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to blow the trumpet of rebellion, and upon the shattered fragments of the Church, shed the blood of prelates, nobles, and lastly, of the mos" narch himself!
Under the impression of this consideration, and of the various efforts and evident increase of sectaries in these eventful times, we confess that we are not without very serious apprehensions as to the safety of the Church, especially when we farther reflect that scHISM has been always favourable, and generally in league with REBELLION.
To counteract this spreading evil much depends upon the zeal, and conduct of the Clergy, though we cannot but lament that even their exertions, powerful and extended as they may be, promise little, unless the legislative body takes up the subject by amending, the act of Toleration.
We have made these remarks in this place, because from the very judicious little piece before us, we learn that the tide of schism has swelled and is now spreading in a most alarming manner throughout the principality of Wales. We have already noticed the drift and exertions of what is called, the London Religious Tract Society, and Dr. Williams informs us that the principles here combated have of late been retailed with more than common zeal and industry, in small pamphlets' and magazines, both in the Welsh and English languages.
To open the eyes of the misguided, and to establish the wavering in the sound principles of the Church of England, is the grand, and good object of the worthy author ; but there is another motive to the publication which, as it does him the highest honour, so we hope it will be an inducemeni to our readers to give the tract as extensive a circulation as they possibly can. Were the piece, indeed, less deserving than it is of public encouragement, yet, surely, the benevolent purpose it is intended to answer must, we should suppose, operate powerfully in promoting its sale. But on this point it is necessary that we should quote the author's own words:
" It occurred, moreover, that there is a very reputable clergyman, of whom he knows little but by report, who has long been disabled by con. tinued sickness from attending to any parochial duty; and that if this' gentleman who labours under great calamity and want, had any literary trifle to offer to the world, he might have a fair opportunity of soliciting the benevolence of his friends, as well as the charity of the liberal and humane. He therefore proposed to give up the copy right of this little tract, lamenting it was not of greater consequence, for this invalid's sole and exclusive benefit, together with as much pecuniary aid as it was in his power to afford.
"This ineasure was humbly submitted to the learned Bishop of Bangor; and his Lordship not only approved of it, but contributed very. handsomely towards putting it into execution, Should any other person also, who loves to relieve distress, contribute any thing towards the same good end, he will, no doubt, find full satisfaction and ample recompence; though not in the perusal of this short pamphlet, yet certainly in the pleasing reflection of having contributed to the relief of an indigent and worthy clergyman." : To the latter paragraph we have one exception, for independent of the satisfaction which the author mentions, we can venture to assert, that the serious and ingenuous reader cannot fail reaping much satisfac: Vol. V. Churchm. Mug. July 1803.
tion and profit from the perusal of the pamphlet itself. Independent of the strong arguments, expressed in clear and dispassionate language, against the objections of Dissenters and Methodists, the reader will be entertained with many lively remarks, apposite quotations, and curioas anecdotes. One or two of these we shail here extract, and then dismiss this excellent little piece to all the friends of the Church of England, as an admirable antidote to the fanatical and seditious poison which is so industriously distributed all over the kingdom.
* Not many years ago, at St. Asaph, one of Lady Huntingdon's preachers was taken up as a vagrant. When examined, he acknowledged himself to be a Taylor from South Wales, but pleaded that he did no more than follow the example of St. Paul.-* Of St. Paul, cried out Bennet Williams, Esq: a gentleman of considerable rank and fortune, with per. haps more good sense than temper, on that occasion-Of St. Paul! it is well for you, my friend, that venerable Apostle is not here, or he would have wrung off both your ears for your ignorance and presumption.' .
It really shocks one to make the most distant comparison between the holy Apostles and the Vagabond Preachers of modern times ! to set the palpable ignorance and presumption of the latter on a footing with the inspiration, the power of working miracles, and unassuming mo. desty of the former ! Yet to preach the gospel after the example of the Apostles is the plea, though it borders upon blasphemy, which almost all our sectaries make in behalf of their rambling and riotous proe ceedings."
On the subject of Sunday Schools, we were pleased with the following judicious remarks:
"Perhaps there may be room to doubt, whether Sunday Schools. ought to be considered a nuisance, or a blessing to the public. Cer. tainly it requires great care, great exertion, great good-sense, and inte. grity, to prevent bad principles from being instilled and propagated un. der that specious mask; otherwise the smattering of knowledge, which is gained in them, may seduce people to neglect laborious, but credita, ble and useful occupations in life, and set up for methodist-preachers, or blind leaders of the blind. Many such, it is to be feared, have sal. lied forth from the Blagdon and other Sunday Schools.-Not only in Sunday, but in many Day-schools, are doctrines and tenets hostile to the constitution taught. Such Schools are kept in almost every remote village, and in most Dissenting-Chapels that are situated in the country, DOES NOT THIS SPREADING EVIL CALL FOR THE ATTENTION OF OUR BISHOPS, AND OF OTHERS PLACED IN HIGH AND RESPONSIBLE STATIONS?"
