« PreviousContinue »
On Solicitude to Suppress Vice
On a Good Example
On the Excellence of the Ministry
On the Manner in which the Clergy are to Conduct
themselves among Men of the World
On the Prudent Conversation and Behaviour of the Clergy 172
THE perusal of Massillon's Synodal Discourses, or Ecclesiastical Charges, having sometimes refreshed my mind with comfort, and sometimes filled me with reproof; I was induced to translate such of them as are more immediately applicable to the ministry of the Church of England ; after which, thinking that other men might, like myself, be quickened to greater diligence, and more active exertions, in the prosecution of their holy calling, by reading them in our own language, I at length determined to commit them to the
press. I have an additional encouragement to do this, in the persuasion, that young men designed for holy orders may-if they condescend, as I trust they will, to read them-be enabled to form, perhaps, a more exact judgment of the awful obligations the ministry imposes on them; and may, at the same time, be stimulated to discharge those obligations, as soon as they undertake them, with more credit to themselves, advantage to the Church, and glory to Almighty God, than might otherwise be, invariably, the case.
Massillon is an author, who cannot be read with pleasure, nor even endured, in a literal translation: he multiplies words with such abundant profusion, that an English reader, not perceivingit being impossible to preserve—the graces of his style, would be fatigued, and even disgusted, by the same idea so often, with, scarcely, a change of words, presented to his mind. I was, therefore, reduced to this delimma-either to abridge and translate the author-and of consequence, sometimes unavoidably, to weaken his sense, and retain, to a certain degree, the * idiom of his language--or to express his sentiments in my own style ;-and had I preferred the latter—and had even succeeded
-I should have offered to the reader, at best, but an imperfect imitation.
I am aware that one objection will be made to these Discourses--independent of the want of ele gance and ornament, which may, I fear, be justly attributed to the translation-viz. that the same thoughts, even in this abridgment, more especially in the first eight Charges, too frequently
I could not, however, prevail with myself to reduce them to a smaller compass; the sentiments being so exceedingly important, that they
* Whilst the reader is perusing the following Charges, should he be disposed to censure me, I must request him to bear in mind, as my apology, the observation of the first of critics and the best of men, Dr. Johnson, that—"No book was ever turned from one language into another, without imparting something of its native idiom.”