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rates, the compromise of the truth.-St. Paul, is a fine example; and yet when Peter began to dissemble at Antioch, (Gal. ii. 11.) he withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. And what does he say, when writing to the churches of Galatia, respecting those teachers who were corrupting them by erroneous doctrines? Gal. i. 6, 7, 8.
"The evangelical clergy profess to be religious men; and they give the world a proof of the sincerity of their profession, by renouncing its pleasures, and by conforming themselves to the sacred obligations of their profession. Are they to be censured for this? If they appear more like religious men, than some of their anti-evangelical brethren; will you make their consistency an occasion of offence?"
You say they arrogate to themselves the exclusive honour of preaching the gospel; and if they believe what they preach, not to warn their hearers against the reception of opposite sentiments, would be on. their part, a direlection of duty. They believe, that we are saved by grace, through faith; but you believe that a man's virtues conciliate the favour of God, and fit him for the kingdom of heaven. They believe that no man is born again, till a moral change is effected in his mind by the renewing of the Holy Ghost; you believe that every man is born again when he is baptized by water. They believe that a nominal Christian needs to be converted, as much as a heathen; you be-, lieve such an event to be impossible; they believe that a disciple of Jesus Christ, will appear in the world as a stranger and a pilgrim; deriving his most elevated enjoyments from communion with his invisible Lord; walking by faith in hope of a blissful immortality, which will more than recompense him for all his present conflicts, and sacrifices, and deprivations but you believe that he may conform himself to the habits and customs of the society in which he lives; lead off the dance of gaiety, encore the song of mirth, visit the theatre of dissipation, and yet retain the identity of his character. Why, the antipodes are not more remote from each other, than the men who imbibe these opposite opinions; and if the evangelical clergy are right, you must be wrong; and to
avow this, is an act of honesty rather than arrogance. You say that they are confederating together as a distinct order in the church, and look with disdain on their opponents, with whom they hold no intercourse. But for what purpose do they confederate together? Is it not to establish, and support, the different religious institutions which shine as the brightest gems in the diadem of our national honour? Are they not the patrons, and the advocates of our Bible Societies
our Missionary Societies-our Jewish and Tract Societies? and why do you not associate with them? Have they issued any law of exclusion? Have they dug a gulph, broad and deep, like that which separates the good and evil spirits of the invisible world, so that all intercourse between them and you is inevitably cut off? No. They have invited you again and again to join them, but you have refused: they have sent the flag of truce, but you will not permit it to enter your camp: they have offered to share with you the honour of ameliorating the moral condition of mankind, but you have declined the proposal; and now to charge them with disdain in refusing to associate with you, is one of those wanton movements of caprice, which I think on reflection you will not feel disposed to repeat."
Mr. John Roscoe. "Perhaps they would allow us to associate with them, but that you know we cannot do, as we think they are materially injuring the peace of society. What divisions have these public institutions which you have so poetically described as the brighest gems in our national diadem, introduced into our church? Some are their warm advocates; others their powerful opponents; the press teems with the pamphlets of angry debate; while the infidel looks on with unhallowed pleasure, at the war of words, and elements of passion and rage. Is not this calculated to sink the dignity of our order?"
Mr. Roscoe." Why, I must confess, that an infidel will be strengthened in his infidelity, when he sees the ministers of religion, attempting to impede the circulation of the bible, which they profess to regard as of divine origin: and if they refuse to co-operate with others in the universal dissemination of the truth
which it contains, will he not be induced to believe that they do not regard it as essential to the final happiness of man? It is the opposition which is raised against such institutions that does the injury; and in my opinion, those who raise, and support this opposition, are incurring an awful degree of responsibility, which will render their appearance before their Lord and Master, a scene of heart-rending terror.
Mr. John Roscoe. "But do not these evangelical clergy, sow the seeds of division in every parish in which they preach? Did the Rev. Mr. C exaggerate when he said, that as soon as they open their lips and give utterance to their sentiments, there is an instantaneous commotion among the people. Those who lived in peace are split into parties; and the village, or the city, which held the unity of the faith, suddenly becomes the arena of religious debate. Indeed, we have known private families whose happiness has been destroyed by this style of preaching; and it is now unhappily too notorious, that the conversion of a single member of a family to evangelical principles, is the signal for the departure of domestic peace.
