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JOHN INGLIS, D. D.
ONE OF THE MINISTERS OF OLD GRAYFRIARS' CHURCH, EDINBURGH,
WILLIAM BLACKWOOD, EDINBURGH; AND
The publication of this tract is not the consequence of any impression that the argument in behalf of Ecclesiastical Establishments stands in need of my aid, for the conviction and satisfaction of those who are well acquainted with the past and existing state of the controversy. Perhaps no argument, on a subject respecting which wise men have differed, was ever more triumphant than that by which the cause of ecclesiastical establishments has been maintained. It was, therefore, scarcely possible for me to entertain a hope that they who had perused deliberately, and yet in vain, either all, or nearly all, that had been written in support of such establishments, were to be more convinced by such additional views of the subject as I should have it in my power to present. But it has appeared to me, notwithstanding, that such a statement and review of the argument as that which I now offer, is at present powerfully called for. There is ground to believe that, for a long time, the argument for and against church establishments occupied but a very small share of public attention. With the exception, it may be, of some dissenters, it is believed that very few, indeed, of the laity gravely considered it. The existing circumstances seemed to excuse them for neglecting it; there was nothing that seemed to endanger our ecclesiastical establishments, or bring them into question. But, in our day, institutions coëval with them are in the course of being changed or modified; and men are, in consequence, prepared to analyze and examine the principles and foundation of every institution, whether civil or religious. The enemies of ecclesiastical establishments are very naturally taking advantage of this state of the public mind for accomplishing the subversion of institutions which they disapprove; some men, whom the public had a right to believe friendly to the ge
neral principle of a church establishment, have recently expressed their opinion against it ;and, in these circumstances, it seems to have become necessary that the laity in particular, who have been hitherto attached to an established church, be earnestly invited to examine its foundations.
What is proposed will, of course, admit of due attention being paid to any thing that can be regarded as new in the objections which are urged in the present day. It will also admit of my presenting such auxiliary views of the argument as have occurred to my own mind. And it is hoped that nothing can be understood as forbidding me to advert-assuredly not with a disposition to retaliate, but in the spirit of such self-defence as is consistent with Christian charity—to the attacks which have been recently made on the Clergy of that national church to which I have the honour to belong.
4th May 1833.