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by all good men. Carelessness and indifference towards the stated Ministers of religion, countenances insubordination, and the self-sufficient levelling fpirit from which so much evil has arisen, and so much is to be dreaded, in these times. All the parts of duty and of proper conduct, are closely connected together, whatever affects the one affects all the rest, more or less. The influence of want of duty, or of failing in duty, towards the Ministers of religion, and of want of duty or failing in duty towards other superiors, is very obvious. The same criminating spirit that reprobates the one will be forward to condemn the other : the same confidence of improvement and melioration, respecting the one, will be maintained respecting the other. Separatists from their parish Ministers are very apt to “ speak “ evil of dignities,” and to underrate and overlook the blessings and privileges, though fuperior and distinguished, which they enjoy. Innovation in church matters, encourages, and prepares for, innovation in the state; and cherishes a temper and character different from that which is recommended and exemplified in the sacred Scriptures. " Pray
“ for the peace of Jerusalem: for kings and all " that are inauthority,”says our apostle,“ that “ we may live quiet and peaceable lives under " them, in all godliness and honesty, &c.”
4. I ADD one evil more, much to be deprecated and deplored, connected also with those now mentioned, begging you to reflect how much it is to be guarded against, and how much you ought to shun and discourage every thing by which it is cherished, directly or indirectly : the neglecting of family religion, and performing its duties imperfectly, especially on the LORD's day.
On this subject I have often addressed you, with much earnestess, in public and in private. You have been told, and I beseech you seriously to consider, the mischiefs arising to children and to servants from heads of families not doing their duty as Christian parents. If they do not teach them, if they do not superintend them, publicly and privately, if they put it out of their own power to assist and encourage their families, in acquiring religious knowledge, and in engaging in religious exercises : I need not say what the natural consequences will be. But are these prevented by those parents who follow divifive courses ? One travels to one place, another to another : the young family is left behind. The master goes one way: the servant goes another: a journey is made backwards and forwards. It is thus not insinuated only, it is loudly proclaimed “ All is wrong, there " is danger" by those whom the servants and the young family naturally confider as their examples. Authority, inspection, countenance are withdrawn when they are of the greatest effect ; and restraints on idleness, disorder, disrespectful behaviour, mispending the Lord's day &c. are removed.
By mentioning thus evils to be lamented and guarded against, I recommend a firm and steady attachment to the Church of Scotland, and would save you from that levity and indifference towards the church; that forwardness of crimination, and that innovating spirit which unhappily so much prevail.
“ Eschew evil and do good:” by the advantages to be expected and secured, as well as by the evils to be saved from and prevent
ed, we might enforce the same exhortation. But if darkness is expelled, the light shines : if fickness is removed, health is restored : representing the evils shunned and removed, we exhibit the happy state and effects of a steady attachment to the church ; in Ministers being respected and useful, and happy: in parishioners being dutiful and instructed, and edified and comforted: in order and peace, and harmony being promoted in society; and in religion forwarded in the family.
The evils we have brought in view have existed more or less, from the very beginning. That they have increased in this country in the last sixty years and upwards, has been observed and regretted : that is to say, in the period of separations from the church, and innovations in religious matters. There is no question that innovations and separations have greatly contributed to increase these evils. And, if former divisions and new plans have produced them, what shall we think of those which are now going forward and receiving some encouragement ? From what has already been seen and heard, and felt, may easily be collected the conse
quences, quences, should the countenance of many be given, to the schemes of the day. What may be expected from assuming and exerciling a sort of apostolical powers; projecting and putting in practice a new method of teaching Christianity; discrediting and turning from the wisdom and experience of our forefathers; making light of academical education and preparation for the ministry; emptying the churches; gratifying curiosity, &c. ? Lay itinerancies, as already attempted, and as they are projected, on account of their tendency and effects, seem more hostile to the usefulness and comfort of the Ministers, and to the good of the people, of Scotland, than all former fects and separations
My friends,--for your regular attendance on the ordinances of religion, and resisting divisive courses ; and for your dutiful regards to your Minister, I have a fair opportunity of doing you justice, and giving you due commendation. The exhortation however is not unnecessary: “pure minds are to be stir“ red up by way of remembrance:" many unawares have been carried away farther than was proper in countenancing innovation :