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Government, I conceive it to be the highest panagyric that can be paffed upon any Minister, to confider him as raised up by God at this important period to be the faviour of his country, and look to a higher fource for the enjoyment of fuch a distinguifhed bleffing*.
*It feems fcarcely poffible to imagine a case that could more ftrongly mark the truth of thefe opinions, than the unlooked for change of Minifters in the beginning of this year (1801). However we revere the principle which led Mr. Pitt to resign his high office, at the moment when he himself declared in the House of Commons, his expectation of closing a glorious war by an honourable peace, we must lament the causes which deprived the nation of ministers eminent for tried abilities, and unimpeachable integrity. We must lament the misrepresentations which led the Friend and Guardian of the English Church and State, to propofe a measure fo dangerous to both, in the opinion of the King, the Clergy, and the People at large. We must lament the infirmity, moft common to the noblest natures, liability to be deceived by the femblance of good. Alas! that fuch a mind should at last be dazzled by a beautiful theory, and neglect the leffons of Experience, and the counfels of that Religion it was as fincerely intended to ferve, as it was really calculated to injure! But when we confider the unprecedented height of estimation in which this minister was held by this King, and this People-nay by the whole world-that accustomed to almost implicit confidence in his judgment, and calm reliance upon his management of the helm in the most tempeftuous feasons,
Guided by thefe opinions, I hesitate not to mention among the various caufes which, with the bleffing of God, have protected the principles of the nation at large, from the machinations of Jacobinifmi, and have produced the marked difference in our conduct in the day of trial, from the conduct of our
they should, in the midst of a storm, fuffer him to refign a fituation they knew he could fo ably fill, rather than hazard the fafety of the Church established in this kingdom, can we refrain from exulting in the name of Britons, to whom Christianity is ftill fo dear?" Can we fufficiently express our veneration for that beloved Monarch whose very life was endangered by the noble ftruggle between clashing duties? Can we avoid attributing to the fignal favour of God, the extraordinary Plenty, which has crowned the prefent year, and the profpect of SOME REPOSE, to which be it remembered He only can give permanent fecurity, after our long and unremitted exertions in the facred caufe, we were called upon to defend? May reflexion in the calm of his retirement, imprint these falutary leffons on a mind ever ready to liften to the suggestion of Truth! May he have fallen from the ftation he filled with fuch tranfcendent honour, only to return to it with the accumulated glory which the magnanimity of his fubfequent conduct has spread over those virtues and thofe qualities which are thus fingularly put to the test!" (4th Edition.)
j The Report of the Secret Committee of the Houfe of Commons, proves this spirit to be still at work; and particularly mentions the perverfion of Scripture as one of its chief engines.
Proteftant brethren on the continent; the Society formed for the fuppreffion of vice and immorality, by the exprefs, authority of a Royal Proclamation, the establishment of Sunday Schools b, at the fuggeftion of a
a The Royal proclamation was iffued in the year 1793, and the Society formed under the immediate patronage of the King.
By Mr. Raikes of Gloucefter. Many thousand Sunday Schools have been established, or in part fupported, by the fund raised by voluntary subscription for this purpose; and the number maintained and encouraged by private charity is very confiderable. This inftitution, like every other, may be abused; but its beneficial effects, under the direction of a refident clergyman, are obvious; and experience, the best teft, has abundantly proved its general utility.
I have been informed fince the first publication of this work, that the zeal for Sunday Schools is rapidly declining, although another reafon has been added for its increase. Our adverfaries, baffled in their attempts to make the lower claffes of our people Infidels, are in many places now ftraining every nerve to make them Fanatics. They remember the fuccefs of the Puritans in the time of Charles I. and having infused into the fect of Methodifts the principles of enmity to the Church and to the State (principles which till lately the Methodists professed to abhor), they are daily ftrengthening the numbers and the power of thefe enthusiasts, as inftruments for the deftruction of both. This is not a place to discuss this important subject. Yet I beg to submit the following questions to those fincere well-wishers to the cause of Religion and Government,
private Individual; and the Inftitution, for which we are indebted to Female genius and
who have unfortunately liftened to the objections which have been artfully raised against this truly Christian Inftitution.
Which countries have moft eafily fallen victims to the reigning delufion? Thofe in which religious knowledge abounds, or thofe in which ignorance and fuperftition prevail? Do not all the common village-fchools, as well as all those established by Sectarists and Philofophers, teach Reading? And what more is taught at Sunday Schools befides the principles of the Gofpel, which was exprefsly addreffed to the poor, as well as to the rich, and which strikes at the root of all immorality, and makes "obedience to all who are in authority," a facred duty? Which are the most likely to make peaceable, honeft, and industrious fubjects, or to withstand the artifices of our enemies, those whose minds are early impreffed with a belief in the over-ruling Providence of God, and in a future ftate, and are accustomed to repeat the excellent Catechism, and to join in the established worship of the Church, or those who have neither principles, prejudices, nor habits to direct and to defend them? Are not the peafantry of Scotland remarkably well informed, and the peafantry of Ireland as remarkably ignorant? Which of these make the best foldiers, failors, labourers, mechanics, fervants? Which of these have been led into a favage rebellion, and which have been recalled to a sense of religion and loyalty when far advanced in the paths of Infidelity and Democracy? How can we more effectually contradict the artful and malevolent affertions of our enemies refpecting the inattention of our Clergy to the fouls of the people committed to their care, than by this mode of religious inftruction, which, befides the
piety; because I am well affured, they will be allowed to hold a diftinguished place, by those who have had the means of judging of their extensive influence; because they strongly mark the National Character; and because it must be granted to be a fingular circumstance, that we should have been thus ftrengthening ourfelves for the Conflict, while all other nations have relaxed in vigilance. The rapid progress of a fyftematic difregard to the Sabbath, arifing partly from mifrepresentations of its origin and defign, and partly from the growing indifference to the ordinances of Religion, received a powerful check at a most important period.
The attention was recalled
pofitive advantages it affords the scholars, almost obliges the ministers to become perfonally acquainted with the characters and wants of their parishioners? Is it not the duty of the fhepherd to feed his flock within the fold appointed for their preservation, when wolves are prowling round the country for prey? Will not the Mafter of the flock require his fheep at the hands of those fhepherds who lose them through negligence?...
Mrs. H. More. Millions of copies of Tracts, written with the most interesting fimplicity, and with the force of truth, in the various forms of Tales, Ballads, Lectures, &c. and uniting, in a moft fingular manner, amusement and instruction suited to the times, have been distributed among the lower ranks of people fince the opening of the Cheap Repository.