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without even transient interest, cellence. But, unlike writers on discourses upon subjects the most general literature, the preacher of solemn that can engage human the gospel is limited in the choice speculation. Thus it may be, of his subjects. He has the diffihowever, without any thing to cult task of rendering us attentive blame in the preacher, and per- to the repetition of those truths, haps without any deficiency of his which have been often repeated, in natural talents.
of making what is familiar, innTo write well is not an easy pressive ; and, if he intends the task ; and this is one of those ob- amendment of his hearers, (and servations, to which we assent so what preacher does not ?) of givreadily and with so little attention ing new force to those motives, of mind, as not to take a view of which have long presented themtheir necessary consequences. But selves without effect. to write well, it has sometimes form, however, what is so difficult, been contended, is not required in he is not allowed leisure to wait a preacher ; and his subjects, it for those hours of mental illumihas been said, are such, as to ren- nation, when every thing within der it of little consequence what is visible and distinct ; and for may be his mode of expression. those happier moments, when his To write well and eloquently, thoughts come warm from the however, is nothing more, than to heart, or glowing from the imagwrite in such a manner, as will ination ; but he is condemned to most powerfully impress upon the write without intermission; it may minds of others what we ourselves be, amid perplexity, and vexation, strongly conceive. It is to substi- and sickness ; or it may be, when tute argument for assertion; the his mind, urged to its allotted lawritten tones of interest and feel bour, can do little more than exing for exclamations and epithets, haust itself by its exertions. method for confusion, clearness To write without intermission for obscurity, and conciseness for is indeed possible ; but to think repetition. Now there is scarcely without intermission is not equally any diffidence, which may not be easy. Uninterrupted mental exroused to question and to doubt ertion in a little time destroys the by assertions too dogmatical ; health and the understanding. there is scarcely any interest,which «We have frequently known,' says may not be suppressed by excla- Buchan, “even a few months of mations and epithets, and scarcely close application to study, ruin an any attention, which may not be excellent constitution. Of menwearied out by confusion, and ob- tal exertion none is more severe scurity, and repetition. Such, then, than the labour of invention. A are some of the evils of a clergy- clergyman, therefore, obliged as man's not writing well ; but to he is at present to continual comwrite well is for him especially position, has this alternative, either difficult.
to perform his duty in such a Any one, acquainted with litera- manner as will hardly satisfy himry history, may easily recollect self, or to perform it in such a many instances of the patient and manner that he will not perform it long continued labour, which men long. of genius and study have employ The clergy, it is true, find some, ed in producing their works of ex- but it is in general very insuffi
cient, relief in making use of each better than what any exertions of other's mutual assistance. But to his own could produce. many clergymen, especially to I have formerly remarked upon those in the country, frequent ex the very defective education of changes, as they are called, may most clergymen in our country, from various causes be not con- owing to the neglected state of venient; and why should not these, literature among us, and of their or why should not any, who are being obliged to acquire after their thus disposed, borrow the assist- settlement, if it be acquired at all, ance of the dead instead of the much of that learning which is living, and make use of the writ- most immediately connected with ings of those, to whom time has their profession. It is probable, given its sanction, as teachers of that but very few of our clergy moral and religious wisdom ? have much knowledge of those
What is said above may, per- rapid improvements, which in the haps, have more effect, if consider- last half century have been made ed in connection with some of the in the study of the scriptures ; of observations, formerly made upon those discoveries in the East, by this subject. But will not, it may which their authenticity has been be asked, the practice here recom- illustrated ; of that patient labour, mended tend to encourage indo- by which their genuine text has lence and neglect of duty ? Before been cleared from corruptions ; directly replying to this objection, and of that critical acuteness and let me inquire what is the profit research, by which their meaning that a preacher's weekly discourses has been laid bare from the obshould always be of his own com- scurity which time had gathered · posing? or what is the advantage round it. But in a country like of obliging him to say, in his own ours, where there are so few men language, what he may find al- of literary leisure, and where there ready said much more eloquently is so little reward for literary exand impressively perhaps, than is ertion, the clergy should be allowwithin his powers of thought and ed, I speak coldly, they should be expression ? But in direct reply encouraged to exert their talents it may be observed, that to write for the purpose of diffusing generis indeed required at present ; but al instruction, and in the cause of that there are no means of com- general literature. Among the pelling indolence to write with la- clergy of other nations, there are bour and attention, and that by places of comparative ease, which such a temper of mind the task of unquestionable merit may most composing may be made suffi- commonly command, and to which ciently easy. As it is at present, we are indebted for many of those then, if a clergy man be dispirited works, by which religion has been and indolent, his society suffer, for most successfully defended, and they hear from him dull and care virtue most powerfully encouragles; discourses of his own ; but, if ed, for works such as the Analogy the plan now proposed were adopt- of Butler, or the Sermons of Mased, his society might be gainers sillon. I do not contend, that to from his writing little, for they our clergy should be granted eithwould then hear from him dis er the dignity or the emolument courses of others, probably much of such stations, but only that we
should allow to men of talents a tion ; and that, except in fireach. little of their leisure ; for unless ing, which may be and is supplied, we will endow colleges, or unless and often best supplied, out of printwe will give encouragement to ed books, little else is
necessary literature as a profession, there a protestant minister, than to be seems to be no other means of able to read the English language; forming among us a body of men I mean for the exercise of his of learning.
