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ADVICE, ADDRESSED TO THE YOUNG CLERGY OF THE DIOCESE OF CARLISLE,
IN A SERMON, PREACHED AT A GENERAL ORDINATION, HOLDEN AT ROSE CASTLE,
ON SUNDAY, JULY 29, 1781.
It is recommended to those who are preparing for holy orders, within the diocese of Carlisle, to read Collier's Sacred Interpreter, and the Four Gospels with Clark's Paraphrase; and to candidates for Priest's orders, carefully to peruse Taylor's Paraphrase on the Romans.
THE author of this Epistle, with many better | qualities, possessed in a great degree what we at this day call a knowledge of the world. He knew, that although age and honours, authority of station and splendour of appearance, usually command the veneration of mankind, unless counteracted by some degrading vice, or egregious impropriety of behaviour; yet, that where these advantages are wanting, where no distinction can be claimed from rank, importance from power, or dignity from years; in such circumstances, and under the inevitable depression of narrow fortunes, to procure and preserve respect requires both care and merit. The apostle also knew, and in the text taught his beloved convert, that to obtain the respect of those amongst whom he exercised his ministry, was an object deserving the ambition of a Christian teacher, not indeed for his own sake, but for theirs, there being little reason to hope that any would profit by his instruction who despised his person.
If St. Paul thought an admonition of this sort worthy of a place in his Epistle to Timothy, it cannot surely be deemed either beside or beneath the solemnity of this occasion, to deliver a few practicable rules of life and behaviour, which may recommend you to the esteem of the people, to whose service and salvation you are now about to dedicate your lives and labours.
In the first place, the stations which you are likely, for some time at least, to occupy in the church, although not capable of all the means of rendering service and challenging respect, which fall within the power of your superiors, are free from many prejudices that attend upon higher preferments. Interfering interests and disputed rights; or, where there is no place for dispute, the very claim and reception of legal dues, so long as what is received by the minister is taken from the parishioner, form oftentimes an almost insuperable obstruction to the best endeavours that can be used to conciliate the good-will of a neighbour
hood. These difficulties perplex not you. In whatever contest with his parishioners the principal may be engaged, the curate has neither dispute nor demand to stand between him and the affections of his congregation.
Another and a still more favourable circumstance in your situation is this; being upon a level with the greatest part of your parishioners, you gain an access to their conversation and confidence, which is rarely granted to the superior clergy, without extraordinary address and the most insinuating advances on their parts. And this is a valuable privilege: for it enables you to inform yourselves of the moral and religious state of your flocks, of their wants and weaknesses, their habits and opinions, of the vices which prevail, and the principles from which they proceed; in a word, it enables you to study the distemper before you apply the remedy; and not only so, but to apply the remedy in the most commodious form, and with the best effect; by private persuasion and reproof, by gentle and unsuspected conveyances in the intimacy of friendship and opportunities of conversation. To this must be added the many occasions, which the living in habits of society with your parishioners affords you of reconciling dissensions, healing animosities, administering advice to the young and inexperienced, and consolation to age and misery. I put you in mind of this advantage, because the right use of it constitutes one of the most respectable employments not only of our order, but of human nature; and leaves you, believe me, little to envy in the condition of your superiors, or to regret in your own. It is true, that this description supposes you to reside so constantly, and to continue so long in the same parish, as to have formed some acquaintance with the persons and characters of your parishioners; and what scheme of doing good in your profession, or even of doing your duty, does not suppose this?
