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the spirit of Christianity. Religion is their trade, and gain with them is godliness. They live in the spirit of the ancient Scribes and Pharisees, and they may expect to share in the fate of the Scribes and Pharisees.
“ Mr. Ostervald, attributes the corruption of the people chiefly to the clergy." the cause of the corruption of Christians is chiefly to be found in the clergy. I do not mean to speak here of all churchmen indifferently. We must do right to some, who distinguish themselves by their talents, their zeal, and the holiness of their lives. But the number of these is not considerable enough to stop the course of these disorders, which are occasioned in the church by the vast multitudes of remiss and corrupt pastors. These pull down what the others endeavour to build up.”
“ The instances of extreme blame which attaches to the higher orders of the English clergy are very numerous. A certain
gentleman, not an hundred miles from my own neighbourhood, is possessed of about a thousand a year private fortune. He is a married man, but without children. He has one living in Cheshire, of the value of more than 400 pounds a year; another in Essex, and another elsewhere, the three together making a thousand a year, more or less. He is moreover, chaplain to a company, and private tutor in a nobleman's family. But what is most culpable, he resides upon none of his livings, and very seldom comes near them. Can that church be faultless, which permits such horrible abuses? The bishops themselves, however, being generally guilty of holding a variety of preferments, and of most inexcusable non-residence, are disposed to connive at every thing of the kind among the superior clergy who are under their inspection. 66 The extravagances of some sects,
have given great and just offence to many sensible and well disposed people, and have
been instrumental in driving no small number into downright indifference to all religion; while others have contracted the most inveterate principles of infidelity. But shall the follies of a few mistaken individuals, subvert the nature of things, and the laws of everlasting truth? Because some men are weak, silly, enthusiastic, and inflamed with spiritual pride, shall we take upon us to say, there is no such thing as sound religion and good sense in the world? This would be to make ourselves as weak and culpable as those whom we condemn.All revivals of religion have been attended with excesses ; all sects and parties have had, and will have among them, men of warm imaginations and feeble intellects; and wherever persons of this description become strongly impressed with the importance of religious truth, they seldom fail to disgrace the party to which they belong. There is no remedy for such unfortunate cases, but to use our best endeavours
to restrain and keep them within the bounds of moderation. This however is usually extremely difficult ; for all such persons are most commonly viser than ten men that can render a reason. They are blown up with self-importance, consider themselves as the peculiar favorites of heaven, and under the immediate teachings and leadings of the Divine Spirit. While this persuasion continues, they treat the direction of scripture as a dead' letter, and in vain do
you attempt to reduce them to order, and the sober dictates of reason and common
And too often the preachers are even worse than the people ; who instead of discouraging this frantic spirit, those sparks of human fire, exert all their vociferous eloquence to fan it to a flame, by working their animal passions up to the highest pitch of enthusiastic deliriuin!
An Appeal to men of reason and common sense, relative to
the impartiality and consistency of the doctrines of the Bible.
WE have exhibited in the antecedent department, as clear as a ray of light in an tvclouded atmosphere, some flagrant instances wherein the rights of God are infringed; our ohject now is, to prove his impartiality from scripture, reason, and
Well might the apostle exclaim, “Let God be true and every man a liar.” The infinite and impartial goodness of God is so amazing and divine, in my estimation, that the ideas resulting this from, are too big to be born alive! I cannot find language sufficiently sonorous, to express the glowing sentiments of my mind!! Indeed, when I seriously meditate upon the Divine goodness, manifested to myself from youth to age, and at the same