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ful interpofition of Providence, before they come to full maturity, inevitable ruin must be the consequence. Already do the presages of such a fatal iffue 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, where

with 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 fubtilty, through which so many in the higher tanks 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

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 re{pect broken down. The adepts of the new philosophy have availed themselves of the facility, with which the lower classes of the people may be tempt. ed 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,” whọ proclaimed himself “ the true vine;' even the “Shep6 herd of Israel," of whom the same Plalmist declares, that “he is our God, and we are the people «s of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.”_Whật 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 fra. ternal 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 fouls to the destruction that awaits them! To whom, but to that same mighty Shepherd of Israel, who neither slumbereth nor sleepeth, can we look for such aid and protection as are necessary to defend us from these enemies of our peace ?

But, while we fly to him for shelter, earnestly praying that he would take us under “ the shadow

of “ of his wings, until these calamities be overpast," we must be equally careful to beware of the mo. dern “ false prophets,” and not listen to the pretenfions of such as are ever seeking to exalt themselves, by going about and saying, “ Lo here is Chrift, or o lo there;" for Christ himself hath left this warning with us " Not every one that faith unto me; « Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of hea66 ven; but he that doth the will of my Father 66 which is in heaven."* Now this heavenly Father being the God of order, not of confusion, his will must in every thing accord with his work ; and we are to discover what his will is, from what he has done for the purpose of revealing it to us. His doings, no doubt, may be often “ marvellous in our eyes;" but no man, who is not actuated by the most palpable presumption and self-confidence, will dare to infringe, or pretend to alter, the order of God's works, whether they refer to his operations in the economy of nature, or of grace. Bold and assuming as the naturalist too often is, he never has attempted to invert the seasons ; to make the sun rule by night, and the moon by day; to oppose the ftars in their courses ; to bring the winds out of their treasures, or to allay the fury of the tempest by his unavailing “ peace, be still.” How then should any one pretend to alter the system of things spiritual; to change the economy of grace ;-to disjoint the C 2

una

whole

* St. Matthew, vü. an.

whole frame of religion, by opposing the revealed will of God, and setting aside the laws and inftitations of his divine appointment? Yet all this may be juftly laid to the charge of those wild enthusiasts, who full of the aflurance of faith, and the inward experience of a self-confident mind, enroll themselves among the elect of God; and certain, as they suppose, of being saved themselves, look down with contemptuous disdain on those humble Christians, who are yet content to a work out their own falvasation,” in the way that God has prescribed, “ with “ fear and trembling."-Adoctrine, which thus tears away from the human heart every folid motive to a holy and religious life; which tells us, in language as plain as these people can possibly make use of, that if we are in the number of the elect, there is no fear, and if we are not, there is no hope : Such a doctrine, the abettors of it, no doubt, juftly suppose, would require to be supported, not by human authority, but by an immediate testimony from heaven; and therefore the modern preachers of this new gospel, despising the commission which our Lord gave his apostles, to be handed down by regular fucceffion, have all at once afumed to themselves a title, by which they would make the world believe, that they have now the only mission from heaven, that exists upon this earth, the peculiar privilege of preaching what they are pleased to call the Gospel, in opposition to all that the church of God has hitherto received under that venerable name.

How

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· How long this delusion, which is now spreading so wide through every part of the kingdom, may prevail, it is not easy to fay; as the power of delufion is strong, both when it would appear to be on the fide of religion, and when it operates in a contrary direction. Attempts have been made, by fomething like ecclefiaftical authority, to stop the progress of this growing evil, and to adminifter a remedy to those who are infected by this miffionary phrenfy; a sort of possession more worthy of one who has his “ dwelling among the tombs," than of those who reside in the habitations of men ! But they, who prescribe the remedy, ought to under. ftand well the nature of the difeafe, and be able to trace the malady to its proper source. People, who admonish others to beware of falling into any dangerous error in matters of religion, ought themselves to be exempt from the mischief, against which their admonition is directed. Such warnings come with an ill grace, and therefore with no great probability of doing much good, from those, who, perhaps it will be said, derive their own ministry from the same contempt of a regular apostolic miffion, of which they now see such alarming consequences, as have at last produced a wish to prevent their farther increase.

In the midst of all this confusion, this melancholy departure from PRIMITIVE TRUTH AND ORDER, we of the Episcopal Communion have the credit and comfort of reflecting, that nothing has been faid or

done

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