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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Rowland Hill

  • [The Rev. Rowland Hill, a popular preacher and disciple of Whitefield; born at Hawkstone, England, 1744; ordained in the Established Church, he became a preacher to the Calvinistic Methodists; built Surrey Chapel, London, in which he preached nearly fifty years; died 1833.]
  • Why should the Devil have all the good tunes?

  • A question once asked by this eccentric preacher; hence he frequently had such airs as “Rule Britannia” sung at Surrey Chapel. This question has been attributed to Charles Wesley, and a French Huguenot once said that there was no reason why the powers of evil should monopolize all the best tunes.
  • Mr. Hill had a great intolerance of dirt and slovenliness, and on noticing any thing of the kind he would say, “Here, mistress, is a trifle for you to buy some soap and a scrubbing-brush; there is plenty of water to be had for nothing. Mr. Whitefield used to say, ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness.’” This aphorism was used as a quotation by John Wesley in a sermon on Dress, with the addition of the word “indeed,” as if he had heard it from his intimate friend and co-worker Whitefield: “Slovenliness is no part of religion; neither this [1 Pet. iii. 3, 4], nor any text of Scripture, condemns neatness of apparel; certainly this is a duty, not a sin; ‘cleanliness is, indeed, next to godliness.’” Neither of them may have been familiar with the commentary of Rabbi Pinhas-ben-Jaïr (temp. Marcus Aurelius) on the command of the Mishna (one of the two divisions of the Talmud), concerning the avoidance of occasions for sin: “Religious zeal leads to cleanliness, cleanliness to purity, purity to godliness, godliness to humility, humility to the fear of sin.” This will be found in various forms in the “Talmud de Jérusalem,” par Schwab, Paris, 1881, iv. 16, in a commentary on the treatise “Schabbath;” and in “Sentences et Proverbes du Talmud et du Midrasch,” par Schul, 463.
  • The authorship of another famous saying is in dispute between Wesley and Whitefield, one of whom saw a widow wearing the deepest black a considerable time after her husband’s death, and sternly demanded, “What, madam, have you not forgiven God Almighty yet?” One year after the death of the Spanish King Alfonso XIII. (in 1885), at the close of a commemorative service, a deputation of ladies waited upon the queen, in accordance with the etiquette of that court, and formally divested her of the habiliments of mourning.