Edward Stillingfleet (1635-1699)

King Charles II asked Stillingfleet, `How it came about that he always read his sermons before him, when, he was informed, he always preached without book elsewhere?' He told the King that `the awe of so noble an audience, where he saw nothing that was not greatly superior to him, but chiefly the seeing before him so great and wise a prince, made him afraid to trust himself'. With which answer the King was very well contented. `But pray,' says Stillingfleet, `will your majesty give me leave to ask a question too? Why do you read your speeches, when you can have none of the same reason?' `Why truly, doctor,' says the King, `your question is a very-pertinent one, and so will be my answer. I have asked them [the House of Commons] so often, and for so much money, that I am ashamed to look them in the face.'

From Jonathan Richardson, Richardsoniana (1776), pp. 89-90.

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