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The modern restorers of the piety of the Church of England were eminent for their godly simplicity and fidelity. Sincerely attached, as it became them, to the establishment of which they were ministers, their spirit was too enlarged, too ardent, too disinterested, to suffer them to become the tools of a party, or to confound the interests of Christianity with those of any external communion. From their being looked upon as innovators, as well as from the paucity of their numbers, they were called to endure a much severer trial than falls to the lot of their successors. They bore the burden and heat of the day; they labored, and others have entered into their labors. We feel, with respect to the greater part of those who succeed them, a confidence that they will continue to tread in their steps. But we cannot dissemble our concern, at perceiving a set of men rising up among them, ambitious of new-modelling the party; who, if they have too much virtue openly to renounce their principles, yet have too little firmness to endure the consequences: timid, temporizing spirits, who would refine into insipidity, polish into weakness, and, under we know not what pretences of regularity, moderation, and a care not to offend, rob it utterly of that energy of character to which it owes its success. If they learn, from this and other writers of a similar description, to insult their brethren, fawn upon their enemies, and abuse their defenders, they will soon be frittered to pieces; they will become like other men,' feeble, enervated, and shorn of their strength. We should adjure them to be on their guard against the machinations of this new sect. We cannot suspect them of the meanness of submitting to be drilled by their enemies, whom they are invited to approach in the attitude of culprits, beseeching them, (in our author's phrase) to inquire whether there may not be some found among them of unexceptionable character!' We trust they will treat such a suggestion with ineffable contempt.
After the taste our readers have had of this writer's spirit, they will not be surprised at his entire disapprobation of Mr. Overton's work. The discordance of sentiment must be great, betwixt him who wishes to betray, and him whose aim is to defend. Mr. Overton, in behalf of his brethren, boldly appeals from their accusers, to the public; this writer crouches to those very accusers, approaches them in a supplicating tone, and, as the price of peace, offers the heads of his brethren in a charger. Overton, by a copious detail of facts, and by a series of irrefragable arguments, establishes their innocence; this writer assents to their condemnation, entreating only that execution may be respited till an inquiry is made into the degrees of delinquency. The author of The True Churchman Ascertained clothes himself with the light of truth; the author of Zeal without Innovation hides himself in the thickest gloom of equivocation.
Before we close this article, we must entreat our reader's patience while we make one observation relating to the permanence of the ecclesiastical establishment. It is possible the dignitaries of the church may be at a loss to decide whether the services of the evangelical class shall be accepted or rejected; but we are persuaded the people will feel no difficulty, in determining whether to continue their attendance at the places from whence they are banished. Teachers of the opposite description have already lost their hold on the public mind; and they will lose it more and more. Should the secession from the Established Church become so general, as that its services are no longer the objects of popular suffrage, it will be deprived of its firmest support. For the author of the Alliance' acknowledges, that the compact betwixt church and state, which he allows to be a virtual rather than a formal one, mainly rests upon the circumstance of the established religion being that of the majority; without which it becomes incapable of rendering those services to the state, for the sake of which its privileges and emoluments were conferred. Nothing but an extreme infatuation can accelerate such an event. But if pious and orthodox men be prevented from entering into the church, or compelled to retire from it, the people will retire with them; and the apprehension of the church being in danger, which has so often been the watchword of party, will become for once well founded.