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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Robert Pollok's trial discourse


ROBERT POLLOK, author of the Course of Time, while a student of theology, once delivered a trial discourse before the Secession Divinity Hall, Glasgow, the subject of which was Sin. His manner of treating it, in the opinion of his fellow-students, was rather turgid, and, at those passages which they considered to be particularly outrageous, they did not scruple to give audible symptoms of the amusement they derived from Mr. Pollok’s high-flown phrases. At last one flight was so extravagant that the professor (Dick) himself was fairly obliged to give way, and smiled. At this moment the young preacher was just upon the point of a climax, expressing the dreadful evils which sin had brought into the world, and he closed it with the following remark:

"And had it not been for sin, the smile of folly had never been seen on the brow of wisdom."

This anecdote is related upon the authority of a person who was present, and it is stated that Pollok was not popular among his prosaic fellow-students, who seem to have been too eager to have a catch at him.


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