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bodies, from whom they are in any way distinguished. The same general observation holds good with respect to modern Calvinists and Arminians, churchmen and dissenters, and the Puritans of preceding ages, and their opposers.
1. Then it appears to me that, if any body of men, ministers or private Christians, or both combined, be brought before the public as the subject of animadversion, in pamphlets, volumes, or periodical works, they should be viewed alone, and not in comparison with other bodies; and their faults and excellencies, (if they have any,) should be adduced with equal prominency: or, if other bodies of men are brought forward at the same time, or in the same book, all the faults, and all the excellencies, of both companies, should be adduced, and fairly contrasted, and that with equal candour or severity; else where is impartiality?
2. In this investigation, some public rule of judgment should previously be specified, to which, in every particular, the appeal should be made; and nothing in either party censured, which is not contrary to this rule; nothing excused, palliated, or thrown into the shade, which is contrary to it. For instance, to the clergy of the establishment, whether called evangelical or not, let the Bible and the Common Prayer Book be the specified standard to which every appeal shall be made. Unless this method be adopted, opinion however erroneous, custom however corrupt, fancy however vagrant, or prejudices against this or the other company of religionists, in present or former times, however unfounded, will
be exalted into a standard and rule by which our conduct must be estimated, according to the humour, the passions, or the prepossessions of the soi-disant judge. In this way, no doubt, it will be easy, without any very distinguished talent, to fill a pamplet, or even a large volume, with declamation against the faults of the evangelical clergy, or the Methodists, or the Calvinists, or any other body: which faults are not transgressions of the law of God, not deviations from the doctrine and discipline of the church to which we belong; nay, not charged on us as faults (I speak of the clergy,) by our diocesans.-On the other hand, the most atrocious deviations from the word of God, and the doctrine of our liturgy, articles, and homilies, (not to say the grossest impiety and immorality,) may escape without censure, or with a very gentle one.
3. I cannot but retain the opinion, that, by the professed friends of vital and evangelical Christianity, (for I would set avowed enemies at defiance,) the real excellencies of allowedly upright characters should be prominently marked, whenever their faults are publicly animadverted on; and that, if there be individuals, generally classed with the persons censured, who are clearly exempt from the faults complained of; and especially if it be evident that they have risked, or even forfeited, the favour of their own company, by protesting against these very faults; this should not pass unnoticed, nor should they be involved in the indiscriminating censure; nay, their approvable conduct should be marked as prominently as their real or imagined faults. On the other
hand, if persons of another company are brought forward with commendation, and as worthy of imitation in some particulars, their deviations also, in other respects, should be pointed out with impartiality.
4. The faults of all distinct bodies, as it appears to me, in such a case, should be animadverted on with as little severity, and as much lenity, as the hope of meliorating them will allow: nothing adduced as a fault, which is not clearly one; nothing aggravated or expatiated on in declamatory language; no fair extenuation omitted; every thing so stated, as to imply the pain and reluctance with which the charge has been brought forward against persons, who, in this evil world, however unexceptionable their conduct may be, must always expect reproach and contempt as their recompense. This is general as to the ministers of religion: but, if there be a distinct company from whose labours the main hope of a revival of pure Christianity must be derived, it surely can do no good, needlessly and disproportionably to discredit them. Yet this has been done, to a degree which perhaps baffles calculation, in some recent publications.
5. In whatever relates to externals, such as manners, style, &c. every charge should be precise, particular, and intelligible. As an author with small pretensions in these respects, I have formerly derived much benefit from hostile reviewers, who were specific, as to ungrammatical language, vulgarisms, and other improprieties: but I must own that, after the most careful examination of the charges brought against authors,
by professed friends, I cannot discover what I ought to rectify in my style or manner of composition; I only find that they would have me to be more eloquent, more able, and more of a genius, than God hath been pleased I should be.
6. Finally, God divides his gifts, some to one, and some to another; his treasure is in earthen vessels. Ideal perfection, either as to Christians, or ministers, or authors, will be found indeed in writers of religious novels, and works which partake of that general nature; but nowhere else. Yet this ideal perfection is now made the standard of judgment, though no person in real life will ever come up to it; at least in the opinion of those who delineate and admire those Utopian possessors of every excellence. Thus sterling wisdom, piety, zeal, and benevolence, are exposed to censure, neglect, or contempt, for want of imaginary and unattainable perfection: the gold is rejected, for want of the polish. The conceited and the inexperienced (an immense proportion of our readers and hearers,) are induced by their grave seniors (perhaps their own parents) to look out for faults in our sermons and publications, far more than for instruction; and their discernment is flattered when they find any and how far this tends to promote the humility, and teachableness, and piety of the rising generation, must be left to our posterity to determine.
ON WHAT THE POOR MAN CAN DO FOR JESUS CHRIST.
I thought the paper, in your April number, on what Jesus Christ has done for the poor, and what ought a poor man to do for him, ended rather abruptly and I send you a few thoughts, which may, if worth insertion, serve as a postscript.
In strictness of speech we can none of us do any thing for Christ: but whatever we do, which tends to make known his name, to recommend his salvation, to adorn his gospel, to silence blasphemers, to conciliate the prejudiced, to promote the great end for which he came into the world, to enlarge his kingdom, and to communicate and perpetuate to posterity what we have learned of his salvation, will graciously be considered as done for him. Now what can the poor man do in these respects? Much more, I think, than merely praising him with his lips. His talent is indeed small, but let him not bury it. Has he a wife and relations? Let him endeavour to recommend his religion to them, by his example, and especially by his good conduct towards them; and let him use all his influence and every means in his power perseveringly to win them over to Christ. Has he children? He, though poor, may "bring them up in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord."-He may