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negligent and unpreaching Bishops be in favour with thie's Divine Being! If they are in safety for a future state, surely religion must have changed its nature. Their episcopal conduct is the reverse of St. Paul's injunctions to TIMOTHY, and the Bishops of the churches of Asia; to give themselves wholly to the work of the ministry, and to take heed to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made them overseers; to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. The Lord of the invisible world hath said, and he who hath the keys of death and of hell bath said: Strive to enter into the strait gate, for many shall seek to enter in and shall not be able: Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it, If commands and declarations like these are true, then woe! woe! woe! to the Bishops of England! May we not say of them, with too general an application, but with some few honourable exceptions indeed, as good old Bishop LATIMER said of his most reverend and right reverend brethren in his day :-" There is a gap in Hell, as wide as from-Calais to Dover, and it is all filled with unpreaching Prelates* !".
* LATIMER's words are:- "O that a man might have the code templation of bell, that the devil would allow a man to look into hell, to see the estate of it :-- if one were admitted to view hell thus, and beholding it thoroughly, the devil should say: On yonder side are punished unpreaching prelates: I think a man should see as far as a kenning, and perceive nothing but unpreaching prelates ; he might look as far as Calais, I warrant you."-Sermon.8, vol. i. p. 155. Lond. 1791.
I will mention another anecdote to the same purpose:--A learned Friar in Italy, fainous for his learning and preaching, was com-, mapded to preach before the Pope at a year of Jubilee: and to be : the better furnished, he repaired thither a good while before to Rome, to see the fasbion of the Conclave, to accomınodate his sermon the better. When the day came he was to preach, having ended his. prayer, he, looking a long time about, at last cried with a loud voice three times_ST. PETER WAS A Fool!-ST. PETER WAS A FOOL! -Sr. PETER WAS A FOOL!_Which words ended, he came out of the pulpit. Being afterwards convented before the Poes, and asked why he so carried himself? He answered, Surely, Holy Father, if a . priest may go to heaven abounding in wealth, hopour and preferment, and live at ease, never or seldom to preach, then surely ST. PETER WAS A Fool, who took such a hard way in travelling, in fasting, in preaching, to go thither.--Whiston's Memoirs of his own Life,
Let not the reader suppose that I have any prejudice against a Bishop or à Clergyman, as such. There are some whose learning, piety, diligence, zeal, and talents, I prodigiously admire: and I myself am of the clerical order by the most conscientious choice *; but I cannot prevail upon myself to call things by wrong names, and to give flattering titles where it is plain
Most of our English Bishops are, at this day, in a very strong sense, unpreaching Prelates. The Bishop of London, however, and soine few more, are exceptions to this general rule. If the present times, and the awful predicament in which every Clergyman now stands, will not rouse us to a sense of danger, and a greater degree of zeal and diligence in our calling, we shall richly deserve our approaching, impending, inevitable fate, unless prevented by a speedy and effectual return to evangelical principles, and practices. The Gospel is either true or it is false. If it be false, let us cast off the mask, and appear in our true colours. If it be true, let us conduct ourselves as though we believed it to be so; and leave no stone unturned, no means untried, to promote its spread, and influence among the world in general, and among the people committed to our care in particular.
be asked, can this declaration be reconciled with the result as contained in the second Appendix ? Were we at liberty to consider the expression “ clerical order," as referring to the minsterial office at large, unconfined to the particular denomination of the Church of England, the solution would not be difficult, since the Author himself, who was not of the Daubenian school, in that Appendix has made the obvious distinction between being a Minister of the gospel in, and out of, the establishment: for after having declared that he did not see how he could, “ either in honour or conscience continue to officiate any longer as a Minister of the Gospel, in the establishment,” he afterwards declares, “ I think it necessary to say, that the doctrines I have preached for six and twenty years,
I still consider as the truths of GOD.-I mean to preach the same doctrines, the Lord being my helper, during the whole remainder of 'my life, wheresoever my lot may be cast.” Yet it must be ad. mitted that the word “ clerical," either in its strict and accepted use, or in the present connection, will scarcely bear this construction. We must therefore suppose, that when this sentence was written in the first edition, the Author's scruples had not then operated so powerfully as to lead him to the conclusion of renouncing his clerical character; and that when he revised this in the second edition, which is known to have been a considerable time before he wrote the appendix, either he overlooked it, which as his mind was so occupied with the subject is not improbable, or he then continued, on the whole, of the same sentiment, which was only altered by the gradual process of mature reflection, aided by firm integrity, and a sense of the propriety of a consistency of conduct; and this best accords with the view with which the second Appendix begins.-EDITOR.
they are not deserved. Gravely and seriously speaking then, I do conceive, that the number of clerical characters, who will be received with approbation by the Shepherd and Bishop of souls, in the great day of final retribution, will be small, comparatively speaking, extremely small.
