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Curate of Cumberworth:
Vicar of Roost .
BY THE AUTHOR OF “THE OWLET OF OWLSTONE EDGE,"
“S. ANTHOLIN'S," ETC.
" While I touch the string,
Wreath my brows with laurel,
Elas for once a moral !"-MOORE.
JOSEPH MASTERS, ALDERSGATE STREET,
AND NEW BOND STREET.
FROM THE AUTHOR TO THE READER.
that these tales are a mere libel on the Clergy, beneficed and unbeneficed; that the object of that which is entitled, “The Curate of Cumberworth,” is to represent our Curates as a body of inen opinionative, self-satisfied, jealous, meddlesome,-assuming as a matter of course when they enter upon a parochial charge, that whatever is, is wrong, and liking nothing heartily which they have not originated themselves : and that it is the design of "The Vicar of Roost” to portray our Incumbents as self-seeking, selfindulgent, domineering, insincere, I pray you not to believe a syllable of the charge, but to read and judge for yourself. “Read” (if I may make the words of good Bishop Sanderson my own) “without gall or prejudice. Let not truth fare worse for the plaipness. Catch not at syllables and phrases. Study to seek the Church's peace.”
“'Tis an ill bird that bewrays its own nest.” A parson writes this volume who commenced his
ministry in a curacy, and finds himself at its close in a benefice. From his own experience, therefore, he can sympathise with the difficulties of either state, and knows (as no layman could) the temptations and infirmities from within, and the sore trials of faith and patience from without, which beset all, of whatever rank, who are exercising the office of the ministry.
And therefore, in no censorious spirit, but as fully conscious that he himself is more liable than most to be met with the retort, “ Physician, heal thyself,” has he ventured to write upon the subjects broached in the ensuing pages. Depicting scenes and persons, possible, indeed, but, it is to be hoped, not very probable, his purpose has been (by the instrumentality of sketches,-out of drawing, -over-coloured,-exaggerated,-grotesque if you will,) to point out the tendency to which certain tempers and dispositions, if unchecked, will lead; and the manner in which they will interfere with, and mar Ministerial exertions. It is the further object of these fictions to remind those whose destiny calls them to work together in the same parish, that there is constant need of mutual consideration and forbearance; that Curate and Incumbent have alike their infirmities and frailties, errors of judgment and deficiencies in conduct; that each needs allowance from the other, patient treatment, and charitable construction of motives.
“Veniam petimusque damusque vicissim," must be the maxim guiding our daily life, if that life is
to produce peace to ourselves, and benefit to those committed to our trust. No parish can be worked as it ought to be, where the Incumbent and Curate are rivals, instead of fellow-labourers and true yoke-fellows ;-where the one is jealous of the other, and both, to use the common expression, are “pulling different ways:" while in those parishes where the Clergy act harmoniously together, sharing the heat and trials of the day with willing minds, and bearing, so far as they can, each other's burdens; where they discharge their duties in all confidence that, whether absent or present, each is strengthening the hands of the other; that, upon principle, each will always do his best to aid his fellow-worker in his exertions; there we in. variably see the most earnest efforts, and the most successful results for the promotion of God's glory, and the welfare of souls.
In the main, the connexion of Incumbent and Curate is one of mutual respect and good-will; but still, in some cases, the one class holds aloof from the other, and thus opportunities of doing good are lost, and the enemy acts successfully upon the vile old principle of “ Divide, et impera.” It is in the hope of drawing attention to the evils thence ensuing that these tales have been written. The work, indeed, may be ill done, or in a manner, the wisdom of which may be questioned; (if so, may another do it better!) but still it is to be hoped that any earnest effort to point out an evil which may be injurious to the Church's interests, and the