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ball-room; and in place of entrenching herself within the mere outworks of rites and ceremonies, by which means she is disgusting the truly pious and spiritually-minded of her flock, and sealing the destruction of the formalists, by lulling their consciences asleep in a mere round of carnal duties,were she to be “ instant in season and out of season, in reproving, rebuking, exhorting, with all long-suffering and doctrine, and instructing her members* in the spiritual nature, the doctrinal importance, and scriptural correctness of all her services, which need not the apochrypha of tradition to add to their weight—if she would show them how their interests, both here and hereafter, are so inseparably bound up with her existence, that their national prosperity and glory are identified with her preservation even, who from the cradle to the grave watches over them individually and collectively, receiving them into her fold at baptism, consecrating them afresh and setting them more solemnly apart for God's service at confirmation, ere she admits them to her still higher privileges-strengthens them after this by her oft-repeated communion of the body and blood of their Lord—humbles them by her Lent services, and elevates and cheers them by her Easter and Christmas festivals — recalling thus forcibly to their memories, annually, the death and to the grave,
* This, it is true, a large body of her clergy are now doing.
passion, the glorious resurrection and ascension of their only Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ-bends over them in sickness, with her soothing but most impressive “prayers for the sick,"—and finally commits the body of each member of her communion
66 in the sure and certain hope of a resurrection to eternal life,” in one of the most sublime, touching, and soul-exalting services ever composed by the pen of man, or ever heard by mortal ear on earth.
And if she, besides all this, while resisting the unchristian efforts of our present rulers for the irreligious education of her children, took away every pretence and every excuse for their interference, by leaving not one child within her reach uneducated in sound, wholesome religious principles, she would rear around her an enlightened and intelligent population, as a valuable accession to her strength, besides binding all her sons firmer and faster to her side, and produce a re-action in her favour that would more than undo the mischief of her enemies, and more than fulfil the hopes of her friends.
If her clergy, besides, sought to oppose the antidote of their healing and holy ministrations among the higher orders, to the infectious influence of continental intercourse, and the importation into our literature of all the impurities of France, “ All monstrous, all prodigious things, abominable, unutterable,”
with which our own press vies too in an unholy emulation, trying if possible to outstrip it, in coverng our tables with everything that can corrupt the nind, and debase the understanding, and used their earnest exertions to try and stem the tide of rapid demoralization among the lower classes ;then should we see her once more " look forth like the morning, fair as the moon, clear
and terrible as an army with banners." But if she persists, instead, in the vain strife with Rome, in seeking to court men by solicitations addressed to their senses chiefly, and in contests about priority of dates and endless genealogies, which minister to strife, not to godly edifying, Rome will soon beat her with her own weapons, in the use of which she has been too long practised to fear defeat. Let her exalt her crest ever so high, Rome will overtop her in lofty assumption of dignity and pretensions to authority, who will yield the palm to none in arrogancy and superstition. Let her assert what dominion she pleases over the consciences of men, Rome need fear no competition in this, backed as she is by a Jesuitical priesthood, and the terrors of the Inquisition. Let her spread what snares she will for the senses of men, here her adversary has every advantage, and need fear no rival; nay, will thank her cordially for holding her up as a model, in things in which she must ever have the pre-eminence, who is not hemmed in by those barriers and restrictions which Protestant prejudices present, even when Protestant principles are on the decline.
Our church would do well, at this moment, to learn a lesson of those who war with other
weapons than she ever can use, as all who are skilled in the tactics of carnal warfare can tell her, that in proportion as an army increases in rules of punctilious etiquette and attention to externals, it declines in vital energy and moral strength; and, in fact, it is in the memories of some even of the present generation, that whilst that miserable system prevailed, adopted by short-sighted minds, who thought that the perfection of an army consisted in uniformity of dress and accoutrements, our arms were tarnished in more quarters of the globe than one, till a more rational one, exploding all these narrowminded rules, and infusing a spirit-stirring principle into men's minds, led our troops on to a determination of purpose, and an energy of action, that not only retrieved the honour of our arms, but raised our national credit to a height of glory and renown, under the great captain of the day, unknown in the annals of fame before, even of our great and illustrious land.
But whether our church may or may not do her duty in these alarming and critical times, the duty of individuals is clear, and remains the same. She has her responsibility, and must give account to her Head for all that she does, and for all that she leaves undone. And we have ours, from which she can neither release nor absolve us; to our own Master, each must separately stand or fall, not as one of a body, nor as members of any sect, or party, or church, but we must alone appear before the judgment-seat of God, to give account to “ Him who has been about our path, and about our bed, and who has spied out all our ways, for lo, there is not a word in our tongue, but thou, O Lord, knowest it altogether.” And each one of us, now-a-days, with the lamp of divine truth in our hands, (the holy Scriptures,) and the Holy Spirit, to “guide us into all truth,” “given to every man, to profit withal, that “our ears may hear a word behind us, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it,” (Isa. xxx. 21,) “ when ye turn aside to the right hand, and when ye turn aside to the left,” are left wholly without excuse if we do not find out the way in which we should go, and having found it, do not walk therein with 'a perfect heart; knowing, that He who shall come to be our judge, has said, “ And all the churches shall know that I am He that searches the reins and the hearts : and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him, without spot and blameless.”