Of Methodistical rancour, folly, and ignorance, we have these two curious instances:
“ In Anglesey, an exemplary conscientious Clergyman was ex postulating with his parishioners for deserting the Church, and proposed, that if they had any reasonable objection to him, he would, for the good of his Flock, keep a curate. By no means,' cried they, 'Go on-We have no particular objection to you. But if an Angel from heaven was to tell us, that.the Church of England was right and we wrong, we would not believe him.' So also, Wesley long ago; “Had the Clergy preached like Angels it had profited their Flock nothing; they heard them not; but when one said, Yonder is a man preaching on the top
of the mountains, they ran in droves to hear him.' See Farsher Appeal, P. 119.
“ Some Methodists peremptorily assert, that they are in no respect Dissenters from the Church of England. If so, where is the necessity of having distinct places of worship, and causing thereby so woeful a schism in religion? However, all their Preachers in applying for licences, make some frivolous and fastidious objections to the doctrines or regulations of the Established Church. In an application of this sort at Caernarvon, about a year ago, some objected to Episcopacy; others to the Cross in Baptism ; others to a prescribed Form of Prayer. They were, indeed, so very ignorant, that, till they were previously instructed, they did not know what objections to make. One of them, indeed, after close exa. mination, at length acknowledged, Tbat be bad no other view in applying for a Licence, but that he should enjoy more ease, and could get much more money by Preaching than by working as a Cobler.”
This last anecdote, which forcibly brought to our recollection Jerry Tuguell in the Spiritual Quixote, sufficiently explains the inward call, or moving cause which sends out so many itinerant preachers of the gospel.
Having been so copious in our extracts from this interesting, well. written, and benevolent tract, we shall add nothing more than a sincere wish that it may have a wide-spread circulation, not only on account of the charity it is designed immediately to promote, but because it is càlm culated to render a yery important service to the cause of pure religion and good order,
Practical Sermons on several important Subjects. By the Rev. T. St. John,
LL. B. Vernor and Hood. pp. 394. i
these discourses, was this. Sermons were published by different authors, for the use of the clergy, resembling MSS. which were considered, and very justly, an insult to their understanding, and their diligence. A respectable Bookseller, " to put a stop to such disreputable traffic,” requested the writer of these discourses to print some in the same manner ; conceiving, we presume, that their superiority was so great, his end would soon be answered. The design, we are told, succeeded; they are now offered to the public, with the hope that they may not be altogether useless. The reader is entreated to consider them as sermons calculated for a popular auditory, such as a clergyman, ardently desirous of doing good, would write for the use of his congrega. tion, without an intention of their being ever read; and which, when - they have been preached, are to be deposited in his study." ;
These sermons are entitled to our notice, and to our warmest approbation on several accounts. They are in the first place, what we conceive sermons should be, in order to impress conviction and persuasion. The doctrinal parts are sound and sterling, and speak the language of the Church of England. The moral discourses are eminently useful, Christianity being their ground work; and the reader, whilst, as a moral being, he admits the necessity of observing the precept, feels himself, as a member of Christ, compelled to the observance of it. As a pathetic writer,
*this author, with the single exception of Sterne, yields to none, His
sermons on the good Samaritan, Dives and Lazarus, Joseph and his bre. thren, on compassion, the uncertainty of life, and on sickness, abound with genuine pathos, and when read to families will, we doubt not, be : felt highly interesting by the most careless hearer. But Mr. St. John is
still greater as a Divine, persuading his readers to repentance and · amendment; his exhortations are uncommonly energetic, and every
one feels himself the person peculiarly and purposely addressed. In the se mon entitled an Exhortation to Repentance, he concludes with the following animated appeal to the understanding and the heart.
