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tation of memory. Besides, it is as impossible that the hearer should profitably retain them all, as that the preacher hath seriously perused them all; yea, whilst the auditors stop their attention, and stoop down to gather an impertinent quotation, the sermon runs on, and they lose more substantial matter.
His similies and illustrations are always familiar, never con. temptible.—Indeed, reasons are the pillars of the fabric of a sermon; but similitudes are the windows wbich give the best lights. He avoids such stories whose mention may suggest bad thoughts to the auditors, and will not use a light comparison to make thereof a grave application, for fear lest his poison go farther than his antidote.
He provideth not only wholesome but plentiful food for his people. -- Almost incredible was the painfulness of Baronius, the compiler of the voluminous · Annals of the Church,' who, for thirty years together, preached three or four times a week to the people. As for our minister, he preferreth rather to entertain his people with wholesome cold meat which was on the table before, than with that which is hot from the spit, raw and half-roasted. Yet, in repetition of the same sermon, every edition hath a new addition, if not of new matter, of new affections. “Of whom,” saith St. Paul, we have told you often, and now we tell you weeping." (Phil. iii. 18.)
He makes not that wearisome which should ever be welcome. Wherefore his sermons are of an ordinary length, except on an extraordinary occasion. What a gift had John Halsebach, Professor at Vienna, in tediousness! who, being to expound the Prophet Isaiah to his auditors, read twenty-one years on the first chapter, and yet finished it not.
He counts the success of his ministry the greatest preferment.
Yet herein God hath humbled many painful pastors, in making them to be clouds, to rain, not over Arabia the Happy, but over the Stony or Desert; so that they may complain with the herdsman in the poet :Heu mihi, quam pingui macer est mihi taurus in Ardo!
“My starveling bull,
Ah woe is me!
How lean is he!"
Yet such pastors may comfort themselves, that great is their reward with God in heaven, who measures it, not by their success, but endeavors. Besides, though they see not, their people may feel benefit by their ministry. Yea, the preaching of the word in some places is like the planting of woods, where, though no profit is received for twenty years together, it comes afterwards. And grant, that God honors thee not to build his temple in thy parish, yet thou mayest, with David, provide metal and materials for Solomon thy successor to build it with.
To sick folks he comes sometimes before he is sent for.—As counting his vocation a sufficient calling. None of his flock shall want the extreme unction of prayer and counsel. Against the communion, especially, he endeavors that Janus's temple be shut in the whole parish, and that all be made friends.
He is never plaintiff in any suit but to be right's defendant.If his dues be detained from him, he grieves more for his parishioners' bad conscience than his own damage. He had rather suffer ten times in his profit, than once in his title, where not only his person, but posterity, is wronged ; and then he proceeds fairly and speedily to a trial, that he may not vex and weary others, but right him. self. During his suit he neither breaks off nor slacks offices of courtesy to his adversary; yea, though he loseth his suit, he will not also lose his charity. Chiefly he is respectful to his patron; that as he presented him freely to his living, so he constantly presents his patron in his prayers to God.
He is moderate in his tenets and opinions.—Not that he gilds over lukewarmness in matters of moment with the title of “discretion;" but, withal, he is careful not to entitle violence, in indifferent and inconcerning matters, to be zeal. Indeed, men of extraordinary tallness, though otherwise little deserving, are made porters to lords ; and those of unusual littleness are made ladies' dwarfs; whilst men of moderate stature may want masters. Thus many, notorious for extremities, may find favorers to prefer them ; whilst moderate men in the middle truth may want any to advance them. But what saith the apostle ?—“If in this life only we had hope, we are of all men the most miserable.” (1 Cor. xv. 19.)
He is sociable and willing to do any courtesy for his neighborministers.--He willingly communicates his knowledge unto them. Surely, the gifts and graces of Christians lay in common, till base envy made the first enclosure. He neither slighteth his inferiors, nor repineth at those who in parts and credit are above him. He loveth the company of his neighbor-ministers. Sure, as ambergris is nothing so sweet in itself, as when it is compounded with other things; so both godly and learned men are gainers by communicating themselves to their neighbors.
He is careful in the discreet ordering of his own family.- A good minister, and a good father, may well agree together. When a certain Frenchman came to visit Melancthon, he found him in his stove, with one hand dandling his child in the swaddling clouts, and in the other hand holding a book and reading it. Our minister also is as hospitable as his estate will permit, and makes every alms two, by his cheerful giving it. He loveth also to live in a well repaired house, that he may serve God therein more cheerfully. A clergyman who built his house from the ground wrote in it this counsel to his successor :
“If thou dost find
Without thy cost,
My labor is not lost.”'
Lying on his death-bed, he bequeaths to each of his parishioners his precepts and example for a legacy.--And they, in requital, erect every one a monument for him in their hearts. He is so far from that base jealousy that his memory should be outshined by a brighter successor, and from that wicked desire that his people may find his worth by the worthlessness of him that succeeds, that he doth heartily pray to God to provide them a better pastor after bis decease. As for outward estate, he commonly lives in too bare pasture to die fat. It is well if he hath gathered any flesh, being more in blessing than bulk.
310.—THE DOCTOR'S FAMILY FEELING.
SOUTHEY. “It behoves the high, For their own sakes, to do things worthily."-Ben JONSON.
No son ever regarded the memory of his father with more reverential affection than this last of the Doves.* There never lived a man, he said, to whom the lines of Marcus Antonius Flaminius (the sweetest of all Latin poets in modern times, or perhaps of any age) could more truly be applied.
* This extract, and that numbered 294, are taken from that singular work entitled “The Doctor,'—now acknowledged as the work of the late Mr. Southey. It is a book that will delight many a student from its curious learning; and furnish amusement and instruction to all those for whom quaintness and simplicity have a higher charm than ornate periods.
Semper corpore, mente sanâ; amicis
“What if he could not with the Hevenninghams of Suffolk count five and twenty knights of his family, or tell sixteen knights successively with the Tilneys of Norfolk, or with the Nauntons show where his ancestors had seven hundred pounds a-year before the Conquest,"t he was, and with as much, or perhaps more, reason, contented with his parentage. Indeed his family feeling was so strong, that if he had been of an illustrious race, pride, he acknowledged, was the sin which would most easily have beset him; though on the other hand, to correct this tendency, he thought there could be no such persuasive preachers as old family portraits, and old monuments in the family church.
He was far, however, from thinking that those who are born to all the advantages, as they are commonly esteemed, of rank and fortune, are better placed for the improvement of their moral and intellectual nature, than those in a lower grade. Fortunatos nimium sua si bona norint! he used to say of this class, but this is a knowledge which they seldom possess; and it is rare indeed to find an instance in which the high privileges which hereditary wealth conveys are understood by the possessors, and rightly appreciated and put to their proper use. The one and the two talents are,
(Oh! bright occasions of dispensing good,
in general, more profitably occupied than the five: the five indeed are not often tied up in a napkin, but still less often are they faithfully employed in the service of that Lord from whom they are received in trust, and to whom an account of them must be rendered..
“A man of family and estate,” said Johnson, “ought to consider himself as having the charge of a district over which he is to diffuse civility and happiness.”—Are there fifty men of family
“ Thou hast lived, my ancestor, well and happily, neither poor nor rich; learned enough, eloquent enough ; ever with a sound mind in a sound body; delightful to thy friends, eminent in thy piety."