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tage which attends the use of pre-composed pray ers; and if there be many who do not find and feel this effect of them, it is not, I am persuaded, the fault of set forms, but their own. They want attention and fervency in this way of worship, and they would want it equally, perhaps much more, in any other.

3. It is yet a further great advantage which we of this communion enjoy, that our service is not one continued act of devotion, but is interrupted by many breaks and pauses, and consists of several distinct and entire forms of petition and praise; by which means the mind is eased and relieved from too long and strict an attention; retires a little, and returns, as it were, with new strength to its duty. The collects of our liturgy are so short, that a devout Christian may, even whilst he is pronouncing his amen at the close, by a sudden glance of thought recollect every branch of them, and so contract into that single word the whole force of the preceding prayer.

4. The service contributes also to render ns attentive and devout, by that useful and affecting variety with which it abounds. There is in it a variety of all sorts of religious duty, in which a creature can apply itself to its Creator. There we confess our sins, and intercede with God for the pardon of them. There we deprecate the divine judgments that may be inflicted, and pray for all the blessings spiritual and temporal, that can be bestowed on ourselves or others; and there we put up our praises and thanksgivings to God for all instances of his mercy and goodness to us. There, we hear the holy scriptures read, and profess

our belief of the great articles of faith : and these different parts of divine worship are so happily intermixed, and succeed each other in so beautiful an order, that the mind of the worshipper has always a new and pleasant employment.

As the priest has his share in the performance of these offices, so the people too have theirs; and in a much larger proportion than belongs to them in any other Christian assemblies. Each is employed in stirring up the other to an holy and affectionate emulation of heart and voice, and they do thereby mutually provoke and kindle each other's devotion.

Lastly, I add also, that the service of our sanctuary is particularly contrived to promote attention by the decent, orderly, and solemn manner in which it is performed. For it is neither, on the one side, so very plain and simple, as not to be able to rouse, nor on the other so splendid and gaudy, as to be apt to distract the mind. It is duly tempered between these extremes, and partakes of either, as far as either is requisite towards creating and cherishing a sound and reasonable, a warm and active devotion Pictures indeed and images, to which the church of Rome in this case has recourse, fix the attention; but it is on a wrong object. A multitude of vain and pompous ceremonies, a variety of rich habits and ornaments, music framed for delight, without improvement; these things indeed may render an assembly attentive; but so likewise would a scene in the theatre. The devotion they produce, if indeed they produce any, goes no further than the senses ; it is not that of the heart and spirit. . But with us, all the outside of our worship contributes towards the inward life and reality of it. Our churches are decently adorned; they who officiate at our altars are decently habited; our daily service is performed, and our sacraments administered, in a becoming and reverend manner; our music is always, or always ought to be, grave and solemn ; every part and circumstance of our worship is so ordered, as to inspire us with an holy reverance and awe, and so far to keep the outward senses awake, as their vigilance may be of use to give wings to our devotion, and vigour to our minds.



RELIGIOUS SENTIMENTS OF OTHERS, RECOMMENDED LAWYERS, physicians, soldiers, men in every profession, are wont to acquire a partiality for that in which they have been educated; and, by the almost incredible force of habit, think more highly of its excellencies, and are disposed to defend its defects with more pertinacity than reason will allow. If a prepossession of this kind should be observable in the professors of Christianity, or in the advocates for any particular system of Christianity, a candid mind would be ready rather to apologise for the infirmity, than to condemn it, as springing from a corrupted source of interest or ambition. What interest can an Unitarian or an Arian have in dissenting from the faith esteemed orthodox? If either, or both of them are in errour, may the mercy of God forgive them! but let not the unmerciful judgment of man condemn them. What interest can a deist of upright morals (and there are many such) have in contending, that the supreme Being gave no law to Moses, no revelation of his will to mankind by Jesus Christ, but that Moses and the prophets, that Jesus and the apostles, were like Confucius, Zoroaster, Numa, Mahomet, and their several associates; that they pretended to a divine authority, which was not vouchsafed to them? We believe, that the divine missions of Moses and of Jesus may be established, and that they have been repeatedly established, by arguments, which are utterly inapplicable to every other religion which hath taken place among mankind; but we do not take upon us to anathematize, with fiery zeal, every one who does not believe as we do: we pray for his conversion to what we esteem the truth, and we request him to admit, that the sincerity of our belief in Christianity is as great as that of his unbelief; if he thinks otherwise of us, he thinks amiss; if he speaks otherwise, he becomes a calumniator.

This moderation, which, on all occasions, I recommend as proper for us to observe towards those who differ from us, either partially, or wholly, and which, in return, we have a right to expect of them, is not to be interpreted into an indifference either towards Christianity in general, or towards that particular mode of it wbich is established in these kingdoms. The church of England may be maintained, and it is our duty to maintain it, with zeal regulated by charity, against all its enemies, till they have convinced us, that a less defective system of doctrine, worship, and discipline, might be peaceably introduced in its stead: and this, if we may judge from what we have read of former times, or observed of our own, the opposers of the establishment will not be able speedily to accomplish.

He, who wishes to repair an ancient fortress, when he sees it attacked by a thousand enemies, disfigured by the rubbish of a thousand ages, cannot, without great injustice, be ranked with those who labour to overturn it.

Nor is the defence of the Christian religion abandoned, when we allow unbelievers the full liberty of producing all the arguments they can in support of their infidelity. Our liberality in this respect proceeds not from any supineness or inattention towards what we esteem of inestimable value, but from a total dislike of dogmatism and intolerance; principles ill comporting with the weakness of human understanding, and with the benignity of the Christian religion; and from a strong persuasion that the result of the most critical scrutiny into the foundations of our faith will be a confirmation of its truth. The time, I think, is approaching*, or is already come, when Christianity will undergo a more severe investigation than it has ever yet done. My expectation, as to the issue, is this that catholic countries will become protestant, and that protestant countries will admit a further reformation. In expressing this expectation, which I am far from having the vanity to propose with oracular confidence, I may possibly incur the cen

• This was written in Jane 1795.--Editor.

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