I am sure appearances at present are against us. And I conceive all this is strongly implied in our Saviour's very solemn discourse to the Bishops and Clergy among the Jews in the twenty-third of St. Matthew, just before he left our world. In short:
The Clergy of every country in Christendom have been, at the same tiine, the bane and the bulwark of religion: the bane, by their pride, misconduct, superstition, negligence, and spiritual domination; and the bulwark, by their piety, excellent learning, and admirable defences of the doctrines of religion, or the outworks of Christianity.
The fact is, the Popish clergy have preached and written so much in defence of the tripal tyrant, and the superstitions of their religion, that scepticism and infidelity almost universally prevail among thinking men of that denomination. The more eagerly the Clergy contend, the more mischief they do to their cause; for really the things for which they contend are not defensible.
We, of the English establishment, too, have so long boasted of the excellence of our church; congratulated ourselves so frequently upon on happy condition; paid ourselves so many fine compliments upon the unparalleled purity of our hierarchy; that a stranger would be led to conclude, to be sure we must be the holiest, happiest, and most fJurishing church upon the face of the earth : Whereas, when you go into our most stately and magnificent cathedrals and other sacred edifices, you find them almost empty and forsaken. At best all is deadness and luke-warmness both with priest and people*. In various instances, there is little more appear
* Bishop Burnet says, “ I have lamented, during my whole life, that I saw so little true zeal among our Clergy. I saw much of it in the Clergy of the Church of Rome, though it is both ill directed and ill conducted. I saw niuch zeal likewise throughout the foreign churches. The Dissenters have a great deal among them : but I must own, that the main body of our Clergy has always appeared dead and lifeless to ine; and, instead of animating one another, they seem rather to lạy one another asleep."-Conclusion of the History of his Own Times.
Let any discerning man take a candid, yet impartial survey of ance of devotion than in a Jew's synagogue. Go where you will through the kingdom, one or the other of these is very generally the case, except where the officiating Clergyman is strictly moral in bis condnct, serious, earnest and lively in his manner, and evangelical in his doctrines. Where this, however, happens to be so, the stigma of Methodism is almost universally affixed to his character, and his name is had for a proverb of reproach, in proportion to his zeal and usefulness, by the sceptics and infidels all around, in which they are frequently joined by the rich, the fashionable, and the gay, with the Bishop and Clergy at their head. How many such,
" For their bellies sake,
Grate on their scrannal pipes of wretched straw. the Clergy, for a circuit of sixty miles round bis own neighbourhood, and then let him say, whether the matter is mended since the time in which this good Bishop wrote these words. Let him attend the dissenting ordinations, and clerical meetings; the Methodist conferences, and district meetings; let him next proceed to our church confirmations, ordinations, and visitations ; and then let him say, on which side is to be found the greatest appearance of evangelical religion. Be it as it may with others, it is well known that our Confirmations, are frequently a burlesque, our Ordinations disorderly, and our Visitations riotous and' intenperate. These are melancholy facts. The Parson and his Wardens must have a good soaking together once a year at least.
I observe, too, that for a circuit of many miles round our two English universities, a greater degree of ignorance and stupidity prevail among the common people than in most other parts of the country. This is a strange circumstance, but easily accounted for from the improper conduct of abundance of the Clergy and Gentlemen of those two seminaries of learning.
It holds equally true, that, all through the kingdom, wherever there is a Cathedral and a greater number of Parsons than ordinary, there is usually the least appearance of real religion among the people. The general lukewarmness of the Clergy is a curse to every neighbourhood where they abound! It is the same in Catholic countries, and must be so, in the nature of things, through every country, unless we live in the spirit of the Gospel.
The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more." These words of MILTON are certainly severe, but yet not more so than the occasion deserves. If they were applicable in his day, it is to be feared they are not less so in the present. As a body, we are of all men in England the most inexcuseable. The great mass of the people are going headlong to the devil in their sins; the nation, because of its transgressions, is absolutely verging towards destruction; and yet a vast majority of the 18,000 Parsons are insensible, both of the temporal and eternal danger, to which we, our people, and our country are exposed. If this censure seem intemperate, let any man prove that it is not just. I sincerely wish it were wholly undeserved. I know some good, useful, laborious, and honourable men, among the Clergy; men, the latchet of' whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose ; but I know also there is a a very considerable number, who are--what shall I say?--Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the sons of Infidelity rejoice; lest the disciples of Thomas Painè triumph -they are exactly like the Parsons described by the Prophet, , a little before the destruction of Jerusalem. His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs, which can never have enough; and. they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundanto
I have no pleasure, I say again, in exposing the nakedness of the established religion of my country, or in exciting against myself the indignation of my clerical brethren ; but the times. are alarming, the great Head of the church is evidently displeased with us; and there is now so mucing the matter any longer. We ought to examine the ground upon which we stand. If it be in any respect found untenable, we should change our measures, follow the determinations of HLAVEN;