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(classed if not mixed with others, I admit, of a less honourable and consistent deportment; but I speak not here of men who can be justly charged with heterodoxy, irregularity, or enthusiasm)-eren such men are viewed with contempt, and loaded with opprobrious names by many of their brethren and others ;-by those in particular, it is presumed, I will not say, who are the least distinguished by their piety and worth, but rather, who have the misfortune to know them the least.
“ I have, however, no hesitation in saying, that I know of no set of men in any church, sect, or country, who have themselves made higher attainments in religion, or who aim more steadfastly and uniformly to promote the cause of religion in others; and none, of course, who deserve better of their country, and of mankind in general. And, however much any may have vainly attempted to obscure the lustre of such characters, I firmly believe, and I believe it on clear Scriptural authority, that not a few of them shall shine hereafter « as the brightness of the firmament-and as stars for ever and ever.' "*
Besides piety and learning, good sense is a qualification of the greatest importance to a Clergyman; and without it, both the other two qualifications will often defeat themselves, and be of little avail to secure his aims. Prudence, or a sense of propriety in all his conduct, results from the possession of this faculty, and the want of it deranges and disorders the efforts of genius, the investigations of learning, and even the productions of piety. It cannot be supposed that this excellent talent
• Adam's Religious World Displayed, Vol. 2. Article" United Church of England and Ireland."
will be the property of every Evangelical Divine. Many Clergymen of that description, however, it is well known, have, at their induction to a parish, met the most determined dislike and opposition, from a general aversion to the doctrines they inculcated, who, afterwards, by their perseverance in the labours of love, and by the consistency and dignity of their conduct, have not only softened the asperities of prejudice, but conciliated, in a high degree, the affections of many, and secured the respect of all their parishioners. Success of this kind is the most honourable testimony that a man can receive of the purity of his life, of the efficacy of his doctrine, and of the prudence which has presided over his conduct. It were easy to give a long list of names to whom this characteristic of good sense was, and is incontrovertibly applicable.
THE CHARGES GENERALLY BROUGHT A.
GAINST EVANGELICAL CLERGYMEN.
The first charge is innovation. In those Churches or Chapels, in which the peculiar doctrines of Christianity have either been little adverted to, or thrown into the back ground, by the Ministers of religion in their discourses, and consequently the gospel imperfectly preached ; when those doctrines are made to occupy the first place in the system of Theology, and laid down as the foundation of piety and morality, every man of penetration must perceive, that on the subject of public instruction,
a great change has taken place. If the latter discipline be that to which he has not been accustomed, to him it will be new, and the preacher will be considered by him as an innovator. But who is to blame for this innovation ? Is it the preacher who kept out of sight, in a great measure, the truths which fill almost every page of the New Testament; the truths to which the Articles and Homilies of his own Church bear the most indubitable testimony, and which constitute the vital principle that pervades and animates her Liturgy ? Or is the blame to be transferred to him, who has brought into the most conspicuous point of view, that system which constitutes the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, which constitutes the basis of the Church establishment, and to which he himself has subscribed ? He who violates the discipline of the Church is an innovator ; but it is not the man who preaches her doctrines, but the man who either neglects to preach them, or who preaches those that are hostile to them, that innovates.
Another charge brought against them is enthusiasm. It cannot be denied that there have been some instances of Evangelical Clergymen, who were not entirely free from this extravagance, and perhaps there may be some individuals of that body, at present, who cannot be altogether exempted from the charge. But these are but few, and instead of being admired for their eccentricities, by the general body of those whose sentiments, in other things, they adopt; their ebullitions are generally disliked and condemned. Sobriety of doctrine, and temperance in the manner of inculcating it, are the characteristics, in an eminent degree, of the most distinguished Clergymen who have adopted Evangelical sentiments. If their elocution is animated, it is addressed much more to the judg
ment and to the conscience, than to the imagination of their hearers. The object of it is not to wind up the feelings of men, or to overpower the rational springs of action, or to give loose reins to tumultuous impulses, feelings, or passions ; but to fix permanent impressions upon the judgment, heart, and memory, which ripening into holy principles, may by the blessing of God, produce the peaceable fruits of righteousness. With some men, indeed, all earnestness in religion; all ardour and zeal in the cause of God; all deep concern about the immortal souls of men; all attempts to rouse them to the awful concerns of eternity, are considered as infallible evidences of enthusiasm. To them every thing appears enthusiastic, that stretches beyond their present narrow grasp, or that rises above their sensual gratifications. To such men, all those who, expanding their desires and hopes beyond the grave, look not at the things which are seen, and which are temporal; but at the things which are not seen, and are eternal, must ever appear in the character of enthusiasts. But this is an enthusiasm in which every Christian will glory, and desire to grow; knowing that his warmest emotions are but too feeble, and too cold. No sober. minded Christian will, however, lay claim to any private revelation. The influences of God's Spirit he distinguishes from the operations of his own mind, not by any distinctive feeling; but by the holy dispositions they produce, by the obedience they generate, and by that abhorrence of sin which they awaken. To preserve our religious principles and feelings from the infection of a teeming imagination, a general and correct acquaintance with the word of God is the best security. The next best, is the cultivation of those human sciences, that teach men to abstract as well as to combine their ideas, and to analyze
Whatever addition is made to intellectual vigour, so much provision will be made against enthusiasm, which is the imbecility and dotage of the mind.
A disposition to allegorize those passages of Scripture which are evidently meant to be taken literally, and which consequently, are not susceptible of an allegorical interpretation, is another charge, nearly allied to the former, that has been brought against the Evangelical Clergy. It must be acknowledged that the charge has not been altogether without foundation, if it were fair to make the delinquency of a few individuals, the subject of a general accusation. The parable of the man who fell among thieves, in his journey from Jerusalem to Jericho, may be taken as a specimen of the fanciful superstructure that has been raised without a foundation, on texts of the plainest import. A certain lawyer, we are told (Luke, x.), tempted our Saviour with this question, “ Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Our Saviour refers him to the substance of the law, and desires him to state its requisitions. Having given its import with respect to the love of God, the statement ends with thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Our Saviour admits the correctness of it, and adds, this do, and thou shalt live.” But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, " And who is my neighbour ?" This lawyer, like too many nominal Christians, though he allowed in words the obligation of loving God, supposed that his being a professor of the true religion settled the whole of that account, and that all examination of its items, was wholly upne. cessary. With respect to the duty he owed to his neighbour, he felt the necessity of entering into the detail, and as all his hopes of Heaven which he was very unwilling to relinquish, depended upon the contraction, or upon