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"in the whole tenor of his conduct, which excitesto virtue, he tacitly, at least, encourages vice: in a word, if he is not more holy than his people, he dishonours his ministry. May these interesting reflections, my Brethren, call us often within ourselves; let us frequently, and seriously, consider, that it is not any extreme degree of guilt, which brings eternal ruin on our heads; and that there are more who shall be condemned, for not having done good in their Churches, than for having committed the most heinous sins. The barren and the dead tree are struck with the same curse : the Gospel condemns to the same darkness, and the same torments, the careless, and the unfaithful, servant.



Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles; that whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they may, by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.



NOTHING appearing to me of greater consequence, in order to support the dignity of the priesthood, than the manner in which we conduct ourselves in society, I will beg your attention to the following reflections; which, as they are affectionately offered, so they will, I trust, be willingly received.

Intended, as we are, to be the salt of the earth, we must, necessarily, mingle with it; we form but one body with the men that inhabit it; and instead of seeking at a distance, a retreat from their vices, we should, as far as lies in our power, preserve them from plunging into any, which might be either dangerous to their souls, or destructive of their peace. But, instead of stemming the torrent of wickedness, which inundates the world, we ourselves are, sometimes, carried away by its force. In order, then, to avoid the evil to which we are often exposed, we have only to lay down the rules of prudence, and the obligations of Religion, to which we are to conform; whereas,


the contempt of them may subject us to danger, and involve us in dilemmas, out of which we cannot easily get extricated.

The first rule relates to the choice of the persons with whom you associate. For, if the world sees you out of your sphere, at riotous meetings, or with profligate companions*, will it suppose you innocent in your mind, and exemplary in your morals? Is it allowable, in a Clergyman, whose reputation is so precious to the Church, and so valuable to himself—since the whole success of his ministry depends upon it—to addict himself to a sort of life, which excites suspicion of his principles, and causes doubts of his innocence? He may declare, indeed, that the secret murmurs, and public clamours, with which he is reproached, are suggested by the malevolence, and encouraged by the envy, of his enemies. But though he should be merely imprudent, by giving rise to suspicions, would he be excusable, in not taking immediate precautions to remove them? It is not, however, sufficient for a Clergyman to be free from impropriety of conduct, he must also avoid the appearance of it. He must not sacrifice public opinion, which is so essential to the character of a Pastor, and to the honour of the Church, to a love of unjustifiable amusements, or an attachment to improper company.

* " Still I do not mean that we should be sour and morose: condemn innocent Relaxations, and provoke Men to say, that we rail out of Envy, at what we have absurdly tied up ourselves from partaking of: but express our Dislike of them as mildly as the Case will bear; slight with good Humour the Indulgences, in which others falsely place their Happiness; and convince them by our Experience as well as Reasoning, how very comfortably they may live without them."•—Abp. Secker.

It may be said, are we to withdraw from the society which is the most pleasing to us, from the friendships we have contracted, because some persons may, without cause, represent them to our disadvantage? A prepossession unfavorable to a Clergyman ought not to be entertained. "If "eating meat," says the Apostle, "offends, I will "eat no meat whilst the world standeth." Let him shut the mouth of calumny,, let him respect his o . n character, and it will obtain respect, even from those, who, otherwise, will have great delight in misrepresenting it through meanness, and wounding it through malignity. He may prevent misrepresentation, by taking away occasion from those that seek occasion.

Alas! my brethren, what afflictions have been brought on the Church, not merely by the misconduct, but by the suspicions, to which the want of caution in the Clergy, has given rise ! with what humiliating contempt have they not loaded the sacred ministry! and what occasion have they not given to men, to blaspheme the name of God, and to attribute to religion, the failings of its Ministers! But let us throw a veil over these reflections -, let us not renew our grief in the presence of holy men of

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