioned, that brought upon the author an adver-

who, though polTeffed of many truly good


had the misfortune to be always eminent
modefty, and other baftard virtues of the fame

fury

qualities,

for

clafs.

There

are fome, I find, of opinion, that

it

was

many

neither necelTary nor ufeful for me, to give fo

examples of the condutl: of the moderate, in the


illuftration of the

feveral

maxims; and

thefe emi-

nent perfons themfelves feem to feel fome pain,

from the expofmg of their virtues to the public view.


But is it not an eftablifhed truth, that example
teaches better than precept

Is

there any thing

more ufual in moral writings, than to illuflratethem by extracts from the lives of the philofophers,
and other heroes, of ancient times? and
advantage of example
it is

is

a living law, or that

furely the

bed of

commonly
it

puts

life

fince the

faid to be, that

into the precept,

examples muft be thofe of per-

all

fons really and literally alive

neither fhould fuch

perfons themfelves be offended with this condu61:


fince, as

has been hinted above, mortification TLnAfcIf-

denial, are

no more

to

be reckoned among the virtues

'but the vices.

However,

have the comfort to

reflel:,

from the oppofite opinions of thofe who


their

judgment on

this

performance,

am

middle, and confequently in the right

that

have pafled

in tlio

for there

PREFACE.

150

me many

have been tranfmitted to

noble Inftances

of moderation, in expectation, no doubt, that they

be added to

fliould

knowledge

my

my

collection.

thankfully ac-

obligations to thefe kipd contributors,

but cannot make any ufe of their contributions at


prefent

for

it

would,

at lead,

the treatife, and thereby render

Further,

pocket-carriage.

do

double the bulk of


it

hfs commodious for


it- was
number

them,

afliire

not through want of materials that a greater

of examples was not produced, but from having

duly weighed the proper proportion for a work of

and

this extent:

fo

much

to

what hath been

am

deliberation, I

with

affixed

fledfaflly

refoif^ed

to

adhere.

were indeed

It

to be wifhed, that every

and allowed,

left to himfelf,

own work

to finifh his

his

man was

in peace and quietnefs

own way

for I

have

feldom obferved thefe things called hints and fuggeftionsy to have any other efFel: than to perplex and

An

miilead.

author's fituation,

with them, feems to

man

me

to

when

perfecuted

refemble that of a gentle-

building a houfe, or planning out a garden,

who,

if

he hearkens to the advice, or attempts ta

gratify the tafte of every vifitor, will, in


bility,

all

proba-

produce, upon the whole, a colle<Stion of in-

confiftencies, a fyftem of deformity.


I

am

fcurity,

very forry to be obliged thus to fpeak in ob-

by returning a public anfwer

fervations

has been

to private ob-

but cannot om.it taking notice, that

much wondered

eminent perfon has been

at,

loft in

that a

the

it

certain very

crowd of heroes

without any particular or diftinguifhing compliment


paid to himfelf.

Now,

this did not

by any means

PRPFACE.

151

flow from a want of refpel and efleem, but from


a diflruft of

able to do

my own abilities,

being

a defpair of

and

Nei-

juftice to fo illuftrious acharaler.

ther indeed was there any great necefhty (excepting

mere compliment) of fpreading

his

hath already gone both far and, wide.

-Befides, th:it

remarlcable exploits, however flrong

many and

his

which

fame,

and pregnant proofs they may be of benevolence and


have fome circumftances attending

focial afFel:ion,

them, v/hich render tKem more proper fubje^ts of

The

difcourfc than v/riting.

glare \yould be rather

too great for even the (Irong eye-fight of this generation

The

when brought

endure,

to

fun

is

firmament

and

though

yet,

it

of a painter to draw him in

would hardly be found


largefl palace in

The
is,

were

in the

his

all

to fuppofe, that all

fliall

may be

the picture larger than the

him

life,

have drawn

much

in -as

moderate

men

one of the virtues which

though the one mofl

evidently both

in the

take notice of

faid to

and

falfe

foolilh.

as I

do, in fa6l,
I

have made

to enter into the perfe6lion of the characStjr.

obje^lion,

power

luflre, there

a proper place for

only other objecSlion

pofiefs every

obje6ls in the

all

Great Britain.

that in one refpect,

feem

very near them.

the moll glorious of

infilled

No

This

upon,

is

rc^ider

of

true difcernmcnt can imagine any lach thing.


it

were

at all

in

and the various examples produced

it,

tion of them,

do fhew, that there are

grees of perfedlion,
themfelves.

which

If

would be no occafion for my book


on the contrary, the various maxims infertcd
there

fo,

h;is

They

in illuftra-

different de-

evjn amongft the

are a body, every

moderate

member

of

neither the fame abilities, nor the fame

rHEFACt.

1$2

They

office.

areyalfo

body moft firmly united,

for mutual defence and fupport


fefs,

intended to intimate

fo

and

much,

I con-

on

this ac-

that,

count, they are intitled to a fort of community of


goods, and mutual participation of each other's ex-

A head may very well boaft of the

cellencies.

beau-

elegance and activity of the hands, or the comely

ty,

proportion and ftrength of the limbs belonging to

and

though they are one body,

yet,

it

it:

would be

ridiculous to fuppofe, that the head or hands are

always in the

them

throug^h

dirt,

when

they have the feet to carry

it.

This metaphor of a body, however common,

one of the

jufteft

and moil

is

lignificative imaginable,

out of which a very long allegory might be formed

but

I fhall

profecute

it

no farther

except to acknowledge, that

one

real omiiTion

been

juft

now

at this time,

convinces

plan, viz. that

me

of

what hath

hinted, I ought to have inferted as a

maxiJiiy

.thirteenth

my

in

it

and

would have been eafy

illuftrated
to

it

at large *.

It

(hew, that the moderate

are remarkable for the moft perfect union and har-

mony, and

for a firm

and

fledfaft

adherence to each
Neither

other, in the profecution of their defigns.


is

which there* is a ftronger


or oppofition between them and the orthomanifeftly appeared from the condudl of

there any inftance in

contrail

dox

as

both parties in the General Aflembly


friend of ours called the

1753.

-^

enemy, upon that occafion,

a parcel of confcicntious fools had he then read the


following maxims, which prove, that they have as
:

little cofifcience

as ivifdom,

it

is

probable he would

have befbowed on them their true and proper cha*


radter.
*

This was done In the third edition*

ECCLESIASTICAL

CHARACTERISTICS.
NTR

'^T^HE
JL

them

tion

and who

blefTed

2^.

neither
ftate

fo

as

all

and

churches have

a zealous, high-

our church hath at prefent

who

glory in, and fight for modera-

(it is

to be

hoped

juftly) appropriate

wholly the character of moderate

themfelves

men

a moderate,

wild party

a certain party,

to

an excellent thing, and par-

is

known, that

aifo well

flying,

nobleft chara(!i^er of a church-man.

ticularly the

iifually in

reader will doubtlefs agree with me, that

moderation

It is

D V

a fmall prefage of a glorious

is it

of

periods, that fo

church, in

the

many

of our young

and

approaching

its

men

are fmitteii

with the love of moderation, and generally burn


with defire to appear in that noble and divine character.

This hath infpired

me

with the ambition and ex-

pectation of being helpful in training up as


as

are defirous of

it,

in

this

mod

many

ufefui of all

fciences.
For however perfedly it is known, and
however fleadily pra^tifed by many who are adepts;
and notwithllanding there are fome young men, of

pregnant parts,
loficiency,

Vol. Vr.

who make a fudden and furprifing


much afliftance yet I have

without

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

54

often obferved, that there are feveral perfons,


err, in

at

many

inftances,

who

from the right path, boggle

fundry particular fteps of their leaders, and take

a long time before they are thoroughly confirmed


in their principles

and pralice.

The fame

perfons

by an unliable condul, or by an imprudent

alfo,

unfeafonable difcovery of their defigns, have

or

brought a reproach upon their party, and been


an obftruction to whatever work they had then in
hand.

'

Thefe bad
ly, if

humbly conceive, flow chieffrom the want of a complete fyftem

eifecSIs, I

not only,

of moderation, containing

and giving a

diflindi

all

the principles of

it,

view of their mutual influence

one upon another, as well as proving their reafonablenefs, and Ihewing, by examples, how they ought
to be put in practice.

There

is

no work of

this kind, to

my

knowledge,

which renders my prefent undertaking


more laudable, and will, I hope, render it

yet extant,

of

it

the

the

more

acceptable.

muft inform the reader, that after I was fully


convinced of the neceflfity of fome fuch piece as
I

what

follows, but before I entered

I earneftly intreated

men

mg

feveral

of the moderate flamp

and fhining

lights of

upon

it

myfelf,

of the moft eminent

among

us, thofe

who

our church,

are efteemed to be, our leaders, that

burn-

are,

and

fome of them

would fet about it. However, they all devolved it


upon me ; and made this fatisfying excufe for
themfelves, that they were fo bufied in ading
moderation, that they could not have time to write

upon

it.

Tliis foon led

me

to think,

what would

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

15*

become of many noble

defigns, and what advantage*


OUT difcontented zealots might takcj if any of the

expert fteerfmen of this ecclefiaflical vcflel of ours


fhould retire from the helm but fo long time as

would be

necefliiry

bring a work of

to

fuch a

nature, to the perfection in ftrength, fymetry, and

elegance, that the reader will perceive even this of

mine

is

arrived

I fhall

work, after
of

it

which

-,

and

at.

now

proceed to the principal part of the

have informed the reader of the plaiv


is

briefly this, to

in their proper order

feveral

enumerate

maxims upon which moderate men

themfelves

all

the

conducfb

and forafmuch as the juftice of many

of them, being refined pieces of policy,


firft

illuflration

and confirmation of

fight,

experience, or both.

(hall

N. B.

is

not very

fubjoin to each an

evident at

little

diftincflly,

and conneCiion,

it,

I Avail

ufe of Scripture, becaufe that

fome of the maxims themfelves

-,

from reafon or

make but very


is

contrary to

as will be feen in

the fequel.

MAXIM
All

ecclefiaflical perfonsy

I.

of luhatever ranhy

wheth

principals of colleges , profejfors of divinity ^ miniflii'rsy

or even probationers y that are fufpeBeil of herefyy at


to be efleemed

and

men of great genius ^ vajl lear/iing,


; and are^ by all means ^ to be

uncotn?non ivorth

fuppoi-ted

and protecfed.

All moderate men have a kind

of fellow-feel-

ing with herefy, and as foon as they hear of any one


fufpedted, or in danger 6f being profecuted for

O2

ir,

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

I5<5

zealoufly and unanimo^fly rife

This fa6t
derate

is

man

unqueftionable

in

my

life,

up

in his defence.

knew

never

that did not love

mo-

and honour

a heretic, or that had not an implacable hatred at


the perfons and chara^ers of herefy-hunters

name with which

v/e

have thought proper to

matize thefe fons of Belial,


profecutions againft
It is related

ry

it is,

that

men

who

*,

flig-

begin and carry on

for herefy in church-courts.

of the apoille John, and an ugly llo-

upon going

and ob-

into a public bath,

ferving the heretic Gerinthus there before him, heretired with the utmoft precipitation, left the edifice

ihould

fall,

fuch^ an

and crufh him, when

enemy of

was

Dr Middleton

company with
be true,

If the ftory

the truth.

the apoftle's conduit

in

ridiculous and wild

has fliewn, that the ftory

is

but

not true

and indeed, the known benevolence and charity of


John's writings

make

it

How-

highly improbable.

ever, not to enter into that controverfy, whether

be true or not, the conduit of

all

moderate

men

it

is

directly oppofite.

As to the juftice of
fons may be given for
is

one of the

human

fineft

this

maxim, many

it

Compaflion

folid rea-

which

itfelf,

and moft benevolent feelings of the

moves them to the relief of their diftrelTed brother.


Another very plain reafon may be
given for it ; moderate men are, by their very name
/leart,

the reverfe, in

r.nd conftitution,

gotted zealots.

of this

when

laft

fort,

Now,

it is

all

both clergy and

they hear of a

man

refpeits, of bi-

well known, that

common

fufpe^Sted of herefy, con-

ceive an averfion at him, even before they

Jiing of the cafe

many

people

nor after he

is

know any

acquitted (as thej?

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
QTe

commonly

of them

all

they ever

oome

The

him.

in

157

our church-courts) can

to entertain a favourable opinion of

reverfe of this then

to be as early

is,

and

as vigorous in his defence, as they are in his profc-

cution, and as implicit in our belief of his ortho-

doxy, as they are in their belief of his error.


I

remember, when

was difcourfing once

to this

purpofe, a certain raw unexperienced pcrfon faid,

he had always thought, that not moderation, but

lukewarmnefs and indifference


verfe of exceflive zeal

was the

to truth,

To whom

tuated in the middle betwixt the two.

anfwered.

Young man, you do

man

fierce

fore,

no body would oppofe the


as

the balance of

power mufl lean

you mention,

poor heretic mull

fall

bycj

nor

there-

zealots, but fuch

to their fide, and the

a facriiice, to the

commonly fupported by

is

if,

in every fuch inftance

triment of the caufe of moderation

(lations,

fierce,

fiercer than himfelf;

calm midfmen

not reflc6V, that no

can be refilled but by one as

overcome but by one

re-

and that moderation was H-

no fmall de-

which by the

the heretics in their

and therefore they deferve

a grateful re-

turn.

This brings

maxim,
to the

viz.

to

That

my mind

another reafon for the

heretics being fo nearly related

moderate men, have a right to chum their

protection out of friendfliip and perfonal regard.

This ferves a very noble end

for

it

vindicates the

Chriftiau religion fiom the objection of fome infidels,

who

affirm, that

friendlhip

it

does not

recommend

now moderate men

having

all

private
a very

great regard to private friendfhip, and perfonal con-

03

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

158

do by

ne(Slions,

their practice,

way, confute

lid
I

may add

which

is

the moil fo-

this llander.

argument for the

to thefe another

great charad'er of heretics, as averted in the

which

maxim

picked up from the preaching of a feceding

He

minifler.

told his hearers, that v/hen the devil

looks out for an inftrument to propagate error, he

never makes choice of a weak


able and learned

God

though

man, but one

filly

knowing,

as well

fuppofe, that

can fupport his caufe by any inftrument

whatever, yet he needs always the beft and mofl

he can

fufiicient

will reckon

me

Now, though

get.

to think the devil the fource of error

tion ferves

my

purpofe, as

"^'as

convinced of the

und

all

enemy

man

ability

it

yet the cita-

fhews that he himfelf

and learning of heretics j

knows, that the teftimony of an

the world

the ftrongeft of

is

hope no

of this fanatic*s principles, fo far as

all

evidences upon a man^s

iide.
I

conclude

fl^iall

maxim with

this

obferving, that

fuch tendernefs for heretics, however due from

fome,

is

yet, in

many

of the moderate character, an

inftance of the mofl heroic and generous friendfliip.


It is quite dlfmtereiled, as

they themfelves run not

the fmallefl hazard of ever being in the like circumftances.

commonly an honefl

Heretics are

people, but with

all their

flock of prudence or policy.


fert

They

whatever they believe upon

confidering the reception

from thofe of oppofite


public to

its

face,

it

is

all

of

publifh and af^


points, without

like to

principles.

They

meet with,
affront the

which Lord Shaftefbury

ought not to be done.

fort

book learning, of no great

Oa

tells

the other hand,

us

men

EC CLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
thorough-paced

to fuch perfons, as are

and

By

able to bear them.

means they preferve

this

and indeed they cannot


unlefs by miftake in which cafe,

themfelves from herefy


it

as foon as they are challenged,

(if it is

like to

be attend-

ed with any temporal inconveniency) they deny


explain

In

it

it,

away, or repent, and afk pardon.

all this

who

Simfon's

59

moderation, difcover their prin-

in

ciples only at fuch times,

poiTibly fall into

they follow the noble example of Mr.

in the aflembly

debates upon Profeflbr

happening to fay fomething that

afi'air,

was challenged by one prefent as herefy, immediately replied, " Moderator, if that be herefy, I renounce

it."

MAXIM
Whe?i any man

charged

is

iv'ith loofe- practices^

dencies to immorality^ he
tected as

in

much

charge

to his

as prjfthle

he^

11.

is to he

or ten-

fcreened and pro-

efpecially if the faults laid

as they are\incomparahly well termed

a fermon, preached by a hopeful youth that made

feme

noife lately^

" good humoured

vices,*'

1 HE reafon upon which this maxim is founded,


may be taken from the reafon s of the former ;;///tatis

mutandis

there being

any of them

fcarcely

A liber-

that does not hold equally in both cafes.


tine

is

a kind of practical heretic,

as fuch.
that the

Dr Tillotfon
word

inilead of

of

is

is

to be treated

obferves in one of his fermons,


herefies

word, which

you would read


tine

all

and

is

is

bad

life

now,

if

an uncomely expreffion,

greateft, in that paflage, then a liber-

the greateft of

all

heretics,

and

to be

honoured

l6o

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTlCSv

Even the

in proportion.

feldom of any ufe

fuppofe, that they are

moft

are

The

fcruples.

lieveth that

DRINK

all

moured

is

of moil knowledge
in

is
:

is

who

who
and

are filled with

reflrained and confirmed

but the ftrong

to underfland the nature of

the reader

may

man

be-

" good-hu-

pleafe to take notice,

an obfervation of Lord Shaftefbury, that

beft time for thinking

when

pra^ice

their

brethren,

man

very

he may eat, and, by parity of reafon,

vices,'*

it is

fo far
is

v/eak

is

things.

In order

" the

men

narrow confcience

his

that

weak

(who

our reafonings) feems to

and bold

free

that they are only

by

apoflle Paul

to us in

man

is

merry, and

this obfervation

upon
in

religious fubjecls,

good humour

drawn from nature,

:"

and

that

the time commoraly chofen for that purpofe,

many who
ings.

never heard of his

Whatever

it

by

lordfliip, or his writ-

therefore, ferves to

promote merri-

ment, and heighten good humour, mufl

fo far ferve

But

as there are

for the difcovery of religious truth.

many ways

of making a perfon merry, which narrowminded people will call vice ; from thence, in compliance with common language, arifes the new compound " good-humoured vices." It is not, however
fo to be underftood, as if either the inventor of

or thofe

by

it

who

love and patronize him,

but what

is,

"

mean any

in their apprehenfion,"

it,

thing

both in-

nocent and laudable.

Let it alfo be obferved, that as gravity is almoft


a necefiary confequence of folitude, " good-humoured vices" are certainly "
as flow from,

affection for

focial pleafures,"

and fhew benevolence

which our whole

and

and fuch
this is

an

fraternity have the

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
hlghefl regard, infomuch that no furer

l6l

mark can be

taken of a man's being one of us, than the fre-

quent returns of

this expreflion in his difcourfes or

writings.

further for the fupport of this

It will ferve

maxim,

modern difcoveries, there is a great


analogy between the " moral virtues," or if you
:"
will, the " fcience of morals," and the " fine arts

that according to

and

on account of

it is

prefent reigning expreflions upon


rals, are

mod

this analogy, that

borrowed from the

of the

the fubjeb of

arts, as

mo-

" beauty, order,

proportion, harmony, decency," &c.

It is alfo eC-

known

as a principle

tabliflied

long fmce, and well

in the fine arts, that a certain

of manner,
beauty.

what

is

Why

chiefly

then

freedom and boldnefs


conflitutes grace and
not approbation

fiiould

be

founded upon the fame grounds in both cafes ?


Why then fliould not a bold pradice be as beau-

and

tiful

a bold

real, as

efpecially as

all

hand

is

in imitated life

great geniufes have a^ually laid

claim to this as their peculiar privilege, not to be


confined to

common forms and that in oppofitiou


mankind, who through want of tafte,
;

to the bulk of

are not able to

relifli

the fineft performances in any

of the kinds.
I

muft not, Irowever, omit taking notice,

to pre-

vent miftakes, of one exception that muft be

from

this

maxim

that

that

is,

when

made

the perfon to

whofe charge any faults are laid, is reputed orthodox in his principles, in the common acceptation of
that word,
that cafe
true,

or comes in by orthodox influence, in

they are

and the

colours.

evil

all

to

be taken for granted as

of them

fet forth in

In confequcnce of

this,

he

the liveliefl

is

to

be pro*

ecclesiastical characteristics.

j62

fecuted and torn to pieces on account of thefe

But

crimes.

happen, that he cannot be

fo

if it

convi6ted upon a

trial,

then

of things as they really are


fufpicions, to give ingenious

ruin

if poflible,

was

is

that

very

many

whom

of

make ufe

to exprefs

There

trial at all.

given a few years ago,

this

in the cafe of a fettlement in the


byter)',

is,

and dubious hints, and

him without any

example of

a noble

beft to

it

bounds of a pref-

are eminent in

mode-

In that cafe, there were feveral faults laid

ration.

to the charge of the candidate

much

and

yet,

though he

upon an inquiry into


their truth, and a judgment upon their relevancy,
the prcfbytery wifely refufed to do either the one
or the other, but left them to have their own
himfelf very

infilled

natural weight in fame, rumour, and converfation.

The

neceffity of this exception is very evident

for, in the

fuppofed cafe,

tion to the

young man

which,

let

annexed

all

fail

the reafons for protecto fatisfy himfelf of

the reader view thefe reafons, as they are

to the firll

maxim, and

my

fave

book from

the deformity of repetition.

MAXIM
It

is

man
luith

never

to

a fneer

/peak of the Confejfion of Faith hut


;

to

thoroughly believe

give
it

fy

and

hints y
to

doxy a term of contempt and


I
laid

HE

that he does not

viahe the ivord ortho-

reproach,

ConfelTion of Faith, which

we

are

now

all

under a difagreeable neceflity to fubfcribe, was

framed
it

III.

a necejfary part of the charaBer of a moderate

in times of hot religious zeal

can hardly be

and therefore

fuppofed to contain any thing

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

163

agreeable to our fentiments In thefe cool and re-

So

frefhlng days of moderation.


I

do not remember

man

to

true

that

is this,

have heard any moderate

recommend it, in a fermon,


my time. And, indeed,
nothing can be more ridiculous, than to make a
fpeak well of

it,

or

or private difcourfe, in

which change

for opinions,

fixed ftandard

the fafliions of clothes and drcfs.

fyflem can be fettled for


I

am now

compiling and

perfelion

they

and

jufl as

complete

ages, except the

illuftrating,

their being

in

lies

may be

all

No

maxims

their great

ambulatory, fo that

applied diiferently, with the change of

times.

Upon
That

this

head fome may be ready to object.

upon the
what will, it cannot, as the foundation upon which it refts, remains
In anfwer to this, I beg
always firm and the fame.
if

the Confeflion of Faith be built

facred Scriptures, then, change

leave to

make

comparifon

a very new, and therefore ftriking

When a

lady looks at a mirror,

herfelf in a certain attitude

and

drefs,

fees

(lie

but in her

native beauty and colour

fliould her eye, on a fud;


den, be tinctured with the jaundice, fhe fees herfelf
all yellow and fpotted ; yet the mirror remains the

fame

faithful mirror

arife

from

it,

ftill, and the alteration does not


but from the objecl that looks at it.

beg leave to make another comparifon

When

an

old philofopher looked at an evening-ftar, he beheld

nothing but a

little

lar like the reft

telefcope, he

twinkling orb, round and regu-

but
talks

when

modern views

It

with

of phafes, and horns,

and

mountains, and what not ; and this arifes not from


any alteration in the ftar, but from liis fupcrlor aflif-

164

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

tance in looking at

The

it.

application of both tliefe

fimilitudes I leave to the reader.

But belldes thefe general reafons, there


ilrong particular reafon

is

one very

why moderate men

love the Confeffion of Faith

cannot

moderation fimply im-

and confequently

plies a large fliare of charity,

a fa-

vourable opinion of thofe that differ from our church

but a rigid adherence to the Confeffion of Faith,

and high efteem of it, nearly borders upon, or gives


great fufpicion of harfli opinions of thofe that differ

from us: and does not experience rife up andratify this


obfervation?

Who

are the narrow-minded, bigotted,

uncharitable perfons

among

us

Who

are the fevere

cenfurers of thofe that differ in judgment


the

Who are

damners of the adorable Heathens, Socrates,

Marcus Antoninus, &c.

Plato,

In fine,

who

ar^

among ourantiquated com-

the perfeeutors of the inimitable heretics


felves

Who but the admirers of this

pofiti^n,

who

pin their faith to other men's fleeves,

and will not endure one jot


lief

from what

their fathers

therefore plain, that the moderate


to indole

all

or different be-

lefs

had before them

intelligent beings in

man, who

It

is

defires

one benevolent em-

brace, muft have an utter abhorrence at that vile

hedge of diflin6lion, the Confefiion of Faith.


I fhall briefly

mention a

part of our character.

facrifice Gncerity, the

gain and advantage.


firfl

place.

trifling objeiftion to this

^That

by our fubfcription we

queen of

To which

virtues, to private
I

anfwer, in the

That the objection proves too much, and

therefore muft be falfe, and can prove nothing

allowing the juftice of the objedlion,

it

would

for,
fol-

low, that a vail number, perhaps a majority, of the

tCCLESlASTICAL CHARHCTERISTICJ),
x\eYgf of the church of England are

many

printed fermons being,

l6^

villains; thcur

of them, <liametrlcally
ftbfcribe.

Now,

as this fuppofition can never be. admitted

by any

oppofite to the articles

charitable

which they

man, the objection from whence

as a necelTary confequence,

But

further^

ftibfcriptions,

and

what

fall

more

there

it

is

all

acknowledge lawful, although

fufhciently underftood in both" cafes

our fubfcriptions have


compliment,

our

infinceVe in

they rarely exprefs the meaning of the heart


defign

flows,

to the ground.

than in thofe exprcfllons of compliment

which

civility,

is

mud

this

The

and

advantage above forms of

in point of honefty, that

we are at a great
we

deal of pains ufually to perfuade the world that

do not believe what we


fant

gentleman

fign

whereas the complai*

very feldom at any pains about

is

-the matter.

What is faid might fuffice in fo clear a cafe but


am here able, to give a proof of the improvement
of the age, by communicating to the reader a new
way of fubfcribing the Confeflion of Faith, in a perj

fe<Sl:

confiftency with fmcerity,

any confequence
aflembly.

if

it is

Many

and do

that be thought of

elders to the general

that they

infift,

atteft

if

taken from the method of at-

fome of our gentlemen

tefting

tefted,

ought

them, as qualified in

t(?

be at-

all refpc(fls,

the atteftors are wholly Ignorant about the matter

becaufe, in that cafe, there

is

ho evidence

contrary, and the prefumptlon ought to

favourable

fide.

Now,

{hould be applied to

may be

all

ufeful, let this

as

every

new

lie

to tlie

on the

difcoveiy

the purpofes for which

method

\)e

it

adopted by the

entrants into the miniftry, and applied to their fub


Vox,. VI.

l66

ECCLLSIASTICAI. CHARACTERISTICS.

fcription of

more

Confenion of Faith.

tlie

eafy than for

ignorant of what

it

them

contains

ought to be

is

wholly

and then they may,,

with a good confcience, fubfcribe


it

Nothing

to keep themfeh^es

as true, becaufe

it

fo.

MAXIM

IV.

j^ good preacher miift not only have all the above and
fubfequent principles of moderation in him^ as the

fource of every thing that

is

good; but

miijl^

over

and

above ^ have the following fpecial marks andftgns of a


talent

filed
only

for preaching,

to

f'om

His

i.

focial duties,

2.

He

rational confderationsy viz. the beauty

comely proportions of virtue^


the prefent

from

HESE

to

His

and

advantages in

its

a future flat e of
authorities mufl

heathen writers, none, or as few as

Scripture.

ceptable to the

jL

felfintereft.

drawn from

poffible^

and

without, any regard

life,

more extended
he

fubjecls rnuf be con^

mufl recommend them

4.

He

mufl be very unac-

common people.

four marks of a good preacher, or rules

for preaching well (for they ferve equally for both

purpofes)

fliali

nnd confirm, that

may be
As to the

jccl

endeavour diftinftly to
this

illuftrate

important branch of

my

fub-

fully underftood.
firlt

fubje61:s mufl:

of thefe rules,

That

a preacher's

be confined to " focial duties,"

quite necelTary in a moderate man, beCaufe his


deration teaches

him

to avoid all the

high

it is

mo-

flights

of

evangelic enthufiafm, and the myfteries of grace,

which the common people


be obferved,

n:;y, it is

are fo fond of.

obferved, that

all

It

may

of our (lamp

feCCLESlASTlCAL CHARACTERISTICS.

word grace

avoid the

agreed to

much

as

and have

the moral virtues,"

fubllitute

room of the " graces of the


c:)rthodox

as poHible,^

167

And

expreilion.

Spirit,''

indeed

it

which
is

in

the

is

the

not in th.s

on ly, but in all otlier cafes, that we


improve the phrafoology, and flicw, that befides
fentiment, even iii language itfclf, we are far fuendeavour to

pcrior to, and wifer than our fathers before us.

could {hew this by a greaf


it

would be too tedious

many examples, but

tha::

and therefore only add, to

the one mentioned" above, tliat where art ancient


orthodox man, or even an old fafliioncd modern,
that thinks religion can never be amenctcd, either
in matter or

manner, would have

gree of fanaification," a

politenefs will fay,


as this

is

the cafe,

man

faid

"

a great de-

of moderation arid

Now,

a high pitch of virtue."


is

it

plain, a

moderate preacher

his- fubjeds to f.5cial duties chiefly,


fuch paflages of Stripturc as will
on
and not
of them, contaminate his
repetiiion
by the very
din'ufe a rank fmell of orperhaps
ftyle, and may
of his difcourfe.
whole
the
thodoxy through

muft confine

infill

After

all,

excellent

I cannot refufe, that

Vv-ay,

it is ftill

more

for thofe \A\o hp.ve talents equal to

the undertaking, to feize an orthodox text, explain

away from

it

quite

it

to fpeak the

its

ordinary fenfe, and conllraiii

main parts of our own fchcme.

Thus

champion of ours chofe once for his fubRom. viii. 2. " For the law of the Spirit of

a noble
jcfl,
life,

in Chrift

law of fm and

Jefus, hath
dcatli

:"

made me

free

from the

which he explained

in this

manner " the law of the Spirit of life," that


" in Chriil Jefus/* which
die moral fo-nfa
,

i?,

is

ECCLESIASTICAL CHATIACTERISTICS.

:^S

fum of the Chriftian


way is, that

tJie

religion,

vantage of this

The

is'c.

tearing the

it is

nil-

weapons

ut of the hands of the orthodox, and turning them

And

againfl themfelves.

may

it

perhaps, in time,

have the efFe6l to make our hearers


to their beloved Scriptures

our fenfe

affix

or at leaft, which

is

next thing, prevent them from being able to

ilie

find

any other.

However,

way of doing

tliat this

not for every man's

is

nagement; and therefore


the generality,

muft acknowledge,

my

continue

ma-

advice to'

to adhere to the rule as firfl

ftill

<ueiivered.

The

fecond rule will be eafily confirmed. That

duties are to be
,ccniideratIons."
ifli

recommended only from " rational


What can be imagined more fool-

than to contradicl: this

in a

fermon

mufl be

irrational, that

this part

tain

Who

rational

way

tion to the

ter

Oiaij.

is

we

nor was

it

moved

ever

by them

this rational

raifing

further, th*e
fet in

oppofi-

the paffions.

greatly difapprove of; there


in the

and therefore

raifed or

little

fometimes

pathetic v/ay of

laft is vv^hat

hot-headed

of preaching

fbmething immoderate
pafilons

do not love

and

they hear

led captive

method a

to explain this

when

ignorant,

women,

of going to heaven

it

It is in

we moderate men' ob-

vulgar,
filly

at their will, faying, they

This

to fay, abfurtj.

is

but muft fmile,

contemptible,

But

be any thing

rational confiderations,

of our fcheme that

country elders, or

way

If there

glorious trium.ph over our adverfaries

defpifers.

the

from

difFerent

it is

contrary to our charac-

known
arty

is

very idea of raifing the

that a truly moderate

afFe6lion in his hearers.

rCCLESIASTICAI. CITAR \CTl-RISTlCS.


unlefs perhivps

We

fclf.

l6()

atfocllon of anger agalnft Iiim-

tlic

vehement bawlers, or

leave that to your

your whining lamenters, that are continually

" they

and be fpent," for the

will ipend

telling,

f.ilvation

of their hearers, which Lord Shaftcllvary elegantly


derides, by calling

And

fouls."

let

whether there

it

not fomething vaitly great, fomc-

is

thing like an heroic


talk of future

" the heroic palllon of faving

any unprejudiced perfon judge,

man,

fortij;vide in that

judgment, heaven and

that can

with as

hell,

much coolnefs and i.ndilTerence as if it were a common matter. To fay the truth, Indeed, we do not

How-

often meddle with thefe alarming themes.


ever, as

obferved upon the

preacher, that

make

a text,, and

an

it

uncommon

is
it

firil

Thus

bend

good

to our plan

fo

it Is

alfo

excellence to treat thefe fubje<Sls

great proikient In

glorious to rob the orthodox of"

we ought

with calmnefs, and to prove that


fo.

mark of

our wa\^,

preaching upon A6ts xxiv. 25. where Paul

to

do

lately

made

Felix to tremble by his difcouile, proved from

it,

that miniiler-s ought not to raifc the palFions of their

An

hearers.

Ignorant obferver would have thought

that the paihon of terror

great degree,

and

was

Gambuflang convitil.
fion our hero got hold of;
righteoufnefs,"

raifed in Felix to a

was little better than a


But mark the lucky expref-

that he

i^'i.; as

"As

he rcafoned of

he reafoned, that

is,

argued^,

and proved by rational confiderationa.

This example gives

waking

me

fine

epportunlty of

and fhewing from fadl,


the difference betw'eeu an orthodox and a moderate
a kind of contrail,

jwr^achcr.

myfelf heard one of the fir^ kindy up.

P3

ECCLESIA.^TICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

l-^-C

on the

text jufl

now mentioned

and

*,'

fervation was, that the apoftle Paul

"

reprover;" fpeaking

home

been guihy of
rance

In his

which he

;"

to Felix,

him of any

teoufnefs ;" to convince

government.

faid Ihould

his

was
i.

firfl:

Of "

righ-

iniquity he
,2.

ob-

a faithful

had

Of " tempe-

be tranflated " conti-

nence," and was probably intended as a reproof to

him and

who

Drufilla,

v/ere

living

in

adultery.

His next, and main obfeivation was, that Felix was.


" Convii:ed," but " ftiiled," his convi\ions, and
delayed his repentance, faying, " Go thy way for
this time

when I have a convenient feafon, I will


Then followed a great deal of ftu?F,

call for thee."

which I do not incline to tranfcribe; but it was juft


what the vulgar call experimental preaching, I fuppofe to difiinguifh

He
^

firft

from

it

But how contrary

rational.

to this did

our moderate friend ?

cbferved, that St. Paul was a " morale" or a

legal preacher;" difcourfing of

**

righteoufnefs,"

and " temperance," without a word of " faith:" and


then, that he was a " reafoning preacher," that did
not

ftrlve

tlieir

to raife people's paffions, but

judgment.

was indeed

informed

a little difappointed

word

^ipon confulting the original, to find that the

ufed,

which

is

?<t>.7^wy,

tinuing his difcourfe,"

and

fignifies

fo

only " con-

might be either in

the "reafoning," or "pathetic"

way, but

was

by reSccling, that the word evidently inand fo " reafoning" being the beft, it
cludes both
fatlsficd

is to

be fuppofed the apoftle preferred

Agrec.'.bly
after

him

^ves au

to

this

rule,

it,

Lord Shaftefbury^ and

bright luminary in our

advice to ail Biodetate

own

church,

clergymen, not tQ

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
that idle

afTeci:

ambafruilovs," or

<*

fo foiully

" plenipo-

claimed by zealots,

U\k6 the liberty to fuppofe, that the reafon of

the advice

under

was the fame

in

both,

viz,

on an

air

this chara(fler zealots pi>t

and deliver

rity,

of

from heaven,"

tentiaries

and

title

I7T

their mefiage

" That

of autho-

with pathos to

wliicli

His

they would othervvife have been flrangers."


lordfliip

* Gentlemen, where

aflcs,

has

indeed explodes the conceit fulFiciently; he

your commifiion

is

been conveyed? where are the

it

where the

letters

many more

credentials ?" with

cafier for his lordlhip to afk, than for

how

patent?

queftions,

some tersons

to anfvver.

The

third rule, viz.

recommending "

virtue,"

the authority and examples of the Heathens,

from

is

not

only highly proper, becaufethey were very virtuous,

but hath this manifeft advantage attending


it is

One

kinds of perfons.
tians,

who will be

is,

much

defpife.

who

lieathens,

gion at

all

*,

fuch as are real Chrif-

The

call

them, and

other

is,

pay no regard

they

to the Chriftian reli-

and therefore will only be moved by the

known, there

are

It

is

much

great-

than any of the apoftles, although,'(as the

derate preacher I mentioned

well

who

multitudes in our ifland,

reckon Socrates and Plato to have been

men

whom

our prefent living

authority of the ptjrfons they efteem.

er

that

afliamed by the fuperior excellence

of mere heathens, as they


fo

it,

proper way of reafoning to two quite oppofite

mo-

lately told his hearers)

the apoftle Paul had an univerfity education, and


,was inftru6led in logic by profefTor Gamaliel.

There-

fore let religion be conftantly and uniformly called


**virtue/*

and

let

the Heathen philofophcrs be fet upai>

ECCLESIASTICAT. CHARACTERISTICS.

172

great piitterns and promoters of

it.

Upon

this heati

mufl particularly recommend M. Antoninus by name,


becaule an eminent perlon of the moderate character
fays, his meditations

is tlie

best book

thiit

ever wsrs

written for forming the heart.

But perhaps the

part of this third rule will be-

laft

thought to need moil

illuftratioti

That none

or very

made of

at

<'

all,

And

Scripture."

the great reafon of this

and defence, viz*


ufe

little

Scripture motives and arguments are of the


rate llamp-; the

fay,.

in thefe

as Chrifh alio loved the church."

John

mode-

for example, the apoftle Paul

" Huibands, love your

but his argument and exampl-e comes

be

moil part of them are drawn from

orthodox principles
cannot even

to

few of the

that very

is,

is

deal plainly,

really, to

alio fpeaks in a

very myfterious

wives,'*"

word3,

The apofllG
way of union

with Chrift, and abiding in him, in order to bring


forth fruit,

tuous

how

which

Now,

life.

this

is

his

way

of fpeaking for a vir-

any indifferent perfon judge,

let

kind of expreflion, and otliers of a like na^

ture> fuch as

mortifying the deeds of the body

would agree with the other


they would be like oppoiite
parts of our difcourfes
kinds of fluids which will not compound; they

through the

Spirit,

would be quite heterogeneouSj.

\vhLch-

the rules of fine writing, and hinders

ia

it

an uniform, beautiful, and comely whole.


in his

Art of Poetry, gives

Ilvimano cnpiti ccrvicem pictor cquinam-

* Jungere

si veli;'*

aH

Horaca.

this as his very firft.ob-^

fcrvatian,
*'

againft

from being

1-CGXESlASTICAL CITA-RACTERISTICS.

"Which

my learned

reader cannot

fail

ber and uaderftand, and wh'^ch


ply to this fubject

we

now

are

73

both to remem-

do fire him to ap-

upon.

If

it

be

faid,

that fermons are not poems, .ad therefore not to be

rompofcd by the
miilake

many

rules of poetry

among

pofed by the younger fort


lead they are

full

much

fame thing

to the

anfwer,

of poetical flights,

heard pnrts of

poems 5 at
which comes

How

often

Addifon's Cato, Young's

Night Thoughts, and divers other poems,

mons

not to mention that the

Mr

com-

us, are

rule agrees equally to piofe and poetry.

have

it is

of our fermons, efpecially thofe

in fer-

and to fiy the truth, they were none of the

However, I would offer my


feme experience, to
all young preachers, not to do Dr '^oung the honour
of borrowing any thing from him again, becaufe he

worft parts of them.

advice, as that of a perfon of

is

a fnarl'ng, fallen,

gloomy, melancholy mortal,

cites a great deal of Scripture

and particularly, be-

caufe he has given a vile fneer at the ^ralice I


jufl:

now recommending,

in the following

two

am

lirjes

f hio Univerfal Paflion.

