Familiar Letters, to Hon. Charles Sumner, Rev. S. J. May, E. Desor, Peter Lesley,
Professor H. D. Rogers, to his Niece, and others.
THESE letters, of a lighter and less formal kind than those in which Mr. Parker deliberately weighed his favourite subjects, follow here more naturally. They are, however, veined with all his qualities of sense and conscience. The pen is still chartered to transmit them. Such letters of mixed play and earnest show a very characteristic mood of his, better than a mere description.
To begin with some specimens of his impromptu notes. A young clergyman writes to him complaining of the number of Sundays, especially of the months which contain five, which he considered an imposition. To this Mr. Parker replies.--
There is no peace for the wicked. There is only one place where there is no Sunday. In this world, on earth, it is a weekly visitation. Heaven is a continual Sabbath. So you see the lot of the ministers who follow their calling thither. Only in one place is there no Sunday. I do not like to name it: they say, a great many Unitarian divines have gone thither. There is no Sunday, but--a continual Monday, a perpetual Black Monday, a great washing-day of souls that will not come clean, scrub you never so tightly!
Will you stay on the earth, there is the Sunday. Will you go to heaven, the inexorable Sunday is still there, and of course, "nulla Dominica sine sermone." If you go to-----alas, me! I dare not hurt your feelings with the name, you have not a preach-day, but a wash-day. You are not the washer but the washee. Here you are not the preachee. Comfort yourself with that. The agony of writing sermons is doubtless great, but oh, think of the tenfold agony of hearing the sermons, of sitting puncto singulo, in the worst of situations, to listen, "seized and tied down," not to judge, but only hear. Rejoice, 0 -----! in the strength of your cloth, but know that not yet are you a hearer of sermons.