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prohibition spread before his passions, to teach, and to guard them against, whatever is wrong.
Let it not be forgotten, however, that a shird argument in favour of the practical character of the sermons of the Established Clergy, is found in the beneficial effects which such a system of preaching is likely to produce in society. This, perhaps, may best appear from the not only probable, but actual consequences, which result from pulpit discourses, exclusively doctrinal in their nature. It will not be denied, that the performance of the duties of our religion is the most difficult branch of it. The slight view which we have just taken of the nature of man, puts it beyond a doubt; and, whilst it determines the fact, at the same time too well accounts for its cause. There are few, indeed, whether high or low, enlightened or rude, who, if they can discover any substitute for the observance of the wide range of christian morals, will not eagerly apply to it; and thus
thus save themselves the trouble, or pain, of practising those duties which are so generally irksome to their na. tural inclinations, or opposite, as they conceive, to their best interests. In the discourses above alluded to, they discover this substitute. An undefineable something, im
properly denominated faith, is presented to them, as the great “ all in all” in religion, on which the attention is to be exclusively fixed, and to which the heart is to be entirely devoted. A certain sacrifice of reason, indeed, and some strong efforts of the imagination, are required in exchange for the Talisman; but these are readily conceded, as a willing ransom from the inconveniences of a scriet morality, and the irksomness of sensitive conscience. It is evident, that to men once put into possession of such a religious Panacea as this, the obligations of virtue will appear either of no importance, or at least of secondary consideration; and that the personal duties of “temperance,
soberness, and chastity;" and the social ones of " truth, justice, and mercy;" all that renders man amiable or useful, will be sacrificed to the perverted creed. In the mean time, the spirit of religious pride, or the horrors of religious despair, will fill their minds, according to the mental constitution of those who have embraced it. In bold and sturdy spirits,
“ the form of doctrine they have been trained to, (as warmly nourished as it was willingly received,) will speedily grow into a full conviction that this alone is the faith which can save the soul; that their Gerizim is the true Jerusalem, where, men ought to worship;" and that all without their sanctuary are legitimate objects either of hatred or contempt. While, on the other hand, men of tender spirits, and susceptible of gloomy impressions, fancying that, with all their efforts, they are still deficient in the saving faith; and taught, and persuaded, that without this passport they cannot “ see the LORD," pass their : days in agonizing fears; frequently terminate them in distraction; or sometimes cut them short by suicide. Such are the consequences (observed at this moment by the reflecting, and deplored by the wise and good, part of mankind) resulting from that public religious instruction, which represents christianity merely as a system of faith, and denies, or conceals, that moral righteousness, the government of the passions, the regulation of the temper, and the duties owing from man to man, are necessary to salvation; which divests men, as individuals, of virtue or peace, and renders them either injurious or useless to the well-being of society. "If this be propounding the gospel, the Clergy of the Establishment will readily acknowledge that they cannot be·numbered among its preach. ers; but, at the same time, they will declare, they feel it both their boast and consolation, that, as they have not “ so learned CHRIST,
and, as they are well assured his covenant was graciously intended for the moral improvement of men here, as well as their spiritual happiness hereafter, .so, by enunciating the necessity, of practice as well as faith, and by associating the commandment with the doctrine, they fulfil their duty as his ambassadors, and preach the gospel to “ the “ common people,” in simplicity and truth.
Let it not be said, however, that, in their zeal for the morality of the gospel, they either forget or neglect its great peculiar and characteristical tenets; since their veneration for the doctrinal part of the dispensation is at least equal to that of their gainsayers, however they may differ from them as to its nature and extent. For the views on which this branch of their preaching is founded, they conceive that they have a basis which can never fail them. They stand upon the immoveable rock of Scripture, its genuine text, and critical interpretåtion; and holding in their hand that Article of the Church to which they belong, which expressly points out to them the source from whence they are to derive their doctrines; and the test by which the verity of all doctrine is to be determined.
66 Holy SCRIPTURE CONTAINETH ALL, 46 THINGS NECESSARY TO SALVATION:
be So THAT WHATSOEVER IS NOT READ " THEREIN, NOR MAY BE PROVED 'THERE
BY, IS NOT TO BE REQUIRED OF ANY MAN, THAT IT SHOULD BE BELIEVED AS AN ARTICLE OF THE FAITH, OR BE
THOUGHT RÉQUISITE OR NECESSARY " TO SALVATION."
Thus sanctioned, they propound to “ the “ common people" the doctrine of the fall, of man, his consequent corruption, and inability to recommend himself to the favour of God, by his own unassisted endeavours ; the doctrine of the necessity and all-sufficiency of the atonement of Jesus Christ," the
image of the invisible God;" the doctrine of the universal redemption of mankind through the Saviour “ who died for
ALL," on the conditions of repentance, faith, and obedience; the doctrine of the aid and influence of the Holy Spirit, attainable by prayer and a godly life, to sanctify and purify the heart, and to enable man both to will and to do that which is well pleasing to his Maker; the doctrine of God's love, impartiality, and mercy, that “ he willeth not the death of a sinner, but " that ALL should turn unto him and be " saved ;' the doctrine of “the resurrection “ of the dead," through Jesus, “the first< fruits of them that slept;" and the doctrine