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diforder, confufion, and every evil work. It is no doubt by preferving the bonds of ecclefiaftical unity, that Chriftians are to be kept in the way of obedience to the one God, and dependence on the one Mediator. It has therefore been justly observed by an eminent writer, that, "if ever this fubject of the "church of Chrift, now so much neglected, and al"most forgotten by thofe who are moft concerned "to understand it, fhould come to be better confi"dered; there would be more true piety, and more peace, more of thofe virtues which will be required "in heaven, and which must therefore be firft learn
«ed upon earth. Some amongst us err, because
"they know not the Scriptures; and others, because "they never confidered the nature of the church. "Some think, they can make their own religion, "and fo they defpife the word of God, and fall into infidelity. Others think, they can make their "own church, or even be a church unto them"felves; and fo they fall into the delufions of enthu
fiafm, or the uncharitablenefs of fchifm."
Thefe are the pertinent remarks of a learned divine of the church of England, and they are enforced by an obfervation fo juftly expreffed, and fo well adapted to my prefent purpose, that I must take the liberty of prefenting it to the notice of thofe, for whom this publication is more particularly intended. "But, as there is nothing to enlighten the minds of "men in the doctrines of falvation, but the word of "God; fo there is nothing that can unite their hearts and
"and affections, but the church of God. Ye are "one bread, and one body, faith the apoftle; one body by partaking of one bread; and that can only be in the fame communion."* Impreffed there fore with the truth and importance of what is here fo juftly afferted, and earnestly defirous of its producing the fame effect in the minds of those, for whose benefit I am now writing, I fhall beg leave to request their serious and impartial confideration of the subject before 'us; while, taking a view of the general ftate of religion in this country, and the danger to which it is expofed, from profeffed infidels on the one hand, and from the fanatical abettors of enthusiasm on the other, we look back through all this mist of modern confufion, to the primitive order and uniformity of the church, and fee what neceflity there is for our continuing ftill in the "apostles "doctrine and fellowship," as the only fource of order and guard of uniformity.-We fhall then clofe our view with fuch a brief, but, I truft, fatisfactory account of the ecclefiaftical orders and administrations of the Epifcopal Church in Scotland, as, notwithstanding the violent attack which was lately made upon it by a learned Profeffor of the establishment, may tend, by the bleffing of God, to confirm the regard and attachment of its prefent members, to promote a becoming union among all those who profefs to be of the Epifcopal perfuafion in this part of
* See the preface to an Effay on the Church, by the late Rev. William Jones, of Nayland in Suffolk.
the kingdom, and to furnish them with proper arguments for the vindication of thofe found and falutary principles, by which they have the happiness to be distinguished.
It is an observation of undeniable certainty, that the fame Divine Being, the Almighty Lord of heaven and earth, who has given to man the good things of creation for the use and benefit of his body, and the precious truths of revelation for the inftruction and comfort of his foul, has in both inftances met with the moft ungrateful and unworthy returns. The good things of creation have been abused to the bafeft purposes of riot and intemperance, confumed in fin and fenfuality, and often made a pretence for indulging covetoufnefs and ambition, a fordid parfimony and griping avarice; while the precious truths of revelation have been treated with the most infolent fcorn and contempt, expofed to all the wantonnefs of raillery and ridicule, and often so ftrangely perverted, as to produce nothing but blind fuperftition and enthufiaftic prefumption.
It is not enough, however, that we acknowledge in general the truth of this melancholy obfervation: let us examine whether fuch a charge be ftrictly juft, when applied to the inhabitants of this land, the country with which we are moft immediately connected. Perhaps, when comparing our moral character with that of other ftates and kingdoms, we may feel an inclination at once to refift the charge, becaufe
because our country cannot in juftice be accused of fuch flagrant abuses of the divine goodness as are too often exhibited in other parts of the world. But before we allow ourselves to be carried away by any fuch fuperficial and flattering comparison, we shall do well to confider, whether this moral fuperiority, which at present we undoubtedly poffefs, may not be more juftly ascribed to a want of means and opportunity of carrying the purfuit of fenfual and worldly pleasure to the fame height with our richer neighbours, than to any want of inclination, from principle, to the abufes which I have been mentioning. It seems therefore a doubtful point, whether our virtue in this respect is to be traced to the proper fource and principle of all that deferves to be called virtue, or whether our being "delivered "from much of the evil," that prevails in other places, may not be afcribed to the favourable circumftance of our not being fo much "led into tempta"tion." But whatever may be faid, either for or against our national character on this fcore, it can only be applied to the first branch of the charge to which I have alluded, as pointing to that prefumptuous abuse of the good things of creation, the criminality of which will no doubt be in proportion to the share that is enjoyed of these temporal bleffings and those, to whom little is given, will furely have the lefs to account for. But as to the other part of the charge, in which our country is implicated, as profeffing to be Chriftian, and enjoying the full
benefit of divine revelation, I am afraid, that in the contempt, or abuse of its precious truths, as much guilt and depravity will be found here, in proportion to our numbers, as in the other parts of the united kingdom.
From the advantages, which Scotland has long enjoyed in the way of literature, and the easy access thus afforded to the general acquifition of knowledge, has arisen the powerful temptation, which many have been unable to withstand, of carrying their fpeculations beyond the proper limits, and affecting to be wife even in matters of religion, above what God has caufed to be written for man's inftruction. While fuch fpeculations however were confined to the student in his closet, their influence was narrow and circumfcribed; and the general state of fociety was but little affected by the writings of fuch infidels as David Hume, till they were better fuited to vulgar capacity, and their deadly venom more widely circulated, by the poisonous arts of Thomas Paine, and his numerous difciples. Thefe could not fail at laft to attract the notice of government; and by its firm and steady exertions, a stop has been put to the open and avowed propagation of principles fo hoftile to the morals, the peace, and good order of fociety. Yet is it much to be feared, that in many parts of the kingdom, the feeds of irreligion and licentioufnefs have been fo plentifully diffeminated, that unless their growth be checked by a returning fenfe of duty, or fome powerful