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After what has been said in the foregoing Papers, I do not see how I can, either in honour or conscience, continue to officiate any longer as a Minister of the Gospel in the Establishment of my native country. It appears to me, in my coolest and most considerate moments, to be, with all its excellencies, a main branch of the anti-christian 'system. It is a strange mix. ture, as hath been already observed, of what is secular and what is spiritual. And I strongly suspect, the day is at no very great distance, when the whole fabric shall tumble into ruins, and the pure and immortal religion of the Son of God rise more bright, lovely, and glorious from its subversion*. The' several warnings of the Sacred Oracles seem to be of vast im. portance, and necessary to be observed: Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul; be not cut off in hør iniquity; for this is the day of the LORD's vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. Jer. li. 6.-We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed; forsakė her, and let us go every one unto his own country. Ibid. li. 9.-When
shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel, the prophet, stand in the holy place, then let them which be in Judea flee to the mountains. Matt. xxiv. 15, 16.-These are only remotely applicable to the business in band. The following is more directly so.- I heard a voice from heaven, saying, , COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE, THAT YE BE NOT PAR
OF HER SINS, AND THAT YE RECEIVE NOT OF HER PLAGUES. Rev. xviii. 4.
* In this happy country we seem to have many and strong symptoms of political decay: for
“ States thrive or wither as moons wax and wane,
In obedience to these injunctions, and under a strong disapprobation of the several anti-christian circumstances of our own Established Church*, THE GENERAL DOCTRINES OF WHICH I VERY MUCH APPROVE AND ADMIRE, I now, therefore, withdraw; and renounce a situation, which, in some respects, has been extremely eligible. I cast myself again upon the bosom of a gracious PROVIDENCE, which has provided for me all my life long. Hitherto, I must say, the Lond bath helped me. I have never wanted any manner of thing which has been necessary to my comfort. And though I neither know what to do, nor whither to go, yet
“ The world is all before me, where to choose
My place of rest, and PROVIDENCE my guide." This extraordinary step the sacred dictates of conscience com pel me to take. I am truly sorry for it. To me few trials were ever equal., I have loved the people among whom I have so long lived and laboured. And I have every reason to be satiss fied with their conduct towards me. Neither hath the great Head of the church left us without seals to our ministry. The appearance of fruit, at times, has been, large. And there are some, no doubt, among the people of our charge, who will be our, joy and crown ia the great day of the REDKÉMRA's coming. My friends must consider me, as called away by an imperious PROVIDENCE; and, I trust, they will be proyided wäb a Suc
* THOMAS PAINE observes, that “all national institutions of churches, whether Jerrish, Christian, os Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set np to terrify and enslave mankind, , and mnonopolize power and profit." - The Jeruish institution, at least, ought to hare been excepted in ibis censure. It was unquestionably divine, and was appointed for the most important purposes, and attended with the most in disputable evidence.
Another anthor, much more capable of judging than Mr. PAINE, bath said, in perfect couformily with my own opinion, that "é National Churches are that hay and stubble, which might be removed without difficulty or confusion, from the fabric of religion, by the gentle hand of reformation, but which the infatuation of Ecclesiasstics will leave to be destrowd by fire. i Cor. iv. 19, 13. National churches are that incristatation, which has enveloped, by gra. dual concretion, the diamond of Christianity; nor can, I fear, the genuine Instre be restored, but by such violent efforts as the separation of substances so long and closely coppected must inevitably require."
cessor more than equal, in every respect, to their late affecs tionate pastor. I think it necessary to say in this place, that the doctrines which I have preached unto them for six and Eventyr years, I still consider as the truths of God. I lave lived in them myself, and found comfort from them. I bave faithfully: made them known to others, as thousands can bear me witness we have seen them effectual to the pulling doen the strong holds of sin and Satan, in a variety of cases, and I hope to die in the same faith, and to find them the power of God unto the satud tion of my own soul in eternal glory by CHRIST Jesus. "T mean to preach the same doctrines, the LORD being 'my helper, during the whole remainder of my life, wheresoever my. lot may be cast. I am not weary of the work of the sacred 'ministry: 1 have, indeed, often been weaty i it, but never of it. "Ppray God my' spiritual vigour, life, and power, and love, and usefu? yess may abound more andonore to the end of my Christian warfare.
• bk Awake, my dormant zeal! for ever flame is this vefas?
