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ADDRESSED TO THE YOUNG CLERGY OF THE DIOCESS
A SER MON,
PREACHED AT A
GENERAL ORDINATION, HOLDEN AT ROSE CASTLE,
ON SUNDAY, JULY 29, 1781.
It is recommended to those who are preparing for holy orders, within the diocess of Carlisle, to read Collier's Sacred Interpreter, and the Four Gospels, with Clark's Paraphrase; and to candidates for priests' orders, carefully to peruse Taylor's Paraphrase on the Romans.
ADVICE, ADDRESSED TO THE YOUNG CLERGY OF THE
DIOCESS OF CARLISLE.
1 TIMOTHY, iv. 12.
Let no man despise thy youth. The author of this Epistle, with many better qualities, possessed in a great degree what we at this day call a knowledge of the world. He knew that although age and honours, authority of station, and splendour of appearance, usually command the veneration of mankind, unless counteracted by some degrading vice or egregious impropriety of behaviour; yet, that where these advantages are wanting, where no distinction can be claimed from rank, importance from power, or dignity from years ; in such circumstances, and under the inevitable depression of narrow fortunes, to procure and preserve respect requires both care and merit. The apostle also knew, and in the text taught his beloved convert, that to obtain the respect of those amongst whom he exercised his ministry was an object deserving the ambition of a Christian teacher, not indeed for his own sake, but for theirs, there being little reason to hope that any would profit by his instruction who despised his person.
If Saint Paul thought an admonition of this sort worthy of a place in his Epistle to Timothy,' it cannot surely be deemed either beside or beneath the solemnity
of this occasion, to deliver a few practicable rules of life and behaviour, which may recommend you to the esteem of the people, to whose service and salvation you are now about to dedicate your lives and labours.
In the first place, the stations which you are likely, for some time at least, to occupy in the church, although not capable of all the means of rendering service and challenging respect, which fall within the power of your superiors, are free from many prejudices that attend upon higher preferments. Interfering interests and disputed rights; or, where there is no place for dispute, the very claim and reception of legal dues, so long as what is received by the minister is taken from the parishioner; form oftentimes an almost insuperable obstruction to the best endeavours that can be used to conciliate the good will of a neighbourhood. These difficulties perplex not you. In whatever contests with his parishioners the principal may be engaged, the curate has neither dispute nor demand to stand between him and the affections of his congregation.
Another and a still more favourable circumstance in your situation is this; being upon a level with the greatest part of your parishioners, you gain an access to their conversation and confidence, which is rarely granted to the superior clergy, without extraordinary address and the most insinuating advances on their parts. And this is a valuable privilege ; for it enables you to inform yourselves of the moral and religious state of your flocks, of their wants and weaknesses, their habits and opinions, of the vices which prevail, and the principles from which they proceed; in a word, it enables you to study the distemper before you apply the remedy; and not only so, but to apply the remedy in the most commodious form, and with the best effect : by private persuasion and reproof, by gentle and unsuspected conveyances in the intimacy of friendship and opportunities of conversation. To this must be added the many occasions which the living in habits of society with your parishoners affords you of reconciling dissensions, healing animosities, administering advice to the young and inexperienced, and consolation to age and misery. I put you in mind of this advantage, because the right use of it constitutes one of the most respectable employments not only of our order, but of human nature; and leaves you, believe me, little to envy in the con
, dition of your superiors, or to regret in your own.
It is true, that this description supposes you to reside so constantly, and to continue so long, in the same parish, as to have formed some acquaintance with the persons and characters of your parishoners; and what scheme of doing good in your profession, or even of doing your duty, does not suppose this?
But whilst I recommend a just concern for our re putation, and a proper desire of public esteem, I would by no means flatter that passion for praise and popularity, which seizes oftentimes the minds of
young clergymen, especially when their first appearance in their profession has been received with more than common approbation. Unfortunate success! if it incite them to seek fame by affectation and hypocricy, or lead, as vanity sometimes does, to enthusiasm and. extravagance. This is not the taste or character I am holding out to your imitation. The popular preacher courts fame for its own sake, or for what he can make of it; the sincerely pious minister of Christ modestly invites esteem, only or principally, that it may lend efficacy to his instruction, and weight to his reproofs ; the one seeks to be known and proclaimed abroad, the other is content with the silent respect of his