« PreviousContinue »
A LETTER, &c.
This excellent treatise, well worthy of the study of all who take orders, seems to claim precedence, in point of general importance, over those pieces which relate more immediately to church politics. The cynic philosophy of Swift, his detestation of the times in which he lived, and his ideas of the unduly degraded state of the clergy, are strangely contrasted with his sound good sense, extensive knowledge of the world, principles of practical morality, and high feeling, not only of the importance of his order, but of the talents and virtues requisite to its dignity. The Dean's very peculiar vein of humour, which seldom forsook him, even upon the most serious subjects, glances forth from time to time through his graver precepts. The Essays upon the Fates of Clergymen, and the Hatred to the Clergy, seem a proper sequel to the Letter,
A YOUNG CLERGYMAN, &c.
Dublin, Jan. 9, 1719-20.
Although it was against my knowledge or advice, that you entered into holy orders, under the present dispositions of mankind toward the church, yet since it is now supposed too lạte 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.
could heartily wish, that the circumstances 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 conse