Page images
PDF
EPUB

1

[ocr errors][merged small]

THE

HE Reformation contended for in these papers is a

peaceable reform, begun and carried on by the wisdom of the three branches of the Conftution, as far as the Constitution is concerned; and by the Bishops, and Clergy of every denomination, so far as the moral and religious conduct of the people is concerned. The absolute necesfry of such a reformation is founded on the prophetic declarations of Daniel before repeatedly mentioned. The nature of the reformation I conceive to be necessary to our lasting preservation as a kingdom, is, that whatever militates against the genuine spirit of Christ's religion in the Establishment should be removed; and that all orders of clerical characters, especially, should set themselves, with the utmost zeal and determination, first to reform them. selves, and then to stop the torrent of iniquity, which threatens to involve the country in the most complete de struction. The Difenters and Methodists are moving heaven and earth to promote the cause of religion in their respective ways. If the 18,000 Clergymen in the Establishment would exert themselves for the good of souls with equal zeal and fervour, the Established Church would not only be the safer, as an Establishment, but the divine protection would be more effectually engaged on our behalf. Righteous nations never fall*. Unfortunately, however, abundance

of

Among other unfavourable signs of the times, the vast number of bankruptcies in this kingdom is none of the leaft, I suppose we average

fix or seven hundred every year, befide all the compolition-bufipesies, which are ftill more numerous. But what I here chiefly refer to, as a proof of depraved morals, is, that, of all the initances of defraud, intentional or otherwise, practised upon the public, an infance of after-pay. ment is rarely recorded ; and, whenever such an initance occurs, it is always spoken of with astonishment, as a thing that could not be expected. If a man goes upon the high road, or breaks into your house,

and

of our Order of men are the greatest enemies the country and religion have got. We promote the interest of Satan more effectually by our indolence, worldly-mindedness, lukewarmness, and misconduct, than all the wicked and immoral characters in the kindom put together. Only think! Eighteen thousand men, led on by six and ewenty Bishops, all filled with faith and the Holy Ghost, with an ardent love to Jesus Christ, and with a judicious, but warm and affectionate zeal for the salvation of fouls, paid by the State, and sent out into every corner of the land to preach the everlasting Gospel! What a glorious consideration! How should we make the ungodly and profane skulk into corners, and hide their impious heads! But, alas! bow is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone

forth into all the land. Diflenters are encreasing, Methodists are multiplying, Wickedness is spreading, our Cburches are emptying, Infidelity is pervading all orders of society, and the daughter of Zion is like to be left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. We may look at the neighbouring nations, and learn, at their expence, what our own fate will assuredly ere long be. Who is so blind? who is so ignorant? who is so selfish and secure? who is so unread in history? who is so unacquainted with the prophecies, as not to see, that the falvation of Europe is suspended on its wisdom, in correcting what is amiss in its morals, and unevangelical in its ecclefiaftical constitutions?

and robs you of a few pounds, he is infamous; and if he can be caught, and arrainged, and the the thing is proved, he atones for his offence as the expence of his life. Bat a man, in a way of trade, shall cheat you of hundreds and thousands, shall pay you ten, five, or even only two shillings in the pound, and he is a good fellow, a man of honour. He begins again, keeps it up, cuts a dash, cracks again, and all is well. He never dreams, that, upon every principle of justice, honour, and conscience, he is as much a debtor for all his deficiencies, as though the law had never acquitted him. What an accumulation of guilt is upon this land on these accounts? Of the many thoulands in this country, who fall short in their payments, hosv few, how extremely few do we meet with, or hear of, who, afterwards, like the most worthy REYNER, call their creditors together, and pay them, what, indeed, is juftly due, but what they never couid demand ?

