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We entered upon the year which has just closed with ho pes, we lament to say, that bave not been realized. At its commencement, the alarm excited in every Christian and patriotic mind, by the tumultuous meetings and other inflammatory proceedings of the disaffected, had begun to subside; and we ventured to hope, that the laws which had just passed for repressing these evils, and especially for checking the licentiousness of the press, would afford a salutary respite, until the wisdom and paternal care of the Legislature and the Government should, by the blessing of God, be enabled to adopt remedial measures of a more permanent and efficient character.
Scarcely, however, had the past year opened, when the revered Monarch who had so long swayed the sceptre of these realms was called, as we trust, to a brighter crown. The new reign was ushered in under circumstances of a very distressing kind. It had scarcely commenced, when a severe though short illness threatened the life of the King, and a band of assassins had nearly effected the murder of all the members of his cabinet, with a view to the entire overthrow of the government.
That most perplexing domestic question was then also raised, which has since so greatly agitated the Nation, and which has produced this injurious effect, among others, that almost all those great measures, for the general benefit of the country, to which we have so often alluded, continue in abeyance. Besides this, serious mischiefs of a moral kind must have resulted from the painful inquiry which has been the popular subject of conversation for so long a time. The blasphemous pages of Carlile, whose convietion towards the close of the preceding year had given general satisfaction,
were confined to comparatively few readers; but this contaminating topic has polluted every newspaper, and found its way to every hamlet in the kingdom.
Nor have the political ill effects been less visible than the moral. The seditious press, taking advantage of this disastrous subject, has exerted its utmost influence (with what success let facts speak) to revive and increase a spirit of disaffection to the constituted authorities in church and state, and to bring into hatred and contempt all that had hitherto been deemed most sacred among us.
There is, however, one favourable result, which, we venture to hope, may eventually issue from these mournful occurrences : they will, we trust, rouse to new and combined exertion those who may have hitherto looked with indifference upon the awful indications, both civil and religious, of the times in which we live.' Something, indeed, has been
already done, both by individuals and by benevolent institu. itions, to stem the torrent of evil.' We have witnessed, for -example, with much pleasure, the labours of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, aided by persons of influence in various parts of the country, in preparing and distributing suitable antidotes to the infidel poison which has been circulated go extensively throughout the land. We have also seen the Jaudable and, so far as its ability extended, the successfál efforts of the Society for the Suppression of Vice to restrain these evils; and, 'in consequence of the eminent services' which, with its slender means, that body has' rendered to the community at large, we have observed with satisfaction a striking change in the general opinion respecting it.' That muchabused Society has on the present occasion well vindicated it's claim to public confidence. It has stood in the gap, and stayed, in some measure, the pestilence of blasphemous and infidel publications. But we would hope that its efforts will now become far more extended and decisive; and that such of our nobility, prelacy, and other influential classes as may have hitherto looked with apathy upon the aspect of the times, will at length feel themselves called upon to unite in zealous, aetive, and persevering exertions for the public welfare. -While every thing seems shaking around us ; while, in the course of a single year, we have witnessed no less than three Revolutions in the South of Europe; and while there are not Wanting those who would be glad to effect a similar convulsion in our own land, let each ask himself, “ What am I doing to alleviate distress, to impárt knowledge, to conciliate
affection, in my own immediate circle, that, as far as in me lies, I may be instrumental in stemming the anti-moral and anti-social torrent? Am I diligently promoting that pure and undefiled religion which is the best cement of states, as well as the only guarantee for the temporal or eternal happiness of individuals? Am I setting a religious example in my own person ? Am I exerting myself for the Christian discipline and instruction of my family; for the religious education of the poor ; for the extension of the Gospel ; for the salvation of all mankind ?" We would hope that many who have hitherto looked coldly on such exertions, or who have even opposed them, will at length feel the force of their obligations, and respond to the call which is imperatively made, by the present circumstances of the country, on the combined beneficence of every individual who is interested in its prosperity. The state of the Church, in particular, calls for serious consideration; and much is required to restore it to its due popularity and efficiency. It demands an active, humble, self-denying, and devotional clergy; men who may gain the hearts and the confidence of the people, and who will faithfully “ watch for souls as they that must give account ;" and it demands a very large augmentation of their numbers. It demands, in its ecclesiastical governors, no ordinary share of piety, discretion, and vigilance. It asks, especially, for kind and healing ineasures—measures which may counteract the popular ferment against the clergy and the church; measures, we do not scruple to say, the very reverse of those which some zealous partymen are desirous of carrying into effect. But we drop this subject for the present, as we shall shortly have occasion to allude to il again, in examining the new articles of religion imposed on candidates for holy orders, by the Bishop of Peterborough, which, as if we had not controversies enough on our hands, already promise to furnish a fruitful source of ecclesiastical warfare during the year that is before us.
We cannot conclude this address without expressing our gratitude to our friends, correspondents, and subscribers, for their favours and indulgence; and earnestly requesting their prayers to the Author of every good and perfect gift, that we may be enabled to conduct our labours in such a shall best tend to his glory, to the welfare of his church, and to the temporal and eternal benefit of mankind.
BEING FOR THE YBAR 1820.
RELIG. COM-Christian Motives.. 1 Manners (concluded).
Family Sermon on Luke xv. 24... 16 O'Donnoghne's Strictures, (con-
On Prosecutions for Blasphemy 27 Plumptre's Original Dramas, &c. 121
32 Works; Cambridge ......... 132
Bisbop of St.David: PapalSchism ib. RELIG. INTEL-Christianity in the
Wix to the Bishop of St. David's ib. Moravian Missions; Witte Revier 135
58 Scriptures among Catholics.... 137
Paris Prizes ; Vienna; Sounds.. 60 Vice
RELIG. INTEL.–Society for promot- Death of George III.
70 Rev. OP-Todd on the Reformers
Paganism not innocent....