When

doctors Scripture for the classics quit,

Polite apostates from God's grace* to wit.

have only another advice to give upon

and that

is.

this

head,

That when young preachers think pro-

per to borrow from modern printed poems, thqy


would be pleafed to tranfpofe. them a little, fo to
fpeak, that they may not be too eafily difcerned by

young gentlemen who read the magazines.


ever, I

am

in great

hopes

we

(hall fhortly

Howbe quite

above the neceflity of borrowing from any body, in

ECCLESIASTICAL CIIARACTERISTlf S.

74

make our fermons poetry t"'.ere are fomeamong us, that can make veiy

order to

pcrfons of genius

good poetry of

their

own

which

of

duce fome recent inftances

but

could pro-

do not think

it

at

prefent expedient.

The fourth and iaft rule for a preacher, is, that


he muft " be very unacceptable to the people." The
Spe<lator, I

remember, fome where

fays,. that

of the critics in Great Britain feem to act as


firft

Now, what
I

make

they make the

leaft,

deed the grand

rule of writing plays,

but the moft important.

fliould pretend to

the former rules, and be wanting in

would be no more than " a founding


ling

cymbal

j"

man

I riiali

it,

Thofe whofe

allow to be good,

if

at

be acceptable to the

that he

in-

is

adhere to

tliis

all

alone, he

brafs, or a tink*

put a cafe

fup-

fhould have the approbation of the very

beft judges, viz.

to

not as

pardon the expreftion, the importance

of the matter requireth


pofe a

It

moft indifpenfable rule

criterion, the

Though one

all.

firft

the

to pleafe;**

compoung fermons

the Iaft rule for

being the

of

were " npt

rule of dramatic writing

mod

if

we

ourfelves

the fame time he happens

common

muft have fome

tafte

pej^ple,

it is

a (ign

fubtile refined fault,, which'

has efcaped the obfervation of the good judges aforefuid


ty,

jfor there
fo perfect

common
I

is

no man even of our own fraterni*

and uniform

in

judging right, as the

people are in judging wrong.

hope there

is

little

need of alhgning reafons

for this great chara<Sberiftrc of the art of preaching

I fuppofe

it

will be allowed to be, if not altogether,

at leaft next to felf-evident

all

the feveral reafons

that hav^ been given for the particular

maxims f

tCCLESIABTieAL CIlAIlACTERISTICS.

TJioderatlon,

concur in

people arc

declared enemies of moderation. In

all

and

pi'inclple

pral:ice

tion be right, they

known

this

and therefore

muft be wrong.

Heathen

ftory of a

common
his

eftabliflilng

75

for the

its

modera-

if

Tliere

is

who, when the

orator,

people gave a lliout of applaufe, during

pronouncing an

immediately turned

.oration,

about to a friend, and aiked him, what millake he

Now

had committed.

Heathens was allowed

an audience of vulgar

if

to be fo infallibly

wrong

in

their

judgment, the fame thing muft hold, a fzr^

t'loriy

in

aw audience of vulgar Chriftlans.

From

this

it

evidently follows, that a popular-

preacher eiTentially fignifies a bad preacher


is

always fo underftood by

exprelTion.

that he

are

is

If

we

but hear

it

and

reported of any one,


the lower fort,

cafe,

fame

inverted; for

is

we

a certain

deteft

In

guide to truth, by being

and defpife him, precifely.

in the fanie proportion that the people admire

On

we

of giving his charadler,

dilhculty

without Iiaving heard him preach ourfelves.


tills

it

whenever we ufe the

among

very popular

under no

us",

the other hand, the truly moderate

man

him.

is

not

only above the applaufe of the multitude, but he


glories in their hatred,

and rejoices

in himfelf,

in

proportion as he has been fo happy as to provoke

and

difoblige them.

,Of

notable examples, were

it

this I

could give feveral

not that

It

muft

offend iheir modefty, not only to praife


print, but even

certain]

them

in

to publifli their higheft virtues.

But now, upon the whole, as


that there is fometimes

obferves,

fliewn in a compofition, by receding

great

critic

more beauty
from the rules

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARAeTERlST;^.

X7<5

of

when an important

art,

poiiit is

than by ftrilly adhering to them


rules notwithflanding,

it fliall

to

be gained,

fo,

thefe

all

be allowable for any-

moderate man, upon an extraordinary emergency,

them

to break

may

fpeak

for a

good end

as for inftance,

he

when-

his

even in Whiteneld's

flyle,

fettlement has the misfortune to depend


,

which

people

cefs.

We

are alfo well fatisfied, that

of Norwich, and fuch like

make pompous

fenfe

is,

fhould

by altering Chrif-

common

moderation and

to

fuc-

of Scripture-texts, as

collei:ions

it

Mr.

firfl-rate writers,

their truly laudable intention


tianity, to reconcile

upon the

known done with good

have

and to find out a meaning to words which

the writers of them, as living in the infancy of the

church, had not difcernment enough to intend.

To

conclude

maxim,

this

it

would be too formal

for

me, and too tedious

all

the objel:ions that are, by fome, raifed againft

our way of preaching


but one, and fliew

fliall

is

falfe

it

reader will fuppofe there

any of the

reft.

It

is

therefore mention
,

hoping that the

no more foundation for

alledged, there

is

enumerate

to the reader to

is

no method

random
Nothing more
flights, and general declamations.
The polite reader, or hearer, knows that
untrue.

in

difcourfes, but that they coniift in

our

may be an

there

where there

are

fecondly, and thirdly

of cavil,

let

method,

excellent and regular

no formal
;

diftin6lions of firftly,

but, to cut off

all

occafion

the world hereby know,, that one o

our moft famed preachers chofe once for his text,

John

xi.

He

29. and of that verfe the following

ftinketh."

Me

obferved,

we had

words

there (or

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS,

177

thereabouts)'a defcription of the threefold flate of a

bad man

he fickened

firft,

he

thirdly,

This

flank.

fecondly he died

take to have been an

accuracy in point of method, to which

be

eaf)*-

MAXIM
A

it

will net

to find a parallel.

V.

mlnifler muji endeavour to acquire as great a degree

of polltettefs^ in his carriage and behaviour^ and


'eatch as

man, as

1 HIS

is

much of the

air

and mannei^ of a fine

to

gentle^

pojlbly he can,

mark between

ufually a diftinguifiiing

the moderate and the orthodox

have the advantage in

it is

and

how much we
Good

extremely obvious.

is undoubtedly the m.ofl excellent of all


accomplifhments, and in fame meafure fupplles the

manners

place of them
ly

all

And

wJien they are wanting.

nothing can be more neceflary

to,

mental and becoming in a minifter

fure-

more orna-

or

gains him
him from that
which renders many of them fo odious
:

it

eafy accefs into the world, and frees


rigid feverity

and detedable
times,

to the polite part of

minifters

were

ordinary, and {0 formal


pear, that
ly rakes

or,

all

and

fo

it.
In former
monkifh and reclufe for

when

they did happen to ap-

the jovial part of mankind, particular-

libertines, fliunned

when unavoidably thrown

and

fled

from them

into their

company,

were conflrained, and had no kind of confidence to


repofe in them; whereas now, let a moderate, modern, well-bred minifter go into promifcuous con>pany, they ftand in ho manner cf awe, and wiji

even fwear with

Vol. VI.

all

imaginable liberty.

This gives

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

1^8

the minilter an opportunity of underflandlng their


character, and of perhaps fometinies reafoning in an

manner

eafy and genteel

though indeed

it

feldom taken amifs

This,

againil fwearing.

feklom reforms them, yet

it

is

as

which fliews the counfel to

have been adminiflered with prudence.

How

is it

can underftand

poflible that a minifler

.wickednefs, unlefs he either pra6lifes

much
lows

himfelf (but

it

of that will not yet pafs in the world) or al-

tiie

wicked

to be bold in his prefence

To do

otherwife, would be to do in pra6t:ice what

known narrow-minded

have

blgotted (Indents do as

to

ipeculation, viz. avoid reading their adverfaries books

becaufe they were erroneous

no

error can be refuted

The

whereas

it is

evident

be underflood.

till it

fetting the different charaters of minifters

in immediate oppofition, will put this matter paft all


cloubt, as the fun of truth rifing

error, darkens

there are,

by

upon the

who may

be

eafily

known

their very drefs, their grave

is

this

and

how

like to

employments among us

by

of

to be minifters,

demure

their confined precife converfation.

ible

liars

and makes them to difappear. Some

looks,

and

How contempt-

fome of the meaneft

as failors

who

are

known

and taylors by the fhlvering

their rolling walk,

ihrug of their fnoulders! But our truly accompliilied


clergy put off fo entirely every thing that
to their profeffion, that
il;re.its,

meet with them

were you

to fee

at a vilit, or

is

peculiar

them

in the

fpend an even-

ing with them in a tavern, you would not once fuf-

pel them for


ihis, I

men

of that character.

remember an

Agreeably to

excellent thing faid

by

gen*

ECCLESIASTieAL CHARACTERISTICS.

79

tleman, In commendation of a miniftcr, " that he had

nothing
I

of the clergyman about him."

at all

maxim, when

fliall

have done witli

this

my

advice as to the

method of

given

which

is,

That

have

attaining to

ftudents, probationers, and

it

-,

young

clergymen, while their bodies and minds are yet


Ihould converfe and keep company, as

flexible,

may

as

be, with oOicers of the

whom

twenty, of

much

army under five and


number in the

there are no fmall

young gentlemen of fortune, partiearly and happy death of tlieir


have come to their eftates before they ar-

nation, and with


cularly fuch as,

parents,
rived at

but

Is

tiie

by the

years of majority.

Scarce one of thcfe

form upon

a noble pattern to

hav?

for they

had the opportunity of following nature, which

is

the

comprehenfive rule of the ancients, and of ac-

all

quiring a free

manner of thinking, fpeaking, and

ac):-

ing, without either the pedantry of learning, or tlie


fUfFnefs contra6ted

by

a ftrict

adherence to the max-

ims of worldly prudence.


After
tlie

all,

believe I might have fpared myfelf

trouble of Inferting this

maxim, the prefent

rifing

generation being of themfelves fuihciently difpofed


to obferve

This

it.

iiitutlonally, or

reckon they have, either con-

perhaps have learned

it

from the

mitable Lord Shaftefl^ury, who, in fo lively a

ner

fets

forth the evil of unlverfitles,

mends converfation with


the only

way

//

and recom-

the polite Peripatetics, as

of arriving at true knowledge.

MAXIM
is

Ini-

man-

VI.

not cnly ufijwccjpiryfor a moderate

man

to

have much

learningy hut h: ought to he filled with a contempt of

Q2

80

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

all hinds

cf learning but one s which

Leibnitz'' s fcheme well

is to

underfland

which are

the chiefparts of

fo beautifully painted, a?idfo harmonioufyfung by

<nd method by the late

A HIS maxim

is

enemy

Much

to.

men,

fludy

it

the
is

juft as a great care

affairs fpoils the free

and v/hether poiitenefs

;;.

neceiTary, becaufe without

to poiitenefs in

of haufehold
fine lady

immortal Air

former could not be attained


great

Lord

and which has becnfo well licked intofirm

Shaftejbury^

carelefs air of a
is

be facrificed

to

to learning, let the Tmpartial world judge.

Befides

the fcheme which I have permitted the moderate

man

to fludy, doth actually fuperfede the ufe of all

Other learning, becaufe

it

contains a knowledge of tjie

whole, and the good of the whole; more than which,


I

hope, will be allowed to be not only needlefs>

tut impofTible.

This fcheme excels

in brevity

dcrftood in a very fhort time

prompted
tlent

a certain

might get

as

have occafion for


agreeable to the
in arts

ially

much
in

fix

it

may be un-

which,

clergyman to

fay,

divinity as

weeks.

tliat

fuppofc,

any (lu-

he would ever

It

is

alfo

quite

improvements that have been made

and fciences of

now more

for

late years

for every thing

is

compendioufly taught, and more fupcrfi-

underftood than formerly, and yet as well and

better to

chanic

all

arts,

and eafe
ings, to

the purpofes of

life.

In the very me-

laborious diligence gives

way

as the lumpifli, ftrong, old

more

genteel, though flighter,

There have been fchemes

to elegance

Gothic build-

modern ones.

publiflied for teaching chil-

dren to read by way of diverfion. Every year gives us

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

l8l

know-

a fhorter method of learning fome branch of


In

ledge.

days the quintefTence

in thefe lail

fliort,

of every thing has been extra6ted, and


us, as

to

it

were, in

phials

little

is

Agreeably

learning by one adl of intuition.

all

we

to all this, have

not feen in

many

facSb^

who

of divinity brought up in hot-beds,

come

prefented

we may come

fo that

ftudents

have be-

fpeakers in general aflemblies, and ftrenuous

fupporters of a falling church, before their beards

were grown,
I

mud

obferve, that there

alfo-

When

prefent age and time.

and expence of boarding


landed

a providential

intereft,

and

the fees of colleges-

raifed

is

and,

quite altered,

is

is

fcheme, in another refpedV, for the

fitnefs of that

of living

an ob-

to the perfet aftonifliment of

ferving world

when
when a

the rate

fpiteful

a hecdiefs parliament,

have re-

fufed to grant any augmentation to our ftipends


there is no other

way remains

our education, by taking

lefs

for us^ but to

time to

it,

and

no need

at all for tlie critical

arriv-

Then

ing at the point defigned by a nearer cut.


there will be

cheapen

ftudy of

the Scriptures, for reading large bodies of divinity,

acquaintance

for an

with church-hiftory, or the

writings of thofe poor creatures the Chriftian fathers

but

whole

all

abforbed into the good of the

is

of which I

what Dr. Tlllotfon


tiation,

that

and will not

is

it

may

fay ferioufly

not only true, but

fuffcr

and

foberly,.

fays ironically of tranfubflan-

any thing

to

it is

all

truth,

be true but it-

felf.

We

find that

ititution,,

too

moderate

much

men have

fpirit to

Q3

moftly, by con-

fubmit to the drudgery

l82

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

.of the kinds of learning above-mentioned, and defpife

all

who do

There

fo.

is

no controverfy

no-w,"

about Arian, Arminian, Pelagian, or Socinian tenets,


but only whether this good of the whole fcheme

This fhews, by the bye, the injuftice and

holds.

who

malignity of thofe poor beings the Seceders,

cry out of erroneous do^rines in the church, and

Arminianifm is publicly taught by many.


known, that they mean by the moderate men,

aflert, that

It is

when

fpeak fo

tliey

and yet

affirm, that there are not a


characSler,

what

who,

if

will

venture to

few young men of

that

they were afked, could not

the five Arminian articles are, fo

regard Arminianifm.

myfelf,

little

tell

do they

reader will

the

know the number of them but whether


know any more about them or not, I fliall preIt will perhaps
ferve as a fecret in my own mind.

perceive,

be objected againft

this

maxim, That the moderate

party comimonly fet up on a pretence of being

learned than their adverfaries

and

in

are,

thouglit to be very learned in their fermons

vulgar,

who,

for that reafon hate them.

to their pretending to be
adverfaries,

been

fhcv'n_(

it

is

moit juft

fact

by the

Now,

more learned than


j

more

as

their

for they have, as has

got hold of the fum-total of learning,

rdthough they did not calculate

it

themfelves.

as to their being thought learned in their

by the vulgar,

it is

fuihcient for that purpofe that

they be unintelligible.
their fermons, as

And

fermons

Scattering a few phrafes in

harmony, order, proportion,

tafte,

fenfe of beauty, balance of the affections. Sec. will


cafily

and

perfuade the people that they are learned

this perfuafion is, to all intenis

and purpofes,

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
the fame thing as

thbfe

were

if It

Thefe phrafes they may


fize

may

be very deep, they

get

eafily

of an olavo

',

and

in

and

in

if

one of

is

to be fo beautiful

Eflays, has fliewn

above the

It

which Mr.

feelings

deceitful

true.

iSj

his

iifeful,

books not

they incline to

get abundance of citations

from the ancient Heathen authors in Cudworth's


Intelledlual Syftem, and moltly tranflated to their
hand.
I fliall

now

fubjoin a fhort catalogue of the moft

neceflary and ufeful books, the thorough under-

ilanding of which will

man

make

a truly

learned moderate-

Leibnitz's Theodicee, and his letters, Shaftef-

bury's Chara6lerifl:ics, Collins's Inquiry into

Liberty,
old as
II

's

* It

our

all

the

Mr.

-n's

D n's

Creation,

hath been suggested to mo,

own country ought

catalogue

tliut

as

Scheme, and
hit

are

Scots

another author of

to have been added to the above*

but I judged

One is, that 1 do not


among the moderate,

Befl

The two

Moral EfTays'.

Human

pieces, Chrifllanity

it

improper, for two reasons.

find that author in so higli esteem


as to deserve

a place

in so very

But the other, and principal


reason is, that the autlior here intended, professeth him?elf a sceptic ; the meaning of which, if I understand it
right, is, either that he does not believe there is any such
thing ^s truth, or that he liimself is 'but seeking after
truth, and has not yet found it.
Now this is b}' no means
the case with the moderate, who are already in possession
of the }ie plus ultra cf hunK\n knowledge. For though
some of tlieir doctriites are chan<;-e.';ble, by reason of tlie
f ssential difference of persons, things and times ; yet, during the period of any doctrine, I have no where known
stronger, or severer dogmatists ; as appears from their
nice and chosen a collection.

neglect of fvirther inquiry^ and sovereign contempt gf aU

ECCLESIASTICAL CKAIiACTERISTlC?^

184
authors

and

It

with pleafure

Is

countrymen, they are by

them

mj

moft perfect of

carrying the confequence of the fcheme

all,

As

to the moft raviihing height.

be

can afTure

far the

to poetry,

It

will

" the Pleafures of the Imaginaand the Tragedy of Agis," if it be publifhed ;

fufficient to read

tion,"

becaufe in

dramatic

it

fummit of perfetian

poetry

and

carried to the

is

is

it

believed, by the

author's friends, that there never will be a tragedy


it, unlefs by fomebody
But whether the knowledge of

publiflied after
lirious.

and the compaffion thence

may

and of

fo

is

de-

this effedl:,

arifing to future authors,

not, in a perfon of fo

felf-denial,

that

much

humility and

confummate and

difinterefted

benevolence, as that theatrical divine, wholly prevent the publication,

muft leave

it

Occafion, from the

But

to give a

cannot

tell

and therefore

be brought forth by the midwife

to

womb

flill

of Time*.

higher proof of

my

deep con-

cern for the improvement and edification of ingeni-

ous youth,

faithfully the

have taken the pains to extract very

fum and

and do here prefent

which

is

it

fubftance of the above library,.


to the world,

under a name

not without a meaning, though not intel-

ligible to all, viz,

pposers.

^In

a certain liniversity, abowt seven years

age

(how it is now, I cannot so certainly tellj if a man had


spoken honourably of Dr Samuel Clarke, it cannot be conceived with what derision he was treated by every boy of
sixteen, who was wiser than to pay any regard to such a
numscul, an enemy to the doctrine of necessity, and \^hoUy
ignorant of the moral sense.

Agis, a tragedy^ was published in the year 1758-

ecclesiastical chakacteristic5.

ij^^

The Athenian Creed.


1 believe in the

Dame

beauty and comely proportions of

Nature, and in almighty Fate, her only parent

and guardian;

for

obliged (blefled be

hath been moil gracioufly

it

name)

its

to niake

us

very

all

good.
I believe

that the

wound up from

huge machine,

number

of Imks and chains, each

motion towards the zenith of per-

in a progrelFive

fection,

is

by necefhty, and con-

fiding of an infinite

little

univerfe

everlafting

and meridian of glory

am

that I myfelf

glorious piece of clc*ckwork, a wheel within a

wheel, or rather a pcndalura in this grand machine,

fwinging hither and thiiher by the different impulfos


of fate and dcftiny

that

my foul

(if I

have any)

is afi

imperceptible bundle of exceeding minute corpufjles,

much

fmaller than the fmeit Holland fand

certain perfons in

and

that-

very eminent flation, are no-

thing elfe but a huge collection of neccflary agents,

who

can do nothing at

I believe that

^ny fuch thing

there

all.

is

no

ill

in the univerfe, nor

as virtue abfolutely confidered

thcfe things vulgarly called

fins,

that

are only errors in

the judgment, and foils to fet off the beauty of na-

adorn her face

ture, or patches to

that the

whole

race of intelligent beings, even the devils themfelves,


(if

there are any^) (hall finally be happy; fo that

Judas Ifcariot
it

is

good

In fine,

for
I

is

by

him

this

time a glorified

and

faint,

that he hath been born.

believe in the divinity of L.

faintfhip of

Marcus Antoninus,

fublimity of

e,

the

the perfpicuity and

and the perpetual duration of

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

1^6

Mr.

n*s

works, notwithftanding their prefent

Amen.

tendency to oblivion.

MAXIM
A moderate man
fomely

catiy

and avoid

to

endeavour^ as much as he ham!"

miijl

put

VII.

any appearances cf devotiony

off

all unnecejfary exercifes of religious ivorjhipy

nvhether public or private.

FULLY

Intended, upon this part of

to have been at

feme pains

my

fubjecb,

in fliewing the great in-

decency of a grave and apparently ferlous carriage,


or of introducing any religious fubje^l of converfi-

company

tion into promifcuous

how

fider

but u^hcn

fuccefsfully all vifible religion

con-

was

at-

tacked, both by wits and preachers, immediately


after the reftoration of

King Charles IL how con-

any difpofition of

ftantly

this fort

down bv all men of tafte ever


is now near a whole century

as

any religious difcourfe


either

among

is

to be

clergy or laity,

myfelf, and congratulate

hath been borne

fince that time,

alfo

how

met with
fhall

at this

day,

only rejoice in

my reader, upon

of the times, and proceed

which

feldom

the p.urity

to the other part of tho.

maxim.

Now,
fhlp

as to the public exercife of religious

although a certain meafure of them

able enough, and though the office

is

wor-

reafon-

by which we

have our bread, obliges us to be often engaged in

them

man, without renounpower to pare off a great

yet a truly moderate

cing his calling, has

it

many

with which the orthodox clergy

fuperfluities

in his

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
are apt to overload religion, and render

It

87

unpalata-

ble to the polite world.

Being members of church judicatories, and,

hope the majority

in

we

moft of them, the moderate

party can difcourage and

motions for ex-

all

(lifle

; which experience
promote idlenefs, and

traordinary fafts or thankfgivings

has taught us ferve only to

Upon

difcourage induftry.

fought

at

the day that

Agincourt, a folemn

land for his fuccefs

fall

Henry V.
was kept in Eng-

and fome hlftorians are plea-

*,

fed to fay, that the prayers of the nation had

ilnre in procuring the victory


liave

difproved this

flrated

upon paper,

50,000!. to

it

can be demon-

day

in Scotland lofes

the nation, while

any calculation what

was very

now

and

that a faft

it

fome

but later hiftories

wins.

refrefhing to hear, as

nobody can make


For

we

this reafon,

it

did lately, that

even in the moil diftant and northerly corners of


this country, there

*lt,

who

is

a fet of clergy of an heroic fpi-

are refolved to reform their people, and beat

them out of that unpollte and barbarous inclination,


which many of them fllll retain, of hearing fermons.
With a view to the fame good end, we can curtail
our bufmefs at home, both as to the number and
length of our pulpit performances.
milies,

though

it

ent to imitate the beau

monde

difcarding the worfldp of

God

then

at lead,

at other times

fome

parts of

altogether
it,

yet

not incline to put

we

now and

and in gentlemen's

families, take care to give difcreet intimations that


*io

fa-

through hurry

be dropping,
it ;

own

yet be conveni-

fo very quickly, in

may, by degrees, fometimes omit


of bufmefs,

In our

would not perhaps

we

them out of their ordinary way,

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS*

83

or occafion the leaft interruption to the mirth of th^

company.

Sometimes indeed

may happen, by

it

a concur-

rence of circumftances, that one of us may, at bedtime, be unequally yoked with an orthodox brother,

M'ho

may

propofe a

little

tween ourfeives, before


there are twenty

fuch a motion

ways

or, if

unfeafonable devotion be-

we

down

to fteep

of throwing cold water


it

be

fliould

could recommend a moderate


it,

lie

way

infifted

but

upon

upon,

of complying with

from the example of one of our friends, who, on a


he flood up at the

like occafion, yielded fo far, that

back of a chair, and faid, " O Lord, we thank thee


" for l^Jr Bayle's Dictionary. Amen." This was
fo far

from fpoiling good company, that

ed wonderfully to promote

ened the young


their reft

ought

to

men

in a

Whatever
be avoided

tan faid of fquare caps,

it

focial mirth,

contribut-

and fweet-

moft agreeable manner for


is

forced

is

unnatural, and

and therefore, what the

we may

P^-

apply to m.any modefc

of devotion, " That he would not wear them, becaufe his head was round.'*

The neceiTity of fuch a condu6l cannot be denied,


when it it is confidered what eiFeft the length and
frequency of public devotion has had in driving

mod

of the fafliionable gentry from our churches altogether

*,

and

that even fuch of

them

as

ft ill

vouchfafe

away from
their company
the facrament of the Lord's fupper, where the fervice is expected to be more tedious and tirefome.
Now, the only way to regain them to the church, is
foinetimes, are yet driven

to

accommodate the worfhip,

as

much

as

may

be, to

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
their tafte

known,
I

viz.

is

S9

fo well

that I will not fpend time in explaining

it.

confefs there has been fomctimes an ugly objcc-

up

tion tlirown

in

manner of doing which

the

That

high

againft: this part

argument,

this defertion of public worftiip

life,

by thofc

feems, in fact, to be contemporary with,


in a pretty exa6t proportion, to the

and to increale,

attempts that have been, and are


It is afierted,

iheir talle.

a conduct, not

tliat

made

to fuit

it

to

they are led to fuch

by the dictates of

by the depravation of

make

my

of

their rcafon, but

their hearts

and therefore

ufe of the behaviour of the clergy, as an ex-

In anfwer

cufe and juftification of their condui:.


to this

objcdion,

I fhall

not pretend to fay what nfe

gentlemen may fomctimes make of our condudl:, for


I

have known them very often prepofterous in their

judgment, condemning others for what they freely


dulge in themfelves, and no

But

ing evil for good.

lefs

I fay,

there remains no

man
comes much

of moderate prin^

flill

ftrength in the objection to a


ciples

for

or the

it

plainly

to the

whether the mountain comes

at lail,

moufe

to the

mountain.

fame thing

to the

moufc,

If I fhould

meet a

friend half-way, that had got at a diftance from

though he

fliould not

lliould be nearer

in-

unthankful, render-

move

a foot, I

one another, than

if I

am

fure

had kept

me,

we

my

place as well as he.

But whatever be
to be conftantly

in this, I muft acknowledge, that


whining and praying, looks fo ex-

tremely orthodox-like, that


a prejudice at

it,

cannot help conceiving

for this very i-eafon

and

doubt

not but every moderate man, will have the very fame
fellow-feeling.

VoL

VI.

In truth, a great abundance of dc~

lyO

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

votion

fuch a tendency to Inflame one v/ith zeal,

lias

that any

man who would

had

keep out of the reach of fuch enfnaring

bell

Befides,

fluence.

it

maintain his moderation,


in-

has been an old remark, and

begin to fufpeft there

fome ground

is

one embrace what fyflem of

divinity

for

he

it,

that let

will,

it

is

impoffible to pray but according to the orthodox fyf-

And

tem.

Avhatever laudable pains had been taken

by fome of our

friends, to avoid

venience

from what

yet,

moil fuccefsful of them,

mud

remedy but

fent fee no other

fome of

this incon-

have obferved

own,

can

in the
at pre-*

to deal as little that

way

polTible.

as

MAX M

VIII.

which are

c our ch-fet thin entSy

//;

the principal catifcs

that come he ore minijler s for judgment ^ the only thing


to he

regarded

who

is,

noble heritors are for


f.scple

J.

are

HAT

moderate
that ever

this

men

maxim
is

"

at

The

prefentations
is

is

certain,

were prefent

prefentation

and

the great

and

common

to he utterly defpifed.

national church.

when

the patron

the inclinations of the

all

invariably obferved by

all

and may be attefled by


a General AiTemably of

cafe

is

not

now

all

this

as formerly,

were held a grievance; for a


in ail" to a moderate man and
:

no prefentation, the greatnefs and noI was witbility of the heritors are upon one fide.
nefs once to a caufe (which indeed unhappily mif-

when

there

is

carried) but there

was

a noble (land

made

for

it

by

the moderate party, becaufe there was a lord upon


the Hde of the minority, although* he had no interell

ECCLESIASTICAL CITARACTEKIS TICS.


the

at all in

parifli,

but a fmall

it

was

in

order to run a

This appearance greatly rejoiced me,

dike ftraight.
as

of ground which

bit

hid got from a neighbour,

lie

I9I

a token

to vviiat perfe6lion the fpirit

af

moderation was arrived.

There
is

the

many

arc

founded
elders

reafons upon whicli

and

common

people,

my

without exprefFing

it

ment, that

fo clear-fighted

bear to

and their con-

wrong judgment,. which has been


As this is fo very evident,
ed above.
flant

pafs

maxim

tliis

we

the implacable iiatred

as

illuih-at-

cannot

grief and afloniih-

an author, and in

re-

all

fpeits fo agreeable to our fentiments, as lord Shaftefbury, (hould have faid, in his Eflay

dom
of

Wit and Humour,

of

that

It <*

on the

men

principles to affc6l a fuperiority over the

flavilli

vulgar, and to defpife the multitude."

made me

This

doubt the truth of an aflertion of

L. one of our

own

difciples, that perfe6lion


for, if ever

life ;"

perfe61;ion,

furely lord Shaftelbury

But, to leflen the difficulty a


in his

tling of kirks,

when he wrote

Mr G.
attain-

was the man.

little, it is

had fomething

is

liath

any one attained to

able in this

bad he

free-

belongs to

probable he

view, quite different from


in this

manner

fet-

for

our times, and been an heritor in

lived in

Scotland,,! can hardly allow myfelf to think, that


ever he would have appeared on the fide of the
Chrlftian people

though, without

would have been chofen an


ly attefted," to the

But

to return

elder,

all queilion, he
and fent up, du-

General Affembly.
Tlie natural refpet

we owe

thofe in great and high flations, claims of us the

mony of it required in

the

to

tefti-

maxim. There isanoriginal

]l 2

792

and

ECCLtSIASTlCAL CHARACTERISTieS*

For

between gentry and

eflential difference

people,

which ought

we have

this,

who

Of

up

here.

always maintained upon his

a {cnfe of his dignity, not as a

gentleman.

common

the authority of a certain worthy

^aird in the country,

mind

to be particularly kept

ing laudable inftance

man, but

as a

he gave the follow-

this difpofition

Being a member of the kirk-

happened to
and befides the

fcffion in his parifn, the excife-officer

come before them

for fornication

eccleiiaftical cenfure,

ply to the

civil

ing to

for

lavv-

men

was thought proper to aphim fined accord-

it

magiftrate to get

but as the law appoints different fines

in diiTerent flations,

be fined

lie fliould

worfiiipful

when fome propofed

at the rate

of a gentleman, the

member above-mentioned, though known

to be very zealous againft vice, ftrenuoufly oppofed


his having fo

much honour, and gave

excellent rcafon for

been pleafed

men and

to

it

make a

ether men,

the following

" Since God Almighty has

diftinftion

why

diilinclion in all cafes ?"

between gentle-

we

fiiould not

And

fo

keep up

he was

this

fined only

commoner.
Another thing (Irongly pleads for gentlemen having the chief hand in fettling kirks, that now-a-days
as a

very few of our principal gentry attend ordinances^


or receive any benefit by a miniiler after he

is

fettled,

news at a private vifit^


back-gammon and therefore

-uiilcfsperh^^ps talking of the

or playing a
it is

but

common

fair,

game

at

that in lieu of the edification of the

people, they (liould have the honour or

profit of conferring the benefice.

fliall

only fur-

ther add, that having no view of attending upon

him

for ordinary, they muft: be the befl judges of his

ECCtESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
preaching

which

mod

as being

gifts,

1^^

difinterefled

for

reafon, non-refiding heritors, inftead of de-

ferving to be cut out altogether, as the ftupid and

undifcerning orthodox would have

are by

it,

much

to be preferred to thofe that re fide.

The
thofe

reader will eafily perceive, that

much

given

commonly

of patrons

affigned, viz. the law, in the cafe

and the payment of the flipend, in the

cafe of heritors.

quite

For, as to the

from the purpofe

to us to determine

on any

to determine

other, about

not juft

*,

it is

law maintains

If the

we

fide

never would be pleaded

of thefe,

firft

for the

own ground as far as it goes, and


The only queflion is, How we fhall
is left

have here

better reaiens for this condu6l than

is

a6b as to

what

law hindered us

pleafed, fuch caufes

As

before us.

to

the heritors paying the flipend,

for the

its

irrefiftible

whole nation pays

it

the heritor

upon them

gets his lands with that burden

the
it is

at firft

and when one buys land from another he never


pays for the ftipend fo really an heritor, is never a
:

penny the poorer of the

ftipend, except that

pening commonly to fee the money

any body

firft,

he

hap-

may

but
though
thefe
However,
himfclf.
reafons be not
fufficient at bottom, I deny not but it may be very
proper to aftign them to fuch as are ignorant
perhaps be

enough

forry that

to yield to

them, or

who

fliould get

have fo fqueamiflv

ftomachs as not to be able to digeft the


fons
is

upon which

have grounded

beft agree

with

its

as

it is

able

it

to bear,

muft be
and

frame and ccnftituilon.

R3

folid

my maxim.

with the mind as with the body,

with fuch things

it

reaIt

feet

as wilh

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTETllSTICSi

194

MAXIM
Wh'de ajettlement
nvhom

IX.

carrying on^ the cnndidate ngaifij^

rs

from the peophy


and every ivhere declared to he^

there is a Jlrcmg cppofttion

wii/i be looked upoHy

a per/on of great ivorth, and remarhahle

abilities

provided alivays, that if ever the fame perfon, after


he

and fucceed in gaining


much belonv

be at pains^

is fettled^

hefhall then fall as

pyeoples's affection^

the

the

ordinary jlandard in his charaElcry as before he ivas

raifednhove

l)OTH

it,

ronable to

good preacher,
pretty

principles,

tedt ^"

"

will appear very rea-

that fee with our eyes.

all

being againft a man,

alfo a

maxim

parts of tins

is

as has

a certain fign of his being a

been formerly proved

fign of his

fiu-e

The people
:

it

i*

being of moderate

make the comers thereunto pcrtwo things are fufficlent to juftiFy

wliicli

and thefe

us in raifing his character.


iutely neccirury,

when

It is

a procefs

indeed often abfo-

is

in agitation, that

him out with a fcanty concurrenee, and


have an influence upon the church courts, which
are compofed of a mixed multitude. Nor is it eafy
it

may

help

to conceive, liow excellent and well invented a

pon

this

is,

the giving a

high chara6ler.

It

man an

wea-

extraordinary and

neceflarily imprints a kind of

veneration of him on the minds of his judges; and

hath

this peculiar

rying of
principles
di<fi

it:

for

may

ivEvt'^y

advantage, that there

is

no par-

whatever fome few of different

think, they dare not plainly contraJ^*in

has

it

in his

power

to fpeak

ECCLESlAbTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

of one another, but nobody niufl take the

r^ell

berty to fpeak

ill

of a

man

time have

men

heard young

li-

in a public court, unlcfs

can alfo venture to give him a

lie

IQ5

Many

libel.

highly extolled in

church courts, when their fettlement was in dependence, who, in

truth,

flril:

were but middling kind

who

of men, and fom-e of them very heavy,

after-

wards proved no fmall incumbrance upon the moderate body.


to the other part of the

maxim, taking av/ay

when

they apoRatize to or-

As

their charal:er for ability

be

this will

thodoxy,

accounted

eafily

for,

be

if it

was

remembered how
given them ; and therefore it may be taken away
It was given to bring them in as an
at pleafure

came by

they

It

it.

freely

additional flrength
therefore,

when

the moderate intereft

to

they forfake

but juft to deprive them of

jed, that

this

of veracity,

as

**

in

which an

once v/rote
the whole

end

ftricl

is

ob-

rules
that

in

comparifon of that which


Virtue does not

now

con-

acting agreeably to the nature of things,"

Dr. Clarke aflirms

truth,"

it

Ihall

fchemiC of moral philofo-

prevailed fome time ago.


fift

intereft,

any

may be remembered,

it

much improved

is

If

not agreeable to the

is

dcfire

the prefent fafliio;iable

phy

that

ir.

and

nor

in

" acting according to

book

to

prove

and therefore an

;"

WooUallon,
" the good of

old i'ciicol-mafter, one

fanfliiies the

means of

but in

illuftrious

attaining

it.

and noble

Our

fenti-

ments, in thib refpecl, are dcfcribed by an anonymous


poet,

ever

who,
it

believe

meant no good

to us

how-

points out the charaOer pretty plainly thus

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS^

1^6

" To second him rose surly Peter,


" An angry bigot for good-nature
" That truth should valued be by measure,
:

** And weight,
he thouglit
" That inch of truth, in courtesj'-,

" To span of interest should give way ;


And pound of gain, for ounce of lie,

**

*'

If

it

tisfies

Is cheaply bought.'*

be further objeded, That

As

neceflary to fatisfy the world.


freely fay, that the

bad

this only fa-

ftlll

ourfelves, whereas in thecafe in hand,

and that

is

man was

we can
now he

to this,

good, but

no contradilion

it is

for

ic?

though the

Confeffion of Faith maintains the infallible perfe-

we never afhrmmen in moderation,

rerance of the faints in grace, yet

ed the neceffary perfeverance of

thefe two things being entirely diftincSt the one


from the other. Some of your friends do fall away

now and
in

then

our ftrength, for ordinary, confifls

young men

for there are feveral,

who,

in old

age, through the decay of their faculties, begin to


incline a little

them, not "

orthodoxy, and then,

to

oM

ever, there are

we term
How-

men," but " old wives."


alfo

who

fome,

not only do perfe-

vere, but glorioufly improve in moderation

in old

number was
the late Rev. Mr. J. R. in K. whofe name I have
thought proper to record in this immortal worky
age, and to their dying day

that

it

may be had

of which

in everlafting

MAXIM
IVhemver
belly

ive

xemembrance^^

X.

have got a fettlement decided over

perhaps of the ivhole people in

the parijlj^

majority in the General Ajprnbly, the

tJSe

by a

victory JJ.ouU

I97

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

imprcvedy by appchitwg fame of the orthodox op-

he

pcfeis of the fettlemeut to execute

them that pretend


kav'ifig

to

cfpechdly thofe of

li,

have a fcniple of confcience at

an affive hand

in any fuch fettlement*

do not deferve a viaory, who know not


how to pulh it, or to improve the advantage they
A fentence of the General Affembly,
have gained.

TpIEY

fignlfies nothing, if

even as of any other court,

To

not executed.

it

with the vilory

reft fatisfied

be

we

have gained, by the bare decifion, would indeed


be yielding

we

it

gained

back again, and lofing in fa6l, what

in

But the next pohit


executing

it

This

appearance.

thofe

Who

is.

who

doing what ap-

at

to their difordered intellects to

finful

call

few

alk a

Now,

who

appointed, or thofe

pretend a fcruple of confcience


pears

felf-evident.

is

be employed in

fliall

as to this,

plain queftlons.

