History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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" I beg leave to mention as I proceed, that from the pulpit, where I must have had a pretty good view of the whole Church, I saw very few officees ; and of those few, I knew not one even by name: I thought there were not twelve. Of common soldiers the number was also inconsiderable; I thought there were scarcely twenty, and these were not of the camp, but of the Surrey Militia quartered in the town. There were indeed more of the same regi­ment in the porch or in the church yard : but too remote from the pulpit to hear a syllable of sedition, if there had been any to hear. I mention the paucity of officers and privates for the following reason: the public has been taught by mistaken prints to believe, that I was guilty of preaching peace and good-will before the whole camp, that the aisle was crowded with soldiers, and that all the officers of the camp attended. I appeal to the parish­ioners present, whether the number of military men, privates and officers included, was greater than I have conjectured. My sermon was not exclusively calculated for a congregation of persons in any particular profession. There was not a word addressed by an apostrophe, as I have heard it asserted, to the officers. I had no reason to suppose that any military men, but those of the Surrey Militia quartered at Brighton, would be at the church. I thought, and I believe it was so, that Divine service was performed by the chaplains in the camp, and that the soldiers of the camp would not be permitted to straggle to the town or the church, on a Sunday, during Divine service. The public has been much deceived in the exaggerated accounts of my preaching to the whole army; but had the whole army been at the church, had it been allowed or been possible, I am certain they would have heard nothing from me but what was authorised by the Gospel, enforced by the law of man as well as of God, tending to promote their happiness in all events, and animating them to the discharge of every duty, on prin-
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