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TO THE REVEREND
THE PAROCHIAL CLERGY
CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
“ In the ancient prayers of the Greek Church, the people answered, THE LORD KEEP YOU, SIR, ro BLESS AND SANCTIFY US MANY YEARS: to shew how sensible they were of the benefit of receiving God's blessing by His Ministry.”
BISHOP WILSON, SERMON LXXXVIII.
Reverend Sirs, To you as gentlemen — as scholars — as Christian men— as the most honest and enlightened Clergy in Europe-I venture to dedicate my humble endeavours at the solution of some important questions which more immediately concern the Christian philosopher,
the Christian statesman, and the Christian divine, to each of whom are especially entrusted the temporal welfare and spiritual characteristics of the Christian people. In every department of learning and science, whether it be as antiquaries, philologists, astronomers, mathematicians, architects, archæologists, mechanists, geologists, historians, poets, politicians, disciples of general literature, &c., the clergy occupy a distinguished and prominent station; and from among the Laity, who have honourably and readily placed themselves under their instruction, have arisen the noblest of philosophers, statesmen, generals, and men of science, that ever adorned any era of the civilised world-a known and renowned circumstance which constitutes no mean matter for glorying in the annals of the Reformed Church of England—that Church which leads and encourages the advancement of mind, and is eminently liberal in her bearing towards those who cannot conscientiously own her as their sole guide and counsellor.
To the consideration, then, of the parochial Clergy of the Church of England, the important questions in this book are submitted, and the questions will be acknowledged to be of the highest importance, when it is considered that one of them affects the lives and amelioration of human beings; that another possesses a material influence on our behaviour towards animals; that another has reference to the unity and stability of our Church at home; another to the education of the rising generation; and that another deeply concerns our policy and charity towards the differing millions of a Church in Ireland-a Church which we should endeavour to conciliate before we can hope to convert, and to win over at the same time that we may have cause firmly to admonish; for it should ever be a prevailing axiom among Christian' men, that, gratitude and praise for their superior advancement in religious truth should render them always desirous of gently alluring others to their own position of happiness and peace.
How the case of the Church of England stands may well be gathered from the Works of Archbishop Bramhall, Bishops Hall and Beveridge, and other divines ; and it is impossible to conceive that the moderation of the Anglican Church will ever be abolished for the
setting up of either extremes that have ever possessed and agitated the various minds of men. Only let every clergyman know and feel in his heart, in accordance with the words of a popular writer of the day, that “any Christian spirit working kindly in its sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness.” Yes, you who have small parochial gardens to work in, you can find time to handle the learned and charitable pen--and you who are labouring in the places of our dense populations, you who have more anxious and onerous and perilous duties than an Oberlin or a Neff ever knew, you will have no moment idle in your eventful and most useful career.
Clergy of the Church of England ! take this as a suggestion kindly offered to you, and ever to be present in your minds amid all your zeal, and throughout every period of your good endeavour, that it is by its MODERATION that your Church will stand. Before you would petition for the revival of her Convocation, and thereby tear her with debate and difference : sit down and think upon it. Before you plead openly for an entire separation between Church