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the people's breath, when they make a noise, and admire, and understand not. And that also is a second caution I desire all men would take.
2. That they may never trouble the affairs of preaching and hearing respectively, with admiring the person of any man. To admire a preacher is such a reward of his pains and worth, as if you should crown a conqueror with a garland of roses, or a bride with laurel ; it is an indecency, it is no part of the reward, which could be intended for him. For though it be a good-natured folly, yet it hath in it much danger: for by that means the preacher may lead his hearers captive, and make them servants of a faction, or of a lust; it makes them so much the less to be servants of Christ, by how much
any man 'master upon earth ;' it weakens the heart and hands of others : it places themselves in a rank much below their proper station, changing from hearing the word of God, to admiration of the persons and faces of men; and it being a fault that falls upon the more easy natures and softer understandings, does more easily abuse a man. And though such a person may have the good fortune to admire a good man and a wise; yet it is an ill disposition, and makes him liable to every man's abuse.
Stupidum hominem quavis oratione percelli,” said Heraclitus; “ An undiscerning person is apt to be cozened by every oration.” And, besides this, that preacher, whom some do admire, others will most
certainly envy; and that also is to be provided against with diligence: and you must not admire too forwardly, for your own sake, lest you
fall into the hands of a worse preacher; and for his sake, whom, when you admire, you also love, for others will be apt to envy him.
3. But that must by all men be avoided; for envy is the worst counsellor in the world, and the worst hearer of a wise discourse. I pity those men who live upon flattery and wonder, and while they sit at the foot of the doctor's chair, stare in his face, and cry, 'Ακριβώς, ώ μεγάλου φιλοσόφου ! " Rarely spoken, admirably done !" They are like callow and unfeathered birds, gaping perpetually to be fed from another's mouth, and they never come to the knowledge of the truth; such a knowledge as is effective, and expressed in a prudent and holy life. But those men that envy the preacher, besides that they are great enemies of the Holy Ghost, and are spitefully evil, because God is good to him, they are also enemies to themselves. He that envies the honours or the riches of another, envies for his own sake, and he would fain be rich with that wealth, which sweats in his neighbour's coffers : but he that envies him that makes good sermons, envies himself, and is angry because himself may receive the benefit, and be improved, or delighted, or instructed, by another. He that is apt fondly to admire any man's person, must cure himself by considering, that the preacher
is God's minister and servant; that he speaks God's word, and does it by the divine assistance; that he hath nothing of his own but sin and imperfection; that he does but his duty, and that also hardly enough; that he is highly answerable for his talent, and stands deeply charged with the cure of souls ; and therefore, that he is to be highly esteemed for the work’s sake, not for the person: his industry and his charity are to be beloved, his ability is to be accounted
upon another stock, and for it the preacher and the hearer are both to give God thanks; but nothing is due to the man for that, save only that it is the rather to be employed, because by it we may better be instructed: but if any other reflection be made upon his person, it is next to the sin and danger of Herod and the people, when the fine oration was made uerà mollis pavracías, “with huge fancy;" the people were pleased, and Herod was admired, and God was angry, and an angel was sent to strike him with death and with dishonour. against a preacher is to be cured by a contrary discourse; and we must remember, that he is in the place of God, and hath received the gift of God, and the aids of the Holy Ghost; that by his abilities God is glorified, and we are instructed, and the interests of virtue and holy religion are promoted; that by this means God, who deserves that all souls should serve him for ever, is likely to have a fairer harvest of glory and service; and therefore, that envy is against
But the envy
him; that if we envy because we are not the instrument of this good to others, we must consider, that we desire the praise to ourselves, not to God. Admiration of a man supposes him to be inferior to the person so admired, but then he is pleased so to be; but envy supposes him as low, and he is displeased at it; and the envious man is not only less than the other man's virtue, but also contrary : the former is a vanity, but this is a vice; that wants wisdom, but this wants wisdom and charity too; that supposes an absence of some good, but this is a direct affliction and calamity.
4. And, after all this, if the preacher be not despised, he may proceed cheerfully in doing his duty, and the hearer may have some advantages by every sermon. I remember that Homer says, the woers of Penelope laughed at Ulysses, because at his return he called for a loaf, and did not, to shew his gallantry, call for swords and spears. Ulysses was so wise as to call for that he needed, and had it, and it did him more good than a whole armory would in his case. So is the plainest part of an easy and honest sermon; it is the sincere milk of the word, and nourishes a man's soul, though represented in its own natural simplicity; and there is hardly any orator but you may find occasion to praise something of him. When Plato misliked the order and disposition of the oration of Lysias, yet he praised the good words and the elocution of the man. Euripides was commended
for his fulness, Parmenides for his composition, Phocylides for his easiness, Archilochus for his argument, Sophocles for the unequalness of his style; so may men praise their preacher: he speaks pertinently, or he contrives wittily, or he speaks comely, or the man is pious, or charitable, or he hath a good text, or he speaks plainly, or he is not tedious, or, if he be, he is at least industrious, or he is the messenger of God; and that will not fail us, and let us love him for that. And we know those that love, can easily commend any thing, because they like every thing: and they say, fair men are like angels,--and the black are manly,— and the pale look like honey and the stars,—and the crook-nosed are like the sons of kings, and if they be flat, they are gentle and easy,—and if they be deformed, they are humble, and not to be despised, because they have upon them the impresses of divinity, and they are the sons of God. He that despises his preacher, is a hearer of arts and learning, not of the word of God; and though, when the word of God is set off with advantages and entertainments of the better faculties of our humility, it is more useful and of more effect; yet, when the word of God is spoken truly, though but read in plain language, it will become the disciple of Jesus to love that man whom God sends, and the public order and the laws have employed, -rather than to despise the weakness of him who delivers a mighty word.
Thus it is fit that men should be affected and em