function, not to the qualification of In confirmation of some of the his admission to it.”-Letter to Sir preceding sentiments, I quote the Hercules Langushe, M. P. following passage from Burke. In one of those delightful paHe is comparing the state of the pers of the Spectator, in which Roman Catholick clergy in Ireland Addison introduces his favourite with that of the clergy of the es character of Sir Roger de Coverly, tablished church :
he tells us of Sir Roger's chaplain • The ministers of protestant following the practice which we churches require a different mode have been recommending, and conof education, [from that of the cludes with these observations : Roman Catholick clergy] more • I could heartily wish, that liberal and more fit for the ordina- more of our country clergy would ry intercourse of life. That reli- follow this example ; and instead gion having little hold on the minds of wasting their spirits in laborious of people by external ceremonies, compositions of their own, would and extraordinary observances, or endeavour after a handsome eloseparate habits of living, the clergy cution, and all those other talents make up the deficiency by culti- that are proper, to enforce what vating their minds with all kinds has been penned by greater masof ornamental learning, which the ters. This would not only be liberal provision made in England more easy to themselves, but more and Ireland for the parochial cler- edifying to the people." gy, (to say nothing of the ample I could not refuse myself the church preferments with little or producing in my favour two such no duties aunexed) and the com. authorities as those of Burke and parative lightness of parochial du- Addison. ties enables the greater part of If, however, there be any serithem in some considerable degree ous objection to what has been to accomplish.
now proposed, it is to be hoped • This learning, which I believe that such objection will be suffito be pretty general, together with ciently considered. But if in truth an higher situation, and more there be none, and if what has been chastened by the opinion of man stated would be the real and imkind, forms a sufficient security portant advantagas of the practice for the morals of the established recommended, then it is to be elergy, and for their sustaining hoped, that no clergyman will their clerical character with dig- lightly refuse himself this means nity. It is not necessary to ob- of improvement, and that no soserve, that all these things are, ciety will hastily reject this occahowever, collateral to their func- sional mode of instruction.
FOR THE ANTHOLOGY.
(We avail ourselves of the present curiosity universally excited by the meteor
which lately appeared in Weston, in Connecticut, to re-publish from a celebrated English journal the following interesting sketch of all the facts and opinions, which have of late years been given to the world, with respect to this very singular branch of natural history. In our next number we shall publish Professor Silliman's account of the late phenomenon in Connecticut.]
