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little of the appearance of it) as can be fupposed to exist at all in a country where it is countenanced by the ftate. --The degeneracy of the times, has been the common complaint of many ages :-how much we exceed our forefathers in this, is known alone to that God who trieth the hearts.-But chis we may be allowed to urge in their favour, they studied at least to preserve the appearance of virtue ;--publiç vice was branded with public infamy, and obliged to hide its head in privacy and retirement, The service of God was regularly attended, and religion not exposed to 2 the reproaches of the scorner.
How the case stands with us at present in each of these particulars, ic. is grievous to report, and perhaps unacceptable to religion herself ; yet as this is a feason wherein it is fit we should be told of our faults, let us for a moment impartially consider the articles of this charge.
And first, concerning the great article of religion, and the influence it has at present upon the lives and behaviour of the present times ;-concerning which I have said, that if we are to trust appearances, there is as little as can well be supposed to exist at all in a christian country.-Here I shall spare exclamations, and 'avoiding all common place railing upon the subject, confine myself to facts, such as every one who looks out into the world, and makes any
obfervations at all, will youch for me. inginn FC
Now whatever are the degrees of real' religion amongst us, --whatever they are, the appearances are strong against the claritable fide of the question.
If religion is any where to be found, one would think it would be amongst those of the higher rank in life, whose education and opportu. nities of knowing its great importance, should have brought them over to its interest, and rendered them as firm in the defence of it, as eminent in its example. But if you examine the fact, you will almost find it a test of a politer education and mark of more shining parts, to know nothing, and indeed, care nothing at all abouts it :-or if the subject happens to engage the attention of a few of the more sprightly wits, that it serves no other purpose, but that of being made merry at, and of being ree served as a standing jest to enliven discourse, when conversation fickens. upon their hands.
This is too fore an evil not to be observed amongst persons of all ages, in what is called higher life ; and for, early does the contempt of this great, concern begin to fhew itself--that it is no uncommon thing to hear persons disputing against religion, and raising
::? cavils against the Bible, at an age when some of them would be hard
fer to read a chapter in it. And I
poor and ignorant, we shall find concurring evidence upon this melancholy argument-of a general want of all outward demonstration of