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the Guardian, that I beg the reader's permission to transcribe part of that paper; particularly as some of the observations in it appear with more propriety from the
of a Layman, than that of a Clergyman. “ to inform the understanding and regulate “ the will is the most lasting and diffusive 6 benefit that can be conferred on mankind, “ there will not be found so useful and ex" cellent an institution as that of the Chris“ tian priesthood; by which a numerous or“ der of men are consecrated to the study “ of the most sublime and beneficial truths, “ with a design to propagate them by their “ discourses and writings; to inform their fel“ low-creatures of the being and attributes of “ the Deity; to possess their minds with a
sense of their future state; and not only “ to explain the nature of every virtue • and moral duty, but likewise to persuade “ mankind to the practice of them by the “ most powerful and engaging motives. The
light in which these points should be ex
hibited to the view of one who is preju“ diced against the names, Religion, Church, 66 Priest, and the like, is to consider the
Clergy as many philosophers, the “ churches as schools, and their sermons as
« lectures for the information and improve“ ment of the audience. How would the “ heart of a Socrates or Tully have rejoiced, “ had they lived in a nation where the law “ had made provision for philosophers to “ read lectures of morality and theology
every seventh day, in several thousand “ schools, erected at the public charge
throughout the whole country; at which “ lectures all ranks and sexes, without dis“ tinction, were invited, and required to be
present for their general improvement! “ And with what scorn and contempt would
they have considered those men, who “ 6 should endeavour to defeat the purpose “ of so divine an institution !"
Such is the great care which God Almighty has been pleased to take that his intellectual creature man,
every description, should be fully informed of the duty he expects him to perform, not only by reason and conscience, but especially by his Scriptures ; which, as St. Gregory observes, may be considered as a letter written by God to man, informing him of the exact and precise measure of the duty he is required to perform, and likewise containing infallible rules for the attainment of his happiness, both temporal and eternal.
-Millions of the laity as well as the clergy look on the Scriptures in this light, and adopt the sagacious opinion of Lord Bacon,“ that men “ fall, who seek to fly up to the secrets of “ the Deity, by the waxen wings of the
senses ;" convinced that all metaphysical doctrines, from the time of Aristotle to that of David Hume, have proved absolutely ineffective for this purpose, and that they have never produced any beneficial religious effect on the mind, but the reverse: they therefore look for no other rules than what the Scriptures contain for the accomplishment of their happiness both in this life and the next. But we know there are other men, who entirely neglect to govern their will and affections by the word of God; and if these men are in consequence unhappy in their own minds, if they pass their lives miserably, and have no hopes of enjoying the happiness of a future state; should these people deplore and complain of their condition, may not God most justly reply to them, as he did to the Jews, “ O house of Israel, are not my ways equal ? “ are not your ways unequal ? What could “ have been done more to my vineyard, " that I have not done in it? Wherefore, “ when I looked that it should bring forth
grapes, brought it forth wild grapes ?” I have given you reason and conscience to distinguish between good and evil, and to supply every real or imaginary deficiency in these; I have given you a written law, with rules how you should conduct yourself to acquire the utmost felicity and perfection of your nature, and all reasonable evidence is given that these rules proceed from your Creator; you are without excuse in neglecting to obey these rules, since by your reason you may observe how evidently they are framed and adapted to produce the individual and social happiness of man, and how much happier and more respected those men are who adhere to them, than those who do not; and your conscience tells you the same truth. Thus if you will persist in disobeying the laws of reason, conscience, and the law of
my revelation, ascribe to yourself, to your own folly, presumption, and perverseness, but not to me, the origin and the continuance of the misery you so justly suffer.
God is always pleased to give this great proof of his goodness to man, that the in-stances of it are constant and unceasing ; as the prophet Jeremiah observes, “ passions fail not, they are new every morn
66 his com
“ ing.” He always gives us leave to come into his presence; and, when our souls are afflicted, to derive consolation from his word and worship: and when they are happy and joyful, from the recollection of his goodness and gracious dealing towards us, he allows us to add a lustre to that happiness and joy, by rejoicing before him with an angelic vibration of heart, with a holy enthusiasm, equally composed of reason and rapture. He constantly supplies us with food and raiment, and every reasonable convenience of habitation; and he has placed us in a very enviable rank in the universe, but a little lower than the angels. He has bestowed on us a mind, capable by its exertion, and from the perusal of his Scriptures, and the writings of learned and worthy, men, who have displayed his wonders in astronomy, moral, natural, and experimental philosophy, to be convinced he is a God of infinite goodness, infinite wisdom, and infinite power; so that though we are on earth, we worship him as the angels do, not indeed with the same excellence and perfection, but with the same certain conviction of his being a God possessedof these glorious attributes, and with the assurance, that all his decrees are founded