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plicity of sentiment and diction, which, when it is found in other ancient authors, never fails to please the judicious; and usually surpasses studied thoughts and laboured sentences, as much as Nature is superior to Art. One good man admonishes another with a candid freedom, and gives him a leflon of caution and humility, upon the supposition, that none is entirely safe and quite remote from all spiritual danger, whilft he is in a state of probation. The divine Wisdom, which would not level threatenings against impossibilities, has made a solemn commination,-When the righteous man turneth away from his righteousness
which is enough to make a righteous man tremble. A person may continue such for a considerable time; so far true to his duty, as to contract no very foul spot; till at length some imperious Temptation demands admittance; and then Virtue, Conscience, Honour, Religion, fall before her, to the surprise of men, and to the grief of Angels. Admonition therefore is right and fit; and so judges our Church, and has made a provision for it in the Office of Confecration.
It may be thought that the Admonition in the Office is a proper subject to be assumed and enlarged upon in a discourse; and so it would, if it were in suitable hands. The elders, says St. Peter, I exhort, who am also an elder. It is impossible to attempt it in the presence of one, who, as in all
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other re'sects, fo, in eminence of station, is far better qualified to perform it.
Shall we then discourse concerning the Degrees of sacred offices, and the form of Church government which is here established; and vindicate it from the rude afperfions of fome, and the weak prejudices of others? This is a discouraging subject, for it has been frequently and fully discussed, and nothing new can be offered upon it worthy to engage attention. But from the mention of it we may take occasion to admonish and exhort men, to set a just esteem upon the religion which the kind Providence of God has preserved amongst us, and by which we are as advantageously diftinguished as we can reasonably expect; for Perfection dwells not here below. Whosoever knows, even superficially, what passes and has passed in the Christian world, knows what has been the spirit and the conduct of some Synods and Assemblies, - I will not say any thing 'harder of Protestant brethren; and what the imperiousness of that Church, which calls herself the Mother and the Mistress of all Churches; and what the procedures of the Inquifition ; which he who has * seen, has beheld a * Of one who has been in the Inquisition, it might be said,
Tanarias etiam fauces, alta ostia Ditis,
Virg. Georg. IV. 467.
more formidable representation of the infernal regions, than even poetic fancy ever painted.
It is to be hoped that our love for our own Church has been rather increased than diminished, by the apprehensions which we had, not long ago, of her falling into the hands of her worst enemies. Our eyes then viewed her, as they pursue the mild and gentle light of the setting fun : * we then began to understand her value, because we then feared to lose her.
Shall I proceed to speak more particularly concerning the person now appointed to the Episcopal function? Inclination draws that way, and words present themselves unsought; and it is a pleasure to utter them, when the heart and the tongue con. spire together, and Truth guides them both: But the Censorious would pronounce it Flattery, and the Severe would call it injudicious Gratitude. It is better to be silent, than to be suspected of offering what is not fit for the one to give, and the other to receive.
Shall we then rather speak in general of the discreet choice which is made of persons to preside over us in Church and State? Many would say that this was paying compliments to the Age, at the expense of truth. It were no hard talk to confute them ; but, declining this, for several
• Ut effe folis gratius lumen folet
reasons, I chufe rather to follow my text, and to give them an advice, of which I am sure they greatly stand in need; and that is, that they would be cautious not to run into the extreme, of undervaluing and reviling their teachers and governors.
Say not thou, says Solomon, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? For thou doft not inquire wisely concerning this. There is room to, conjecture that Solomon spake this feelingly, and for particular reasons. There were probably in his time. perverse men in Israel, who shook their foolish heads, and regretted the old days; and observed that the reign of his father David was preferable to his; and that it was better with the nation under Saul, than under the new family. Such judgments he condemns, as proceeding from malicious spleen, and senseless prejudice. To bring the matter home to ourselves, One who were to consider the thing impartially, and found in himfelf no disposition to flatter, or to rail, or to repine, would probably be of opinion that the world goes on, as the fun thinés, much as it did before we were born, and that we are no worfe than our progenitors : for as to public calamities, which human prudence cannot foresee, or, foreseeing; cannot prevent, it is very unreasonable to lay them to the charge of the government; and the civil Magistrate might justly say, as the king of Israel did, Am I God; to kill and to make alive? - where
fore consider, I pray you, and see, how they seek a quarrel against me.
One thing, only, give me leave to add, for I cannot decently stifle it, in favour of our own times; namely, that Learning,-learning, which has made a man pass for a Magician, for a Heretic, and for a Fool, and has been often observed to be a symptom of poverty,- is no disqualification or impediment, but rather a credit and a recommendation. It has some friends and favourers, even amongst the great; and it has no enemy except Envy, which pilfers and purloins a small matter from an established character; a moderate tax upon superior; abilities, and a loss which is scarcely felt.
It would be an unpardonable omission in one, who has had a liberal education, not to lay hold of this occasion, and proceed to say something in behalf of Literature. We, who cannot reward it, ought at least to recommend it to those who can; and exhort and admonish them, that they would cherish and protect it, even for their own sake. We are naturally disposed to seek and to value reputation; Reputation and praise are a recompense, which our Saviour himself with his own facred mouth conferred upon a generous action: Wheresoever, says he, this Gospel shall be preached in the
11 Kings, v.7. - Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me, to recover a man of his leprosy? said the king of Israel. Our sovereign likewise pretends not to cure the leprol; and yet is a rightful king, and a good ruler for all that.