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(without “regarding the person of men,") to 's teach the way of God in truth."
Upon this foundation, I apprehend, rests the most solid and powerful reason for a regular Church Establishment in any state; and the best argument for that which we have the happiness of possessing in our own country
When we contemplate, indeed, the venerable fabrick of the English Church Establishrnent; its wise adaptation to our form of civil government; its mild, but judicious Discipline; its simple, but solemn, Ritual; its sober, but affecting Liturgy; its reasonable, but scriptural Doctrines; and its Articles, admitting an interpretation sufficiently liberal on deep and difficult points, but definite and precise. on fundamental tenets : when we take into consideration, also, the provision which it makes for the due qualification of its Clergyma learned education, academical discipline, and professional examinations: It is scarcely possible not to see, and difficule not to confess, that it affords every human means, and every encouraging probability, of dispensing “the word of life," pure and unadulterated, to the community ; 'and training 6 the common people” to “the nurture " and admonition of the LORD."
A powerful negative proof, at least, of the utility and wisdom of our Church Establishment, in duly preparing a body of its members for the office of Spiritual Teachers, and confining their instructions to the obvious doctrines of the gospel, arises from the fatal effects which we see actually produced, in numerous instances, on the happiness and morals of the lower conditions of mankind, from the profession of Preacher being assumed by those, who are neither regularly appointed to, nor properly qualified for, the arduous office ; whose enthusiasm, or' ignorance, perverts the right ways of the Lord;" and who “ lead astray all that give heed unto them, either into fanaticism or despair ; into want of charity for their fellow creatures; into a presumptuous assurance of salvation, destructive of the moral principle; or an unfounded certainty of reprobation, equally fatal to virtue and peace. *
If, then, such be the consequences of the Ministry being intruded on by insufficient persons; if such havock be made in private peace, and such mischief be produced to the public welfare, by the religious teaching of those who
* I trust that I cannot be supposed to have the slightest reference, in the above observations, to the pious, well. informed, and regular Ministers of Dissenting Congre
either “lack knowledge," or want discretion; no clearer evidence can be required, of the value and importance of a regular Clergy to the well-being of a State : and no stronger stimulus can be applied to the individuals of that body, to exert themselves in counteracting the noxious effects of such “ false teaching,” by delivering conscientiously, to the “ common people,” the pure and comfortable; the reasonable and improving doctrines of the Gospel ; and propounding, with clearness, and frequency, and force, the indispensable necessity of pracgations; since they relate exclusively to that description of Teachers, which even every sober and sensible Dissenter must regard wih sorrow or contempt. Equally distant be it from me to think with unchåritableness, or to speak with disrespect, of the Dissenters themselves; whom I cordially esteem as a conscientious and discreet body of men; and many of whom I highly regard as acquaintances and friends. God forbid! that I should think the worse of any wise or good man for differing from myself on points of faith, or of church discipline. God forbid ! that I should withhold the right hand of fellowship from a worthy christian brother, because his conscientious scruples, or the religion of his forefathers, have separated him from the church, of which I am a minister. GOD forbid! that I should refuse to co-operate, heart and hand, with those “ without the pale,” in any obviously good work, public or private, the simple and evident object of which is, to promote the glory of God, and the happiness of man. The English Dissenters have, in all ages, been fruitful in good and great characters ; in men “ whose names,” like those of Watts and DODDRIDGE, and numberless others, « will be had in everlasting « remembrance."
tising its precepts. They are the more loudly called upon, indeed, in the present day, for this active exertion, because their influence with the multitude is evidently diminishing, through the hardihood of these “ railing “ accusers," who represent the great majority of the English Clergy to “ the common
people” as worshippers of human learning, and as exalting reason above faith; and who arrogate to themselves, exclusively, the venerable title of gospel preachers.
For men to depreciate that which they do not possess, is the usual refuge of con. scious poverty.' This, however, does not lessen the value or utility of the despised article; and buman learning, however lightly spoken of by the ignorant and the vulgar, will still assert an undeniable claim to the gratitude and esteem of mankind, for the benefits it has conferred upon society, in civilizing, improving, and adorning it; in multiplying, refining, and exalting its pleasures ; and in calling forth, fostering, and perfecting, the noblest qualities of the human mind. But, it is chiefly in religion, in the diffusion, establishment, and vindication of the gospel, that its advantages have been most apparent; most powerfully felt, and widely acknowledged. That the Holy Scriptures are graciously accommodated to the capacity of the meanest of mankind; and that all things necessary to salvation, both in faith and practice, are there made level to the humblest intellect, cannot be denied with. out blasphemy; since, to suppose the promulgation of a law, which shall be above the comprehension of those by whom it is to be observed, would be to impute to the lawgiver the highest injustice. But still there are (and must of necessity be) in the Holy Scriptures themselves, obscurities highly desirable to be illustrated, and difficulties exceedingly satisfactory to be unraveled; for the effecting of which, wemust have recourse to the exertion of those powers of the intellect, with which the ALMIGHTY has been pleased to bless us ; and to that learning which is the result of their careful cultivation. This was the case even in the apostolical age, when the sensible operations of the Holy Spirit seemed to supersede the necessity of all human aids and means in the diffusion of spiritual knowledge, and the propagation of the gospel of CHRIST. St. Peter himself has declared, or at least implied as much in his Second General Epistle; where he says, “ Even as our beloved brother Paul also,