Is

be what they

allow

me

only to

not every foclety di-

vided into the governing, and the governed, the

and the fervants

mafters,

What

is

fubjefc

tlie

of any debate in the AfTembly, that ends in a vote,

but to determine
Other?

who

when once

is

the one, and

vote

lias

made

who

is

the

us mafters,

docs not the fame vote make the minority fervants

And do

need

to afic further,

of drudgery to be performed,
the mafters or the fervants
cafe in hand.:

fording a river,

ef

it

pulpit

before

Who
if

him

.''

if

there

who

Apply

Who

any piece

it

belongs to,

this

then to the

own

life in

to try the

depth

would hazard

he had a fervant

is

.f"

his

would chufe

to

go

to a

under a Ihowcr of ftones from an enraged

jopulace,

if

he .had others under \a% authority,

IpS

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

whom
rand

he could fend upon the fame ungracious er-

Now,
dent

the ufefulnefs of this conduct

for

obey.

it

is

If the

plain, they will either


firil

is

we

the cafe, then

very evi-

is

obey or
ihall

dif-

have

the honour of bringing them, and they themfelves

the profit and advantage of being brought, into the


Iiatred

common

and abhorrence of the

If

ah"er.dy.

people

in

enough has been fiid


they difobey, they mull be depofed, and

commendation, of which

ftate,

caft out as incorri':nble,to

make way

better than themfelves.

This will be

tage of the^ church

for thofe that are

young men,

for

much better than old.


As this method of. purging

advan-

to the

ceteris paribuSy

are

rupt

members

our days,
but

thefe

is

fhall

the church of cor-

be a prevailing meafure in

like to

endeavour to fupport

demonftrative arguments

which, indeed,

have

Ihall

little

it

by

in

a few,

mofl:

of

more than the

honour of recording the fentiments and reafoning


of fome eminent

two

laft

men

that

In the Jirfi place,

it is

of a proper authority

certain, that the

fufhcient to

is

right and ftri^tly obligatory

executioner fhould be

nay,

happened

if

to

infomuch, that

commanded

ther or fon for praying to


j

command

make any

ac-

and lawful, but perfectly

tion not only innocent

ble

were members of the

General AfTemblies.

to

God, or reading

one of Jefus Chrift's

have been a

hang

Roman

an

his Bi-

difciples

foldier,

if

his fa-

had

and fhould

have been commanded to crucify his mafter, he


iJiould

have bbtrayed the moil egregious ignorance

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

Ipf

f the Chriftian religion, had he made the lead difficully in executing fuch orders.

no purpofe here

It is to

to obje6l the immutability

God

of moral laws, and the fupreme authority of


for

obedience to

if

human

authority be one of his

laws, as

it plainly is, then all his other laws muft


be fubmitted to fuch alterations and fufpenfions as

The

our fuperiors think proper.

deed Ibmetimes fpeak of " obeying

man

;"

we

but

ther text,

in

which feems

may come

that good

we do

chapter of the

to teach, that
:"

ano-

Romans,

" we fhould not do

for as in the

ever promotes good cannot be evil;

in-

rather than

explain this as eafily as

the third

do

apoilles

God

one

evil

what-

cafe,

the other,

fo, in

if

human authority be once duly interpofed, it is obeying God to comply with whatever is enjoined thereby

;'

and therefore

it is

impofTible that ever there can

an interference happen.
muft, no doubt, be made

and difadvantages which

Befides,

fome allowance

for the difference of times,


all

the ancient writers lay

under, the late fine improvements in the fcience of

morals not having then been excogitated.

which

allure the reader, the principle

down,

is

now

But
I

have

can
laid

the do6lrine of this church, wherein

both divines and lawyers

who

are

members

of our

Allemblies, are entirely agreed, and will not fuffsr

any body

to call

it

in

And what

queftion.

an ob-

vious beauty has moral virtue gained from the delicate

and

Ikilful

hands that have

ployed in drelhng her ladyfliip

and

rigid, like ice or

cold iron

lately

been em-

She was once


j

now

fhe

is

ftifF

yield-

ing as water, and, like hot iron from the furnace,

can

eafily

be beaten into what fliape you plcafe.

aoo

ECCLESIASTICAL CtlARACTERISTies.

And

here I muft

fine

and

man

that great

fo

" even

that a cafe

iit-

may be

ecclcfiaftical

any difference,
of the two)

may be refilled ; and


when a foldier ought to

military authority

given,

4ifobey orders :" for

is

now

a fettled point, that

it is

authority (which, if there were

allow ought rather to be the milder

down

fufficient to bear

were once called the " e ternal,'


mutable laws of morality
rity.

Itarted a

preferved from

into fo great a blunder as the maintaining,

falling

even

pity, that fd

was not

that the moral fenfe

earlier,

that

fome

it

genius as Grotius did not flourifh fomewhat

later, or
tie

think

f;iy,

" paramount

Is

I fhali

;'*

only obferve

with

tirely in

The

it is
it,

it

what

<*

im-

and, by divine autho-

to divine authority itfelf."

two very

plain and clear ad-

vantiges in this principle, whereby

how happy

before

no Jefs, and

it

will appear,

that the church hath fallen fo en-

and proceeds

j^r/? is, that

fo

uniformly upon

it.

cafe of necellity, an action

in

which no body would chufe perhaps to take the


weight of upon them, may yet be done without the
hazard of any body's being called to account

leaft

for

it

If the doer of an adtion

in the other world.

were to be the judge of

its

lawfulnefs, he might be

damned perhaps for doing it,


but upon this
to be wrong
;

in cafe

obedience to his fuperiors, there


defence
it

it

was not

it

were found

principle of implicit
is

his province to

no repelling his
judge whether

was lawful or unlawful; and the Afiemby or

CommifTion
tic,

are,

who

gave the order, being bodies poli-

by that time,

all dilTolved,

and appear only

in the capacity of individuals*

The

other advantage

is

this, that if the

fupremc

iOI

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

court of any kind, were allowed to be the only pro-

per judge of the lawfulnefs of


it

would be

f ver there could

in

is

own

appointments,

be a fcparation in the church, or a

rebellion in the ftate.

qucnce

its

impoiiible, in the nature of things, that

The

juftncfs of this confe-

fo evident, that I fliall

illuftrating

irom which

were

flows,

it

not fpend any time

but heartily wiih the principle

it,

univerfally embraced.

In the fecond place, the difobedient brethren have

but one pretence for their conduct, which


lefs, viz. a

hear

" fcruple of confcience

Dr Goodman,

tender confcience

and uninftructed

is

:"

Englifh writer

nothing

elfe

iiaind

"

but an ignorant

or a fickly, melancholy,

no fuch thing

is

ground-

a noble

and fuperftitious underftanding."


fhew, that there

is

as to whicl^^

could eafily

as a real fcruple

of confcience

who

of as great penetration as any in the

are

men

the lawyers in the General Aflembly,

land, have moft of

do not conceive
gentleman of

away

them

it

this court

minifters flipends

The renowned

fcience.

finition

learned

certain

hath alTured us, that taking

would enlighten

their con-

author of Hudibras

fame opinion

to be of the
rities I will

plainly declared, that they

poflible.

is

known

from which two autho-

Dr Goodman*s de" tender confcience is not an ignorant


" full ftomach." This accounts for

endeavour to amend

for a

mind," but a

appearances better, and particularly for the epithet


of tender,

commonly given to it,


wound upon a

are agreed, that a

very dangerous.

full

ftomach

is

Having thus rooted up the very

foundation of this pretence,

through the fevcral particulars

Vol. VI.

as all phyficians

it

is

needlefs to

infifteJ

go

upon by the

202

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

ditobedient as flraitening to
fliall

pretend

it is

and therefore

a profane farce to confer, in

manner, the care of the

when

nothing

a benefice

But

body can be

is

title

And

be not

it

to ordain a

to the other part of the ob-

as

man

much more

mock cerewhen a

to a congregation,

benefice cannot be conferred,

to the

leave the reader to determine, as


his

without

charge of horning for the ftipends could

whether

mony,

and proper

tr>ue

piece of formality,

a necefTary

not be raifed
je6^ion,

not extremely

it

fo dull as not to re-

gard :hefe queltions in their only

cannot con-

anfwer feveral of the queftions common-

put on thofe occafions.

which,

a folemn

really conferred but a legal title to

is

ilrange, that any

light, .as

They

fouls of a certain people^

as alfo, that the candidate

fcientioufly
ly

them

but in a word mention one of them.

if

fhall

the cafe were

own.

The

-fkird

founded,

mentioning of

world

how

upon which our conduft

principle

it

little it

fuiHcient to convince

is

light than as
if

all

ftands in need of any proof

cordingly no moderate

That

is

of fuch undoubted verity, that the bare

is

man

views

it

in

the
ac-

any other

an axiom, or felf-evident truth; namely,

any excufe for difobedience were once ad-

mitted, or any indulgence granted to thefe tender-

confcicnced inferiors, there would be an end of

government in an inilant

neither

all

commands nor

obedience could proceed one itep further, but every


individual inflrument of power, in that fatal fociety,
aftoniflied
flare at

at

the nionllrous phienomenon,

one another

machine would flop

all

at

would

the wheels of the political

once

nay,

would

fplit

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACl'ERlSTICS.
into ten ihoufand piccos

203

every relation and con-

nection of their parts would be inftantly diflblved,

and the beautiful whole would

into

rufli

The

chaos of anarchy :\m\ confufion.

too wife to offer a

Cdfily believe, I ani

pwof

axiom or felf-cvident truth*; however,


but

fair to

inform him, that fuch

wild

reader will

of an

think

it

the nature of

is

paper and ink, that they have not the power of doing
is

it all

which

the juilice even in narration, of

capable

Whoever

elfc where.

monftrative tone, or beheld the infallible


gefture of certainty, with which

it

has heard the dc-

it

air,

and

has been aflerted

by an Affembly-orator, would be afliamed that he


for my
ever Itood in need to be put in mind of it
:

own
the

part, I

mod

in the

am

fo entirely influenced

faithful, diligent,

and

Wy

it,

tb^t if

ufeful fervant, fliould,

humbleft manner repyefent

a fcruple about .executing any of

to

me, that he had

my

orders, and

beg

me on Sunday

to be excufcd, fuppofe

from

morning, and

unfortuirately be fo far off

my

I fliould

fliaving

guard, as for once to indulge him,

mediately diffolve
tJiink of

unhappy

my

would im-

whole family, and never more

lodging with a living foul under the fame


roof.

Againfl

this principle,

however, fome have,prc-

* I desire that tliis

general assertion may not be misintended a reflection upon some late


discoveries in moral philosophy ; for though an axiom, or

understood, as

if I

self-evident truth, cannot be proved

a great genius,
; yet
take a view of these same
axioms, dignity and adorn thtm, by writing an essay
round about each of them, and prove that tliey ouc^lit to
be called Feelings.
This is greatly to the advantage.^ ol'tlie

who can do any

thing,

may

ccmmoi.wealth of learning,

as experience

hath shewn.

204

feCGLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

fumed

to obje(^ particular Inftances In Scrlpture-

hlftory, of fuch excufes

being

actually admitted>

without any apparent diflblution of the conftitution

fuch as Gideon's pafling from his order to his fon

two princes of Midian, and

to kill the

himfelf

refufed to
affair

fall

upon the

them

flaying

and that of Saul, who when

his guards

committed that

priefls,

Now,

to another, without any farther noife.

not to mention the. difficulty of arguing from

faiSls

and

of an ancient date, cited only by one author,


that very curtly,

humxbly conceive thefe inftances

produced, make directly againft the objediionj for


it

appears ta

me

very evident, that the kingdom was

taken from Saul and given to David, for this very


reafon, he

unfit tn

beinf^c

,^

'--

nis authority to be trampled

eafy to aflign
pofterity of

any

'

oy

gvfciii,

upon.

different reafon,

'
allowing
tfius n,.r:A

Nor will it be
why none of the

Gideon were ever permitted

to

There are fome later inftances of that


nearer hpme, thrown up by fhallow politicians

rule
fort

Ifrael.

as

hangman at Ayr, who refufed to execute


the Whigs in King Charles the ll.'s time
and
that which happened a few years ago among ourfelves, when the civil government overlooked the

that of the

difobedience of a fet of refrakory clergymen,

who

refufed to read the adi of parliament againft the

murderers

of Captain Porteous.

In the

for they deprived the

man

of his benefice

the crime of his difobedience,


died childlcfs, for

am

of

and for

perfuaded he

have never heard of any of his

pofterity In that part of the country.

cafe, I confefs

firft

manner

ihefe cafes, the judges a6led in a laudable

the government

In the other

was much

to

be

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
blamed

and have long been of opinion, that their

was the caufe of the

deteftable lenity, at that time,


late rebellion,

come;

to

which followed

fo foon after

It

it.

be hoped they will take warning for the time

to

is

20^

for I

am

perfuaded, one other inflance of

the (iime kind would efFedtually fet the Pretender

upon the throne of

The

Britain.

lad principle which

which, with the

am
maxim

reft,

cient to fupport the

That the

mention, and

fliall

fure

abundantly

is

down

laid

fuffi-

for our eon-

method of convi6^ion, and

du6^,

is.

of

others the moft proper for a church-court,

all

beft

that of authority, fupported in

cenfures,

which may be

pacities, as depofition,

its

higheft rigour

by men of the

felt

as well as office. If the goodnefs of an

frequency of recourfe that

is

is

can difpute precedency with

it

dulleft ca-

and fufpenfion from benefice

the excellency of a method,

ed

is

by

to be

had

to

this.

argument, or

meafured by
it,

It

I think,

th^j

none

muft be allow-

moft Chriftian method

to be, of all others, the

reigned over the whole church without a rival, for

many

ages

and though proteftants for a while pre-

tended to find fault with

mies

able to

make

ufe of

And whether we
weapon

hands

this

upon

whom

As

it,

all,

it

they became
in their turn

confider the majority, by


is

whofe

tq be wielded, or the minority


it

muft

fall, it

will plain-

admirably fuited to the prefent times.

to the beafts of burden,

who

method, they are known

lifolefs

hands of their ene-

when

have not tried

the weight of

ly appear to be

this

in the

it

which of them

yet,

fall to

to

be driven by

be fuch

dull,

and

animals (as they are moft of them paft the

vigour of vouth) that no other argument can

S3

make

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

lOv')

any

imprefTion

upon them.

However

liorf^

might be managed, who is a generous creature,


no body could think of another method to make
an

afs mo.ve,

but conftantly to belabour

There cannot be

fides.

its

a clearer evidence of the dulnefs

and ftupidity of thefe obftinate beings we have

to

do

with, than the expence of rhetoric that has beerv

thrown away upon them, to perfuade them of a


thing as clear as the fun, viz. that

they had any

if

confcience they would depofe themfelves, and yield


their place to

more

They even

pliable fuccefibrs.

pretend confcience here again

and

tell

us they are

placed in a ftation which they dare not defert, unlefs

they be thrull out of

how

judge

Now,

it.

find difficulty in fo plain a cafe

neceflary

be

let

the reader

incapable of perfuafion one muft be, to

it is,

that a

more

and therefore

eftij6lual

method

how

fliould

tried.

On

the other hand, the majority in AiTembhes

and Commifllons feems

at prefent to

be peculiarly

adapted to fuch a method of convi61:ion as

mentioned. One part of our flrength


who attend our judicatures ; thefe,

no benefice

have

the laity

lies in

as they poflefs

in the church, they are out of the

reach

of this fort of cenfure, and therefore are only capable of

inflil:in.g,

they are not


confcience,

when

but not of fufFering

much accuftomed

it j

and

as

to folving cafes of

what other method can occur

to

them,

things of this nature are thrown in their way,

than the more gentleman-like method, for which

Alexander the Great

is fo

juftly celebrated, viz, cut-

ting the troublefome knot,

which they would

tedious and difacuU to untie

The reH

find

of our fide

conn lis

ECCLESIASTICAL CIIARACTLRITSICS.

IQJ

who

as they

enough

cular, I

a61:

Though

judgment.

fort

of the manners of gentlemen,

be fuppofed to

toric

youngeft

in clergy of the

are Imitators

may

public

fpirit in

they can give flourifhes of

nay, though of one

may

with the f^ime

,of

them

rlie-

in parti-

literally fay,

He cannot ope
His mouth, but out there

yet as for logic,


tion

is

it Is

well

fallen into great

a trope

flies

known

this part

contempt

and

expelled, that fuch brilk and lively

of educanot to be

it is

fpirits,

who hive

always hated every thing that looked fcholaflic-like,

can bear to be tied

in this

down

to the flrid

method of convit^ion,

eafdy fuppofed too

warm

yet our blood

we

are

own

we muft

its

is

fo

No

fuccefs

ourpower, as a late
more agreeable for being new ;
the fweets of authority, which can

the majority, and


the

is

tafte

only be by compelling our inferiors to obey us.

our fentences are execute^d,


the

ar-

may be

for any thing that

flow, and at beft fo uncertain in

acquifition,

methods of

But though we were greater maflers

gumentation.

new incumbent,

it

If

the fame thing to

is

the fame thing to the church in

general, and the fame thing to us, whether the exe-

cutors are willing or unwilling

for,

as

whole matter of confcience, about which


noife

is

made,

from whence

much

have already related our fentiments


it is

laying a violent temptation in men's

evident, that fuch nonfenfe, as

own mind,
meaning.
And as

againft the light of their

words without

to that
fo

fion of the apoflle Paul, about

is

way

to

al:

nothing but

to the expref-

church-power, which

20S

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

he ufes over and over again, that it is


tion, and not for deftru6lion," it is no
there

is

a various reading

and

once

if

for edifica^
fecret, that

we had,

for

deftru6tion, and not for edification," eftablifhed as

the true reading, which,

might perhaps be

ticifm,

if w^e

eafily

were
done,

dealers in cri-

we

fliould

not

only get rid of this troublefome text, but make an


acquifition of

on our

it

fide of the queftion, to the

confufion of our greateft enemies.

MAXIM

XL

The character luhich moderate men give

^^

^^

hjaves*^ or

their

always

fariesy of the orthodox party ^ mt^Ji

adver-

be that

of

fools ;^ and, as occafwi ferves, the

fame perfon (if it luill pafsj may


a " knave^^ at one time, and as a "

be reprefented

as

fool^^ at another.

1 HE juftnefs of this proceeding may be eafily


made appear. The principles of moderation being
fo very evident to reafon,

it is

a demonftration, that

none but unreafonable men can


ence

and therefore

we

refift

their influ-

cannot fuppofe, that fuch

as are againft us can be fo

from confcience.

Be*

fides, fetting afide the fuperior intrinfic excellence-

of the one fet of principles above the other, there

much ftronger carnal motives, to fpeak in


own ftyle, to at in their way, than in ours

their

are

therefore there

is

they a6l from hypocrify, but not fo of us.


pleafe the people

-,

we

pleafe, at leaft

pleafe, thofe of high rank.

remarkable
people

Now

advantiiges they gain

whereas

*,

anld<

great ground to conclude, that

it is

They

endeavour to

there are many-

by pleafing the

evident, ex pojlfi^o^ that

we

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
^aiii

nothing by ploafmg the gentry

much

trampled upon us (o
defeated our

tirely

as of late

application

20^

for they never

and have en-

parliament for

to

we from

be-

inp in any refpet: the better of the gentry, that

we

have really great rcafon to complain of them

foi*

So

augmentation of ftipend.

when we have endeavoured

far are

to ingratiate ourfelve$

with them, by foftnefs and ctmiplaifance, and by


going considerable lengths with them in their free-

dom, they oftentimes moil ungeneroully


but the more
US

live

to

nay,

at

many

a high

of them have

us any thing to keep

men

of reafon, could

taught

and then refufe to

rate,

give

defpife us

firfl

Now,

up.

it

not but forefee

we,

as

this,

is

it

plain, nothing but the molt ainnterenea virtue could

lead us to al as

we

Whereas, on the

have done.

other hand, the orthodox have gained, and do pof-

efteem of the

fefo the

plain they could have

but to attain

common

However,

it.

allow there are fome on


rently boneft

peo|)le

no other view
to

{hew our

men

tellectuals, as is evident

from

we do.
The

maxim

other part of the

i'onable,

fo

charity,

who

their fide

but thefe are

and

it is

in their conduiSl

we

are indiffe-

of very weak in-

their not thinking aS

is

abundantly rea-

but not fo eafiiy put in pradica, viz. re-

prefenting the fame individual perfon fometimes as


a knflve,

and fometimes as a

fool.

This

fometimes unluckily managed, when


tioufly attempted.

In order to

cefsfully, therefore, let

its

it

afFair
is

being done fuc-

the following rules be ob-

ferved.
I/?.

Let a

man be

is

incau-

reprefented as a knave anii

2IO

ECCLESIASTICAL CrIARACTERISTlCS.

hypocrite to one fort of people in the world

him be reprefented'

let

but to another fort

let

as a fool, not to the

the

call

all

much

fame>

be chiefly your bet-

firft

ter fort of people, particularly

that hate

and

among them

thofe

profeffion of religion, and are apt to

hypocrify: the other,

fl:ril!:nefs

is

it

plain,

mufi; be the fimple and credulous.

The

fecond rule

is,

that,

if pofiible,

be different perfons employed

tliere fliould

in fpi'eading thefe dif-

By

ferent caliminies of the fi\me man.

this

appa-

rent confiflency to every one's opinion with

itfelf,

tliey will

be the more eafily maintained, and be the

lefs liable

to difcovery

and thus,

as the fcveral

wheels of a watch, by oppofite motions; prQii\gte


the fam.e end; fo the feveral members of the moderate body, by

means, confpire

The
ed,

principle

is,

litical

upon which

we would

down, and

different

and oppoGte

promoting the good of the whole.


thefe

That probability ought

falfehood
is laid

feemingly

in

two

rules are found-

to be ftudied in every

have believed

which

principle

finely illuftrated, in the art of

Po-

Lying, faid to be wrote by one Dr. Arbuth-

not.
It will not, I

my

fubjel,

hope, be reckoned wandering from

when

obferve, that the very fame

principle of ftudying probability

is

to

be applied to

the celebration of the characters of our friends, as

well as the defamation of our enemies.

Thefe two-

defigns indeed have a veryftrong connel;ion, and do

mutually fupport and promote one another.


ing one charaler

is,

fequence, a defamation

ibme

cafes,

Praif-

by neceflary and manifefl con-

which mny

of

eafily

its

oppofite

be conceived,

and in
it is

the

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
and the

ibofl eligible,
it.

mod

been prefent

ive

efIc<Si:ual

way

211

of

doiiio-

where

a converfation,

at

the chief intention of one of the fpeakers, and what

mod

he had

at heart,

was

to ruin the

mentioned, with his hearers

know whether
tity

charader and

who happened

reputation of a certain perfon

to

be

but he could not well

they were able to bear a large quan-

of unmixed reproach, he chofe the wifer and

method, of celebrating another charadber, and

fafer

drawing

it

with

his art, in fuch

all

a ^lyianner, as

the ftrongeft oppofition poflible might appear, in

fome of

circumftances, to that pf the perfon in-

its

tended to be wounded by refletion.

But in this, as in the former


ment and prudence mufl be ufed
faid, the contrary of which is,

known

to

be true

quated orthodox
character, are
ceflity

nothing mull be

or

may be

and particularly

phrafes,

in

judg-

cafe, great
-,

giving

eafily

all

the anti-

minifler's

to be religioufly avoided.

The

ne-

of this direction will bed appear from an

example

Suppofe

fay of

I fliould

a youth of early, and

Momus, he was
man of

continues to be a

eminent piety, walking with God, >and fpending

many hours

every day in fecret devotion

deep and ftrong fenfe upon

and value Cf time, and

his

lays

it

regard for truth, that he never

tells a lie,

-,

has a moft

fectly free

from

has a

out wholly in fitting

others and himfelf for eternity

jeft

mind, of the worth

has fo facred a

humble deportment, and

even in
is

per-

that prevailing fault of triumphing

over the weak, or fhame-faced by raillery or impu-

dence

has been fivquently heard to exprefs his

difpleafure at

all

levity of carriage, and. fra'thy

ua-

ECCLESIASTICAL CHA11ACTER1STIS.

-212

profitable difcourfe, in perfons of the

racters

and

facred cha-

he was always himfeli" remarkable

as

he cannot allow the

for a purity of converfation, fo

moft diftant allufion to obfcenity to pafs without a


reproof; in fhort, his wTiole behaviour cominands

both the reverence and love of


happinefs of his acquaintance.

all

who have

the

fhould

I fay, if I

draw the characEler of Momus in this manner, asr


fome authors do thofe of the Puritan clergy about a
hundred years ago, it is probable he would give me
no thanks and indeed, he would owe me none
for it would have much mere the air of a fatire than
:

of a panegyric.
It

is,

however,

to

poflible

draw

the character

of the fame perfon, which (hall have fome truth,

and much probability

in

it

and which

as being the

much more in the


He is a man of a

character of a modern, fhall be

modern commendatory
moft fprightly and

ftyle.

lively fancy, of

an inexhauflible

fund of wit and humour, where he pleafes


play

it,

to dif-

though the iniquity of the times has,

fome meafure, checked

He

indulgence.

its

is,

in

not-

withftanding the grimnefs of his countenance, entirely free

from any fournefs or morofenefs of tem-

per, fo that in his converfation a


all

manner of

eafe

man may

He

and freedom.

genteel and elegant preacher and poet

my

knowledge a man of

* This expression, " a


in fashion

among the

and beauty

but

it

gain.

it

warm and good

man of

good heart,"

enjoy

molt

and,

to

heart *.
is

much

moderate, and of great significancy


is

only to be used in speaking to per-

sons of some degree of taste


stance in which

is

for I

knew

disobliged the person

it

a particular in-

was intended

to

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

MAXIM
As

world

to the

XII.

man

a moderate

in getieraly

213

have

is to

great charity for Atheijls and Deifls in principle^

and for

perfons that are

loofe

and

vicious in their

but none at all for thofe that have a high

profejfion

of religion^ and a great pretence toJlriSlnefs

praB-ice

in their lualk

1 HIS maxim
yet,

upon

follow

and

converfation.

feems to be pretty ftrongly

a ftril enquiry,

will

the firft-mentioned fort of perfons,

we endeavour
and draw

to

as near

upon nothing

accommodate
them

to be a part, or an

And

ture.

other fort,

as to

as poflibly

evident

we

way

for

may be

faid

witnefs the odious idea


a profefTor
in a college

of fpeaking,

even holinefs and godlinefs

good fenfe

can, infifting

are.

when we

(unlef*

and

;)

when we

of a man, he has a "- grave fanctified air."

in a very

we

charity for

our having no charity for the

we have affixed to the name of


when it is meant of a profefTor
witnefs our ironical

is

and

improvement of the law of na-

as evident

it is

ourfelves to them,

fermons but what

in our

laid

be found that

That we have

very exactly.

it

it

fay

Nay,

feldom taken by us
fay,

One of the

holy brethren," or,


A good godly lady," they
would miftake us very much that would think we

"

had a high opinion of any of thefe perfons.


This our conduct

a certain

young man of the ortho-

dox-fide, refle(Sled very feverely upon, as

he thought,
which he afterwards printed, in words
purpofe " They can indeed talk very flu-

in a fermon,
to this

ently of univerfal benevolence, and a charitable can-

YoL.

VL

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICJ.

214

did dlfpofition

who

but

their charity

confined to thofe

is

favour their opinions, or perhaps are indifferent

about religion altogether; while the

leaft

appear-

ance of ferious devotion, or fervent zeal for God,

enough

to forfeit

Indeed?.this charity

it.

is

is

myf-

as

terious as the faith of the moil bigotted Catholic


it

equally full of contradictions

is

folved to found
the want of

Where

it.

and feems re-

not upon evidence, but upon

itfelf,

the outward conduft

is

word

every thing has the

appearance, there they will believe well

but where

blamelefs, they candidly fuf-

pel that nothing but hypocrify

lies at

the bottom."

But, with the leave of this fmart youth, what he


fays of us

right

without evidence
a

fe

It is

it.

rity in

no charity
fee

requires

it

of the perfons

perhaps very

many

charity,

lieve well of

all

not

and charity in

all,

and fiow of heart to conceive


if

it

is

your

will,

but have charity alfo for

fuch as are apparently good.

a demonftration, that

or

main-

perfection, to be-

its

Well, fi^ce

have charity for them

In

to believe well

there are none at

to the contrary, then I will

them.

we

outward appearances

no charity

when

but

but to the poor.

to the rich

manner, when there are

it is

be

at all to believe

when we do

but

it,

to

it

to believe

fupplying the wants of the neceflitous

of goodnefs,

tain

is

is

with charity in fentiment, as with cha-

do not give alms


like

it

maintain

meaning of charity

man when we

good of

we

very true, and

is

for the very

Oh
!

is

the ftupid world


it

not evident to

the appearance of wicked-

nefs be the foundation of charity, the appearance of

goodnefs, which

is its

oppofite,

muft be the foun-

dation of a quite contrary judgment, viz. fufpeling.

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
or rather believing

That

if

ill

of them

21^

If any/flill infifl.

not charity, yet juftice fhould incline us to

beheve well of them, as

have feemingly confefTed

That we have no occafion for juftice, if


we have charity ; for charity is more than juftice,
even as the whole is more than a part but though
I anfwer,

have fuppofed, argnmentandi gratia y thht juftice

requires

yet

this,

it

not

is

my

fentiment

for

the perfons meant being ufually great enemies to us,


are thereby cut off

good opinion
improper

obje61:s

iliould liate

from any claim

and being

*,

alfo, as

of charity,

it

our

in juftice to

has been proved,

remains that

them with perfel hatred,

we

as in fa6b we.

do.

MAXIM
All moderate men are joined

xin.

together

bond of uniony and do never fail

in the JlriBeJl

to fupport

and defend

one another to the utmofiy he the caufe they are enga-

ged
JL

in luhat

will.

it

HIS maxim

do not

infert fo

much

for the in-

ftrudlion of the ignorant, as' for the perfection of

my own

plan, and the

for I have hardly

And

whatever.

controverfy, to

honour of the whole body

known

of,

fail in

any inftance
without

it

belongs to them

for they

do moft loudly

the moderate, fo

and load with moft opprobrious epi-

thets,

any of the orthodox,

them

in

as has

it,

ever

as this chara61:er belongs,

all

by an exclufive privilege
complain

it

who

attempt to imitate

been fometimes known. Nothing

indeed can be more juft and reafonable than thefe


complaints

for

fuch condudl in the orthodox

T2

is

12

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

16

plain defertion of their

own

principles, a robbery

and invafion of the property of

upon which they pretend


the moft

ftifF

and

inflexible

:'

Confcience,

others.

to a^,

is,

of

things,

all

and cannot by any

art,

be moulded into another fhape, than that which


naturally bears

whereas the whole principles of

moderation are moft gentle and dudile, and


applied to almoft

it

all

may be

purpofes imaginable.

If any, through an envious infidelity, entertain a

douht of the truth afferted in the maxim, they are


referred, for fatisfa6lion, to the hiftory of the pro-

ceedings of this church for thefe twenty years paft,

which

take

to

be the true reforming period

and are hereby defired to produce an inflance in


which any moderate man, wife or unwife, old or
young, grave or fprightly, failed to concur in fupporting one of his ovv'n fide, whatever was his caufe,
ative or pafiTive, a proje61: for advancement, or the

Let but one of us

danger of a profecution.

fcheme, in which he

come
firft

may

ftart

find his account, or be-

candidate for an office, the whole, upon the

impulfe, as the concordant ftrings of a mufical

inftrument anfwcr to the touch, return and reverberate the found.

If

Momus

into the territories of


is

'^

unwarily makes a fally


good-humoured vice," and

unhappily betrayed by thofe

been trufted

how

who ought

powerfully

is

not to have

he upheld by the

graveft of the party, and the uncharitable malevolent

enemy flung and

the

fable,

bees

againfl:

Nay,

for

defi:royed, like the bear in

difl;urbing tlie hive of

induftrious

as a yet ftronger infl;ance, (being

more

nature) I could fliew, in the records of a

certain prefbytery, declarations figned

by the moil

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

moderate hands, and yet containing

21 7

and

high

as

ranting exprelTions in favour of the rights of the


Chriftian people, as ever were ufed by the moil; or-

thodox writer; becaufe by

wonderful concurrence

of circumftances, they fcrved, at that time, to pro-

mote the fettlement of


Every eye

mud

and excellence of

moderate man.

immediately perceive the beauty


of our chara6ler.

this part

more amiable than union

or

to the fupport of any fociety

ful and horrid than difcord and divifion

by

alfo,

vi6]:ory,

this

very means, that

and do

They

orthodox party

as they

we have

all

who

approve

;"

to fee

tereft of the

mud

It

enter into

not

it

tlie

lately well explain-

and know not

give up their rights as in-

it,

and are bound "

dividuals,

Is

are wholly ignorant of the

have been

ed by fome of our brethren in print


that

obtained the

our fuperiority over

Hill preferve

laws of fociety,

What

what more nccciiary


and what more hate-

to follow

with the eyes, and

what they
a^Sl

dif-

for the in-

whole body.

be no fmall commendation of fuch con-

we

duct, that in fo doiwg

either follov/, or are fol-

lowed, by the molt eminent and


ters in this nation.

illuftrious charac-

probable there

It is

may be

fc-

veral controverted ele6lions tried before the parlia-

ment
tainly

and

in a fhort time;

will fortel their

from the

ill'ue

for

we

have carried

amongft

much more

And

it is

it

cer-

from

with fome plea-

whoever began

fure I obferve, that

man

dare fay, any wife

charal:er of the perfon, than

the merits of the caufe.

firft,

each cafe,

in

this pra6lice

to the greateft perfeciilion

us, the chara6):ers of

openly pleaded in defence of their caufe, which,

T3

men have been


if

2l8

am

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
not miftaken, hath hardly ever been done in any

civil court.

How

admirably does this principle

fall in v^^ith

the fcheme of philofophy upon which the prefent

generation

is

formed

It iilu Urates

Mr

the truth of

H n's dodrine.
and
is

afFe6iion,

That virtueis founded upon inftiniSt


and not upon reafon that benevolence
:

fource, fupport and perfection

its

and that

all

the particular rules of conduct are to be fufpended,

when
In

they feem to interfere with the general good.

fliort, it

lliews that the

moderate are a tranfcript

mod

diftinlly exhibit the or-

in miniature,

and do

der, proportion, and unity of defign in the univerfal

fyftem.

Time would

fail

me,

if I fliould

of this

excellencies

the

go through

crowning maxim

therefore I fhall only further obferve, that


all

the

known

perfpicuity.

and

In order to determine which fide to


requires no long

it

of reafon, no critical inquiry into the

truth of controverted

but only fome know-

fai:s,

ledge of the chara6lers of

more

all

and

excels

principles of aclion for clearnefs

chufe in a difputed queftion,


difculTions

it

men

a ftudy

much

more common, than that


To fpeak more properly, it requires no

agreeable, as well as

of books.
ftudy at

all

of any kind

for, as to the grofs, or

common fame
communicates the impreffion, and feldom or never
This is probably the reafon that the
deceives us.

general

tendency of a character,

maxim,

as has

the illuftration,

been obferved
is

at the

conilantly and

beginning of

unerringly fol-

lowed by the moderate of every age and condition

en v/hich account

give

it

as

my

opinion, that

it

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

21^

be added to the number of the feelings, which are


at prefent fo much upon the growing hand.

Thus

have

laid

down and

illuftrated thefe ex-

maxims, not without labour and expence ot


thought ; and, I think, carried them fo far as to

cellent

make a complete fyftem for the education and accomplifhment of a moderate clergyman, for his
guidance in public judgment, and his direction is
to

And now,

practice.

private

as a

traveller, after

ferent parts of a country, afcends

review the whole,

courteous reader,

having gone through the

let us (land

dif-

fome eminence

to

and rejoice over

ftill

the happy ftate of our mother-church of Scotland,


in

which moderation

arrive at,

by adhering

into fuch admirable

to thefe

and

let

us

maxims, no\V digefted

form and order.

O v/hat noble,

and impenetrable fermons

fublime,

preached

fo greatly prevails

hope of wliat improvements fhe may yet

rejoice in

What

iliall

and triumphs

viftories

now be
(liall

be

obtained over the ftupid populace, by forced fettle-

ments, which never have fuch a beautiful and orderly form, as


in

when

comely array, with

finiflied

(liining

of the church militant

tuous and

who

finlefs

by

foldiers,

And what

lives fliall

with fteady eye, regard the good of

this profpel:,

tion

perfectly vir-

be led by thofe clergy,

whole, which never yet went wrong


thing indeed that any

fcheme

this vaft

There

is

no-

tarnifhes the beauty of

but the mifcarriage of the augmentaover which

elegiac ftrains, but that


for

way

marching

arms: a perfect image

who

can

could

my hope

is

whether,

now

not yet quite exr

when we fliall
when wc

tinCl:

Iiave

brought moderation to perfection,

tell

lament in

220

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
have driven

fhall

common

the whole

avi^ay

the Seceders, vi'ho alone are

to

fit

people

and

for them,

captivated the hearts of the gentry to a love of our

may

temples, they

folitary

us more flipends, becaufe

do but
I

to

fpend them

not be pleafed to allow

we

fhall

have nothing to

would now prcpofe,

that the next enfuing

Ge-

neral Aflembly

would appoint (what indeed I might


not without fome reafon expe6):, whether they appoint

or not) that

it

in the nation
this

fliall

all

the profeflbrs of divinity

le6ture one day every

week upon

may be

fyftem of moderation, that our youth

up from

trained

This,

am

infancy in a tafle for

their

fure, will

be

much more

any of the antiquated fyfhems of


or Turretine

nay, I

am

it.

profitable than

divinity, as Pidlet

perfuaded,

more ex-

is

it

actly calculated for the prefent times, than even the

more modern authors, Epi6letus and Marcus Antoninus, which

in

laft,

by many young

Mr

Foulis's tranflation, hath,

divines, in their

firft

year,

been mif-

taken for Markii Medulla Theologiae.


If this

my

treatife fhall

acceptance that

it

meet with the fuccefs and

juftly deferves,

to offer to the public a

ftill

it

is

my

intention

more minute and

parti-

cular delineation of the moderate character, either


in another

book of a

different

form from

perhaps in a fecond edition of the fame

this,
;

or

which

ihall in that cafe, be the text, and to which I will


add large explanatory notes, containing much private

hiitory,

and referring to many particular fads, in

order to render

it

more inilruding

the

more

grateful, as well as the

to the reader.

the Jlamina vita of

many

have

alfo

by

ufef ul and edifying

me

trc.tr

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

which

tifes,

mufes

be produced in due time, as the

fliall

give afliftance

(hall

221

fuch

as,

The

of

art

making a flourifhed fermon with very little matter,


by a proper mixture of fimiles, and by repeating
every paragraph over again in the form of a foliloquy

One

refolution of

all

from the

cafes of confcience,

good of the whole fcheme: A directory for prayer,


upon the fame fcheme: The horrid fm and danger
of miniflers fpending too

and

mention of towns,
lefh it

which

ing the

fcarcely

is

my

cafe,

known

in

do not make any

have heard, that the

any of our great towns,

reafohings would look like beat-

many

Thefe, with

air.

time in catechifmg

to avoid giving offence; as alfo,

fhould prove true what

practice
in

much

vifiting in country-parifhes

others, I

am

with

purchafmg materials for completing,


by obfervation and convcrfation, that our church

affiduous care

may go on

in a progreffive

motion toward the zenith

of perfetion and meridian of glory.


