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Thomas De Witt Talmage
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 260 pages of information about Around The Tea-Table.

First.  Keep your minister poor.  There is nothing more ruinous than to pay a pastor too much salary.  Let every board of trustees look over their books and see if they have erred in this direction; and if so, let them cut down the minister’s wages.  There are churches which pay their pastors eight hundred dollars per annum.  What these good men do with so much money we cannot imagine.  Our ministers must be taken in.  If by occasional fasting for a day our Puritan fathers in New England became so good, what might we not expect of our ministers if we kept them in perpetual fast?  No doubt their spiritual capacity would enlarge in proportion to their shrinkage at the waistcoat.  The average salary of ministers in the United States is about six hundred dollars.  Perhaps by some spiritual pile-driver we might send it down to five hundred dollars; and then the millennium, for the lion by that time would be so hungry he would let the lamb lie down inside of him.  We would suggest a very economical plan:  give your spiritual adviser a smaller income, and make it up by a donation visit.  When everything else fails to keep him properly humble, that succeeds.  We speak from experience.  Fourteen years ago we had one, and it has been a means of grace to us ever since.

Secondly.  For securing poor preaching, wait on your pastor with frequent committees.  Let three men some morning tie their horses at the dominie’s gate, and go in and tell him how to preach, and pray, and visit.  Tell him all the disagreeable things said about him for six months, and what a great man his predecessor was, how much plainer his wife dressed, and how much better his children behaved.  Pastoral committees are not like the small-pox—­you can have them more than once; they are more like the mumps, which you may have first on one side and then on the other.  If, after a man has had the advantage of being manipulated by three church committees, he has any pride or spirit left, better give him up as incorrigible.

Thirdly.  To secure poor preaching, keep the minister on the trot.  Scold him when he comes to see you because he did not come before, and tell him how often you were visited by the former pastor.  Oh, that blessed predecessor!  Strange they did not hold on to the angel when they had him.  Keep your minister going.  Expect him to respond to every whistle.  Have him at all the tea parties and “the raisings.”  Stand him in the draught of the door at the funeral—­a frequent way of declaring a pulpit vacant.  Keep him busy all the week in out-door miscellaneous work; and if at the end of that time he cannot preach a weak discourse, send for us, and we will show him how to do it.  Of course there are exceptions to all rules; but if the plan of treatment we have proposed be carried out, we do not see that any church in city or country need long be in want of poor preaching.

CHAPTER XXIX.

Shelves A man’s index.

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