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what manner every department of literature has been occupied, and converted into a battery against the faith and the church. Half our danger does not arise from tracts professedly penned on the subject of religion, but from writings of other kinds, carrying nothing hostile in their appearance. The unsuspecting reader, who sat down to inform or amuse himself with a piece of natural or civil history, biography, a poem, a tale, or a fable, if he have not his wits about him, finds his reverence for the doctrines of Christianity, and those who teach them, filched from him; rises, to his great surprise, half an infidel; and is not sure whether he has a soul, a Saviour, or a God. As it has not yet appeared that


the talents of believers are less various or less excellent, than those of unbelievers, all these methods of diffusing error should be counteracted by the advocates for truth. The taste of the age should be attended to, and instruction administered through such vehicles as are most likely to make it palatable. Every man, in that way to which his genius directs him, should exert his abilities in the service of his Maker and Redeemer. He should early form a plan for this purpose, to be kept in view, during the course of his reading, whether stated or occasional. He will be pleased to find, when he does this, how every book he opens will lend its assistance, and. furnish some hint that may be improved for the promotion of his design. An observation may be

↑ In this particular, among others, one of our old divines used to say, he found the good effect of a custom he had long

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here added, that as in political, so in religious cou-tests, execution is done among the people, not by bulky treatises, but small pamphlets, written down to the apprehensions of the vulgar, diligently circulated and sold at a low price'.


My brethren of the clergy will, I am sure, consider, with me, and lay these things to heart. We engage, at ordination, not only "by the Scriptures to teach and exhort with wholesome doctrine,” but likewise to "withstand and convince gainsayers; "to be ready with all faithful diligence to banish " and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines,


contrary to God's word; and both privately and "openly to call upon and encourage others to do "the same." The faith is a precious deposit committed to our charge. No care, no pains can be too great, to preserve it to our people, and deliver it down to our successors in the ministry, pure and

practised, which was on a Sunday evening, to put a fresh sermon on the stocks for the Sunday ensuing. Something always occurred that was of use, in the reading of the week; during which, he never failed to ask himself, as he went on, To what purpose can I apply this, in the way of my profession?-An excellent rule. See that improving little book, the Life of Dr. Hammond, by Bishop Fell.

An excellent little tract was printed for Rivington, in 1774. I wish 20,000 of them were dispersed through the kingdom, at this time. It was entitled, A Preservative against the Publications dispersed by modern Socinians; in which the impiety and absurdity of their principles are clearly shown; addressed by a country clergyman to his parishioners.

• Ordination Office.


Neither violence nor fraud should be suffered to rob us of the inestimable treasure. God and his church expect and require that we fulfil honourably this engagement, so solemnly formed in the presence of both. Whenever our faith is assaulted, to us the world naturally looks up for its defence; and it is well, if a failure in this part of our duty be not, one day, urged against us, as an argument for the abolition of an useless order of men. It is the property of our great adversary, first to TEMPT, and then to ACCUSE.

The propagation and support of true religion constitute, indeed, our peculiar task, the prescribed employment of our time, the proper exercise of our powers and faculties; for want of which, they will be either turned to other pursuits quite foreign from our profession, or dissipated in frivolous amusements, or permitted to rust in sloth and indolence. Study of the Scriptures and ecclesiastical history must ever be regarded as the first duty of a clergyman, because that alone can prepare and qualify him for a discharge of all the rest. It is a duty which, if cordially taken in hand and vigorously prosecuted, will soon become his pleasure. And when a man's duty becomes his pleasure, he is a happy man. Till then he never can be one; being indebted for his peace of mind, if he ever enjoy any, only to the want of consideration and re

* When a friend told Bishop Cumberland, he would wear himself out by his incessant application: "It is better," replied the bishop, "to wear out than to rust out."

flection. But what is there which can so enlarge, improve, and delight the human mind, as a contemplation of the truths and dispensations of the Almighty? where is the pleasure that can stand the comparison for a moment? I know of none that is not as much inferior as earth is to heaven.

The church of England, from the time of the reformation, has gloried in a learned clergy, who stood prepared to repel, with skill and vigour, the assaults of her various adversaries. Some would persuade us that this glory is departing from her. "The number of learned Socinians, it is said, is "increasing; that of learned Trinitarians decreasing"."

The remark cannot but excite some wonder, when coming from one so evidently overmatched, as he appears to have been, in point of learning, by his very respectable antagonist. It affords, however, a useful hint to us, not to grow slack and remiss in our professional studies; not to think of subsisting on the fame acquired by our predecessors, but diligently availing ourselves of their labours, still farther to advance and set forward the truth by our own. A general diffusion of knowledge in these latter days has enabled the lower orders of mankind to become acquainted with the objections urged against doctrines laid down by our church as essential and fundamental. Her ministers, therefore, will be frequently called upon for answers to those objections; which, without having read and thought

Importance of Free Inquiry, p. 51.


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well upon the subject, they may be at a loss to furnish. Advantage will be made of this circumstance; their people will be seduced, and the enemy will exult. A very small portion of time, applied regularly and constantly to any one pursuit, will soon effect things almost incredible. It is recorded, of the great Usher, that, wishing to know, at first hand, the sentiments of antiquity on the points in dispute between the Romanists and ourselves, he went through, between the age of twenty and thirtyeight, the voluminous writings of the Fathers by devoting, amidst his other labours, a small proportion of time every day to that purpose. Tasks of this extent and difficulty need not be now imposed on a clergyman. The evidence on most controverted doctrines has been collected and arranged for him; and by means of a few well-chosen books", perused with due attention, he may become a sufficient ma

w Such as-Bishop Bull's Latin Works; Waterland's Importance of the Doctrine of the Trinity; his Sermons at Lady Moyer's Lectures; Dr. Ridley's, at the same Lecture, on the Holy Spirit; the writings of Dr. Randolph; Mr. Jones's Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity; Full Answer to the Essay on Spirit; Letter to the Common People; to a Young Gentleman at Oxford; Remarks on the Confessional.

On Socinianism; Grotius de Satisfactione; Stillingfleet's Discourse on the true Reason of Christ's Sufferings, against Crellius; Bishop Coneybear's Sermon on the Satisfaction; Edwards's Preservative; Leslie's Dialogues on Socinianism; with Mosheim's Account of its rise and progress, in his Ecclesiastical History.

For the Judgement of the Jewish Church against the Unitarians, Dr. Allix's book with that title; a most learned, valuable, and decisive work on that part of the subject.



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