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through the vices and villanies of those who disgrace it; but endeavour, yourselves, to adorn it in all things; and be astonished, if you please, as an honest heathen historian professes himself to have been, that wickedness and cruelty should mark the actions of men, whose religion throughout inculcates only righteousness and mercy.

To lessen, however, in some measure this astonishment, suffer us to remind you, in the second place, that nothing, after all, is more common, than for a good thing to be abused by bad men; and then the better the thing abused, the worse and the more abominable is the abuse of it. When Christianity, by the favour of the converted emperors, opened the way to wealth and power, ,

it is natural to suppose, that sometimes men would embrace it, not for any affection borne to itself, but as the means of acquiring wealth and power; which, when so acquired, would be often misemployed, and religion become the object of those evil passions, which it should—and, if properly received, would have mortified and subdued. This is human nature - these are the offences which, in the present state of a fallen world, must needs come--there is no preventing them. But let us not argue from abuse against use. Let scour off the rust, but preserve the metal. Religion came pure from the hands of God, but was adulterated in passing through those of men. To God, therefore, be the glory, to man the shame.

Lastly,and above all-When you find yourselves disposed to listen to the voice of the seducer, and to think unfavourably of Christianity on account of the


ill lives and base actions of those who profess it, or, indeed, on any other account, always be upon your guard, and suspect yourselves : examine diligently whether, through the corruption of your own hearts and lives, you do not seek occasion against religion, and wish to escape from the holiness of its precepts, the rigour of its discipline, and the terror of its judgments, by denying its authenticity. We often see men so ready to reject the strongest reasons for it, and take up with the weakest against it, that it seems difficult to account for their conduct on any other principle.

This may suffice for the argument formed by unbelievers to the disadvantage of the Gospel, upon the transaction of the day, and others of a similar nature.

Respecting those of the Romish persuasion, something must be said. But it shall be said, not in the spirit of animosity and invective, but in that of Christian charity. We envy them not the indulgence they have lately experienced, and which they would probably have experienced sooner, had government deemed it consistent with the welfare and safety of the state. It is to be hoped, they have at length perceived their error, in endeavouring to propagate religion by sanguinary methods; and to win proselytes by fire and sword, by racks and gibbets. Were the union ever so desirable, the proposed method of effecting it would spoil all; it can make no man affect the church that adopts it; it tends, on the contrary, to inspire into him an aversion from all that is called Christianity; and has given great occasion, as we have seen, to the enemies of the Lord, to blaspheme. There is no natural connexion between the Gospel of peace, and the sword or the bayonet. A saying, indeed, of a zealot in former times has been reported, that “ unarmed missionaries make few converts." Yet were the apostles of our ever-blessed Redeemer such missionaries, and they converted the world at a time when the wit and the wisdom, the fashion and the power of it, were all in arms against them. To be converted to any opinion or system a man must be first well persuaded of the truth of such opinion orsystem. But gunpowder is no instrument of persuasion. The tongue and the pen are intended for that purpose ; and even by these the purpose is always most successfully effected when they are employed with gentleness. Man, as has been well observed, like every other animal, is best tamed and managed by good usage: he does not love to be bullied and beaten into truth itself. If you are in possession of it, state it with every possible advantage. Let her appear in her native charms, that the world may admire and adore: let humility and meekness, faith and patience, attend upon her; and in her mouth be evermore the law of kindness. When your writings shall be thus new modelled, let your lives and actions be in perfect unison with them; let your behaviour engage the beholder to a consideration of your doctrine, and your doctrine reflect lustre on your behaviour. Then may we hope you will reform what in very deed ought long since to have been reformed in your communion, and render it such as we can conscientiously accede to; such as becomes the

simplicity and purity of the Gospel of Christ our Saviour. Or if this cannot be, we may at least live upon a foot of peace and security together (Judah no more troubling Ephraim, and Ephraim no more vexing Judah), without apprehension of plots, anathemas, and crusades. Indeed, their day seems to be pretty well over, since we have lived to see the sovereign Pontiff, instead of launching the thunderbolts of the Vatican at the devoted head of a reforming emperor, taking a long and painful journey to supplicate, and returning as he came A spectacle entirely new! When a disposition appears in the rulers of any kingdom to abolish absurd and superstituous usages, the court of Rome has nothing now left for it, but with all possible expedition to issue an edict, most graciously empowering them so to do. Thus are the mighty fallen !And still lower must they fall: for the day seems evidently approaching, when“the kings “ of the earth,” as they are styled, or the princes of the Romish communion, shall, by some mighty effort, emancipate themselves from the bondage in which they are holden, and destroy the power which they have so long contributed to support: unless that power will ingenuously purify itself from its corruptions, and begin a new æra of primitive Christianity.

The church of Rome should have done this honestly and effectually, when its corruptions were first pointed out. It had then retained those branches, which in default of such conduct, were broken off. Nor can there be—indeed there ought not to be--any other method devised or thought of, to graft them in again.

When a church really stands in need of reformation, it should always, in prudence as well as duty, reform itself, to prevent the task from being undertaken by others, who, though they may entertain a very

laudable abhorrence of idols, may not, perhaps, scruple, if a tempting opportunity should offer, to commit sacrilege : who, under cover of reforming abuses, may at length reform away Christianity itself; and, either through ignorance or malice, “may root up the wheat with the tares.”

As to ourselves—We celebrate on this day a twofold deliverance from the tyranny of Rome, vouchsafed at different and distinct periods. Let us not give occasion to our adversaries in that quarter to say, as they sometimes have had the effrontery to say, that Protestantism naturally leads the way to Socinianism and Materialism, and in short, to every thing that is opprobrious. Let us not be forward to believe, what some are so very forward to tell us, that the doctrines of the ever-blessed Trinity in Unity, of the Divinity of our Lord and Saviour, and that “ full, perfect, “ and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction,

by him made for the sins of men,” proceeded from the papal chair, and constitute a part of the grand apostacy. In one word, let our studies and our writings, our lives and our conversation, join in making a plain and unequivocal declaration to the whole world, that, though we cease to be papists, we continue to be CHRISTIANS.

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