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ceives, are not wholly destitute +. And, in his opinion, one such character is infinitely more estimable than a million of immoral Parsons, those most miserable and contemptible of all human beings, who contaminate every neighbourhood where they dwell; or ever so large a body of mere literary Clergymen, however extolled and caressed by the world, who, bloated with pride and self-importance, are a disgrace to the lowly spirit of the SAVIOUR of mankind. To every truly pious and consistent Chrisțian, literate or illiterate, he would give the right hand of fellowship, and bid him god-speed in the name of the LORD, wherever he is found. Cle ical bigots, however, of every description, he most cordially pities and despises. They are despicable animals. Swollen with an imaginary dignity, they are wise
"But why," rejoins the impatient reader, "why speak so freely and openly
upon all these public abuses, at a time so critical as the present ?”
Because I may never have another opportunity, and it is proper that somebody should speak. For the public abuses specifred in these papers, he conceives, must either be removed by the gentle hand of reform, or DIVINE PROVIDENCE will take the matter into its own hand, and subvert them by the rough hand of a most implacable enemy. I speak these things under correction, and with the most beneolent wishes for the prosperity of my King and Country, and the universal spread of the Gospel of our LORD, and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST.
+ The wise ones of this world would do well to call to mind, who it is that hath said, That which is highly esteemed among mén is abomination in the sight of God. Luke xvi. 15. Compare 1 Cor. i. 26-29. Men, sects, and parties, which are held in the highest estimation by the world, are usually, perhaps generally, held in the lowest estimation by GoD; and, on the contrary, men, sects, and parties, which are held in the lowest estimation by the world, are usually, perhaps universally, held in the highest estimation by the ALMIGHTY.
The way to heaven prescribed by the Scripture, and the way to heaven prescribed by worldly-minded men, are as oppofite to each other as the east to the west. The former saith, Strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. The latter say, Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth unto life, and many there be which go in thereat. Persons of this character are usually secure and confident, determined and resolute, merry and jovial, and perceive little * or no danger even when they are dancing blind-fold on the brink of destruction. I remember somewhere reading of a genius of this sort, who, turning all serious godliness into ridicule and contempt, declared there was no need of so much ado, for if he had but time to say three words, " Lord, save me!" he did not doubt but he should go to heaven. Not long after, this same confident GALLIO was riding a spirited horse over a bridge, upon which he met a flock of fheep; the horse took fright, leaped over the battlement into the river, where his rider was drowned, and the last three words he was heard to speak were, DEVIL-TAKE-ALL,-"Tis dangerous to provoke a God!
in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight, lording it over the poor of CHRIST's flock, and binding heavy burthens upon them, and grievous to be borne, which they themselves will not move with one of their fingers. Such characters, whether found among Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Quakers, or any other denomination of men, are the Scribes and Pharisees of the day, to whom the great and inflexible JUDGE of the world, in just, but terrible, language, exclaimed, Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? To the author of these papers the praise or dispraise of such men is almost equally indifferent. But a libe ral-minded and benevolent soul, who embraces every human. being in the arms of his charity, who rises superior to the superstitious tribe of infallible doctors-the genus irritabile vatum ; who can pierce through the guise of human distinctions, and trace religious excellence among all orders and descriptions of men, he would clasp to his bosom, make him room in his heart, and give him a place in the attic story of his affections. He loves a generous soul, a noble spirit, with whom he can hold sweet converse * on things human and divine; trace the awful footsteps of a mysterious Providence,
"And justify the ways of GOD to man;"
while angels ministrant attend the enraptured strains.-" O noctes cœnæque dem!”
The third chapter of MALACHI seems to me to contain the most emphatical recommendation of religious conversation that ever was penned. CICERO, too, speaks with an air of indignation of men of talents meeting together, and spending all their time in milking the ram, or holding the pail: Quasi vero clarorum virorum aut tacitos congressus esse oporteat, aut ludi
cros sermones, aut rerum colloquia leviorum."
Academ. Quæst. lib. 4.
This brings to my mind an anecdote, which I have somewhere read concerning the immortal Locke, who, being invited by a certain Nobleman to give the meeting to some of the most celebrated wits and scholars of the age, went in great expectation of enjoying a high intellectual repaft. The card table being introduced after dinner, contrary to his expectation, he retired pensive and chagrined to the window. Enquiry being made if he was well, he replied, "He "had come to give the company meeting in full confidence of receiving an un66 common degree of satisfaction in the conversation of such celebrated characters, << and he must acknowledge he felt himself hurt at the disappointment." The card table was immediately withdrawn, and a rich flow of souls begun, to his no small gratification.
