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In the third fection, which principally regards the temptation some persons find to quit the diffenting intereft, because of the expence attending it,-after fome other animated exhortations, he thus proceeds; The intereft in which you are engaged, cannot be refpectable, unless your minifters be men of a liberal education, and feel themselves in a fituation in which they may freely think and act, as themselves fhall judge the catife of Chriftianity, and your intereft demand. This, you must be fenfible, requires not only a liberal education, but likewife a liberal fupport. If you fay that the ministers of the laft age had smaller falaries than thofe of the prefent, you fay what is true, but you deceive yourselves at the fame time. They did not receive fo much as a fixed flipend; but in many cafes their families were almoft wholly maintained by the bounty of their hearers. If they had children, their people made a point of providing fome decent employment for them, and fettling them in the world; and few of the congregation made a will, without confidering their minifter, a place of worship, or both. In fhort, minifters in those days, being freed from all anxiety about the things of this world, either on their own account, or that of their families, were at liberty to give their whole attention to the proper duties of their function; and notwithftanding, minifters feem to have been more dependent upon their people, there never was a time in which minifters had more influence, and when their reproof and cenfures were more feared-At prefent, tho' the falaries of minifters have been confiderably advanced, in comparison of what they were formerly, occafional bounty, to which the ftated falary once bore but a fmall proportion, is, in many places wholly withdrawn, and in general greatly diminished. Where the cuftom is kept up, the tenure on which it is held, is in many places very precarious. How often has it been dropped for imaginary affronts, and fuppofed inftances of ingratitude and difrefpect; and if once a minifter happen to have no occafion for this liberality, the habit of giving is often loft, by being fufpended, and has not revived in favour of the fucceffor, tho' in ever so much want of it. Add to this, that the price of all neceffary provifions is prodigiously advanced all over England. Moreover, the taste of living is much higher than it was, fo that the expences which custom, at leaft, if not nature, have made neceffary, in their cafe, are more than double of what they were in the memory of man.—The confequence of thefe difcouragements is a circumftance, which already begins to be very alarming to the diffenting intereft. Formerly, when the miniftry was more reputable, perfons of fome rank and fortune educated their fons for it- Few are now educated with a view to it, except young
perfons who have a turn for learning, and whofe parents are unable to make any other provifion for them :-it is a low way of life indeed, that will not produce more money, which is the thing that the generality of parents chiefly confider-so that it is now no eafy matter to find young perfons to educate for the miniftry, tho' it coft the parent little or nothing. What then is likely to be the confequence of this deficiency of minifters liberally educated among the diffenters? The intereft muft grow lefs refpectable, lay-preachers, and perfons of an enthufiaftic turn of mind, and fuperficially inftructed, will grow more numerous, or vacancies among us must be fupplied from Scotland; and how they are fupplied from this quarter, let tae ftate of the diffenting intereft in the north of England teftify.'
The next fection is addreffed to minifters, from which we fhall felect the following palage;- Having, fays he, difcarded every thing of fuperftition, and what is falfe and ufelefs in religion, let us be the more zealous in the obfervance of what appears, upon examination, to be genuine and ufeful. I cannot help thinking that, in this cafe, the apoftolic example, to become all things to all men; and his advice about the conduct of those who are strong towards thofe who are weak, fhould engage us to a conformity, at leaft for a time, in every thing that is innocent, to the prejudices of others. This we fhall certainly do, if we mean to give others a favourable opinion of ourselves, and of our principles, if we have any thoughts of winning upon them, and do not intend to exafperate them against us, and to induce them from the mere fpirit of oppofition, to perfit in obftinately holding their errors and prejudices. Do not fail to inculcate these confiderations on the laity, whose fituation and circumftances lay them under lefs reftraint than ourfelves, and whole freedom from the prejudices of their ancestors is, in many cafes, by no means to be placed to the account of a love of truth, or can be called the result of mature and ferious examination. Many of them laugh at the ftrict obfervance of the Sabbath, and regularity in the times of public and private devotion, as fuperfti ion, and not neceffarily connected with moral conduct. They fncer at the doctrines of a Trinity in Unity, original fin, predeftination and atonement, &c. becaufe, at firit view, they are myfterious and unintelligible; but from the fame fuperficial turn of mind, they neglect the Lord's Supper, difcard family-prayer, never catechize their children, and are apt to neglect devotion in all its forms. Because they think they need not mortify, they will not fo much as refrain their appetites; as if to avoid the imputation of being a roundbead, it was neceflary to become a cavalier. Too many of these
modern free-thinkers, having indulged themselves without referve, in laughing at every thing they cannot comprehend, take into their heads to be offended at the Jewish religion. They make no fcruple to ridicule the divine miffion and miracles of Mofes ; and after this it will not be wondered at, that they often reject the Chriftian revelation alfo. To trace this fatal unthinking progress a little further, ftill they will pretend to expect a fu ture ftate of rewards and punishments, from the principles of the light of nature; but when once they have advanced thus, far in infidelity, they are generally foon content to rank themfelves with the beafts that perish. When perfons have, in this. manner, thrown off all regard to religion, can it be supposed they can have any ftrong attachment to the diffenting intereft? Some of them may continue to rank among us, from a regard to the principles of liberty, and other political confiderations; but when religion makes no part of the tie, it may be expected in general, that the laity will be governed by their own fecular intereft; and if through the influence of the fame causes, a minifter has become an unbeliever in the religion he profeffes to teach, I do not see why he may not, with equal confiftency, officiate in the church of England, the church of Rome, or among the Mohammedans, as among the diffenters.
