Page images
PDF
EPUB

and get a great name in the world? What's the difference between horses and men as to the very natural love of being well fed, well shod, and well recognized' and applauded ?”

Self.—"Ah, Bob ! alas ! ah, alas !"

Bob.—"Now none of your sighing and groaning, if you please, Sir; you know, every man of you, that you

like to make a good appearance and a bit of a noise in the world ; and I don't blame you, for this is a queer world, and if men don't assert themselves in a proper and reasonable

queer people who want everybody to be humble but themselves, will trample them down. Therefore, as it is right for a horse to let the world know he has got good shoes, sure footing, and can walk, and trot, and canter, and gallop, as well as other horses ; so as to a preacher, when men would elbow him out of his proper position without reason and necessity, it is right for him to shew that while his shoes are good, his reputation and qualifications proper, he can work as well as others; and despising the idle charge of vanity, he should pursue a useful and honourable course, being sure of a good conscience, the favour of God, and the warm approbation of all loving and well-judging Christians. Now, Sir, wherever you go, may God bless you, and don't forget your old friend Bobby. We have travelled together two years; you have talked to me wonderfully and kindly; fed me, petted me with dainties, and given me the best of characters. May you be happy, and if you never get a circuit horse again, remember Bobby.”

way, those

PROTOTYPES, &c.

THE prototype of Mrs. Addlepate I met with at a friend's house, in Hampshire, thirty-three years ago, and it did not for a moment occur to me, at the time, that her peculiarities would ever furnish hints for a book. It was not, indeed, till many years after this, that I had any thoughts of writing for the press, but her sayings were so memorable and impressive as not to be forgotten. Her main topic of conversation was what she called the “levityof a Mr. B., a minister of some eminence. I thought it remarkable that she should luxuriate in exaggerated representations, or rather misrepresentations of his humour and facetiousness, and not have one word to say about his virtues and excellencies. Every thing she said tended directly and immediately to depreciate and defame him. The scholarship and pronunciation of this loquacious lady did not at all accord with her fine dress; and her censoriousness was a blank contradiction to her ostentatious profession of religion. It so happened that the minister she complained of was highly esteemed by his congregations, and regarded as an acquisition in the social circle. I remembered to have frequently heard him preach in London before I begun my labours as a travelling preacher; his sermons were instructive, and pre

eminently experimental and practical ; they were carefully and honourably studied, most impressively delivered, and accomplished the true and proper end of preaching. They usually sent me home to my lodgings, devoutly thanking and praising God. But all the excellencies of this truly good minister went for nothing with this prating elderly lady, because, in the parlour with choice and genial friends, he was wise and clever enough to enrich his conversation with an occasional humorous tale or anecdote. Wherever this woman went, and the minister in question was unknown, and yet talked of, she would damage his reputation, save with the select few who separate from any knowledge of the man, would have sense enough to perceive that his censor was a gossip. In writing my book, this well-dressed and ill-tempered female censurer occured to me; her grimaces and grumblings (charming peculiarities in the estimation of Pharisees) were, to me, simply loathsome; and knowing, but too well, that the pleasures of Christian social life have often been poisoned by personages of her description, I felt it on my conscience to make her very prominent, for the edification of cotemporaries and all posterity. What mischief Macbeth's witches did in the world, I cannot ascertain to the full extent, but if they ever accomplished such feats in deterioration and defamation as the sisterhood of Addlepates, they must have possessed extraordinary abilities. It is a most gratifying circumstance that Christian ladies, strictly

a

and properly so called, never degrade themselves, or injure others, by invidious tattle and depreciation. I have known some such burst into tears when good ministers have been defamed by backbiters. True Christians do not speak evil, even of their enemies, unless in the way of self-defence, or when some very strong necessity obliges them to it; and when it comes to this, they use all imaginable caution not to say more than exact and circumstantial truth will warrant, and in self-justification. To speak of evil, to delineate its ramifications and aggravations; to personify it, and even to caricature and ridicule it, where it is obstinate, pertinacious and pragmatical, is a thing, which, however disagreeable, ought to be done. Now this speaking of evil is as different from evil speaking as is the case of the man who publicly protests against a public injury, and thereby, of necessity, speaks of evil; and he, who from bad habit and evil inclination, goes about as a busy body, and from no necessity at all, deteriorating the character and injuring the circumstances of his neighbour.

So numerous, various, and in some cases, calamitous are the results of evil speaking, that moralists, philosophers, and divines of all ages, have been obliged to attack it. Dr. Isaac Barrow, as I have elsewhere mentioned, produced ten long, learned and powerful sermons against it. And so long as it dares molest the world and the churches, it must be chastised, and there is no help for it.

PROTOTYPES OF OTHER CHARACTERS, MORE OR LESS

HOSTILE TO ECCENTRICITY.

All these I have seen and known in various parts of Great Britain. Had they been remarkable, merely for ignorance, as to their conceptions of eccentricity and of the English language, in which they pretend to speak, I should have passed them over in simple pity. But roughness and rudeness are sometimes invested with a modicum of official power ; and when that is the case, any brother who, like Don Quixote, fancies a windmill to be a giant with long arms, will attack it, being consarned for “ the cause" and the honour of his connectional “ism." A modicum of power secures a modicum of influence, and this turned against a man is no joke. Happily, however, the number of Robin Roughheads is diminishing every day. The haters of wit are not so numerous as formerly, and Pharisees, both rough and smooth, are receiving such a terrible flagellation that they will be obliged either to turn Christians or emigrate to the frozen regions, set up a colony, and display their phylacteries to the white bears and other animals, as grave and as cold as themselves.

PROTOTYPES OF THE AMIABLE CHARACTERS.

THESE, I am glad to say, may be found in great numbers throughout the Christian world. They are the ornaments of Christian churches, the comfort of

« PreviousContinue »