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Massillon, &c. In our own times, the excellent practice has been commenced of writing notices of the lives of good clergymen in the middle ranks of life. As a specimen of these, which cannot fail to interest young readers, may be mentioned Valpy's Life of Dr. Butt, a character in which there was a singular and amiable mixture of the simplicity and benevolence of a primitive Christian with the talents and humour of a man of the world, who was in habits of living with the great. He was a man, we speak from personal knowledge, of the firmest faith, and yet of the most tolerant disposition; of mild manners, yet of determined courage. Of this last quality his biographer gives one striking instance.
• In the streets of London he saw a mob gathered round “ a murderer, whom they had pursued, and were attempting to “ seize. The man had placed himself in a favourable posi“ tion, and, brandishing a large knife, threatened to kill the first “ person who touched him. None dared to approach him. “ Dr. Butt fearlessly went to him, ordered him to surrender “ himself, exclaiming, · Guilt makes cowards of us all. The “ culprit immediately gave him his weapon,-and surrendered “ himself.”
Dr. Butt resided, during the latter part of his life, in a country town, in which there were a number of persons of different sects, all of whom his moderation conciliated; he was universally named the peacemaker; and at his death the principal inhabitants of the town hung the church with black at their own expense, and attended divine service in mourning. These are examples of respect to virtue in the middle ranks of life, which may be made peculiarly useful in the education of a clergyman; because they are not so splendid or extraordinary as to preclude the idea of emulation.
Reverence for the clerical character should not, however, induce parents or preceptors to attempt to conceal from their pupils, even in childhood, that there are bad as well as good clergymen; these should be pointed out in the strongest terms of indignation and contempt. The pupils should not be brought up in ignorance of the world as it is; they must not go from their homes to the university, or into mixed society, without a knowledge of the manners of the present times. This they will easily, indeed necessarily, obtain in the course of their domestic education in the families of nobility or gentry. For the same reason it may be taken for granted, that there will be nothing in the pupil's appearance or manners, to provoke or justify ridicule. By the best possible means, by having early lived in well-bred company, he will have acquired habits of politeness and ease of conversation. He should be taught, not only that a soft answer turneth away wrath, but that a playful reply averts the shafts of ridicule, and that good humour effectually disappoints the attacks of malignant wit. Young people may be told an instance of this, which occurred to the celebrated Dr. Barrow : “ Lord Rochester, the witty and profligate Lord Rochester, “ met him one day át court, and accosted him with the de“ termination to make the musty piece of divinity ridicu“ lous.”—“ Doctor,” said his lordship, bowing low with mock solemnity, “ I am yours to the shoe-tie.”—“ My lord,” replied Barrow, returning bow for bow, “ I am yours to the “ ground.” “ Doctor, I am yours to the centre.”—“ My lord, “ I am yours to the Antipodes.”—“ Doctor, I am yours," resumed Lord Rochester, “ to the lowest pit of Hell.”—“There, “ my lord, I leave you,” said Barrow. The court laughed, or smiled, for courtiers never laugh, and the Wit was disconcerted.
Among our classical English authors, the mild piety, and playful benevolence of Addison, will be well suited to young and cheerful readers. Our great moralist, Johnson, will be read with more pleasure at a later period of education. Swift, Hawkesworth, and Goldsmith, should precede Johnson. The sermon in the Vicar of Wakefield to the reprobates in prison is excellent, from the doctrine it inculcates : “ that “ a clergyman should never despair of rekindling the sparks “ of virtue in the human soul.” Passages from Cowper will also be found peculiarly interesting to young men intended for the church.
Among poets, Milton is here and every where preeminent. It is unnecessary to name with feeble applause those beautiful parts of Paradise Lost, which are impressed on the mind of every reader of taste and feeling. It is by no means advisable to insist upon the young reader's going regularly through the Paradise Lost ; he would be tired and disgusted, and would probably conclude, that he had no relish for good poetry, or good books. To console those who have been led to this mortifying conclusion, we may observe, that Dr. Johnson fairly acknowledges, that he never read Milton through, till he was obliged to write a criticism on his works.
On the same principle it will be prudent for parents or preceptors to select passages from Thomson, because the whole of a long poem in blank verse might fatigue the young reader. Selection is still more necessary in perusing Akenside and Young, in whose works there is a mixture of sublime poetry and bombast; pathetic strokes, and empty conceits.
When the pupil's education is so far advanced, and his judgment so well formed, as to render him fit for the more serious studies of his profession, he may pass from our lighter moralists to Watts and Johnson, and from these, to such works as Butler's Analogy, and Search’s Light of Nature. To enumerate all the authors who merit his attention, would be tiresome and superfluous; but among modern writers may be named, with just distinction, “ Gregory's “ Comparative View of the Nature and Faculties of Man, and “ those of the Animal World,” and Paley's Works, especially his “ Natural Theology," which is written somewhat on the plan of “ Derham's Physico-theology," but which far surpasses the original. To these works must be added those of Gisborne. May this author live long to exemplify, as he does, his excellent precepts by his still more excellent example!
This course of English Literature, with those classical studies, which must be pursued with unremitting assiduity, will fully occupy the pupil till he is eighteen or nineteen, and this is about the age when he should go to college. The custom of sending boys of thirteen or fourteen to the university, a custom which, we believe, prevails more in Ireland than in England, is absurd and dangerous for all professions, but peculiarly so for the clerical profession. Young men intended for clergymen should not go to any university, till they are thoroughly masters of the learned languages, particularly of Greek ; till they have also learned the Hebrew Grammar, and are somewhat initiated in the language. Nor should they be permitted to enter any university, till, with all these attainments, they have acquired sufficient prudence to be entirely trusted with the management of their own conduct. It should be strongly impressed on the mind of a youth, immediately before he leaves home and paternal care, that his conduct at this period of his life, when first he becomes his own master, will be the test of the goodness of his previous education; the most acceptable proof of gratitude and affection to the anxious parents and preceptors, by whom that education was conducted, and the strongest pledge he can give the publick of the sincerity of his religious faith, the steadiness of his moral principles, and the future excellence of his ecclesiastical character. Instead of saying this in the didactic style, and in the lecturing tone, which is so tiresome and offensive to the ears of youth, these truths may be suggested, and the moral may be put in action by pointing out examples in real life of young men, whose conduct has deserved approbation or censure, and by letting the pupil hear the manner, in which such conduct and its effects are spoken of by impartial judges.