Imatges de pÓgina
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We do not profess ourselves to be in the number of those, if there be any such, who think that there is nothing amiss amongst us; for this would be to lay claim to that perfection which belongs not to man. At the same time, in reference to the present state of things in the world, it may be proper to suggest to the reader,the great danger of his being too readily impressed with the idea of improvement, either in Church or state. There are no two words in the English language, the sound of which, from the use that has been lately made of them, conveys so strong a sense of alarm to the thinking mind, as those of liberty and reformation Things most valuable in themselves become most destructive in their abuse. We have lived to see, what we should not other? wise have believed, the giants of infidelity waging open war against heaven; false philosophers, under the specious pretence of diffusing light and liberty! through a benighted and enslaved world, engaged in a more daring league of systematic opposition to the plans of Divine Providence for the benefit of mankind, than has been ever witnessed. It is with a mixture of horror and indignation, that we look back to the scenes which these ministers of rebellious darkness have been permitted to bring forth) it is with awe and trembling, we look for... ward to what may, in the Divine Council, be the winding up of this eventful tragedy.t tisft you

It is some consolation, indeed, to those who are t humbly waiting for their Lord's coming, to think, ' that the gates of hell shall not finally prevail against his Church. At the same time, it should

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seem as if woe had been pronounced against "the
inhabitants of the earth and of the sea;" and that the
Devil was come down unto them, "having great
wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short
time. "197 i 9mit oms- adt A .0m of jog
Ji From the chapter which modern history presents
to our perusal, we feel confident in the assertion,
that even the most corrupt religion is to be pre-
ferred to no religion at all; and that where refor
tion is really wanted, it is not to be effected by
means which tend to the dissolution of constituted
authority: whilst from the plan, which has been
adopted for the purpose of enabling infidelity to
triumph over the Christian cause, we hesitate not
to affirm, that the preservation of our establishment
is essential to the continuance of the Church in
this country; it being the best security against that,
Babel of religious confusion and consequent infide
lity, which would be the ultimate effect of its de-
struction. An establishment is to be regarded as
the out-work of religion. The enemy who pulls it
down, does it but with a view to the more complete.
destruction of the citadel which it was designed to
secure toiteagi a as food to swixum dtive
Some well-meaning people, indeed, have found
a way of satisfying themselves upon this head, by
making the Church of Christ and Church of Enge
land mean two different things:, and thus, while
they flatter themselves that they are acting upon
the best principle, they are putting themselves into
a state of preparation to become instrumental in
the destruction of that Church of which they

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*Rev. xii. 12.

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profess themselves members. That ignorant people should be carried away with so plausable an idea, can be no matter of surprise; they have been, and always will be, imposed upon by sounds. But that men boforeading and education should adopt it, affords one proof among many, that experience does not always furnish wisdom.ed buta „pobrsten

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It must be confessed, indeed, that the agein which we live, though a reading, is certainly not a learned, age. Light publications of the day cal culated for the purpose of present entertainment, and superficial information, are preferred to the scientific pages of the learned, though less amusing, writer, which require abstraction of thought and intenseness of application to make them yield fruit to the reader. Advantage has been industriously taken of this general taste for superficial reading, to undermine those fundamental principles of government, both in Church and state, which constituted, in better times, a standard for judg ment in these matters; by means of those plausible theories and specious arguments, which, by anhinging and unsettling the human mind, are calcu lated to prepare it for every change.

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Against such men and their writings it was never perhaps more necessary to be on our guard than in these days; when the right of private judgment and the freedom of enquiry (principles in them. selves of unquestionable and excellent use, when properly employed) have been carried to such an extent, "as in a manner to set at nought all autho rity, under the plausible pretence of delivering mankind from established prejudices.

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To formarjudgment, indeed, from the systems of some modern speculatists, which manifest a supercilidus inattention to the sober deductions of all who have gone before them, in the walks either of religious or political knowledge, we should conclude that we were newly dropt into a world of yesterday, and had all our experience to learn; or that our forefathers had been sleeping through ignorances and insensibility, or at best had been gropingh their way by a glimmering taper, which had afforded but light sufficient to make their darkness visible; and that we, their more favoured sons, were just opening our eyes to that dawn of enlightened reason, which our Creator in his wisdom had thought fit to reserve for the more full illumination of the present day. 51 si What people are taught to despise, they will not long be solicitous to preserve. Upon this principle, it may be a subject worthy the consideration of those who really mean well to our establishment, whether this imaginary distinction between the Church of Christ and Church of England, now propagating among us, be not designed, by the enemies of the latter, as an introductory step to its wished-for dissolution.

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Wises and good men, in discerning the signs of the times, will learn from them, we trust, a seasonable lesson of prudence and cautional odra

Should it, however, be the will of that wise Being who directeth all things, (as from the complexion of the times we are occasionally led to fear may be the case) that this nation should learn a second lesson in that licentious school, in which it might

be thought that it had remained a length of time sufficient to have received a finished education; it may at least be hoped that the clergy will not be brought in as accessary to the judgment.

Be it remembered, that the most common way of wounding the Church has been through the sides of its clergy. This method was practised with success, when the Church of this country possessed a most pious and able ministry. We are not, therefore, to be surprised that it should be attempted in the present day.

But although no argument drawn from the con'duct of individuals ought in equity to bear against the body to which they belong; yet when a prejudice once takes possession of the human mind, it is not always in the power of reason to confine it to the precise object that originally gave rise to it. This consideration should make the clergy, of all men, most circumspect in their conduct; because, as the world will judge, it is in their power to do the greatest injury to the cause of which they ought to be the most effectual supporters.

We are told, that "the time is fast approaching, when Christianity will be almost as openly disavowed in the language, as in fact it is already supposed to have disappeared from the conduct of men; when infidelity will be held to be the necessary appendage of a man of fashion; and to believe will be deemed the indication of a feeble mind, and a contracted understanding." 13* Should such, alas! be the actual condition of this country, the history of the Christian Church will show what its future ** Wilberforce, p. 375.

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