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Thou mayest conceive, O reader, with what concern I perceived the eyes of the congregation fixed upon me, when I first took my place at the feet of the priest. When I raised the psalm, how did my voice quaver for fear; and when I arrayed the shoulders of the minister with the surplice, how did my joints tremble under me! I said within myself, “re“ member, Paul, thou standest before men of high “ worship, the wise Mr. justice Freeman, the grave “ Mr. justice Thomson, the good lady Jones, and « the two virtuous gentlewomen her daughters ; nay “ the great sir Thomas Truby, knight and baronet, • and my young master the esquire, who shall one “ day be lord of this manor.” Notwithstanding which, it was my good hap to acquit myself to the good liking of the whole congregation; but the Lord forbid I should glory therein.
The next chapter contains an account how he discharged the several duties of his office ; in particular he insists on the following:]
I was determined to reform the manifold corruptions and abuses, which had crept into the church.
First, I was especially severe in whipping forth dogs from the temple, excepting the lapdog of the good widow Howard, a sober dog which yelped not, nor was there offence in his mouth.
Secondly, I did even proceed to moroseness, though sore against my heart, unto poor babes, in tearing from them the half-eaten apples, which they privily munched at church. But verily it pitied me, for I remembered the days of my youth. Thirdly, With the sweat of my own hands, I did make plain and smooth the dogs ears throughout our great Bible.
Fourthly, the pews and benches, which were formely swept but once in three years, I caused every Saturday to be swept with a besom and trimmed.
Fifthly and lastly, I caused the surplice to be neatly darned, washed, and laid in fresh lavender (yea, and sometimes to be sprinkled with rose-water) and I had great laud and praise from all the neighbouring clergy, forasmuch as no parish kept the minister in cleaner linen.
Notwithstanding these his publick cares, in the eleventh chapter he informs us, he did not neglect his usual occupations as a han lycraftsman.]
Shocs, saith he, I make (and if intreated, mnend) with good approbation, facts also did I shave, and I clipped the hair. Chirurgery alo I practised in the worming of dogs; but to bleed adventured I not, except the poor. Upon this my twofold profession there passed among men a merry tale, delectable enough to be rehearsed; how that being overtaken in liquor one Saturday evening, I shaved the priest with Spanish blacking for shoes instead of a washball, and with lamp-black powdered his peruke. But these were sayings of men, delighting in their own conceits more than in the truth. For it is well known, that great was my skill in these my crafts; yea, I once had the honour of trimming sir Thomas himself without fetching blood. Farthermore, I was sought unto to geld the lady Frances her spaniel, which was wont to go astray : he was called Toby, that is to say Tobias. And thirdly, I was entrusted with a
gorgeous gorgeous pair of shoes of the said lady to set a heelpiece thereon; and I received such praise therefore, that it was said all over the parish, I should be recommended unto the king to mend shoes for his majesty : whom God preserve! Amen.
[The rest of this chapter I purposely omit, for it must be owned, that when he speaks as a shoemaker he is very absurd. He talks of Moses pulling off his shoes, of tanning the hides of the bulls of Basan, of Simon the tanner, &c. and takes up four or five pages to prove, that when the apostles were instructed to travel without shoes, the precept did not extend to their successors.]
(The next relates how he discovered a thief with a Bible and key, and experimented verses of the psalms, that had cured agues.]
[I pass over many others, which inform us of parish affairs only, such as of the succession of curates; a list of the weekly texts; what psalms he chose on proper occasions ; and what children were born and buried : the last of which articles he concludes thus:]
That the shame of women may not endure, I speak not of bastards ; neither will I name the mothers, although thereby I might delight many grave women of the parish: even her who hath done penance in the sheet will I not mention, forasmuch as the church hath been witness of her disgrace: let the father, who hath made due composition with the churchwardens to conceal his infirmity, rest in peace; my pen shall not bewray him, for I also have sinned.
[The [ The next chapter contains what he calls a great revolution in the church, part of which I transcribe.]
Now was the long expected time arrived, when the psalms of king David should be hymned unto the same tunes, to which he played them upon his harp; so was I informed by my singing-master, a man right cunning in psalmody. Now was our over-abundant quaver and trilling done away, and in lieu thereof was instituted the sol-fa, in such guise as is sung in his majesty's chapel. We had London singing-masters sent into every parish, like unto excisemen; and I also was ordained to adjoin myself unto them, though an unworthy disciple, in order to instruct my fellow parishioners in this new manner of worship. What though they accused me of humming through the nostril as a sackbut; yet would I not forego that harmony, it having been agreed by the worthy parish-clerks of London still to preserve the same. I tutored the young men and maidens to tune their voices as it were a psaltery, and the church on the Sunday was filled with these new hallelujahs.
Then follow full seventy chapters, containing an exact detail of the lawsuits of the parson and his parishioners concerning tithes, and near a hundred pages left blank with an earnest desire that the history might be completed by any of his successors, in whose time these suits should be ended.]
[The next contains an account of the briefs read in the church, and the sums collected upon each. For the reparation of nine churches, collected at nine se
veral times, 2 s. and 7 d. . For fifty families ruined by fire, I s. For an inundation, a king Charles's groat, given by lady Frances, &c.]
[In the next he laments the disuse of wedding-sermons, and celebrates the benefits arising from those at funerals, concluding with these words : Ah! let not the relations of the deceased grudge the small expense of a hatband, a pair of gloves, and ten shillings, from the satisfaction they are sure to receive from a pious divine, that their father, brother, or bosom wife are certainly in Heaven.]
[In another he draws a panegyrick on one Mrs. Margaret Wilkins; but, after great encomiums, concludes, that notwithstanding all, she was an unprofitable vessel, being a barren woman, and never once having furnished God's church with a christening.]
(We find in another chapter, how he was much staggered in his belief, and disturbed in his conscience by an Oxford scholar, who had proved to him by logick, that animals might have rational, nay, immortal souls; but how he was again comforted with the reflection, that if so, they might be allowed christian burial, and greatly augment the fees of the parish.]
[In the two following chapters he is overpowered with vanity. We are told, how he was constantly admitted to all the feasts and banquets of the church officers, and the speeches he there made for the good of the parish. How he gave hints to young clergy