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charity, modesty, and obedience to lawful superiors ; by a study to be quiet, and an attention to their own business.

From such practices, and such persons as I have alluded to, has arisen much of the disgrace which has fallen on true and laudable enthusiasm, or that wisdom which is infused into the pure, gentle, and charitable heart from above. False enthusiasm * should be discouraged, that true religion may grow and flourish; as the weed should be plucked up, to give room for the wholesome plant to strike root, expand itself in foliage and bloftoms, and produce good fruit in abundance.

* « There is,” says Bishop Horne, “ in the present times, a « temptation which lies very hard on some, and either does so much “ mischief, or hinders so much good, that it is a dreadful snare, and “ I wish I could guard my younger brethren against it ; I mean, the « FEAR OF BEING SUSPECTED OF FALSE PIETY. It can never « be sufficiently lamented, that the practice of devotion and the doc“ TRINE OF GRACE, Jo eflential to tbe Gospel, thould have fallen

into DISREPUTE, from the example of any persons, who have « been discovered to have acted a Godly part for mercenary purposes. “ But God forbid that the bypocrisy of orbers should lead us into luke. 66 warmness and indifference, which are equally bad. Never let ic “ be supposed, THAT CHRISTIANS CAN SERVE GOD, WITHOUT « THE GRACE OF God, because fome have been so weak as to « furfeit the wise with the prefumption and folly of their spiritual « pretenfions. The LIFE OF DEVOTION IS STILL THR GIFT 56 of God; and it must be insisted upon, with our church, that " there is not in man one good thought, one holy desire, but from “ the continual inspiration of the divine Spirit, in all thing's directing 6 and ruling our hearts. WITHOUT THIS DOCTRINE we may be " SCHOLARS and CRITICS, and men of TASTE ; we may be mo. " nitors and moralists of civil society ; but we are no longer to be " considered as CHRISTIAN divines, neither will our labours be « attended with any faying effect.”

Bishop Hornk's Charge to the Clergy of Norwich.

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« Be not

IT

seems to be very doubtful, whether the scrip

tural phrase of being righteous overmuch, signifies that sort of excess which methodists and fana. tics are apt to indulge. I am rather induced to believe, that it means an extreme rigour in exacting from others an unerring rectitude. “ righteous overmuch; why shouldft thou destroy thyself * ?" That is, “ Establish not, by thy « severity, a rule so strict as must, if put in force “ against thyself, involve thee, imperfect as thou

art, in destruction.” The prohibition seems to me to quadrate with the old observation, that jusa tice in the extreme is extreme injustice to

There are other interpretations of the words at least as probable as that which confines it to the over-sanctity of the methodist or bigot.

The ingenious and pious Dr. Trapp has taken the words in the latter fense, and written, with great force of argument, against the extravagances of methodism. Perhaps the words of his text did not properly authorize him in deriving the doctrine from them which he has laid down; but, whether they did or not, he doubtless had reason on his fide, when he endeavoured to explode all superstitious excesses which are subversive of true religion, injurious to society, and painful, without advantage, to the deluded individual 1.

Philo.

* Eccles. vii, 16. + Summum jus, summa injuria.

I“ But let it be remembered, that no virtue has any blameable “ EXTREME in it, till it contradicts the general end of religion, till it

a hinders

Philosophers, by the light of nature, discovered, in the earliest ages, the wisdom of avoiding extremes; and no precepts are more common than those which recommend the golden mediocrity. These were undoubtedly suggested by actual experience, and a careful study of the human conftitution. If they are just and proper, when applied to philofophy, there is every reason to think them equally so when applied to religion, which is the perfection of philosophy. Excess, in the very name, implies culpability, even when the things, in which it appears, are of a virtuous and laudable nature.

So that whoever advances his virtues beyond the line of rectitude, errs no less than he who stops, at an equal interval, on this side of it. Yet, at the same time, I must observe, that there is something far more noble and

in errors of excess than of defect; and the virulence which has been shewn in reviling the poor methodist, who has been tormenting himself * with superfluous austerities, seems to me to arise from a want of good-nature and charity, far more criminal than the mistaken discipline of a zealous devotee.

generous

“ hinders the RESTORATION of the divine Image in us, or makes

us less fit to appear among the inhabitants of heaven. Abftinence, temperance, mortification of the senses and passions, can have no EXCESS “ till they hinder the purification of the soul, and make the body less “ useful and subservient to it. Charity can have no Excess till it 66 contradicts that love which we are to have in heaven, till it goes " beyond the command of loving our neighbour as we love ourselves, “6 and till it forgets that our own life is to be preserved."

Answer to Dr. Trapp's Discourse. * The poor Heautontimorumenos, with his pale emaciated figure, is certainly not an object of ridicule, and ought, at least, to be forgiven, by the plump pluralist and dignitary gorging the tithe pig, and walho ing it down with the choicest wines of Portugal and France. I5

Those

Those among the methodists who are sincere in their rigid felf-denial, and in all the active and passive virtues of their persuasion, are certainly objects of kindness and compassion, rather than of severe animadversion.

The church, and the protestant diffenters, it appears, teach the doctrine of grace; a doctrine which, I believe, the methodists

consider as of the first moment; and for the sake of attending to which with more earneftness, they seceded from the church and meeting-house to the tabernacle. Their preachers, they found, were used to dwell upon that subject, more than on any others; and with a degree of vehemence not usual or approved by men of more learning, moderation, and humi. lity. They were caught by the sound, and taught to hate both the church and all regular ministers with a hatred truly unchristian. The church and the ministers *, it seems, were not sufficiently holy for their purpose. The church and the ministers did not preach the gospel in its purity; and neither its doctrine nor its discipline were, in their opinions, fufficiently strict and severe.

The diffemination of such ideas may answer the ends of self-appointed leaders, who wish to increase their importance, by drawing a multitude after them. Accufation will generally be heard with attention. Pretensions to superior holiness is one of the most successful means of deceit. The multitude are attracted by these, and a thousand other arts, co-operating with the natural tendency which they feel to superstition and fanaticism. They thus become self-tormentors; lose most of the comforts, and neglect many of the duties of life.

* When thefe become the mere tools of statesmen, all religious people are offended, and one of the pillars of the state is taken.

In the church of England, their favourite doctrine of grace ought to be preached in the manner which both reason, scripture, and experience best approve; for the doctrine of grace is most fully declared to be the doctrine of the church of England; and if the ministers are reluctant to preach it in all its force, it is from a fear of falling into the fin and disgrace of over-much righteousness. It is the hum- . ble endeavour of my treatise on this subject, to stimulate preachers to enlarge on the doctrine of grace; and by those means to bring back the numerous sheep who have strayed from their flock. There is the sort of food in which the sheep will shew that they delight, if the shepherds will but bring it forth; and indeed there is little doubt but that most of them do, on some occasions : but if the sheep hunger and thirst after more than they usually receive, the good shepherd will not in future fail to open all the stores with which the scriptures abundantly supply him.

With respect to doctrine, the over-righteous Christian, as he is now called, will thus have no cause to complain of defect in the church; and with respect to moral discipline, it is very certain that self-denial, mortification, fasting, active beneficence, and all Christian perfection, are, for the most part, taught by the church and her ministers, with great force of argument and authority. Every Christian may carry the moral discipline of his religion to whatever lengths his conscience or inclination may urge him.

It must be confefred, that such is the moderation of the church and her pastors in the PRESENT AGE, that the duties which they teach are not urged with that unnatural rigour which precludes the rational enjoyment of life. It is a cheerful church, and for that reason the more estimable. It re

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