« PreviousContinue »
Lately Entered into HOLY ORDERS.
Dublin, Jan. 9, 1719-20. § I R; ALTHOUGH it was againlt my 11 knowledge or advice, that you entered into holy orders under the present dispositions of mankind towards thechurch, yet since it is now supposed too late to recede, (at least according to the general practice and opinion) I cannot forbear offering my thoughts to you upon this new condition of life you are engaged in.
* This ought to be read may be read with pleasure and by all the young clergymen advantage by the oldest and in the three kingdoms, and most exemplary divines.
Orrera's Vol. IV. B
I could heartily, wish, that the circumftances of your fortune had enabled you to have continued some years longer in the university, at least till you were ten years standing; to have laid in a competent stock of human learning, and some knowledge in divinity, before you attempted to appear in the world: for I cannot but lament the common course, which at least nine in ten of those, who enter into the ministry, are obliged to run. When they have taken a degree, and are consequently grown a burden to their friends, who now think themselves fully discharged, they get into orders as soon as they can, (upon which I shall make no remarks) first sollicit a readership, and if they be very fortunate, arrive in time to a curacy here in town, or else are sent to be alfıstants in the country, where they probably continue feveral years (many of them their whole lives) with thirty or forty pounds a year for their support: till fome bishop, who happens to be not overstocked with relations, or attached to fa
vourites, or is content to supply his diocefe : without colonies from England, bestows upon them some inconsiderable benefice, when it is odds they are already encumbered with a numerous family. I would be glad to know, what intervals of life such persons can possibly fet apart for the improvement of their ininds; of which way they could be furnished with books, the library they brought with them from their college being usually not the most numerous, or judiciously chosen. If such gentlemen arrive to be great scholars, it muft, I think, be either by means supernatural, or by a method altogether out of any road yet known to the learned. But I conceive the fact directly otherwise, and that many of them lose the greatest part of the small pittance they received at the university
I take it for granted, that you intend to pursue the beaten track, and are already desirous to be seen in a pulpit; only I hope you will think it proper to pass your quarentine among some of the desolate churches five miles round this town, where you may at least learn to read and to speak, before you venture to expose your parts in a city-congregation;
not that these are better judges, but because, if a man must needs expose his folly, it is more safe and discreet to do so before few witnesses, and in a scattered neighbourhood. And you will do well, if you can prevail upon some intimate and judicious friend to be your constant hearer, and allow him with the utmost freedom to give you notice of whatever he shall find amiss either in your voice or gesture; for want of which early warning many clergymen continue defective, and sometimes ridiculous, to the end of their lives. Neither is it rare to observe among excellent and learned divines a certain ungracious manner, or an unhappy tone of voice, which they never have been able to shake off.
I could likewise have been glad, if you had applied yourself a little more to the study of the English language, than I fear you have done ; the neglect whereof is one of the most general defects among the scholars of this kingdom, who seem not to have the least conception of a style, but run on in a flat kind of phraseology, often mingled with barbarous terms and