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they possess too much attachment to their order to delight in depreciating it; and that they are under no temptation to attempt it with a view to secure the preference of their hearers; who, supposing them to have derived benefit from their labours, will be sufficiently aware of the difference between light and darkness, between famine and plenty. Were they to insinuate, with this author, that all their clerical brethren are actually engaged in the same cause, and are promoting the same object with themselves, they would at once be charged with a violation of truth, and be considered as insulting the common sense of the public.

The author is extremely offended at Dr. Haweis, on account of the following passage in his History of the Church of Christ. "Different itinerant societies have been established in order to send instruction to the poor, in the villages where the gospel is not preached. Probably not less than five hundred places of divine worship have been opened within the last three years." Dr. Haweis, in making this representation, undoubtedly conceived himself to be stating a simple fact, without suspecting any lover of the gospel would call it in question. The author's comment upon it is curious enough. "It would be scarcely credible, he says, "were not the time and place marked "with sufficient precision, that a clergyman, beneficed in the Church of England, was describing, "in the foregoing passage, something which had lately been taking place in this country!" It is



surely very credible that there are five hundred places in England where the gospel is not preached ; the incredible part of the business, then, consists in a "beneficed clergyman" daring to assert it, who, according to the author, is a sort of personage who is bound never to utter a truth that will offend the delicate ears of the clergy, especially on so trivial an occasion as that of describing the state of religion in England. What a magnanimity of spirit, and how far is this author from the suspicion of being a man-pleaser!

After acknowledging that the ministers he is characterizing have been unjustly charged with infringing on canonical regularity, he adds,


"Would it were as easy to defend them universally,* against those who accuse them of vanity, " of courting popularity, of effrontery, of coarse"ness, of the want of that affectionate spirit which "should breathe through all the ministrations of a "christian teacher, of their commonly appearing "before a congregation with an objurgatory aspect, "as if their minds were always brooding over some "matter of accusation against their charge, instead "of their feeling toward them as a father does "toward his children."-P. 157.

The reader has, in this passage, a tolerable specimen of the "vanity" and "effrontery" of this writer, as well as of that "objurgatory aspect" he has thought fit to assume toward his brethren,

* The word universally, marked in italics, was inserted after the first edition.

not without strong suspicion of assuming it from a desire to "court popularity." It would be a mere waste of words to attempt to reply to such an accusation, which merits attention on no other account than its exhibiting a true picture of his mind.

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"As for the matter," he proceeds to observe, "of which the sermons delivered by some of them are composed, it is contemptible in the extreme. "Though truths of great importance are brought forward, yet, as if those who delivered them "were born to ruin the cause in which they are engaged, they are presented to the auditory, "associated with such meanness, imbecility, or absurdity, as to afford a complete triumph to those who are adverse to their propagation. "We are disgusted by the violation of all the



rules, which the common sense of mankind "teaches them to expect the observance of on "the occasion. It is true, indeed, that something "is heard about Christ, about faith and repen“tance, about sin and grace; but in vain we look "for argument, or persuasion, or suavity, or reve"rential demeanour; qualities which ought never "to be absent, where it is of the utmost impor“tance that the judgement be convinced, and the "affections gained."-P. 158.

Unfair and illiberal in the extreme as this representation is, it contains an important concession,that the lowest preachers among them have the wisdom to make a right selection of topics, and to

bring forward truths of great importance; a circumstance sufficient of itself to give them an infinite superiority over the "apes of Epictetus."* A great diversity of talents must be expected to be found amongst them; but it has not been our lot to hear of any, whose labours a good man would think it right to treat with indiscriminate contempt. As they are called, for the most part, to address the middle and lower classes of society, their language is plain and simple speaking in the presence of God, their address is solemn; and, as becomes the



ambassadors of Christ," their appeals to the conscience are close and cogent. Few, if any, among them, aspire to the praise of consummate orators— a character which we despair of ever seeing associated, in high perfection, with that of a christian teacher. The minister of the gospel is called "to declare the testimony of God," which is always weakened by a profuse employment of the ornaments of secular eloquence. Those exquisite paintings and nice touches of art, in which the sermons of the French preachers excel so much, excite a kind of attention, and produce a species of pleasure, not in perfect accordance with devotional feeling. The imagination is too much excited and employed, not to interfere with the more awful functions of conscience; the hearer is absorbed in admiration; and the exercise which ought to be an instrument of conviction, becomes a feast of taste. In the hand of a Massillon, the subject of death


itself is blended with so many associations of the most delicate kind, and calls up so many sentiments of natural tenderness, as to become a source of theatrical amusement, rather than of religious sensibility. Without being insensible to the charms of eloquence, it is our decided opinion that a sermon of Mr. Gisborne's is more calculated to "convert a sinner from the error of his way," than one of Massillon's. It is a strong objection to a studied attempt at oratory in the pulpit, that it usually induces a neglect of the peculiar doctrines of christian verity, where the preacher feels himself restrained, and is under the necessity of explaining texts, of obviating objections, and elucidating difficulties, which limits the excursions of imagination, and confines it within narrow bounds. He is, therefore, eager to escape from these fetters; and, instead of "reasoning out of the Scriptures," expatiates in the flowery fields of declamation. It would be strange, however, if the evangelical clergy did not excel their contemporaries in the art of preaching, to which they devote so much more of their attention. While others are accustomed to describe it under the very appropriate phrase of

doing duty," it is their business and their delight. They engage in it under many advantages. Possessed of the same education with their brethren, they usually speak to crowded auditories; the truths they deliver command attention; and they are accustomed to ascend the pulpit under an awful sense of the weight and importance of their

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