I (hall

now

fhut up this work, by acquainting the

reader with a fecret, which perhaps he would not

otherwife advert to, viz. that I enjoy the pleafure


of having done a thing feemingly quite imprafticable.
I

have given the moderate, and tbofe

who

defire to

be in{lru6led in that fcience, a complete view of the

'maxims and principles of moderation, without,


the fame time proftituting or giving
pofieflion of every

will

aflc,

how

anfwcr, that

book, that

it

duly qualified

I
is
-,

common
imagine

reader.

them up

Perhaps fome

have effected

this

have fo framed the whole of


really

and

intelligible

to every

fparent as the fpring-water.

my

only to perfons

fuch perfon
I

at

to the

it is

tran-

have given only mo-

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

222

how-

derate reafons for moderate principles, fo that

ever flrongly they

may

convince fome, viz. thofe of

our kidney, others they will be fo far from convincing, that they will be

contrary way.

thought to operate a quite

have managed this fo carefully,

that I could venture to lay a

worth, that

many,

this

to be the

wager of

all

way.

am

treatife fhall be taken, by very


work of an orthodox pen, and to

be intended as a banter upon moderate


their

that I

They

men and

be tempted to laugh

will

at us,

whom

they will imagine to be expofed by this reve-

lation

of our myfteries

they deceived

perly prejudiced

fyftem,

mind

upon which

iregulate his

but

how

ingenioufly are

For, by that very means, every pro-

condud.

is

to

furniflied

form

his

with a complete
fentiments,

and

A SERIOUS

APOLOGY
FOR THE

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

By

the real

AUTHOR

of that Performance,

TO THE

NOBILITY

GENTRY

AND
OF

COTLAN D;
^.^RTICULARLV,

IHEM AS ARE ELDERS OF THE CHURCH, AND FREQUENTLY MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,

StiCn OF

JRight Honourable i

THERE was

and Right Worjhipful^

prefixed to the Ecclefiaftical Cha.

ralenftics a ludicrous dedication

there feems

therefore fome propriety in prefixing a fericus dedication to this Apology.

To whom

it ought to be
moment's hefitapromoting the intereft;

addrefled, could facrce admit of a

aim

It profefles to

tion.

at

of religion in the Church of Scotland

none have

fo

it

much

in their

power

and certainly
to preferve or

improve the conftitution, both in church and


as your Lord(hips

am

not to

flatter

you with an entire approbation

of your paft conduft as church-members.


fign of this addrefs is rather to

mod

flate,

and Worfhips.

The

de-

befeech you, in the

refpe6lful manner, ferioufly to confider,

whe-

ther you ought any longer to give countenance to the

meafures which have for fome time generally pre-

am encouraged to this, by
we are obliged

vailed.

that

to you, indeed,

it is

fome bounds

Vol. VI.

reflecting,

for fetting

to the attempts of the high-flying cler-

2 26

DEDICATION.
cculd give feveral inftanccs of this

;
but
mention one, becaufe it is very recent.
In the Aflembly 1 762, it was evidently owing to the
honourable members, that a fan6lion was not given

gy.

ihall only

to a refolution, of infiiling cenfures

upon minifters

own

people at their

merely for preaching to th^ir


defire

a thing fo odious in

its

appearance, and fo

dangerous as an example, that no circumftances or

ends to be ferved by

to

me

firft

leave to add, that

" willing"

to

human

nature,

.it

Therefore,

able'*

firmly believe you will


for the bet-

in the prefent

flate

ought not to be expected,

private benefit in wealth,

good.

it.

"

in the church-courts

that the majority of any body of

lic

mod

make any change

may, but,

Individuals

ter.

nf

could poflibly juftify

promote faiutary meafures

give

be

it,

have already Lmted, that you are

power,

men

will give

or eafe, for

when once

the clergy

up

pubare

corrupted, their reformation can be looked for from

There

the laity only, and not from themfelves.

an obfervatlon to

this

is

purpofe in the Rev. Dr. Ro-

bertfon's liiilory, *
letters
**

of gold

which deferves to be written in


" They" (i. e. the Protellants)

applied to another alTembly, to a convocation of

the Popifh clergy

but with the fame

ill

fuccefs

which hath always attended every propofal for reformation addrefied to that order of men to abandon
iifurped povv'er, to renounce lucrative error
crifice,

which

the' virtue of individuals has,

occafions, offered to truth: but

a fa-

on fome

from uny fociety

of men, ho fuch effort can be expet;ed.


ruptions of a fociety,

is

The

cor-

recommended by common

* Vol.

1. p.

143.

DEDICATION.
and

Utility,

viewed by

by univerfal practice,

juflified

its

2 27

members without (hame

arc

horror

or

and reformatiom never proceeds from themfelves,


but is always forced upon them by fome foreign

hand."

am

writer's opinion,

fo

much

of that eminent
upon every attempt

that I look

for reviving the interefl of religion as quite hopelefs,

u:ileis

you be pleafcd

the fame time,


ti^tion,

am

that the period

will fee

it

to fupport

my

hope.

is

fad approaching,

me in adding
Many of you have

iludy of the law


the

N2W

and

at

when

you.

necelVary to interpofe.

Will you indulge


for

it

not without the llrongefl; expec-

.?

Now

Teftament, that

a fanciful reafon

been bred to the

have obferved in reading


it

was

lawyer

care of the body of our Saviour, after

it

who took
had been
His name

crucified at the inftigation of the priefts.

was Jofeph of Arimathea, " an honourable man and


a counfelior,'*

and the

four evangelifl?,

facl

Who

is

recorded by

ail

the

kiiaws therefore but the

gentlemen of the fame profeihon among us may be


the
is

infiruments of delivering the church,

Chrift's myfticalbody,

pofitions of

Look

churchmen

in

the tyrannical im-

power

into the hi (lory of

this

and every other

church, and you will fee that the


their influence to

which

from

laity

never lent

promote the ambition and fecular

greatnefs of ecclefialtics, but they received their re-

ward

in ingratitude

and coiv.empt.

have heard

many of you praifed as great fr;e:/ds to the church.


By this is meant, that you have a friendihip for,
and are ready

to increafe the revenues a!

convenience of thofe

who bear

U3

.i

.,orldly

the facred oijice,

who

28

DEDICATION.

are alfo called Clergy.

mankind

the wifefl of

beg leave

to obferve, that

are fomethnes deceived

by

words, and patiently fubmit to gradual and infenfi-

Both the

ble ufurpatlons.

vi^ords Clergy

are an incroachment of the teachers

The

the other hearers of the gofpel.

all

them comes from

which

xAt^o,-,

and when appropriated

and Church

upon you, and


of

firft

fignifies inheritance,

to minifters,

feems to

inti-

mate, that they alone are God's inheritance, while


as much liis inheriThe word Church is a Scripture

feme of the people are

furely

tance as they.
phrafe, and

New

two

or

ufed about one hundred times in the

is

Teftament.
at

mod

But of

can

minifters, exclufive

it

thefe in not above

all

one

be pretended to fignify the

Therefore

of the people.

you be friends to the church, take the

word

if

in its

proper and genuine fenfe, and admit the people to


?i.

due proportion of your favour.


Far be

it

from me to blame thofe who fliew a


attachment to minifters, and wifh to

icr,dtliip zivX

them comfortably and decently provided iz^r^


This is highly neceitary to free them from that
anxiety and folicitude which is infeparable from a
poor and dependent ftate. But why are they to be
fee

provided for at

all ?

or

why

is it

an amiable charac-

be a friend to the church

Surely that the

great ends of their facred function

may be promot-

ter to

ed

that, free4

from the

their time

committed
For

necelTity of attending

may have

fecular purfuits, they

and pains for the

liberty to

to.

bcftow

fpiritual benefit of thofo

to their care.

this reafon, I

youx exalted

humbly

ftations,

intreat you,

only can do

it

who, by

with

fuccelJs,

DEDICATION.
to

frown upon the luxurious and

22^
afpiring, to

rage the humble and diligent clergyman.


reil of religion in this nation,
eil

value in

On

profperity.

of your

may

pleafe

inte-

an objed: of the high-

and infeparable from our temporal

itfelf,

obje(l:

is

encou-

The

both accounts

mod

hope

tender care

it

and

will be the
in return,

experience,

God to make you know to your happy


the truth of his own word, *Them that

honour me,

I will

ihall

it

honour

but they that defpife

be lightly efteemed."
I

am, &c

U3

me^

A SERIOUS

APOLOGY
FOK THE

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

THE

Ecclefiiiflical Charafteriftics Is evidently a

fatire

upon clergymen of a certain characwhich every body muft fee

It Is a fatire too,

ter.

was Intended

to carry in

nefs and feverity.

it

no fmall meafure of keen-

This was to be expov}:ed from

the nature and defign of the performance.


tire that

does not bite

Is

good

necefTarily follows, that

it

it Is

fa-

Hence
this man-

for nothing.
eflential to

ner of writing, to provoke and give offence.

made

greatelt fatirifts, in all ages, have

juft as

The
many

enemies to themfelves, as they expofed objects of


fcorn and deriiion to the public *.

this

It

was

certainly,,

account, eafy to forefee, what would be the

effect of the publication of fuch a piece. If

executed in a tolerable manner

hope every impartial perfon

It

was

and therefore

will not only acquit

me

* History informg us, that Horace for his admired sa-

bad many private enemies in Rome ; and it has beea


countryman Mr Pope, darst hardly walk
the streets of London, some years before his death, through

tires,

^aid, that our

fear of being attacked or pistoled, even

the higlicst encouragement from the

when he met wilh

jcublic.

A SERICUS ArCLOGY &C.


of blame, but confefs
fetting

The

my name

work.

The
when

event juftified this precaution.

and fury of many miniflers


pamphlet was
its

very prudently in not

I acfted

to the

33!

publifhcdj

flrft

The mod

readers.

hi Scotland
is

known

ragtr

this

almoil to

all

opprobrious names were be-

ilowed upon the concealed author, and the molt


dreadful threatenings uttered, in cafe they fliould be
fo fortunate as to difcover

gentleman

One

and convict him.

who

in particular,

tation of being concerned in

fell

under the impu-

has ever fmce been

it,

the object of their deteilation and refentment

though

think

al-

remains yet very uncertain, what

it

hand he had, or whether he had any hand at all,


in its compofition ; a queftion which I hope tlie preby

fent production,

comparifon with his

other

works, will enable the ftiarp-fighted public to determine.

But though
myfelf a

pofed but

The

head.

flielter

had by good management provided


from the Itorm, it is not to be fup-

heard
truth

ble attention to

performance

it

is,

well enough rattling over


I

have iiftened with

all

my

pofli-

the objections raifed againft this

and found with

the great endeavour of

its

prefent the general defign of


intereft of religion

much

concern, that

enemies has been to re-

and the

as contrary to the

it

and manner of

fplrit

it,

The commuft be a man of

as inconfiitent with the Chriftian temper.

mon
a

cry has been,

bad heart

piece."
tion,

No

The

This has given

upon notice

author

good man could write fuch a

that a

me

new

an

ed, to fend into the world, at the

inclina-

irrefillible

edition of

it is

fame time,

intend-

a fericus

232
apology for
that

THE

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

purpofe

it,

not only for

my own

vindication, but

hath any capacity of doing good, this happy

if it

may

not be defeated by the impUcit credit

given to fo heavy an accufation.


In entering upon this tafk,
firm, that

what

firft

take the liberty to af-

induced

me

to write,

was a

deep concern for the declining intereft of religion in

Church of Scotland, mixed with fome indignawhat appeared to me a llrange abufe of

the

tion at

1751 and 1752 *.


particular flru61:ure will be given

church-authority in the years

The

reafons of

its

mean

afterwards; in the

and

{hall

plain

its

lieve to

may

time, the reader

aflured, that this defence Ihall be

reft

wholly ferious,

not contain a fingle propofition which, in

and

literal

be true.

borrow any

meaning, the author does not be-

Not

afliftance

fo

much

as attempting to

from wit and

ridicule,

he fub-

mits his caufe to be tried by calm difpaiTionate reafoning and only begs the impartial attention of the
reader.

To

free the queftion

from ambiguity,

it

will

be

ncceffary to confider the performance diftind^ly, un-

der the three following heads,


it

in general

upon the

-,

which

principles,

is

i.

manners, and

of certain clergymen.

2.

The

fubjecSt of

confefled to be an attack
political

Why it is written

conduct
in an af-

* This refers to the rebuking and deposing ministers


did not think themselves at liberty to join in the ordi-.

who

nation of a pastor v/ithout a people.


in the case of

The

first

was dons

Mr Adam and the presbytery

who

declined being present at

chen

of Linlithgow,
the settlement of Torphi-

the second, in the case of

ment of Inverkeithing,

Mr

Gillespie, in tlie settle-

ECCLEIAST1CAL CHARACTERISTie^.

fumed
fion

and ironical

characSler

was given for

it

ftyle.

by thole

3.

whom

to

I.

Let us condder the fubjel

While

am

fpeaking upon

tliis

head,

for granted, that the faults are real

and reproofs are

An

jull.

it

clergymen.

mud

take

it

that the fatire

objection againft the per-

formance has ceen often made


" Suppofing the things cenfured

end does

church.

in general, viz, at-

chara<lers of

and expofing the

*;icking

Whatoccait was evi-

own

dent] y applied, viz. the minillers of our

:>33

ferve to publilh

purpofe

to this

them

be true, what

to

If tendernefs

for the reputation of the offenders could not prevent

fuch cruel treatment, ought not a regard for the


edification of others^

and the fuccefs of the gofpel

in their hand, to have difpofed a good


a veil over their infirmities

ed through their
to iriamph

lides,

Is

and occafion given

tlvis,

this 'iianncr.

Nay,

fome who fpeak

to iufidels

from thofe who Ipeak


that

I believe,

as they think, yet

as the undiilurbed

it is

is

am

cenfure minifters

altogether

the argument in reafon, or

the precept in Scripture, which makes

when

much more

wifh nothing

indulgence of themfelves

in floth, luxury, or groffer crimes.

know what

in

though there are

who

frequently the language of thofe

at a lofs to

throw

wound-

coofef^ myfelf to have very

different views of things

much

to

?'^

In anfwcr to

fo

man

not religion

they deferve

it.

it

criminal to

That

their

ftation like that of all other perfons of influence,, or


ill

public employment, lliould

and cautious

how

them, and careful never


I readily allow

make men very tender

they take up an evil report againft


to

do

it

but on good grounds,

but where the

chara.(Sler is

renllj

bad,

THE

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

234
I

hold

as a firfl principle, that as

it

to

be expofed with double

from being contrary

when done by

This

feverity.

them

in

it is

doubly criminal and doubly pernicious, fo

it

ought

is

fo far

to the interells of religion,

even

can be

a clergyman, that nothing

more honourable to it, than to fliew that there are


fome fo bold as to reprove, and fo faithful as to

How far fecret

withftand the corruptions of others.

wickednefs (liould be concealed, or fcenes of iniquity


not laid open, and fo Cm turned into fcandal in mi-

matter that would require a very cartful

nillers, is a

and accurate
tions

but

difquifition,

any

in

if,

degeneracy of

life,

and admits of many excep-

cafe, erroneous doctrine, or

plain

is

and

them completely odious, muft

When

it is

the clergy

not done,

it

men

provokes

combined together,

all

vifible,

tu render

certainly be a duty.

like

to

conclude

Demetrius

and the craftfmen,'* and more concerned

own power and

credit,

for their

than for the interefl and

committed to their charge.


That irreligion and infidelity has made a rapitl progrefs among us for fome time pail, is a certain, and a

benefit of thofe

Well, perhaps

melancholy truth.

That I have contributed


fidelity

among

I (hall

be told^

to (Irengthen the caufe of in-

the quality and gentry, by giving

fuch a reprefentation of the clergy.

them

anfwer, That

gentlemen's forming a bad opinion of clergymen con-,


tributes to

deny

promote

fo far

from

infidelity, I will

it, I

by no means

affirm, that without this, all

other caufes put together, would not be able to

produce

it

in

any great degree.

as the vulgar, are always

The

great, as well

more influenced

in their

regard for, or contempt of religion, by what they

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

2?^

fee in the charafters and behaviour of men, than


by any fpeculative reafonings whatever. This is
what they themfelves make no fcruple, on many

occafions, to confefs.
Bifliop Burnet, in his Difcourfe of the P.iftoral Care, acquaints us, that, " having had much free converfation with many that have

been

fatally

owned,

ten

corrupted that M-ay, they have very ofthat nothing

promoted

They

clergymen.

" that

much

this fo

in

which they took up of

tliem as the bad opinion

did not fee in them,"

f-iys

he,

contempt of the world,


that meckncfs, huiiiility and charity, that

ftriclinefs

that zeal,

of

life,

that

diligence and earneftnefs, with relation to the great


truths of the Chriftian religion,

which they reckoned

they would moil certainly have,


firmly believed

it

whofe bufinefs

thofe

it

was more flridly

the truth of their religion,

ijito

they themfelves

if

therefore they concluded, that

knew

to inquire

that

it

was

not fo certain as they themfelves, for other ends

endeavoured to make the world believe

But the

great, or rather the ojiiy

it

was."

quedion

x^et

re-

mains: Did the publication of the Charaderiftics


give the

land

occafion to fuch reflexions in Scot-

fivft

Was

the

firft

information gentlemen had of

the characters of the clergy

formance

drawn from that perThis, which mufl be the very founda-

tion of the

objedion

and indeed

it is

that

it

we

are confidering,

is

not true:

not pofhble, in the nature of things


(liould be true.
If there be any fuch thing

among the cjergy, by neglecl of duty,


luxury in drefs or table, laxnefs in principle, or
as corruption

licentlo ifn-fs

of pra^Slice,

people of figure and

it

failiion.

can be no fccrct to
It is

commonly

in

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR THE

2^6

iheir fociety that

the

unclerical carriage

mod

converfation and

free

found among gentlemen

And though fome of


indecencies, may have

the facred order.

who

is

regret fuch

cdt

the laity

much

fo

good manners as to forbear upbraiding them openly,


and others may perhaps not be difpleafed at the removal of

either

all reftraints,

example of minifters, yet

it is

from the

difcipline or

known how

well

little

to their advantage perfons of both forts have talked,

long before the Chara6leriilics had a being.


that, inftead of

So

any public rebuke being the occaforming

fion of gentlemen's

bad opinion of the

on the contrary, gave a manifeft

clergy, the lad,

occafion for the

firft,

if

it

did not

make fomething

of that kind indifpenfably neceflary.

Many wrong

from confounding

opinions arife

things that iiave fome relation to one another, but

Thus what

are notwithftanding effentially diftindt.

ought

really to

be imputed to the crime,

quently imputed to

the

liate their

crimes

On

religion.

fre-

Becaufe a

men

to infidelity,

bad opinion of the clergy leads


therefore, fay fome, cover

is

punifhment.

and pal-

their failings,

to expofe

them

is

the contrary, I reckon

doing hurt to
it is

far

more

conclufive to fay, Becaufe the bad charalers of the


clergy are extremely hurtful to religion, let
told, that the greateft {lri(3:nefs

ners

is

expexSted

from them

them be

and purity of manand

if

any will not

comply, let the guilty perfons be chaftifed, that the

honour of the order may be preferved.

was ne-

ver better pleafed with a ftory than one I have read

of the late

Duke

happened,

that

of Orieans, regent of France.

during

his

regency,

It

one of the

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

237

French princes of the blood was conviled of committing robbery on the highway.

Great intercef-

was made with the regent, to fave him from


the ignominy of a pubHc execution, which, it was
alledged, would be an indelible ftain upon the royal
fion

To

blood.

this the

Duke

replied.

indeed deeply flained, but

it

was

The royal blood

llained by the

is

com-

milTionof the crime-; the punifhment will only fervc

now

to wafli out the ftain as far as that is

may,

Chrift-ians

if

to be their

own

condudl of

infidels,

is

poffible.

they pleafe, learn "what ought

by obferving the contrary

conduct:,

who

generally underftand

the real intereft of that unhappy caufe.

no confequence

to

an

infidel to

make

there are fome minifters bad men.


nefs

IS,

to infinuate, that

of

His great

bufi*-

of

ftrain
is it

writings

their

uncommon

"

priefts of all

This appears from the ge-

religions are the fame."

neral

is

appear that

to transfer the faults of particulars to the

whole order, and

Neither

it

what

It

and

converfation.

to fee infidels,

who on

all

occafions difcover the moft rancorous ^malice againft


minifters of the gofpel in general,
greateft intimacy with

nomination.

fome

Whether

their friendfliip

nour or difgrace to the perfon


think

this

conduct,

the

is

an

Iio-

fo diftinguifhed, I

not difficult to determine.

is

oppofition to

maintain

particulars of that de-

However,

in

every real Chriftian,

while he maintains upon his mind the deepeft fenfe


of the importance and ufefulnefs of the facred ofiice,
fhould, at the fame time, hold in deteftation thofe

who, by an unworthy behaviour, expofe

it

to con-

tempt.

That

am

Vol. VI.

not fingular in this opinion, appears

A SERIOUS APOLOGY TOR

238

from the

liiftory

Were

age.

it

THE

of the Chriftian church in every

not that

might be confidered

it

unneceflary oflentation of learning,

an

as

could eafily

ihew, from almoft every writer renowned for piety

and worth, with what boldnefs and feverity they


treated the corrupt clergy of their

what

now

own

And

times.

remarkable, though their charaders have

is

received a fancl:ion from their antiquity, and

indeed a luftre from

this

very zeal and fidelity

yet

while they lived, their invelives were conftantly

complained of by the indolent or vicious of their


contemporaries, as injurious to the interefts of religion.

may

be

was the

That

this

eafily

feen by any

cafe at the reformation,

who

will look but a

the writings of that age.

tle into

bour country, when

Mr

lit-

In our neigh-

Richard Baxter wrote his

Gildas Salvianus, or. Reformed Paftor, which contained a very plain and very fevere reprehenfion of his

made

brethren the clergy, the fame objection was


againll the publication of

it,

at leail in the Englifli

language, by fome prudent fofteners.


anfwers,

among

the fin

open

is

other things, as follows

in the fight of the

vain to attempt to hide

hut aggravate

it,

it

To
:

world,

this

"

is

it

and fuch attempts

and increafe our fliame.

he

When
in

will

If the

minifters of England had

finned only in Latin, I

would have made

have admoniflied them

in Latin

hear

us

it

reft,

coft

fnift

to

but if they will fin in Englifli, they

in Englifli.

to cover

Unpardoned

we be
Our
it.

though

at
fin

muft

fin will never let

ever fo

much

care and

will furely find us out,

though we find not it. And if he that ccnfefleth


and forfaketh be the man tliat fliall have mercy,
no wonder then if he that covereth it profpcr net.

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
if

we

God

239

be fo tender of ourfelves, and loth to confefs,

will be lefs tender of us,

fions for us.

Too many

and indite our confef-

hand

that have fet their

to

facred work, do fo obftinately proceed in felf-

this

feeking, negligence, and pride, &c. that

it is

our neceliary duty to admoniih them.

If

would reform without

fee that fuch

become

we

could

we

reproof,

could gladly forbear the publiftiing of their faults

but

when

reproofs themfelves do prove (o inetTec-

more offended at the reproof,


and had rather that we fhoukl

tual, that they are

than

the fm,

at

ceafe

reproving, than themfelves fhould ceafe

ning,

think

I fhall

it is

(n\r.

time to fharpen the remedy.'*

produce but one example more,

I bes: the attention of thofe

tently taught to think that

to

which

who have been inadverone who endeavours to

expofe the cfiara^ters of the clergy cannot be a good

man.

Does not

hlftory bear

all

Port-royal,

fociety of Janfenifts,

lent attack

upon the

Pafcal,

in

his

vio-

which are

Provincial Letters,

Thefe pieces are

nor are they

a little

mod

Jefuits in France*, particularly

written almoft entirely in the

mour.

who,

hundred years ago, made a

more than

M.

teftimony to the

worth of the gentlemen of the

learning, piety, and

at this

Itill

way

of wit and hu-

univerfally admired

time counted any objection to

his charater for piety

and

integrity.

At

the time

of publication, however, the very fame objedions

which are now made

made

* This
letter,

to the Characlcriftics,

were

to his writings *.

any man may

see,

who

will look at his eleventli

and some of the subsequent ones,

as well as

notes on theni; which are generall^^ ascribed to

X2

the

Mr Arnauld.

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

24

The

may

reader

poflibly recolle6i:, that I hinted

many are
One reafon

above, a fufpicion, that


offering this objedion.

am

cion I

THE

not fmcere in
for this fufpi-

almoft aihamed to mention,

proach which

brings, in

it

many members
is

well known,

in

my own

my

for.

apprehenfion, upon

of the church of Scotland


it

defence

but as

unneceflary to conceal

is

am

the re-

entitled to repeat

it.

it,

it

and

There

have been, within thefe few years, writings publifhed in Scotland directly levelled' againft religion

taking

away the very foundations of morality,

treating our

Redeemer's name with contempt and

itfelf,

derifion,

God.

and bringing

Writings of

in

doubt the very being of a

this

kind have been publicly

avowed, and the nam.es of the authors prefixed.

Now, where

has been the zeal of the enemies of the

Have they
?
moved for the exercife of difcipHne againft the writers ? Have they fupported the motion when made
Charateriflics againft fuch writings

by others? Are not books


and abufing

pel,

all

in oppofition to the gof-

clergymen, as fuch, more con-

trary to the intereft of religion, than one

impeaches the

fidelity

at leaft a profefled

whole
faid

Does not

which only

of a part of that order, from

concern for the honour of the

tempt

this

men

to fay, as

was

an age ago by Moliere in France, or by fome

one there, on occafion of a play of his called the Tar-

That

tu ffe.

againft

God

man may

Almighty,

write what he pleafeth

in perfedi fecurity j

but

if

he

write againft the characters of the clergy in power,

he

is

ruined for ever.

Another reafon why


enemies of the

fufpet the fincerity of the

CharaiSleriftics,

when they pretend

24I

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

a regard

for the intereft of religion as the

that

ground of

hath often happened,

their difpleafure, is,


that both fpeakers and writers have charged anotlier
it

party of the minifters of the church of Scotland with

hypocrify and deceit, the moft villainous of


racters

men,

-,

and yet

it

never occurred

that fuch a charge

cha-

all

to thefe gentle--

was hurtful

to the intercil

am now to let the reader into a fecret.


What very much contributed, or rather indeed what
chiefly brought me to a refolution of publUhing the

of religion.

Charai:eriilics,

months before

was

pamphlet publiihed

called,

it,

-A

This univerfal

tution of the church of Scotland.


to

the

and the exprefs purpoie of

it is,

uncontradicted

PI

ient a certain

fame

few

juft vievr of the con 11 i-

attributed

Dr

late

to rcprc**

of minifters, as agitators of the

fet

people, and in general, as not acting upon confcience, even

where they pretend

of popularity.

Befides this he

he

calls

fcene of iniquity,"

**

but from a love


a itoiy,

which

with the

initial

names of the perfons fuppofed

letters of the

guilty.

it,

tells

Was

to bii

my

ever this pamphlet charged by

enemies as contrary to the interefl of religion?


will not be pretended.

know, what
of iniquity,

it is

that

Now,

Jt

(hould be glad to

makes the dlfcovery of

when committed by fomc whom

a fcene
I

mult

not name, contrary to the intereft of religion, but


the difcovery of a fcene of iniquity committed
certain others, no

way

contrary to

not able to find any rcafon for

it

tills

at all?

by

am

difference of

judgment but one, which is not very honourable, to


them, viz. That perhaps fcenes oi iniquity fuppofed to be committed by them, arc more probable

X3

THE

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

242

in themfelves,

thofe

and alually obtain more.credity than

which they alledge

affirm that this

againft

the reafon

is

others.

do not

but I think, fince

they had been the aggreflbrs, both in cenfuring


minifters for fcrupHng obedience to their unconiti-

and attacking

tutional decifions,

print
liate

their characters in

fome namelefs author thought

if

the injury in the

laft

to reta-

fit

kind, and did

with fo

it

great fu-ccefs, they ought to have lain as quiet under


it

as poflible,

both from equity and prudence

from

equity, becaufe they had given the provocation; and

from prudence,

becaufe

tempted many to
juft, or

it

fa6t

in

conduct

their

charge muft have been

fay, the

would have been treated with contempt;

the ftroke muft have been well aimed, the

muft have been very deep,


fo long, ati^

is

wound

fince the fear continues

never like to be either forgotten or

forgiven.

This, however.
It

would be of

little

moment.

in itfelf but of fmall

Is

confequence whether their con-

duct had been reafonable and confiftent or not,


the objection

itfelf

But

were juft.

very clearly, from what

hope

it

if

appears

have offered above, that

fuppofing the conduct of the clergy to be unbecoming their profeffion, a regard to religion not only
permits, 'but loudly calls for

of

it.

This

is

agreeable

ti

to

prallce of the wifeft and beft

fevere reprehenfion

the

fentiments and

men

in every age.

There have been indeed a few exceptions but the


lenity which fome excellent perfons have fhewn to
:

the vices of the clergy, has been generally reckoned

among

their weaknefies

mention

this, left it

and not their

(hould

come

into

virtues.

any perfon's

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
mind, what

is

243

related of Conftantine the Great, viz.

That when he received a bundle of papers, which


he was told contained accufations againft the vicious part of the clergy, he publicly burnt them,
after having taken

an oath, that he did not

what they contained

and added, that though he

ihould fee a bifhop in the very

be namelefs in Englifti

fhall

with his purple.

know

of a crime that

a6);

he would cover him

*',

If the account be true,

and

this

be the charity which fome plead for with fo great

one can hardly help crying out,

earneftnefs,

Emperor, great was thy charity


2.

According to the diltribution

fubjedl:, the

next point

To

is.

rafteriftics being written in

"

ironical ftyle.

prompted

ligion

way

an allumed character and

"

you,'* fay fome,

Would

it

why was

them of

to attack the

not done in a

it

not have been better, grave-

have convicted them of their

ly to

made of my^

account for the Cha-

If concern for the interefl: of re-

charalers of the clergy,


ferious

their danger, than to fet

lous point of hght, and expofe

fcorn ?" This objection, I

am

it

iftics,

when he

to the public

fenfible,

made an im-

occafion given for

it,

would

it

it

and there-

" Alas

there

if

tion

humoly apprehend,
between thefe two means

many

cafes,

it is

was

not have been better

to have had recourfe to prayer than to fatire

general, I

with care.

read the Charadler-

firil

exprefled himfelf thus

in a ridicu-

them

will be ncceffkry to confider

very good man,

and warned

fin,

them

prelhon on fome well-meaning perfons


fore

there
:

Is

.''"

In

no oppofi-

and therefore, in

proper to employ both.

* Alienum torum labefactaritem.

Let

me

THE

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

244

therefore intreat the attention of the reader, while


I briefly confider,
fi^j^^

the lawfulnefs of employing

ridicule in fuch a caufe


ticular circumftances

proper method,

and

what p^w-

fecondlyy

concurred to render

it

the moft

not in a manner neceflary, in the

if

inilance before us.

That

it

is

is

There

thority.

are

we have an

interpreters

irony

and

as

many

inllances of irony in the

In the third chapter of Genefis,

which
:

ridicule In

evident from the^very higheft au-

facred writings.
ver. 22.

employ

a lawful thing to

fuch a caufe,

expreffion ufed by.

God

do generally fuppofe

mod

of the

it is

himfelf

be in

to

fevere and penetrat-

ing kind, in a moft deplorable calamity, fo I cannot

well imagine what other rational meaning can be

put upon the words:


Behold, the

man

is

"And

become

the

as

Lord God

one of

us, to

faid.

know

good and evil." It muft be remembered, that Adam


had broken his Maker's command, from a foolifh expectation,
like
**

upon the

God.

Adam

On

devil's promife,

of becoming

this, an ancient interpreter fays,

deferved to be derided in this manner, and

he was made more deeply


ironical expreffion,

have been ufed."

fenfible of his folly

by

The conduct

of Elijah, and his

treatment of the prophets of Baal,

example of the fame kind.

It is

is

another

recorded,

known
Kings

" And it came to pafs at noon, that


jah mocked them, and faid. Cry aloud for he
xviii.

27.

on

Eliis

is

purfuing, or he

a journey, or peradventure

he fleepeth and

god, either he
is

this

than by any other that could

is

talking, or

he

muft be awaked."

There are

f^veral inftances of the

fame manner

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
ef fpeaking in the prophetical books

245

particularly,

the prophet Ifaiah, in an admirable manner, and at


great length, expofes the

The

the apoftolic writings

footifti

known

pafTages are well

folly of idolaters.

as are alfo

and therefore

for the fake of brevity

fome

in

omit them

and only mention an ex-

profiion of our Saviour himfelf,

who, though

man

of forrows, and in a ftate of humiliation, yet in fome


as in John
" Many good works have I fliewed you from
my Father; for which of thefe works do ye ftone me ?"
It was certainly making them very ridiculous, to afk

places ufes a language plainly ironical

X. 32.

them, for which of his good works they propofed to


flone him, as well as

was the

it

flrongeft

fying that he had never done any works

way of figniamong them

but fuch as were good.


After thefe examples, none will be furprifed

wrot^

thers have not only

but aflerted
this,'let

and

its

any

when

moft grave and venerable of the fa-

I fiiy, that the

neceflity

man only

his writings

in this

and

ufe.

manner themfelves,

To

be convinced of

read St. Jerome in his letters,

againfl Jovian and the Pelagians

Tertullian, in his apology againll the folly of idolaters

Auguftine, Irena^us, and Bernard, and

others of the

mod

approved charaders.

many

It is in-

deed founded upon the plaineft reafon.

There

commonly

men under

a pride

and

felf-fufliciency in

the dominion of error, which makes

them deaf

is

to

advice, and impregnable to grave and ferious rea-

foning
pride

But

is

left

neither

is

there any getting at

levelled a little

by

this

them

till

their

difmaying weapon.

the reader fliould be Icfs willing to yield to

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

24<5

my

THE

reafoning than that of greater men,

my

The

firft

have done,
real

which they

lived> than

prefent purpofe.

from Tertullian

is

nothing

is

combat.

different

which could not be more

writers in diitant ages,

applicable to the times in

they are to

That which

but a play before the

elfe

have rather pointed out the Wounds

which might be given you, than given them


If there are places which oblige people
it

beg

I fhall

from three

leave to tranllate three paiTages

in effel.

to laugh,

becaufe the fubjecls themfelves are ridiculous.

is

There

are

many

things

which ought

to be treated

with

contempt and mockery, through fear of giving them


weight, and making them important by ferioufly de-

Nothing

bating them.

than derifion
becaufe
caufe

it is

it is

*,

and

more

is

juftly

due

and

chjearful,

to defpife its enemies, be-

aflured of victory.

It is true,

we ought

to be careful that the raillery be not low,

worthy of the truth


one can ufe
to

do

it

to vanity

belongs to the truth to fmile,

it

but

if

and un-

that be attended to,

with addrefs and delicacy,

it is

and
duty

fo."

The

fecond paffage

following words

"

is

from

Who

St.

Auguftine, in the

will dare to fay, that the

truth ought to remain defencelefs againft the attacks

of falfehood

That the enemies of

religion {hall be

permitted to terrify the faithful with ftrong words,

and
wit

to entice or feduce
,

them by agreeable turns of

but that believers ought never to write but

with fuch a coldnefs of

ftyle as to lull

the reader

alleep ?"

The

third paflage

is

from Pafcal, In the eleventh


" As the truths of the

of his Provincial Letters

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

247

gofpel are the proper objecSbs both of love and refpe^l,


fo the errors

which

are oppofite to

the

firft,

are the ob-

There

and contempt.

je6ls both of hatred


diftinl: qualities in

them

are

a divine beauty

two

which

renders them amiable, and a facred majefty which

renders them venerable

and

there are alfo in the

laft,

and impiety which renders them horrible,

a guilt

and

a delufion

and contemptible.

which renders them

folly

Wherefore, as the

faints

filly

have

always, for truth, the united afFe^lions of love and


fear

fo, for error,

they have alfo the correfpondent

fentiments of hatred and


equally difpofes

them

contempt.

Their zeal

to refill the malice of

bad

men

with boldnefs and courage, and to difcredit their

by
That

folly

derifion
it is

and fcorn."

lawful in fome cafes to ufe ridicule,

now fufliciently proved. The truth


though It is common and natural for men to cry out.

hope

is

That

this is

fubjel,
I

is,

an unbecoming manner of handling the

when

their

own

miftakes are expofed

have met with very few controverfial writers,

do not,
lill

in proportion to their

flcill,

yet

who

endeavour to en-

ridicule in the fervice of reafon.

It is

often in-

deed a forry and motley mixture of grave and comic


but

it

fufhciently {hews the natural fenfe

of the propriety, not only of contradicting what


falfe,

but fmiling

at

fore very juftly reft


firjl place,

my

what

my

is

whether

the execution.

defence here.

It

was, in the

this,

was

fuch an attempt, as well

was endowed with proper


After

is

might there-

bufinefs to judge, whether there

fulTicient occafion given for


as,

abfurd

men have

it

fell

talents for

of courfe to the

THE

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

248

readers to determine,

But

how

had judged right in

far I

both of thefe particulars.

either, or

as, in fat, it

was not merely the lawfulnefs

my

of the thing in general, nor any confidence of

own

untried ability in that

termined

me to make

fliall

of writing, that de-

choice of

cular circumftances that


ry, I

way

but fome parti-

it,

feemed

to render

it

necefla-

now take the liberty of laying them before


The firft of them is the reigning tafte of

the reader.

Nothing

the age.

mind
which makes

is

more

plain, than that a certain

prevails at prcfent

levity of

very hard to

it

on any thing that


grave difcourfe

is

ferious.

among
very

though

firft

I refolve to

fetting out, I

little

am

this

adhere to

moment

title

*,

of a

many, and

prevent them from ever inquiring what


fo that

ranks

their attention

fix

The

fufficient to difguft

is

all

my

to

contains

it

promife at

writing with but

hope, that above one twentieth part of the read-

ers of

my former

Nay, it

is

treatife will

vouchfafe

ten to one that many will deny

work of the former author

and

greatly inferior in point of ftyle


ftyle appears to

them

*,

juft or pure,

a perufal.

it

this to

be the

affirm, that

that

is

is

it

to fay,

no

but that which

is

humorous and poignant.


Befides levity, or an averfion to what
there

which

is
is

is feriojjs,

another charaderiftic of the prefent age,

perhaps the child of the former

me^n

lloth, or an unwillingnefs to beftow great or long

application of

mind upon any

difpofition has

fubjel, be

it

what

been wonderfully

it

This
and wonderfully increafed by the generality of
The authors
wTiters among us for fome time paft.

will.

grati-

fied,

of periodical publications, fuch as reviews, maga-

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
silnes,

and even

common

and

llvelinefs of the pieces

From

get a

their opinions in religion,

Another

fame

their feve-

it is

fo eafy to

means of forming,

for the

government, or learning.

fpecies of compofition, proceeding

principled,

is

Great Britain,

What

novel-writing.

we have had

tion of thefe
in

in the variety

which make up

perufing thefe,

few look any further

that

one another

knowledge of every fubjet,

fuperficial

little

is

own

newfpapers, for their

intereftj^have long vied with

ral colledions.

249

upon the

an inunda-

pad
would

thefe twenty years

known.

fafBciently

It

even be an entertainment to enumerate them by theif


titles, and fee what proportion they make of the

whole new books

in

any given period of time.

From-thefe circumftances,
;an

mud

intending author

it is

eafy to fee

have before his

what
eyes.

Thofe who have long had theif appetites quickened


by a variety of difhes, and the mod pleafing fauces,
are not able to

can ufe

made

it

relifli

neceflary for

who

plainer, though, to thofe

far better

it,

and more

me

upon

to fall

This

folid food.

method of

compofition which might have fome chance to procure the attention of the public

executed,
I

could think

which, when well

almofl: univcrfully

is

and

of none more proper than irony

pleafing,

Befides,

mull acknowledge, that the condut of the pre-

vailing party did often appear to

culous light

-,

Chara6teri{lics

been long a

and never more

were

me

fo,

publiflied.

in a very ridi-

than

when

the

Moderation had

faftiionable or cant phrafe

among themj

and yet they were running headlong into the

mod

violent and tyrannical meafures.