The histories of all nations, in ence seems now to increase the early times, abound with fabulous probability, that in this instance, accounts of natural phenomena. as in some others, credulity has Showers of blood and of flesh; bat- been more philosophical than sceptles of armed men in the air ; an- ticism. imals of different descriptions ut There are two methods of intering articulate sounds, are a few quiring into the origin of those inof the tales which we meet with in sulated masses, which are said to the annals of ancient Rome : and have fallen in different parts of the the lively imagination of Oriental earth. We may either collect, as countries has infinitely varied this accurately as possible, the external catalogue of wonders. Of such evidence, the testimonies of those incidents, however, it has frequent persons, in whose neighbourhood ly been found possible to give some the bodies are situated ; or we may explanation consistent with the or- examine the nature of the substandinary laws of nature, after the ces themselves, and compare them narratives have been freed from the with the kinds of matter by which fictions with which superstition or they are surrounded. The first design had at first mingled them. mode of investigation is evidently But it is singular with what un- more liable to errour, and less likeformity the notion of showers of ly to proceed upon full and satisstones has prevailed in various factory data, than the other. But if countries, at almost every period of both inquiries lead to conclusions society ; with how few additions somewhat analogous ; if both the from fancy the story has been inductions of fact present us with propagated ; and how vain all at- anomalous phenomena of nearly tempts have proved, to account, by the same description, and equally natural causes, for the phenome- irreducible to any of the classes non, with whatever modifications into which all other facts have been it may be credited. Accordingly, arranged, we may rest assured that philosophers have rejected the fact, a discovery has been made-and and either denied that stones did the two methods of demonstration fall, or affirmed, at least, that if will be reciprocally confirmed. they fell on one part of the earth, 1. The first narrative, which they were previously elevated from has been offered to the world unanother. The vulgar have der circumstances of tolerable acstedfastly believed, that they came curacy, is that of the celebrated from beyond the planet on which Gassendi. He was himself an we live ; and every day's experi- eye-witness of what he relates.
On the 27th of November in the no means so decisive as that of year 1627, the sky being quite Gassendi. clear, he saw a burning stone fall Other recitals have been given on mount Vaisir, between the of similar appearances, but by no towns of Guillaumes and Perne in means so well authenticated, or so Provence. It appeared to be about fully examined, although somefour feet in diameter, was surroun what nearer our own times. In ded by a luminous circle of colours 1672, one of the members of the like a rainbow, and its fall was ac Abbe Bourdelot's academy precompanied with a noise like the sented at one of the meetings a discharge of cannon. But Gas- specimen of two stones, which had sendi inspected the supposed fal- lately fallen near Verona ; the one len stone still more nearly ; he weighed 300 the other 200 lib. found that it weighed 59 lib., was The phenomenon, he stated, had extremely hard, of a dull metallick been seen by three or four hundred colour, and of a specifick gravity persons. The stones fell in a sloconsiderably greater than that of ping direction, during the night, common marble. Having only and in calm weather. They apthis solitary instance to examine, peared to burn, fell with a great he concluded, not unnaturally, that noise, and ploughed up the ground. the mass came from some neigh. They were afterwards taken from bouring mountain, which had been thence, and sent to Verona. This in a transient state of volcanick account, it may be observed, was eruption.
published in the same year. Paul The celebrated stone of Ensi Lucas the traveller relates, that sheim is not proved to have fallen, when he was at Larissa in 1706, a by testimony quite so satisfactory i stone of 72 lib. weight fell in the but there are several circumstan neighbourhood. It was observed, ces narrated with respect to it, he says, to come from the north, which the foregoing account of with a loud bissing noise, and Gassendi wants. Contemporary
Contemporary seemed to be enveloped in a small writers all agree in stating the gen. cloud, which exploded when the eral belief of the neighbourhood, stone fell. It smelt of sulphur, that on the 7th of November 14.97, and looked like iron dross. between eleven and twelve o'clock M. De la Lande, in 1756, pub2. m. a dreadful thunder-clap was lished an account of a phenomeheard at Ensisheim, and that a non very nearly resembling the achild saw a huge stone fall on a bove, but deficient in several points field sowed with wheat, It had of direct evidence. His narrative, entered the earth to the depth of however, deserves our attention, three feet ; it was then removed, because he seems to have been found to weigh 260 lib. and ex upon the spot, and to have examposed to publick view. The defect ined with great care the truth of in Gassendi's relation is here sup- the circumstances, which he deplied ; for we have the nature of scribes. In September 1753, durthe ground distinctly described ; ing an extremely clear and hot day, the natives of the place must have a noise was heard in the neighbourknown that in their wheat field no hood of Pont-de-Vesle, resembling such stone had formerly existed : the discharge of artillery. It was but the evidence of its having ac so loud as to reach several leagues tually been observed to fall, is by in all directions. At Liponas,