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6. CHAPTER VI: WAR (continued)
And here I must make a protest against the pretence, so often put forward by the working clergy, that they are overburdened by the multitude of sermons to be preached. We are all too fond of our own voices, and a preacher is encouraged in the vanity of making his heard by the privilege of a compelled audience. His sermon is the pleasant morsel of his life, his delicious moment of self-exaltation. 'I have preached nine sermons this week, four the week before. I have preached twenty-three sermons this month. It is really too much.' 'Too much for the strength of any one.' 'Yes,' he answered meekly, 'indeed it is; I am beginning to feel it painfully.' 'Would,' said I, 'you could feel it--would that you could be made to feel it.' But he never guessed that my heart was wrung for the poor listeners.
There was, at any rate, no tedium felt in listening to Mr Slope on the occasion in question. His subject came too home to his audience to be dull; and, to tell the truth, Mr Slope had the gift of using words forcibly. He was heard through his thirty minutes of eloquence with mute attention and open ears; but with angry eyes, which glared found form one enraged parson to another, with wide-spread nostrils from which already burst forth fumes of indignation, and with many shufflings (sic) of the feet and uneasy motions of the body, which betokened minds disturbed, and hearts not at peace with all the world.
At last the bishop, who, of all the congregation, had been most surprised, and whose hair almost stood on end with terror, gave the blessing in a manner not at all equal to that in which he had long been practising it in his own study, and the congregation was free to go their way.
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