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of dissent abusing another throughout their endless gradations : Baptists, Anabaptists, Socinians, Arians, Jumpers, Quakers, Moravians, Methodists—all by the ears, preaching peace and the love of God; and thus the feud is perpetuated from father to son.
vetus et antiqua simultas Immortale odium, et nunquam sanabile vulnus.*
My reverend ensamples of all true spiritual piety, remember one thing ; I beseech you do not forget, though you preach it yourselves, that although you have all faith, so that you could remove mountains, and have not charity, you are nothing. Believe me, it is strictly within the true meaning of that toleration, t
* They betray the same feeling towards their flocks. There is nothing that discomposes Churchman or Sectary more, than to spy one of his sheep straying off; and certainly if we saw the shepherd taking a great deal of pains to feed them in his own proper pasture, we might suppose this jealousy to proceed from a holy dread of their being starved in any other : but, alas! it is the fleecy fat wether who gives uneasiness ; a poor shorn devil may travel where he likes.
+ This word is much abused. There are, who, under shelter
without which all religion is merely farce and mockery ; that he who does his best in this world to lead men on to virtue, will not be damned in the next, no matter to what sect he happens to have belonged. This is common sense, which never can be in opposition to true religion. I am acquainted with a clergyman, once a furious bigot, who after many years of secession from the church returned to it again. While out, his creed was in continual vacillation, and one of the most humiliating lessons of intolerance that can be conceived. In his eyes, every man whose opinions did not exactly tally with his own, was anathema maranatha : at present I really believe him to be a sober man and good Christian, and likely to continue so—until the next paroxysm.
Upon the whole, it appears to me a clergyman has a very clear line of duty chalked out for him. He should not only perform his stated duties in the sanctuary with zeal, but make provision, and bestow no less sedulous a portion of his exertions that this zeal may be productive. The following is a rude sketch of a plan which I think would ensure all the benefits, and obviate all the evils we have been adverting to, without touching one stone in the fabric of our venerable establishment. In the first place, they should be a working clergy. The lowest ministers would, as it is most proper they ought, have the heavy detail of inquiring into the spiritual condition of the flock. To economize time and labour, a very simple arrangement might greatly facilitate the task, so that none should have reason to complain of being overlooked. If the number of deacons in any instance were insufficient, it might be permitted to have the aid of lay-coadjutors where their own immediate presence could be dispensed with. The next step is to register the name, and condition, and character, and every other particular necessary to an acquaintance with the circumstances and necessities, both
of what they call “ enlightened toleration,” insinuate opinions the most adverse to all religion. But, as Burke observed, speaking of the tolerating principles of the French philosophers, " that those should tolerate all opinions who think none to be of estimation, is a matter of small merit."
spiritual and temporal, of every individual pauper in his parish. The fittest mode of keeping such register might be left to the suggestions of experience; but it would be advisable to have it as easily accessible, and as convenient for ready consultation, as possible. This done, the clergyman commences his own proper duties of searching into the spiritual health of his charge, e. g. inquiring of such as had been confirmed, whether they still recollected their engagements. Those who had not undergone confirmation, would be exhorted and prepared for that ordinance. In both cases he would satisfy himself that the disciple understood upon what reasonable grounds he received the sacred record, as binding on his obedience. With respect to adults, the same strict inquiry to be instituted, and the same pains taken to enlighten and instruct; while all cases of ignorance or error, or wilful obstinacy against admonition, or other ground of irreligion, would be specifically stated. All this might be done, not inquisitorially or authoritatively, --for even if practicable, it would defeat the whole purpose, — but, as in Scotland, with the kindness and gentleness becoming such a delicate mission. By such a method of conducting the pastoral charge, the spiritual and temporal necessities of no one, however humble or obscure, could remain unknown: and besides that it would really be securing the blessings of a rational Christianity, it would at the same time be the best possible discipline for ensuring efficient and pious ministers, and so prove the firmest bulwark of the church. Ample proofs would be continually before the eye of their Bishop as to their claims to preferment; and this being once known to be grounded on merit, we should have a Christian ministry truly worthy of the
And surely, if there is any profession where promotion ought to depend on merit, this is the one.
In executing the catechetical task, nothing should be taken for granted as to the religious furniture of the mind. The meanest being, with the humblest degree of rationality, should be treated as a human creature, having hopes of immortality as well as his teacher. The