They made

great

pretences to charity, and a large

manner of

Vol. VI.

think-

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

250
jng

and

as a teltimony

pofed, that

who

all

of

it,

THE

very modeftly fup-

did not form the fame opinions

in religion and government with themfelves, were

weak

two

fools, except

filly

or three knaves

who

had the direction of the reft. This, I da affirm,


was not barely hinted, but openly and confidently
afferted

knew

fo that I never

-,

greater bigots, in the

proper and genuine fenfe of that word.

my

attempt would be

gueiTed at

them

but

fuccefsful, could

imagined, that

to the public in the

fame

How

far

only

be

could exhibit

if I

light in

which they

appeared to myfelf, they would make a pretty comical figure

and

ib

happened

it

in fa6l.

tention was only to have publiibed, in

a half fheet,

under the

containing

title of,

the

lift

My firft inMay

I753>

maxims themfelves,

of felf-evident truths

:"

but that having been negletled, upon the provoca-

were added,
few months afterwards, in the

tion hinted at above, the illuftrations

and

fent abroad a

form they now

bear.

Another circumftance which feemed


this

way

of writing necefiary, was the

to render

little

regard

that had been paid to feveral well written treatifes of

a fcrious kind.

The

Characlieriltics

had greatly relaxed

of morals

perfons chiefly pointed at in the

had, by a courfe of decifions, planted

the country with ufelefs minifters

whole

office

difcipline in point

and though the

of ordination proceeds upon the fup-

pofition of a call

from the people, gravely admitted

them without any

call at all.

This,

when done

a part of the public worfiiip of God, as


is,

it

as

always

muft be confidered by every impartial perfon,

not only as a piece of grofs abfurdity^ and mocking of


the people, but a piece of fl.igrant impiety, and

mock-

25 F

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

Confcientious minifters abfented them-

ing of God.

from thefe pretended

felvcs

came

into the heads of their

ordinations-,

till

atlail

it

enemies to force them to

be prefent under pain of the higheft cenfures of the


They had the hardincfs all the while to
church.

was

afiirm, that this

the conltitution

abfolutely neceffary to fupport

man muft

although every

that if any of our fathers,

who

lived

agree,

about

fifty

up out of his grave, he


was the conftitution turned upfide
down. Many attempts had been made to reafon
with tliem, and clear appeals to the hiftory and

years ago, were to rife

would

fay,

it

llandhig a6ls of the church

-,

but

all

were trodden

under foot by the decifions of the annual aflemblies,


in their judicative capacity.

came
to

fo confident of their

all

reafoning on

tlie

Nay, they

at lafl

own power, and

fo

be-

deaf

that they refufed

fubjedl:,

even to read what was wTitten by thcfe of ditTerent

when they did read it, difdained to


make any anfwer to it, or attempt to convince them
fcntiments, and

any other way, than by the unanfwerable argument


of depofition.

ner

This induced

them

that has obliged

will or not; and


as to bring

them

though

One

to write in a

other reafon

way

has not been fo happy

was no

it

corretion.
fliall

mention for making

of writing, was drawn from the

modern notions of philofophy, which had

fo greatly

contributed to the corruption of the clergy.


great patron and advocate for thefe

is

the ted of truth."

Y2

The

was LordShaftef-

bury, one of whofe leading principles

" Ridicule

man-

whether they

to conviction, I am. fure

more than well merited


choice of this

it

me

to hear

it

is,

that

This principle of

A SERIOUS

252
his

/-POLOer FOR

THE

had been adopted by many of the clergy

there

hardly any

is

who

world,

man

has not heard

fended in conVerfation.

how

try

and

converfant in the literary

it

a thoufand times de-

was

therefore willing to

they themfelves could ftand the edge of

weapon hoping, that if it did not convince


them of the folly of tlie other parts of their condudt,

this

it

might

lead put them out of conceit with this

at

The

particular opinion.

of thefe I do really

laft

tiiink the publication of the Charadteriftics has, in a

great meafure, efFe6^ed

at leaft within

-,

Iphere of converfation.
Iiear

it

pretended, that ridicule

keep

lent
I

is

narrow

we now

the teft of truths

not renounced this opinion, they at

If they have
leaft

my

but feldom

It is

more

it

to themfelves,

upon it
hope the reader

and are

lefs info-

in their treatment of others.

will

not imagine, that, by

wrefling this principle out of the hands of


verfaries, I intend to adopt

be truth

in

in

it

nothing that

is

an A^uivocal fenfe

true

my

ad-

There may

myfelf.

it

for to be fure

can be really ridiculous

but

more pernicious than this princommonly underilood and applied.

there are few things


ciple,
Jt

is

as

is

it

moft certain, that many things both true and

excellent

may, by

a perfon poliefled of the talent of

humour, be made apparently ridiculous ; and this


will have its full effeO: upon the bulk of mankind,
who are not able to difcover where the fallacy lies.

Ur Brown,

in his Effays

on the Charateriftics, fays

with great propriety. That ridicule


the difcovery of truth
guiflied

atioa

from reafoning,

la ihi

it

"

is

place of rcafon

is

not fitted for

far as

for, fo

it is

diflin-

only putting imagij"

than which few

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

more ready

are

tilings

allows, that

falfehood

pofe
the

and

*'

very proper to

is

it

But he

lead us aflray.

to

difgrace

as the application of

253

known
pur-

to this

it

warranted by the judgment and example of

is

wifefl men in all ages, there way notiiing


me from making ufe of the fame privilege.

bed and

to hinder

mean

In the

time,

if

there has been any charadter

of real worth, or any meafure truly commendable,

now under

ridiculed in the treatife


this be

fhown by

and

fon,

am

clear

confideration, let

and plain dcdu6i:ions of rea-

ready to repent of

it,

and renounce

it.

3.

This leads

me to the third and lad part of


To fliow what occafion was given

ray defence, viz.


for fuch a

treatife

among

be abfolutely neceflary,

This

us.

as

the title-page, to the church of Scotland.


in vain to

have fhown, that there

confefs to

plainly applied, in-

it is

is

It will be*

nothing fmful or

hurtful in attacking the chara61:ers of clergymen,,

where they
or that this
ridicule.

ters of the

Very
in

a6l in a

manner unworthy of

their office,.

may lawfully be done even in the way of


The queftion will ftill bey Have the minifChurch of Scotland

really deferved

it ?

great difficulties, however, prefent themfelves

this

branch of the

things demonftrably true,


affirm, at leaft in

fome

There

fubje<n:.

which

places.

is

it

Upon

tion, that the prevailing party in this

are

many

dangerous to
the fuppofi-

church

is

of

the fpirit and difpofition painted in the Gharac^eri-ftics,

one would think,

them with

be in a forry fituation
judges.

man

v^'ho

their faults in a dlrei^

The

if

ever they fhould be his

vent as convitii

Y3

fhould upbraid

manner, would

would do him very

lit*-

fervice, or rather

tie

THE

^ SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

CJ4

would only ferve

Have they been

their refentmeHt.

ed agalnfl

me for a little pleafant raillery

mad

hope

as to

to

envenom

already fo enrag?

and

am I fo

defend myfeif, by bringing againft

to

the fame perfons a ferious and deliberate accufation

However formidable

am

may

difEcuky

this

appear, I

not without hopes, that fuch of them as have any

rneafure of impartiality and candour, after weighing

what

is

now

may

to be offered,

forgive the attack already

made

be more inclined to
;

and, by breaking

their attachment to the mofl; corrupt

members, re-

cover the merit and dignity of the general body.

With

view

this

Many from

let

me make

a preliminary

remark.

the beginning either really did, or at

lead afFeCled to fuppofe, that

all

who

joined in the

meafures carried on by the majority in our general


ailemblies,

were reprefeuted

tirized

in the Chara6teri(lics,

bad principle or practice

as infected with every

from the

An

writer's mind.

anfwer to that objecperformance would

tion, fuch as the nature of the

admit, was
tion of the

inferted in the preface to the fecond edi-

book

itfelf

judgment upon the

The

guity.

fa-

Nothing was farther

through the v/hole.

and

fhall

now

deliver

my

point, without the lead ambi-

political

meafures which have been car-

rying on for thefe thirty years

of Scotland, appear to

me

pad

in the

church

to be ruinous to the inte-

At the fame time, I am fenfible,


many worthy and good men who join

refts of religion.

that there are


in

mod

of thofe meafures

and one great end of the

Charateridies was, to open the eyes of fuch


fons, both

on

their

pei^-

employment and company.

train -of circumdances, not always in our

own

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

men

power, fomctlmcs leads good

mod

lupport the

to

tliemfelves

corrupt part of a church

in their

boundaries of prudence and

The

public meafures.

25^

Union

zeal are not eafily fixed.


Utics, Qften ellabliilies a

of opinion in po-

men

conne6Vion between

very oppofite principles in religion and morals

of

and

there are few greater infiances of the weaknefs of

human

men to giv
who are worfe

nature, than the readinefs of

protection and countenance to thofe

than themfelves, becaufe they are ftaunch friends to

Such complacency do fomctak

their party views.


in this,

as

an exertion of Chriflian charity and ten-

dernefs, that

it is

wonderful to think what they will

much more wonderful

do, and

yfkamed of

it,

honeftly defend

Whatever

that they are not

but openly, and to

all

appearance

it.

unites

their afFe6tion from,

them with one

party, alienates

and interrupts their corrcfpon-

dence with the oppofite

duced on both hands.

hence extremes are pro-

Perfons of fierce and vio-

lent tempers, in their zeal, tlirow out

nate reflections
tereft,

mere
it

*,

and thofe engaged

been

tural for

obferved,

moting

than

for

rife

religion,

Nay,

fomewhat

na-

eafily irritable at

above them in ap-

and

zeal for

pro-

who fall below them. The


their own condut and cha-

at thofe

fird are a reproach to


ra(fler,

is

it

clergymen, to be more

concern
it,

and rcfentment.

that

fuch of their brethern as


parent

indlfcrimi-

another in-

turn a deaf ear to every accufaticn, as the

clfecl of party-malice

has

in

the other are a

who efpoufes any

foil to

it.

So

that every

bold or vigorous mcafure,

his account with a fcnfible coldncfs, even

may

one
lay

from fuca

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

256

THE

of his brethren as are in the next immediate degree

below him.

Another very confiderable difEculty


way.

The more

the church of Scotland

one refpet,

it

is

juft, the

more

difficult, in

will be to carry a convition of

who are guilty


The corruption of

the minds, either of thofe


thofe

who

obferve

it.

always implies, a light fenfe of the

however

therefore,

plainly I

evil

and fuch fa6ts are done,

convince

many

it

of

it

it,

to

or

a church

of

may make

that fuch

great degree.

my

in

lies

the complaint of degeneracy in

it

fin,

and

appear,,

will be hard to

that they are wrong, at lead in any

Many

one half of thofe things

clergyman wall not yield the

half of the evil of

was once
the fame ideas of

be

to

ted to be fo a century ago

fins that

were admit-

nor do they fee the one

either in clergy or laity, that

fin,

taken for granted.

Thofe who have not

morality, can never be fuppofed to

have an equal impreflion of the infufficiency of the

fame degree of

it.

Thofe who look upon family-

worlhip, for inftance, as an unneceflary piece of devotion, will never be brought to imagine, that an

aflembly

is

one whit worfe for confifting of

members who

habitually neglect that duty,

fo

be permitted to ufe fo old-fafhioned a phrafe.


the other hand, though

many

if I

may

On

fhould produce the names

and firnames of thofe clergy, who, mounted upon


their courfers at the public races, join the gentle-

men

of the turf, and are w^ell fkiiled in

of that honourable art

who

are to be

found

though

at routs

all

fhould

the terras

name thofe

and drums, and other

fame nature, and can defcant


with greater clearnefs on the laws of the gaming-

polite afTsmblies of the

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

produce a proof of the

many who denied


For

tion.

If

the relevancy of the crimes.

we go

we may, from

knowledge of human

nature, and the experience of

not

file

is

in a lax

would be

fo, it

it

a general obferva-

confider the circumilances of the church

of Scotland,

firm,

farther, perhaps

improper to introduce

we

to

expel to find

fa6ls, I iliould

this reafon, before

will not be

257

commanded

table than the Bible, inftead of being

go further, and

pad

ages, fafely af-

and degenerate Hate.

a miracle.

to fay,

it

Nay,

I will

would be fuch

We

never happened before.

in this

If

were

it

venture to

a miracle as

church have

enjoyed uninterrupted outward profperity for more

than feventy years

and during

all

that time, have

not only been free from perfecution, but have en-

joyed the favour and protection of the

civil

power.

If this long courfe of temporal profperity has

no

efFe61: in

ners,

it

bringing on a depravation of our

mufl needs be

a miracle

-,

becaufe

trary to the natural courfe of things


will pretend to find a period,

The
a trial

interval

con-

when any fuch

thing

confident be unfuccefs-

primitive church

was never long without

will, I

perfecution during the three

had

it is

and he that

am

happened before,
ful.

had

man-

how

firfl:

centuries

yet they

they could bear profperity, in the

between the ninth and tenth perfecution,

immediately before that dreadful one which they


fufiered

under the Emperor Dioclefian.

And

hif-

tory informs us, that though they had not then any
civil

eftablifhment, yet the eafc and profperity

which

they enjoyed had a mofl fatal influence upon their


XTianncrs.

So long

as 3 minifter

is

only in the poll of great-

THE

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

258

men

danger, there will be lefs hazard of worldly

eft

endeavouring to pufh themfelves into that fituation

but as foon as that office begins to be confidered as


^a quiet

and

fafe fettlement for this life,

how

can

be but many, from no higher end than worldly


tereft, will get

and keep pofTeffion of

though

living

elfe

were

Therefore,

knew nothing

of the church of Scotland, but that

enjoyed fuch a courfe


.

it?

Japan, and

in

would

it

in-

of outward

(lie

had

profperity,

as certainly conclude, that a corruption of

manners was

affecSting even the clergy, as I would


which had been long out of the furnace,
and had not been rubbed or fcoured, would be
growing rurty.

that iron

'

After

all,

it

is

fomewhat

formance {hould ftand


the accufation againft

in

ftrange, that this per-

need of an apology, or that

fhould be fo often repeated.

it

That the authot muft be

bad man

and that

This

hurtful to the intereft of religion.

is

it is

certainly

the clamour of the guilty, and not the judgment o

the candid.

There

no fuch apprehenfion of the

is

thing being criminal

among

thofe

who

unprejudiced and impartial judges;


well known, with

It is

was read by them, when

how much
firft

are the moft

mean

the laity*

approbation

publiQied

withftanding the love of defamation, which


tural to

am

were,

if it

and that

gion

if it

had been a

is

na-

its

admirers would

clafs

than they gene-

had been againft the

intereft of reli-

mankind,

perfuaded

have been of quite a different


rally

it

and not-

it

would have had no admirers

fatire

at all,

without an objet.

Let us fuppofe any perfon had taken into hts


head

to write a fatire againft the minifters

of the

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

25^

church of Scotland, and had thought proper


prefent

them

in

an oppofite Hght

to rc-

fuppofe he had

reprefented them as having arrived to fuch a degree

of bigotry, as to beUeve, that no perfon could be

who had

faved

the lead doubt of any thing con-

tained in the large fyftems of Piclet and Turretiiie;


as fo fevere difciplinarians, that

they were conti-

nually harraffing gentlemen and noblemen, and fum-

moning them before

an hour too long

bottle after dinner on other days

mortified in their

own

fermon on the

after

little

fitting half

Lord's day, or

walking

their fellions, for but

out in their gardens a

lives,

at their

as fo rigid

and

were

dan-

that they

in

ger of bringing back the monkifh aufterity of the

church of Rome.

Whether would

the author of

fuch a pamphlet have been reckoned found in his

Would any body have been

judgment

read

or,

it ?

derftood

was

fo idle as to

they did, would they not have un-

backwards

it

cafe, there

if

Whereas,

the prefent

in

a tellimony given to the truth

juftice of the chara(Sl:ers

drawn, by the

aflent

and
and

approbation of almoft every reader.

The
priety

laity
:

were not the only witnefles of

many

its

pro-

of the moft eminent and refpe^able

of the clergy of our neighbour-country, gave evi-

dence

in favour of the Charateriftics.

well informed, that the Bifhop of

have been

n, in con-

nobleman of our own country, gave


high commendation j and added withal " It

verfation with a
it

feems only dlre(^ed


church of Scotland
to

whom

alfo

faid

againfi:
;

but

a certain

party of the

we have many

in

England

the characters are very applicable."

by thoCc who deferve

credit,

tliat

It

is

the

A SERIOtrS APOLOGY FOR

i6o
Blfliop of

O d

and

He

faid,

then

Dr

much In the fame way


own clergy would read it
and corre(ilion. And fevera^

fpoke

wiflied their

for their inflruiTlion

have feen a

THE

from the prefent Bifliop of

letter

n,

of this age, to a miniRer in Scotland

commends
thefe words

Is

it

r,

in

which he

the performance, and particularly ufes


**

party to which

for

one of the moft eminet authors

A
we

fine

piece of raillery againft a

are no llrangers here."

to be fuppofed, that

fuch perfons, eminent

worth and penetration, would have approved a

thing fo evidently criminal as fome are pleafed to


think this tra6t

Or

are there indeed perfons of the

characters there repre'fented in the church of

Eng-

land, and none in the church of Scotland

Shall

the perfons above-nam^ed openly afRrm, there are


in England j and muft the man be condemned, without hearing, and without mercy, who
IS fufpecSled of hinting there are fome fuch in her

many fuch

filler-church

fome

furprife,

have often indeed refleded, with

on the different

fituation of affairs in

have feen many books

printed in England, with the

names of the authors,

Scotland and in England.

which

plainly an^l without ambiguity affirm, that

there are fome of the clergy proud, ambitious, timefervers,

and

tools of thofe in

power

fome of them

lazy and flothful, lovers of eafe and pleafure

*,

fome

of them fcandalous and diflolute in their manners

fome of them wholly ignorant and infufficient ; and


Thefe
that all are tolerated by thofe who prefide.
things they affirm, without the leaft danger, or ap-

prehenfion of

book

that

had

it.

tlie

But were any man

to publifh a

tenth part of fuch feverity in

It,

2^1

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
in Scotland,

hired to

fliip

he ought,
fly to

at the

fame time,

But the ftrongeft of

general proofs of the juf-

all

of the fatire in the Chara(^erillics,

tice

viour of thofe

The

to have a

another country.

who

is

are fuppofed to be

made

lamentable outcry they

the beha-

aimed

at firft, the

at.

ma-

and refentment they have ever fmce difcovered

lice

againft the author, prove to a demonftration, that


his reproofs are

virell

We

founded.

the argument to this fhort form

ground

for this fatire, or there

was none,

reduce

ftiall

Either there was

was none.

If there

neither furely could there be for one half

of the complaints that have been made againft


it

would have been perfectly harmlefs.

it,

for

Many, even

of the prefent clergy of the church of Scotland, do

not find thmfelves touched by

it

in the leaft degrte.

If the chara6ters of the reft lay

the ftrokes of raillery,


fo
IS

much

why

difconcerted by

no more open

ftiould they

it ?

If they

to

have been

were not

hit, it

impoflible they could be hurt.

Thefe general arguments, of themfelves, might


fatisfy

any impartial perfon

but

us

let

now go

little

further, and confider particularly the prefent

ftate

of the church of Scot land, and

might give occafion to the

fatire.

It

how

far

would be

it

te-

dious to mention every fmgle ftroke of raillery contained iu that performance but fo far as it carries
:

a cenfure of principles or characters generally prevailing, they

ing

clafles,

We

fliall

may

be reduced to the three follow-

Do6lrine, EKfcipline, and Government.

examine each of thefe diftindly and fepar-

ately.
I.

Let us confider our prefent

VoL.VL

ftate in

point of


THE

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

262
Doctrine.

many

It is

certainly

hinted,

that

arc

th'er6

have departed from the old proteflant

v.'ho

principles contained in our Confelhon of Faith and

And

Catechifms.
Is

it

is

it

poffible to

deny

this fat

not the general complaint of the people through

many

the whole kingdom, that from


is little to

pulpits there

be heard of the peculiar doctrines of the

gofpel? or,

if

they be mentioned at

all, it is

no more

than an aukward and cold compHment to fave appeara'nces, while fomething very different
infifted on.

iiines,

If I

both

am

in the

is

holy Scriptures, and in the con-

feflions of all the proteflant churches, are,


loft

and

chiefly

not miflaken, the leading doc-

man by

fallen ftate of

nature

The

*<

^The abfo-

lute necellity of falvation through Jefus Chrifl

The pardon

of fin by the riches of divine grace,

through the imputed righteoufnefs of the Saviour

San^bification and comfort

Thefe doctrines are of

moment, and have.


on the whole of practical

fo great

fo extenfive an influence

where they are firmly

religion, that

by the Holy Ghoft."

believed, they

will not only be often brought direlly in view, but

the

manner of fpeaking upon every other

will be fuch, as to leave

omifTion
plaints

yet certain

upon

therefore I

doctrine

is

fubjc6l:

no jealoufy of an intended

it is,

this fubjet

am warranted

that

many

are the

from every quarter

com;

and

to infer, either that the

corrupted, and fomething elfe intention-

ally taught, or that the perfons

complained of arc

utterly incapable of exprefTmg themfelves in fuch a

manner

as to

I fhall

There

is

now

be underftood.
put the argument in another form.

unqusilionably a great difference in point

of doctrine between fomc miaifters and othqrs.

If

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

263

the one fort therefore preach the clolrin contained

Confefhon of Faith, undoubtedly the others

in the

cither contradict or omit

are

am

it.

feme who would be afliamed

that they preached this do6lrine

more

fo in the

mod

and

clear

who

plain, than that thofc

explicit

perfuaded there

to

have

it

are

known

I iliall

be tokl here.

general complaints

Why

name

It is

anfwcr, that

it is

men may
of

afide.

What

legal pro-

and even blafphe-

way, that no human law can take hold


then fliould hinder

refy under the

would

To

Every day {hows, that

print feditlon, treafon,

in fuch a

it.

they

manner, that

be impoflible to convict him by a

fecution in a free country.

my,

a very eafy thing for a mati

to preach erroneous doClrine in fuch a


it fliall

pro-

the particular perfons

be immediately laid

will in that cafe,

is

do

do you make thefe

produce your evidence, and prove the charge

this I

to

manner, are ufual-

ly the obje(Sls of their jealoufy or hatred.

bable

thought

and nothing

men

to

preach he-

fame prudent difguifes? Belides, what

a profecution fignify,

a court, of which,

if it

mult come before

between clergy and

haps a plurality of members

laity,

differ little in

per-

opinion

from the pannel.

My

fubjeCt does not oblige

me

to fay

any thing

upon the excellence and importance of the neglected truths, yet


ing
I

my

am

will take this opportunity of deliver-

opinion in a few words. ^Thefe doctrines,

perfuaded,

are not only true in themfelves,

but the great foundation of

all

Wherever they

and inculcated,

are maintained

hefs and purity of


natural efFecl,

On

life

pradlical religion.

and manners

the contrary,

2^2

ftriCl-

will be their

where they are

A SERIOUS APOLOGY

264

F^B.

THE

negle^led, and a pretended theory of moral virtu


fubftituted In their room,

Of

morality in practice.

own church and

our

former periods,

But there
fubjeft

this

turns not fo

it

no occafion

the ridicule

thefe dodlrines,

for entering further into

the CharaSteriftics

in

abfurdlty of

grofs

fubfcribing what they do not believe.

firm a perfuailon I

that of

the truth or importance of

the

as

compared with

and melancholy prooL

is

much on

of

this the prefent ftate

nation,

a ftrong

is

and

will immediately

a deluge of profanity and im-

certainly- introduce

may have

men's

However

of any fyftem of opi-

judgment and freedom of


would wiOi to remain facred and invioThofe wh ufe this liberty, with courage,,

nions, the right of private


inquiry, I
lable.

and with candour, ought


efteenj

by every one

men,

for

to

who

be held in the higheft

diflers

at their entrance

a/ter tl>ey

endeavour to undermine and

all

their

deftroy,,

at once fo criminal and fo abfurd, that no reproof

is

given to
1

fo-

office,

Icmnly to fubfcribe to the truth of what


jiv,es

But

from them.

on the facred

it

can polhbly exceed in point of feverity.

take the hberty here of tranfcribing a paffage

a printed fermoii,

nod

in

Scotland

tions, th^

preached

minds

it

i&

is

how men can

What

keep them

commifTion of

thjit

it.

The

are oiFered in defence

are a <lifgrace to reafon, as

to religion.

fy-

fo direl: a violation

at eafe in the profpeft, or

very ^xcufes and evafions


it,

opening of a

aftonilhlng to think

in peace after the deliberate

of

at the

where, fpeaking of thefe fubfcrip-

author fays " This

of fincerjty, that
fet their

from

weli as a fcandal

fuccefs can be expeled from

that ma.n'.s miulftry, v/ho bejgins

it

with an acl of

fo-

26$

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
complicated guilt

How

reprove others for

can he take upon him to

them up

or to train

fin,

tue and true goodnefs, while himfelf

is

in vir-

chargeabb

with direct, premeditated, and perpetual perjury ?


I know nothing fo nearly refembling it, as thofe
cafes in trade, in
at

which men make

falfe entries,

and

once fcreen and aggravate their fraud, by fwear-

ing, or caufing others to fwear, contrary to truth.

This

is

juftly reputed fcandalous,

and yet

know no circumftance

fer, that

does not tend to fliow

even in the world

which they

in

it

to

be

lefs

dif-

criminal

than the other *."

There may be fome of the

laity

who have them-

felves an inward averfion to the fyftem of do61:rine

contained in our Confeflion and

who,

Catechifms, and

for that reafon, are pleafed with fuch of the

clergy as preach in a different flrain: but fure

whoever
having

will reflect

all

upon the circumftance of

fubfcribed to

it,

am,

their

can never have a high

opinion of their condul upon the whole, but muft

condemn the

infincerity, let the propofitions fub-

fcribed be in themfelves either true or falfe.

What
neral.
tics

is

above,

The

may

fufhce as to do^rine in ge-

particular ftriftures in the Gharadierif-

againft: a falfe tafte in

enough anfwcr

compofition,

for themfelves without

may well

any defence.

That there have been many inftances of ftrange


congruity in this particular,

is

beyond

all

in-

queftion.

manner of fpeaking on
which both fpeaker and hearer

cold, heartlefs, indifferent

thofe fubjets, in

have fo great, nay, no

lefs

than an infinite concern

an oftentatious fwell of words, or a pointed orna-

Mr Witherspoon's Syhod-:ermon,

Z3

A SERIOUS A^^LOGY FOR

%66

fn^nted foppery of

of the pulpit

ftyle, fo

ill

TOE

fuhed to the gravit^r

an abftracSled, refined, or philofophi-

cal difquintion, which, if

it

has any meaning at

all,

perhaps not three in the audience can pofTibly underftand


racters

where
ii\y

are thefe imaginary, or are they real cha-

If they are characters

the

is

own

fin

am

part, I

grieved to fee fo

among the generality


which

drawn from

real life^

or danger of expofing them

For

learning

little

of the minifters of this churchy

probably owing to their poverty* But I


good meafure comforted with this refleo

is

ani in a

tion, that the

weakefl commonly do as

as the wifeft

much

fervice

becaufe though they were ever fa

willing, they are not able to

the audience with

fill

any admiration of themfelves, and therefore their

mud

attention

be fixed upon the truths delivered,

and not the parts and


2.

Let

manner of the

fpeaker.

us confider a little the (late of the

of Scotland with refpel to Difcipllne


lay, the inTpeolion of the

people.

Upon

church,

that

the moft deliberate

review,

to

is

morals of minifters

an.i

all

can find intimated in the CharaClieriftics upon this


fubjecb, is, that there is far lefs ftridnefs and tendernefs of converfation, lefs of the appearance of
piety and devotion, in perfons of the fpirit.ual func-

and lefs feverity, in the exer;


upon thofe who offend*

lion, than formerly


cife of difcipline,

"What

(hall I fay in

thing appears to

me

defence of

this,

no particular crimes charged, but

5ire

vity

but that the

to be manifellly true

There

in general, le-

and worldly converfation, with a negleft of the

duties of the facrcd office.

And would

to

God

there

were not

the greateft caufe of charging, not mere-

ly

few

foijie

diforderly perfons,

not merely the

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTtRIS
youngefl: fort in general, but
as in

fome meafure

increafe of corruption
vifible

the beft.

This

teaches us to

among

without exception,

is

It

expe<Sl:.

2.

among

wliat the natural courfe of things


alfo

is

what our Saviour

The

prefent age

Becaufe iniquity

**

abound, the love of many

Matt. xxiv.

a remarkable

is

the worft, there will

himfelf hath forewarned us of


(hall

iOy

IC3.

declcnfion in zeal and piety

be a

alfo

all

If there

guilty.

wax

fliall
is

cold,"

moving exam-

ple of this, both with refpect to the clergy and laity.

As

there

piety

is

an alarming degree of infidelity and im-

among many of every

preferve

fome regard

rank, fo even thofe

who

for religion, fall very far ihort

of that eminent and exemplary piety which fome


alive

have feen in Chriftians of the

which our
I

am

own

very fenfible, that the degeneracy of their

and moral writers

and that they may be


this particular

of hiftory put

have been

but
it

many

liable

beyond

to

fome deception

queftion, that

all

among

and temporary reformation, of

fon for affirming

it)

every age

the quantity of

may

yet certainly

it

Nay,

it

local

and oc-

I fee

no rea-

human

virtue,

often changes

its refi-

fettle in anotlier.

feems very reafonable to believe,

tliat

as

things are never at a (land, a church and

nation, in a

growing

there

be nearly the fame

dcnce, and leaves one nation, to

human

in

nations, of

all

Perhaps (though

through the whole earth,

com-

in every age,

fame time, the records

the

at

inflances,

cafional depravation.

ill

and of

age,

times has been the conftant and uniform

plaint of religious

local

lafl

fathers have told us.

quiet and

peaceable

infenfibly worfe,

till

it

ftate,

is

always

be either fo corrupt

as to deferve and procure exterminating judgments,

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR THE

2^8

or In the infinite mercy of God, by fome great

Ihock or revolution, is brought back to finiplicity


and purity, and reduced, as it were, to its firll
principles.

They

much

are

to be

blamed therefore, who,

becaufe the complaints of fome moral writers are


exaggerated, and their comparifons not always well

founded, treat every thing of

and

vifionary,

refufing

nature as foolilh

this

much

fo

examine

to

as

whether the charge brought againft themfelves

On

or groundlefs.

of opinion, that

power

it is

the contrary,

every man's duty to do

to retard the progrefs of corruption,

nefs and tendeniefs in his

and vigilance

own

in the duties

is

juft

cannot help being


all

by

in

lirs

ftrit-

perfonal walk, fidelity

of a public flation, and

a bold and open teftimony againft every thing contrary to the intereft of true

But becaufe we have

and undefiled

now

chiefly to

clergy, let us return to them.

could

If

religion.

do with the

were proper,

it

produce examples of indecency and im-

eafily

piety in clergymen, fuiBcient

to

perfon with the deepeft concern

fill
;

every ferious

and which the

moft relaxed moralift would not be able to defend


but as

would

fain believe, that things very grofs

among us, and are


commonly known, I fliall confine myfelf only to
things more openly pra6tifed by many, and too eafily
afe yet but feldom committed

not

tolerated

book

by

am

all.

This

is

the

more proper,

difclofing hidden fcenes, but dwells

tions

that the

defending can fcarcely be charged with

from duty,

rather fmlles

at

as are

on fuch devia-

epidemic and general, and

the ridiculous,

guilty part of every charadler.

than cxpofes the

ECCLESIASTlCilL CHARACTERISTICS.

There

one circumftance which I am afraid beThe world in general


into a millake.

is

many

trays

26p

cxpets a great " comparative" fan6lity in thofe


bear the facrcd ofBce
take a

when

therefore,

war-

liberty, others think themfelves

little

who

minifters

Thefe fentiments,

ranted to take a great deal more.

which are univerfal, contribute to keep the proportion between the clergy and laity always nearly the

When

fame.

therefore clergymen fee the diilance

remaining between them and others, they are

Hill

ready to forget

how

where they ought

Many

far they are

things are faults in a minifter, which, if

not innocent, are certainly far

men.

both from the place

to have been.

There

is

lefs

criminal in other

alfo a fpecies of faults

which

ap^

prehend do render a minifter juftly contemptible,

upon which no law,


lay hold

either civil or ecciefiaftic, can

and which, for that reafon, are the

per objects both of ferious and

one

(hows

from cenfqre

how

and make

If

*,

duty to be a burden, and does

his

no more work than


ment,

pro-'

to the fervice of Chrift in the gofpel,

fet apart

m;inifeilly

fatirical reproof.

if

barely fufHcient to fcreenlaim

he reckons

it

a piece of

improve-

how fliort, he can preach


how many omiiFions he has

feldom, or
his

boaft

brought a patient and an injured people to endure


without complaint

while at the fame time, he can-

not fpeak with temper of thofe

who

aje willing to

do more than himfelf ; however impoffiblc


to afcertain his faults

by a

libel,

it

may be

he juftly merits the

dctcftation of every faithful minifter,

and every real

Chriftian.

That fuch

is

the cafe with not a few amongft U8

k SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

2^0

THE

there

is the greateft reafon to believe.


The heavy
and general complaints of the people from fome
quarters, and their grofs ignorance in others, prove

it

beyond contradidion.

Thofe v^hofe condu6t

not liable to this imputation, will not find,

is

that

they have fufFered the fmalleil injury, in point of


character, by the publication of the Charafteriflics,

excepting fuch as feel the

wounds given

to their

friends as fenfibly as thole given to themfelves.


this

however,

cafe,

they have an

eafy

In

remedy

Let them have no

fellowfliip with the unfruitful


works of darknefs, but rather reprove them."
I

am

unwilling to enter farther into the charac-

ters of minifters-,

and therefore

fhall

only add,

the impartial but confider what happened a

we

years ago, and then fay, whether

nifters

think

themfelves

at

are not greatly

Did not

relaxed in point f difcipline.

let

few

feveral mi-

liberty to attend

am

entertainments of the ftage?

will immediately pafs fentence

upon me

the

many

fenfible,

as a perfon

of very narrow principles, for introducing this as a

mark of our
it,

depravity.

muft, however,

infift

upon

from the united teftimony of the beft and wifeil

of th^ Heathen writers, the uniform fentiments and


practice of the

primitive church, and the pieces

written for the ftage in

man may

modem

times,

which any

perufe, that the performances of hired-

players have never yet been condu6l:ed with fo

much

decency as to deferve the countenance and prefence


of a minifter of Chrift.

The General AfTembly

did

indeed judicially difapprove of that liberty taken by


minifters
is

but the cenfure inflited on the offenders

fo gentle^ that

it

was then the opinion of

m.iny,.

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
it

would have n greater tendency

to encourage, than

to prevent the repetition of the offence.

pears they judged right; for,

if I

27I

am

now

It

ap-

not greatly mif-

informed, the offence has been repeated fince that

time with abfolute impunity.


If the

morals of the clergy themfelves are cor-

rupted, there

the reafon in the world to expedl:,

is all

that the reins of difcipline vvillbe .flackened as

the diforders of otiiers.


rious, that

This, indeed,

would be

it

tempt a proof of
a reflection or

it

idle

and unneceflary to

and therefore

to

fo noto-

is

only

I fhall

at-

make

two upon the reception given, not

long ago, to a propofal for cenfuring thofe writers,

who had

publifhed and avowed irreligious and im-

moral fentiments.

It

what

known what

well

is

met with

oppofition this propofal

nor will

was ufed

be

forgot,

it;

and nothing can fliow, in a clearer

fort of reafoning

low and languid


nov/

reduced.

which our

flate to

It

fpirit.

it

Upon

this

lliall

fooii

againft

light, that

difcipline is

was generally reprefented

fpecies of perfecution, and as flowing

cuting

violent

from

as a

a perfe-

lay before the

reader one or two very fhort reflexions.

What

ly?.

is

ecclefiaflical

cenfure? Is

it

nny more

than a judicial declaration, that fuch and fuch things


are contrary to the fpirit of the gofpel, and inconfiilent

penalties follow

upon

it

penalties ought to follow


this

in

No

civil

and no

civil

with the charadler of a Chrillian

it is

among

upon

it

us,

in any nation.

their nature juft

and necefTary,

fo they carry the

evidence of their juflice in themfelves.


cafe thoy are nuiVipplied, and a perfon

ned

From

very plain, that fuch cenfures, as they are

for v/hat

is

If in
is

any

condem-

laudable, fuch condemnation can

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

272

no diflionour but upon thofe

refle(9:

THE

who pronounce

it.

idly..

Whether (hould we be moft ready

provoked

at the

to be
impudence of profefTed unbelievers,

name

defiring to retain the

at the abfurdity of calling

them of

it? If infidelity

of Chriftians, or to fmile
perfecution to deprive

it

were a

principle, properly

fpeaking, or implied a fyftem of real and pofitive


opinions,

all

of that perfuafion would reckon them-

men,

felves

bound

tifm,

and every apparent relation to the deluded

as honeft

what

defiring admiflion to

Inftead of

believers.

to renounce their bap-

Chriftians call their privileges, they

would confider

the impofition of fuch things as a great hardlhip,

and beg that they might have nothing

them ; and

in fuch a cafe certainly

As

be paid to their tender confciences.


charge of perfecution,
ginable.

They

it is

do with

to

due regard would


to the

the moft ridiculous ima-

themfelves are the aggreflbrs

and

though they are our Open enemies, think proper to


be greatly offended, when

we

fay they are not our

friends.
Tfdly,

What

fing Chriftians

can be the meaning of thofe profef-

who

defire to retain in their

nion the enemies of the gofpel


they do us any fervice
bring us any honour
themfelves

None

of

Can

commu-

they, or will

Is it poffible that they

Can

it

can

be of any benefit to

all thefe.

But

it

muft

vifibly

lefien the fanlity of the Chriftiau character in the

apprehenfion of mankind in general, and give the

unhappy perfons themfelves more reafon than any


other circumftance whatever, to fay, the whole is
nothing at bottom but deceit and impofition.

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

now

It

3.

273

remains only to confider the prefent

of the church of Scotland with refpel to

(late

government.

This, fo far as

former, or at lead fo far as

it is

its

from the
touched upon in the

it is

different

Charaleriftics, relates chiefly to the admiflion of

few

miniflers, with a

and

upon the

hints

who

atteftations of elders

fit

as

qualifications

members

in the

fupreme court.

The
tions

admiflion of minlfters into vacant congrega-

indeed a matter of the higheft moment, and

is

the oppofition of fentiments


fubje<2:,

probably

differences.

lies at

am

among

us upoii this

the bottom of

all

our other

alfo of opinion, that the continu-

ance of what have been commonly called " violent


fettlements," will have the mofb certain and power*ful influence in banilhing religion

and decency, and

bringing us into a fituation of which I -charitably


believe,

many who

profecutc thefe meafures have not

Willingly therefore, were

the leaft fufpicion.

my

power, would

it

in

contribute to open the eyes of

fomc of my-brethren, on the pernicious confequences


own conduct. But I have the difcouragc-

of their

inent to refledi, that the force of cuftom, and the

power of
any thing

prejudice, will probably fhut their Cars to


I

have to

In order,
let

me

offer.

if poflible,

to procure

fome

attention,

entreat the reader not to imagine, that I have

am

embraced, or

about to plead in favour of fuch

ridiculous and abfurd notions, as through ignorance

or malice are

commonly imputed

of the fame fentiments, fuch


tlan, as fuch,

eflablifliment

Vol. VI.

has a right to
;

as.

call a

to

me

and others

That every Chrifminifter

u^on an

and that Chrift hath purchafed

this

right for

ought to

them by

'well,

that

Who

has a

it

his death

it is

title

maintenance

Neither would

we

whom

we

my

to

the law gives

it.

have

belief in this matter

Every

following propofitions.

him

right, well fecured to

it

man ought

Such a

The

inequality.

contained in the

is

man

in this

to

our pow-

in

that fubje6t.
real

pu-

title

contend, that every

make new laws upon

of

perfei:ly

and that none have any

feeming equality would be a

lum

know

to call a minifter to enjoy the

have fuch a right, though


to

mofl fedi-

in the

We

a queftion, not of right but of fal.

at all, excepting thofe to

er

and therefore that they

though

aflert this right,

and diforderly manner.

tious

blic

THE

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

274

hath a natural

happy

ifland, to

judge for himfelf in every thing that regards

reli-

gion, and to adhere to any minifter he pleafes on the


eftabliihment, or in oppofition to

pend, levied originally

The

it.

legal fti-

from the public, was certain-

ly intended to provide a fufficient

and ufeful paftor

to the people within the bounds of a certain parifh.

