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THE MONTHLY ANTHOLOGY,
ADDRESS BY THE EDITORS.
FOUR years have expired since the first publication of the Anthology, and we have now commenced the fifth volume. originally undertaken by a society of gentlemen for their own amusement, and for the diffusion of literary taste. As it was begun without any sanguine expectations of success, the mortification of disappointment was precluded ; and the proprietors, satisfied with a subscription sufficient to defray the expense of publication, have cheerfully continued their labours, without the prospect or desire of pecuniary remuneration.
They are fully sensible, that the Anthology has never been a favourite with the publick at large, nor were they ambitious of popularity ; since they scorned to discuss the trifling topicks of the day, and to gratify the malice of tattling gossips with the little tales of private slander. But from the ablest pens in the United States they have received praise, more than enough to satisfy reasonable vanity, and from the liberality of their patrons, sufficient encouragement to induce them to persevere. Amongst the subscribers to the Anthology they may proudly boast of the first names in the country, of those most distinguished by political knowledge, general information, extensive learning, the integrity of their publick conduct, and the virtues of their private life.
Without promising improvements, which may not be realized, they may reasonably flatter themselves, that the future numbers of this work will not be inferiour to the former, as the literary labourers will be increased. It is their ambition to diffuse useful knowledge, and inspire a taste for literature among their fellow.citizens. If they should
Vol. V, No. 1.
succeed in this laudable attempt, they will be amply rewarded by the pleasing consciousness of having done the state some service. If they should ultimately fail in their object, however deeply they may regret the want of success, they will console themselves with reflecting, that: they have omitted no exertion to deserve it.
FOR THE ANTHOLOGY.
OBSERVATIONS ON ALLOWING THE CLERGY THE OC
CASIONAL USE OF PRINTED DISCOURSES.
IN the Anthology for Septem- but little inclination; and of those, ber 1805 (vol.ii. p. 454) there was
who have bo:h, more read for a short piece with the same title, amusement,than for instruction,and as is prefixed to this, and upon the more for instruction, than for moral same subject. In what follows, it improvement. There are those is not intended directly to repeat therefore, from whose minds all any thing already said; but to en- serious thoughts might fade away large upon some of the considera- and disappear, if it were not for the tions formerly suggested, and per. continual reimpression and renewhaps to add some new remarks to al, which is afforded by the pubthe same purpose.
lick discourses and other exercises The religious and moral princi- of the sabbath. ples of the greater part of Chris- If this then be true, if any thing tians depend very much upon the like what I have stated be one of stated instructions of the sabbath. the purposes of publick preaching, Of those truths, which we do not it is not of little moment that this disbelieve, it is necessary, that we mode of instruction should be al. should be perpetually reminded. ways such, as to produce its propPractical principles of the most er effect ; and especially that it serious importance have no proper never should be such, as to have a influence upon our conduct, not contrary tendency, such as only because we doubt their evidence, patient piety can hear without forbut because we forget their author- getting the seriousness, the impority. To these principles, there- tance, and the sublimity of its subfore, it is necessary very frequent- ject. It is matter for unpleasant ly not to require our assent, but to meditation to consider the condirecal our attention. To keep alive tion of a christian society, engaged then the remembrance of those perhaps throughout the week printruths, which it is of most conse- cipally in secular concerns, and quence that man should remem- coming together sabbath after sab ber, nothing perhaps immediately bath, not to have inattention reclaimcontributes more, than the publick ed, not to have attention rewarded, discourses of the sabbath. There but to sleep away the time ofinstrucare many, who have but little lei. tion, or to sit impatiently till release sure to read, and many, who have ed from their constraint, and to hear
without even transient interest, cellence. But, unlike writers on discourses upon subjects the most general literature, the preacher of solemn that can engage human the gospel is limited in the choice speculation. Thus it may be, of his subjects. He has the diffihowever, without any thing to cult task of rendering us attentive blame in the preacher, and per- to the repetition of those truths, haps without any deficiency of his which have been often repeated, in natural talents.
of making what is familiar, imTo write well is not an easy pressive ; and, if he intends the task ; and this is one of those ob- amendment of his hearers, (and servations, to which we assent so what preacher does not ?) of givreadily and with so little attention ing new force to those motives, of mind, as not to take a view of which have long presented themtheir necessary consequences. But selves without effect. To perto write well, it has sometimes form, however, what is so difficult, been contended, is not required in he is not allowed leisure to wait a preacher ; and his subjects, it for those hours of mental illumi. has been said, are such, as to ren- nation, when every thing within der it of little consequence what is visible and distinct ; and for may be his mode of expression. those happier moments, when his To write well and eloquently, thoughts come warm from the however, is nothing more, than to heart, or glowing from the imagwrite in such a manner, as will ination ; but he is condemned to most powerfully impress upon the write without intermission ; it may minds of others what we ourselves be, amid perplexity, and vexation, strongly conceive. It is to substi- and sickness ; or it may be, when tute argument for assertion ; the his mind, urged to its allotted lawritten tones of interest and feel- bour, can do little more than exing for exclamations and epithets, haust itself by its exertions. method for confusion, clearness To write without intermission for obscurity, and conciseness for is indeed possible ; but to think repetition. Now there is scarcely without intermission is not equally any diffidence, which may not be easy. Uninterrupted mental exroused to question and to doubt ertion in a little time destroys the by assertions too dogmatical ; health and the understanding. there is scarcely any interest, which “We have frequently known,' says may not be suppressed by excla- Buchan, “even a few months of mations and epithets, and scarcely close application to study, ruin an any attention, which may not be excellent constitution. Of men. wearied out by confusion, and ob- tal exertion none is more severe scurity, and repetition. Such, then, than the labour of invention. are some of the evils of a clergy- clergyman, therefore, obliged as man's not writing well ; but to he is at present to continual comwrite well is for him especially position, has this alternative, either difficult.
