« AnteriorContinuar »
most tormenting in the human reprobate the whole system. The
of the nation, and certainly bear Surely no arguments of expedi- no proportion to the injurious conency can justify such a procedure; sequences arising from the system. and it behoves the clergy respect
I might enumerale other evil fully, yet decidedly and boldly, to practices, which partake more or
less of a national, and in some in- of the influence of about sixteen stances legal, character; but I for- thousand men, who, even one of bear to intrude further. Compa- their own order needs not hesitate ratively, much may be said in our to assert, are, as a body, esteemed favour as a people, as contrasted for their learning, respected for with some other nations ; but as their morals, and venerated for their long as, in addition to individual piety; and who both move amongst, sins, practices such as we have been and in a measure themselves belong lamenting, are countenanced by men to, almost all gradations of civil life. esteemed respectable, and sanction. To this also is to be added the coned by the very legislature of the sideration, that they are supported country; as long as vice in various by the nation for the very purpose forms continues to sap the founda- of promoting the interests of motion of our national morality, trea- rality and religion. This is acsuring up the Divine anger against knowledged to be their express duty us as a people, and involving the and business; and hence a licence souls of individuals in eternal per- is given them, by the general con. dition ; shall the watchmen of Is- sent of mankind, as well as by the rael sleep at their posts? Sball they word of God, 10 speak on ihese be uninterested spectators of the subjects with great authority and storm which is perhaps gathering bolduess; and in so doing they around us ? Shall they coutinue have a faithful co-operator in the “ dumb dogs that cannot bark ?" bosom of each individual whom Rather should they not "cry aloud, they address, the voice of conand spare not ?" 'Should they not science silently, but powerfully, “ lift up their voice as a trumpet, seconding the warning and expostuand tell the people of their sins ?" lations of the man of God. Above Should they pot protest against the all, in the faithful and zealous dis. abominations of the land ? and, charge of their high office, they may " weeping between the porch and derive encouragement and confi. the altar," deprecate the Divine dence from the many promises vengeance? Surely their feelings which the word of God contains, of common benevolence; their pa- of the Divine blessing upon their triotism ; their gratitude to the state exertions. which protects and supports them; The influence, the:), of the clergy, consistency with their ordination in a moral and religious point of vows; concern for the spiritual view, is very cousiderable; and the welfare of their people; the honour satisfaction which men of the world of their God; and the love of their seem to derive, when they would Saviour, should all concur in excit- set their consciences at rest in some ing the clergy to withstand these doubtful matter, or respecting some national iniquities.
object which they are uo willing to Now, there are various means by give up, io pleading the example which such evils might, I conceive, and sanction of a clergyman or a be hopefully opposed by the clergy. clergyman's family, may serve to Some of these I proceed to sug- intimate not only how cautious the gest.
clergy should be in their own con1. And, first, I would mention duct, and the regulation of their their private influence.-Nor is this household, but also how important of small amount. Urgent as have it is for them to protest everywhere been the endeavours of evil-minded against whatever is evil, and how men to bring them into disrepute, forcibly their faithful remonstrances the clergy of this country still stand would operate as a restraint upon high in the public opinion; and it the public mind. If every clergywould be a wide miscalculation to man would use his utmost endeaestimate at a small amount the sumn vours to promote, by the blessing of God, amongst bis parishioners, suppress the iniquities which have and his own circle of friends and been lamented ? Does be not exconnexions, a right sense of the pressly require us to call upon him prevailing iniquities of the times, to do these things ? and does be who can calculate the amount of not promise to hear and to answer good that might be effected? The us when' we do so? Let us then leaven doubtless would silently, but apply more frequently and fervently powerfully work, and who shall limit in supplication to that gracious the extent of its operation ? and Almighty Being, who is ever