He

cannot be of

upon
if

ill

much

terms with him

fervice to
;

compelled, by ecclefiaftical or

religion

-,

No man

they be
at all,

ought to be

civil penalties, to

fub-

and though he were, fuch forced

The

would be worfe than none.

ference I draw from thefe principles,


cy,

if

he can be of none

they will not hear him.

mit in fuch a cafe

them,

is,

only in-

that decen-

and our indifpenfable duty as church-courts, remake no fuch fettlements, without the

quires us to

deepeft regret, and never without a real necefllty.

Perhaps

might go

a little farther,

and

fay, that

no-

thing can excufe us from making them at all, while


our office of ordination continues in its prefent form

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

The
point

queftion then refts precifely on this fingle

Does

make

the law as

now

it

without expoftulation

and what

dependent

is

If

does,

it

we have

it,

law

is

the be-

committed by law, and

is

It is in

fe-

vain to dif-

brought a great part of the hard-

upon ourfelves

and thofe

*,

from parochial

are averfe

what

our courts, to which the

jurifdi(Slion of

cured by the treaty of union

Ihips

compel us to
and

the meaning of the feparate in-

decifion of fuch caufes

femble

(lands,

thefe fettlements without exception,

all

nefit,

275

who

in their hearts

elelions, only pretend the

as a colour for their condul.

Were

fettle-

ments refufed when highly inexpedient, and patrons

we

treated with decency,

At any

from them.

fhould have

little

trouble

rate, as the perfonsprefentcd,

whether probationers or minifters, are entirely

in

our

power, by authority exerted here, every remaining

would be removed.

difficulty

I believe, this is the firft inftance that ever

hap-

pened, of churchmen furrendering the power and


influence

which the law gave them,

into other hands,

without refiftance, and without complaint

many

of

blifliing

nay,

them zealoufly contending for it, and eftait by their own repeated decifions. It would

be no hard matter to point out the real caufc or


caufes of this conduct
leave

only

it

to every

man

but

at prefcnt I forbear,

to affign

and

for himfelf

cannot help lamenting, that our noble, vene-

rable, republican conftltution,


its

them

period.

Whether

ward change

is

of

fecms to be

likely to

fo

near

undergo any out-

moment when the f;yirit is


name and form is not worth

little

-gone, the remaining

being contended

it is

for,

a 2

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

27^

THE

But that I may not wholly yield to defpondency>


fmce an alteration of meafures is yet poflible, I fhall
now lay before the reader a few of the certain con-

When

fequences of our continuing in the fame.

comes

be a

to

fettled

it

point, that a prefentation,

alone and unfupported, infallibly fecures a fettle-

ment, they

and

will

be openly, and fcandaloufly bought

This

fold.

is

the cafe in England, notwith-

ilanding the ftrongeft laws againft fimony, and a

tremendous oath, which the incumbent himfelf


rnqft take before

ways be the

human

of

itate

may

his ind u6lion.

cafe in

teach us this.

have been feveral


church, and very

Within

it

will al-

experience

few years, there


complaints of fimony in this
thefe

zeal has been

great

To

Cur own

nature.

make laws for preventing


commendable but, alas
tual.

And

every country in the prefent

ftrengthen the

That

it.

it

will

fhown to

zeal

is

highly

be quite ineffec-

power of

prefentations,

and yet prevent fimony, is juft as hopeful an attempt, as to open the windows, and keep out the
light.

to find
is

The art and invention of interefted perfons


a way of evading laws after they are made,

always far fuperior to the forefight of the wifefl

men,

in providing againft cafes

which have not yet

happened.

There
pe61:,

is

one

diftrefiing

circumftance in this prof-

that fimoniacal paftions

hurtful and reproachful in an

The

among us
uncommon

will be

degree.

fettlements in Scotland are generally fmall

they will be every year of ftill lefs value by the improvements of the country, and increafing wealth
of other clafles of men.

In what a beggarly condi-

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

who

tion then will thofe be

pay dear for

277

have been obliged to

Perhaps the rea-

fo fcanty a provifion?

der will fay, Happily, few of the purchafers have

any money^ to

mend

I believe fo

give.

the matter: for the

but this will not

mod mean arid

fordid, per-

haps fcandalous, compliances mufl come


place of

money.

am afhamed

fome of the ways by which

it

is

Can any

the deeped concern

Such

a minillry

the

undoubtedly cer-

tain prefentations will be, becaufe they

procured.

in

even to mention

have been,

minifter think of this without

muft

fall

into the

mod

lowed and

contemptible date, through poverty and ignorance.

We

differ

much from

clergy in the

many

the church of England.

though there are many of the

that church,

mod

In

inferior

abject condition, there are alfo

who

en-

Thefe have

nob-

dignified perfons, as they are called,

joy ample revenues, and great eafe.


ble opportunities for

dudy, and are enabled to

dif-

By

this

tinguidi themfelves by works of literature.

means the church of England derives

from

a ludre

the characters and writings of particular members,

which

(lie

does not deferve for the general frame of

her conditution.

Scotland

But what

mud

be the cafe in

we venture to look a little further


Have our countrymen fo little fpirit
fo much mifery and fcorn ? No
it is

Shall

into futurity

as to fubmit to

more than probable fome of them, at once dimulatcd


by ambition, and compelled by neceflity, will gradually alter the conditution.
They will introduce
fmecures and
live in

part

pluralities, that they

themfelves

may

fplendeur and dignity, while the remaining

fiiall

be thrud

down

to a
a 3

date more dcfpicable

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

SfS
than ever.

It is in

THE

vain to think, that the equality

of votes in a General Aflembly will hinder this


as

power follows property,

riched by additional

ance of thofe

who

tations, will eafily

many

falaries,

with the faithful

for

The

reft.

aflift

fame expec-

are dazzled with the

govern the

few perfons, en-

a very

truth

is,

of them defpairing of fuccefs, and iU able to

bear the expence of travelling, will ftay at home,

and

let

the'm do juft as they pleafe.

The above
pedl, and

is

no doubt a very melancholy prof-

will in time have a moft malignant influ-

ence upon the morals of the clergy.


is,

But the truth

the fettlement of parifhes by prefentations,

is

direlly and immediately hurtful to the charafters

of thofe

When

who are training up for the facred office.


know that their future fettlement does

they

not depend upon the apoftolic qualification, their


being " of good report," but upon intereft with the
great,

it

muft neceflarily introduce, in many

licentious

tuate

and irregular practices,

them

danger in

to

this

fawning and

cafes,

as well as habi-

There

fervility.

On

than many apprehend.

is

more

confult-

ing the hiftory of the church wefhall find few charac-

more odious

ters

open

in

clergymen, than ambition, and

folicitation of ecclefiaftical preferment.

forry that fo

much way

ready, without having been obferved.


ill

has been given to this

am,
al-

Small changes

forms and language, do often introduce great

changes in manners and charafters.


times

men

In ancient

could hardly be perfuaded to take on

them the weighty and important


In times notverydiftant in our
nlfter or probationer called,

office

own

of a bifhop.

church, the mi-

was never confidered

as

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

which

a party, but as the lubjedb concerning

was

procefs

But they have been


be parties
pear

who

verfaries,

and
I

of a

the,

callers or refufers.

feme time pad declared

for

to

they begin to attend the caufe, to ap-

urge their claim, to confider the

at the biir, to

people

on by the

carried

279

are to be under their charge as their ad-

and too often

to treat

them with contempt

difdain.

know fome treat with great negleft the danger


hx and immoral miniltry, from the prefent me-

thod of fettling vacancies.


this

mind,

practice

for

it

So long

as they are

no wonder they coikinue

is

it

can be of very

of

in the

confequence

little

how men are chofen, if they are fit for the office.
They tell us, an edicb is ferved before admifhon,
where every man has accefs to object againft the life
The effect of this will
or dolrine of the prefentee.
Judicial procefles of that kind are

be very fmall.

always expenfive and invidious, often

How

fometimes dangerous.

public ipirited as to undertake

them

may fatisfy us of this.


profecute a man for error or

of England
to

land as in Scotland

yet

difficult,

few then
!

will

and

be fo

The example
competent

It is as

immorality in Eng-

what perfon or

parifli

ever

making the experiment ?


Others tell us, " It is all in your own power

thinks of

why do you
to prefent

How

licenfe

any

improper

man who

furprifing

is

refleclion (hould

it,

make

men

human

impoflible

it is

has not a regular licenfe."

that perfons
ufe'of this

of ever fo

argument ?

ceeds upon a fuppofition, which the


of

leafl

It

little

pro-

knowledge

nature mull (liow to be unreafonable, viz.

That every prelbytery, through the whole kingdom,


will be unalterably faitjiful

and

vigilant.

If there

aSo

THE

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOR

be but

a corrupt or negligent majority In

them, the licenfe will operate over

them be fuppofed ever

fo faithful,

any one of

Nay,

let

may be

de-

all.

they

ceived by an hypocrite, or not able to

nnd fuch

proofs of what they ftrongly fufpeft, as to found

and fupport

a fentence

The more we
we fhall

of refufal.

confider the matter in every poflible view,


find, that a parochial election of miniflers

better fecurity

regularity and

for

clergy, than

all

the fubje61:.

Frequently

they

will

decency in the

the laws that ever were framed on

men

cannot, and fometimes

execute the laws

not,

would be a

but this rule

would operate uniformly and powerfully, and would


execute
I

itfelf.

add only one other unhappy confequence of

continuing the prefent method of fupplying vacancies.

If a prefentation

muft fupercede

all

judgment

of the church-courts, as to the propriety of an ordination, and even the expediency of a tranflation,

may

we

expel to fee fome of the weakeft, and mofl

contemptible miniflers, fettled in the moft confpi-

cuous and important charges.

Perfons of this cha-

racter are not always free from vanity and ambition,

nor always deftitute of intereft by male or female

We

connections.

kind already

may be

have had fome inftances of

much

but

greater and

this

more fhameful

expelled, fo foon as prefentations have ac-

quired an
haps,

power.

irrefiftible

They have had

forty years, that

anfwer, that

is

is

all

likely they

very true

their very different effel

ning and

end of

will be faid, per-

ever will have.

but every one knows

in

practice at the begin-

tliat

period.

Patrons conti-

to pay a regard

to the

opinion of the

at the

nued long

It

the force in law, for above

ECCLESIASTICAL CHAR 4CTERISTICS.

28

according to rank and cliarad^er

Jieritors,

As

congregation concerned.

the

i;i

they found their

own

llrength increafing, however, they paid gradually

and

iefs

lefs

now pay very httle and the


when they will pay none

they

time feems juft

hand,

at

at all.

This argument

hope, have the greater

will,

have known inftances of different

weight, that

perfons, both

among

who

the clergy and the laity,

had concurred in fupporting prefentations

who were

in other

both alarmed and provoked

cafes,

but

when

they themfelves came to be treated in a tyran-

manner.

nical

The

have

heritors in general, indeed,

been long made inflrumental in bearing down the

common

people

and

themfelves, as

is

tical flruggles,

mufl

rity

being

this

they

finiflied,

almoft conftantly the cafe in poli-

weight of that autl\p-

feel the

which they have

taken fo deep root, that

it

now

whetlier a remedj be

The

eftabliflied.

hath

evil

fomewhat uncertain

is

poflible

nay,

it is

dill

more uncertain, whether any refinance will be feThe confequences however are

rioufly attempted.

be fo

like to

terrible, that

plaint, and,

they

in particular,

may

my

be

well juftify

com-

excufe for endea-

vouring to expofe the conduct of thofe

whom

confidcred as betraying the liberties of the public.

As

to the ccnfures inflicted

fufed to be prefent

no body,

r.t

I Giall fay

on miniftcrs who. re

the ordination of miniflers to

but

feems to have ceafed.

little,

becaufe that feverity

Several miniflers have ab-

fented themfelves, in like cafes fmce the depofition

of

Mr

punity.

Gillefpic,

The

and yet have efcaped with im-

reafun probably

is,

the thing

is

now

382
fo

A SERIOUS APOLOGY FOE

common,

that the

odium attending

inconfiderable, and not

deavour to divide
Jike to

become

it is

become

worth the pains of an en-

But

it.

THE

univerfal,

as that

may

meafure was once

not obferve, that

it

remains in the hiftory of our church an example of

what,

alas

appears but too plainly in the hiftory

of every church, That in proportion as authority


relaxed in inforcing the laws of

God,

it is

is

commonly

ftretched and carried to excefs in fupport of the unneceflary,

of

men

there

was

doubtful, or pernicious

Let any
lefs

man

commandments

produce a period in which

rigour in punifhing minifters for ne-

glect of parochial duties, or irregularity in private


practice, than

when

they were threatened with de-

pofition if they refufed to join in thefe not very ho-

nourable fettlements.
Nay, though we fhould look
upon the prefervation of church- authority as a matter of great moment, it was not obedience to the
flanding laws, on which the welfare of the whole
depends, that was fo ftril:ly required, but compliance with, or approbation of the decifions of the

annual Aflemblies in their judicative capacity.


hath often furprifed

to hear the plea of

fentiments muft thofe

look upon

It

con-

fuch cafes, treated as a mere pretence.

fcience, in

What

me

it

perfons

have,

as a thing incredible, that a

fcruple being prefent at an ordination,

man

who
fhould

where fome

of the anfwers to the queftions put to the candidate,

though joined

in

with a part of divine worihip, are

either dire^ly falfe, or wholly abfurd

This part
lengthened

of
out,

the

Apology has been

fo

much

that I wholly omit the attefting

unqualified -and admitting unattefted 'elders into the

ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTJRISTIC3.

There

ehurcli-courts.

Is

283

indeed fo manifeft a breach

of truth in the one cafe, and of law and order in the


other, that if

owing

men do

not fee

themfelves,

it

to fuch invincible prejudice as

mult be

it

in vain to

it is

contend with.

Thus

have laid before the render, in a ferious and

candid manner, what

hope

will appear a fuflicient

Nothing

apology for this ofFenfive performance.


could have induced

me

to

the attempt, but the

unwearied endeavours of many to reprefent

it

as

an

evidence of a bad temper and unchriftian difpofition,

which the

particular {lru-6lure of the

undifcerniug perfons rafhly aflent


fmalieft reafon to repent of

it

book made fome

to.

have not the

on account of

its

na-

defign, or its effedls upon


was any miflake, it was in point of prudence, whieh fhould have directed me to avoid
bringing fuch a load of malice and refentment upon

ture,

the public.

its

If there

myfelf.

This has afforded

me

one obfervation not

very honourable to liuman nature,


rage of enemies

is

viz.

ing than the affection of friends.

It

often happens,

fome who are very much pleafed

that
fl:and

champion

forth as a

nions, and ready to go, as

the battle

when

That the

always more active and more lad-

to find

one

for their political opiit

were, to the front of

with the

their enemies, fmarting

wounds he has given them, traduce and

vilify his

charaler, thefe elleemed friends often, in a great

meafure, give

it

up, and difcover

with themfelves, that they had

much

fatisfa6tion

a(Sted in a wifer

and

more cautious manner.


I

conclude the whole, with befceching

all

who

arc convinced, that the prefent ftate of the church

A SftRlOUS APOLOGY, &C.

284
of Scotland

is

fuch as

have reprefented, to exeri

themfelves with zeal and activity for her preferva.

There

tion and recovery.

a natural union,
fpirit

among

and power of true

pears.

am

inftances in

is

all

a wonderful,

men

worldly

though

againft the

wherever

religion,

forry to add, that this

which the children of

it

ap-

one of the

is

this

world are

wifer in their generation, than the children of light.

There are many whofe condul fhows them to be


actuated by an equal mixture of floth and defpair.
They are unwilling to at with vigour, and defend
themfelves, by alledging, that nothing can be done

How much better would the old


Roman maxim be, Ntwquam defperandum eft de re*
puhlica I and how much better reafon have we to
with fuccefs.

Nothing

adopt

it

God.

I add, that the

is

impolTible to the

power of

moil remarkable times of the

revival of religion, in this part of the united king-

dom, immediately fucceeded times of the greateft


when " truth" fedtned to be " fallen in

apoftacy,

the

This was

and equity could not enter."

ftreet,

the cafe immediately before the year 1638.

Cor-

ruption in doctrine, loofenefs in pralice, and flavifh


fubmiflion in politics, had overfpread the church of

Scotland

and

yet, in a little time, flie

appeared in

greater purity and in greater dignity than ever fhe

had done before, or perhaps than ever


fmce that period.

way

to

defponding thoughts.

that fhall
its

ruins

at laft prevail.

and

its

flie

had done

Let no Chriftian, therefore, give

We

plead the caufe

Religion

{hall rife

not only excite us to pray, but encourage

hope for

its

from

opprefled ftate at prefent fhould

fpeedy revival.

us to

THE

HISTORY
A

OF

CORPORATION
Off

SERVANTS.
BISCOVERHD A

FEW YEARS AGO

IN THE INTERIOR PARTS OS

SOUTHAMERICA.
COKTAINING SOME VERY SURPRISING

EXTRAORDINARY CHARACTERS.

Vol.

VL

15

EVENTS- AN

ADVERTISEMENT.
THE Reader will find h'nnself obliged to the
Author of the following History, for the pains
he hu'.h taken to render it as entertaining and
With

sentimental as possible.

this

view he

hath entirely avoided the use offoreign names,


oflea hard to pronounce, and when pronounced
wholly without meaning.

when he had

Instead of

this,

occasion to mention particular

ranks of men, offices, or customs, he oljose to


express them by what did most exactly correspond with them in our

own

country.

By this

means, the narrative, disencumbered of


jiitwns or circumlocutions ^

easy and

intelligible.

is

defi-

rendered quite

THE

HISTORY
OF A

ORPO RATION
OF

SERVANTS.
INTRODUCTION,

THE

Ikill

of an author, like that of a merchant,

judging with readinefs and cer-

lies chiefly in

what kind of commodities, and

tainty,

quantity, any particular age or place


willing to receive.

much my

This

country, and the refult of

There

are

general

two

forts of

late,

if

any thing

account of the

my

inquiry

made very

own
is

what

age and

as follows*

fubjeds for which there

demand in Great

Biography,

have, of

ftudy, with regard to our

in

able and

is

Britain at this time,

may

vh.

is

(i.)

be fo celled that gives an

lives of perfons that

in the imagination of the authors.

never exiftcd, but

This

is

indeed,

a mofl fruitful fubje^b, and undei: the various titles

of Hiflories,

Lives,

teaches people

how

(2j The

other

is

Adventures, Memoirs,

to live after

the formation of fchcmes

Bb2

^r.

any imaginable plan.

and

288

INTRODUCTION.

projecls, to be carried on by fubfcription, for the


good of mankind, which never were fo favourably

received as at prefent, the abortion or mifmanage-

ment of nine

in ten of them not having in the leaft


abated the ardour of the public.
If any be of opi-

new

nion, that

difcoveries in the fcience of morals,

for the fupport of infidelity, are as favourably re-

ceived as any of thefe, fuch mufl be told, that they


are but fuperficial obfervers, or under the prejudice

The

of religious enthufiafm.

ed

have been of

at,

difcoveries here point-

late years fo various, fo contra-

didlory, and fo fhort-hved, that they

very

little

reader

is

As an

curiofity.

really

raife

inftance of this, the

defired to recclie61: if he can,

th<2

moft ex-

traordinary thing of the kind that ever was attempt-

A great

ed.

living author,

David Hume, Efq. not

long ago, made health, cleanlinefs, and broad (liould-

and a running

ers, capital virtues,

able crime; yet was

when

nrll publiflied,

it

but

and

is

fore,

little

an unpardon-

taken notice of

now almoU

wholly for-

gotten.

Therefore, an author

is

who

undoubtedly happy

hath hit upon, or happens to be furniihed with a


fubjec^ fuited to the tafie of the age.

my own

bly prefume to be

good fortune,
of a

mod

cafe,

hum-

may pernew fcheme, or, at

extraordinary hiftory, which alfo

mending and cobbling thofe which

lead, for

cracked and old.

labours under

is,

that

The
it

is

the lofty and fonorous earl

memory

This

have had the

lately to obtain a diftin6l information

Imps lay a foundation for fome

now

it

remember
cf Shaftefbury, whcfe

true

greatly reyere, tells


'

are

only misfortune that


;

us

for I

there

is

muchi.

INTRODUCTION.

more truth

of

and genius hke himfelf,.

their fancy in deUneating feigned cha-

view of nature than

ra6bers, give ordinarily a jufter

tedious relaters of

This

The meaning

In fi^lion than hi hS:.

this is, that authors of tafte

employing

289

lofs,

what reaUy happened.

however,

I trufl will

be abundantly

made

up by the extraordinary and wonderful nature of the


paOages I am to relate, which it is to be hoped,
will have the effetl of fiction in enlivening the ima-

gination of the writer, and, indeed, very poffibly,

may

many

be miflakcn for filion by

truth

is,

hope there

ry, according to
like fiction,

Lord Shaftefbury,

all

is

true

fame

It will

chara(Slers.

and

will

it

be

be

being

in its be-

other men, the

fubje6l in hand muft needs excel, as

it

in its

lies-

and the excellency of fidion

ing like to real fa (Sis, according to

both thefe

my

If the excellency of hifto-

every refped.

fubjecSl in

The

readers.

a fmgular felicity in

is

it

partakes of

like truth,

like fidion,

becaufe

becaufe the

happened

train of events, perhaps, never

iii^

any other place or nation.

To

introduce myfelf to

my

fubjel, and irfornr

the reader how I came by the knowledge of it, he


may be pleafcd to recollect. That in the year 1741,
when Commodore (afterwards Lord) Anfon made a

voyage round the world, one of the

ftiips

of his

fquadron, called the Wager, -was cad away upon a


defert ifland in the

South Seas.

The

greateft part

of the crew who were faved lengthened the longboat, and

made

a long

and dangerous voyage through

the ftreights of Magellan, to Brazil.


often obliged to

water,

it

fwim

happened

afliore

that, at

for

As

they were

provifions

and

one time, there were ta

Bb3

ri4TR0DUCTI0N.

2C)&

the

number of fourteen of them

of the coaft very far fouth,

upon

afliore

near the

part

mouth of

Having flayed all night, unfortunately next morning the wind blew fo hard in fiiore

the ftreights.

that only fix of the fourteen were able to g et aboard

and the

velTel

was obliged

to

go away and leave the

other eight.
It is needlefs

here to

infill

upon the various

'acci-

The

dents they met with in this perilous fituation.


diiHculty of obtaining food,

without which they

Kiufl very foon have died: the

mean and

there

no more or better to be had

is

faculty of

man

for fupplying his

abfolute

to

c-ed

when

extremity,

the inventive

wants when redu-

and a hundred other

things which have been reprefented in


lights

fcanty pro-

with which nature will be fuftained,

vifion

by other writers of adventures.

poflible

all

Let

it

fufRce,

therefore to fay, that in procefs of time, four of

them were

killed

by the inhabitants of the country,

and the remaining four taken

After

prifoners.

changing their mailers feveral times, they came


into the

liift

way

who

hands of one

carried

off to the capital of an empire,

There they

of a powerful prince.

them

at

a great

and the court

lived

many

years,

learned the language, and had occafion to fee the

Two

manners of the country.

of.

them,

at

laft>

acquired fuch a degree of favour, that, in compliance with their eaTneft requeil, they were fent
to

IJortugueze

the

fettlements,

and came from

thence to Great Britain.

One

of thefe perfons,

who was

man

of toler-

able education, as well as good fenfe and comprehenfion,

coming

to live

iii

my

neighbourhood, cam-

INTRODUC
miinicatecl to

me what

29 1:

riOl^.

follows of tins Jiiftory.

In

general he told me, the conduct and chara6ters of

men, bating fome little differences of fafliion and


modes of addrefs, which are ever changing iu

much

ctcry country, were

Intereil

nble.

and ambition prevailed more in ob-

taining places of

peaceable

power and

and dignity

lows threw away

than modeft and

profit,

Cold and fober men gathered

merit.

How

wealth, and crept up, by


flation

what they are among

like

Court favour was precarious and change-

ourfelves.

all tliat

but fure (lops, to

the lively fprightly fel-

wliile

they

and foon became

hail,

contemptible to others, and ufclefs to themfelves.

The

knovirledge

benefit

*,

for

of the world was of very

though every

clafs cf

men

little

could clearly

difcern the errors that adhered to thofe of a different

rank, they could fcarcely obferve, and never


imitate their
fays

he,

commendable
profufe,

difeafed,

would

For example>

qualities.

needy

lord,

would

fpeak with infinite contempt of the meannefs of


foul,

and hardnefs of heart, frequently to be found


and men 01 bufinefs, but never once

traders

in

thought of following their example in fobriety, application,

and regularity

in the diftribution of their

time, to which they manifeftly

owed

all

their fuccel's.

upon the whole, he concluded that human


nature in all ages and in all places was the fame.
So

that

fage remark, the reader will fay, but I can eafily

remember

to

have heard

it

before.

There, was however, one


tion,

whofe conftitution

clafs

as a

of

men

in that

body, and

many

naof

whofe characlers and pra6hices were of the moft extraordinary kind, viz, the

S servants.

Their

flato

INTRODUCTION,

29^
and condut,
obfervation,
curiofity

at the

were

fo

time which

and induced him

to

carC' into their condition, as far

This

trace them.

cate

to

the

is

public,

fell

under his owii-

fingular that they exeited his

what

inquire with great

back as hiftory could

am now

to

being willing that

commuift-

my

fliould

be huried in oblivion, or burned with

grace,

if a

fimilar to

flory

it,

in

book,
dif-

can be produced equal, or even,

any other age or country.

CHAR
Of

I.

the Original State of the Servants,


their erection into

very early times, of which there are


INaccounts
handed down by tradition,

much
among us.

vants were in a (late not

they are

at prefent

and

a Corporation.

different
It

flill

fome

the fer-

from what

does not c;ppear

that ever they were Haves, or were treated with ex-

in

to

They were

trained up
fome acquaintance with, and applied themfelves
fuch work as they feemed to be fitted for by the

ceffive rigour or feverity.

turn of their minds, and the ftrength or agility of

They were chofen or hired by every


made a voluntary agreement,

their bodies.

family as they pleafed,

and were employed


every kind.

in

doing what was neceffary of

They were

paid as they and the family

could agree, eating of their

own

labours, and

were

cherifhed and carefled in proportion as they deferv-

ed

In cafes of remarkable neglel, difobedience,

it.

or mifbehaviour,

tliey

were turned away.

This, in-

deed, happened but feldom, for they were in general,

honed,
refl:

fobcr,

and indutlrious.

were fome of them


(it is

They had

the inte-

of their mafters at heart, nay, fo remarkable


in thcfe times for fidelity, tliat

reported) they fccmed to have as

much

or more^"

HISTORY OF A

'^^^^

2^4

pleafure in doing their work, as in receiving their

wages.

But

it

happened, feme ages ago, that one of their

was faved from a formidable confpiracy


his life and crown, juft upon the point of

princes,
againft

execution, by the fidelity and courage of a fervant.

The prince was a man of a warm heart, and an uncommonly generous difpofition. Not content with
bountifully rewarding his benefa61:or by kindnefs

t4>

himfelf and family, he conceived a defign of perpetuating the

memory

of the

facSt,

and fliowing his

gratitude by doing fomething in favour of the whole

order or body of men.


polTefled of tbfolute

for

For

this

purpofe, being

power, after confulting upon

it

fome time, he eflablilhed the following regula-

would be highly be-

lations, not 'doubting that they

neficial to his fubjetSls in general, as well as the fer-

vants in particular.
It

1.

was ordered

that the

wages of fervants

ihould be confiderably augmented, and fixed to a


certain rate in

evidently
that

it

all

the king's dominions.

dictated

by compaflion.

was very hard and unequal,

were conftantly employed

This was

He

obferved

who
who promoted

that thofe

in labour,

the intereft of their mafters fo much, fliould not-

withftanding

live

fo poorly

nothing but the coarfefh

diet,

that they (hould have

and no m^ore money

than was barely neceflary to purchafe the meaneft


eoathing.

He

ufed,'when the matter was under de-

liberation, to reafon thus,

" For my

king ought to have the heart of a


the fervants as

my

part, I think a

man

fellow creatures, and

that they (hould tafte

confider

am

defirous

fome of thofe pleafures.and

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.
which they contribute

delicacies of life,

fo largely

accommodation of others."

to procure for the

He

295

comthem
poor would entirely difpirit them, and make them
do their duty in the mod carelefs and flothful manner, by which their mailers mud receive manifefl
prejudice.
On the other hand, a good and fecure
provifion would give them great vigo^ur and alacrity.
alfo obferved, that interefl:, as well as

fame thing

paflion, dil:ated the

He

ventured to foretel, that a third part increafe of

would

their falary

increafe their

er proportion, fo that the public

by

that keeping

this

feeming burden.

would

provifion

free

fering and flealing,

work in a far greatwould be gainers

Befides, that fuch a fixed

them from all temptation to piland fo be an improvement upon

their honefty as well as activity.

Another advantage he propofed

by

to reap

thii

meafure, was increafing the number of Servants.

was

well enough

period, the

remembered

kingdom had

the fcarcity of fervants

it

diftant

little

from

uncul-

fo that the land lay

wasimpoflibleto avoid feeing that thismeafure

mull increafe the number of

them

no very

and many branches of bufinefs negleled.

tivated,

Now

that, at

fufFered not a

It

to

come

into the

fervants,

kingdom from

tant places, as well as encouraging

and propagate, and

blefs their

by inducing

the moil dif-

them

to

marry

country with a mul-

titude of ufeful hands.


N:iy, he

force his

even called in the aid of luxury to en-

argument,

fefvants poor,
tlaat

it

alledging,

mud make them

would be odious

(gance to have

that

keeping his

fordid and nafty, fo

to people of talle

them about

their perfons, or

and

ele-

even to

THE HISTORY OF

096
fee

them

But by carrying the pto-

in their houfes.

pofed defign into execution, he faid, he hoped to


fee the fervants in

well-dreiTed;

genteel,

general

That

well-behaved, and conver fable men.

this

muft

be an advantage in particular to families in the counwho were coniiderably diflant from one ano-

try,

ther,

and

rery

little

in certain feafons

intercourfe

of the year could have

nay, even that in cities and

places of greater refort,

it

would be

many

better, in

refpels, to have opportunities of converfation within

doors, than to be always obliged to feek fociety

abroad.

In fhort, he fuppofed that the regulation

would

eftablilhed

an

put

entire

period

now

to

all

fiiurmurings and complaints of fervants, and their


defires

of fhifting from one

which

was

of

fource

They muft be touched,

family to another,
inconveniences.

daily

fays he, with a

fenfe of

gratitude for fo unexpe^led and fo happy a change


in their fituation,

and

will therefore be thoroughly

content, and never afkfor more,

Having the public good

2.

much

feh>ols

jers

their

all

along at heart, as

as the advantage of the fervants, he ordered

and places of exercifes to be

built,

appointed to train up fervants and


feveral trulls.

There were

education chalked out for

ments.

It

was

tors of thefe

fervants

fit

difpofe of

fit

and raaf-

them

for

different tradls of

all different forts

of employ-

particularly expected of the direc-

academies, that they would felel the

for every branch,

them according

and both educate and

as their genius (hould in-

timate they were moft capable.

As

for example, for

cooks, waiting-men, and other doraeftic fervants, an|^

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.
grooms, gardeners, and labouring

297,

men

of

forts

all

without doors.

The
is all

advantage of this regulation, in both

feemed very evident.

parts,

in

Education,

it

was

its

faid,

Education makes the man, and makes

all.

the fervant.

will

It

They
much

therefore prepare

them

for

upon it expert and


"proven, very
to the public emolument; inHead of being aukward and unhandy for fome time,
their work.

till

will enter

experience has given them

fome meafure of

retaining

through their whole


It

man

feemed
iliould

alfo a

facility,

ruilicity

or, perhaps*

and inalivity

lives.

matter of great moment, that no

be fuffered to profefs what he could not

do, but that he fliould be confined to that only which


he could bed do. Neither was it proper that this

am-

iliould

be

bition

and prefumption of the fervants themfelves*

And

was never once imagined the mailers of aca-

it

left to

the caprice of families, or the

demies would be defective


tiality

3.

on

m judgment

and im^ar-

their part.

The

third

and

laft

regulation he eftabliflied,

was ordering the fervants to be ereled by charter


into a

large

corporation, containing

bodies and focieties within

it.

To

many

fmaller

this corporation

he gave authority over the feveral members of which


It

was compofed, and eflabliftied a complete fuborThis was thought a piece of admirable

tlination.

wifdom and

policy.

They were

watchful over one another,

they would get

men

all

and

it

to

be

flri^tly

was fuppofed

the advantage in this fhape,

which

united in fociety have over thofe in a ftatc of

nature.

The

Vol. VI.

feveral

clafTes

and

divifions

of the

THE HISTORY OF

298

corporation were to try the fufficiency of

all

fer-,

vants, before they were admitted, and had power

them

to turn

off

That

work.

their

when

they mifbehaved or ncgle6ted

might proceed with

this

the.,

greater regularity, they were every one fecured by

law

in their

They were not

employments.

a vague dependant (late

left in

a fervant once hired by

any family could not be turned away but by an order of his fellow-fervants, to

whom

all

pf his conduct were to be made, and by

were

to

complaints

whom they

be judged.

The whole was founded upon

Who

reafons.

fo

the

mod

excellent

proper to judge of the capacity

and diligence of fervants as thofe who are fervants


themfelves ? who can be fuppofed fo attentive to
their condul, or fo jealous of their behaviour, fince

the character of particulars muft evidently


either difgrace or credit

body

on the whole
^

reflecSb

collective-

C
Of the

AT

Effects
firft,

H A

P.

11.

produced by these Regulalioni.

and indeed for a confiderable time

ter thefe regulations

were

ence feemed to confirm the wifdom as


rofity of the prince,

fequences every day.

af-

eftablifhed, experivvell as

gene-

happy conServants were trained up and

and

to difcover their

inilrufted in every branch of bufinefs, and were

Tery expert in their work.

They

underflood the

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.

and the end of everything, and could

caufe, the reafon


talk

upon

it,

They

ner.

in a

moft intelligent and confiftent man-

much

did every thing with

ami had plainly

299

exatnefs,

a far greater air of neatn'efs

Th6

gance than formerly.

and

ele-

were drefled and

fields

trimmed to great perfection


the utenfils of the
houfes were all brightened and put in order ; the
outfides of the houfes and avenues to them were all
adorned in a very pretty and fanciful manner.
:

They were not

content with what was barely profi-

due regard to

table to their mafters, but paid alfo a

fliow and appearance.

who

Perforts

travelled

were

exceedingly delighted, and the proprietors were not


a

little

like

little

proud of the change


little

palace, and

Thus

paradife.

much upon

for every houfe

far the fervants

from

their honour, and,

feemed

and diligence;

to

be

a fenfe of gra-

titude to the emperor, endeavoured to behave


felves with great care

was

every country-feat like a

fo

them-

that every

body, as well as themfelves, fnicerely rejoiced in the

change of their

But

alas

flate.

how

Ihort-fighted are

human

creatures

this univerfal fatisfal:ion did not laft long.

It

was

quickly feen, notwithftanding fo good a beginning,

down would but ill anfwer


The change to the worfe took

that the regulations laid

the end propofed.


its rife

from die enlargement of

yet feemed, at

firft,

their

to be the chief

able article of the regulations

wages, which

and mofl reafon-

for,

after they

had

obtained good wages, and the bell of food, and ac-

commodation, fome of them- began


confequently, lazy.

When

to

grow

fat,

and

they were fuddenly call-

ed, fometimcs by dozing and flceping they did not^

Cc

fPHE HISTORY Ol A

3*0
hear at

all

and when they did hear^ were very flow


and always ready furnifhed with

in their motions,

an excufe for their negle6l

or perhaps, raifed fome

very ftipng objeliGns to what they were deGred


to

When

dd.

they were fent off an errand, they

took a long time before they returned

would

impoflible

pofitively ftand

to return fooner.

to

If this

that

it,

it

was not

v.

"<^

and yet

fatisfying,

they

would, in a great rage, before they delivered their


meflage, return and meafure the ground they had
iraverfed, in order t9 determine the difpute.

Having now more

to eat

and drink than formerly,

they behoved to take more time to

hours of their work were very

This

fee med to

it ;

much

and

fo the'

diminifhed.

them not only reafonable, but ne-

and great difputes arofe upon it with the


in
families
which they fcrved. The families in geceffaryj

j^eral,

gave them to underftand, that they expected

greater diligence and atSlivity, as they were


ter paitl than before,

that highly ridiculous

more

point, that the

ought

upon

>to

do the

this part

bet-

for with

them it was a fixed


were paid, they

liberally they

lefs for

It is

it.

of the fubjedl

that, in general,

now

whereas the fervants counted

having

now

needlefs toenlarg-e

let

it

fufHce to fay,

got fo good provifioa

made for them, they began not to


The delicacies of the world began

ferve, but to-live


to captivate their

hearts, and inftead of fatisfying themfelves with neceilaries,

and being ufeful

in their generation,

they

bethought themfelves of enjoying what had thus fo


luckily fallen to their ihare.

Changes

in all refpe^ts

came on

infenflbly.

It

Y^as before obfer/ed, that o:;9 advantage propofed

30I

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS,
by the regulations, was the
of fervants.

This

the country

Whereas before

witnefs.

increafe of the

number

indeed did follow with a

effect

was not over-

ftocked with fervants, and families were at great


pains in looking out for proper ones, now they in-

Not only

creafed almoft to an incredible number.

was there a great confluence of llrangers from diftant places, but many of the inhabitants, not inconfiderable in point of ftation

found

it

their intereil to

become fervants. Now you would every where fee


them going about and foliciting employment, and
vevy wonderful were the arts they fometimes ufed
10 obtain

it.

Of

thefe I fhall fay nothing in this

preliminary part of the hiftory, becaufe

I fliall

pro-

bably have afterwards a better opportunity to intro-

duce them.

As

the ftate of things and the

to alter, the language

gan

altered alfo at the

way

of thinking be-

and manner of fpeaking

fame time.

In former times they

ufed to fpeak of getting a mailer, or being hired, or


getting an

employment

now

they fpake of getting

into bread, of getting a falary, a fettlement, or a


living.

ence
of

fo

know nothing

much,

that refembles this differ-

as the difference

fpeaking in

Scotland,

between our way

and what

is

ufual in

our neighbour country of England about fervants.

Here we fpeak of
in

England they

man

a fervant's getting into

call it

fervice,

getting a'place, and a foot-

turned away, they term with the higheft pro-

footman out of place.


Things having once come into

priety, a

liappened with thefe fervants as

men when once

it

this fituation, it

happens with

all

they begin to gratify their defirei

c 3

THE HISTORT

32

OF A

they become inordinate, exeeilive, and infatiabie,


Inftead of being content with what they had obtahied, they began to

upon

fall

all

of increafing their revenues.


finite

number of

wages.

