« PredošláPokračovať »
against Calvinism, and in praise of a standing army. His text was from Romans v. 1. The right reverend prelate gave so sweet a metaphorical sense to the 17th article of the Church of England, and showed so clearly the necessity of introducing the allegorical mode of interpreting all the grace articles—he paid such pretty compliments to the Queen, and looked so well in his wig and lawn sleeves, that I acknowledged, long before the sermon was over, the sin and iniquity of dissenting from the Church of England. I
saw the beauty of order and of a State Church. The presence of their Majesties, the glittering show of the courtiers, the splendid uniforms of the guards, and the brocade of the maids of honour, seemed to me to fulfil this prophecy : “Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and queens thy nursing mothers;” and when I compared the pomp and grandeur before me with the paltry and plebeian worship of a Dissenting conventicle, I felt absolutely ashamed to think I was a schismatic. The parting words of my brother were in my ears during the whole sermon.
The only thing that discomposed me in this magnificent ritual was the frequent use of the opera glass by the ladies; they seemed to me to direct their attentions more to the guardsmen than to the bishop; but I doubt not that this arose from their anxiety to ascertain that these
brave men were wide awake, and ready to protect their Majesties in case of an attack upon the court by schismatics and radicals.
When I returned to the inn my first act was to take up the letters of L. S. E., which I did not put down till I had finished ; and when I had finished them, my next act was to stir up the fire, into the midst of which I consigned Dr. Watts’s Hymn Book, with all the satisfaction that ever a Spanish Inquisitor experienced in baking a Protestant or roasting a Jew.
I made what haste I could home, and there, dear Sir, I must leave you to picture the interview between two brothers, both heretofore in the pit of schism, but now in the smiling pasturage of an Established Church. We mingled our tears, and rejoiced with such joy as is felt by those who have escaped from slavery. The rest of my story you know. By my brother's interest with our diocesan I was ordained a clergyman of the Establishment, and partly by your interest as an admirer of the letters of L. S. E., I am now vicar of Tuddington, where I hope to show my gratitude to the Church by rooting out dissent from my parish.
Reverend and dear Sir,
RABSHAKEH GATHERCOAL. Vicarage, Tuddington,
The Reverend RABSHAKEH GATHERCOAL
to L. S. E.
MY DEAR BROTHER,
My last letter gave you a short account of my parish, and the state in which I found it; I described, as it were, the field of battle; this despatch will give you an account of the battle itself.
I had hardly sealed my last letter, when, lo and behold! the Independent, Baptist, and Wesleyan teachers* came to pay me a visit. This is pretty familiar,t thinks I to myself, but I'll dissemble a little till I have you within shot of my great gun. The Independent teacher, Edward Mervyn by name, (for I cannot bear to call these fellows “Mister," and I would sooner be hanged than call them" Reverend," was the spokesman of the party. He said they had come to congratulate me on my appointment to the vicarage of Tuddington, and they hoped that my coming amongst them would be a blessing to all denominations of Christians in the parish, (The rascal said not a word about the Church as by law established.) I should find the parish, he assured me, in a very peaceable and friendly state, all questions about Church government were kept in the background; and though he supposed that members of other sects were as much attached to their discipline as he was to the discipline of his sect, yet it was generally agreed in the parish, to avoid all disputes on the subject, to discourse of them only amongst members of their own churches, and to study by all means to establish harmony and Christian concord amongst the whole body of believers. With this view they (i. e. Dissenters and Church people!) had interchange of prayer meetings and expositions of the Scripture, and they all subscribed to one another's Missionary funds. The late vicar, "good Mr. Thompson,” promoted all plans of union, and never seemed happier than when the Dissenters and Church people were hand in hand in some kind office of love and charity. “The dear gentleman” made it a rule to preach a sermon on Christian love the first “ Sabbath of every year," (N.B. Schismatics always nickname Sunday thus,) and it so happened that the last sermon he preached was from this text: “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another; love as brethren; be pitiful, be courteous.” It was a sermon never to be forgotten by the inhabitants of Tuddington.
* The Reverend Rabshakeh Gathercoal copies the excellent style of his brother, and never is found guilty of the gross error of allowing the Dissenting teachers to be ininisters or pastors.
† The Gathercoal family are addicted to a sort of Doric dialect, which the Bishop of London particularly admires.
He then went on to say that I should find the Dissenters fully disposed to fall in with any measures of mine which might tend to the interests of our common faith, and that he was commissioned by his “Brothers” (i. e. all the teachers of schism in the parish) to assure ine of the good will and respect of their people, as I should experience, he hoped, to my entire satisfaction.
Having said much more to the same purpose, it was at last incumbent on me to make some reply, and in doing so I took good care not to commit myself. I said I was glad to hear professions of respect to the clergyman of the parish, for though I personally put in no claim to respect, yet as the lawfully-constituted teacher of Tuddington I looked for such dutiful acknowledgments, and received them gladly. Peace and harmony on a proper footing was my earnest desire, and I doubted not that my endeavours to establish order would be crowned with success; for the present, however, I could only return my compliments to them for paying me this visit. I had hardly time to arrange anything, but next Sunday morning it was my intention to preach my commencement” sermon, in which my views on some important points would be stated with clearness, and I hoped on that occasion they would do me the favour to attend and hear for themselves. This they readily promised, and as I did not ask them to sit down, nor show any disposition to continue the conver