Jesus Creed

This from RJS:
It is amazing how the same things keep coming up – another quote from
Franklin’s autobiography:
About the year 1734 there arrived among us from Ireland a young
Presbyterian preacher, named Hemphill, who delivered with a good voice,
and apparently extempore, most excellent discourses, which drew
together considerable numbers of different persuasion, who joined in
admiring them. Among the rest, I became one of his constant hearers,
his sermons pleasing me, as they had little of the dogmatical kind, but
inculcated strongly the practice of virtue, or what in the religious
stile are called good works. Those, however, of our congregation, who
considered themselves as orthodox Presbyterians, disapproved his
doctrine, and were joined by most of the old clergy, who arraigned him
of heterodoxy before the synod, in order to have him silenced. I became
his zealous partisan, and contributed all I could to raise a party in
his favour, and we combated for him awhile with some hopes of success.
There was much scribbling pro and con upon the occasion; and finding
that, though an elegant preacher, he was but a poor writer, I lent him
my pen and wrote for him two or three pamphlets, and one piece in the
Gazette of April, 1735. Those pamphlets, as is generally the case with
controversial writings, though eagerly read at the time, were soon out
of vogue, and I question whether a single copy of them now exists.
During the contest an unlucky occurrence hurt his cause exceedingly.
One of our adversaries having heard him preach a sermon that was much
admired, thought he had somewhere read the sermon before, or at least a
part of it. On search he found that part quoted at length, in one of
the British Reviews, from a discourse of Dr. Foster’s. This detection
gave many of our party disgust, who accordingly abandoned his cause,
and occasioned our more speedy discomfiture in the synod. I stuck by
him, however, as I rather approved his giving us good sermons composed
by others, than bad ones of his own manufacture, though the latter was
the practice of our common teachers. He afterward acknowledged to me
that none of those he preached were his own; adding, that his memory
was such as enabled him to retain and repeat any sermon after one
reading only. On our defeat, he left us in search elsewhere of better
fortune, and I quitted the congregation, never joining it after, though
I continued many years my subscription for the support of its ministers.

Previous Posts
Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus