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pedient of finding out a new sense till now the matter never struck me for the words, not in contradiction in a light so obviously practical and to those notions which you espouse, important. Why, indeed, should and which you are unwilling to any man be ashamed to acknowabandon. Take care, James, whật ledge his errors when he becomes you are about: you seem to me to convinced of them? be in danger of trifling with sacred John. It gives me sincere pleathings, and of being more anxious sure, James, to hear you speak in about the establishment of your this way. You know that my preown sentiments than the discovery judices were, not long ago, as of truth. If this should be the great as yours are now; and that I case, I must in honesty tell you, used to speak all manner of evil of that if you persevere in this mind, those sentiments of which I am it would be better for you to be now the sincere, but feeble adyoamong the blindest tribe of savages, cate. At that time I considered worshipping an idol, than to have the title of Evangelical Clergythe word of God in your hands, man, as one of so opprobrious a and to treat it so.
nature, that nothing could induce James. One thing, John, I will me to go in the way of those who not conceal from you; my confi- were thus distinguished. But notdence in my cause is somewhat withstanding all my jealousy and abated since you have discovered caution, I was brought into conto me that you were speaking the tact with one of them, who became very words of our church; nor will rector of the parish contiguous to I retract the concession I made, my own; and thereby had an opthat those words seem, at first portunity of observing facts that sight, notonly to favour your views, served to remove my prejudices at but, indeed, plainly to express first, and led finally to that change them. Let the matter end as it which has exposed me to your cenmay, I am forced in honesty to sure. The former incumbent of acknowledge so much. The truth that parish had, like too many, is, John, I have been so much in chosen the clerical profession, the habit, from the influence of the merely with a view to preferment, society in which I lived, of taking and had felt no interest in the for granted, that those who were spiritual welfare of the flock. The known to hold your sentiments had consequence was what might have nothing reasonable to say in their been expected. His church was defence, that I had little doubt of badly attended ; his parishioners being able, in point of argument, were ignorant and immoral; and, in easily to put you to silence; and, short, every thing around him indiunless you should prove deaf to the cated disorder and neglect. The preplainest principles of common sense, sent incumbent, as I told you, is of even reclaiming you from your called, in contempt, an Evangelical aberrations. But what has past Clergyman. It is now about three has fully convinced me, that on years since he came to the parish; this point I was in error; and and I may say, with truth, that no though I still disagree with you as one had a greater dislike of his to the truth of your doctrine, I do principles than I had, at the time not hesitate to say, that it is my in- of his first becoming my neightention to examine the subject; and bour. I can well remember, with to ascertain whether my religious what a jealous eye I watched over sentiments accord with the au- his conduct, in the hope of finding thentic standards of that church of him guilty of some irregularity which I profess myself a minister. · which might authorize a public exNor am I ashamed to confess, that pression of my disapprobation: but DEC. 1823.
in this I was oompletely disap- ground, until I was driven step by pointed; for his zeal was so tem- step from all my strong-holds; and pered with discretion, that it was at last shut up in a corner, out of always exercised within the limits which I could not by any means of those boundaries prescribed by escape. My friend produced the the church to which he belonged; plain words of Scripture, and the and in accordance with those prin- doctrines of our church as founded ciples, which, as a minister of the upon that infallible standard. He Establishment, he felt himself call- showed me, not only that I was ed upon to maintain. To the erring from the word of God, but change that soon began to manifest that my sentiments were in plain itself in his parish, I could not be contradiction to the very creed that an indifferent spectator : and I con- I had bound myself to preach and fess with shame, that I was even defend; and that, while I was acmortified to witness facts so favour- cusing him of disaffection to the able to those principles which I at Established Church, (to which I that time disliked; though facts now know his conscientious attachwhich, in themselves, ought to have ment,) I was myself, in reality, the given me pleasure. The church, dissenter from it, by holding sentiwhich had before been deserted, ments opposed to its authorized was soon filled, and even enlarged: standards, and by contending and his conscientious attention to against its genuine principles. bis parishioners of all ages, soon James. Supposing all this to be discovered itself in the altered cha- true, John, tell me honestly, do racter both of the old and young. you think the change a matter of I could not avoid observing, how vital importance ? little this accorded with the vulgar John. Undoubtedly, James, I charge brought against him, of hold- do. Believe me, it is a question ing and preaching a licentious doc- not about a certain modification of trine: but I was not in a disposi- faith, but about Christianity itself. tion at that period to give way to If wine has been gradually diluted convictions so little agreeable to so as to have lost all its charactermy principles; and I endeavoured istic flavour, and to have only the to get rid of reflections, the ten- properties of the water remaining, dency of which was to shake my by which its virtue has been deconfidence in long-cherished and stroyed, no man in his senses will deep-rooted opinions. Thus mat- expect, that the liquor thus altered ters continued for some time, till and debased will or can produce an unexpected incident brought me the effects of wine. Equally uninto immediate contact with the reasonable with such an opinion, is man, whom I affected to despise the identification of what is now for his fanaticism, but whom I se- called Christianity, with what was cretly respected for his consistency. originally meant by that term; and One interview with him made me equally vain the expectation that it desirous of another; and this led answers the same purposes, and to a free intercourse on religious will issue in the same consequences. subjects, the effect of which was No, my friend, the Christianity of a daily diminution of my preju- the world, is not, as people supdices; and the final result, a deli- pose, a system, the same in kind berate adoption, by the blessing of with the primitive faith, but with God, of my present principles. diminished strength: it is some
James. You were easily over- thing distinct, in its very essence, come, John.
