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to bear upon the people its constant attestation to the claims of Christianity in every quarter of the land ; and its pressing those claims on the attention of many who, if left to themselves, would in all probability have overlooked them. For men are not naturally anxious on the subject of their eternal salvation : they need to be followed as it were to their haunts, and not suffered to pass through life without ample means of instruction being brought within the immediate sphere of their locality, and even obtruded upon their notice. The state of the world at large is but too aptly pourtrayed in our Lord's parable of the Marriage Feast: far from true religion being "a natural want of the human mind," such a want as will create an universal demand for Christian ordinances and Christian instruction, and such a want, moreover, as will ensure a supply adequate to that demand, the very contrary is the case: men in general cautiously shụn religious reflection; one has his farm and another his merchandize which engrosses his whole attention, so that far from anticipating the summons to the sacred banquet, they need a friendly messenger to “go out into the lanes and hedges," in order, by the blessing of God, on persevering exertion, to “ compel them to come in." An established church operating over every
town and parish in the empire, pervading the most retired hamlets and proffering its ministrations wherever there is an individual to receive them, is the only human instrument at all adequate to such an effect: and without its aid it is but too probable that the Christian sacraments would in time fall into disuse, the Sabbath would pass by unheeded like other days; and perhaps in the course of
course of ages little of Christianity but the name, or scarcely that, would exist among the mass of the people to distinguish them from a nation of Deists or absolute heathens.
Nor is a church establishment less necessary for the middle and higher classes ; who, though they have better opportunities for obtaining instruction than the poor, are not, by nature, more inclined to think seriously on the subject of religion, or to forego the pursuits of business, the allurements of ambition, or the gratifications of pleasure, for the sake of their immortal interests. We may have further occasion to touch upon this point in the course of the next chapter; as well as upon another which renders an episcopal establishment peculiarly useful for 'the higher ranks ; namely, that all classes are thus furnished with instructors in their own sphere of life, and examples to which they will naturally defer, an advan
tage, it is obvious, not likely to be attained without a national church establishment. 1.. '?
The preceding remarks, it has already been stated, are intended to be purely defensive. In advocating the cause of an establishment, and through it of our own church, we wish to cast no reproach on any other. And with regard to those who dissent from us, if we cannot gain them over by fair and scriptural arguments, it would be as impolitic as unjust to wish to force them by authority. It may be said of sects, as was said of the Israelites in bondage, the more they are persecuted, the more they usually multiply and grow; and with regard to the persecutor, even when he is conscientious, it is certain that his zeal is quite as much without knowledge as without charity.'! It offends equally against the.“ meekness of wisdom,” the “ patience of hope," and the “ love unfeigned" which become the Christian character, So much in reference to our dissenting brethren. And with regard to foreign churches, in minor points at least, our own reformers, though the last of men to encourage false candour or indifference to our own scriptural Establishment, have wisely and modestly declared their opinion, in their remarks on ceremonies, prefixed to the Book of Common Prayer. “In these our doings,” say they, “ we condemn no
other nation, nor prescribe any thing but to our own people only: for we think it convenient that every country should use such ceremonies as they shall think best to the setting forth of God's honour and glory, and to the reducing of the people to a most perfect and godly living without error or superstition; and that they should put away other things which from time to time they perceive to be most abused, as in men's ordinances it often chanceth diversely in divers countries." !
ON THE MEANS OF EXCITING AND MAIN
TAINING AMONG THE MEMBERS OF THE
FROM the thorny mazes of controversy in which we have hitherto been entangled, we now turn to a more fruitful and pleasing field. Having shewn generally that a National Church Establishment is lawful and necessary, we shall bend our view to our own, in order to ascertain how such an important instrument of utility may be rendered most efficient in its operation; as the Christian pastor, after proving the abstract truth of the Gospel, gladly changes his theme to the consideration of its life-giving doctrines, its heavenly precepts, its ineffable rewards. Hitherto we have been surveying at a distance a goodly and extensive edifice, the foundations of which, as we trust, we have ascertained to be firm, and the buttresses impregnable; but