"Yes," said Mrs. Roscoe, "that is a fact which I can attest from bitter experience. There was no family in this village which enjoyed more domestic felicity than ours, till Sophia embraced her evangelical opinions; and since that fatal hour to the present, we have been a divided family."
Mr. Roscoe. Yes, my dear, we lived in peace,— but we lived without religion.'
Mrs. Roscoe. "Why we constantly went to church." Mr. Roscoe. "Yes, but were we a religious family Did we not often spend the Sabbath in paying, or receiving visits; in reading newspapers, and other publications of a similar nature? Was there any family prayer in our house; or did we ever speak, or think on religious subjects, as those who felt any deep interest in them? When our dear Sophia felt the transforming influence of the truth, producing a taste, and a peculiarity of character in strict accordance with the Scriptures, I was no less offended and alarmed than yourself; and resolutely opposed her, till her spirits were nearly broken; but I have
been convinced of my error, and can attest from experience, that we may observe the forms of religion, while destitute of the power of it; and even indulge the hope of final happiness, while we live in a state of alienation from God, through the ignorance that is in us."
"You, my brother," addressing himself to Mr. John Roscoe," object to evangelical preaching, on account of the commotions which it excites amongst the people. If this objection be valid, it applies with equal force against the preaching of the apostles, who in every place where their labours were successful, formed a society, whose members were always ridiculed, and often persecuted, for their moral and religious peculiarities. And is it not the avowed design of Christianity, when it operates on the human character, to form a peculiar people, who are to become zealous for good works ? And is it not this peculiarity in the character of a religious man, that provokes the enmity and opposition of the world? Does not Jesus Christ say, (Matt. x. 35, 36.) I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law: and a man's foes shall be they of his own household? Here is a village, or a town, or a parish, in which the people are taught to believe that they were born Christians, regenerated when they were baptized; admitted members of the church; and who will, after they are dead, be consigned to the tomb by the officiating minister, in full and certain hope of a joyful resurrection to eternal life. They all believe this; they live in peace; there is no debating on the subject of religion. There is a most profound stillness pervading the whole community. They never talk about repentance; faith in Christ; becoming new creatures in Christ Jesus; glorifying God in their body and their spirit; being made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light; rejoicing in hope of the glory of God; or dying in the Lord. There is as great a dearth amongst them of these scriptural phrases, and of the sublime princi
See No. 17 of this Series.
ples which they embody, as you will find in those parts of the moral world, on which the light of revelation never dawned, or the grace of heaven never descended. And how do they live? Do they live in the fear and love of God? Do they adopt the habits of domestic religion? Do they cultivate the private virtues of enlightened, and renewed men? There is peace, I grant, but it resembles the awful stillness of Ezekiel's valley, which was covered with the dry bones of the slain, rather than the moral animation, and strength, and unity, which prevailed after the visitations of the divine Spirit, under whose life giving breath, they arose an exceeding great army. When the prophet began to prophesy, there was immediately consequent upon it, a noise, and behold, a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. (Ezek. xxxvii. 7.) And something analogous to this, takes place amongst a people, when an evangelical minister begins to preach.-The thoughtless are roused to reflection; the dissipated are reformed; the sabbath breakers, the drunkards, the swearers, are reclaimed; the devotees of superstition become spiritual and holy, the momentous questions of religion, occupy and engross their attention,-undergo public and private discussion; and the moral aspect of the community is changed. But as the general transformation is ef fected, by the gradual conversion of individuals, the multitude, yet unenlightened, and unrenewed, raise a loud clamour, as though their happiness and honour were sacrificed for ever."
66 That such a moral renovation often results from evangelical preaching, is a fact too notorious to be denied; but has it ever resulted from anti-evangelical preaching? You may give a prominency to the divine precepts, in your sermons, equally conspicuous to the tables of the ten commandments, which are suspended near the communion; and enforce them, if possible, with an energy, not less solemn and impressive, than Sinai witnessed when she trembled as the voice of the Lord waxed louder and louder; but if you place the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in the shades, and neglect to dwell with devout, and fervid animation, on his love for sinners, you will never see any