from that faith; and, in fact, is John. I do not know that, found to be compatible with what James; I fought every inch of primitive Christianity was intended to destroy. The genuine Gospel lestation: but believing as they do of God aims at the overthrow of that the controversy is about subour self-dependence, and at the stantial and practical truth, they subjection of our hearts : and by dare not qualify their doctrine, to presenting to us an object of faith please their opponents. " Let equally calculated for the attain- them come unto thee, but go not ment of both objects, it either ef- thou to them,”. is the rule they fects them, or leaves us without ex- must go by; to whatever censure cuse in our disobedience. The doc- their apparent uncharitableness trine of justification by faith in a may expose them. They must main, crucified Saviour, when understood, tain what they consider the truth of levels all the proud pretensions of God, against every doctrine that man, founded upon a personal may be put in competition with it, righteousness: and leads the sinner with the same jealousy that the to a thankful acceptance of mercy, Jews were to assert the honour of as the way, and the only way, by Jehovah, in exclusion of all the which a guilty creature can be idols of the nations. saved; and the love manifested in James. I cannot enter into your the voluntary humiliation and sa- views, John; but I can say with crifice to which that Saviour sub- truth, that I see the subject in a mitted, produces a return of love, different light from what I did at and of devotedness, which could the commencement of our convernot arise from any other considera- sation; and it is my decided intention. In these two points, we find tion to inquire farther into the matthe very essence of Christianity; ter, and to judge for myself. and where they are kept out of Should I be convinced that I have sight, we may have indeed the name, been in error, I trust I shall not but we want the nature and sub- be ashamed to acknowledge and stance of that which brings peace retract. in this life, and leads to glory in John. Remember, my dear the next. You need not be sur friend, the danger to which those prised then, James, if those who are exposed who lean to their own are called Evangelical (a term understanding; and earnestly seek which, by the way, they do not of the Father of lights, a happy apply to themselves) should be te- issue of your inquiries, through the nacious on a subject, which they promised influences of that Spirit, consider as involving a distinction by whose teaching alone we shall no less important than between “ know the things that are freely real and nominal Christianity, given to us of God.” Could they conscientiously enter James. I hope I shall, John. into any compromise on this sub- Farewell. ject, they would probably be al John. Farewell, my dear friend, lowed to pass without much mo
The inclosed appeared a few It must surely be owing to want years since in a provincial paper: of consideration, that the numerous should you deem it worth the atten- tribe of Gipsies have been hitherto tion of your readers, its insertion neglected, as it respects endeain your valuable miscellany will vours being made to reclaim them oblige the original contributor, and from their wandering course of life. your present correspondent, That their situation is such, as to
render the effort desirable, must be that a whole class of people should evident to every person who re- voluntarily remain in a state of barfects upon it. But as it is possible, barous darkness of mind! This that some may not have hitherto ignorance might be, in part, rebent their thoughts this way, I moved, were they in the habit of venture to intrude upon the patience attending divine worship on the of your readers, by making a few day set apart for this important serobservations on the state of the vice. But where are the churches Gipsies, as it regards themselves in which they present themand the country at large.
selves among the people of God? Perhaps some may be ready to Who, among your readers, ever object, that they live as they saw one of them at church? Alas! choose, and it does not concern us the Sabbath, though a day of gladto meddle with them; but I con- ness and holy delight to thousands, ceive, when a true statement of brings no additional happiness to their manner of life is unfolded, no them. person, who calls himself a Chris- In addition to this, we consider tian, will see it objectionable, to them to be profane. They are not endeavour to better their condi- unacquainted with the name of the tion and reform their moral con- great God. But what is the effect duct.
