Parris isn't exactly the image of a small-town minister that humbly shepherds the flock that is his congregation. Parris simply does not appear to love the members of his congregation. He sees them as a part of his job that he is struggling to hold on to, and he sees...
Parris isn't exactly the image of a small-town minister that humbly shepherds the flock that is his congregation. Parris simply does not appear to love the members of his congregation. He sees them as a part of his job that he is struggling to hold on to, and he sees the members of his church as a means to an end. This is probably why John Proctor is able to confidently state that he doesn't see the light of God in Reverend Parris.
I like it not that Mr. Parris should lay his hand upon my baby. I see no light of God in that man. I’ll not conceal it.
Proctor is a devoted member of the church, and he has proven that by helping to build the very church that Parris now occupies; however, Parris seems to be money-focused, materialistic, and overly concerned about appearances. That's why he preaches about golden candlesticks rather than about the spiritual well-being of his congregation.
Since we built the church there were pewter candle-sticks upon the altar; Francis Nurse made them, y’know, and a sweeter hand never touched the metal. But Parris came, and for twenty week he preach nothin’ but golden candlesticks until he had them. I labor the earth from dawn of day to blink of night, and I tell you true, when I look to heaven and see my money glaring at his elbows—it hurt my prayer, sir, it hurt my prayer. I think, sometimes, the man dreams cathedrals, not clapboard meetin’ houses.
Parris is astute enough to know that he hasn't earned the favor of every member; therefore, rather than working harder to win their favor through increased love, Parris views much of his congregation with fear. He worries about the faction that doesn't like him. He worries that they may gain enough power to push him out of the pulpit. He is so fearful of that group that Parris calls them his "enemies," and that is an odd thing to say about the fellow believers that he is supposed to care for.
But if you trafficked with spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it.
There is a faction that is sworn to drive me from my pulpit. Do you understand that?