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The Reformation contended for in these papers is a peaceable reforın, begun and carried on by the wisdom of the three branches of the Constitution, as far as the Constitution is concerned; and by the Bishops and Clergy, of every denomination, so far as the moral and religious conduct of the people is concerned. The absolute necesssity of such reformation is founded on the prophetic declarations of Daniel before repeatedly mentioned. The nature of the reformation which I conceive to be necessary to our lasting preservation as a kingdom, is, that whatever militates against the genuine spirit of Christ's religion in the Establishment should be removed; and that all orders of clerical characters, especially, should set themselves, with the utmost zeal and determination, first to reform themselves, and then to stop the torrent of iniquity, which threatens to involve the country in the most complete destruction. The Dissenters and Methodists are moving heaven and earth to promote the cause of religion in their respective ways. If the 18,000 Clergymen in the Establishment would exert themselves for the good of souls with equal zeal and fervour, the Established Church would not only be the safer, as an Establishment, but the divine protection would be more effectually engaged on our behalf. Righteous nations never fall*. Unfor
Among other unfavourable signs of the times, the vast number of bankruptcies in this kingdom is none of the least. I suppose we average six or seven hundred every year, beside all the composition businesses, which are still more numerous. But what I here chiefly refer to, as a proof of depraved morals, is, that, of all the instances of defraud, intentional or otherwise, practised upon the public, an instance of after-payment is rarely recorded; and, whenever such an instance occurs, it is always spoken of with asto. nishment, as a thing not to be expected. If a man goes upon the bigh road, or breaks into your house, and robs you of a few pounds, he is infamous; and if he can be caught and arraigned,
tunately, however, numbers of our Order of men are the greatest enemies to the country and to religion. We promote the interest of Satun, inore effectually by our indolence, worldly-mindedness, lukewarmness, and misconduct, than all the wicked and immoral characters in the kingdom put together. Only think! Eighteen thousand men, led on by six and twenty Bishops, all filled with faith and the Hoy Ghost, with an ardent love to Jesus Christ, and with a judicious, but warm and affectionate zeal for the salvation of souls, paid by the State, and sent out into every corner of the land to preach the eterlasting Gospel! What a glorious consideration! How should we make the ungodly and profane skulk into corners, and hide their impious heads! But, alas! how is the gold become dim, how is the most fine gold changed! for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. Dissenters are increasing, Methodists are multiplying, Wickedness is spreading, our Churches are emptying, Infidelity is pervading all orders of society, and the daughter of Zion is like to be left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. We may look at the neighbouring nations, and learn, at their expence, what our own fate will assuredly be ere long. Who is so blind? who is so ignorant? who is so selfish and secure? who is so unread in history? who is so unacquainted with the prophecies, as not to see, that the salvation of Europe is suspended op its wisdom, in correcting what is amiss in its morals, and unevangelical in its ecclesiastical constitutions ?
It should seem, however, notwithstanding the growing immorality of the age, and the other alarming symptoms of our and the thing proved, he atones for bis offence at the expence of his life. But a man, in a way of trade, shall cbeat you of hun. dreds and thousands, shall pay you ten, five, or even only two sbillings in the pound, yet he is a good fellow, a man of honour. He begins again; keeps it up, cuts a dash, cracks again, and all is well. He never dreams, that upon every principle of justice, honour, and conscience, he is as much a debtor for all his deficiencies as though the law bad pever acquitted hin. What au accumulation of guilt is upon this Jand' on these accounts? Of the many thousands in this country, who fall short in their payments, how few, how extremely few do we meet with, or hear of, who, afterwards, like the most worthy REYNER, call their creditors together, and pay them, what, indeed, is justly due, but what they never could de mand?
nation, that the GOVERNOUR among the armies of heaven, and the inhabitants upon earth, hath still a favour to dear old England. He is loath to give us up. The wise and vigorous measures pursued by the King and his Ministers are surely tokens for good to my country. The late very splendid vic. tories are propitious signs. - The Acts too, for excluding suspicious foreigners, and arming the whole nation, are masterpieces of sound policy. Hitherto assuredly the LORD hath helped us. He hath given us a patriotic King, able Ministers, skilful Generals, brave Soldiers, unparalleled Admirals, and gallant Sailors; above all, he hath poured out a spirit of wrestling prayer upon large numbers of religious people. These are symptoms of the most propitious kind. But, with all these advantages, since God usually works by means, how is it possible for any country, that is not in a constant high state of preparation, to resist such a mighty armed and growing republic as Frunce? If the people in this kingdom will not very generally come forward and qualify themselves for resistance, we must ultimately fall. But, if we should share the fate of the other nations, there will be no just reason to accuse the Government. The war was inevitable on our part. It was, moreover, ordained of God for the subversion of the seat of the Beast". They have been extremely vigorous in their measures, and have done - what men in their situation could do. Let the people remember, that we live in a period, when one of God's great and afflictive providential dispensations is coming upon the world; a dispensation predicted for some thousands of years; and let them second the endeavours of their Governors, and come forward, man, woman, and child, to defend themselves against the common enemy, as they would against an army of bears
* It has been noticed on a former page, that the Pope and Mahomet rose in or about the same year. The former is driven from Įis seat exactly at the end of 1260 years. And is it not a circuun. stance extremely remarkable, that the very same man, in the very same year, should invade the empire of the latter during a state of profound peace, seemingly without any reason! We know the Turk is to fall, and we have some cause to suppose the period of that catastrophe will be at no great distance from the subversion of the Pope's secular dominion. I fear we shall be on the wrong side of the question, if we attempt to support either him or the remaining popish states, and shall suffer for our intermeddling.
