Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker: Ch. 39

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When we arrived at our lodgings, he commanded Mr Clinker to attend him up stairs, and spoke to him in these words — 'Since you are called upon by the spirit to preach and to teach, it is high time to lay aside the livery of an earthly master; and for my part, I am unworthy to have an apostle in my service' — 'I hope (said Humphry) I have not failed in my duty to your honour — I should be a vile wretch if I did, considering the misery from which your charity and compassion relieved me — but having an inward admonition of the spirit —' 'An admonition of the devil (cried the squire, in a passion) What admonition, you blockhead? What right has such a fellow as you to set up for a reformer?' 'Begging your honour's pardon (replied Clinker) may not the new light of God's grace shine upon the poor and the ignorant in their humility, as well as upon the wealthy, and the philosopher in all his pride of human learning?' 'What you imagine to be the new light of grace (said his master) I take to be a deceitful vapour, glimmering through a crack in your upper story — In a word, Mr Clinker, I will have no light in my family but what pays the king's taxes, unless it be the light of reason, which you don't pretend to follow.'

'Ah, sir! (cried Humphry) the light of reason, is no more in comparison to the light I mean, than a farthing candle to the sun at noon' — 'Very true (said uncle), the one will serve to shew you your way, and the other to dazzle and confound your weak brain. Heark ye, Clinker, you are either an hypocritical knave, or a wrong-headed enthusiast; and in either case, unfit for my service. If you are a quack in sanctity and devotion, you will find it an easy matter to impose upon silly women, and others of crazed understanding, who will contribute lavishly for your support. If you are really seduced by the reveries of a disturbed imagination, the sooner you lose your senses entirely, the better for yourself and the community. In that case, some charitable person might provide you with a dark room and clean straw in Bedlam, where it would not be in your power to infect others with your fanaticism; whereas, if you have just reflection enough left to maintain the character of a chosen vessel in the meetings of the godly, you and your hearers will be misled by a Will-i'the-wisp, from one error into another, till you are plunged into religious frenzy; and then, perhaps, you will hang yourself in despair' 'Which the Lord of his infinite mercy forbid! (exclaimed the affrighted Clinker) It is very possible I may be under the temptation of the devil, who wants to wreck me on the rocks of spiritual pride — Your honour says, I am either a knave or a madman; now, as I'll assure your honour, I am no knave, it follows that I must be mad; therefore, I beseech your honour, upon my knees, to take my case into consideration, that means may be used for my recovery'

The 'squire could not help smiling at the poor fellow's simplicity, and promised to take care of him, provided he would mind the business of his place, without running after the new light of methodism: but Mrs Tabitha took offence at his humility, which she interpreted into poorness of spirit and worldly mindedness. She upbraided him with the want of courage to suffer for conscience sake — She observed, that if he should lose his place for bearing testimony to the truth, Providence would not fail to find him another, perhaps more advantageous; and, declaring that it could not be very agreeable to live in a family where an inquisition was established, retired to another room in great agitation.

My uncle followed her with a significant look, then, turning to the preacher, 'You hear what my sister says — If you cannot live with me upon such terms as I have prescribed, the vineyard of methodism lies before you, and she seems very well disposed to reward your labour' — 'I would not willingly give offence to any soul upon earth (answered Humphry); her ladyship has been very good to me, ever since we came to London; and surely she has a heart turned for religious exercises; and both she and lady Griskin sing psalms and hymns like two cherubims — But, at the same time, I'm bound to love and obey your honour — It becometh not such a poor ignorant fellow as me, to hold dispute with gentlemen of rank and learning — As for the matter of knowledge, I am no more than a beast in comparison of your honour; therefore I submit; and, with God's grace, I will follow you to the world's end, if you don't think me too far gone to be out of confinement'.