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preaching over the hearts and conduct of the multitude of notorious sinners, that abound in our land?

Wiseh. Sir, that is not our fault, but the fault of those who won't come to hear our ministers. Though we are sure our religion is rational, yet we lament it is not popular. But I hope Sir, we shall always make it evident, that we have too much respect to our characters, to court the applause of the vulgar, in order that our ministers may be registered among the popular preachers of the day.

Spitef. Well said Mr. Wisehead. Though I don't like you in all points, yet I do in this. I should be ashamed to be followed by such a mob as have taken to run after Lovegood, for the sake of hearing his extemporaneous rant. Why they say his Parish is made like a horse fair on a Sunday, by a set of people galloping after him from every quarter.

Consid. Ah! Mr. Spiteful, you never need fear the contempt of being a popular preacher.

Wiseh. A wise and judicious preacher never can expect to be popular, as the common people are not likely to understand him. I don't think it is a proof that a man is a good preacher, because he is popular, or that a man is a bad preacher, because he is not followed by the inconsiderate multitude.

Consid. What then, is it a sign that a man is a good preacher, because he has scarcely any one to hear him? and is a man a bad preacher, because he is well attended? Pray Sir, what is the end of preaching? I should suppose, to instruct the ignorant. But if the ignorant can't understand the preacher, and will not even give him a hearing, because of his sppposed wisdom and learning, where can be the good of it. It is said of our Lord himself, that "the common people heard him gladly :" and no wonder at it; " for he taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes and it is said of the preaching of John the Baptist, "that Jerusalem and all Judea, and the regions round about went after him." Were they had preachers, because they were popular? Is not

that man the best preacher, who does the most good? The question therefore has not been answered, but rather evaded, as it respects the utility of such a mode of preaching.

Wiseh. Really Sir, our Doctor, and Mr. Smirking do their best endeavours, and if they have not been successful in reclaiming the vicious from the error of their ways; yet we hope that others who are already virtuous, are kept in the ways of virtue.

Consid. It should seem then, that your way of doing good, is that you do no harm; and it would be strange indeed, if by all your lectures against the deformity of vice, and on the beauties of morality, the people should lose the little they already possessed. But when you talk of the best endeavours being exerted, why is it that they are exerted all in vain, as it respects the salvation of man from sin? I think Sir, can tell you the cause of it. All Bible truths and Bible language, are kept out of the question.

I

Of what avail was all the moral philosophy among the heathens; and of what avail is all the heathenish bare-weight morality, among too many, professing Christianity in the present day, where the preaching of the Gospel, which alone is, "the power of God unto salvation," is omitted?

Wiseh. "The power of God unto salvation!" Upon my word Sir, that sounds like a very odd expression. What am I to understand by it?

Consid. Why Sir, it is one of the odd expressions found in St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans; but as those epistles are so low in your esteem, no wonder that such expressions sound in your ears so odd and uncouth. But in my opinion, it is an expression of peculiar wisdom, dignity, and strength. I am not afraid to assert it, that all true religion is nothing less than the power or influence of God himself on the heart. And must there not be a principle before ever there can be a practice? can any person be reformed before he is renewed? And after all, can much of the preaching of the present day be even called moral preaching? How often are we told, how much

less is required of us in our lapsed state, than was originally demanded by the law! and how many apologies are at times brought forth to palliate the vices and deep corruptions of the human mind! Is this preaching morality, or the quintessence of antinomianisın ?*

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Wiseh I really think Sir, you strain deal too hard, and that your ideas are gloomy, as they respect the human race. are some among whom the protuberances and excrescences of vice are very predominant, we cannot but admit but still I suppose it is the virtuous habit that principally prevails, and we should not depreciate the virtues of mankind on account of their vices. A great divine of our denomination has given it as his opinion, that "there may be a considerable preponderance of virtues, even in characters justly estimated as vicious and likewise that the quantity of virtue in the world, may far exceed that of vice; though the number of virtuous characters may be less than that of vicious ones:" and again, "few characters are flagrantly wicked; and perhaps, even in the worst of men, good habits and actions are more numerous than the contrary." Certainly they are so in the majority of mankind, and preponderant virtue is almost universal;" and if there be a small degree of troublesome vice in the world, another able divine who is the glory of our denomination, in a very learned treatise he wrote on the doctrine of necessity, has settled the business completely, by proving that "God is the author of sin, and may do evil, provided good may come."

