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To minds really disposed to pray, with a spirit of true penitence and faith, the service of the church of England combines the highest fervor of affectionate gratitude to God, with a well chosen assortment of words, and a becoming dignity of expression ; a glowing piety with the beauty of boliness. It can only be unedifying, flat and cold to minds whose spiritual sense is benumbed, and requires a strong stimulus of fanaticism to move it, like an electrical excitement, but very remotely allied to rational and genuine piety.*
and discipline are formed upon the most uncorrupted models of antiquity, which has stood unshaken by the most furious assaults of popery on the one hand, and fanaticism on the other; has triumphed over all the arguments of its enemies, and has nothing now to contend with but their SLANDERS and CALUMNIES."
* Fanatical enthusiasm (it seems) passes for godliness in all religions, with minds of a peculiar cast. Barou de Tott gires a curious account of a sort of religious devotees among the Turks, which are called “ TACTA TEPEN," " beaters of bourds," not very dissimilar from our conventicle « beaters of cushions," in the noisy method of excitement which is necessary to bring their sensibilities to the required height. 6. Their DIETHOD consists in walking solemnly in a row, one after the other, in their meeting house, and pronouncing the name of God with a loud voice and much exertion, at each stroke of a
of the church have had their share of abuse, as well as her clergy, yet after all that has been said to their disparagement, they are far from being “a form of godliness, having not the power of it,” but are “a reasonable service," strictly conformable to the apostolical injunction of decency and order in the celebration of public worship; and in which we can “pray with the spirit, and with the understanding also.” But this certainly is not always the case with those unpremeditated effusions of self conceit, sometimes indecently familiar and disgustingly vulgar, at other times incoherent, erroneous, and ignorant prayings and preachments ; to which the frequenter of
drum beaten for that purpose, the strokes on which growing gradually quicker, become at last so rapid, that these wretches are forced to undergo a violent labor of the lungs, and the most devout never close the procession without vomiting blood. Their appearance is always sad and surly; and these religious are so persuaded of the sanctity of their method, and so certain of pleasing heaven by their howlings, that they never look on the rest of mankind but with the most profound contempt.”
Baron de Tott's Memoirs, part 1. vol. i. p, 144, Corruptio optimi est pessima." There are methodists in all religions."
the conventicle, or the open air meeting must frequently lend his pious ear, and add bis AMEN after such a giving of thanks as he cannot approve.*
The discourses of the church pulpit are the decent and premeditated studies of men qualified by a suitable course of education, and regularly ordained to the work of the ministry, and sent into the vineyard by those who have the only regular authority to send, and who are the best judges of the requisite acquirements and talents.t Not having climbed up into the sheepfold by some clandestine way, “the good shepherd knoweth bis sheep, and is known of them." He is a stationary
* I Cor. xiv, 15, 16.
Est modus in rebus, sunt certi deniq. fines,
« Some certain mean in all things may be found,"
To mark extravagance, and folly bound. In most, or all things, there is a happy medium : and the absurd and pernicious extravagancies of unsound and raving reli. gionists, have confirmed, beyond all reasonable question, the assertion of Solomon, that it is to be sought and adhered to,
minister, and answerable for his flock, not an itinerant preacher that is not to be found with his charge when the wolf cometh.*
even in religion itself, without falling into lukewarmness, or FORMALITY.~" Be not righteous over much,—why shouldst thou destroy thyself ?” (Eccles. vii. 16.)
The difference is very wide indeed between overloading the church, as the papists do, with more pageantry than piety, more cost than worship : and, on the other extreme, stripping religion even to the bare buff, and leaving little besides a band and a pair of breeches; the far too simple attire of some of our modern TUB PREACHERS, who will not have so much as a rag of por pery about them.
It is one thing to shut up religion wholly within the conCLAPE, and another thing (as much in extreme the other way) to leave it exposed to the rude handling of inflated ignorance, and spiritual concombry in the open FIELDS. • Itaq. si dixerint vobis, ecce, in d'ESERTO est ; ne egredimini. Ecce in cons. CLAVIBUS (sv tois Tapios) ne credite "-Beza in Matt. xxiv, 26.
What is this, but to treat like an enemy "the vineyard which God's right hand hath planterl, and the branch that he made so strong for himself? Breaking down all her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way pluck her”. -(without either proper judgment, or due regard to the maturity of her fruit). "The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.” (Psalm lxxx. 12, &c.)
* The perpetual changes of preachers is only because men have «itching ears," as the apostle well describes the absurd fastidiousness of minds which stand in need of changed METHODS of VOL. II.
Christ assured his immediate disciples, to whom the work of converting the benighted and perishing world was committed, that they might expect extraordinary aids from heaven on such extraordinary emergencies, in the course of their apostolical ministry, as should be found absolutely to require them.--" In that hour take no thought what ye
say, NEITHER PREMEDITATE, for it shall be given you, in that hour, what ye shall speak.”* But
excitement.--So our Saviour said " he that hath ears to bear, let him hear :"-„he also said again, “ take heed how
bear.” The meaning of which caution is explained by St Peter, and referred to the bold and presumptuous ignorance with which un. skillful teachers take upon them to expound the word of God, fathering their crude conceptions upon the spirit of divine inspiration, and always making choice of the most dark and intricate points of divine revelation, to wrest them to their own and their hearers destruction. (2 Pet. iii. 16.)
The clergy deserve commendation, and not censure, for the wise and cautious selection of their texts, and for giving such expositions of them as are the best adapted to general edification, instead of unfolding dark mysteries too frequently in the pul. pit, which have been not uncommonly known (when handled rudely and coarsely in the conventicle) to occasion too violent an excitement, and produce very fatal consequences to the unfortunate hearers.
* Mark. xii. ll.