When

imaginable methods

They contrived an

in-

perquifites befides their ordinary

own

had of their

a family

free

mo-

mark of favour upon a good ferthe thing was immediately fpread abroad, and

tion bellowed any

vant,

other families were harrafled with complaints,

all

and teazed to death by

their fervants

the fame^

till

They would

was bellowed upon them.

often in a

clandeftine manner, lay hold of fome of the goods


,of the family,

afe

and,

and appropriate them

when

it

came

to their

ihey would' take the advantage of their


oufnefs,

own

at laft to be, difcovered,

own

covet-

and prove clearly, that by immemorial

Where

belonged to them as their due.

ouilom

it

imilies

were ignorant, they would affirm with the

greateft boldnefs, that fuch

and fuch were the

pri-

and by that
means procure their confent. When they were not
only ignorant, b\it timid and cowardly, they would

vileges of fervants in all other places,

go

a (hort

way

to

work, and threaten

houfes to the ground

if

to

burn their

they did not comply with

^very demand.

But what they excelled moil


flattery

and

were the

arts of

Such

as got

deceit in rich families.

near great men, would (land

fas it

were

in perpe-

tual admiration of the beauty of their perfons, the

gracefulnef of their manners, and the excellence of


their underftandings.

The

fervants of

fome perfons

of great rank, had a cullora of making up a long

lift

cvety day, of the virtues which fuch perfons had that

COBPOKATION OF
t^ay

kVA>TTS.

SI

put in praOlce, and reading

^cy^

over to them

it

next morning before they got out of bed, which was


obferved to render them quite facile and tractable
for a long time after.

They perfuaded

the credulous, that the

good was infeparably conne<Sled with


and opulence.
fource of

mud

**

weakh

Induftry,"

it

they,

"

is

the

Servants, every body

to a nation.

acknowledge, are

thence

faid

public

their thriving

means of indullry

tb.e

follows undeniably, that the

more ferargument

they obtained, that

By the help of this


many new eftablilhments were

made

And

vants the better.'*

for fervants.

fuch was the fafcination

that prevailed, that frequently there

made

were fettlements

for the provifion of menial feivants in a wil-

dernefs,

where there was hardly

and of hufbandmon upon

a fmgle creature to
a fea-ihore,

where

there was not an inch of ground to cultivate.

They

fcrve

alfo got

officious

care,

about

Tick

fervices,

and dying perfons, and by

and by frequently and readily giving them

cordials, they prevailed, that

40

their

by tending them with apparent

them

many

left

great legacies

in their wills.

Continues the

CHAP.

III.

same

And particularly

Subject.

gives an account of a very remarkable step


taken by the Servants,

WHEN

their pofTcffions, privileges,

and im-

munities were thus enlarged, they began

to claim greater refpetl than formerly, and to af^

THE HISTORY OF

304

fume additional titles and defignatlons. Some of


them would be no longer fervants properly fpeaking^
but overfeers.
-to

They

affirmed, that

it

the nature of fervants, that fome of

was

eflential

them (hould

be overfeers, and that there could be neither order


nor oeconomy
this

In a family

and feveral other

They then proceeded

officers for their affiftance.

to arch-overfeers,

To

without fome fuch.

added fub-overfeers,

they

who had

all

the other overfeers,

as well as fervants, under their jurlfdidiion.

great meeting of the whole corporation, this

At a
was

determined and decreed to be, and to have been, a


part of the original inftitutlon of fervitude, without

which

could not poffibly

it

fubfift.

Thefe encroachments were very patiently fubmitted

and, one would think, had been carried

to,

would admit. Yet


more which exceeded every

as far as the nature of the thing

there remained one ftep

thing that had been formerly feen, and happened as

An

follows.

great
after

many

overfeer of the capital city gathered a

of his contemporaries about him, and

begging their moft ferious attention to a pro-

pofal he

had

to lay

made a fpeech to
" Honoured and very dear

before them,

the following purpofe.

Brethren,

You know that

and the foul of order

is

the

tion,

Is

to

order,

The

great-

can do to our corpora-

keep up the fubordination of

us with as

as complete

we

is

of fociety

fubordination.

efl fervice, therefore, that

among

life

much

ftrldlnefs,

and extenfive as

no. ftru^lures which


that are built in the

ftand

fo

and

to

it

There are

poffible.

fecurely,

form of a cone

officers

make

or

as

thofe

a pyra-

mid, becaufe they have a broad bafe, and gradually

fORPORATION Ot SEKVANYS.
le/Ten

305

Neither of thefe, however

towards the top.

complete, but nraimed or imperfecSl:, unlefs

is

carried on

till it

it

be

Therefore, the

terminate in a point.

fuhordination of 'our fociety can never be entire and


perfed:,

till it

end

in a iingle perfon,

who may

unite

the whole, and enjoy abfolute uncontrolable domi-

And,

nion.

as the perfon

who

on ths top of a

is

pyramid, mufl neceflarily fee farther than thofe

who

upon any of the lower Heps of it, fo the peris at the head of the whole fociety of ferwho
fon
ftand

vants muft, in virtue of his office, furpafs tliem

wifdom and
judge

is

as this order

and as a

laft refort

in

of the

is

or fupreme

necefiary to determine <:ontroverfies in any

fociety, fo I

to be

Nay,

fagacity.

jnflitution of nature,

all

do think

it

may be

proved, that nature,

uniform and confiftent in her operations, muft

immediately infpire the perfon fo exalted, with infallible


I

hope

to

knoMdedge, and a
it is

fort

very plain, that

whom, and

to

my

Now,

of infinite mind.
I

am

myfelf

the perfoa

fucceflbrs in office, this

power

and authority do of right belong."

One

of the aflembly then

effccSts

upon the

rifes

up and

fays, ".J

will be attended with

greatly fufpect this

no good

intereft of the fcrvants in general,

not to mention the intereft of the families, which,

from a fenfe of duty

At any

give up.

to precipitately

-,

for

" Quite otherwife,"


though
fliow

it

ought net to be gone in-

it is

a prodigious innovation.'*

fays the former fpeaker;

have condefcended

you that

one who,

to the corporation, I entirely

rate,

to reafon

in the nature of things, there

like the top ftone

on the whole body

of a pyramid,

as alfo^ that

tliis

<*

for

with you, and

is

muft be

incumbent

can be no other

THE HISTORY

306
than myfelf,
pire

who

OF A

dwell in the centre of this vaft em-

yet I can give undeniable evidence, that

been always

here, and fince there were fervants."

then (hook his head, as

who

The

from being a clear point, and feemed

from whence

was

this evid-ence

fun

for

though

regulation are

my

me

is

The

to proceed.

It

far

wonder

to

as clear as the

is

the records that contained this

all

yet

loft,

nurfe told

objector

fliould fay that

other immediately goes on, "

hath

it

was an empire

fo in fal:, fince there

very well remember that

before

two years of age,

v/as

that her grandmother's fifter's coufin-german affur-

d her

it

was hS:."

However

unwilling, one

would

think,

men

fhould

be to give up their natural rights, and fubmJt to ufur-

ped

authority,' yet fo

this

fcheme

not

ill

it

was

and, indeed,

;'

proje\:ed for their

conceived at

how

acquiring and

that they foon agreed to


it

appeared to have been

own

ends.

It is

not to be

fpeedy a pace they advanced, in

Thev
when they

extending their dominion.

quite inverted the ufe of language

for

fpoke of the family they always meant the fervants;


cr, if they faid

the family,

it

any thing would tend to the good of

was

to be underftood, that

promote the increafe of the wages,


immunities of the fervants.

In

it

would

privileges,

many

and

places the

grew upon the families, and turned them


out altogether. In fome of the moft delicious fpots
of the country, you would have feen fine feats and
inclofures wholly poflefled by fervants, who abfofervants

lutely refufed to

do any work, but gave themfelves

up

to lazy contemplation.

ed

to afk

If

any body had prefum-

them the meaning of

this,

they faid they

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.
were employed
wilhing that

all

307

in ftudying the theory of fervice,

fcrvants might be good, and

all

and
fa-

milies well fupplied.

has been obferved above, that they began their

It

fcheme by

flattering the rich

and great men, and en-

deavouring to infmuate themfelves into their favour.

But

foon as their power was fufEciently eftablifn-

as

ed, they

changed

confiderable

men

their note,

and treated the

mod

of the country with great haughti-

nefs and contempt.

They

affirmed

it

to be abfo-

lutely neceflary for the public good, that they fliould

much more honour and

have

That, as they were undeniably


of

refpeft paid them.

moil ufeful rank

the,

men by confequence

they were the moft honour-

Inftead of being

humble and fubmilhve, they

able.

infilled, that

all

the people, from the higheft to

the lowed, Ihould pay a profound refpedl to the


overfeers, arch-overfeers,and other dignitaries,

whofe
names I have forgot, becaufe they had neither fenfe nor
meaning. Nay, the emperor of the fervants arrived in
time at fuch power, that he made the richefl men in
the country, even the governors of provinces to tremble.

He ordered them

and,

when

fometimes to wipe kis

flioes;

they mifbehaved or fliowed the lead

backwardnefs, commanded them to be whipt.

When my
I

informer mentioned this circumdance,

could not help dlfcovering

much amazement

the pufillanimity of thefe people, and even

at

modedly

hinted fome fufpicion as to the truth of the fact.

He

infided, however, in the

mod

pofitive

manner,

on the truth of his account, and added, that he had

many

things dill

as an indance of

more wonderful

to

which he affirmed,

communicate.;
that

it

was not

tME

^OS

HISTORY OP A

men

nly ufual for the emperor to order great


whipt, but even to

command them

he had the lower

abfolutely under his influence.

If

any perfdn or

leaft article,

bum

without more ado,

either,

to, for

and the whole kingdom

fervants,

mily had difputed his will in the

and them

be

to

whip thejn*

All this they were obliged to fubmit

felves.

would

to

fa-

they

the houfe

would wholly give over


work, and neither provide them with food nor fuel,
in

io that they

What

or they

behoved immediately to

contributed not a

iifurpation,
fell

it,

was

eftablifh

a very fmgular fcheriie

upon while they were

perfuading them to make


vants.

ftarve.

to

little

flattering great

new

this

which they

men, and

eftablifhments for fer-

This was, that families fhould not be peK

mitted to choofe fervants for themfelves, but that a


lord or any other great

man, fhould have the power

of nominating the fervants within a certain

They never

diftrid^.

failed to invent plaufibk reafons for

In fupport of this

their fchemes.

it

aU
was alledged,

were often whimfical in their choice.


That fome would prefer a fervant becaufe he was tall,

that families

and others becaufe he was fhort


hair

was

did not

red, others becaufe

it

was

fome becaufe
black.

his

That they

they were well ferved, and when


That they were apt to be impofed
had fmooth tongues and could flatter

know when

they were not.

on by fuch
them.

as

That,

if

families

and fervants were

good underftanding, they would

in a

raife fedition

and

fubvert the conftltution.

On

the

other hand

clear, that great

it

was thought exceeding

men would

underlland the intereft

of the country, and the capacity of' fervants,

much

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.

As

better th.^n the Vulgar.

309
they were

alfo, that

above all fufpicion of partiality, and would be fure


always to fend fit and accomplifhed fervants to every

But

houfe.

alas

the contrary of

found by experience.

They

was foon

all this

learned fpeedily to

every place to the highell bidder, unlefs

when

had a favourite or dependant

which

to gratify,

fell

they
in-

deed at bottom was the fame thing. ^However, they

were foon made dupes

of

profit

this fale

when

to the fervants, for

was found

out,

the

the overfeers and

arch-overfeers gradually ufurped the nomination to

themfelves, and at

laft

it

came

to be

made an

addi-

and overgrown power of the em-

tion to the great

peror.
It

may

and they continued

written records aflure us, for


lay uncultivated

in'

fo, as tradition

many

ages.

The

and

lands

the people were reduced to the

greateft mifery imaginable; they

and worfe fed.

now

be fuppofed things were

eafily

fad fituation,

No body

were

forrily clothed,

profpered but the fervants,

or rather, only the upper ranks of them, the noble

and honourable

To

feers.

fervants, the overfeers

thefe indeed

fpeculative fort,

mod
As

and arch-over-

may be added

who were

the idle and

fettled in hives, in

the

pleafant and fruitful vallies, in every province.

fortlie poorer or

tually aid

much

lowed clafs of fervants, who ac-

any work

opprefied, by

for the families, they

were as

time, as

mafters.

this

their

Their wages were moftly taken up by lazy overfeers,


or exhaufted by heavy taxes which they were obliged to pay to the emperor, and his court.

Vol. VI.

Dd

-'

THE H (TORY

310

H A

terrible

OF A

IV.

p.

Blow given

p the

'Domination of

and particularly

the Servants ;

to the

Power

of the ErnperOr,
appears to be a fat, though not very well ac-

ITcounted

for

by philofophers,

have been long accuftomed


chains, ?.nd

become

in their mifery

that,

when men

to flavery, they

hug

their

fo blinded, as to pride themfelves

itfelf.

poor peafant, in a neigh-

bouring country, whofe face

is

pale with hunger,

and his family fcarce covered with

rags,

through the

opprefTion of his prince, yet will be very ready to


%'enture his life in vindication of the tyrant's honour,

and count himfelf extremely happy to lay it down


So it happened with the
in defence of his perfon.
people under confideration. They were fo deluded

by

thefe fervanis, that, as their condition, fo their

reafon

itfelf

They

was turned upfide down.

gloried

in the ufurpation of the fervants over them, worfhip-

ped them often as they palTed, and


rights and privileges.

ftoutly

defended

all their

If

fome

by chance

it

happened,

in every age) that

(as there

one thought

fit

to

were always
complain of

the floth, debauchery, avarice and tyranny of the fervants, his brethren immediately raifeda hideous accufation againft him,

and the ftupid people generally

joined in the cry.

They immediately

afTifled

his

fellow-fervants to feize him, to imprifon him, and, ac-

cording to the degree of his offence, to punifh him.

'

3II

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.

They

indeed, took the moil charitable pains to

firll,

convince him of his error.

If

upon

this,

he was will-

ing to recant, and folemnly to declare that the condiKfi of the fervants

of them
a

was admirable, and the character

unblameable, he was difmifTed only with

all

good beating. But,

if

he was obftinate, and

infilled

he was carried to a dreadful


fubterraneous place, and there put to the moft hor-

on

telling the truth,

rid

and Clocking tortures, which

at

length ended in

death.

However,
terrible

at laft, this

blow.

One

myftery of iniquity got a

of the lower fervants, of an

honeft heart, and a determined refolute temper, being filled with indignation at the oppreflion v/hich

the reft were- guilty of, fet himfelf to open the eyes

He

of the public, and expofe their wickednefs.

made
how been

a full

difeovery of

the frauds he had any

all

acquainted with, and fpared not the cor-

ruption of the emperor's court.


this plain

to

promote

mafters,

that

principle,

he

at all
fet

Laying down only

fervants

were

obHged

times the real intereft of their

abominable condudl of the

the

covetous blood-fuckers in the moft odious

Whenever he went
lic

light.

to a fair, or other place of

pub-

concourfe, he would get upon an eminence, and,

in a long difcourfe,

endeavour to roufe the people

from

their lethargy,

and inflame them with refent-

ment

againft their oppreflbrs.

This

furniflied his brethren

with an opportunity

of reprefenting him as a difturber of the peace, aifd


loading

him with innumerable calumnies.

Many

tumults were raifed againft him, and he was often


in

imminent danger of

his life.

Dd2

When

he had nar-

;;

THE HISTORY

rowly efcaped being ftoned

Of A

and

fornetimes

friends to take

him

attempted to bribe

him

in private

his

intirrate

However, by

by poifon.

off

would

public, they

in

often hire defperadoes to ^fiaflinate

mixture of bravery and caution in himfelf, together

with the afliftance of fome faithful friends,

how much

f;iw

rather,

by a

he was promoting their

mod

ways brought

he was

fingular providence,

At

ofFfafe.

fervants joined him, and they together

opened the

Thefe

eyes of feveral provinces of the empire.

came

al-

few of the other

laft,

who

intereft, or

to a formal refolution of calling off the

yoke

of the emperor, and fettling the fervants upon a


quite new, or r=ather bringing

them back

to the old,

veafonable, and natural foundation.

This was not brought about without. a

diately

in

founded

motion

the

alarm,

throughout

and

fet the

fervants

dominions.

his

all

mod violent

The emperor imme-

and pertinacious oppofition.

He

could not be fuppofed, indeed, to look upon fuch a

fcheme with indifference


ftrip

him of

nor was

it

for it plainly tended to

a great part of his revenue rmd

eafy to fee

where

therefore cried out againft

Me

fent out a

hat

it

it

it

would

with

all

power

flop.

He

his might.

proclamation, in which he affirmed

ftruck againft the very being of fervants, ^nd

that the defign

was no

lefs

from the face of the

than to exterminate them

earth.

He

reprefented

it

as

the moft unnatural thing that ever was heard of.

That there had been fometimes confpiracies of

fer-

vants againft their mafters, but a joint confpiracy

of mafters againft their

own

fervants,

and of

fer-

vants againft their fellow-fervants, was abfolutely

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.

He

without precedent.
devoting

execration,

The

concluded with a folemn

who

all

fliould continue in

complete and irretrievable ruin.

this re'ocliion to

confequence. of this wajr'a

Many

kingdom.

3 12

battles

civil

was dreadful llaughter on both

there

had

court,

The emperor

a manifeil advantage,

many

and

fides,

of

them

and

indeed,

hivS

by long praftice,

moft exquifite methods of revenge

in devifing the

and cruelty.

in the,

which

in

who were none

multitudes taken prifoners,

ufed very well.

war

were fought,

But, to fhorten

my

narrative

After

violent and bloody difputes, as well as ufelefs

conferences, at

laft

fome provinces agreed

to

the old way, and fome eflablifhed the new.


ticularly, in

keep
Par-

one Northern province there was at

the time of the change, a moft excellent

method

and order eftablifhed with regard to the fervants.


They not only renounced the authority of the emperor

but

all

overfeers, arch-overfeers, auditors,

controllers, accountants,

keepers of records, and

other unnecefTary officers were banifhed at once,

and none fuffered to continue but ufeful working

The

fervants.

fpeculative drones

were expelled,

and their lands given to perfons of rank and worth

That regulation was abolifhed, as


extremely pernicious, which permitted lords or great
in the province.

men

to

name

fervants to others, fo that every family

chofe fuch as beft pleafed themfelves, and fuch as

were well
were

qualified for the bufiiiefs

hired.

was reduced
and only

The

for

which they

exorbitant incrcafe of their wages

as well as

all

extravagant perquifites,

moderate provifion continifed and

Dd3

fettled.

THE WISTORY OF ^

3f j

CHAP.

V.

Sorm MQcaunt af the Reformed EstahUshment^


in a Northern Prmince ; .and the happy
effects that follo'wed upon it for a time.
It begins,

THE

however, again

people of

this

to

degenerate,

now

province were

fo fully

convinced of the terrible confequences of

the l^te ,\ifurpation, that they refolved to ufe


iible

for the future.

ed

all

pof-

precautions, to prevent the return of corruption

to

In

this the fervants

themfelves feem-

concur very heartily, and were apparently ani-

mated with
their

own

down in

warni zeala^a.inil

order.

Many

t-he

the rneetings of the corppratin.

ordered under the fevereft


diligently to their

bufinefs

^Tiive,

and

jiunketing,

rn.ortified lives

and gaming.

*,

to

to forbear

They

were

of

laid

They were

apply them-

penailties to

jCelves

veUii>g

worthlcifs part

excellent rules

live
all

fober,

ranting,

w^ere forbid all tta-

abroad, or wai.>dering from their families,

but upon urgent occa.fion?, and with leave alked


and given. If any were co-nvicSled of difhonefty,
lap/mefs,

c>r

difobedience, they were not only dif-

miffed, but ftript of their clothes, branded in their

foreheads, and declared utterly incapable of ever

^eing again employed.

The

was

greateft ftri6tnefs imaginable

ijfed

in

trying them, as to their fufEciency in every branch

f buHnefs for which

tfeey

were hired

and very

di-

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.
llgent inquiry

and

into their charadier for honeftjr

they were introduced to any

were folemnly bound by

family, they
oatli, to

made

When

fincerity.

315

tremendous

have the good of the family always

and that they fhould never do any


indiredly, that might tend to

at heart,

thln.g, dirclly >or

But

prejudice.

its

law made, and declar-

above all, there was a llri^


ed to be unalterable, that no fervant (liould be for-

ced upon any family againll their

cution of thcfe laws,

it

was

In order

will.

manner, the exe-

to fecure, in the moll effedluaJ

refolved, that, in the

government of the corporation,

ther-e

fliould

be

joined with the fervants certain perfons of the moft

prudent

fort

from the

helpers, they had

families.

no

falaries,

Thefe were called


but being naturally

a fort of reprefentatives of the people,

it

was ex-

pected they would univerfally fuj)port their intexeft.

For
py

a long time this province

in their

was exceeding hap-

reformed conftitution.

The moll

per-

harmony fubfifted between mailers and fervants.


The work of the fervants feemed to be a
fe6l

them, and, on the other hand, the

pleafure to

members of every family feemed


another

who

greatefl: tendernefs

there

to vie M-itli

and humanity.

was an attempt made

Once

province

which had retained

though they would not


the emperor.

per

fpirit,

fuffer

or twice

to introduce overfeers

and arcli^overfeers among them, froxn


ing

one

fhould treat their fervants with the

them

neighbour-

thefe

officers,

to be fubjecSl to

However, the people {howing

they were dill thrown out.

a pro-

Ail this

ttme, matters went on exceedingly well, the J^eUe

3l6

THE HISTORY

OF A

were afliduoufly cultivated, and brought every year


immenfe crops ; and plenty as well as harmony was
every where to be feeo.

But

alas

things began
rice,

after a long feafon of peace

and quiet,

Ambition, ava-

to alter for the worfe.

and luxury, would not be kept out by the ba-

nifhment of the old

They found

titles.

way

of in-

troducing themfelves, under cover of the form that

The

then prevailed, without any apparent change.

moil important ftep tou^ards bringing

was

men

re-eftablifhing the
to

this about,

law which empowered great

nominate fervants

This

to inferior families.

was fubmitted to the more eafily, becaufe they only


nominated them to the falary, provided that the
corporation Ihould think proper to introduce them
to the family.

For

this purpofe, the

moft facred

laws required an invitation from the family

But the young


was

fervants foon

far ealier for

many

of

or fycophant about great

might procure
a

began

itfelf.

to find, that

it

them to play the parafite


mens houfes, that they

a writ of nomination, than to acquire

good reputation for diligence

in their

work.

That

was the road, therefore, in which the grea'teft part


of them travelled to preferment.
Many and fierce were the ftruggles, for feveral
years, in the meetings of the corporation about in-

troducing fervants to families.

As

all

quired an invitation from the family,

the laws re-

when any

per-

fon was nominated, a neighbouring court would fend


a deputation to the family, to alk

would

them whether they


Some-

take fuch a one for their fervant or not.

times they wheedled and flattered, and fometimes


threatened them,

if

they would

not

comply.

If

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.
any confentcd, their names were

fet

number

four times, to fwell the

3 l8

down

if

three or

any were an-

gry and fpoke impertinently, they wer^ fuppofed to


be out of their

fenfes,

and

incap.ible of judging.

were u(ed, they would

After thefe arts

down

fit

gravely to determine the matter, andjifW, that there

was

in this inftance

mod

agreeable and harmo-

nious invitation.
It is

impofTible to help fmlling,

when one

rcflc(f>s

upon the various methods ufed in conducting this


Sometimes they could not get a fnigle
bufinefs.
perfon in a houfe to accept of the fervant who had

When

been nominated.

this

happened, they ufed

to fend for all the relations of the family, even the

moft diftant coufins, and alk their confent, which

was

eafily obtained,

becaufe

it

was nothing

whether the family were well ferved or


they had obtained

endeavoured

fervant as

complaint was made, they


by very ingenious veafonings,

good a

title to in-

any perfon whatever.

Matters

however, drove on very heavily for .a while


order to facilitate them,

who knew

not

much

helpers.

places.

be chofen to the ofRce of

do any thing: but,

members of the

courts of the cor-

they contributed to provide fervants in

By

means many were provided with a


who had been poor fneaking fellows,

this

piece of bread,

and had followed them in their youth,


fifliing,

but in

of eflates,

that they helped to

getting in to be

poration,

many gentlemen

either about fervice or fervants,

prociftred themfelves to

Not

them

When

if a

it,

to prove,

that thefe diftant relations had as


vite

ill.

to

in hunting,

and other diverfions.

Such was

the fituatiou of affairs

when my informcf

THE HISTORY

went

OF A

into the country, and, as

Tingular, the reader

may

engaged his attention.

the cafe

guefs

eafily

He

was very

how much

Northern province, and, therefore,

his

moftly confined to what happened

among them.

would be endlefs

to

mention

it

refided chiefly in this

all

that

remarks were
It

he told m.e,

but the principal obfervations


to the

fhall be communicated
world in the following chapters.

CHAP.
Of the great

vr.

impropriety often seen in the ap-

pointment of serva?its; and the sentiments

of the inhabitants on that subject,

THERE

commonly, in every fociety, fome


radical principle which governs and modifies
the reft, and gives a tincture to all the meafures
is

that are carried on, whatever be their particular

fubjed, or feeming intention.


us, the

In the cafe before

fundamental error appears to have been the

power of nomination which was given

The confequence

to great

men.

of this was, an exceffive impro-

priety in the appointment of fervants to different


families.

If a poor ordinary family

wanted

a houfe-

hold fervant, fometimes a Lord would fend them a


foreign cook out of his

own

This fellow

kitchen.

would fpeak fuch minced broken language, that


they could not underftand him ; and the meat he
drelTed for

When

them they could not endure

to look

upon.

they defired him to provide plain folid food>

fuch as they had been in ufe to

eat,

and

in fufHcient

CORPOKATION OF SERVANTS.
quantity to

up

their bellies,

fill

3?^

he would ferve them


but

a courfe of flimfy diflies, finely garmftied,

entirely dilguiled, fo that the poor people could not

imagine what they contained.

made complaint

of

any time they

If at

he triumphed over their

this,

clownifh ignorance and unrefined

and would

tafte,

offer to prove to the fatis faction of all

men

of fenfe,

that he perfectly underflood his art.

In innumerable fuch inftances they went entirely


in the face of

common

pointment of

wanted

Sometimes,

fervants.

plowman

and ap-

fenfe, in the choice

family

if

or a gardener, they would fend

tliem a huntfman, or a running footman.

If a confi-

derable merchant wanted a book-keeper, they


find

him

For

ther write nor read.


there

who

a ftupid ignorant fellow

condudt

this prepofterous

The

was no remedy.

great

men counted

right of nomination as a precious jewel,

confideration could induce

them

would

could nei-

the

which no

to part with.

And

as the

power of determination,

lay

courts compofed of fervants, they ftreRuoufly

ill

fupported

the

moft

This was naturally

to

in all difputed cafes,

appointments.

unreafonable

be expected, becaufe a con-

would have been


ment of many of themfelves, as

trary conduct

filent

impeach-

unfit for their pre-

fent Rations.

Be fides,

it

had happened
it fo.

The

happened
in a

in

this cafe,

as I obferved

many

loved to have

former age,

people of better rank, and thofe

would be thought

to be of better rank,

who

by an unac-

countable fafcination, not only approved, but ad-

mired thefe meafures.

To

..llr.w

to choofe fervants for themfelves,

families, they faid,

would be

a fource

THE HISTORY OF A

320
of

endlefs

but that the prefent wad

confufion,

plainly a fimple, rational, uniform, and peaceable

method of proceeding.

was

It

common and

a fa-

fhionable topic of converfation, to defpife the folly

common

and impudence of the

people,^

always a ftrong inclination to choofe their


vants, and looked with a very evil eye

who were
wills.

If

fied that

them

thus billeted upon

any perfon,

he thought

in a
this

who had
own fer-

upon thofe

againfl

their

company, had but

figni-

conduct

with

inconfifteiit

equity or good policy, he was not thought

to

fit

be

reafoned with, but a great and loud laugh was immediately raifed againft him, fo that he was not

Nay, there

only put to filence, but to confufion.

were not wanting many who affirmed,

that

no body

could be fincerely^ of that opinion, but that

only pretended, from bafe and

muft obferve here, that when

on

finifter

this part of the fubje61:,

my

it

was

views.

informer was

which indeed

lie often

refumed, as what had made a great impreffion upon


his

own mind,

marks of

knew
is

I could not help again difcovering

aftonifliment.

the abfurdities

capable, yet this feemed to be the

of any thing that


it

told him, I very well

human mind

of which the

mod

incredible

had ever read or heard of; that

fhould be laughed

down

as

a ridiculous notion,

that families ought to be at liberty to choofe their

Qwn

On

fervants.

this

he was not a

and fpeaking with fome acrimony,

little

fays,

gratify your curiofity, Sir, that, in this

converfationsj

I lliall

be wholly

If

filent

you

offended,
It

was to

and former

have- given an account of

vations in foreign countries.

no more,

"

my

obfer-

defire to

hear

but give'tne leave-

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.
which we

tp fay, thvit the treatment

we

with when

return home,

and ungrateful.

we

If

tell

mon, you look upon them


and,

if

we

that

tell

you

furprifing,

travellers

meet

once unreafonable

at

is

32

you things

that are

as

and

infipld

com-

trifling ^

you things that are quite new and


us

let

know with

great

good manners,

" Pray

Sir," fays he,

you do not believe us."

Then

after a little

" how many nations

paufe,

Europe, Afia, or

are there in

who think themfelves at


own prince, or to bring him

Africa,

liberty to choofe

their

to an account for

or bad government."

opprefl'ion

believe not above five or

he, "

perhaps,

if,

thought

it

fifty

them

modell in you

to

choofe their

mafl:ers, is

it

when

you of one nation, where

I tell

I,

fays

one of mankind, have

to

a fin or folly for

Truly, faid

" "Well then,"

fix.

to fufpe6l

my
it

own

veracity,

became

fa-

(hionable to think that they ought not to choofe


their

own

But
he,

**

fervants."

to

are

come

you not

little

clofer to

member

of the

the point," fays


felecSt

fociety in

am, and glory ia it as a moft honourable diftiniSlion. " Have you not taken agricul?" I

Undoubtedly and
ture under your patronage ?"
by what means can we better promote the interelt
of the public ? " 13y none, I admit.
But fufFer mc
;

to

my

proceed with

interrogatories.

bought any land with the


ments

?'*

and have

Not

yet.

coil

me

They

profits

Have you

of your improve-

are but in their infancy,

a great deal of expence.

<*

Are

the crops of improvers generally better than thofe

of other people ?"

cannot fay they are.

"

You

oupht," fays he, " to have confefied that they arc

Vol. VI.

;!

THE HISTORY

322

commonly worfe;

OF A

according to

for,

the

mark of an improver

but

to

is

hovvr

you not

alfo

he came

to

beggar by putting

man

you

to believe that

himfelf a

Perhaps

"

coming

may

it

How

he underftood the theory

Sir, abfurdities

who made

but he underftood the theory.

fo,

and

to write books,

in pra^ice ?"

it

But have

have a bad one.

encouraged a

read lectures upon agriculture,

alas

obfervation,

be able to give a rational and philofophical.

account

be

my

not to have a good crop,

into fafliion

is

came
Alas
not fo

Tare a thing at home, as to entitle you to doubt the

my

truth of

narrative,

when

I told

you of the mif-

takes and delufions of a certain people abroad."


I confefs I

was never m.ore nettled

at

any thing,

than at this unexpected attack upon the laiidable at-

tempts among us, of

late, to

To compare them

country.

improve our native


wdth the monftrous

conduct of the mipolilhed American people defcribed

in

this

therefore,
that

book, was unfufferable.


the matter

let

you have

faid, Sir^

might

eafily

however, not to fpend time upon

do you think

of, or

could not,

drop, but told him, All

it

be anfwered

at prefent,

what haye you

what

to fay againft

the excellent and rational trails w^hich have been

publifhed by private gentlemen of fortune


us,

upon agriculture?

eft arithmetical

Do they

among

not contain the clear-

calculations, of the profit to arife

from the method laid down ? " I fay," anfwered he,


< they are all what tlie lawyers call felo de Je^ and
inadmiflible."

totally

reafon

In the

why,

truly, I

firjl ^lace,

Your

reafon, pray.

"

My

have more reafons than one.

they always put

quack doctor with his cathoHcctu

me

in

mind of a

They have but

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.
one remedy for
to

be

ftruclc

new

with fome

and immediately

clifeafes.

all

to

falls

323

gentleman happens

theoretical printiple,

work, runs down every

thing elfe, and applies this wonderful difcovery to


all

purpofes,

what

all foils,

and

Many

You know

feafons.

all

and pulverifers are.

enthiifiafts the horfe hoers

of them are clearly of opinion, that dung

prejudicial to ground, as ferving only to

weeds.

was once

and found no other

men

aiTd

quite of this opinion myfelf.

difficulty in

it,

than

how gentle-

farmers would get quit of their dung,

which, not being returned to the ground in the


of manure, muft foon

and

at

heap.

is

engender

way

grow up to an enormous,

the fame time, mofl naufeous and ofFenfive

"When under

thefe apprehenfions, I

rememby

ber to have projected a fcheme to be carried on


fubfcription,

remedy.

which would have proved an

The method was

efFeclual

have plans taken of

to

every county, in which the level fhould be marked,

then canals to be carried through

the

all

low grounds,

and fmaller dudis drawn from every gentleman and


farmer's houfe, terminating in thefe canals, which,

by the help of

of rain water at every

colledlion

houfe, would, at certain feafons of the year, carry

away

the whole dung, and at

fea.

The expence

laft

empty

it

into the

of this fcheme would, indeed,

have been very confiderable

but the great advan-

tages to be reaped from

apprehended, would

it,

foon convince every body of

its utility.

ever ridiculous fuch a fcheme

convinced

it

may

would have been put

certain county,

if it

obftinacy of the

had not been

common

people.

Now, howam fully

be, I

in practice in a

for the incorrigible


I

am

alfo of opir-

3M

TRE HISTORY

OF A

it would have fucceeded, and that dune


would have been wholly banifhed in a fhort time.
This would have happened, not only by the help of

nion, that

the canals, but the crops would have been fo thin

and

fpiritual, that the

would have

cattle

pafled very

who

fed upon

them

of a grofs or excre-

little

mental nature.

" r

fhall

not trouble you, continued he, at this

time, with any

my

more of

feems highly incredible, that


agriculture

to accept of them.

and even prefs the

any

man

know

fall

is fo far

their

own

On

bring a

likely to

is

from prefTmg

it

upon

good

a fabric

profit,

his neighbours, that


it

he
he

to himfelf.

the other hand, his neighbours are as inquifitive

he

fecret

is

imitate

it

in

and commonly both difcover and

very

mankind

fition in

There

time.

little

to refift

what

is

is

a difpo-

forced upon them,

and to leave no method unefiayed


is

till

their viable

method of working, or

ufes every poiTible .precaution to keep

as

families,

a manufacturing. town, where, if

upon

of goods, that

in

were difcovered by

excellence

faid public

more probable they would

It is

keep them as a fecret

eiFeds.

It

new fchemes of

generous as to difcover them

fo

gratis to the public,

their

the

fo profitable as their authors give

vv^ere

would be

out, they

reafons but one.


if

to

come

at

what

induftrioufly placed out of their reach.

"
all

would, therefore, humbly recoiximend

improvers, to give over talking upon

and to

fall

pralice

fuccefsful,

quite

heartily about

and,
it

common.

Or,

let

to

putting their rules in

can promife them, that

will not

it

the fubjedi,

if

they be

be long before they will be


every perfon

who

difcovers

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.

325

a noftrum in agriculture, apply to the government

no body may be

for a patent that

except himfelf, and thofe


ly for

you,

fuffered to ufe

who flrall pay him

the ingenuity of his invention.


fir,

that

if

had

it

fufficient-

can afTure

faid to the people

whom

few years ago, that I knew a nation, where


it was common for benevolent perfons to point out
to them plain, eafy, cheap, and certain methods of
growing rich, but they would not be perfuaded to
left a

would have had the fame compliment


paid me, which you were pleafed to pay me fome
time ago, that I was taking the privilege of a traufe them, I

veller."
I fhall

not trouble the reader with faying

was convinced by

this reafoning, only

it

how

far

made me

refolve to be entirely filent, as to any further parti-

culars I fhould learn concerning the corporation of


fervants,

might

be.

how

ftrange and unaccountable foever they

Having

therefore, brought this unavoid-

able digrelTion to a clofe, w'e proceed with the hiftory.

CHAP.
Great partiality

VII.

of Servants, and
uncertainty in the characters given of them.
in the trial

what was

the reader recollects

IFpreceding chapter,

it is

prifed, that the corporation,

them, did hot, for their

In

the

with the powers given

own

credit, look

into the qualifications of fervants.

Ee

faid

probable he will be fur-

Since

it

better

was

iu

THE HISTORY

12d
their

power

to licenfe

OF A

them or

not,

may be

it

fup-

pofed they would take effectual care, that no infufBcient perfon

iliould

But

be admitted.

it is

to

as the method
upon the nomination of lords or great
men, came to be again in ufe, the trial of their
fufficiency turned to a mere farce.
There might be
fome degree of integrity found in one court but,

be obferved, that fo foon

of fixing

fervants,

in

fuch a cafe, candidates had nothing to do but

apply to another, where he would find, perhaps a


fet of rafcally fellows

To what

thing.

may be

to proceed,

of what

literally

afhamed of no-

feen from the following account

was going upon the examination

who

of a young man,

was

\vere

happened.

certain court

that he

who

a degree of boldnefs they ventured

defired to have a certificate

fully accomplifhed as

a fervant, and

particularly well (killed in the cultivation of land.

member

grave and ancient


is

Anf.

By running

the

afked him. Pray,

bed way of plowing hard

what

fliff

wheel barrow over

it.

fir,

land

The

examinator was highly offended with the abfurdity


of the anfwer, and fliowed plainly in his counte-

nance a mixture of furprize and indignation.

member

another
gentle

temp:?r,

of court, being of a

and

great,

thought proper to interpofe.


ther,

My

bafliful,

tion,

dear

which

though

it

fir,

the

enemy

He

young man

But

meek and

to

feverity,

fays to his brois

modeft and

in itfelf is a moft. amiable difpofi-

hinders

him from anfwering

fo dif-

were to be wifhed. Then, turning to


the candidate, he fays, I dare fay, fir, you know
vil enough that a v/heel-barrow cannot plough

tinclly, as

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.
land, becaufe

the

into

will not enter

it

327
nor

foil,

Mufl not hard ftiff land be


broken and pulverifed, in order to make it fruitopen
ful

fufiiciently.

it

Jnf, Yes,

Then

the

fir.

firft

refumed

Now,

his examination.

Can you tell me how deep land ouglit to


be ploughed when it is well done ? He, though

pray

fir.

quite ignorant of the

man

being naturally a

fubje6t,

of mettle and acutencfs, imagined, from what

he had heard, that the deeper the better, and immediately anfwered,

minator

fell

to

aik

faid.

How

us to inftal

ploughman when you know nothing of the

as a

matter

fir,

exa-

his

this

and

pafTion,

have you the impudence,

you

On

yards.

fix

into a violent

Was

there ever fuch a thing heard or

feen fince the beginning of the world, as plough-

ing land

yards deep

fix

you have,

in

the thing

your

You

or

what conception could

own mind,

ought

to

of the poffibility of

have a fentence paiTed a-

you, wholly incapacitating you for any place

gainfl:

in this country.

The

noble and generous

was roufed by
Pray
'the

this fevere

do you imagine

fir,

fervants

brought up

of

to a

the

fpirit

of the candidate

treatment

eftabliflied

For

he replied.

improved age

corporation

are

thorough knowledge of the fevcral

branches of bufinefs, for which the


pointed

fo,

that, in this

my own

not to be furprifed that

falaries are

particular part,
I

could not

land fliould be ploughed, for

ap-

you ought

tell

you

how

never faw a plough

in my life.
How, when, where and by whom
were you educated then ? fays the other in amaze.
j^nf. I

ferved an apprenticcfhip in a toy-(hop.

