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I tleman in the country, and by craft a SHAVER of very considerable scope: notwithstanding I have turned preacher of late, and seem to be pretty successful at my preachment, as the sale of this sermon will testify: I have been a great man for the news, as we SHAVERS commonly are, and, among other papers, I usually took in the St. James's Chronicle ; a paper that is filled in all the four corners; but if you ask with what, on my word, I must refer
you to people of greater penetration. Well, I paid and I read to no purpose for a long while ; till at last I chanced to 'spy An Extract of a Letter from Oxford, and I wot it pleased me mightily.
It told us how that Sıx young men were expelled the University for holding Methodistical tenets, and for prays ing, reading, and expounding the scriptures in a private house. Well, thought I, that may work for the good of the Church: but then I did nct so much approve of the principal crime of those called Me
thodists, being said to be reading and expounding the scriptures, &c. thought I, that is going somewhat too far. Could they find nothing worse againse them? Could not they have proved them drunkards? Or made it evident that they were given to wenching ?-(things very common in some places) Or could they not have convicted the young fellows of having revised the miracles of Christ and of Moses, that their expulsion might have appeared the more eligible?
No: long after this, I happened to see another account from Oxford, wrore by the Rev. Dr. Oxoniensis ; and that account made me resolve upon something. For he tell us, that one of the Six was formerly a Publican; another had been a Blacksmith; a third a Barber ; and a fourth had been a Teacher in a School under W),
Well, you must know, my grandfather was a publican, my uncle a blacksmith, I myself am a shaver, which is by interpretation a barber, and iny eldest son, a promising lad, is designed for a schoolmaster, therefore, seeing the honours of our family cast down into the puddle by the arrogance of Oxonian priests, I began to grow surly upon it; but did not yet think of preaching. What brought me ta that was, finding from the learned Dr. Oxpuienses, that those young men had preached without orders :--Then, thought I, I will even have a trial at it myself. Well, you must know we have a good sort of a fellow co our Parson ; a gentle.
man who loves his bottle and his friend, if it was for a night together; and there is never a youth in all the parish who will sing a merrier catch, nor tell a prettier story than himself; for he is what ye may call a merry PARSON. With him I am pretty familiar, and I thought I would even borrow his Sunday's style, and his orthodox plan, knowing him to be a true churchman, and I would I could do at preaching. But I had certainly been disappointed in an audience, if an happy imagination had not befriended me; but no sooner had I bestirred my imagination, than I was wafted from Clarley-common to the great hall at 0d, before the V-Cr, and the Heads of Houses, to whom, after I had mounted the rostrum with clie usual formality, I preached the foļlowing sermon, the whole world being supposed hearers.
Concerning which Sermon I would have it observed :
1. That I pretend not to justify any parts of the conduct of the Methodists, besides, praying to God, reading, expounding the scriptures, and singing of hymns, &c.
2. That I censure none of the clergy, but such as are against praying, reading and expounding the scriptures, and singing tymns.
3. That whoever this Coat is found to fit, I would have the gentleman put it on, and wear it as his own; assuring himself that it was made for him, and that, though a Shaver, I am his TAILOR,
. 4. That, perhaps, in gratitude for my great pains and the new hints given in this sermon, which
may Cast a light upon ecclesiastical history, the Ve er, and Heads of Houses, may present me to some good benefice. And they may depend upon it, that I shall shave the parishioners as handsomely as any of 'em.
Thus, reader, I have told you all about it; and have only to add, that after I had, at leisure hours, wrote my sermon fairly out, I carried it to a bookseller, expecting that he would be as fond of it as I was myself; which I believe, is a case very common with us AUTHORS; but he drew up his shoulders, looked sour upon it, and said, he feared it was too coarse for this polite age. I assured him that the style was quite clerical, being borrowed from the Parish Priest, and what he might hear in many pulpits, if he would only travel for it; but he being of the saving order, and not over fit for travelling in deep roads, agreed to take my word, rather than be at the expence and trouble of seeking farther proof; so it was sent to the Press, to furnish you, iny friend, with half an hour's entertainment, and please
Your humble Servant,