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“ He that attacks received opinions with any thing but fair ar-
SOLD ALSO BY JAMES NISBET, BERNERS STREET:
AND DAVENPORT, LIVERPOOL.
If there be any thing worth contending for, in this world, it is true preparedness for leaving it. The dissipation for ever of all delusions, and the penetrating experience of things as they really are. The discovery that character is heaven; that character is hell: that every intelligent being carries in the recesses of his own bosom, the elements of everlasting communion with, or everlasting alienation from, the living God, the source and centre of all good, and all joy—these things are at the door, on the winged messengers of accident, disease, and decay And what then ? What then shall be thought of all the struggles of human ambition, all the glittering distinctions of human rank, all the heart-burnings of human rivalry? What then shall be thought of all human institutions, and all human oppositions, and all the earnestness of human controversy ?
O how infinitely insignificant will all appear, save only as they have helped or hindered preparedness for eternity. In this connexion, things in themselves trifling become unspeakably important. Institutions, which if rested in as ends, are worse than nothing, and lighter than vanity, when used as passing means, become angels of mercy, conducting to realms of light and glory.
We are yet in a body of infirmity, and surrou.ded by a world of infirmity. Means are indispensable; and therefore human institutions, as affording the supply of means, and the opportunities of using them. To defend such institutions, though subject to the common infirmity, is a christian duty. A faithful and discriminating performance of this duty, in times like the present, demands energy, and independence of mind; because it incurs obloquy and reproach, and because there is an active class of clamorous objectors, who if they can retort upon the man, imagine, and make their readers imagine, that they have more than answered his arguments. The common refuges from this personality, are the anonymous columns of a newspaper or periodical. The writer of the following pages, is impressed with the conviction, that now is the time for those who are sincerely attached to our national church, boldly and personally to avow it.
56 To support established institutions and existing systems; to defend these on the ground, not of their own perfection, but because, with all their admitted imperfections, they are preferable to the proposed reforms, is obviously not a task so easy, or so captivating, as the opposite course of attack. For, on this side of the question, over and above the want of enterprize, the common effect of possession, there prevails widely, even among the most pure-hearted men, the fear of the clamorous imputation of self-interest, a corrupt attachment to abuses, or, at the best, a stupid passion for antiquity. The defence, therefore, requires