Very

THE HISTORY OF A

3 23

well, fays the examinator, blefled, precious,

improved times

have no more to add,

happy

give

up

the examination to any body that pleafes.

When

this difcontented zealot

had dropt the

dif-

fome other moderate man afked him a few


and fafhionable qiielllons, fuch as, what is

courfe,
polite

the genteeleft lining for a red coat

in

what man-

ner ftieuld you prefent a glafs of wine to a lord, and

how

to a farmer

whether

pleafanteft'diverfion

the
diet,

children

&c.

of a

hunting or fifhlng the

is

whether inould the fervants or

family have the beft lodging,

After a few minutes had been fpent

was carried by

in this

manner,

ty that

he had anfwered extremely well, and waj

it

a great majori-

in every refpel: a moft accomplifhed fervant.


It

was

ufual for the fervants to carry certificates

with them, from the inferior courts of the corporation, wherever they

went

but

if

any man had

would have found


They had taken up a

trufted to thefe certificates, he

himfelf miferably miftaken.


principle, that a

true,

man might

which he did not know

atteft

to

be

any thing

to

On

falfe.

be

this-

principle, for a proper confideration, a vagrant fel-

low, of

whom

they

knew

little

or nothing,

eafily obtain a certificate declaring

him

plete fervant for every branch of bufmefs,


particular,

and

in

an admirable cook, gardener, or what-

ever elfe he himfelf defired to be fpecified.


trial,

would
com-

to be a

he was found

totally deficient in

If,

upon

any of the

branches mentioned, and complaint was made to


the court

were

who

certified for

him, they thought they

fully excufed if they eould fay, that

upon

their

honour they knew nothing about him, and were

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.

329

wholly ignorant whether he was a good fervant or

On

a bad.

fuch cccafions they ufed to launch

all

out in praife of charity, and alledge, that every

man

had

as

right

cular and

good word,

another's

to

would go, unlefs he had

forfeited

by

as

,far

it

foiiie parti-

known misdemeanor.

-CHAP.
Servants

it

oj' different

the

good and had.

the

bad against

HOWEVER
reader

is

viir.

characters,

A sketch of

The inveterate hatred of

the good,

general the corruption was, the

not to imagine that

all

fervants

were of thefame character, or behaved in the iwme


manner.

who

There were

fome, here and there,

ft ill

ad^ed in a manner fuitable to their ftation, \rho

minded their bufinefc^, loved their maflers, and


were beloved by them. Thefe made as great a ftruggle as they could to keep matters right in the meet-

ings of the corporation, though,


very. indilTefent fuccefs.

and condu6l of the two

The

commonly with

oppcfite principles

may

forts

be learned from

the following particulars.

They

differed, tcto

coeloy

and manner of fpeaking.


party

affirmed, that

in their very profefTion

The modern
and

courage

ought to be the leading chara(S^er of

he ought always
deeds.

to

be fpeaking

That he ought never

or miftakc in his behaviour

*,

faflilonable

fclf-fufliciency
a fervant.

in praife of his

to allow of

That

own

any error

but on the contrary.

THE HISTORT

33
to infift that

Who

is

who

fpeaks

OF A

he deferved the higheft approbation.

obliged, faid they, to fpeak well of a


ill

of himfelf

man

can there be any thing

more pufillanimous, than for a fervant to be always


he can do very little to any purpofe ?

confefiiiig that

On

the other hand, the honefter fort of fervants

declared, that they thought pride and confidence

were

in themfelves hateful,

and quite intolerable

That they fhould not make high pre-

in fervants.

they fhould be brought but to the

tenfions, left

greater (hame-, that they fliould acknowledge the


great imperfeftion of every thing they did, and ex-

pet to be rewarded, not for the worth or value of


their fervice, but

from the goodnefs and indulgence

of their mailers.
It

was curious

thefe principles.

terms of their

to obferve the different effels of

Thofe.

own

who

fpoke in the higheft

qualifications,

were always the

They grudged

moft negligent and moft unfaithful.

every thing they did, and laid hold of innumerable


pretences for (hortening their hours of labour, and

procuring days of relaxation.


of

the;Ta

If,

manner, he could hardly be brought


for two days
his

own

would

any time, one

at

had done a piece of work

to

do any more

but was wholly taken up in admiring

ingenuity, aud

commending

take the pains to liften to him.

trary, the

in a tolerable

humble and

felf-

it

to

On

all

who

the con-

denied were always bufy,

applied themfelves to their duty with the utmoft care

and

affiduity,

enough.

and thought they could never do

They never once

called in queftion the

hours of labour, but confidered the neceffity of the


amily, or the importance of the

work they were en-

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.

When

gcigeJ in.

one of them for

33 I

commend

any body happened to

his diligence,

he entreated them to

forbear fuch difcourfe, for he was very fenfible he

had not dmie the thoufandth part of what he ought


to have done.

Men came

to

be fo fenfible of the different effects

of thefe principles, that almofl: every family earnedly

wi{hed to have fervants of the felf-denying cha-

racter,

and perfedly hated the other.

If they en-

unknown

tered into converfation with an

fervant,

they were particularly attentive to the flrain of his


difcourfe,

Jtiid

would with
But, alas

had

though he were upon

this ferved

his

guard,

great fagacity penetrate his fentiments.

very

little

purpofe

intereil to procure a writ of

were obliged

td receive

in the f.iddle,

for, if

he

nomination, they

him, and then being fixed

he made a

full difcovery

of both his

principles and practice.

Nothing was more remarkable than the rancorous


hatred which the felf-fufficient bore to the humble
fervants

efpecially fuch as

ihowed the moft

re-

markable diligence in their work.

They fpread
flanders againft them without number.
They ufed
to go about with indefatigable diligence, among the
great

men, and nominators

ries,

to exafperate. their

to the eftablilhed fala-

minds againft them, and

prevent their fettlement or promotion.


fentfd

them

as a fet of poor,

filly,

They

repre-

fneaking, fpirit-

who, for no other end than to throw


odium on the more free and generous livers,
wo J id work longer than ufual. For the fame realefs fellows,

an

fon,

'r

V.

ns

pretended, that,

their paftime, running,

when

the reft were at


jumping, or cudgel playing,

THE HISTORY

332

OF A

then to be fure, thefe hypocrites would be driving


a flake, or pruning a tree about a farm, or picking

weeds from a garden or

field

fented them, alfo, (which

They

of corn.

was indeed

as acquiring a (tiff ruftic air,

repre-

partly true)

by often ftooping, and

habitual application to their work.

Neither were they wanting in executing their re-

venge againfl their enemies themfelves, whenever


an opportunity offered. If two or three of the loofer
fort

met, by chance, one of the induftrious in a foplace, or going of an errand, they cunningly

litary

folicited

him

with them in fome diverfion,

to join

for example, blind-man's-buff, or any other.

complied, they

all

bed him heartily

and

after they

was immediately difpatched


and

let

If

he

confpired againfl him, and drub-

one

he was no better

fo that

Whenever

than his neighbours.

fo,

know how he had

the family he belonged to

been fpending his time,

had done

to inform againft him,

they difcovered a

fervant in a field after the ufual time of labour, they

would get behind the hedges and


fully

pelt

him unmerci-

with flones, fo that he returned home, not

only fatigued with his work, but feverely fmarting

with the wounds he had received.

Such was not only


the very fame

fpirit

the condu61: of individuals, but

prevailed in the meetings of the

corporation, from the

met with

fo fevere treatment

induftrious fervantsj
lies

lowed

to the higheil.

from theni

who were

where they were placed

None

as honefl

beloved in the fami-

neither

was

there,

any

crime fo heinous as being more diligent than the


generality of other fervants.

If

any family accuf-

ed a fervant of piiieiing, negligence, diun.;ennef3

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.

333

among the mriids, thefe were all human infirmities, no way atrocious in their nature.
They were aifo hard to \>(i arcertained fo that it

r xvantonnefs

was

proof of the fafts

ah-noft impolTible to bring a

But,

the fatisfa^lion of the court.

to

pened

to be accufcd of doing

at their defire,

or working

when

if

one hap-

uncommon

any

others

fervice

were allow-

ed to play, this was high treafon againft the conftitution

and he was condemned without mercy, and

fometimes without hearing.

But of

all

the crimes of this fort, the moft unpar-

donable was whatever tended to impeach the wifdom,


or

weaken the authority of the annual meetings of


When an inferior court was or-

the corporation.

who had
member or two

dered to introduce a fervant into a family


refufed to receive him, fometimes a

would humbly

reprefent, that the terms of the oath

appeared to them abfurd and profane in that inftance,

and begged

to

Whenever

be excufed

this

happened, they were dragged as delinquents to the


bar, rated

and abufed, ftripped, and branded, declar-

ed infamous, and incapable even of repentance.

was many times affirmed


that

in the general

no man could be guilty of

much

as

a crime

It

meeting,

which

fo

approached in guilt to that of difparaging

the authority of the corporation of fervants.


I

mufl take

this

opportunity of acquainting the

readier with a (lory that happened

my

informer

who was

left

the country.

few years before

One of

the fervants,

a great oppofer of the prevailing

meafures,

finding his brethren to be deaf to ferious reafoning,


fell

upon

a fingular device.

of humour, and knowing a

VoL. VI.

Being poffefTed of
little

a vein

of the art of paint-

'^^^ HISTORY OF A

334
ing,

he drew a picture of the

droll or ludicrous kind,

in which, by senigmatieal charatters, he reprefent-

ed the various impofitions of the fervants

He

in general.

took oif the likenefles of the principal and

alfo

moft a6live leaders of the corporation, and put them,

Here was

in the moft comical poftures imaginable.

to be feen a fellow capering and dancing in a gar-

den
fide

all full

of weeds, and bis inftruraents lying be-

him, quite grown over with

ruft.

Another

carrying a baflvet over his arm, with a fign of a pine

apple in his hand, and a paflenger, on examining

the contents, finds nothing but ftinking


flops his nofe.

and

fifh,

great bloated fellow, fwelled hke

a tun, challenging the whole country to run a race

Another hurrying away

with him

many

a girl into a cor-

covering her with his frock.

ner, and

drew

others, he

in fuch a

and

^Thefe

manner,

as clearly

to expofe their knavery and oftentation.

This picture was ftuck up,

in the night-time,

near a public road leading to a great town.


perfons were

all

very well known,

imagined what entertainment


ple.

No body

2]id

whenever any of the

plaf:e

in

it,

it

could look upon

it is

As

afforded to the peoit

without laughing

fervants,

were feen upon the

mortification,

ftfeets, the

boys

un-

mimicked the poftures

\vhich they had been reprefented.

honoured with a

gathered about them in crowds, and, to their


fpeakable

the

not to be

in

Copies in mini-

ature were taken of this performance, and kept in

many
in an

families
ill

and hold

The

fo that,

whenever the fervants were

humour, they would


it

pull out the draught

in their eye.

fury and refentment of the fervants, on the

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.
publication of this piece,

The

author had done

not to be conceived.

is

with

it

much

caution and fc-

him

legally convict-

crecy, that they could not get

However, they

ed.

335

at lead

either difcovered, or

who he was, and employ-

thought they had difcovered

ed themfelves night and day, in devifing methods of

Above

revenge.

who had

unlucky fellow,

that

all,

been reprefented following the

was

girl,

tran-

fo

fported with rage, that he fcarce ever returned to


his

He

right fenfes.

draughtfman himfelf,

ridicule of the

ture In

ed with fo

much

The poor
a

about making a pic-

fet

fervants

fo diflicult, or

and

his friends

but,

he proceed-

rage and trepidation, that

perfecft caricature,

Jiim to fupprefs

he

Induftrious

was

either the thing Itfelf

to

had been fomething of a

^fo

it

wms a

prevailed with

it.

mean

author. In the

was obliged

time,

be conftantly upon his guard, as there was always


of defperadoes lying in wait for him,

fet

armed

with clubs, and fully determined to beat his brRi^


out,

if

mean

they could catch him in a proper place. In the


time, they

without ceafing.

all

agreed in telling

They

lies

affirmed, that

upon him

no bqdy but a

complete rafoal could be capable of fuch a performance


at

that to betray fervants to their mailers,

any rate a malicious trick

to laugh at his fellow fervants,

a laughing at

them

too,

fat

was committed,

country

and

was the

tlon of a depraved heart.

It

fet

other people

clcareft

was

my

that

was

but, that for a fervant

demonftra-

ten years after the

informer

left

the

and he declared that their refentment had

not abated in the

leafl

I obferved, had

made

degree

a deep

f 2

circumflance which,
impreflion

upon his

THE HISTORY

33<5

mind

Co that

he would often

OF A
fay,

From

the fury

He

of an enraged fervant, good Lord deliver me.


alfo told

me, that he was convinced by

ple, that wit

and humour was a

this

exam-

talent unfpeakably

prejudicial, to the poffefibr


and therefore, if ever
he had a child, and obferved in him the leaft turn
that way, he would apply himfelf with the utmofl
:

affiduity to eradicate

as a vice.

it

H A

P.

IX.

Tbe carelessness of Servants in their work,


curious debate in a certain family^ which

issued in nothing,
will eafily be perceived, frorn^ what has been
ITfaid
above, that the greateft part of the fervants

They feemed to have


negligent.
two great objects conflantly in view, and to carry
them on hand in hand ; the increafe of their wages,

were excefnvely

and the diminution of their labour.


liowever flrange

it

may

The

truth

is,

feem, thefe always bore an

exat proportion to one another.

Whenever

a fer-

vant got more wages fettled upon him, he looked


lipon

it

as a confequence, that hefliould bemore_^floth-

ful than before.

able

In the

mean

what ingenious and

always

fell

upon

time,

it

was remark-

plaufible reafonings they

On

to juilify their condufl:.

fubjei: particularly

they would fay, "What

done

A fmall piece of work,

as

it

deal,

is

foon done.

ought to be,

which

is

is

better

is

this

well

executed

than marring a great

worfe than idlenefs.

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.

337

Inflead of any other general remarks, I


tertain the reader

ingenuity, in devifing excufes for their

This happened

fliall

en-

with a curious example of their

own

in the family of a great

neglecSt.

man, about

three years after the publication of the aenigmatical


picture, and

(hewed

plainly

proof had enraged them,

One

to reform them.

that,

thouojh the re-

had contributed nothing


morning, almoft' the whole
it

were gathered together in a


what work it would be proab^ut that day. A fervant who,

fervants of this family


large hall, to confider

per for them to

fall

indeed, was not very well looked upon, as inclini|ig a little to

the fober induftrious kind, complain-

ed, that there

had been for a long time an intolera-

ble negligence in keeping the fences, and excluding

Graying or ftrange cattle from their mafters grounds.

He
go

therefore propofed, that they fhould immediately

body, drive out

in a

all

the ftrange cattle, with-

out exception, that were in the inclofures, and

up the fences, which were now


tion.

He

told

cattle pafturing

them

that there

mend

in {a forry a condi-

were many ftrange

where they ought not

to

be

parti-

he himfelf, not an hour before, had


large bull, with a thick neck, and dull heavy-

cularly, that

feen a

eyes, but broadJfjouIchrSy firm joint ^^

which made him


arofe, of
juft

and

One

fit

for

jumping.

and a lank

On

belly^

this a difpute

which the reader may take the following,

faithful account.

obferved, that he could not agree to the

mo-

which proceeded from a perfon no way re


markable for a good temper. " If our brother would

tion,

look a

would

little

more

at

home,

fays

he, perhaps he

find lefs reafon for thefo fnarling complain

Ff3

7.

THE HISTORY

33^.

of the negligence of others.

and unbenevolent.
ance ufed

in

JF A

The propofal

There

fliould

Is

unkind

be great forbear-

every family toward their neighbours.

No

doubt there have been, and there will be trefpafles


upon- both fides-, and therefore, I am humbly of
opinion,

A
ing

no notice

tliat

fecond then

effi^O:.

ma(ler*s

now

is

am

it.

am

There

perfuaded

it

any good would

perfon

the

his

all

would be

fine

profefiions

altogether in vain.

a ftrange difpofition in beafts of

is

attempt to keep them out

it

kinds
is

any

would therefore only

pretends to remedy.

it

all

from which there

to break into thofe places

increafe the evil

fol-

much attached to my
who made this

perhaps as
as

interefl,

at all."

it

propofed, I fliould readily

motion, notwithftanding

but

be taken of

(liould

up, and fpeaks to the follow-

If I thought that

low upon what


agree to

rifes

All perfe-

cution,

we know,

fo that

fuppofmg one has made an encroachment

at this time, if

helps the caufe of the^perfecuted

he were driven out,

upon

it,

more

at his heels."

A
*'

There

made

is

more

fize,

bour's

difficulty in

very great

would oblige

you are about

to do.

than you apprehend.

cattle

and

(liape

his neigh-

us to a very flri6t and par-

we

could determine the

This would create fuch difference of opi-

point.

fuch zeal and keennefs in every one to fup-

port his
"vrhole

twenty

fi'milarity in colour,

ticular examination, before

nion,

it

between our mafter's


It

-with

and learned obfervation.

a very fage

notice, fays he, w'hat

Is there not a

and

we may depend

he would immediately return

third

Take

own

fentiments, that

we might fpend the


we could come to

time of our fervice before

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.
any conclufion.
plc, that every
iniiflcr's

acknowledge

bead

fliould

grounds-, but,

it is

a fixed pritici-

be kept only on his

hope you

339

own

will be fenfible,

only a fpeculative point which beall belongs to

it is

one mafler, and which

On

to another.

wife and good fervants have differed in

and

ages,

end of the world."

will differ to the

this fubjedt

all

fourth delivered the following opinion.

<

cannot help being againfl the motion, for a rcafou

nobody has yet taken notice

that

my certain

you from
pleafure

knowleiige,

who

tion in being

He

is

him an

of

it

infe61:ed

with an inveterate

infinite pleafure in

fifth faid,

upon

fatisfac-

at,

which

certain confequence of this attempt.

clawed by the thorns

fpent

has a vaft

gazed upon and wondered

would be the

can afiure
give great

of.

feems to have given occa-

fion to the prefent debate.

Befides, he

would

the ftrange cattle themfelves, and, in

to-

particular to the bull,

gives

it

"

am

this

itch,

which

being fcrubbcd and

in the palTage."

much time
The author

furprifed to fee fo

ridiculous propofal.

feems ta have forgot

fundamental law of the

corporation, that no fervant Ihould meddle with the


affairs

of another family, or pretend to take the inor

fpeftion

is

government of any

belong to his

as

own

mafter.

beaffs, but fuch

Now,

fays he,

manifeffly the cafe in the prefent inftance

it is

even implied in the propofal

itfelf,

tliis

nay,

which

and incompetent.

therefore," quite irregular

is,

If that

own mafter fend


we have nothing to do
mind our own affairs."

bull does not belong to us, let his


for

him when he

with him.

Then

pleafes

Let us

rofc a fervant of aucieni (landing, feveral

THE HISTORY

340

of his teeth having been

OF A

by old age, who bore

loft

mark of his mafter's favour. He was


remarkable for making long fpeeches, of which it
was difficult to co^iprehend the meaning. After
a particular

fpeaking about half an hour, quite unintelligibly, he

" Brethren,

concluded thus.

do not deny that

fuch a propofal as this might have done very welt


in former times,

when the

and the offending

fences were almoft entire,

ifcrangers

very few

but, at pre-

Will any

quite romantic and impoffible.

fent,

it is

man

ferioufly pretend, at this time of day,

when the
many

hedges are almoft wholly broke down, and fo

encroachments on every hand, to affirm, that none

ought

to continue in the inclofures but

belong to our mafter

make

a very

be few

left

Laft of

miftake at

am

fuch as truly

afraid his fields

defolate appearance, for there

would
would

behind."

them

few words, that


was a
the very bottom of the affair for, by

all,

the debate

one

was

tells

in a

altogether 'idle

that there
:

the-beft information he could procure, the beaft

queftion was not a bull but an ox.

To fum up

the matter,

one or other of

thefe vari-

ous and contradictory reafons prevailed upon a great


majority to

come

to this refolution.

That

it

was

not prudent or expedient, at this time, to agree to


the propofal
ral ftiould

and, therefore, the intruders in gene-

be winked

at,

and that beaft

whether he were bull or ox,

he was.

in particular,

ftiould cotitinue

whe?e

CORPORATION Of SERVANTS.

H A

C
the ambition

X.

P,

and covctousness of

ViintSy

and

gratify their desires,

HAVE

the various

the Ser-

methods they fall

upon

to

34

obferved before, that the conftitution in

province was framed with great care, and


feemed particularly calculated to prevent ambition
this

For

and love of pre-eminence.


tabliihed

parity

every meafure

among

tliCi-<:ould

think of, to prevent the

iii-

By

however, the fervants had not only de-

generated in point of

fidelity

made

great encroachments

felf.

They had

hiigh-founding

were given

and diligence, but had

upon the

conftitution

it-

prodigious hankering after the

titles,

and immenfe revenues, which

to fervants in the

neighbouring province.

grieved them to hear, and fometimes,

upon

they ef-

and took

and arch-overfeers.

trodudion of overfeers
this time,

It

this reafen

the fervants,

bufinefs to that country, to fee,

when

that

fent

fome of

the overfeers, lived in fplendid palaces, and were


carried

were

about in chariots,

ft ill

while they themfelves

obliged to wear the drefs of fervants, and

generally to walk a-foot.

Gladly would they have introduced thefe


in their

own

province

but the great

ofiices

men who had

hitherto aftlfted them,

dreaded the expence,

would not agree to

They were,

it.

and

therefore, ob-

liged to proceed cautioufly and gradually.

In fom^

THE

34^
few

HISTORY OF A

made it appear, that one fervant


to two different families, and enfalaries.
As to the work, they might be

inftances, they

might be hitroduced
joy both the

fometimes
if

and fometimes in the other;

in the" one

one of them was

or,

a family of fmall confequence, they

might do well enough without any fervant at all. They


begged,

in the

mod

of the province,

abject manner, of the governor

number of

that a fmall

might be appointed without any


them, by way of

This was done

falaries

annexed to

encouragement

gratuities, for the

of good fervimts.

lowed

office

and there

terrible competition for obtaining

fol-

them,

which produced a mofi: malignant hatred between


thofe who were fuccefsful and thofe who were not.

The

reader

may perhaps

imagine, that the hope

of meriting thofe falaries would excite them to vie

with one another, in doing the bufinds of the


milies

where they

ferved.

They

tried every

method of advancement but

only

or, if

any did try

it

It

fa-

was quite the contrary.

in that

way

that

they were fure

Some of them ufed the old way


which had always a very great effect.
Some became political tools, fpies, and informers

to be difappointed.

of

flattery,

to the prevailing party at court.

afhamed

to

become pimps and panders

and even fometimes


nal expeditions.

to attend

way

them

of their

to great

not

men,

in their noctur-

Some endeavoured

felves remarkable for feats

out of the

Some were

to

make them-

and achievements quite

own

bufmefs.

One

of

them, for example, Would make a wind-mill, of


curious flruture, and put

houfe where he

lived.

it

upon the top of the

The confequence

of this

was, that pafTengers going that way, after (landing


ftiil

and admiring

it

little,

would

afk any perfon

CORPOKATrON OF SERVANTS.

343

The

anfvver im-

faw near,

riiey

who had done

mediately followed,
a moj}

it-

Tht^fi't-njant

iftgenietis felloiu

who

lives here^ he is

Thus was

ar ever ivas feen.

fame fpread abroad, and fometimes came

his

to the

ears of the people above.


I

cannot help particularly mentioning one,

who wa$

themoftfuccefsfulof all that had gone before him, who

was

alive

probably

he

fell

when my informer left the


may be alive at this very time.

upon, was telling wonderful

country, and

The method
of the he-

ftories

roic a6lions of that people's predecefTors, a fubjel

He had

of which they were enthufiaftically fond.

acquired a very great knack of flory telling, and could


defcribe things fo to
ture, that every

He

t-he life

both by word and gef-

body was delighted

immediately gave over

which he belonged

all

work

to hear him.

in the family to

and when they

civilly

put him

in mind of his neglect, he told them they might

gT)

about their bufinefs, for they were a pack of fedi-

was

He

fcoundrels altogether below his notice.

tlous

a fellow of

remarkable
carried

on

falary after

uncommon
enterprife

for

fchemes

his

another

his intimate

mankind iverefo

and no

lefs

He

and refolution.

procured for himfelf onp

and did not

the fimplicity of thofe

among

ability

fail

to laugh at

who bellowed them, faying


He hlejfed God that

companions.

ea/ily

deceived, by the

formal counte-

nance of a fervant.

The fupernumerary

falaries,

however, were

few, that they were foon exhaufted, and did

fo

little

elfe,

indeed, than excite a hungering and thirfling

after

more.

To remedy

this,

they

fell

upon

me-

thod of gratifying the vanity of thofe whofe pockets

TWE HISTORY OF

344
they could not

fill.

was invented,

title

whicfij

honorary rewards of the ancients in

(like the

this

would ferve to diftinand raife a happy emulation.

part of the world) they faid,

guifh iliuftiious merit,

The

title

was, Mafter of Service

and the diretora

of the fchools or places of excrcife were appointed to


l)eftow

it,

according to the

fkill

and proficiency of

the candidates. Immediately applications


quarters, and

from

all

ally,

and,

if poflible,

came

in

was dealt about very libereven more abfurdly than the


it

There was hardly an inhad been before.


ftance of its being beftowed for real knowledge or
but for fome whimfical qualificaufeful induflry
If a man had invented a
tion of a different kind.
falaries

*,

new dance

or fong, or collected a whole barrel of

faked butter- flies in one fummer, or made a gold


chain for binding a

flea

to a poft, he was inftantly

created a Mafter of Service.

CHAP.
Of the

XI.

sentiments of the People concerning the

Servants,

and

their

manner of treating

them.

THE
him

may
how the

reader
elf,

probably be wondering in
people behaved in thefe cir-

cumftances, and what became of their

affairs.

He

muft be

ready to think that their piitience


nearly exhaufled, and fome terrible retime
by this
The truth is, the patience of
hand.
at
volution

may be

many

of

them had been

at

an end for many years

CORPORATluN
but, being divided

SERVANTS.

01'

among

34^

themfelves, their influ-

ence was not fulLcient to produce a general change.


It is impoflible to

mention

all

which the

the effects

condu6t of the fervants had upon the people


it

two

but

be worth while to take particular notice of

will

of men, and their behaviour upon the

clafles

fubjea.

One

fet

of

pecpk

rofe

among them, whofe

ments and conduct were

as

fenti-

and extra-

fingular

They

ordinary, as any thing recorded in this book.

were men who made high pretenfions


penetration, and gave themfelves

to reafon

much

and

to abftradl

They were
wifdom of the nation centered

reflexions upon the natuiie of things.

of opinion, that

all

in themfelves

and that

*,

the

madman.

fools or

all

the reft were downright

However, entering upon


an overweening

fpeculations with fuch

themfelves, their boafled reafons

many

was

It

and

mifliakes,

led

them

to fearch into hiftory,

they found,

that in every age, there

among

and

There

particularly into the hiftory of the fervanto.

^reat deal of knavery

into

lad fairly turned their heads.

at

cullom

their

firfl:

their

conceit of

had been a

the fervants.

All the

inftances of this fort they ufed to colled, publiHi,

and compare with the conduct of the fervants


their
efl:

own

times

feverity.

in

which they ex^ofed with the greatAt laft, by long dwelling upon this
;

came

fubjedl,

they

ought

be no fuch thing in nature as a fervant

to

that they never had

that the world

to be of opinion, that

done any thing but harm

would be much

Sometimes fober-minded

them

to rights,

VoL. VI.

there

people attempted to

and allcdged, that thong); the

and

better without them.


fet

dli-

34^
lioneft

yet

of a

had always been too numerous

ftill

Tiefs

THE HISTORY

'

there were

nay,

could not

that fociety,

fubfift

as well as noify,

fome of great worth and

ufeful-

in the nature of things

without perfons in lower flations,

to ferve and

accommodate thofe in higher. This


was fo far from having an efFel upon them, that
they became always more pofitive upon contradiction, and fcarce ever failed to advance opinions flill
more wild and romantic than before. Inftead of
yielding that fervants were neceflary in fociety, they

was not only defirable, but extremewhole nation of lords, without


one perfon among them of inferior degree.
sifTirmed, that

it

ly poflible, to have a

They

affirmed, that excepting fervants,

men were by

own

fufficient for their

would have been


nny exception,

happinefs

other

all

nature wife, honeft, and ative

fully

and that they

quite virtuous and happy, without


if

they had not been blind-folded

and deceived by the


they ufed often, in a

To

fervants.
fit

this race,

whom

of raving, to curfe in a moft

dreadful manner, they imputed

all

the envy, malice,

oppreffion, covetoufnefs, fraud, rapine, and bloodflied that ever

had happened

fince the beginning of

In fupport of their fcheme, they

the world.

learned difquifitions on nature, and the


X)i

all

things.-

They fhewed

firft

made
caufe

that nature was,

and

mull be wife and good in all her productions j and,


therefore, that man muft needs be free from every
thing that

is

evil,

and his original conftitution perAll the diforders that were

fetlly juft and found.

to be feen in fociety

were

eafily

accounted

the hellifh machi'nations of the fervants.

mean

time,

it

was obvious,

for,

In

that the fervants

from
the

were

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.
the produel: of nature too

347

and according

to the

fame

reafoning, muft have been of as gentle and tradable

and

difpofitions,

in all

madcrs. This manifcft

refpeds as

faultlefs as their

own

difficulty in their

fcheme,

however unaccountable it may appear, thev never


once rcfledcd upon, nor by confcquence attempted
to refolve.

Sometimes they were

prefTed with the neceflity

of fervants to cultivate the ground, which,


gleled,

was

it

if

would grow over with

plain,

and thorns, and every noxious weed.

ne-

briers

Here they

immediately recurred to their old argument, the excellency of nature's produdions


ftrength of

They

faid,

and upon

tlie

prefumed abfolutely to deny the frd.


were the earth only left to itfelfjit would
it,

produce nothing but what was ufeful and falutary,

and

that in great

inhabitants

abundance, for the fupport of

that

its

the pretended cultivation of

all

by the fervants was but fpoiling

it

it

and that they

thcmfelves had fowed the feeds of every hurtful or


unnecefHiry plint.
to

It

was

to

no purpofe

to

mention

them, either the va(l trads of uncultivated ground,

or the defolate condition of a negleded


this,

field*;

all

they pretended, arofe from a certain fympathy

in the feveral parts

of the earth one with another,

and from poifonous vapours

eafiiy

carried by the

wind, from the places where fervants had been

for a

new

njitt^iid

every

at

In (hort, they fometimes projeded a fcheme

-work.

fettloment where no fervants

and w^here they hoped,

man would be

in

fl-iould

little

be adtime,

as wife as a philofopher, as

rich \ a merchant, and as magnificent as a king.

After

all,

the perfedion of their abfurdity ap..

G22

THE HISTORY

2^3

OF A

Though

peared In the following circumftance.

was

delirium took

it

any pevfon of reflexion, that their

plain, to

its rife

from the

tricks

and mifbehavi-

our of bad fenrants, yet they had the moft rooted and

The

were good.

inveterate antipathy at thofe that

reafon, probably was, that the diligence and ufefulnefs of this laft fort flood direbly in the

fcheme, and prevented the

way

of their

reft of the nation

from

All feemingly good fer-

being of their opinion.

vants they affirmed to be at bottom arrant knaves

and

in

one refpecl, unfpeakably worfe than any of

The

the reft, becaufe they appeared to be better.

worthlefs fervants, were frequently

idle,

flothful,

their

companions

and

it

was one of

their highefii

entertainments to lead fuch fellows into frolicks,


mifchief, or debauchery, and
to their fellow citizens,

pole, "

then point them out

and ufe words to

pur-

this

You poor hood-winked fooh, do you fee


why will you any longer harbour

thefe rafcals ?

them

in

your houfes

they are

plexion, and wl^l infallibly bring

of one

all

you

com-

to mifery

and

fpeedy deftru(Si:ion/*

CHAP.

XIL

same

subject.

Continuation of the

The

senti-

ments and conduct of others^ in consequence

of the hchavioiir of the Servants,

are not to fuppofe that the

loft their fenfcs.

No

by

whole nation

far the greater

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS;

number aled

common

plain

and rationally as men


According to

as prudently

could do in their

347

circumrtances.

fenfe,

proportion as corruption

in

and degeneracy increafed among the fervants, they


fet the higher value on fuch as were honefl: and

They

faithful.

ufed every

procure fuch for their

own

mean

power

in their

to

families, agreeably to the

laws of the corporation.


When this could not be
brought about, or when a good-for-nothing-fellow

was buckled

the falary, they put themfelves to

to

the additional expence of hiring one according to

own mind

their

and only

paid the former his wages duly,

him

defired the favour of

them no

to give

trouble, but fpend his time according to his

own

fancy.
It

was pleafant enough

to obferve the different

conduct of the eflablifhed fervants, according to


different tempers,

their

Some

predicament.
to

fee

ufed

when

they

fell

under

this

of them were greatly enraged

the fervice of another preferred to theirs,

many

artful

methods

to

prevent

v/here

it

they could, and took every opportunity of venting


their malice, or glutting

could not.
lieve

their revenge

when

Y/here they could get any body

them, they afferted that

all flail

and power of

doing good was confined to the corporation


it

was inherent

in

they

to be-

that

them, and defcended in their

blood from one generatioh to another, like courage


in the race of

game

cocks.

The

others, they pre-

tended, were a fpurious brood, and that


pofTible to train

them

fo as to

make them

it

was im-

fit

for fer-

vice.

If this

did

not gain credit,

Gg3

all

pofTible

pains

THE HISTORY

55^0

were taken

to

OF A

difparage the conduct of the addf-

Their work v/as examined with the


it pointed out, and

tional fervants.

greeted ftri6lnefs, every flaw in

many

faults

imputed to

merely through envy.

it

any pieee of work appeared to be


pretended

it

prefiTion

If

they

wanted neatnefs, and was altogether


little im-

This charge, however, made

inelegant.

They had been

upon the people.

plagued

fubftantial,

with

who minded

fervants

fo

long

nothing but

ornament, both in their perforis and their work,


that they were rather plcafed than difgufted with

one of a more homely carriage.

When

nothing

elfe

would do, the

thofe

who employed them.

It

grofTeft lies

new

calumnies were fpread, both of the

was pretended,

they fowed the feeds of fedition and

and

fervants and
that;

difafFecSlion,

in

the families where they got admittance. Sometimesf


this accufation, thoug^h utterly groundlefs,

fuch credit with the governors, that,

complaint to make, or a caufe to


fcarcely expeb juftice.

was

It

if

try,

obtained

they had a

they could

alfo alledged, that

they terrified the children out of their wits, by

tell-

ing frightful (lories in the winter evenings.

You-

might meet with many of the eftablifhed fervants

who aiTerted, and even feemed to believe, that all


who employed any ether than themfelves, were idiots or crack-brained, and deftitute of common fenfe*

On

the other hand, not a

fervants

were

altogether

others were hired, and

themfelves.

how

They knew

few of

the eftablifhed

indifferent
Httle

how many^

work was

that their

left

to

wages were well

fecured to thecn, which was the main chance

they found rather more time and liberty

to-

and

follow

CORPORATION OF SERVANTS.

35-1

he bent of their inclinations.

Perhaps they would

have been better

the people had been

fatisfied

if

content with what kind and quality of work thev


thought proper to do. But as this was not to be ex^
peted, the hiring of others rendered all matters
perfedly eafy, and their lives were one continued
fcene of indolence or pleafure.

In the

mean

time,

it

was highly

diverting to hear

how they exprefled themfelves upon this fubjecSl, and


,with how much art and cunning they made a virtue
of neceflity.
They ufed to extol their own cnndcur
and benevolence. " Gentlemen," one of them would
you fee with what difcretion I ufe you. I

fay,

am

always glad to fee liberty prevail, and every

fulTered to

do what feems proper

to himfelf.

well pleafed, that you fliould hire as

many

man
am

fervants

no more, than that I may have


a clean neat bed-chamber, in a convenient part of
the houfe, my wages well and regularly paid, and a
as

you

incline. I alk

fmall bit of ground in the garden, to bring


delicious herbs

and

my own

fruits for

ufe.

up

few

If thefe

me a
never interfere with

things are properly attended to, you fhall find

good man

to live

your work in the


trouble, even by
a

cafe,

with

leaft, or give you any manner of


making remarks upon it." In fuch

would happen now and then,

that one
with the abfurdity of
phlegmatic fpeech, would anfwer, " That, very
it

of the family, touched a


this

(hall

well, he

little

might make himfelf

he was well fed and clothed


he would receive with

eafy,

all

the while,

filent

expence." This
contempt^ and difplay

the greateft fatisfadion in his


rit,

fmce

at their

and meeknefs of temper*

own compofurc of fni-

^^5 2

As

THE HISTORY

OF A

for the remaining part of the nation, they re^^

fleeted very little

fervants as

upon

were fent

as they could.

highly extolled

to

their condition, but took fuch

them, and rubbed on as well

Such quiet and pafTive people were


by the fervants, who took all oppor-

tunities of declaring, that they

and rational perfons


praifes delighted

poor and

as

in the

them

merry

greatly

as beggars,

hope, and nothing to

fear.

were the only

whole kingdom.
-,

folid

Thefe

fo that they lived as

who

have nothing to

CORPORATION OP SERVANTS.

253

CONCLUSION.
THUS

have given the reader an account of


of men j and, I am

this extraordinary clafs

certain,

he mufl confefs, there

is

fomething in their

characters and conduct, proper to excite a mixture

of laughter and indignation.


that he

It

is

alfo probable,

a confiderable degree of fympathy

feels

with the deluded and opprefled people, and

ous to

know whether there

deliverance.

This was a queftion

my

who

informer,

is

anxi-

appeared any profpedl of

me

afTured

I often

that,

alked at

from what he

had heard and feen, there was not the

raoft diltant

profpet of reformation by the fervants themfelves.

The

honefter fort were always borne down, tra-

duced and flandered


racter,

had

and thofe of an oppofite cha-

fo long kept the

management of the

cor-

poration in their hands, that they reckoned themfelves fecure

in

their authority,

and openly

fet at

defiance both the people in general, and their fel.


low-fervants.

There remained

jufl a

glimpfe of hope from one

quarter, viz. the gentlemen


to the office of helpers.

buted as
meafures

much
;

as

any

who had been

They had

chofen

at firft contri-

to the introduction of

wrong

but, not being under the temptation o

THE HISTORY,

354

b*r.

intereft, they began to open their eyes atlaft.


For
fome years they had been a confiderabie reflraint
upon the violence of the fervants, and had prevent-

ed them

from degrading,

in feveral inftances

ping, and

branding thofe

who

ftrip-

had incurred their

difpleafure, by doing bufinefs at unfeafonabie hours.

They had
miiTion of

whom

aifo contributed to the difgrace

fome drunken

brought about

From

and

that,

never think of any reform

After

thefe

had

a ilrong

circumftances,

though the fervanrs would


<tion themf(;lves,

it

would

upon them by a foreign hand*

forcer!
all,

dif-

themfelves that a change might be

flattered

foon be

and

and lafcivious wretches,

feveral of the leading fervants

inclination to fpare.

fome

fots,

it

wuj; but very uncertain

material change would foon take place

whether any
,

and there-

we can only fend th>:t unhappy people


our good Vv'ifhes, we have reafon to rejoice in our
own good fortune, that we are perfectly free from

fore, while

impofitions of

tlie

fame or any

fimilar kind.

END OF VOLUME SIXTH,

John Turkbull,

Printer.^

Princeton Theological Semmary-Speer Library

1012 01149 8948