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because so much of good is contained in it, that the reader must be either good or bad in the extreme, who does not derive benefit from it. Feeling with the Critic, *
* “ that an extra official exhortation to that renovation of mind which constitutes the characteristic of the true Christian, assisted by the credit of this author's situation, the just and general confidence in the worth and sincerity of his character, the clearness of his intellect, and the force of his eloquence, will produce a more extensive, and on many minds a more powerful effect, than any instruction from the pulpit, or even from the pen
of a divine;" I feel earnestly desirous of contributing to so important an object.
Before I conclude this postscript, however, I could wish (if it may be done without offence, and where no offence is meant, none should be taken) to recall to the particular attention of this respectable author some few considerations.
In his late publication he has pronounced a general condemnation upon the professional character of the Clergy of the established church. By wise and candid men, a general and indiscriminate condemnation will be seen in a light, in which this author, if we may judge of him from some parts of his work, would be very unwilling that his sentiments should appear. Considered, in its reference to the Clergy as a body, his fentence is certainly not less impolitic, than unjust. It is unjust, because unsupported by facts. It is impolitic, because it must prove detrimental to the constitution of this country; by alienating the minds of the community from that branch of it, which has always been regarded as its firmest support.
* Brit. Critic, for Sept. 1797.
The utmost credit will be readily given to this author for his good intention. Upon this head I believe the opinion of the public is not less honour. able than it is decided. But convinced, as I am, that the church of Christ has been ever an Episcopal church; and that a separation from its communion has been, what it always will be, the fruitful source of heresy* and uncharitableness, and consequently one of the greatest misfortunes that has ever happened to the Christian world ; it is impossible to look with indifference upon that growing prevalence of sectarianism, which marks the character of the present day,
* “ Inde schismata et hæreses obosta sunt et oriuntur, dum episcopus, qui unus eft, et ecclefiæ præeft superbâ quorumnam præfumptione, contemnitur: et homo dignatione Dei honoratus, indigous hominibus judicatur.” CYPRIAN. Epift. 69.
Our author would be considered to be a professed friend to our happy establishment. No one can feel more disposed to see him in that light than myself. At the same time, I trust, it will not be regarded as any intentional impeachment, either of his integrity or judgment, to remind him, that railing against the clergy of the establishment has been that preparatory step to subversion, which has been twice adopted with success by the subjects of Great-Britain. It may be unnecessary to add, that the Revolution of the last century in this kingdom, and that lately effected in our colonies, are the instances which I have in view.
It is not positively faid, because I would not hastily pronounce sentence against the good sense of this nation; but he must be a very unprofitable spectator of what is going forward around him, who does not see reason to fear, that a conspiracy against our establishment is now in a state of rapid growth in this country.
But surely these are eventful times, in which no wise man will be forward in hazarding experiments. Allowing that reformation is wanting, (a subject, upon which, alas! there can be but one opinion) it is still a matter of essential consideration, in what manner that
reformation is to be effected. The disease of which we complain, so far at least as the clergy are concerned, is partial; such as, we trust, the vigour of a found constitution will prevent from becoming defperate. But an ill-judged method of cure ofttimes brings death to a patient, not otherwise in danger.
If, upon the ground of the present supposed in. fufficiency of the clergy, (a fact which their enemies know themselves to be incapable of proving) communion with our church be no longer considered a matter of Christian obligation; and it be judged adviseable, for the more effectual advancement of the Christian cause, to follow what may be deemed the found of the Gospel, wherever heard, or by whom, foever delivered; we do not hesitate to say, that in such case the remedy will, in the end, prove worse than the disease; and that thofe well-meaning per. fons, who are perhaps most fanguine in its application, will eventually find that they have been only instruments in the hands of designing men for the accomplishment of purposes, which, could they foresee them, they might be among the last to promote. “ If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Pfalm xi. 3.
POSTSCRIPT to the CLERGY.
Clergy on a subject, with which every minister of the church is, from his profession, supposed to be acquainted, has more than once stopped my pen. But circumstances and situation may qualify one minister to speak more fully upon some particular subject than another, without his laying claim to any general fuperiority in professional knowledge.
It having been the will of Divine Providence to fix my residence in a place, which has given me continued opportunities of lamenting the effects produced by a separation from the communion of the Christian church; it is to be expected, that my thoughts should occasionally have been employed upon this subject. Such of
as are placed in similar fitua. tions, may perhaps be obliged to me for bringing into one collected point of view the result of my reflec.