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characters or doctrines by report, by clamour, or by names, but by fairly comparing them with the holy scripture, thus “proving all things, and “ holding fast that which is good.”
The connexion in which the words · listless indolence' are introduced by his Lordship implies that the Calvinists, and among them at least the evangelical clergy, are intended ; and a few remarks on this subject, in respect of the latter, may not be here improper.
It may indeed very properly be inquired by our ecclesiastical superiors and rulers, whether the evangelical clergy are usefully employed or not; but certainly, as a body, they shew few symptoms of listless indolence. Whatever be their motive or object, they are generally more active than others in religious exertions. They preach more frequently and earnestly, and longer sermons, than other clergymen generally do: and, with not many exceptions they deliver their own compositions, even when they do not preach extempore, Their congregatious are generally numerous : their adherents spend more time in the exercises of religion, than it is customary for others to do; and they commonly occupy more of their minister's time, by privately seeking counsel and direction. The ministers themselves are “ instant in season " and out of season;" they often preach Sunday evening lectures, and week-day lectures, not uncommonly without any pecuniary remuneration, They introduce the custom of double duty on the
Lord's day, where single was before deemed sufficient ; which excites complaints in some quarters : and their superiors find it needful to restrain or frown on their superabundant exertions, far more frequently than to reprove their neglect of such as are prescribed to them. Their private labours also, in many cases, are supposed to exceed due bounds. Thus they give great umbrage, and, as one said to Bishop Burnet, they set an ill-natured ' example,' introducing new customs, and shaming those who will not so much as “ open a door for « nought.”
In a word, zeal, activity, and persevering diligence must be predicated of them, as a body, even by their adversaries ; who, considering their exertions either as not wisely, or not honestly, directed, seem to dread many and great dangers, not only to the church, but to the state. also, as the consequences of them. Their plans and endeavours at home and from home, nay even their social intercourse with each other, while they excite the most groundless and indeed unreasonable alarms, proclaim that they are not supinely indolent: and, as it might have been previously foreséen, they communicate the same active spirit to their followers. . . .
That this zeal and diligence are employed in promoting what the company in general, and individuals in particular, consider as the cause of benevolence, or “ good will to man,” as well as that of Christianity, according to their views of it; the appeal may be safely made to the public at large. Where is that pious and charitable institution; where that proposal made for raising money
to relieve the distresses of our countrymen, when prisoners of war abroad, or of refugees, or destitute; or to provide support for sufferers from foreign, or hostile shores : where is there a call made for help, to alleviate temporal miseries, to recover outcasts to society, to educate the poor in useful knowledge; to relieve the widows and orphans of clergymen, whether favourable to our tenets or not; to do good in any way ; in which the evangelical clergy have not stood foremost: and to which they and their congregations have not contributed at least their full proportion ?-not to speak of their zealous and assiduous exertions for promoting the common cause of Christianity, by missions, and by the dispersion of the word of God in every part of every land. I appeal to the lists of our public charities, and to those of the sums raised for providing relief for the distresses of multitudes in foreign nations. -“I am become a fool in glorying: Ye have “ compelled me.”
But I must also be bold to say, that Great Britain does not contain a company of men, who more decidedly, particularly, and constantly inculcate obedience and submission to kings and all in authority, in all things lawful, without exception, on their hearers; and who are more cordially attached to the royal house of our Sovereign, and to the British constitution, than the evangelical clergy: and who pray more habitually and particularly, in their families and social meetings, for a blessing on all ranks and orders of men among us, than they do.
To comprise, in one section, the whole relating to this subject, another quotation may here bei noted, though taken from the chapter on JUSTIFICATION. . . Such is the consequence of preachers dwelling “continually upon justification by faith alone, with'out possessing, or at least without expressing, a clear and definite idea of that important doctrine. They not only delude their unlearned congregations, and encourage vice and immorality among • their followers, but they really delude themselves, and fall into opinions and assertions totally inconsistent with the spirit of our holy religion. I call it delusion, because I am persuaded that they do not mean to encourage licen* tiousness, or to advance any thing repugnant to "the principles of the gospel. And, if they do
this in writings, which they have deliberately
and cautiously prepared for the public eye, what "must we suppose they do in their hasty com. positions for the pulpit, or in their extem'pore effusions? I give them credit for zeal 6 and good intention, but I think the manner in ? which they perform the duties of their ministry, ?both public and private, injudicious and mis
chievous in the extreme; and the dangerous tendency of their tenets and practice cannot be (.exposed too frequently, or with too much ear
nestness.'' .. The connexion of this passage shews, that the evangelical clergy are especially intended. That which relates to our doctrine, and the practical nature and tendency of it, will be considered in its proper place; both in conceding what appears
faulty and defective in some of the body, and in vindicating others (a great majority) from the charge of preaching justification in such a manner as to encourage vice and immorality. In this and other respects, as to our printed books, let them speak for themselves. The very titles, and tables of contents of our publications, (if our opponents will not deign to read any thing further of what we write,) may shew, that we honestly aim to in'struct mankind, respecting every doctrine and every duty of Christianity, in regular order and proportion : however incompetent we may be deemed for the service, and however we may fail as to the performance of it. But a few hints may be needful about the ' hasty compositions for
the pulpit,' and ' extemporaneous effusions.'
"Dr. Campbell informs us, that it excited much surprise in * his days that Hume continued to publish one edition after • another of his Essays, without taking the least notice of the * answer; though he had in a letter to the author, expressed • himself in terms very different from those of contempt, con* cerning that work. It has excited no less surprise, that the • Reviewer has republished Hume's doctrine, and maintained as * profound a silence about the answer, as if none had ever been " made. But there is no occasion for any surprise. They wish ' to produce a certain effect: and that effect is to be produced,
by promulgating their own doctrines, not by noticing the an• swers. They have, perhaps, taken the hint from those pesse
vering personages, the quack doctors, who continue year after
year to advertise their nostrums, long after their pernicious * effects have been detected. They persevere, because they • hope that many will read, and believe, and purchase, and
swallow, who never heard of the detection.' '_ It was really unfortunate for Hume that he had read, and was known to have read, Dr. Campbell's answer.
"Somerville's Remarks on the Edinburgh Review." is