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maintenance, agreeable as it is to the primitive institution of God's Church, shall be changed or mutilated : But, will not the infidel, the scoffer, the irreligious, and the yet more irreligious by clerical neglect, find some additional weight to their base designs against the establishment, in the very conduct of those clergymen, who not only forget the importance of their own character and the honour of the Church to which they belong, but really that private interest, which seems most of all dear to them, and which, when their principles and beha. viour shall be thought either intolerable or unnecessary, must also fall to the ground? I most heartily hope, that no schisms on the one hand, nor he. terodoxies and ill conduct (which generally go together on the other, may ever pull down the sacred pile to which I allude: And I am persuaded, that, if an event of so much misery
should ever occur, it will be principally owing to the faults and vices of the clergy themselves. more generally what every good man must wish them to be, dissension and schism would be put out of countenance, and lose the worst part of their influence in the land.
None but a vitiated appetite can fancy a nauseous or insipid lash, made up of foul and unwholesome ingredients, accompanied with a viand of some liquor, either vapid, putrid, or dead. Apply this to the feeling of the mind, which hath tasted the good word of life, and obtained a spiritual discernment; and can it be supposed that such a one can relish the heterogeneous compound of Arianism, Socinianism, and Pelagianism, mingled with some hard and dry scraps from Plato, Epic. tetus, Seneca, and other heathens altogether ignorant of divine revelation, and served up, perhaps now and then,
with some maggots of corrupted texts ;” all of which is more or less too much the dish and the sauce of many ? But, can this be wholesome diet for a Christian? Is it likely to incline those, who regard no religion, to partake of such tasteless and unprofitable fare?
does it not ratlier deserve the name of poison itself than of food, or spiritual nourislıment, which is the proper use of all preaching?
Much complaint has been made of the conduct of the Laity, and, it must be owned, too justly. But no reformation, however, can fairly be expected in the members, unless it begin at the head. To censure, therefore, the one, without a due correction of the other. is such a vsepov nepolepov, such a hope. less inversion of order, as may discover indeed great zeal for the interests of à profession, but not too great earnestDess for the proper success or employment of it.
These things are not said with pleasure but with grief. I love the Church ; and I know, that all good clergymen, of whom there are undoubtedly many, lament over the failings of these unworthy brethren, as tending to sap the foundation of that excellent fabric, whose form or architecture cannot be too much admired, nor the lax manner of cleansing or keeping it clean too much deplored.
In many cases also, it must be owned, that the clergy are hardly dealt by. Their general subsistence is less, in proportion to the value of other property, than it ought to be ; and this is, in a great measure, owing to the substitution of a modus for tithe, which was God's ordinance for his ministers, and which therefore can never be altered for the better by the wisdom, and certainly not by the contrary disposition, of man. Whenever the clergy of this land receive, in
stead of tithe, their support from the general purse of the public; they will find themselves presently in the situation of needy and dependent pensioners ; and our ecclesiastical constitution will pine away, and its property become the ravage of greedy and powerful lay
It may then vanish by one hostile vote, or be swept off by the single
stroke of a pen.
And when the ecclesiastical esta. blishment is once dissolved, other de. testable changes may be expected to occur, not less fatal to the peace and interest of the state, than to the general profession of the Christian religion. It is almost unnecessary to quote the awful example of a neighbouring country. Among other effects of such a catastrophe, lay impropriations and the other property, originally plundered from the church, and now devoted to secular advantage only, cannot be expected to escape from the