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« Novelty has been justly termed the spice of life. We have had the old Gospel for upwards of eighteen centuries, and the moral law contained in it was, to our pious forefathers, the rule of life. Taking that gospel for their guide, they were taught that this present world was a state of trial, that every man had cer. tain talents committed to him, some ten, some five, some one that to whom much was given, from him much would be required; -and that all were accountable hereafter for the abuse of the talents, or means of improvement, respectively received.-And the preacher of that gospel, when in those days he assembled his congregation together, exhorted them to an earnest and unfailing attention to this their future responsibility ; he urged them never to dégrade that nature which God had dignified with the noble gift of reason, but so to act as not to shew themselves unworthy of that invaluable privilege, but apply it to the noble purposes for which it was bestowed. The obvious duty of conforrning to this advice was then felt, and a frequent meditation upon the consequences of neglecting it, served to strengthen their resolutions to shun whatever might tempt them to disregard it.
“ We are weak enough to call these the good old times. Alas! they were sadly unsound in the faith. This primitive pastor, in the simplicity of his heart, fancied himself in the discharge of his duty, he never dreamed that all this made no part of his sacred office. Let us attend to one of the new gospel prachers, that we may learn from themselves, and in their own words, how the duty of reforming vice is to be discharged, and in what manner the wicked are to be entreated to turn from their wickedness, and
“ I shall not declaim," says Dr. Hawker, “ on the moral excel. lence of human nature, while our church prayers with one voice continually declare that we have no health, no excellence in us; neither shall I recommend human strength to exert itself in acts of moral virtue towards their own salvation."*
“ When it is thus publicly announced, that the new gospel preachers will not recommend what the apostles of the old Christian dispensation recommended, and that too most strongly, and. most strenuously, and which they enforced by all the motives and all the sanctions which that dispensation reveals, we can readily perceive how enticing such an assurance must be, and what a concourse such an intimation must draw together. Dr. Hawker accordingly is followed by his crowd of dear hearers, whenever his visit to
* Solemn Questions for Serious Christians, by Robert Hawker, D. D. Vicar of Charles, Plymouth. The better to extend the nu. merous tracts of these Evangelical Divines, their price is adapted to the lower classes. The tract from which they may derive the above intelligence, is price two-pence, or 12s. 6d. per hundred, te those who buy them to give away.
London from Plymouth is made known amid the congregations of the faithful."
When the same Dr. Hawker perverts the confession of the Church by saying “ That he will not in the pulpit cry up the moral rectitude of human nature, nor contend that man is able of himself to help himself, and exhort the con. gregation to do that which just before they declared themselves incapable of doing ;" the author of the “ Hints,” ob. serves,
« But if the preacher cannot help us, and we cannot help our. selves, for what use are churches erected at all? If the whole body of the people should once imbibe this evangelical sentiment they will soon begin to think the good estate of the catholic church, much too ample for its means of service. If the whole swarm of thieves, gamblers, swindlers, and pickpockets which infest our streets by night and by day, are to be taught that they cannot help being what they are, and are incapable, of themselves, of being otherwise, and that a minister of the church of England shall professedly forbear exhorting bad men to an amendment of life, conceiving it repugnant to his duty as a gospel preacher; the mass of public corruption 'will augment pretty rapidly, and that profligacy which already prevails to such an extent, will daily widen its inAuence ; for when you have furnished the whole race of delinquents of every description with this doctrine that they can do nothing of themselves to help themselves," they will soon follow it up to the conclusion to which it leads, which is that their guilt cannot be wilful, for if they cannot help themselves, the fault is in him who could give them the power, but withholds it. These Calvinistic teachers do well to suppress, as far as they are able, the exercise of reason; thus far the public have cause to be thankful, for certainly their evangelical premises lead to very dangerous conclusions.
“Why stand ye here all the day idle ?" said the lord of the vineyard; they said unto him, " Because no man hath hired us." Surely had they been brought up under an evangelical teacher, they would have made a very different reply.--" Because we have no natural power to work,” would have been their answer, " to hire us would be useless, for having no power to help ourselves, still less have we a power to help others." But in this beautiful parable, our Saviour teaches an important moral truth, which this helpless order of sinners would do well to remember me that he did not live and die to leave them an example they were unable to follow, nor would have commanded any man to take up his cross if he had not strength to support it.”
The vulgar performances of another zealot of the fame feather, are thus truly characterized, and the author juftly caftigated.
“Lest the growing immorality and increasing disregard of prac. . tical virtue, discernible in this crowded city, should not spread itself with sufficient rapidity, and lest in our villages some MORAL preacher should endeavour by earnest admonition, and fervent exhortation, to check the progress of vice, and produce in his hearers · a regard for all those Christian virtues which constitute good works. It was found expedient to prepare a remedy for this sore evil, and accordingly one amongst the most popular of these new evangelists sends forth, for the instruction of the rising generation of serva:hts arid labouring poor in the different rural districts throughout the kingdom-hiss Village Dialogues," penned in that strain of vulgar quaintness, and low familiarity, which is so well
fiited to the taste of those for whose edification they are intended. . “ The moral preacher of the established church who strives to reform the manners of the public, and to check the prevailing spirit of vice and dissipation, who labours to reclaim society from that extreme state of depravity to which it is fast arriving, and to keep alive, if possible, some veneration for the practice of good works, amidst the prodigious increase of evil works, the effects of which the laws are daily struggling, but struggling in vain, to remedy,—The parochial clergyman of this stamp is, in these Village Dialogues, held up to the sneer and ridicule of the country people, under the contemptuous appellation of the Rev. Mr. Dolittle. Accordingly, when he attempts to teach the farmer and his family, who are made the parties to the dialogue, that faith alone is insufficient, and that they must understand that good works are essential. The farmer is made to reply in a style of low mockery,
" Why then, sir, when I say I shall go alone to Mapleton-market next Thursday, you are to understand that I mean to take my wife and daughter Polly with me.--Is this the way in which I am to chop this new-fashioned logic :"*
“ A further string of questions is then so framed, as to furnish the farmer and his family with a triumph over the morality of the Rev. Mr. Dolittle, and an opportunity of saying every thing in praise of Mr. Lovegood, the faithful preacher. For this gentle. man must have a good name to give his doctrines the victory.