This, however, is too often the progrefs of infidelity with the thoughtless and unthinking laity; and to keep them in a proper medium, must be owned to be of great importance, and a matter of great difficulty. I know of nothing that is fo likely to be effectual for this purpose, as the prudent conduct and true moderation of minifters. Let it appear by the whole of your behaviour, that you are ferious Chriftians, and not afhamed. of any practices which are of real ufe to form a Chriftian and devout temper. Let it be feen that the principles of Chriftianity have a real and happy effect upon your hearts and lives, and that by virtue of a practical faith in its great principles, you are poffeffed of an uniform chearfulness of mind, are enabled to live in a firm confidence in divine Providence, under all the events of life, and are prepared to die with compofure and good hope. Carefully avoid infulting or ridiculing those who differ from you in opinion, efpecially thofe who retain the principles. you yourselves once held. This fhews as much bigotry and want of real candour as their cenforioufnefs, and readiness to pafs fentence of damnation upon you. Nay, it may be faid, in excuse for their zeal in condemning your opinions, that they confider them as inconfiftent with falvation, whereas you do not pretend that their opinions are dangerous to them. There may, therefore, be the fincereft friendship in their anger, but there is wanton cruelty in your laughter. Let it appear that. the principal object of your attention is the proper duty of your
profeffion, and let no tafte you may have for any of the polite arts, as mufic, painting, or poetry, nor a capacity for the improvements in science, engage you to make them more than an amusement to you, or at the most any more than an object of fecondary confideration. Let not even the study of speculative theology prevent your applying your felf chiefly to the advancement of virtue among your hearers. Let your conduct demonftrate, that you confider one foul reclaimed from vicious habits, or even one perfon's mind confirmed in any good refolution, as a greater acquifition to you, than the detection of any fpeculative error, the illustration of any known truth, or the difcovery of any new ones.'
We might, with pleasure, make farther extracts; but these are fufficient for our defign.
This anonymous Diffenter, whoever he is, writes with ease and energy, and he appears to be master of his fubject: but we muft add, there are marks of negligence and hafte, both in his ftyle and in his fentiments. We think there appears alfo fome little inconfiftence in what he fays concerning the Puritans, in the two different places where they are mentioned. In another place, fpeaking of fome corruptions retained (as we apprehend he means) in proteftant churches, he adds, Many other corruptions might be mentioned in the fame fyftem with this, which altogether make the whole fyftem of modern Christianity lefs like the Chriftianity of the New Teftament; than it is to the religion of the Brachmans of Indoftan.' The fentence runs off prettily, but the fentiment feems rather the effect of inconfiderate warmth, than of serious, candid enquiry, and accurate obfervation.
The American Traveller: or Obfervations on the present State, Culture, and Commerce, of the British Colonies in America; and the farther Improvements of which they are capable. With an Account of the Exports, Imports, and Returns, of each Colony refpectively, and of the Numbers of British Ships and Seamen, Merchants, Traders, and Manufacturers, employed by all, collectively: Together with the Amount of the Revenue arifing to Great Britain therefrom. In a Series of Letters written origi nally to the Right honourable the Earl of ** *. By an old and experienced Trader. 4to. 5s. fewed. Dilly, &c. 1769.
HE authenticity of the materials here brought together,
Trelating to the commerce of British America, refts upon
the anonymous authority of this old and experienced trader, no
vouchers being produced, and they appear, in general, to be of fuch a nature as might be readily brought into one point of view from the many accounts already published of our settlements, by any experienced compiler, whether an actual trader or not. Whether this is really the cafe, we fhall not pretend to determine; but it may be remarked, that the work is called the American Traveller, though no itinerary is given; that a large map of the greateft part of the world is added, without any geographical reference being made to it, or any particular ufe for it appearing; and that a frontispiece is prefixed, exhibiting a party of armed men travelling over the fnow, but whether natives or European traders does not appear, nothing in the work having any connexion with it.
That part of the Author's remarks which appears to be most curious and deferving attention, fo far as facts may be found to verify his affertions, is, where he confiders the trade of Hudfon's-Bay, and the tendency of the exclufive monopoly enjoyed by the fmall company by which it is managed. Concerning this company, he fays At the time when the Hudfon's-Bay company was established, in 1670, the minds of all people of power, or property, were fo fixed upon the Intrigues of the court, and the confequences immediately apprehended from them at home, that they would not fpare a thought for any thing fo remote in fituation and effect, as foreign colonization, by which means that most important of political enterprizes fell to thofe, who were in every refpect leaft qualified to pursue it to advantage.
Under these inaufpicious circumstances, an exclufive charter for trading to the countries confining on the fea, called Hudfon's-Bay, was, without enquiring into the confequences, granted to a fet of private adventurers, who without fupport or even countenance from government, undertook upon the narrow foundation of their own fortunes to establish a trade, attended with fuch difficulties in appearance, as would have difcouraged any men not fully perfuaded of the certainty of fuccefs. Nor were they difappointed; the event exceeding their most fanguine expectations, in their very first experiments.
Such fuccefs from fo weak a beginning, fhewed to what an height it might be carried, on a more extended foundation. But the fcheire it fuggefted was very different: inftead of extending their firft plan, and making their fuccefs known to procure an enlargement of their capital, the company turned all their care to conceal the whole, (which the diftractions of the times gave them too good an opportunity of doing) and keep the profits of the trade entirely to themfelves, contracted as it was, rather than run the hazard of their being fhared in by others, fhould it be pushed to its natural extent; a care, which, as I have before