But whilst I recommend a just concern for our
reputation, and a proper desire of public esteem, independence, who fears the face of his creditors, I would by no means flatter that passion for praise and who meets a creditor in every street. There and popularity, which seizes oftentimes the minds is no meanness in frugality: the meanness is in of young clergymen, especially when their first those shifts and expedients, to which extravaappearance in their profession has been received gance is sure to bring men. Profusion is a very with more than common approbation. Unfortu-equivocal proof of generosity. The proper disnate success! if it incite them to seek fame by af- tinction is not between him who spends and him fectation and hypocrisy, or lead, as vanity some-who saves; for they may be equally selfish; but times does, to enthusiasm and extravagance. This between him who spends upon himself, and him is not the taste or character I am holding out to who spends upon others. When I extol frugality, your imitation. The popular preacher courts it is not to praise that minute parsimony which fame for its own sake, or for what he can make serves for little but to vex ourselves and tease of it; the sincerely pious minister of Christ mo- those about us, but to persuade you to economy destly invites esteem, only or principally, that it upon a plan, and that plan deliberately adjusted may lend efficacy to his instruction, and weight to your circumstances and expectations. Set out to his reproofs; the one seeks to be known and with it, and it is easy; to retrieve, out of a small proclaimed abroad, the other is content with the income, is only not impossible. Frugality in this silent respect of his neighbourhood, sensible that sense, we preach not only as an article of pruthat is the theatre upon which alone his good dence, but as a lesson of virtue. Of this frugality name can assist him in the discharge of his duty. it has been truly said, that it is the parent of li It may be necessary likewise to caution you berty, of independence, of generosity. against some awkward endeavours to lift them- A second essential part of a clergyman's chaselves into importance, which young clergymen racter, is sobriety. In the scale of human vices not unfrequently fall upon; such as a conceited there may be some more criminal than drunkenway of speaking, new airs and gestures, affectedness, but none so humiliating. A clergyman manners, a mimicry of the fashions, language, cannot, without infinite confusion, produce himand diversions, or even of the follies and vices, of self in the pulpit before those who have been higher life; a hunting after the acquaintance of witnesses to his intemperance. The folly and the great, a cold and distant behaviour towards extravagance, the rage and ribaldry, the boasts their former equals, and a contemptuous neglect and quarrels, the idiotism and brutality of that of their society. Nothing was ever gained by condition, will rise up in their imaginations in these arts, if they deserve the name of arts, but full colours. To discourse of temperance, to derision and dislike. Possibly they may not of touch in the remotest degree upon the subject, is fend against any rule of moral probity; but if but to revive his own shame. For you will soon they disgust those with whom you are to live, and have occasion to observe, that those who are the upon whom the good you do must be done, the slowest in taking any part of a sermon to themdefeat not only their own end, but, in a great selves, are surprisingly acute in applying it to the measure, the very design and use of your vocation. preacher. Having premised these few observations, I proceed to describe the qualities which principally conduce to the end we have at present in view, the possession of a fair and respected character.
And the first virtue (for so I will call it) which appears to me of importance for this purpose, is frugality. If there be a situation in the world in which profusion is without excuse, it is in that of a young clergyman who has little beside his profession to depend upon for his support. It is folly-it is ruin.-Folly, for whether it aim at luxury or show, it must fall miserably short of its design. In these competitions we are outdone by every rival. The provision which clergymen meet with upon their entrance into the church, is adequate, in most cases, to the wants and decencies of their situation, but to nothing more. To pretend to more, is to set up our poverty, not only as the subject of constant observation, but as a laughing-stock to every observer. Profusion is ruin; for it ends, and soon too, in debt, in injustice, and insolvency. You well know how meanly, in the country more especially, every man is thought of who cannot pay his credit; in what terms he is spoken of in what light he is viewed --what a deduction this is from his good qualities -what an aggravation of his bad ones-what insults he is exposed to from his creditors, what contempt from all. Nor is this judgment far amiss. Let him not speak of honesty, who is daily practising deceit; for every man who is not paid is deceived. Let him not talk of liberality, who puts it out of his power to perform one act of it. Let him not boast of spirit, of honour, of
Another vice, which there is the same, together with many additional, reasons for guarding you against, is dissoluteness. In my judgment, the crying sin and calamity of this country at present, is licentiousness in the intercourse of the sexes. It is a vice which hardly admits of argument or dissuasion. It can only be encountered by the censures of the good, and the discouragement it receives from the most respected orders of the community. What then shall we say, when they who ought to cure the malady, propagate the contagion? Upon this subject bear away one observation, that when you suffer yourselves to be engaged in any unchaste connexion, you not only corrupt an individual by your solicitations, but debauch a whole neighbourhood by the profligacy of your example.
The habit I will next recommend as the foundation of almost all other good ones, is retirement. Were I required to comprise my advice to young clergymen in one sentence, it should be in this, Learn to live alone. Half of your faults originate from the want of this faculty. It is impatience of solitude which carries you continually from your parishes, your home, and your duty; makes you foremost in every party of pleasure and place of diversion; dissipates your thoughts, distracts your studies, leads you into expense, keeps you in distress, puts you out of humour with your profession, causes you to place yourselves at the head of some low company, or to fasten yourselves as despicable retainers to the houses and society of the rich. Whatever may be the case with those, whose fortunes and opportunities can
command a constant succession of company; in situations like ours to be able to pass our time with satisfaction alone, and at home, is not only a preservative of character, but the very secret of happiness. Do what we will, we must be much and often by ourselves; if this be irksome, the main portions of life will be unhappy. Besides which, we are not the less qualified for society, because we are able to live without it. Our company will be the more welcome for being never obtruded. It is with this, as with many pleasures: he meets with it the oftenest, and enjoys it the best, who can most easily dispense with the
want of it.