of this knowledge? does it lead Their state appears to be a de- them to adore and praise him? graded one. "Wanderers from Alas! few of them make any use place to place, with no certain of this knowledge, except to dwelling, their habits greatly differ profane, and daringly swear by from those of civilized life. Deno- that name at which even devils minated rogues and vagabonds, tremble. They know of Sabbaths; and continually liable to imprison- but they spend them in idleness ment, if the laws are exerted and wickedness, very rarely atagainst them; and now, by various tending any place of worship, and means, prevented from residing in thus practically live without God those places where they have usu- in the world. ally lived, their lives must be com- If we inquire what benefit society paratively wretched.
derives from them in their present Their state is one of loathsome condition, I fear it will appear to idleness. How rarely are they be less than none; for it is well usefully employed! day after day known, that they are a dead weight lying about the roads and com- in the scale of beings. They travel mons, spending their time in an about, and eat and drink; but unprofitable irksome manner. Only they work not; at least, compaconceive how grating to human ratively speaking, their labour is of beings, for the whole family to lodge no material advantage. They are together, like a herd of animals. mere drone bees in the great hive Surely all decency must soon be of industrious and useful members banished from such a community of society; and live by the labour Idleness must naturally be attended and exertions of the more deservwith its usual concomitants, want ing and industrious. While other and pain. These they frequently inhabitants of the country are diendure in all their rigour, from a ligently pursuing their particular privation of necessary food, cloth- callings and occupations, these ing, and comfortable habitations people are travelling from house to
If we look at their moral state, house, and clamorously demandwe shall find them ignorant. How ing, for a living, the fruit of other painful, in this land of intellectual men's labours. light and scriptural knowledge, But this is not the darkest shade in their conduct: they are gene whence we may reasonably suprally dishonest. Pilfering is a pose, that, were their abilities cultitrade at which they are considered vated by a suitable education, mato be very expert. Hedges, for ny of them might (instead of being fuel, are their constant prey; nuisances wherever they rove) bepoultry and game, also, when op- come ornamental and useful characportunity serves, they do not ters. They would be induced to yield scruple to seize upon; and, it is obedience to laws, both human and supposed, that some of them are divine; and, being acquainted with horse and sheep stealers.
the duty they owe to God and the They are highly injurious to the King, their conduct, we would moral characters of our servants; humbly hope, would be entirely frequently tempting them to rob changed: their families would be their masters' cellars and pantries, trained up in moral and religious &c.; and inducing them to listen to habits; they would learn and lasuch deceitful stories and pretences bour truly to get their own living, about fortune-telling, &c. as often and to do their duty in that state of embolden and encourage females, life to which they were called. They especially, either to depart from would, many of them at least, bethe paths of virtue, or at least to come useful members of society; contract imprudent and unhappy would imbibe the true doctrines of marriages.
the church, and prove worthy memIt may be inquired, why I draw bers of the same. the character of the Gipsies in Let those exalted personages, such gloomy colours? Not to re whose talents and influence are proach them as being worse than such, as may enable them to be others; for it is more than pro- of essential service in this case, bable, that many enlightened well- consider the present state and proeducated people are equally de- bable results of applying their inpraved. But that those, who have fluence for a while to this business. it in their power to remove their True, it may not immortalize their ignorance, and introduce them names in the page of history; but into a state of civilized and reli- the happiness, usefulness, and pergious life, may be induced to exert haps eternal salvation of thousands, that power for this purpose. Let in the present and succeeding geus, then, briefly consider the ad- nerations, may be the happy and vantages that would arise from successful issue, and remote contheir being induced to adopt a dif- sequence, of such exertion. ferent course of life, both as it re- If we turn our attention for a spects themselves and the commu- moment upon the worth of the nity.
soul, this, if nothing else, should With regard to themselves, the have some weight with us. He, benefits would be great. They who spake as never man spake, would be brought from a state and who alone could know the of idleness and ignorance, to one value of the deathless soul of man, of industry, useful exertion, and rated the worth of an individual the acquisition of useful know soul at more than the world. To ledge. They would no longer live be instrumental in the deliverance à degraded life, little superior to but of one soul from eternal perthe brutes; but be brought to live dition, would fully repay every like other rational beings. That exertion that can be made; and many of them are persons of very may we not hope that such would superior natural capacity, may be be the case, not with one only, but inferred from their fluency of with many? speech, their skill in music, &c. I am, Šir, your obedient servant,