Page images

“ mities as will make men serious, and also drive them from the countries of Christendom into the remote “ parts of the world, particularly into the East and West “ İndies, whither consequently they will carry their reli“ gion, now purified from errors and superstitions.”

P. 450. "That worldly-mindedness, and neglect of “ duty in the clergy, must hasten our ruin, cannot be “ doubted. These are the salt of the earth,' and the «c light of the world.' If they lose their savour, the " whole nation, where this happens, will be converted " into one putrid mass. If their light become darkness, “ the whole body politic must be dark also. The dege“ neracy of the court of Rome, and secular bishops “ abroad, are too notorious to be mentioned. They al“ most cease to give offence, as they scarce pretend to “ any function or authority besides what is temporal. Yet still there is a great mockery of God in their ex“ ternal pomp, and profanation of sacred titles, which,

sooner or later, will bring down vengeance upon them. « And as the court of Rome has been at the head of the “ great apostacy and corruption of the Christian church, “ and seems evidently marked in various places of the “ scriptures, the severest judgments are probably re“ served for her. But I rather choose to speak to what “ falls under the observation of all serious attentive per“ sons in this kingdom. The superior clergy are, in ge“ neral, ambitious, and eager in the pursuit of riches; “ flatterers of the great, and subservient to party interest; “ negligent of their own immediate charges, and also of “ the inferior clergy, and their immediate charges. The “ inferior clergy imitate their superiors, and in general “ take little more care of their parishes than barely what " is necessary to avoid the censure of the law. And the “ clergy of all ranks are, in general, either ignorant, or, “ if they do apply, it is rather to profane learning to phi

losophical or political matters, than to the study of the “ scriptures, of the Oriental languages, of the fatħers and “ ecclesiastical authors, and of the writings of devout men “ in different ages of the church. I say this is in general “ the case; i. e. far the greater part of the clergy of all “ ranks in this kingdom are of this kind. But there are

some of a quite different character; men eminent. for “ piety, sacred learning, and the faithful discharge of “ their duty, and who, it is not to be doubted, mourn in “ secret for the crying sins of this and other nations.

[blocks in formation]

“The clergy, in general, are also far more free from

gross vices, than

any other denomination of men amongst us, physicians, lawyers, merchants, sol“ diers, &c. However, this may be otherwise hereafter. " For it is said, that in some foreign countries the supe" rior clergy, in others the inferior, are as corrupt and " abandoned, or more so, than any other order of men. The clergy in this kingdom seem to be what we might

expect from the mixture of good and bad influences " that affect them. But, then, if we make this candid " allowance for them, we must also make it for persons “ in the high ranks of life, for their infidelity, lewdness, " and sordid self-interest. And though it becomes an “ humble, charitable, and impartial man to make all " these allowances, yet he cannot but see that the judg

ments of God are ready to fall upon us for all these

things, and that they may fall first, and with the great“est weight, upon those who, having the highest office « committed to them in the spiritual kingdom of Christ,

neglect it, and are become mere merchants of the “ earth,' and shepherds that feed themselves, and not " their flocks.

P. 459. “ Let me intreat all parties, as a sincere friend “ and lover of all, not to be offended with the great, per

haps unjustifiable freedom, which I have used, but to

lay to heart the charges here brought to examine how far they are true, and reform wherever they are found

to be so. P. 455.

“ These are my real and earnest sentiments upon these points. It would be great rashness to fix a .“ time for the breaking of the storm that hangs over our “ he ads, as it is blindness and infatuation not to see it,

nor to be aware that it may break. And yet this infa“ tuation has always attended all falling states. The

kingdoms of Judah and Israel, which are the types of “ all the rest, were thus infatuated. It may be that the “ prophecies concerning Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre,

Egypt, &c. will become applicable to particular king“ doms before their fall, and warn the good to flee out of " them. And Christendom in general seems ready to as

sume to itself the place and lot of the Jews, after they “had rejected their Messiah, the Saviour of the world. " Let no one deceive himself or others. The present “ circumstances of the world are extraordinary and cri.


[ocr errors]

“ tical, beyond what has ever yet happened. If we re“ fuse to let Christ reign over us, as our Redeemer and “ Saviour, we must be slain before his face, as enemies at « his second coming."*

I am well aware that there are many who will turn, not only my sentiments, but these kindred ones of this great and good man, into ridicule, and that more still will make light of them; for it is in all our hearts to say, things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation; The evil will not come in our days.”—Ah! ye deluded men! though “ the Lord is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” yet the day of his vengeance will come “ as a thief in the night :"_" For when they shall say, Peace, and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape." It will be sudden and irresistible. It will be as a torrent that no power or wisdom of man will be able to stay or divert from its course. " Awake, then, ye sleepers, and call upon God. Rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord. It may be that ye shall be hid in the day of his fierce anger.”— Read attentively the twenty-fourth, and three following chapters, of Isaiah.

