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to receive them for his own children by adoption, and to incorporate them into his holy church.” When the same children are presented to the Bishop for confirmation, he also addresses the Divine BEING as having “ vouchsafed to regenerate them by water and the Holy Ghost, and as having given unto them the forgiveness of all their sins;" while many of them are as vile young rogues a$ ever existed. Then, when we come to bury them, we dare do no other than send them all to heaven, though many of those we commit to the earth bave been as wicked in life as men well can be on this side hell. This surely is a great hardship. Yet we have no remedy. We must do it, or forfeit our toast beef and plumb pudding. · But what I mean to infer from this view of the matter here, is, that if the doctrines of baptismal regeneration and final perseverance be true; every member of the church of England is as sure of heaven when he dies, as if he were already there. I leave those whom it may concern to draw the natural inference. How is this consistent with the 17th Article of Religion?
There is another circumstance in our public offices, which seems to affect the credit of
ur church, and the comfort of its ministers, The morning service formerly consisted of three parts, which were used at three different times in the forenoon. These are now thrown into one, and all used at the same time. Supposing each service taken singly to be ever so unexceptionable;' the conjunction of them reuders the whole full of repetition. By this absurd union, the Lord's prayer is always repeated five times every sunday morning, and on sacrament days, if there happen to be a baptism and a churching, it is repeated no less than eight times, in the space of about two hours. Use may reconcile us to any thing, how absurd soever it be-witness the popish ceremonies. Now let us suppose, that any of the Sectaries' of the country şhould, in their public devotions, be guilty of the same tautology, what should we think and say of thein? Should we not conclude they were mad?
By the same absurd conjunction of the three ancient services into one, we are obliged by the laws of our church to pray for the King, no less than five times every LORD's day morning; and even six on communion day. If I were a
Bishop, or a rich Pluralist, or a fat Rector, my eyes, for any thing I know, might be so far blinded with gold dust, that I should not see these imperfections of our public service; but, as it is, I do see them, and feel them, and groan under them every sabbath day of my life. They may love such things that will, I confess I do not.
Some of the objections, which are usually made to several parts of our ecclesiastical code of doctrines and laws, it will be granted by every candid person, are of no great consequence in themselves; but as they respectively constitute a part of the general system, and are connected with other things of a more serious and objectionable nature;
we are compelled to swear obedience to all the Canons[*] and subscribe, ex animo, to all and every thing contained in the Common Prayer, &c. as being agreeable to the Holy Scriptures; the least deviations from those Scriptures become great and weighty. And though there can be no solid objection to the doctrines and ceremonies of the Establishment, in general; yet, seeing there are some things wbich certainly are reprehensible, and those too of no very indifferent nature, the imposition of them in a manner 90 solemn is an extremely great hardship, and not to be justified upon any principle of expedience whatever. There is not a Bishop in England who does not continually transgress one or more of the 141 Canons; and, I am persuaded also, there is not an episcopal character in the nation, who can lay his hand upon his heart, and appeal to heaven, that he believes all and every thing which he subscribes. Why then not strive to repeal what is faulty? Why not ease the labouring consciences of those Clergymen, who are upright in the land?
These, and some other matters, which might be brought
[*] This hardly appears to be the true construction of this celebrated oath, the words of which are “I, A. B. do swear, that I will perform true and canonical obedience to the Bishop of C. and his successors, in all things lawful and honest;" the meaning of which may possibly be, that the juror shall obey the Bishop in all those points where the canon law may require such obedience, so far as is consistent with the rules of the comrion law, and the dictates of common honesty. Were the oath of that latitude contended for by our author, there would certainly not be a clergyman in the kingdom exempt from the sin of most deliberate perjury; yet the terms of the oath are obscure. EDITOR.
forward more at large, seem, to many very well informed and respectable persons, truly objectionable, and strong indications, that we are not so far reinoved from the old meretricious lady of Babylon, as we would willingly have the world to believe*. Among the several Protestant establishments, we must, they fear, be, at least, considered as the eldest daughter of that first-born of wickednesst.
That I am not singular in supposing there are several things wrong in the Church-Establishment of this country, is evident from the words of Bishop WATSON in his reply to Mr. G1BBON: “ There are," says this able advocate for regenerated Christianity, “ many 'worthless doctrines, many superstitious obsertances, which the fraud or folly of mankind have every where annexed to Christianity, especially in the Church of Rome, as essential parts of it. If you take these sorry appendages to Christianity for Christianity itself, as preached by Christ, and by the Apostles-you quite mistake its nature 1.
