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he đo not, such is the fastidious and anti-christian spirit of the age, you think it strange, and begin to speak evil of him. If he act in direct opposition to his religious principles you charge him with hypocrisy; if he act in conformity with them he is subjected to the same imputation, with this essential difference in his favour, the first 'accusation would be just, but the latter unfounded,"
" I think,” said Mrs. John Roscoe," that we ought not to censure a whole body on account of the imperfections of a few individual members. It would not be just. Ought every Englishman to be considered as disaffected to the government? because some have been executed for high treason: or an enemy to liberty ?'because some have exerted all their most powerful energles to oppose its triumphant märch. Certainly not Then why should every professor of religion be re proached as an hypocrite, because some have deserved it?» .
« Very true, Aunt," said Miss Roscoe,“ but such is the custom of this strange world; and though we prntest against it, yet we can obtain no redress. When one, who has been gay, becomes religious, the magicians prophecy that he will go off into a state of derangement;If he retain his reason, as is usually the case, they express à devout wish that the motives of his conduct may prove to be sincere;- if he act in accordance with his religious principles, and refuse to conform to their customs and habits, he is stigmatized as unsocial, precise, and hypocritical ;-—and such is the degree of virulence with which the spirit of enmity goes forth against him, that if no imperfections can be discovered in his character some will be imputed.” 1
Mr. John Roscoe. “ Courtesy requires that I yield the point to the ladies, who, to their honour, generally take the part of the accused; but addressing his brother,) I still believe that the offer of an unconditional salvation to men of every description of character is hazardous to the interests of public and private virtue.”
Mr. Roscoe. « But the evangelical clergy do pot, if I judge from their written discourses, make that unconditional offer which you suppose. They require repentance towards God, before they inculcate faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They require that we should
forsake our sins, before they encourage us to hope for mercy. And then the faith which they inculcate, is not a mere philosophical assent to the truth of Christianity, which may leave the passions in a dormant state, and all the propensities of the mind going after the objects of their gratifications : but such a faith as shall, by its own reaction, purify the imagination, overcome the alluraments and fascinations of the world, and work within us that moral conformity of the mind to the purity of the Divine nature, which forms the great line, of distinction between a real and a nominal Christian;
between one who is born of the flesh, and one who is · børn of the Spirit ;-between the natural man, who, es
timates the things of the Spirit of God as foolishness, and the spiritual man, who discerns them in all their moral simplicity, beauty, and grandeur. You talk of a conditional salvation; but if you intend by that phrase, that we are required to perform any actions by which we are to merit the favour of God, and a seat in his celestial kingdom, you hold a sentiment, not more opposed to the Scriptures than it is destructive to human happiness; for who can tell when he has acquired that exact degree of virtue which will justify his claim ? Indeed, my brother, we ought always to remember that we are sinners—that in the most improved state of our character we are yet imperfect--that after all the acts of obedience which we may perform we are unprofitable servants—and that if ever we are saved, as I hope we shall be, it will not be for our own works, or deservings, as the articles of our church declare, but by grace, Eph. ii. 8. Considering the indifference which is so generally manifested by persons of all ranks, and of every character, to the momentous truth on which the final and eternal destiny of the soul depends, and the rapid progress which the worst of principles is making amongst the morals of social life; considering the amazing rapidity with which the fashion of this world is passing away, and how soon we shall be called to appear before the judgment seat of Christ; instead of repressing any ardent passion for religion, when we see it glowing in a human bosom, we ought to cherish it; and should contemplate the secession of one sinner, who withdraws from the deluded and infatuated multitude
to repent, and to pray, with an order of feeling of a similar nature, with the spirits of the invisible world, of whom our Lord says, (Luke xv: 7,) that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance. To ridicule such a person, would be enough to make an angel wrap up his face in his mantle to conceal his anguish; but to persecute him, is a species of crime which may be less offensive to the semi-christianity of modern times, than the sin of schism; but when the light of eternity unveils the turpitude of evil, in all its aggravations of guilt, it will be marked by a peculiarity of punishment emphan tically its own.”
Mr. John Roscoe. “I must confess, that I am somo what surprized by your last observation, for who will dare in this country to persecute another on account of his religious opinions. If you think that I would carry my opposition to evangelical sentimsnts, to such a point, you mistake me. I think that all opinions are open for free investigation and discussion, but every person ought to be protected in the profession of them, from every species of injury, or of insult.”
Mr. Roscoe. “I doubt not, but you would refuse to join with others in any act of open and direct persecution; but is not misrepresentation, and inuendo, and invective, and impeachment of motive, a species of persecution, as offensive to a pure and noble mind, as the confiscation of property, or even temporary loss of liberty? It is possible that a few of the expressions which have escaped your lips in this conversation, have been elicited by the heat of debate; but the same apology cannot be made for some, who coolly, and deliberately bring forward charges, and insinuations, which they know to be false : and often employ their influence to injure the reputation, and if possible to destroy the happiness of those who embrace religious opinions in opposition to their own. The meanness of this spirit is as censurable, as its tendency is pernicious; and though I would avoid giving utterance to any improper language; yot I candidly confess, that I feel no loss astonished, than disgusted. when I see it cherished in the bosom of any man." .
“You may give a prominency to the divine precepts, in your sermons, equally conspicuous to the tables of the ten commandments, which are suspended near the communion; and enforce them, if possible, with an energy, not less solemn, and impressive, than Sinai witnessed, when she trembled as the voice of the Lord waxed louder and louder ; but if you place the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in the shades, and neglect to dwell with devout, and fervid animation, on his love for sinners, you will never see any signs of that spiritual animation, which is felt and enjoyed, when the times of refreshing come from his presence.”. ; ..
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.: THE EVANGELICAL CLERGY
“We mistake the matter, if we think that the offence of the cross has yet ceased from the land. We mistake it, if, we think that the persecution of contempt, a species of persecution more appalling to some minds than even direct and personal violence, is not still the appointed trial of all who would live godly, and of all who would expound zealously and honestly the doctrines of Christ Jesus our Lord. We utterly mistake it, if we think that Christianity is not even to this very hour the same very peculiar thing that it was in the days of the apostles that it does not as much signalize and separate us from a world lying in wickedness—that the reproach cast upon Paul, that he was mad, because he was an intrepid follower of Christ, is not still ready to be preferred against every faithful teacher, and every consistent disciple of the faith, and that under the terms of methodism, and fanaticism, and mysticism, there is not ready to be discharged upon them from the thousand batteries of a hostile and unbelieving world, as abundant a shower of invective and contumely as in the first ages.” Dr. CHALMERS.
• You will admit” said Mr. John Roscoe, on resuming the conversation with his brother, “ that humility is one of the cardinal virtues of Christianity; and that this grace ought to shine with a pre-eminent lustre in the character of her ministers. They ought, of all men, to be the least assuming, to be the least censorious, and should rather let their conduct proclaim their possession of the religious principle, than their lips. But do the evangelical clergy cultivate this virtue? Do they not, as the Rev. Mr. C remarked in his Sermon, make bolder and higher pretensions to religion than others? Do they not arrogate to themselves the exclusive honour and fidelity of preaching the gospel in its simplicity, and its purity ? Do they not condemn as heretical an opposite style of preacbing to their own ? and are they not confederating together as a distinct order in our church, looking with a haughty disdain on their opponents, with whom they hold no intercourse?
Mr. Roscoe.“ I agree with you that humility is a cardinal virtue of Christianity ; but the humility of Christianity is not a virtue which requires, or tole