Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

members of our Established Church, has, for some years, disposed the clergy rather to avoid than seek occasion for pointing out the errors maintained by the Church of Rome. The consequence has been, what indeed might naturally be expected, that the laity of this kingdom are very little acquainted with the repugnancy of Romanist to scriptural doctrines. It must have proceeded from that cause, and from their inadequate ideas of the spiritual reprobation in which they are holden by Romanists, that so many Protestants would grant to Roman Catholics the full exercise of civil power. For, if Protestants knew how widely the tenets of Romanists differ from the doctrines of Scripture; and if they were sensible of the prejudices instilled into the lower orders of the Romanists against us, whom they consider as infidels ; it is impossible to conceive that Protestants could be desirous of investing with the power of legislating for the Reformed Church of the Establishment a description of men, who deny we have either ministers or sacraments; who teach their followers it is sinful to enter our places of worship; who forbid servants to unite with their Protestant masters even in family prayer. But, as our people, in general, are thus uninstructed in the principles of Romanists, and as there is reason to fear the Protestant Church in Ireland will be overpowered, unless the writings and doctrines of Catholics are counteracted by the writings and doctrines of Protestants; we are no longer to hesitate about availing ourselves of fair opportunities for explaining the manner and degree in which the Church of Rome most grossly errs on the several subjects marked for reprehension by the fourteenth, twenty-second, twenty-fourth, twenty-fifth, twenty-eighth, thirtieth, and thirty-first of our articles. You will but meet the necessity, which is imposed upon you by the misguided spirit of an undiscerning age, if, in the course of your preaching, you state to your audience such arguments dissuasive from Popery, as you will see in the five sermons of Archbishop Secker ; in the letter of Bishop Porteus; in the very judicious and satisfactory charge, entitled “ The Grounds on “ which the Church of England separated from the “ Church of Rome," a charge delivered by Bishop Barrington.

Next to the blessing of Divine Providence! it will most essentially conduce to the support of our Establishment, if you can be instrumental towards the religious education of the rising generation ; and more especially if you can train up children in the constant usage of frequenting our churches or chapels, on the Sabbath day. Whatever may be their particular denominations, Separatists all know the powerful force of early impressions, and therefore habituate the young to punctual attendance on their peculiar form and place of divine worship. In concern for the principles ; in vigilance over the conduct; in zeal for the salvation of children growing up in families attached to our Church; if on the one hand you are deficient, you will be highly culpable; if on the other hand you are exemplary and active, each according to the nature of his situation and extent of his powers; you will merit the esteem of your parishioners, the commendation of the wise and good, the thanks of your country.

Among the various means by which the teachers of Separatists increase the number of their followers, one is that degree of attention paid to individuals, however low may be their rank in life. Whilst by this mark of apparent consideration they gratify the persons severally noticed, they not only secure attachment to themselves, but also confirm the minds of their people in strong adherence to the principles of their sect. The natural consequences of frequent interview with all parishioners were not unobserved by that pious author *, who, in delineating the character and conduct of a parochial minister, describes him as taking occasion, in the afternoons of week-days, to visit sometimes one, and sometimes another quarter of his parish ; and represents him as adapting his conversation to the particular state in which he found the members of a family. Perhaps, in no case will the exercise of judgment be more necessary, than in discerning and following the precise line of behaviour, which shall at once maintain the respect due to your selves, and yet conciliate regard from the poor. Experience, however, shows that if a discreet minister can be affable and condescending, without either language or manner which may encourage bold familiarity in the person addressed, he must in his intercourse gain great ascendancy over his parishioners, and induce them to love both himself and the church.

In every nation, but especially in this, where the democratic part of the legislature is scarcely counterbalanced by the aristocratic and monarchic, the people should be taught it is their wisdom and it is their duty to obey the laws. It is their wisdom, because by obedience to laws they preserve that internal tranquillity, and strengthen that mutual confidence, which are absolutely requisite for the prosecution and advantages of arts and manufactures, trade and commerce. Infraction of law is the source of civil commotion. Civil com

* See“ Herbert's Country Parson,” Chapter xiv. republished in a volume called “ The Clergyman's Instructor.”

motion * interrupts the pursuits of ingenuity and labour. And the final issue of riot and confusion is generally an increase of pressure, and an aggravation of the very evil which it was proposed, or at least pretended, should be forcibly remedied. To such a degree do violence and outrage defeat their own ends, and such folly is there in popular tumult. But neither is folly, nor even the dread of legal penalty inflicted by man on disregard of order and law, the sole or main ground on which to rest arguments against disobedience. Religious considerations should be applied. We should remind our congregations, that St. Paul's command is, “ Let every “ soul be subject unto the higher powers,”—“ not only “ for wrath, but also conscience sake." + We should remind them, that by the injunction of the same apostle, Christians are required to “obey magistrates, to be no “ brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all

men.” † We should remind them of the duties incul“ cated by St. Peter, when he earnestly delivers these precepts : “ Submit yourselves to every ordinance of “man, for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king as

supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are “ sent by him.”S Unhappily for us, there are not wanting abettors of resistance to constituted authorities, heralds of disunion between the several ranks of society, harbingers of subversion through the whole system of the Establishment, civil and religious. The vice and impiety which they would introduce, the ruin and misery which they would occasion, it must be our labour to prevent, so far as it may please the Almighty Director of human efforts to bless our words spoken, and works undertaken in the discharge of our office. Such labour is incumbent on us. For, that we should endeavour to make our people good subjects of the civil government, we owe to the state, by the constitution of which we are the appointed ministers of the national religion : that we should endeavour to make our people good Christians, we are bound by the very nature of our sacred ministry, which lays on us a strict and indispensable obligation of communicating for knowledge, and of enforcing for observance, all that was taught and commanded for faith and practice, by the Divine Person to whose service, honour, and glory, we are more immediately dedicated, even our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! May the Holy Spirit assist, direct, and sanctify us! Under the influence of His grace, may we fulfil the great ends of our sacerdotal calling, by contributing to the maintenance of social order ; by conducing to the advancement of morality and religion ; by promoting the spiritual and eternal happiness of our Christian brethren. So shall we work out our own salvation: so will men see the exercise of pious labour, for effects most beneficial and salutary to them : so shall we be faithful to the Lord, whose messengers we are, for the merciful and high purposes of the Gospel ! and so shall we be the humble instruments of exciting all around us to glorify their Father which is in heaven!

* Multo verò maxima pars eorum, qui in tabernis sunt, immo verò (id enim potius est dicendum) genus hoc universum amantissimum est otii. Etenim omne eorum instrumentum, omnis opera, ac quæstus, frequentià civium sustinetur, alitur otio: quorum si quæstus, occlusis tabernis, minui solet, quid tandem incensis futurum est ? Cic. 4ta, Or. in Catal. p. 138. Ed. Delph.

+ Rom. xiii. 1-5. # Titus, iii. 1, 2. i St. Pet. ii. 13, 14.

« EdellinenJatka »