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baneful consequences arising from this unhappy cause do daily exhibit an increasing tendency to disorder, confusion, and every evil work. It is no doubt by preserving the bonds of ecclesiastical unity, that Christians are to be kept in the way of obedience to the one God, and dependence on the one Mediator. It has, therefore, been justly observed by an eminent writer, that, “if ever this subject of the church of Christ, now so much-neglected, and almost forgotten by those who are most concerned to understand it, should come to be better considered, there would be more true piety, and more peace, more of those virtues which will be required in heaven, and which must therefore be first learned upon earth. Some amongst us err, because they know not the Scriptures; and others, because they never considered the nature of the church. Some think they can make their own religion, and so they despise the word of God, and fall into infidelity. Others think they can make their own church, or even be a church unto themselves; and so they fall into the delusions of enthusiasm, or the uncharitableness of schism.” w These are the pertinent remarks of a learned divine of of the church of England, and they are enforced by an observation so justly expressed, and so well adapted to my present purpose, that I must take the liberty of presenting it to the notice of those for whom this publication is more particularly intended. “But, as there is nothing to enlighten the minds of men in the doctrines of salvation, but the word of God; so there is nothing that can unite their hearts and affections, but the church of God. Ye are one bread, and one body, saith the Apostle; one body by partaking of one bread; and that can only be in the same communion.” Impressed therefore with the truth and importance of what is here so justly asserted, and earnestly desirous of its producing the same effect in the minds of those for whose benefit I am now writing, I shall beg leave to request their serious and impartial consideration of the subject before us; while, taking a view of the general state of religion in this country, and the danger to which it is exposed, from professed infidels on the one hand, and from the fanatical abettors of enthusiasm on the other, we look back through all this mist of modern confusion, to the primitive order-and-writermity of the church, and see what necessity there is for our continuing still in the “Apostles' doctrine and fellowship,” as the only source of order and guard of uniformity.—We shall then close our view with such a brief, but, I trust, satisfactory account of the ecclesiastical orders and administrations of the Episcopal Church in Scotland, as, notwithstanding the violent attack which was lately made upon it by a learned Professor of the establishment, may tend, by the blessing of God, to confirm the regard and attachment of its present members; to promote a becoming union among all those who profess to be of the Episcopal persuasion in this part of the kingdom; and to furnish them with proper arguments for the vindication of those sound and salutary principles, by which they have the happiness to be distinguished. It is an observation of undeniable certainty, that the same Divine Being, the Almighty Lord of heaven and earth, who has given to man the good things of creation for the use and benefit of his body, and the precious truths of revelation for the instruction and comfort of his soul, has in both instances met with the most ungrateful and unworthy returns. The good things of creation have been abused to the basest purposes of riot and intemperance, consumed in sin and sensuality, and often made a pretence for indulging covetousness and ambition, a sordid parsimony and griping avarice; while the precious truths of revelation have been treated with the most insolent scorn and contempt, exposed to all the wantonness of raillery and

* See the preface to an Essay on the Church, by the late Rev. Williaro Jones, of Nayland, in Suffolk,

ridicule, and often so strangely perverted, as to produce nothing but blind superstition and enthusiastic presumption.”

It is not enough, however, that we acknowledge in general the truth of this melancholy observation: let us examine whether such a charge be strictly just, when applied to the inhabitants of this land, the country with which we are most immediately connected. Perhaps, when comparing our moral character with that of other-states and kingdoms, we may feel an inclination at once to resist the charge, because our country cannot injustice be accused of

such flagrant abuses of the divine goodness as are too often exhibited in other parts of the world. But before we allow ourselves to be carried away by any such superficial and flattering comparison, we shall do well to consider, whether this moral superiority, which at present we undoubtedly possess, may not be more justly ascribed to a want of means and opportunity of carrying the pursuit of sensual and worldly pleasure to the same height with our richer neighbours, than to any want of inclination, from principle, to the abuses which I have been mentioning. It seems therefore a doubtful point, whether our virtue in this respect is to be traced to the proper source and principle of all that deserves to be called virtue, or whether our being “delivered from much of the evil” that prevails in other places, may not be ascribed to the favourable circumstance of our not being so much “led into temptation.” But whatever may be said, either for or against our national character, on this score, it can only be applied to the first branch of the charge to which I have alluded, as pointing to that presumptuous abuse of the good things of creation, the criminality of which will no doubt be in proportion to the share that is enjoyed of these temporal blessings; and those, to whom little is given, will surely have the less to account for. But as to the other part of the charge, in

which our country is implicated, as professing to be Chris

tian, and enjoying the full benefit of divine revelation, I art

afraid, that in the contempt, or abuse of its precious truths, as much guilt and depravity will be found here, in proportion to our numbers, as in the other parts of the united kingdom. From the advantages which Scotland has long enjoyed in the way of literature, and the easy access thus afforded to the general acquisition of knowledge, has arisen the powerful temptation, which many have been unable to withstand, of carrying their speculations beyond the proper limits, and affecting to be wise even m-m-oars of religion, above what God has caused to be written for man's instruction. While such speculations, however, were confined to the student in his closet, their influence was narrow and circumscribed; and the general state of society was but little affected by the writings of such infidels as David Hume, till they were better suited to vulgar capacity, and their deadly venom more widely circulated, by the poisonous arts of Thomas Paine, and his numerous disciples. These could not fail at last to attract the notice of government; and by its firm and steady exertions, a stop has been put to the open and avowed propagation of principles so hostile to the morals, the peace, and good order of society. Yet it is much to be feared, that in many parts of the kingdom, the seeds of irreligion and licentiousness have been so plentifully disseminated, that unless their growth be checked by a returning sense of duty, or some powerful interposition of Providence, before they come to full maturity, inevitable ruin must be the consequence. Already do the presages of such a fatal issue begin to exhibit themselves. In some of the most populous districts of Scotland, where the middling and lower ranks of the people were, some years ago, exemplary in the discharge of their religious duties, not occasional neglect only, but a constant derision, and an avowed contempt of these duties, have now taken place. The rites and ordinances of the gospel are exposed to every species of scorn and ridicule. Children are wilfully withheld from the “laver of regeneration;” and men and women “count the blood of the covenant, wherewith they are sanctified, an unholy thing, in pure despite of the spirit of grace.” The attainment of superior wisdom has been the boast of the free-thinking tribe in every age, and in every nation; and much mischief has been done to the cause of Christianity by the sophisms of schoolmen, and the introduction of that false philosophy and vain deceit, the offspring of metaphysical subtilty, through which so many in the hi gher ranks of life have been completely “spoiled and led away after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Yet comparatively small was the injury, so long as the poor had the gospel preached unto them; so long as the mass of society was uncontaminated, and the great body of the people esteemed themselves happy in enjoying the comforts of religion, and “counted all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord.” The partition-wall, however, between learned and unlearned, is now in this respect broken down. The adepts of the new philosophy have availed themselves of the facility, with which the lower classes of the people may be tempted to get rid of this distinction; and, if we may borrow the figurative language of the Psalmist, “the boar out of the wood doth now waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour” and tear in pieces, the gospel of that “God of hosts,” who proclaimed himself “the true vine;” even the “Shepherd of Israel,” of whom the same Psalmist declares, that “he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.”—What a pity it is that the grievous wolves of atheism and apostacy should be allowed to enter in among us, clothed as they are in the lambskin dress of fraternal benevolence, and universal philanthropy; under which guise, “speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them,” they spare not the flock of Christ, but are daily carrying off unstable souls te

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