Chapter 11


 The application made by Teague to be admitted to the ministry, and the simplicity of the ecclesiastics in listening to his overtures, made a great noise through the neighbourhood; in as much as the young man laboured under a want of education, and was not qualified by theological reading. But I do not see why it should be thought blameable; provided the matter was not too much hurried, and hastily brought forward. --For, give him a little time, and he might have been instructed to preach as well as some that I myself have heard: Especially if at first setting out, he had confined himself to historical passages of scripture; such as the history of Sampson and Gideon, and Barak, and the like: Only he must have taken care that in pronouncing Barak, with the brogue upon his tongue, he did not make it Burke; for that is a patronimic name of his country, and he might inadvertantly have fallen into this pronunciation.

I acknowledge that in the regular churches, such as that of the Presbyterians, there is still kept up some opinion of the necessity of literature. But do we not see that with other denominations; such as the Quakers, the Methodists, and Anabaptists, it is totally disregarded and thrown out? Because when human gifts or acquirements are absent, that which is supernatural more evidently appears.

Do not Quakers, and Methodists, and Baptists, preach very well? At any rate, they do a great deal of good, and that is the first object of preaching. --Whether such sermonists, avail themselves most of sense or sound, I will not say; but so it is they do good; and that without the aid of any human learning whatever.

It is very true, that formerly in the infancy of the church, a knowledge of languages and sciences, might be requisite. But the case is quite altered now. The Scripture has been well explained, and frequently preached over; every text and context examined, and passages illustrated. The Hebrew roots, so to speak, have been all dug up; and there is scarcely a new etymology to be made. Are there any new doctrines to discover? I should think it impossible. At any rate, I should conceive it unnecessary. There are enough in all conscience: the inventing more, would be like bringing timber to a wood, or coals to Newcastle.

This being the case, I feel myself disposed to agree with those who reject human learning in religious matters altogether. More especially as science is really not the fashion at the present time. For as has been before seen, even in the very province of science itself, it is dispensed with; that of natural philosophy, for instance. In state affairs, ignorance does very well, and why not in church? I am for having all things of a piece; ignorant statesmen, ignorant philosophers, and ignorant ecclesiastics. On this principle, Teague might have done very well as a preacher. But the selfishness of the Captain prevailed, and obstructed his advancement.