“ Could I set before your eyes the horrors of a death-bed repentance ; · could I present to you the melancholy prospect the sinner perceives of
eternity; could I describe his forced prayers, his irresolute wishes, his distracted mind; could I shew you whilst he is celebrating the blessed Sacrament-he who seldom thought of " the agony and bloody sweat of his Redeemer," before the king of terrors stared him in the face, how his soul is filled with all the horrors of conscious guilt, of anticipated
punishment, of black despair, no one would suffer such a state to be - his own; you would all from this day “turn from your wicked way and
live.” In the discharge of our ministerial duty, we are sometimes, alas! • witnesses to such a distressing situation'; and when the unhappy being
enquires with anxious solicitude, whether the gospel warrants him to hope that his sorrow will be accepted for repentance.- then how arduous is our situation to flatter, is to betray; to deliver the truths of the gospel, is to create a hell in his bosom, and to consign him to the torments of the damned, even whilst he is lingering on the brink of eternity. Lest you, my brethren, sould be deprived of the benefits of a true repentance, and should have no other hopes of salvation, than in a few fruitless wishes, and ineffectual prayers in your last moments, let me conjure you by the mercy and the justice of God, by your desire of happiness both here and hereafter, let me prevail with you to turn instantly
from your ways and live; then, when the dart of death is pointed at your · bosom; when the pulse of life beats low; when every object of delight - is vanished; when your ears are dull of hearing,' and your eyes can - scarce discern your sorrowing friends; when you are taking the last em. :. brace of those (whom you esteem the dearest, and bidding them a long,
long farewel, you may be able to address them in these words of conso. Jation, weep not for me, but for yourselves; mine eyes have seen thy salvation; come Lord Jesus, come quickly!'
“ That such may be our departure, let us humbly offer up our peti. .tions to the Almighty Being, in whose hand are the issues of life and · death." - “Almighty God, the fountain of wisdom, the source of mercy, we thy · unworthy creatures, prostrate ourselves before thy throne, with the ut. most reyerence, with the psofoundest veneration, supplicating thy Grace in the renewal of our hearts, and in the conversion of our souls! Trem. bling with apprehension, lest we should be called in a state of unrepent. ed sin, into that presence which no mortal eye can behold and live; we do, from this niomènt, niake an uiter renunciation of every vice; from this moment we dedicate our lives to thy service. Inipress, we implore thee, by the operations of thy Holy Spirit, the obligations we lay ourselves under of walking henceforth in newness of life. Present, conti. nually, to our minds that awful period, when the soul shall leave this earthly tenement, and shall be called to give account of all the deeds done in the body. May we live, as we shall wish we had always lived,
when we are about to die! And when thou art pleased to take us hence, blot out our sins, pardon our' transgressions, and receive us, we beseech thee, through the merits of Jesus Christ, into the arms of thy mercy !”
This is, in our judgment, what preaching should be. Every hearer is made a party; and after attending to such a discourse, it is, we think, impossible, but he must be impressed with more serious thoughts and with better resolutions.
We admire these sermons not a little for the ar lent piety they breathe, and the warm attachment they express for the welfare of our excellent Church. The author contributes his part, and with no usual degree of earnestness, towards rendering its members pious as well as moral: in deed he interweaves with peculiar care, and powerful energy, religion, and morality. The following extract, being the peroration of the discourse upon family prayer, is a striking proof of his talents and of his zeal.
“ It is a just reproach to the members of the Established Church, that the duty I am now recommending is more neglected by us, than, I be. lieve, by any other communion of Christians. And the reproach is ag. gravated, by considering that those “ who go.out from us, when they join themselves to any other congregation, generally establish this duryin their families. Such of us as live in the neglect may be said “ to have ņot the knowlege of God." Yet we do not surely make a profession of religion by accident; we are initiated into it not by custom I trust, but by piery ; we have embraced it not by chance, I hope, but from princi. ple. I exhort you, therefore, my brethren, in the name of God, to let your practice be correspondent to your profession. Are we inembers of a pure and reformed Church? Are we desirous of making our religion productive of immortal happiness? Let us not then be so deceived, as to suppose, that we can be saved without a vital spirit of piety. And in 'whatever dwellings that vital spirit resides, there “ will be heard the voice of joy and salvation.” Is the loving kindness of God the theme of your thanksgivings. Is his mercy the subject of your supplications in your family: " You are not far," it may be presumed, “ from the kingdom of God.” But you who live in the neglect of this duty; who receive so many mercies and blessings from the God of all goodness, without joining your acknowlegements with those who partake of them-Shall I congratulate you on the security of your situation ? No! it is my duty . to exhort you, and it is your interest to attend to the exhortation, to flee from the wrath to come. Is prayer in your family a duty you owe to God? And dare you live in the neglect of that duty. Look around you; look into the history of mankind; and see, “ whether any hath harden. éd himself against God and prospered.” And is it not hardening your. selves against God, if, when ye are convinced by reason, admonisi.ed by conscience, and commanded by Revelation to join in devout supplications with your whole house in the worship of God, ye are either diverted by amusements, or withheld by inclination from the discharge of this rea ..sonable, this important service ? Look forward to the awful period, when you shall be struck by the hand of death; when you shall lie upon the bed from which you must arise by borrowed strength; and let me ap. peal to your hearts, if you do not think [that] the pangs of separation from your family would be rendered less violent, by the reflection of having uniformly and devoutly discharged the duty I am now recom. mending? Had God in his anger refused to hear your prayers ; had he