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REV. CHARLES BUCK,
[AUTHOR OF THE THEOLOGICAL DICTIONARY.]
OR, SUITABLE DIRECTIONS, CAUTIONS, AND EN.
ON HIS FIRST ENTRANCE INTO THE DIVINE LIFE.
A TREATISE ON
Religious Experience :
ITS NATURE, EVIDENCES, AND ADVANTAGES,
RELIGIOUS, MORAL, AND ENTERTAINING: ALPHA
AND INTERSPERSED WITH A VARIETY OF
IN THREE VOLUMES.
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY W. W. WCCDWARD,
CORNER OF SECOND AND CHESNUT STREETS.
RELIGIOUS, MORAL, AND ENTERTAINING;
SLEEPING AND INATTENTION IN THE HOUSE OF GOD..
WE may well ask whether such an inconsistency was ever seen in a Pagan temple or a Mahometan mosque. "He who sleeps in a place of worship," says one, "is as though he had been brought in for a corpse, and the preacher was preaching at his funeral." Upon this subject I cannot help transcribing what has been written by an eminent author. "Constant sleepers," says he, "are public nuisances, and deserve to be whipped out of a religious assembly, to which they are a constant disgrace. There are some who have regularly attended a place of worship for seven years, twice a-day, and yet have not heard one whole sermon in all the time. These dreamers are a constant distress to their preachers. In regard to their health, would any but a stupid man choose such a place to sleep in? In respect to their character, what can be said for him, who in his sleep makes mouths and wry faces, and exhibits strange postures; and sometimes snorts, starts, and talks in his sleep? Where is his prudence, when he gives such occasion to malicious persons to suspect him of gluttony,
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drunkenness, laziness, and other usual causes of sleeping in the day time. Where is his breeding? He ought to respect the company: what an offensive rudeness to sit down and sleep before them! Above all, where is his piety and fear of God?"
"Where is your respect for your minister?” say's another. For six days he labours, and on the seventh he brings into the pulpit what he has in secret prepared. Unhappy man! Thy hearers tell thee to thy face, that thy labours for a week are not worthy their attention for an hour. Oh! how often has it been, that, when the faithful zealous man of God has had his heart warm with his subject, and has fondly thought each attendant's feelings were in unison with his own, that by your indecent yawning, your filthy snoring, or repeated nodding before his eyes, his pleasure. hath yielded to surprise, his surprise to grief, and his grief to discouragement, until he has possessed sufficient fortitude to close the sentence he had begun; and a season which promised universal delight becomes, through your indolence, tormenting to the preacher, and unprofitable to attentive hearers.
As Mr. Nicoll, of Exeter, was once preaching, he saw several of the aldermen asleep, and thereupon sat down. Upon his silence, and the noise that presently arose in the church, they awoke, and stood up with the rest; upon which he arose, and said, "The Sermon is not yet done; but now your are awake, I hope you will hearken more diligently," and then went on.
It is said, that Dr. South, one of the chaplains of Charles the Second, preaching on a certain day before the court, which was composed of the
most profligate and dissipated men in the nation, perceived, in the middle of his discourse, that sleep had gradually taken possession of his hearers. The doctor immediately stopped short, and, changing his tone of voice, called out to Lord Lauderdale three times. His lordship standing up, "My lord," says South, with great compo sure, "I am sorry to interrupt your repose, but I must beg of you that you will not snore quite so loud, lest you awaken his majesty."
It is related of Dr. Young, that, as he was preaching in his turn at St. James's, he plainly perceived it was out of his power to command the attention of his audience. This so affected the feelings of the preacher, that he sat back in the pulpit, and burst into tears. And of Bishop Abbot it is said, that once, on such an occasion, he took out his Testament, and read Greek.
The Bishop of Massilon, in the first sermon he ever preached, found the whole audience, upon his getting into the pulpit, in a disposition no way favourable to his intentions. Their nods, whispers, or drowsy behaviour, shewed him that there was no great profit to be expected from his sowing in a soil so improper. However, he soon changed the disposition of his audience by his manner of beginning. "If," says he, "a cause the most important that could be conceived were to be tried at the bar before qualified judges; if this cause interested ourselves in particular; if the eyes of the whole kingdom were fixed upon the event; if the most eminent counsel were cmployed on both sides; and if we had heard from our infancy of this yet undetermined trial; would you not all sit with due attention and warm ex