From a melancholy dearth of such society, however, he is generally constrained to converse with the ancient and modern dead, those first of human beings, who have left us the image of their souls reflected in their immortal volumes. Here, he sometimes seems to catch a ray of their genius; to intermingle soul with soul; to taste the raptures of their sacred rage; and to meditate unutterable things. Oh! for a Spirit of burning, to refine those drossy natures; << a muse of fire," to elevate his mind to their celestial strains; and a seraph's wings to mount up to the blissful throng of the spirits of just men made perfect, around the throne of the great FATHER of the universe, and his Son, the Ever-blest!-Yet a little while, and these shadows shall flee away-these earthly tabernacles be taken down-these mortal bodies be clothed with immortality-the church militant be changed into the church triumphant-and the infinite MAJESTY OF HEAVEN be seen without a veil, loved without a rival, and enjoyed without satiety through the long round of vast eternity!
FRIENDS AND COUNTRYMEN!
THERE are few HERE are few ages of the world, but have produced various instances of persons, that have treated the Divine dispensations, either with neglect or scorn. Of these, some have persisted in their folly to the latest period of their earthly existence; while others have discovered their mistake in time, and both sought and found forgiveness with God.--In most ages too, there have been some, who have piously observed the manifestations of HEAVEN; who have cordially received the Holy Scriptures as a revelation from on high; and who have built their everlasting expectations upon the salvation which is therein revealed. The hopes of such persons have never been disappointed. If they have lived up, in any good degree, to their religious profession, they have always been favoured with peace of mind, and strong consolation in life; firm confidence in CHRIST, usually, at the hour of death; and have frequently gone off the stage of time into eternity rejoicing in hope of the glory of GoD, with, unspeakable and triumphant joy. Examples of this kind, even amongilliterate men, women, and children, might be produced in numbers very considerable.-But how extremely different, most commonly, is the last end of those persons, who have denied and scorned the revelations of HEAVEN; who have rejected the Sacred Writings; and treated serious godliness with sneer and contempt? -Nay, it has frequently been known, that the first rate geniuses, and greatest men of their times, have left the world under much darkness of mind, full of doubts, and fearful apprehensions concerning the Divine favour, ow
ing to their being too deeply immersed in secular, or literary pursuits; to their living beneath their Christian privileges; and spending too small a proportion of their time in devout retirement, and religious exercises. Nothing, indeed, can keep the life of GOD vigorously alive in the soul, but these exercises. Where they are either wholly neglected, or frequently interrupted, there the power of religion languishes. Faith and hope, peace and love, joy in, and confidence towards God, grow weak; doubts and fears,, disquietude of mind, and scruples of conscience prevail. The sun goes down, and sets, to this world at least, under a dark and cheerless cloud. -But where the humble Believer in CHRIST JESUS (the eyes of hisunderstanding being enlightened, and his fears alarmed with a sense of danger,) lays aside every spiritual encumbrance, and the sin which hath been accustomed too easily to overcome him; where he resolutely breaks through every snare, and lives to the great purposes for which we all were born; where, with the illustrious philosopher and physician, BOERHAAVE, and the eminent statesmen Sir JOHN BARNARD, the Duke of ORMONDE, and Lord CAPEL*, he spends a due proportion of every day in
* It was the custom of three of these great men, to spend an hour every morning, in private prayer, and reading the Holy Scriptures; and of the fourth, to meditate half an hour every day upon eternity. This gave them comfort and vigour of mind to support the toil and fatigue of the day. Nay, we are told in the Life of the Duke of ORMONDE, that
he never prepared for bed, or went abroad in a morning, till he had "withdrawn an hour to his closet."
We might mention a considerable number of similar instances. JOHN Lord Harrington, who died A. D. 1613, at the age of 22 years, was a young nobleman of eminent piety, and rare literary attainments. He was an early riser, and usually spent a considerable part of the morning in private prayer, and reading the Sacred Writings. The same religious exercise was also pursued both in the evening and at mid-day.
Sir HARBOTTLE GRIMSTONE, Master of the Rolls, an eminent lawyer, a just judge, and a person of large fortune, who lived in the last century, "was a very pious and devout man, and spent every day at least an hour "in the morning, and as much at night, in prayer and meditation. And " even in winter, when he was obliged to be very early on the bench, he "took care to rise so soon, that he had always the command of that time, "which he gave to those exercises.”