But what, you say, shall I do alone? reading is my proper occupation and my pleasure, but books are out of my reach, and beyond my purchase. They who make this complaint are such as seek nothing from books but amusement,, and find amusement from none but works of narrative or imagination. This taste, I allow, cannot be supplied by any moderate expense or ordinary opportunities: but apply yourselves to study; take in hand any branch of useful science, especially of those parts of it which are subsidiary to the knowledge of religion, and a few books will suffice; for instance, a commentary upon the New Testament, read so as to be remembered, will employ a great deal of leisure very profitably. There is likewise another resource which you have forgot, I mean the composition of sermons. I am far from refusing you the benefit of other men's labours; I only require that they be called in not to flatter laziness, but to assist industry. You find yourself unable to furnish a sermon every week; try to compose one every month: depend upon it you will consult your own satisfaction, as well as the edification of your hearers; and that however inferior your compositions may be to those of others in Some respects, they will be better delivered, and better received; they will compensate for many defects by a closer application to the ways and manners, the actual thoughts, reasoning, and language, the errors, doubts, prejudices, and vices, the habits, characters, and propensities of your congregation, than can be expected from borrowed discourses-at any rate, you are passing your time virtuously and honourably.
be assured, that for once that preferment is forfeited by modesty, it is ten times lost by intrusion and importunity. Every one sympathises with neglected merit, but who shall lament over repulsed impudence?
The last expedient I shall mention, and, in conjunction with the others, a very efficacious one towards engaging respect, is seriousness in your deportment, especially in discharging the offices of your profession. Salvation is so awful a concern, that no human being, one would think, could be pleased with seeing it, or any thing belonging to it, treated with levity. For a moment, in a certain state of the spirits, men may divert themselves, or affect to be diverted, by sporting with their most sacred interests; but no one in his heart derides religion long-What are weany of us?-religion soon will be our only care and friend. Seriousness, therefore, in a clergyman, is agreeable, not only to the serious, but to men of all tempers and descriptions. And seriousness is enough; a prepossessing appearance, a melodious voice, a graceful delivery, are indeed enviable accomplishments; but much, we apprehend, may be done without them. The great point is, to be thought in earnest. Seem not then to be brought to any part of your duty by constraint, to perform it with reluctance, to go through it in haste, or to quit it with symptoms of delight. In reading the services of the church, provided you manifest a conscientiousness of the meaning and importance of what you are about, and betray no contempt of your duty, or of your congregation, your manner cannot be too plain and simple. Your common method of speaking, if it be not too low, or too rapid, do not alter, or only so much as to be heard distinctly. I mention this, because your elocution is more apt to offend by straining and stiffness, than on the side of ease and familiarity. . The same plainness and simplicity which I recommend in the delivery, prefer also in the style and composition of your sermons. Ornaments, or even accuracy of language, cost the writer much trouble, and produce small advantage to the hearer. Let the character of your sermons be truth and information, and a decent particularity. Propose one point in one discourse, and stick to it; a hearer never carries away more than one impression-disdain not the old fashion of dividing your sermons into headsin the hands of a master this may be dispensed with; in yours, a sermon which rejects these helps to perspicuity, will turn out a bewildered rhapsody, without aim or effect, order or conclusion. In a word, strive to make your discourses useful, and they who profit by your preaching, will soon learn, and long continue, to be pleased with it.
I have now finished the enumeration of those qualities which are required in the clerical character, and which, wherever they meet, make even youth venerable, and poverty respected; which will secure esteem under every disadvantage of fortune, person, and situation, and notwithstanding great defects of abilities and attainments. But I must not stop here; a good name, fragrant and precious as it is, is by us only valued in subserviency to our duty, in subordination to a higher reward. If we are more tender of our reputation, if we are more studious of esteem than others, it is from a persuasion, that by first obtaining the respect of our congregation, and next
With retirement, I connect reserve; by which I mean, in the first place, some degree of delicacy in the choice of your company, and of refinement in your pleasures. Above all things, keep out of public-houses-you have no business there-your being seen to go in and out of them is disgraceful -your presence in these places entitles every man who meets you there, to affront you by coarse jests, by indecent or opprobrious topics of conversation-neither be seen at drunken feasts, boisterous sports, late hours, or barbarous diversions-let your amusements, like every thing about you, be still and quiet and unoffending. Carry the same reserve into your correspondence with your superiors Pursue preferment, if any prospects of it present themselves, not only by honourable means, but with moderate anxiety. It is not essential to happiness, perhaps not very condusive-were it of greater importance than it is, no more successful rule could be given you, than to do your duty quietly and contentedly, and to let things take their course. You may have been brought up with different notions, but
terest or success.
by availing ourselves of that respect, to promote amongst them peace and virtue, useful knowledge and benevolent dispositions, we are purchasing to The world will requite you with its esteem. ourselves a reversion and inheritance valuable The awakened sinner, the enlightened saint, the above all price, important beyond every other in-young whom you have trained to virtue, the old whom you have visited with the consolations of Christianity, shall pursue you with prevailing blessings and effectual prayers. You will close your lives and ministry with consciences void of offence, and full of hope.-To present at the last day even one recovered soul, reflect how grateful an offering it will be to Him, whose commission was to save a world-infinitely, no doubt, but still only in degree, does our office differ from hishimself the first-born; it was the business of his the merit of his death, the counsel of his Father's love, the exercise and consummation of his own, "to bring many brethren unto glory.”
mit, "be every thing unto all men, that ye may gain some."