2. I would next mention prayer, “ more ready to hear than we are as a powerful means of checking to pray," and is willing to “ give the evils which have been mention. more than we either desire or deed.-Prayer for their country is in- serve." Did we but doly appre. deed so obviously the duty of the ciate the privilege of access to God priesthood, that it would seem al- by prayer, how great would be our most needless to insist upon it, were ardour to avail ourselves of it to it pot that persons are too prone 10 the utmost; how anxious should be remiss in its performance, even we be to "pray without ceasing;" while they acknowledge that from " always to pray, and not to faint." it great and valuable benefits are to 3. The Press is a mighty engine be expected. If the prayer of " one of evil or of good ; and wbo should righteous man availeth much :" if be belter skilled to direct its powera the uplifted hands of Moses, in ful machinery than the clergy? The the instance before alluded to, era present is a reading age: books are sured strength, and courage, and purchased with avidity, especially victory to Israel; whilst his cessa- such as bear a reference to the passtion from prayer restored to Ama- ing events of the day. We have lek the superiority over his fainting somewhat recently seen with wbat countrymen: if at the earnest prayer zeal, and, unhappily to a considerof Elias, a man subject to like able extent, with what success the passions" with ourselves, it rained enemies of our holy faith have availa not on the earth by the space of ed themselves of the press for the three years and six months, but dissemination of infidel principles. when he prayed the beavens again We may indeed contemplate with gave rain, and the earth brought some measure of satisfaction the forth her fruit; what might not be counter zeal of Christians of variexpected from the united fervent ous classes in resorting to similar prayers of a devout national clergy? means for repelling the poison, and Abundant are the passages of Scrip- promoting the best interests of their ture enjoining upon us to pray for fellow-creatures; but whilst the our king, our rulers, and our coun- agents of satan continue active, the try: and urgent is the necessity and servants of God must not relax in great is the encouragement so to their vigilance in withstanding ibeir do. If iniquity " cometh in like'a endeavours. flood," let us by prayer engage By means of the press, a clergy“ the Spirit of the Lord to lift up a man may visit in his study those standard against it.” Let us secure who will not resort to his instruc the aid of Him before whom “satan tions at church; and, even when inas lightning fell from heaven.” Is capacitated for active exertions, not the whole order of providence may virtually preach and extend under the coutrol of the Almighty? his other benevolent labours (if he Cannot He who " stilleth the rag- be duly qualified for the employe ing of the sea,” still also “ the lu- ment) far beyond the limits of bis mult of the people?" Is it not His own parish. Besides, the “ litera prerogative to change men's hearts? scripta manet;" whilst preaching and cannot his power check and is, in too many instances, but the
"! vox et præterea nihil.” The Pious and able writers are ungond or evil men do in their lives, doubledly doing much good by by means of the press,“ lives after their endeavours to correct and them;" and though the considera- elevate the public feeling with retion of the potency of this instru- spect to some of the points which ment of public benefit or injury have been mentioned. A beneficial may operate on the zeal of some
effect must follow the exposure, individuals, desirous of doing good, for instance, of the false policy as imprudently to run to the press, well as the immoralities attendant with the best intentions indeed, but on the present system of our pubwith slender and insufficient quali- lic-houses, and our lotteries; our fications, this result ought not to Sunday newspapers, Sunday tracheck the exertions of those who velling, and similar evils. "Were have been endued with talents to the public feeling on these subjects, wield its energies advantageously. by the blessing of God, elevated In the majority of cases, however, to the scriptural standard, the voice the clergy may best employ this of the Nation would be generally instrument, not so much by writing raised against them; and legislafor the press themselves, as by cir- tive enactments would not be very culating the labours of otbers; and, long delayed, to suppress, or at least happily for the present generation; to restrain, them. And, improbable never was there so great an abund- as such an extensive change of the ance of cheap and useful reading public sentiment may at present calculated for all classes and con- seem, it is yet beyond our power. ditions of mankind.