It should seem, however, notwithstanding the growing immorality of the age, and the other alarming symptoms of our nation, that the GOVERNOUR among the armies of heaven, and the inhabitants upon earth, hath still a favour to dear old England. He is loath to give us up. The wise and vigorous measures pursued by the King and his Ministers are surely tokens for good to my country. The Iate very splendid victories are propitious signs. The Afts too, for excluding suspicious foreigners, and arming the whole nation, are master-pieces of found policy. Hitherto assuredly the Lord hath helped us. · He hath given us a patriotic King, able Ministers, skilful Generals, brave Sola diers, unparalleled Admirals, and gallant Sailors ; above all, he hath poured out a spirit of wrestling prayer upon large numbers of religious people. These are tymptoms of the most propitious kind. But, with all these advantages, since God usually works by means, how is it possible for any country, that is not in a constant high state of preparation, to resist such a mighty armed and growing Tepublic as France ? If the people in this kingdom will not very generally come forward, and qualify themselves for resiitance, we must ultimately fall. But, if we should share the fate of the other nations, there will be no just reason to accuse the Governnent. The war was inevitable on our part. It was, moreover, ordained of God for the subverfion of the seat of the Beaft*. They have been extremely vigorous in their measures, and have done what men in their situation could do. Let the people remember, that we live in a period, when one of God's great and afflictive providential dispensations is coming upon the world; a

* It has been noticed on a former page, that the Pope and Mahomet rose in or about the farne year. The former is driven from his feat ex. actly at the end of 1260 years. And is it not a circumstance extremely re. markable, that the very fame man, in the very same year, ihould invade the empire of the latter during a state of profound peace,

seemingly without any reason? We know the Turkis to fall, and we have some caule to suppose the period of that catastrophe will be at no great distance from the fubversica of the Pope's secular dominion. Whether the present invasion of Egypt is to bring about that desirable event, a little time will thew. I fear we Shall be on the wrong side of the question, if we attempt to support either him or the remaining popisa states, and shall suffer for our intermeddling.

dispen

dispensation predicted for some thousands of years; and let them second the endeavours of their Gover nours, and come forward, man, woman, and child, to defend themfelves against the common enemy, as they would against an army of bears, wolves, and tygers ; and we shall be safe under the divine protection, while that protection is afforded. But, in my opinion, every remaining popith, secular, and superstitious circumstance, which is calculated to offend the MAJESTY of Heaven, and to oppose the interests of CHRIST's kingdom", should be removed from the ecclekaftical part of our Conftitution, and nothing should be left undone to engage his continued favour and protection.

The Difjenters and Methodists, I have observed, are moving heaven and earth to promote the interests of religion in their several ways, and to oppose the torrent of vice and infidelity, which is overspreading these happy and heaven-favoured lands. A kind of association has been formed among some of the established Clergy at Manches$er, to preach a weekly lecture in each others churches; which, no doubt, will be attended with good effect. This is a laudable effort, and shews a proper attention to the cir. cumstances of the timest, and should be followed in all

What can be more inimical to the interests of the Gospel of CHRIST in the world, than the damnable monopoly of Church Livings so exgremely common among all the higher orders of the Clergy in this coun. try? More than one instance of this nature is given in the foregoing papers. To these may be added the following. A certain clerical cha. sader, whom I could name, is at this time in possession of 700 pounds a year private fortune. He is a tippling immoral person, with little or no family, besides his wife. One living he has got, at a good distance, of 600 pounds a year, besides two re&ories, one of 500, the other of 350 pounds a year. At the same time, he has obtained a Prebendary of considerable value in one of our magnificent cathedrals. Will any wife man undertake to say, that a Clergyman of this description believes the Gospel of CHRIST! All such characters are undoubted infidels in disguise, do an infinite deal of harm to the interests of religion in the world, and, in a well ordered state of things, would be degraded from their pretended facred office. Such men may cry out as loudly as they please against THOMAS PAINE and his deiffical brethren-their craft is in danger ! but they themselves are much more to blame, and shall be condemned with en-fold confusion. Tom Paine is a saint, when compared with kuch fellows.

+ See Mr. Clowes's excellent Sermon, preached at St. John's Church at the Commencement of the Lecture.

populous

« EelmineJätka »