The Presbytery sat a day or two at this place on church affairs, and the Captain remaining with them, lodged at the same house; Teague, in the mean time, having an opportunity of ingratiating himself with the clergymen, by rubbingdown their horses, and other menial services. For it is the national character of the aboriginal Irish, to give fair words; and Teague was not deficient in this address. With the master Prasting, and giving a great deal of what is called blarney, he insinuated himself into their good graces; and by affecting now and then to be seen at prayers by himself, and to have a sorrowful countenance, he induced them to believe that he was in the first stage of conviction, and likely to become a pious man. Having made this progress in their good opinion, he ventured to suggest what was the ultimate object of this ambition; viz. the being a candidate for holy orders. The Presbytery, to whom the matter was represented by the individuals more particularly acquainted with him, thought favourably of the proposition. --For though his common attainments might not be great, yet if the grace of God had wrought upon him, he might become a valuable man.
The Captain having got a hint of this, took the first opportunity of addressing the Presbytery: Gentlemen, said he, you are deceived in this ragamuffin. For notwithstanding all the pretensions he may lately have to religion, you may be well assured that it is all hypocricy, and that he has no more religion than my horse.
The Presbytery, suspecting the Captain to be a carnal man, and regardless of the ministry, gave little heed to what he said; and seemed disposed to take Teague upon trial.
The Captain, finding the case to stand thus, and that in spite of all he could do, he was likely to lose his servant, took his usual method of addressing the hopes and fears of Teague himself.
Taking him aside, he began with all possible art to impress such fears and apprehensions, as the nature of the case suggested. Teague, said he, do you know what you are about? You have got into your vagaries once more. You want to preach, do you? Are you apprised of the difficulty of this work? The first thing you will have to do is to take a text; and when that is done, you will have to split it into parts. --There are what are called heads; and these you must divide into firstlys, and secondlys, and thirdlys, and fourthlys, and so on, till you have come to twentiethlys perhaps. Are you furnished with a concordance? Or do you know what a concordance is? Can you find a text to suit your purpose when you want it? Can you explain the Scriptures; the meaning of Daniels ram, and the he-goat, or the seven Trumpets in the Revelations? You are mistaken, if you think your Irish will pass for Hebrew.
You think it a great honour to preach, do you? It was an honour once; but the thing is now become so common, that it is of little consequence to preach or not.
But do you know how it will behoove you to conduct yourself, if you take this office upon you? You will have to compose the muscles of your face to greater seriousness than your disposition can afford. You must quit whoring: how would you like that, Teague? It would look very ill after sermon to be catched in bed with a girl at a tavern.
But do you know why these men are so anxious to have you of their mess? The truth of the matter is, they carry on a war with the devil, and they wish to recruit you for the service. Do they give you any bounty-money? I am afraid, there will be but little of this going. Take my advice then, and let them settle their own quarrels. It is a silly thing to be drawn into a party, when there is little to be got by it: Nay worse than little, for it will be all on the other side. Think you the devil will forget the mischief you do him in this world, and not resent it when he comes across you in a future state? When you are preaching and praying, do you think he will not hear all that you throw out against him? You may rely upon it, there will be enough to give him information, and as a story never loses in the telling, it is ten to one they will make the matter worse than it was. Take my advice, therefore, and make no enemies while you can help it. Steer through life as smoothly as possible. Keep a good tongue in your mouth, and let those who choose to dispute with Belzebub, dispute. I never knew any good come of broils and quarrels, especially with low characters. And, to say the truth of it, this Satan, as they call him, is but a low fellow. Even where he is well disposed, he will do but little good to one; but a most dangerous creature where he takes a dislike. When you go to hell, as one day you must, you can expect but little quarters, after abusing him in this world. --He will make you squeel like a pig: take you by the throat, and kick you like a cat. His very scullions will spit upon you, and give you no better life than a dog under your feet; while these very clergymen, that put you forward to black-guard for them, will stand by, laughing in their sleeves that you could be such a fool.
The representation had the desired effect upon Teague, and he thought no more of the matter.