*This expression is derived from the Greek, and means that which is against the Law.

+ Belsham's Review of Wilberforce, p. 39.

On Necessity, p. 117-121. Now would any one think it, that those very people, who have taken such an astonishing alarm at the frightful doctrines of Calvinism, have actually found their refuge in the sentiments of the worst of infidel philosophers, making it out, that God himself is the author of sin; and that is their way of getting rid of what God has revealed, that he "made man up right," but man has sought out for himself many inventions

Consid. Why, then vice is not only to be little thought of, but seems almost allowable, provided, according to your conceit, virtue preponderates; or according, I must call it, to your blasphemous proposition, that God can be the author of evil. But can you for a moment suppose that the least vice should be admitted before our most holy God; when it is said, "that for every idle word that man shall speak, he shall give an account thereof, at the day of judgment;" yea, that he will bring "every thought into judgment?" as every lascivious thought before him is adultery, and every angry thought not less than murder in his sight. Shall we try how this rule will bear between man and man? Suppose Mr. Dolittle, our Justice, were to say of the thief when brought before him, He generally pays for his goods as he purchases them, though now and then he is under the necessity of stealing to make his payments good: so that when he acts the part of a knave, it is with an honest and virtuous design. Therefore, we must not be too severe with him; for he is an honest fellow, on the whole; and his honest actions outweigh his thievish ones. And again; should the mad drunkard say, I never get drunk above twice in the week, and then all the rest of my time I am very sober: surely you'll not call me a drunkard upon this account, as I hope my sober fits are more than my drunken ones. shall we suppose the common reprobate to plead his cause, by saying, I don't swear near half my time, and these are but thoughtless words; and words can burt nobody: and let me swear ever so often, I say more good words than bad ones, and scarcely ever neglect saying my prayers before going to bed. Now Thus, by contradicting the Bible account of the fall, which lays all the evil of sin to the charge of man; they bring it home against God himself, with this reserve only-provided that good may result from it in the end; which is making the Divine Being to speak and act like the worst of men, who say, "Let us do evil that good may come; whose damnation is just," Let such a deity be adored by these sons of reason as long as they choose; but let wisdom lie low before the altar of revelation." O Israel! thou hast de stroyed thyself, but in me is thy help." 3

VOL. II.

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Or

should we suppose, for the sake of argument, that there is more virtue than vice in the world, which I really doubt, notwithstanding your low notions of virtue, being no higher, as far as I can make them out, than a little morality or good manners, or just and civil behaviour between man and man; yet are you not alarmed at your own sentiments, that the same sort of ideas of justice is supposed to exist in God, as would turn all things into confusion among men ? Such however, have been the dreadful effects of lessening the eternal obligations of the law, in order that we may obey it just so far as we like best; and such are the antinomian principles of all the pharisees, and formalists on the earth.

Spitef. Sir, though I cannot altogether go with Mr. Wisehead, yet your strict notions of religion are enough to drive us all into despair. I am for just such a religion as Mr. Archdeacon Smoothtongue preached to us before the corporation the other day. You remember his text Sir;" Men shall be lovers of their own selves." I am sure Sir, it was an admirable sermon.

Wiseh. Yes Sir, I admired it much. I thought it an excellent rational discourse; for though I should - not like to be a comformist to your established church, by subscribing to the "horrid dogmas of Calvin," which are to be found in such abundance in the Articles and Liturgy of the Church of England ; yet I am not such a bigot, as to neglect an opportunity of hearing a good sermon, either in church or meeting.

Spitef. We had better not touch upon that point Mr. Wisehead; as that would bring on a controversy, which I am sure, we should not end to-night. But I know all you Dissenters are of opinion, that none but Lovegood's followers give us the true meaning of the doctrines of the church of England; but this is thinking very hard of the clergy.

Wiseh. Sir, I confess this is the universal opinion among all Dissenters; but I should not wish to touch you in a sore place.

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