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And the next question naturally asked was, if the Prince went to the devil for swearing, what would become of the Bishop? Now just the same question rests between the Captain and the Archdeacon. But how could this poor brainless creature run on at such a rate?
Loveg. Sir, he ran on as fast as ever, exposing himself and his fraternity at a strange rate ; though it seems, that Mr. Reader played poor young Bob Dapper a sad trick.
Wor. What was that?
Loveg. Why, the worthy old gentleman, feeling himself offended at the loose conduct of these giddy chaps, made a sermon on this text, “Su run that ye may obtain," in which he lashed these abominable indecencies, pretty severely. And this sermon young Bob Dapper bought of Mr. Reader, who sold it him under the idea that it was suitable to the season. He supposed it to be a thanksgiving sermon, suitable after a plentiful harvest; whereas Mr. Reader com posed it as being a suitable reproof, during the season of such an abominable outrage against all the rules of decency, and good order.* Poor Bob therefore,
* Were the ministers of the church of Scotland, or of many other Protestant churches, to act a part nca. Iy as inconsistent, they would soon be brought into better order. If it be added, that it is to be hoped such instances are rare, it is answered, it is much to be lamented that they exist at all. The evil consequences of these things, are incalculable. If a set of such clergy as these are found to complain that a set of preaching Cobblers, Barbers, and Taylors, not having priestly authority, interrupt them in what they call their duty, let them look at home for the cause, mend their own manners, universally preach, and live the doctrines of the church of England, and see if these Cobblers, at least the most of them, will not stick to their stalls; the Barbers keep to their blocks, and the Taylors to their goose.
Some talk of persecuting these poor creatures: but before they begin upon the business, it may be well if they would first ask themselves, if an innocent, well intentioned inan, with a few good brains in his head, and the grace of God in his heart, be not likely to give better instruction in point of religion, than such a set, so ordained, and from sicb motives, as are tou
after having procured the sermon, came home from his sports, so late on the Saturday night, or rather so early on the Sunday morning, that he had no time to read it over, but trusted entirely to the good writing of Mr. Reader. Thus this redoubtable spi. ritual jockey, who was once "moved by the Holy Ghost, to take upon him the sacred office of the ministry,” took out this sermon and began to read it.
Wor. And I should suppose, the whole of it was a most pointed declamation against his own conduct.*
generally sent to fill the church, and then determine if it would be wise, or politic, or just, to put such preachers under the castigation of the law. If the plea be, that folly, and enthusiasm ought to, be corrected, the answer is, leave it alone, and it will correct itself. But from what has already been exhibited, others may deserve chastisement, as much as the wildest entausiast in the land.
* During the time of Mr. Madcap's revel, Mr. Reader mentioned another circumstance which occurred, and which (qually proved the inconsistency of these things, as belonging to the character of a Christian, and in a ten-fold more aggravated point of view, when exhibited in the character of a Christian Minister.
Soon after the business of the horse-race, and all concomitant diversions were concluded, the bishop of the diocese came about those parts to visit and confirm. Previous to this, he very properly sent his circular advice among the clergy, to put into the hands of the young candidates for confirmation, some small devotional exercises, by way of impressing their minds with a suitable improvement on that occasion. Among others who came to take a more moderate and sanctified peep at these fooleries, was the Rev. Mr. Demure; and yet, that he might act consistently, with the bishop's direction, while he had been enjoying these things according to the real appetite of his mind, (like a man who would now and then, indulge himself with a little carrion as a rarity,) he wrote to Mr. Reader on the subject, supposing that as he could make their sermons for them, he could also make their devotions. Mr. Demure's letter, and Mr. Reader's answer to it, may not be unacceptable, as it may throw a farther light on the same subject.
According to the laudable advice of our wortny Diocesian, we are desired to lay before the young people who may be
Loveg. Sir, Mr. Reader told me, that he laid it on as thick as ever he could, and thus poor Bob, after a short introduction, began exclaiming against horse races, as the worst of revels; and that “revellings and such like,” were strongly prohibited: asking the
judged fit for confirmation, some small devotional tracts, that they may afterwards be properly instructed, how to do their duty, and to say their prayers. I apply to you Sir, for assistance, as you know this week we have been pretty much engaged in seeing our friends, who came in great abundance to partake of the amusements of Mr. Madcap's horse-race, so that we have not had sufficient time to attend to the pastoral admonition, his lordship has condescended to send us ; and as you can make such excellent sermons for us, I have no doubt but
you can make some devotions also, which we mean to get printed, and distributed as directed by his lordship. Though
am sorry to say, that some of the clergy did not properly attend to the rules of decency, and good order, yet I will assure you Sir, others of us, (thank the Almighty,) considered our duty, and came home in due time, so as not to suffer our innucent diversions, to interrupt our devotions.
