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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 offen. sive 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 ?”
“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 indolencé, 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 there. upon 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 composure, “I am sorry to interrupt your repose, but I must beg of you that you will not snore quite so loud, lest you awaken bis 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 AbLot 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 employed 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
pectation, to the pleadings on each side ? Would not all your hopes and fears be hinged on the final decision ? And yet, let me tell you, you have this moment a cause where not one nation, but all the world, are spectators : tried not before a fallible tribunal, but the awful throne of heaven; where not your temporal and transitory interests are the subject of debate, but your eternal happiness or misery; where the cause is still undetermined, but, perhaps, the very moment I am speak. ing may fix the irrecoverable decree that shall last for ever; and yet, notwithstanding all this, you can hardly sit with patience to hear the tidings of your own salvation. I plead the cause of heaven, and yet I am scarcely attended to.” What an admirable address ! O'ye sleepy hearers, read it, and reform.
WHILE in the present state, we must prepare for and expect the attacks of slander and malevolence. If we be ever so poor and obscure, the tongue of calumny will find us out; or ever so wise and conspicuous, the spirit of invective will assault us. « Cherish good humour (says one,) paint pleasure in your face, endeavour by your pleasing deportment to communicate happiness to all about you ; be, if I may speak so, the life and soul of society : and it will be said you not solid; you have the unworthy ambition of becoming the amusement of mankind. Put on an austere air ; engrave on your countenance, if I may speak thus, the great truths that fill your soul: and you will be taxed with pharisaism and
hypocrisy ; it will be said that you put on a fair outside to render yourself venerable ; but that under all this appearance very likely you conceal an impious, irreligious heart. Take a middle way; regulate your conduct by times and places ; weep with them that weep, and rejoice with them that rejoice ; and you will be accused of lukewarmness. Pick your company, confine yourself to a small circle, make it a law to speak freely only to a few select friends, who will bear with your weaknesses, and who know your good qualities; and you will be accused of pride and arrogance: it will be said, that you think the rest of mankind unworthy of your company; and that you pretend wisdom and taste are excluded from all so. cieties, except such as you deign to frequent. Go every where, and, in a spirit of the utmost condescension, converse with every individual of man- . kind; and it will be said you are unsteady ; a city, a province, cannot satisfy you : you lay all the uni. verse under contribution, and oblige the whole world to try to satiate your unbounded love of pleasure.”
A Persian soldier, who was heard reviling Alexander the Great, was well admonished by his officer. “Sir, you are paid to fight against Alexander, and not to rail at him." Mav we not say of mankind at large, that they are bound to pray for their enemies, and not to rail at them ?
Among the Romans there was a law, that if any servant who had been set free slandered his former master, the master might bring him into bondage again, and take from him all the favours he had bestowed on him.
Augustine had a distich written on his table, which intimated, that whoever attacked the characters of the absent were to be excluded. Such a distich, in modern times, I think, would be ve. ry serviceable.
When any one was speaking ill of another in the presence of Peter the Great, he at first listened to him attentively, and then interrupted him. -" Is there not," said he, " a fair side also to the character of the person of whom you are speaking ? Come, tell me what good qualities you have remarked about him." One would think this monarch had learnt that precept" Speak not evil one of another."
The famous Boerhaave was one not easily moved by detraction. He used to say, “ The sparks of calumny will be presently extinct of themselves, unless you blow them.” It was a good remark of another, that “ the malice of ill tongues cast upon a good man is only like a mouthful of smoke blown upon a diamond, which, though it clouds its beauty for the present, yet it is easily rubbed off, and the gem restored with little trouble to its owner."
The late Rev. Mr. Pearce, of Birmingham, was a man of an excellent spirit. It was a rule with him to discourage all evil speaking ; nor would he approve of just censure, unless some good and necessary end were to be answered by it. Two of his distant friends being at his house together, one of them, during the absence of the other, suggested something to his disadvantage. He put a stop to the conversation by answering, “ He is here: take him aside, and tell him of it by himself: you may do him good.”