Does the angel swear by him that liveth for ever and ever that delay shall be no longer? - Prepare to meet your God.Ye corrupters of the holy and benevolent religion of Jesus, and ye oppressors of mankind; ye men of blood;

* Whilst I would beseech the enemies of reformation to beware that they do not by their violence and obstinacy bring desolation and ruin on their country, I would also beg leave to recommend what the Doctor says at p. 369, as deserving the attention of all those lovers of liberty, and those advocates for reform, who, lest, by aiming at too much, the remedy should be worse than the disease, would wish, with zeal for the security of our liberties, to unite prudence. “All bodies politic seem, “ like the body natural, to tend to destruction and dissolution, as is here " affirmed, through vices public and private, and to be respited, for cer“ tain intervals, by partial, imperfect reformations. There is no com"plete or continued series of public happiness on one hand, no utter “ misery on the other; for the dissolution of the body politic is to be « considered as its death. It seems as romantic, therefore, for any one to project the scheme of a perfect government in this imperfect state,

as to be in pursuit of a universal remedy, a remedy which should cure “ all distempers, and prolong human life beyond limit. And yet, as

temperance, labour, and medicines, in some cases, are of great use in

preserving and restoring health, and prolonging life, so industry, jus“ tice, and all other virtues, public and private, have an analagous effect “ in respect of the body polític."

[ocr errors]

66 Go to now, ye

ye proud blasphemers, and ye persecutors of the servants of God, prepare for the day of reckoning ; for behold, “ The whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind; it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return until he have done it, and until he have per. formed the intents of his heart. In the latter day ye shall consider it.” (Jer. xxx. 23, 24.) Ye who worship the mammon of unrighteousness, and sacrifice nations for gain; who have carried desolation to the utmost bounds of the earth, and, having enslaved mankind for filthy lucre, are ingenious to invent apologies for your enormous crimes; Prepare to meet your God. rich men, weep and howl for your miseries which shall come upon you.-Behold, the hire of your labourers, which is of you kept back, crieth against you.” 0 Tyrus, the mart of nations! thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty; I am God; I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas. Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters. In the time (if thou repentcst not) when thou shalt be broken by the seas in the depth of the waters, thy merchandize, and all thy company, in the midst of thee, shall fall."

Ye dozing watchmen of our Israel, who talk to the people of the follies of enthusiasm, till their faith in the Divine predictions which was intended to have been a guard to their hearts against the surfeiting cares of the world, and to keep them vigilant, has lost all its power, and they are lulled into a security from which nothing can rouse them short of the voice of that trumpet which will rend the heavens and the earth.Sleep on, and take your rest.-But at midnight ye shall hear a great cry made-"Behold, the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him." Ye hireling shepherds, especially, who have converted the religion of Christ into a system of worldly traffic; who live in pleasure, and having féd yourselves with the fat, and clothed you with the wool, abuse, instead of feeding, the flock; Prepare to meet your for the time of his judgments shall be no longer delayed, but they who have beaten their fellow-servants, and ate and drank with the drunken, he will cut them asunder, and appoint them their portion with the hypocrites.

Let men of all descriptions and characters (revolving in their minds the signs of the times) hear the awful declara


tion of the angel, and take warning. The sins of the great whore who sitteth on many waters, and of the nations who have been drunk with the wine of the wrath of her fornications, are come into remembrance. Come out of her, therefore, ye Protestants, and all that fear God, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and receive not of her plagues.

To you who obey God, and have never been either the patrons or agents of oppression, persecution, and bloodshed, may be applied the words of our Saviour, “ There shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls.". Even though that spirit, which in former times filled all lands with violence, should again be let loose, and ye should be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends, and some of you should die under your sufferings, yet in your patience possess your souls, ye shall not ultimately be losers; the season is short, and your reward is sure; and whilst the name of the wicked shall rot, yours shall be had in everlasting remembrance.—Let the virtuous and good exemplify their principles by following after the things which make for peace ; let them with calmness contemplate the awful scene as it opens; for though it may exhibit such events and troubles as have never been since there was a nation, yet they will be salutary; general affliction will produce general seriousness, and the end will be universal reformation and universal peace. But that we may exercise this patience, and possess this calmness of mind, it is necessary, not only to have our hearts deeply impressed with a sense of the over-ruling providence of God, but to possess a prevailing hope as to the issue. These cannot be attained without an extraordinary cultivation of piety, and an intimate acquaintance with the word of God. Let us then stir up ourselves to the exercise of a diligence which may be somewhat proportioned to the importance of that which we are taught to look for. Thus may we hope to be prepared for every event, whether to mourn or to rejoice, to live or to die. What


may think of the agreement of events with prophecy, or how they may be affected at the prospect in general, or at the situation and prospects of this country in particular, I cannot tell; I know that the inattentive Christian, as well as the cold Sceptic, will esteem it the illusion of a heated brain, but I am free to acknowledge that the signs of the times present to my

mind a

« PreviousContinue »