to, estimate to what extent an obThose who duly attribute to the ject so desirable might be attained providence of God the regulation by a combination of the pious and of the whole course of human benevolent exertions of the clergy events, will perhaps be inclined to and other persons duly qualified to think the Almighty has, as it were, avail themselves of the instrumenin a peculiar manner claimed to tality of the press. bimself the use of printing, by caus
(To be concluded.) ing the discovery of that invaluable art to be made at the very period when the state of religion especial- FAMILY SERMONS.—No. CLXIV, ly required such a means of spread- Job xiv. 1.-Man, that is born of ing information. How. compara. a woman, is of few days, and full tively .contracted must have been of trouble. the success allendast on the labours I SHALL not attempt either to prove of Luther and the early reformers, or to illustrate this affecting declaif their means, of communicating ration ; for mortality and sorrow knowledge had been confined to are stamped in such plain characthe instruments of conveying know, ters on every thing within us and ledge till about that period in use! around us, that every heart must But the artillery of the press shook instantly feel, aud every understand the proud fabric of the Romish ing instantly acknowledge, its truth. Babylon to its very foundations. But I would turn the solemn fact Let, then, the pious, the learned, to practical account; I would urge. and the eloquent, bear in mind how the consideration of it as a most powerful a weapon is put into their important duty. The contemplahands: let them cousecrate it to tion is fraught with instruction; it the service of their God: and let was intended to impress upon oun them not suffer either indolence, miuds, not avaio and useless refalse modesty, or any other insuffi- gret or desponding melancholy, but cient motive, to prevent their using lessons of heavenly wisdom, which, it vigorously.
if rightly learned, will lead to the
bappiest results both in this life and sorrowfül term of human life was that which is to come.
intended to render us wholly indifwho, amidst all the changes of this ferent to every thing that respects mortal world, is still the same “yes- our temporal condition. There was terday, to-day, and for ever,” open a sect of heathen philosophers, 80 our hearts to the important consi- called, who affected this wanatural deration in the text, that so we may apathy; but the Gospel does not eventually experience joy amidst require it, nor is man capable of sorrow, certainty amidst change, it. There is a sensible difference spiritual consolations amidst world- between a life of coinparative comly disappointments, and, by the fort, and one of extreme affliction; grace of God in Christ Jesus our between the enjoyment of peace, Lord, be at length permitted to security,friendship,and liberty, with exchange the fugitive vanities of a competent measure of the orditime for the unfading splendours nary blessings of Providence, and of eternity
pain, bereavement, slavery, destiThere are two lessons which we tution, and the hardships of bitter ought especially to learn from every poverty. Nor does our-lieavenly contemplation of the brevity and Father, who knoweth whereof we sorrow of human life. The first are made, who remembereth that is, to maintain a spirit of Christian we are but dust, require from us a moderation as respects earthly ob- life of gloomy austerities and bodily jects, whether pleasing or painful; mortifications, or that we should the second, to prepare diligently take pleasure in pain or misery for for a future state of eternal dura- their own sakes, or any further tion and enjoyment.
than as they may be permitted for I. And, first, the consideration wise and gracious purposes, and as ju the text should lead us to main- his own paternal iuflictions for the tain a spirit of Christian modera- profit of our souls. tiou as respects all earthly objects, Much less, again, is the moderawhether pleasing or painful.-St. tion which the Gospel enjoins inPaul affectingly urges this duty. tended to render us indifferent to “ Brethren,” says he, “ the time any of the duties of our present is short: it remaineth, thạt both state of existence. It would be a they that have wives be as though grievous error to suppose that the they had none; and they that weep, deadness to the world which is reas though they wept not; and they quired of us as Christians, is to that rejoice, as though they rejoice disqualify us for taking an interest ed not; and they that buy, as though in any thing which may promote they possessed Dot; and they that the temporal or eternal welfare of use this world, as not abusing it; our fellow-creatures, especially our for the fashion of this world pass. immediate relations, friends, and
The present scene is convexions, or ibose with whom we not the home of the Christian: be are called to have intercourse in is to live here only as an inhabitant society. As parents or children, of a better country; his affections brothers or sisters, masters or serare to be set upon things above, vants, in our worldly calling, and and not upon things on the eartb. as members of public society, it His moderation is to be known to becomes us to devote a large porall men ; for the Lord is at band. tion of our time and thoughts and
But it is necessary to explain the efforts to active exertion ; pot. 10 nature and measure of this Chris- cherish a misanthropical or indotian moderation somewhat more lent spirit, but to be diligent in particularly.
business, while we are fervent in We are not, then, to suppose that spirit serving the Lord. tbe consideration of the short and The moderation, then, which the