wolves, and tygers; and we shall be safe under the divine protection, while that protection is afforded. But, in my opinion, every remaining popish, secular, and superstitious circumstance, which is calculated to offend the MAJESTY of HEAVEN, and to oppose the interests of Christ's kingdom *, should be removed from the ecclesiastical part of our Constitution, and nothing should be left undone to engage his continued favour and protection.
The Dissenters and Methodists, I have observed, are moving heaven and earth to promote the interests of religion in their 'several ways, and to oppose the torrent of vice and infidelity, wbich is overspreading these happy and heavenfavoured lands. A kind of association has been formed among some of the established Clergy at Manchester, to preach a weekly lecture in each others churches, which, no doubt, will be attended with good effect. This is a laudable effort, and shews a proper attention to the circumstances of the times t, and should be followed in all populous towns. We ought everyone to step out of the routine of our accustomed methods of doing good, and strive with peculiar energy to save our people's souls from death,
* What can be more inimical to the interests of the Gospel of CHRIST in the world, than the damnable monopoly of Church Livings, so extremely common among all the higher orders of the Clergy in this country? More than one instance of this nature is given in the foregoing papers. To these may be added the following. A certain clerical character, whom I could name, is at this time in possession of 700 pounds a year private fortune. He is a tippling imınoral person, with little or no family, besides his wife. One living he has got, at a good distance, of 600 pounds a year, besides two rectories, one of 500, the other of 350 pounds a year. At the same time, he has obtained a Prebendary of considerable value in one of our magnificent cathedrals. Will any wise man undertake to say, that a Clergymun of this description believes the Gospel of Christ? All such characters are undoubted infidels in disguisé, do an infinite deal of harm to the interests of religion in the world, and, in a well ordered state of things, would be degraded from their pretended sacred office. Such men may cry out as loudly as they please against ThomÁS PAINE and his deistical brethren their craft is in danger!-- but they themselves are much more to blame, and shall be condemned with ten-fold confusion. TOM Paine is a saint, when compared with such fellows.
+ Something similar to this has likewise been practised for some years by several pious and respectable clergymen in the metropolis.
and our beloved country from ruin. An association of Protestant Dissenters, of different denominations, has also been formed at Bedford*. About thirty inwisters in that neighbourhood are already engaged to co-operate in spreading the knowledge of the Gospel through all the towns and villages, in that vicinity, upon the most liberal plan. The same kind of associations are formed also in Kent, Dorsetshire, Surry, Suffolk, Lancashire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Northumberland, and will probably in a little time pervade the whole of the three kingdoms. This is good news to all who wish well to the cause of religion, without regard to sects, parties, and opinions; and may convince us, that the Gospel of Jesus wants nothing but fair play; and that human establishments, and great worldly emoluments, are not essentially necessary for its propagation and support. The Puritans were frowned on by the government from the time of the Reformation to the days of CHARLES I. and yet they increased to such a height as to overturu both Church and State. The Dissenter's have been, in some respects, frowned on again from the Restoration to the present time; yet they, and the Methodists, who are in the same predicament, are much more upon the increase t, than We of the Establishment, who are fostered by the government, attended by the nobles and gentry of the laud, and supported by the State, at the expence of near two millions a year. When shall it once be, that the Great Ones of the world will be ca
* Consult Mr. GREATHEED's Sermon at Bedford on General Union: a valuable discourse.
# It is said that the Methodists have increased many thousands of late years. This brings to my mind an anecdote that is related of the late Rev. GEORGE WHITEFIELD, in the reign of King GEORGE II. which is, that when a certain Bishop was complaining to the King of Mr. WHITEFIELD's great and eccentric labours, and advising with him what steps were best to be taken to put a stop to his preaching, his Majesty very slirewdly replied, “ My Lord, I can see no other way but for us to make a Bishop of him. This will stand a good chance of stopping his wild career.” If this be a recipe for curing a Clergyman of an excess of public preaching, the following prescription, given by a valuable author about forty years ago, would have no little effect in preventing the growth and increase of Methodismi- -“ Let the Clergy live inorę holily, pray more ferventiy, preach more heavenly, and labour more diligently, than the Methodist ministers appear to do: then will Christians flock to the churches to hear us, as they now flock to the meetings to hear them.”