Many of our Bishops and Clergy will complain in this manner in private, and some few in public, that various things are wrong and want mending: but there are exceedingly few who will speak out, remonstrate, and use their influence, that things may be put upon a more defencible fooring. We keep reading what we do not approve,--the damnatory sentences in ATHANAST US's Creed for instance, ---professing what we do not believe, subscribing what we know or suspect to be wrong, and swearing to observe laws,
which are truly horrible in their tendency, all our lives long, . for the sake of a little paltry food and raiment, and a moiety
of worldly honour.--Is this the way to glory, and honour, and riches everlasting ?- If WICKLIFFE, and Luther, and
* See the doctrines of the Church of Rome pretty much at large in the 17th Sect. of SIMPSON's Key to the Prophecies. The cruelty of that church is horrible. JOSEPH MEDE reckons up 1,200,000 of the Valensess and Alligenses put to death in 30 years! The same intolerant: nd persecuting spirit prevailed in our church also for many years after the Reformation, and is not yet perfectly done away*.
* See Thc Prisorie's Defence against the Rev. GEORGE MARXHAM; a well written pamphlet. Brother (.ORGE cuts but a poor figure in the hands of these Quakers.
+ That non of Sin-the Son of Perdition, that Wicked. 2 Thess. 1.3, 8.
Apology for Christianity, Let. 6.
CRANMER, and Ridley, and LATIMER, and the glorious army of Martyrs, had acted in the manner we do, no re formation had over taken place. We should have been Popish priests at this day. The same spirit which keeps us quiet in our several snug Protestant preferments now, would have kept us quiet in our 'several snug Popish preferments then, if such had been our situation." It is much more easy to', fawn, and cringe, and flatter, with ERASMUS, than face a frowning world, with LUTHER, and his noble companions.
From the foregoing short view of these two classes of predictions concerning the Saviour of mankind, and the condition of the Christian Church in the world; every candid and sober-minded man, I think, may see, without the smallest room for deception, that there is something far more than human in the Prophetic Scriptunes. It is impossible to account for all these strange coincidences, upon any principles of nature or art whatever. Here is a long series of predictions running through all time, partly fulfilled, partly fulfilling, and partly to be fulfilled. : Let any. mau account for it, without supernatural interposition, if he can. If he cannot, then the Scriptures are of divine original; Jesus is the Saviour of mankind; all the great things foretold shall be accomplished; Infidels and Infidelity shall be confounded world without end; and sound, practical believers in Christ Jesus, of every denomination, shall stand secure and joyful,, amidst the convulsion of nations, the subversion of churches, “the. wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds."
« Such, in that day of terrors, shall be seen
The centre shakes : their hearts disdain to move." Are not abundance of these predictions fulfilling at this, very day before our eyes? Is not the religion of Jesus diffusing itself far and wide among the nations of the earth? Did not the corruptions of it commence at a very early period? Did not the Church of Rome assume a universal spiritual empire in the seventh century, and temporal dominion in the eighth *? Is it not expressly predicted, that the
* It is remarkable, that MAHOMET began his unposture in the very year that the Bishop of Rome, by virtue of a grant from the
illegitimate empire of that Church should continue the precise period of 1260 years? Does it not seem that those 1260 years are upon the point of : expiring ? Were not great changes to take place among the kingdoms, into which the Roman empire was to be divided, about the expiration of the said term? Have not great changes already taken place in those kingdoms ? Were not the nations, which, for so many ages, had given their power unto the Beast, to turn against that Beast, and use means for its destruction * ls not this part of the prophecy also, in a good degree, fulfilled at the present moment? Have not all the Catholic powers forsaken his HOLINESS. of Rome in the time of leis greatest need? And is not He, who, a few ages ago, made all Europe tremble at the thunder of his voice, now become weak like other men? Are not the claws of the Beast now cut, and his teeth drawn, so that he can bo longer either scratch or bite:+? Is he not already, in our own day, and before our own eyes," stripped of his temporal dominion? And doth not the triple crown, even now, dance upon his head? or rather, has he not for ever lost all right and title to wear it? Is it not extremely remarkable, and a powerful confirmation of the truth of Scripture prophecy, that just 1260 years ago from the present 1798, in the very beginning of the year 538, BELISARIUS put an end to the empire of the Goths at Rome, leaving no power therein but the Bishop of that Me tropolis? wicked tyrant Phocas, first assumed the title of Universal Pastor; and thereon claimed to himself that supremacy, which he hath been ever since endeavouring to usurp over the church of CHRIST. This was in the year 606, when MAHOMET retired to his cave to forge his impostures; so that Antichrist seems at the same time to set both his feet upon Christendom together; the ove in the east, and the other in the west.PRIDEAUX's Life of MAHOMET, p. 13.
A valuable Correspondent, thoroughly acquainted with the prophetic Scriptures, gives it as his opinion, that we are now in the second period of the seventh vial. Rev, xvi. 17-21. “ The battle of the great God has been, and is fighting. The sacking of the nations is come. The Man of sin who lias been sitting in the temple of GOD 1260 years, all but a few; whom God hath been consuming with the spirit ot his mouth since the Reformation; whom he is now ready to destroy with the appearance of his presence, we see is ready for the blow."
* Consult the seventeenth chapter of Revelation.
+ See the treatment which the present Pope of Rome has received from the French. They even took the ring from his finger, and deprived him of his snuff! Ungenerous Frenchmen! Cruel conquerors!