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make an impression on the minds of some plain or poor parishioners which is very far from being desirable.
Besides; the tendency to indulge in excessive gayety and ornament of dress, is so general, and, in many cases, a source of so much evil, as remarked in a former Letter, that a minister of religion ought studiously to set an example of plainness and simplicity in this respect, in all to whom his influence extends, for the purpose of promoting a similar habit in others. And the more able he is, on the score of expense, to indulge the inclinations of his family, the more useful will his example be likely to prove.
3. If you live to have a house of your own, LET YOUR FURNITURE, AND ALL YOUR EQUIPAGE BE OF THE PLAIN AND SIMPLE KIND. Most of the considerations urged in the preceding paragraph, apply here with equal force. There is so strong a tendency, in many persons who can ill afford it, to lavish expense on splendid furniture, and fashionable equipage of every kind ; that every well-wisher*to* the cause of good morals, to say nothing of religion, ought to throw the whole weight of his character into the scale of the strictest moderation. Even if you should be able, without inconvenience, to indulge the most refined taste in matters of this kind, by all means forbear to do it. Let it be seen that your heart is not set on such ob
jeets; that you deliberately prefer simplicity and plainness; and that you conscientiously ehoose to devote the money which might have been spent in splendid, but useless decoration, to the support of the infinitely more important interests of humanity and religion.
For example ; if you should feel yourself able to keep any kind of carriage, always prefer a plain to an elegant or showy one. In purchasing horses, recollect that sound, substantial, decent looking animals, are more suitable for a minister of the gospel, than those which are remarkable for their beauty ; which must, of course, be much more costly, without being really more useful; and in the use of which his parishioners would often be tempted to remark, that their mir ister was peculiarly fond of fine horses. The same principle will apply to every article of personal or domestick accommodation. Make a point of never expending a cent for show, or mere useless decoration ; but all for .solid utility and convenience. Nay, of two articles of exactly the same utility and price, always prefer that which is plain and unostentatious, to that which is highly ornamented, merely because it is plain. I have never known a clergy man to deviate materially from this plan of living ;-to affect splendour ;-to launch out into a system of dazzling expenditure, calculated to excite the envy, dr the admi
ration of a staring multitude, without seriously depressing both his reputation and his usefulness among all reflecting people. Indeed to see a minister of the gospel ambitious of finery, and carried away with baubles and show, is revolting even to the devotees of the world them. selves, who see at once how inconsistent it is with his sacred profession. · 4. Never allow yourself to YOUR INCOME, He who does this, must either contract debts without a rational prospect of paying them; or he must expect to have them discharged by the hand of charity ; either of which is unworthy of the ministerial character. However scanty, therefore, your income may be, rigidly reduce your expenditure within its limits. It is not disreputable to be poor ; but it is highly disreputable to be prodigal of other people's money. Indeed it appears to me that few things can more flagrantly evince the want of principle, than living luxuriously on property not our own.
A writer in the Christian Observer (Vol. xxii. p. 551) expresses himself on this subject in the following language, which does not appear to me at all 100 strong
66 A clergyman overwhelmed with debts to his pa. rishioners, whether his debts arise from vanity, or from improvidence, loses his influence over their minds; and it is well if he be not also guilty, as too many persons who heedlessly plunge into debt, are, of artifices, evasions, and perhaps worse offences, which must bring him into contempt, and utterly destroy the spiritual effect of his ministrations. However rigid the economy called for by a clergy man's circumstances, to that degree of economy he is conscientiously bound to submit; and every step beyond it, except under inevitable visitations of Providence, is an advance towards disgrace and ruin, both as a man and a minister.”
5. Manage all your expenses WITH A WISE ECONOMY I wish to lay particular stress on the word wise. Every one must perceive, that economy is a relative term. That which might be very properly so termed in one, would deserve the name of exceptionable parsimony in another, or of criminal prodigality in a third. Wise economy consists in maintaining a just balance between that which we have to spend, on the one hand, and that which we really need to spend on the other. Pecuniary embarrassments, in the case of clergymen, as well as others, frequently arise, not so much from general prodigality,as from expenditures which are not necessary. One of the best methods of keeping your expenses within the limits of your income, is, never to purchase any thing, however cheap, or tempting the article may be, unless you really need it. He who rigidly and prudently adheres to this rule, will seldom find
the state of his finances very seriously deranged; and will generally have something to spare for the calls of charity.
6. Carefully GUARD AGAINST EVERY THING APPROACHING TO ME AN ESS IN THE MANAGEMENT OF YOUR PECUNIARY AFFAIRS. Frugality is always, and in all persons, a virtue ; but extreme and unseasonable parsimony, is always censurable and degrading. Rely on it, a sordid, niggardly spirit was never useful to any one. Its savings are pitiful; its gains are mean ; and, like most other vices, it generally defeats its own purpose ; inducing, perhaps, the very evil which it aims to avoid. Many a man by low and unmanly attempts to save, has been plunged into unexpected and heavy expenses. Never resort to any means of making money, inconsistent with the dignity of the clerical office, or which
would feel reluctant to have uni. versally known. I have heard of clergy men who, for the sake of some petty gains, carried on, privately, a disreputable little trade in articles of daily consumption, by pursuing which, with extreme exactness and parsimony, theywere enabled to make a few cents each day. But it always depressed, and in some instances, totally ruined their character as ministers of religion. 7. Conscientiously Avoid
THING CROOKED, OR EVEN QUESTIONABLE, IN TOUR