“ I am SIR,
“ PETER DEMURE.”
Mr. Reader, not a little offended at the inconsistent, sanctimonious pretensions of Mr. Demure, returned the follo:ving
REV. SIR, “ I have received your proposal to draw out some devotional exercises, for the young canditates for confirmation.
As to myself, had l inclination, I confess, under present circumstances, I wish to decline the work ; as I am now satisfied it is high time for the clergy to convene themselves together, and enlarge the plan, by composing such sort of devotion as will be suitable to their diversions, that the world may be convinced respecting them, (for they begin to be much suspected, that according to a scripiure rule“ whatever they do in word, and deed, they do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God, and the Father by him.”
“ Now what I concerve will prove a high recommendation to this publication is, that the plan will be entirely new; for though it has been said, there is nothing new under the sun, I believe devotional exercises of this surt, have never as yet made their appearance ; while at the same time, it will prove a question, how any but the friends of debauchery and riot, could sanction such revels by their presence? and how Christians, who take the Bible as the model of their Christianity, could presume to patronize, by their presence, such exhibitions of mad and wancapital criterion of the innocency of the diversions themselves. Whatsoever we do, that we can ask God's blessing upon, will never do us harm.
First, for the mottos to this publication; and these will be best found in the Bible;
Pray without ceasing.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto, with all perseverance.
Continuing instant in prayer. "Now from these texts, the real Christian is at least directed to continue in a perpetual aptitude for prayer.
“To the pious compilers of this new publication, I beg leave to recommend the composing some forms of prayer on the following occasions.
A devout supplication before going to a tragedy. “ Another before going to a comedy,
A short form of prayer, to be said before a farce.
“ Another prayer also may be necessary before going to a harlequin entertainment, or a masquerade.
“Then let the reverend composers of this new work, direct their devout disciples, not to omit any of the accustomed forms betore going to bed; but as a proof of their proper gratitude to almighty God, for such blessed innocent amusements, let them add a thanksgiving prayer, which for the sake of avoiding prolixity, may be made equally suitable to each of the above mentioned occasions; and then the title to such a piece of de votion will run thus, 'A Thanksgiving Prayer, to be said after returning from a Tragedy, Comedy, Farce, Harlequin Entertainment, or a Masquerade.
“ And as short titles sound best, I next advise a Puppet Show Prayer, that people's heads may be made wiser, and their hearts better, by their devout attendance thereon.
“As children also take much delight in scenery, dancing dolls, &c. whether they be large or small, it might not be amiss to make a religious use of these pretty jumpabouts, for the good of the rising generation, by never suffering them to go to a puppet show, a play, or a ball, unless they can at least say pretty pat, the first of the three things their devort God-fathers and God-mothers engaged ijr them in baptism, thal they should renounce the devil, and all his works, the pomps,
and wanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh. But to finish the plan of this new intended Manual, which I
ton riot, which so notoriously abounded during these seasons of entire dissipation? Then poor Bob again cried out against himself, Feign to your selves, how preposterous would be the sight, should that very sacred character, of all others the most mortified, and devoted to God, exhibit as a public Jockey, for the diversion, and scoff of the most wicked, and profane:" asking them, Whether they had taken the model of their religion from the wanton tricks of a set of heathens at their Olympic games, or from the' holy word of God?
Wor. Ob poor Bob! how he was taken in ! how could he go on? would recommend to be short, that it may be snug and portable for the pocket, as also fit to be bound up with the Week's Preparation, or the Companion to the Altar, should there not also be a proper prayer made before going into a ball-room, and another after returning from it? A prayer also may be necessary before a card assembly, together with a few holy ejaculations, to be said between the deals. I would also recommend having a huntsman's prayer, and a horse racer's prayer, especially for such of the reverend clergy as commence their own jockies, that the Almighty might protect them from breaking their necks, while they are exposing the pure, and holy religion of the gospel, to the ridicule, and contempt of the profanest people of the world. I lastly ask the question, if those amusements which will not bend into devotion, are fit for the clergy, as their very office demands it of them, that they should be devout at all times ? - and whether any recreations can, in any wise, be admissible among them, but such as leave them at full liberty to devote themselves to God, and for the people's good? Wishing that you, and all the clergy, may be as much a credit to their office, as their office itself would ihen be a credit to them, *
“ JAMES READER."
It may easily be supposed that Mr. Reader lost not a little of his custom in the business of sermon-making. Mr. Demure, however charitably concluded, that he was a little deranged through family misfortunes, and so it passed off.
* Some of these thoughts appeared in a former publication, which was not intended for extensive circulation.