“Throughout the whole of these evangelical dialogues, intended for the use of the country people, in every farm and hamlet, and dispersed among them with equal zeal and success, all that respect and reverence, which all ranks among them were wont to feel towards the clergy man of their parish, or their village, whose sermons aimed at their moral reformation, is gradually diminished and done away. Those ministers of the living God, who had taught them to work out their own salvation, knowing they had the example and authority of Christ himself, as their warrant so to
- * Village Dialogues, by Rowland Hill, A. M. vol. i. p. 58.
do, are now pointed at with a sneer, and nicknamed into derision by the profligate and vulgar :-Since, it seems, by the aid of the new evangelists, and the assistance of these dialogues, they soon discovered that “old Mr. Deadman, and his cousin Mr. Blindman, had preached no more the true doctrine of the Bible, as it relates to salvation by Jesus Christ, than if they had been two of the priests of Jupiter.”t.
“ Is it to be wondered at that the moral teachers of the duties of Christianity should be derided and despised by the lower orders throughout the different parts of the kingdom, when such language of derision and mockery is put into their mouths. The complaints of the profligacy of servants of every class, and of the depravity of the times, are in every body's hearing :- and these evangelical tutors--the dear Mr. Lovegoods of the day, deserve the best attention of the public for thus instructing the ignorant multitude who are always ready enough to neglect their moral duties,-to despise and insult those by whom they are taught. It is well done in Rowland Hill to employ the buffoonery of an infidel, and the levity of a pantaloon, for the purpose of exposing to the sneer and ridicule of the common people, those teachers which the nation has appointed to protect its youth, and rear them to virtue. It must afford him great consolation amidst the increasing immoTality, which shocks the feelings of our judges at every returning assizes throughout the kingdom, that he has spared no pains to make the rising generation of ignorant and dissolute rustics laugh at what he terms the white-wash of morality; that when their village curate exhorts them, if they havę faith in the doctrine of a world to come, to add to it those good works in which the sun and substance of religion consists, he has led them to ridicule bin, as chopping a new-fashioned logic.”
As the author of these important “Hints” has promised a continuation in a second part, we hope it will not be long before we shall have the pleasure of reporting the contents of it to our readers.
+ See Village Dialogues, vol. i. p. 102.
Perfe£t Union with the Established Church of England re.
commended, in a Sermon preached before the Archdeacon of Wilts, in the Parish Church of St. Peter's, Marlbo. rough, Aug. 11, 1807. By CHARLES FRANCIS, M. A,
Rector of Mildenhall. 4to. pp. 16. 15. Rivingtons. TN this valuable and truly reasonable discourse, a parallel 1 is drawn between the condition of the Corinthian Church
at the time when St. Paul wrote his first epistle, and the present stare of the Church of England. This resemblance is thus strongly exhibited.
“ One of the most striking things perhaps in the history of man. kind, is the recurrence of facts, after a lapse of ages and centuries, It looks, as if the agency of human inteliect and of human efforts, when relying upon its own powers alone, had a sort of.orbit, which it compleated afier a great number of years; and then brought again on the quick passing scene of mortal life, a prevalence of similarity to former notions, characters, and events, so re. markable; that the parallel occurs almost spontaneously, and forces our wonder and our assent to it. That there is now existing such a parallel between the church of Corinth, and that of Eng. land, seems to be scarcely deniable: for the same dissentions are discernable in both; although the subjects of dissent may proba. bly be in some degree different. We see at this day the same inclinations, to follow new and various teachers; to separate from the Mother-Church; to extol the setters forth of novel systems; and to decry the ability and diligence of the established ministers : which are all so glaring in St. Paul's allusions to the state of Christianity at Corinth. We learn likewise from this Epistle of the Aposile, that the causes of these dissentions, were in some res spects nearly the same with many, that prevail among us: origi. nating in men vain and conceited of themselves; proceeding upon unfounded or exaggerated charges against the established ministry; justified by no warrant of scripture;'and yet stimulated with acrimony and bitter aversion. One line in the parallel is extremely singular, which is, that the separatists from St. Paul at Corinth; and those separatists from our establishment, who would be considered as conscientious believers; allege the very same excuse for their falling away; namely, the superior progress in the knowledge of the mysteries of the gospel, that can be obtained from their distinct teachers; above and beyond all that can be gained fror. the established clergy.”
The following vindication of the clergy is excellent.
“Nothing can be farther from truth, than the supposition that we magnify ourselves, as though we were not men of like passions and infirmities with others, when we are magnifying our office, We are only servants and agents, though the master, whom we serve, is above all. And conscious of the nature of our station in the world, we need no other memento, that it is required of stew. ards, that a man be found faithful: nor can we forget our own in. sufficiency for the discharge of our duty. No conscientious minister can feel proud in his own eyes; his zeal for the honour of his great master; and his anxiety for the eternal welfare of those, oyer whom it is his duty to keep watch; will sufficiently humble