to perform his duty in such a Any one, acquainted with litera- manner as will hardly satisfy himry history, may easily recollect self, or to perform it in such a many instances of the patient and manner that he will not perform it long continued labour, which men long. of genius and study have employ- The clergy, it is true, find some, ed in producing their works of ex. but it is in general very insuffi
cient, relief in making use of each better than what any exertions of other's mutual assistance. But to his own could produce. many clergymen, especially to I have formerly remarked upon those in the country, frequent ex- the very defective education of changes, as they are called, may most clergymen in our country, from various causes be not con- owing to the neglected state of venient; and why should not these, literature among us, and of their or why should not any, who are being obliged to acquire after their thus disposed, borrow the assist- settlement, if it be acquired at all, ance of the dead instead of the much of that learning which is living, and make use of the writ- most immediately connected with ings of those, to whom time has their profession. It is probable, given its sanction, as teachers of that but very few of our clergy moral and religious wisdom? have much knowledge of those
What is said above may, per- rapid improvements, which in the haps, have more effect, if consider- last half century have been made ed in connection with some of the in the study of the scriptures ; of observations, formerly made upon those discoveries in the East, by this subject. But will not, it may which their authenticity has been be asked, the practice here recom- illustrated ; of that patient labour, mended tend to encourage indo- by which their genuine text has lence and neglect of duty ? Before been cleared from corruptions ; directly replying to this objection, and of that critical acuteness and let me inquire what is the profit research, by which their meaning that a preacher's weekly discourses has been laid bare from the obshould always be of his own com- scurity which time had gathered posing? or what is the advantage round it. But in a country like of obliging him to say, in his own ours, where there are so few men language, what he may find al- of literary leisure, and where there ready said much more eloquently is so, little reward for literary exand impressively perhaps, than is ertion, the clergy should be allowwithin his powers of thought and ed, I speak coldly, they should be expression ? But in direct reply encouraged to exert their talents it may be observed, that to write for the purpose of diffusing generis indeed required at present ; but al instruction, and in the cause of that there are no means of com- general literature.
Among the pelling indolence to write with la- clergy of other nations, there are bour and attention, and that by places of comparative ease, which such a temper of mind the task of unquestionable merit may most composing may be made suffi- commonly command, and to which ciently easy. As it is at present, we are indebted for many of those then, if a clergy man be dispirited works, by which religion has been and indolent, his society suffer, for most successfully defended, and they hear from him dull and care- virtue most powerfully encouragless discourses of his own ; but, if ed, for works such as the Analogy the plan now proposed were adopt. of Butler, or the Sermons of Mas) ed, his society might be gainers sillon. I do not contend, that to from his writing little, for they our clergy should be granted eithwould then hear from him dis- er the dignity or the emolument courses of others, probably much of such stations, but only that we
should allow to men of talents a tion; and that, except in preach. little of their leisure ; for unless ing, which may be and is supplied, we will endow colleges, or unless and often best supplied, out of printwe will give encouragement to ed books, little else is necessary for literature as a profession, there a protestant minister, than to be seems to be no other means of able to read the English language; forming among us a body of men I mean for the exercise of his of learning.
function, not to the qualification of In confirmation of some of the his admission to it." ---Letter to Sir preceding sentiments, I quote the Hercules Langushe, M.P. following passage from Burke. In one of those delightful paHe is comparing the state of the pers of the Spectator, in which Roman Catholick clergy in Ireland Addison introduces his favourite with that of the clergy of the es. character of Sir Roger de Coverly, tablished church :
he tells us of Sir Roger's chaplain • The ministers of protestant following the practice which we churches require a different mode have been recommending, and conof education, [from that of the cludes with these observations : Roman Catholick clergy] more • I could heartily wish, that liberal and more fit for the ordina- more of our country clergy would ry intercourse of life. That reli- follow this example ; and instead gion having little hold on the minds of wasting their spirits in laborious of people by external ceremonies, compositions of their own, would and extraordinary observances, or endeavour after a handsome eloseparate habits of living, the clergy cution, and all those other talents make up the deficiency by culti- that are proper, to enforce what vating their minds with all kinds has been penned by greater masof ornamental learning, which the ters. This would not only be liberal provision made in England more easy to themselves, but more and Ireland for the parochial cler- edifying to the people." gy, (to say nothing of the ample I could not refuse myself the church preferments with little or producing in my favour two such no duties annexed) and the com- authorities as those of Burke and parative lightness of parochial du- Addison. ties enables the greater part of If, bowever, there be any serithem in some considerable degree ous objection to what has been to accomplish.
now proposed, it is to be hoped * This learning, which I believe that such objection will be suffito be pretty general, together with ciently considered. But if in truth an higher situation, and more there be none, and if what has been chastened by the opinion of man- stated would be the real and imkind, forms a sufficient security portant advantagas of the practice for the morals of the established recommended, then it is to be elergy, and for their sustaining hoped, that no clergyman will their clerical character with dig- lightly refuse himself this means nity. It is not necessary to ob- of improvement, and that no soserve, that all these things are, ciety will hastily reject this occahowever, collateral to their func- sional mode of instruction.