Go, then, into the vineyard of the Gospel, and may the grace of God go with you! The religion you preach is true. Dispense its ordinances with seriousness, its doctrines with sincerity-urge its precepts, display its hopes, produce its terrors "be sober, be vigilant"-"have a good report"confirm the faith of others, testify and adorn your own, by the virtues of your life and the sanctity of your reputation-be peaceable, be courteous; condescending to men of the lowest condition-life, "apt to teach, willing to communicate;" so far as the immutable laws of truth and probity will per
A DISTINCTION OF ORDERS IN THE CHURCH DEFENDED UPON PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC UTILITY,
IN A SERMON, PREACHED IN THE CASTLE-CHAPEL, DUBLIN, AT THE CONSECRATION OF JOHN LAW, D. D. LORD BISHOP OF CLONFERT AND KILMACDUAGH, SEPTEMBER 21, 1782.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.-Ephesians iv. 11, 12.
In our reasoning and discourses upon the rules and nature of the Christian dispensation, there is no distinction which ought to be preserved with greater care, than that which exists between the institution, as it addresses the conscience and regulates the duty of particular Christians, and as it regards the discipline and government of the Christian church. It was our Saviour's design, and the first object of his ministry, to afford to a lost and ignorant world, such discoveries of their Creator's will, of their own interest, and future destination; such assured principles of faith, and rules of practice; such new motives, terms, and means of obedience; as might enable all, and engage many, to enter upon a course of life, which, by rendering the person who pursued it acceptable to God, would conduct him to happiness, in another stage of his existence.
It was a second intention of the Founder of Christianity, but subservient to the former, to associate those who consented to take upon them the profession of his faith and service, into a separate community, for the purpose of united worship and mutual edification, for the better transmission and manifestation of the faith that was delivered to them, but principally to promote the exercise of that fraternal disposition which their new relation to each other, which the visible participation of the same name and hope and calling, was calculated to excite.
cerned to establish consists in this, that whilst the precepts of Christian morality and the fundamental articles of the faith, are for the most part, precise and absolute, are of perpetual, universal, and unalterable obligation; the laws which respect the discipline, instruction, and government of the community, are delivered in terms so general and indefinite as to admit of an application adapted to the mutable condition and varying exigencies of the Christian chu.ch. "As my father hath sent me, so send I you." "Let every thing be done decently and order." "Lay hands suddenly on no man.' "Let him that ruleth do it with diligence." "The things which thou hast heard of me, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." "For this cause left I thee, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every eity."
These are all general directions, supposing, indeed, the existence of a regular ministry in the church, but describing no specific order of preeminence or distribution of office and authority. If any other instances can be adduced more circumstantial than these, they will be found, like the appointment of the seven deacons, the collections for the saints, the laying by in store upon the first day of the week, to be rules of the society, rather than laws of the religion-recommendations and expedients fitted to the state of the several
From a view of these distinct parts of the evan-churches by those who then administered the gelic dispensation, we are led to place a real differ- affairs of them, rather than precepts delivered with ence between the religion of particular Christians, a solemn design of fixing a constitution for sucand the polity of Christ's church. The one is ceeding ages. The just ends of religious as of personal and individual-acknowledges no subjec- civil union are eternally the same; but the means tion to human authority-is transacted in the by which these ends may be best promoted and heart-is an account between God and our own secured, will vary with the vicissitudes of time consciences alone: the other, appertaining to so- and occasion, will differ according to the local circiety, (like every thing which relates to the joint cumstances, the peculiar situation, the improve. interest and requires the co-operation of many ment, character, or even the prejudices and paspersons,) is visible and external-prescribes rules sions, of the several communities upon whose conof common order, for the observation of which, duct and edification they are intended to operate. we are responsible not only to God, but to the society of which we are members, or, what is the same thing, to those with whom the public authority of the society is deposited.
The apostolic directions which are preserved in the writings of the New Testament, seem to exclude no ecclesiastical constitution which the experience and more instructed judgment of future
But the difference which I am principally con-ages might find it expedient to adopt. And this