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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Religion

A Hard-Shell Sermon

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Transcript from original newspaper article (followed by a modern translation): -

A HARD-SHELL SERMON.
Reported by one who heard it in Mississippi.

A Hard-Shell Sermon

“My Brethering and Sistern, - I air a ignorant man, follored the plow all my life, and never rubbed agin nary college. As I said afore, I’m ignorant, and thank God for it. (Brother Jones responds: ‘Parson, yer ort to be very thankful, for yer very ignorant.’ Well, I’m agin all high-larnt fellers what preaches grammar and Greek fur a thousand dollars a-year. They preaches for the money, and they gits it, and that’s all they’ll git. They’ve got so high larnt they contradicts Scripter, what plainly tell us that the sun rises and sets. They seys it don’t, but that the yerth whirls round, like clay to the seal. What ud cume of the water in the wells, ef it did? Wodent it all spill out, and leave ‘em dry, and where ed we be? I may say to them, as the serpent said unto David: Much learning hath made thee mad.”

“When I preaches, I never takes a tex till I goes into the pulpit; then I preaches a plain sarment, what even women can understand. I never premedertates, but what is given to me in that same-hour, that I sez. Now I’m a gwine ter open the Bible, and the first verse I sees, I’m a gwine to take it for a tex. [Suiting the action to the word, he opened the Bible, and commenced reading and spelling together.] Man is f-e-a-r-f-u-l-l-y - fearfully and w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l-l-y – wonderfully m-a-d-e mad. “Man is fearfully and wonderfully made.” [Pronounced mad.] Well, it’s a quar tex, but I said I’se a gwine to preach from it, and I’m a gwine to do it. In the fust place, I’ll divide my sarment into three heads. Fust and foremost, I show you that a man will git mad. 2nd. That sometime he’ll git fearfully mad; and thirdly and lastly, when thar’s lots of things to vex and pester him, he’ll git fearfully and wonderfully mad. And in the application I’ll show you that good men sometimes gits mad, for the posle David himself, who wrote the tex, got mad, and called all men liars, and cussed his enemies, wishin’ ‘em to go down quick into hell; and Noah, he got tite, and cussed his boy Ham; just like some drunken master may cusses their slaves. But Noah and David repented; and all on us what gits mad must repent, or the devil’ll git us.”


Below: A Conversion to Modern English: -

“My Brothering and Sisters, - I am an ignorant man, followed the plow all my life, and never attended any college. As I said before, I’m ignorant, and thank God for it. (Brother Jones responds: ‘Parson, you ought to be very thankful, for your very ignorance.’ Well, I’m against all high-leaned fellows that preaches (teaches) grammar and Greek for a thousand dollars a year. They preach for the money, and they get it, and that’s all they’ll get. They’ve become so high leant that they contradict the Scriptures that plainly tell us that the sun rises and sets. They say it doesn’t, but that the Earth whirls around, like clay to the seal. What would come of the water in the wells, if it did? Wouldn’t it all spill out, and leave them dry, and where would we be then? I may say to them, as the serpent said unto David: Much learning hath made thee mad.”

“When I preach, I never take text till I go into the pulpit; then I preach a plain sermon, that everyone can understand. I never premeditate, other than what is given to me in that same-hour, that I say. Now I’m going to open the Bible, and the first verse I sees, I’m going to take text from. [Suiting the action to the word, he opened the Bible, and commenced reading and spelling together.] Man is f-e-a-r-f-u-l-l-y - fearfully and w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l-l-y – wonderfully m-a-d-e mad. “Man is fearfully and wonderfully made.” [Pronounced mad.] Well, it’s a funny text, but I said I was going to preach from it, and I’m going to do it. In the first place, I’ll divide my sermon into three headings. First and foremost, I show you that a man will get mad. 2nd. That sometime he’ll get fearfully mad; and thirdly and lastly, when there’s lots of things to vex and pester him, he’ll got fearfully and wonderfully mad. And in the application I’ll show you that good men sometimes gets mad, for the apostle David himself, who wrote the text, got mad, and called all men liars, and cussed his enemies, wishing them to go down quick into hell; and Noah, he got tight, and cussed his boy Ham; just like some drunken master may cuss their slaves. But Noah and David repented; and all of us that gets mad must repent, or the devil will get us.”