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God, as the fanatic observed, that he was suddenly taken with a qualm-drops of sweat standing in his face as big as pease— and immediately he lost the use of his speech, only he uttered some few words to this effect, 'O Lord, we are all in thy hands; be merciful unto us,' and then came down. The expectations of all being then sadly disappointed, they were contented with the divertisement of an anthem, and so the solemnity of the service for that day was ended. In the meantime, great care was taken of Mr South, and by the use of cordials and other means proper for him in that condition, he quickly recovered his spirits, and was every way as well again as before."*

It was not by dint of mere assurance, however, that Mr South "recovered his spirits." He was not in the predicament of a mere coxcomb, who, having pushed upward from his proper place, has fallen and found his level. His vigour of mind and force of expression were already unrivalled among pulpit orators; and, in all probability, the unfinished sermon was enough to convince the good-humoured sagacity of King Charles, that he had been listening to no ordinary preacher. At any rate, with his strong sense, with his perpetual sparkle of wit, and with a satirical vein, which seemed inexhaustible in its gibes at republicans and fanatics, he suited the taste of his own sovereign as thoroughly as, with his florid grandeur and purple pomp of language, his contemporary, Bossuet, delighted Louis XIV., and, notwithstanding his embarrassing introduction, the young Oxonian soon made himself at home in the pulpit of Whitehall. Indeed, like the rest of Charles's favourites, he found his royal master so devoid of all true dignity, that he could jest at the king's expense, and some of his sayings are not so remarkable for their point as for their free-and-easy impudence. One day sleep had overtaken part of his audience, including its most illustrious member. Stopping, and chang* Athenæ Oxonienses, 3d edit., vol. iv. col. 635.



ing his voice, he called three times, "My Lord of Lauderdale!" and when the earl woke up, "My lord," said South, "I am sorry to interrupt your repose, but I must beg that you will not snore quite so loud, lest you should awaken his Majesty," and then went on with his sermon. However, it would seem that his Majesty was quite awake when Dr South preached his well-known sermon on "The lot cast into the lap;" for, after giving other examples of a remarkable rise from a lowly position, when he came to the late Protector,-"And who that had beheld such a bankrupt, beggarly fellow as Cromwell, first entering the Parliament House, with a threadbare, torn cloak and greasy hat (and, perhaps, neither of them paid for), could have suspected that, in the space of so few years he should, by the murder of one king and the banishment of another, ascend the throne, be invested in the royal robes, and want nothing of the state of a king but the changing of his hat into a crown?" the king was convulsed with laughter, and, turning to Laurence Hyde, Lord Rochester, with one of his peculiar ejaculations, he exclaimed: "Lory, your chaplain must be a bishop, therefore put me in mind of him at the next death."

But South was never made a bishop. In 1663 he was installed Prebendary of Westminster, and in 1670 Canon of Christ Church, and in 1678 he was presented to the rectory of Islip, in Oxfordshire. At the Revolution, he was sorely perplexed. He had so often expatiated on the right divine, and had been so fulsome in his flattery of the Stuarts, that he could hardly be expected to join the invitation to the Prince of Orange; and, with so little to choose betwixt a loathsome Puritanism and an unlovely Popery, he refused to take an active part on either side, but said that he would go into retirement, and give himself to prayer. When he came out of his retirement, the Revolution was effected, and William and Mary were safely seated on the throne.

To the sovereigns de facto, South took the oath of allegiance, and, growling out an occasional regret for the good old times of absolutism, he consented to retain his preferment, and reconciled himself, as well as he could, to the evil days. of religious toleration and constitutional monarchy. Living to witness the accession of George I., he died July 8, 1716, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, to which his brilliant satire and fierce invective had so often drawn overflowing audiences, and where an elaborate monument still marks the place of his sepulture.

