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are, in consequence, unequivocally condemned. Whereas, had this same person attended the same Church the following Sunday, he might have heard the same minister, perhaps, who on the preceding Sunday had taken up a practical duty of Christianity into the pulpit, now enforcing that same doctrine of the cross, which had given the preaching of the conventicle the decided preference in his mind.

Now would this person, before he pronounces sentence in this case, but consider, that it is the duty of a Christian minister, not to dwell altogether on the fundamental truths of religion; but also (to make use of our author's words) " to trace and lay open all the secret motions of inward corruption, and to instruct his hearers, how best to conduct themselves in every distinct part of the Christian warfare; how best to strive against each particular vice, and to cultivate each grace of the Christian character;" he would conclude, that this could not otherwise be done, than by dedicating a considerable portion of his public instructions to the due enforcement of the practical duties of Christianity; that the man of God may "be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."* In doing this, if the clergy are not to have credit given them for preaching morality upon a Christian plan, they are placed in that unfortunate situation, as not to have it in their power to discharge their office to the satisfaction either of themselves or their hearers.

It is submitted, therefore, to the candour of this author, whether in his laudable zeal for the promotion

* 2 Tim. iii. 17.


of the Christian cause, the description which he has given of the present clergy of our Church be not too strong:* whether, taking them as a body, (and all judgments drawn from individuals, when generally applied, are most liable to error) “ the actual principles of the clergy of the establishment can be said to be extremely different from those which it professes." Whether, when there are so many striking testimonies to the contrary to be produced from the writings of modern divines, it can be said with truth, that "the peculiar doctrines of Christianity have almost altogether vanished from their view;" and that the sermons in our Churches contain no other traces of these peculiarities, either directly or indirectly, save what may be derived from the ordinary form with which they conclude; which, in the author's words, may "just serve to protect them from falling into entire oblivion." ||

Is there

"Is there then no balm in Gilead? no physician there?" Are all the pastors become brutish, neglecting to seek the Lord; and is the judgment passed upon them, that "therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered?"** God forbid!

of a

Had the foregoing description of the actual state of things in our Church, fallen from the pen writer, of whose Christian character any doubt could be entertained, it might have been considered

* Vindiciæ, c. i. p. 20.

† Wilberforce's Practical View, p. 408.

+ Ibid. p. 383.

Ibid. p. 384.

§ Jer. viii. 22.

** Jer. x. 21.

an intentional libel upon the clergy of the establishment. But seeing the writer in the light in. which I wish to see him, it is regarded as the overflowing of an honest zeal, in a cause in which every Christian must be supposed to feel. And I shall only hope, for the credit of my brethren, that the drawer of the above picture will, upon a further acquaintance with them, judge it to be considerably overcharged.

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The fatal consequences attendant upon the extinction of vital Christianity, cannot be contemplated but with the greatest concern; because the Christian religion provides the best security for man's happiness in every stage of his existence, having "the promise of the life that now is," not less than "of that which is to come.' Taking the subject, therefore, in no higher point of view, a regard to our political welfare must lead every thinking mind seriously to deprecate the decline of a cause, without the powerful assistance of which, man, though living in civilized society, can scarcely be considered as far removed from his wild state of nature.

Whilst, then, I would cordially join in bearing the most public testimony against that lukewarmness in the cause of Christ; that indifference, and even daring contempt for religion, which characterise the present age; and whilst I admit, as in truth I must, that some of our clergy do not feel that interest for the Christian cause, which they ought to feel; and by their injudicious conformity to the manners of a dissipated age, lessen that influence which their sacred profession ought to have in the world; I

1 Tim. iv. 8.

still am inclined to think, that, taken as a body, they are more wanting in zeal than in knowledge. But upon this subject, did I feel disposed to enlarge, it would not well become me to do so, sensible as I am of my own manifold defects.

Disallowing, however, the charge against the clergy in the extent in which it is brought, I still feel so strongly what the cause of genuine Christianity owes to the character and abilities of this author, as to give him full credit for the sincerity of his intention. At the same time, it may be suggested to his consideration, whether a description of the actual state of our Church, as destitute of the vital spirit of Christianity, in consequence of the genuine principles of it not being inculcated by its pastors, who, in their collective character, are represented as "having forsaken the fountain of living water, and hewed them out cisterns, which can hold no water;" be not a description, (in the present day, when establishments possess such little hold the human mind) which may do harm, by putting an idea into the minds of inconsiderate people, not easy to be eradicated; and thereby preventing the clergy from doing that good, which the majority of them, I trust, are still disposed to do.


For it may be asked, to what such a description of the insufficiency of our clergy (derived more from the indecent revilings of irregular preachers,*

"In alluding, therefore, to the indecent revilings of irregular preachers,' I could not (if there be any meaning in words) be understood to mean the regular ministers of the establishment; but to have in my eye those irregular self-constituted preachers, who are now making their way into all parishes, under the assumed title of Gospel Preachers, and drawing away

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ad, when accompanied with e of the nature of the Christow universally prevails, but to paration from its communion pore? And in proportion as this , we know, from past experience, the consequence. In proportion as e community separate from the estaC, the establishment itself is weakened; very separatist becomes, upon principle, to it. And should this enmity, by a addition to its cause, proceed so far as its subversion, we need no prophet to inthat our inestimable liturgy, to which as e most spiritual production of the human mind, how look up with reverence, will not be sufcred to survive the ruin.

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By all who are studious of their country's welare, more particularly by all who desire to support our ecclesiastical establishment, every effort should be used to revive the Christianity of our better days." Upon the revival of primitive Christianity, there can be no dissenting opinion among those who have duly considered the influence which religion has upon society; which may be regarded as the key-stone of the arch which bears up the weight of all human government. But though the support of an ecclesiastical establishment, as our author has observed, depends in a great measure

light-minded people from their parish churches, on the plausible ground that the Gospel is not preached in them."-Vindicia, c. i. p. 18, et seq.

*Wilberforce's Practical View, p. 419.

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