With gen'rous ardor for immortal souls; . :*
Spend and be spent in service so divine." ja
I'will tell you honestly. —All my habits, and the prejudịces of my education ran in favour of the Church My father and friends were in the same habits. During my younger days, I took for granted that every thing was right, nor had I any suspicions to the contrary. If I had so seriously considered these things thirty years ago, I humbly hope I should have acted agreeably to my convictions. I recollect, indeed, about that time, to have had my fears that some things among us were not as they should be. I saw with my own eyes, that almost all tlie Clergy, with whiom I was acquainted, were practically wrong at least. Between them and the precepts of the Gospel there seemed a perfect contrast. My mind, however, was then þut little informed nipon religious subjects. I was distrustful of my own judgment, and thought it prudent to be guided by the judgment of those, of whose piety I had a good opinion. Few young persons
think deeply and solidly, and fewer still have reading and experience sufficient to enable them to form an accurate estimate upon such intricate questions. Indeed, most men, in the earlier stages of life, are led, as I was, by the prejudices of education, and the example of those with whom they converse. There is, moreover, so much that is excellent in the Articles, Homilies, and common Forms of our Church, that it cannot be a matter of wonder, if unenlightened and inexperienced young men, who are either careless about all religion, or whose desires are good, and intentions simple, should comply with what they hear spoken of in terms of high approbation, and see practised every day by their superiors both in age, rank, and learning. The idea too, that we have left the Church of Rome because of her delusions, and are members of a Reformed and Protestant community, has no little weight with the larger part of candidates for the sacred ministry,
I am well aware, that many of the most serious and useful of my clerical brethren are of an opinion very different from me, respecting the Established Religion of this couqtry. It is not long since a Clergyman of this description told me, in a manner extremely emphatical, that “our Church is all pure and without - spot*.” I was surprised at such an assertion, from a conscientious man; but I have no material objection to any person's enjoying his own sentiments in peace. I claim the same liberty, and desire nothing farther. Earnestly wishing success to the ministerial labours of every good man, whether in the Establishment or out of it, and without either condemning or approving one denomination or another, I obey the painful dictates of my own mind. Possibly I am mistaken. If I am, it is to be lamented, because I prefer my present situation to most others I know of in England. If I had been disposed to leave it, I have not been without opportunity. Twenty years ago, the late John THORNTON, Esq. of Clapham, near London, voluntarily offered to procure me better preferment, if I would accept
of it; but I told him, after expressing my gratitude, that * This brings to my mind a reniark which Mr. WHISTON used frequently to make upon the very learned and excellent Bishop GIB
« That he seemed to think the Church of England, as it just then happened to be, established by modern laws and customs, came down from heaven with the Athanasian creed in its hand.”
Biog. Dict. Art. Gibson,
DryINE Providence seemed to have placed me where I was, and I could not think of quitting my station, merely for the sake of a better living; till the time should come when the same PROYIDENCE should call me away. That time seems to me to be now come; since I cannot any longer keep my church and retain my honour in obeying the dictates of conscience. In my opinion, this is a providential call to quit my station, though I never expect to be so happily circumstanced again. I know well what pain such a determination will give my dear people; but, with all due regard to the feelings of my friends, I must consider, that I am amenable, in the first place, to the great Head of the Church for my conduct; and must, on the highest considerations, endeavour to conduct myself agreeably to his pleasure. After a thousand defects, both in my public adıninistrations and private conduct, I can almost say, I have done my best to promote as well the temporal as spiritual interests of the town of Macclesfield; and I heartily wishi my Successor may be more acceptable, more heavenly ininded, more laborious, inore useful, and more successful in winning souls to Christ.
“ To all this, I am aware, it will be objected, that I am taking a very disreputable step, and that a vast majority of the men of sense and learning around ine are of a different. opinion."
Very true. I admit every thing which can be said on this score, in the utmost latitude. But a passage or two of our SAviour's discourses is a sufficient support against all obloquy of this nature. These monopolisers of sense and learning must answer for themselves, and I must give an account unto God for my own conduct. I consider myself as a shadow that eth away. I feel the infirmities of nature coming on, and death stands ready at the door to summon me before the bar of my REDEEMER. It is, therefore, of consequence that we act now as we shall wish we had acted then. At that trial, no'man can be responsible for his brother:--Every one that hath forsaken houses or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for MY SAKe and the Gospel's, shall receive a hundred fold now, with persecutions, and in the world to come eternal life. Matt. xix. 29. Mark x. 29, 30.
Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of MY WORDS, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the