Like Fuller, the name of South is associated with wit, and almost every sermon gleams with scintillations. Sometimes it is a sly hit, or, as he himself would have called it, a "rub" in the by-going: as, when ironically apologising for the image-worship of the Papists, he says, "But the image of a Deity may be a proper object for that which is but the image of a religion;" or, when quoting a Romish casuist, who says, "It is a truth but lately known and received in the world, that a lie is absolutely sinful,” he adds, "I suppose he means that part of the world where the Scriptures are not read, and where men care not to know what they are not willing to practise." Sometimes the vein is more decidedly comic, as in the above-mentioned sermon on "The lot in the lap," where, after mentioning the fortuitous way in which men have acquired a reputation for wisdom, he proceeds, "And as the repute of wisdom, so that of wit is very casual. Sometimes a lucky saying, or a pertinent reply, has procured an esteem of wit to persons otherwise very shallow, and no ways accustomed to utter such things by any standing ability of mind; so that, if such a one should have the ill hap at any time to strike a man dead with a smart saying, it ought, in all reason and conscience, to be judged but a chance-medley; the poor man (God knows) being no way guilty of any design of wit."

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And, not to quote instances where the drollery degenerates to buffoonery, its most legitimate examples are the more latent, where the keen perception of incongruities does not so much provoke a smile, as point the moral, and make the lesson pithy: "The gospel does not dictate imprudence: no evangelical precept justles out that of a lawful self-preservation. He, therefore, that thus throws himself upon the sword, runs to heaven before he is sent for; where, though perhaps Christ may in mercy receive the man, yet he will be sure to disown the martyr." "Love an ungrateful man, and he shall despise you. Commend him, and, as occasion serves,

he shall revile you. Give to him, and he shall but laugh at your easiness. Save his life, but, when you have done, look to your own." Speaking of unqualified teachers: "A blind man sitting in the chimney corner, is pardonable enough; but sitting at the helm, he is intolerable. If men will be ignorant and illiterate, let them be so in private, and to themselves, and not set their defects in a high place, to make them visible and conspicuous. If owls will not be hooted at, let them keep close within the tree, and not perch upon the upper boughs."

But no wit is enduring which has not strong sense for its substratum, and our author was gifted with an uncommon share of homely, vigorous, practical wisdom. It was in virtue of this that he burst through scholastic trammels, and discarding technical phraseology, addressed his audience in plain but energetic English; and it was this which led him to select such proofs and arguments, as were likeliest to carry the popular understanding. And it is this which now renders his discourses such a mine of golden thought and sagacious aphorism.* As in a mine, so in these sermons, there is many

* Good sense makes its discoveries as well as philosophical subtilty. In his sermon on conscience, South says, "Conscience (as might be easily shewn) being no distinct power or faculty from the mind of man, but the mind of

a sharp stone to graze the knuckles, and there is mud enough to soil the fingers; but even amidst the most offensive ribaldry, the explorer is constantly rewarded with gems, from which truth flashes like light from the diamond, or in which it is coyly locked up, and kept curiously undulating like a sunbeam imprisoned in opal.

For South we cannot claim that he possessed an imagination like Taylor, a power of philosophising like Cudworth and More, a strategic range of vision and a dialectic fairness and prowess like Barrow, still less an erudition like Lightfoot and Pocock, and, least of all, a fervour like Baxter and the hated Puritans; but of all these desirable attributes, or of others equivalent, he possessed a share so respectable that, turned to the best account by a consummate rhetorician, it secured for him a place of enduring eminence in the ranks of pulpit oratory. Of learning he had enough to preserve him from mistakes and solecisms, and to supply the theme in hand with apposite facts and instructive illustrations; and his usual exemption from pedantry compels us to forgive an occasional quotation from "the fifty-second book of Dion Cassius," or a scrap of Greek from the fifty-seventh epistle of Synesius.* Nor have many preachers made a happier use of the materials supplied by mental science. In his remarks on conscience, on ingratitude, on complacency in the sins of other men, there are passages where for a moment he anticipates the masterly grasp and seer-like intuition of Bishop Butler; and there are passages not a few which set moral questions and intellectual processes in a light so entertaining, that till a hundred years afterwards, when Sidney Smith delivered his delectable course. man itself, applying the general rule of God's law to particular cases and actions. This is truly and properly conscience." And this is truly and properly the germ of a great deal of the simplified psychology of Dr Thomas Brown and other modern metaphysicians.

* Besides, it is only fair to add that the most of the Greek and Latin occurs in sermons preached at Lincoln's Inn, or before the University.

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