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a foible; or robbery, an indiscretion; or to let those who are charged with the conservation of a nation's health, go off with the common falvo of human imperfection, when they permit infected goods or persons to go into the city, and introduce “ wide-wasting “ pestilence." These are great crimes; and he who speaks of them in palliating language, transfers to himself, a portion of that guilt he attempts to extenuate,
The good of mankind, therefore, forbidding this false candour, the author must be
permitted to speak of evil things in such terms, as may tend to beget a proper sense of their nature, Yet in animadverting on thofe who commit them, he trusts, he shall not forget that he is a fallen creature himself; and that he shall be preserved from exercising an undue degree of severity toward them, by the recollection of his own need of mercy. He will pay attention to that fine remonstrance of our great dramatist:
” Alas! Alas!
“ Pound out the remedy: How would you be,
To assign fo large a portion of a public cation professing to bave a general design, to the case of a particular class of clergymen, called evangelical ministers, as is done in the following pages, may create a suspicion in fome minds, that the main design of this publication, is, to make the best of their cause. To this it may be replied, that if such were the author's design, he knows not what purpose it could answer to prosecute it in so insidious a way.
His country, he believes, would listen to any thing respectfully offered, that an apologist had to say in their behalf; and would like the avowed advocate much better than the disguised partisan; whom, after all, they would discover, through every art of concealment. For the clients likewise, it would be more advantageous to speak avowedly in their behalf, than to do otherwise. The defence, having its design on the face of it, would be favourably received; offered with a false title, it would
be rejected as a trick. In such high estimation is honesty among Britons.
! But the fact is, that the author's mind will no more suffer him to take up the caufe of these clergymen in the grofs, than it will to condemn them indiscriminately. Yet considering the earnestnefs by which they are distinguished, and knowing that much misrepresentation concerning them is in circulation; he was desirous of giving the public correct information about a body of men, who from their situation as well as character, could be no indifferent objects of consideration, in an enquiry into the means of restoring the decaying interests of religion.
The performance of this task could not be comprised within the limits of few
pages. It required the consideration of several dočtrinal points of great importance in the system of Christianity, the examination of several different charges, and the induction of no small quantity of historical matter, to give such an account to the public, as should enable it to judge rightly in the case:
The intention of this part of the work, is, to apprize mankind, that there exists a diftinction between persons, who are designated by a common appellation; that who are called Evangelical ministers, there are fober thinkers, as well as enthusiasts; orderly clergymen, as well as irregular ones; found scholars, as well as superficial declaimers; lovers of
and union, as well as litigious controvertists. To exempt those from the ban of traduction, whose end is worthy of their profession, and whose measures for obtaining that end are unexceptionable ; is the whole of what will be attempted, when this class of clergymen is under consideration.
Of this distinction, it appears to be the endeavour of fome writers, (with what intention let their JUDGE determine) to obliterate every mark by which it might be discovered. The character of the pious clergyman, devoted to the prosperity of the national church and the welfare of his flock, cannot be greatly affected, among his parishioners, by this procedure. They who “ know the man and his “ communication,” will not confound his assiduity, with the zeal of a profelyting sectary. The unproved affertions of an anonymous writer, will weigh nothing against the known character, and unmasked proceedings, of the man who lives under their eye. Nor will they be persuaded so far to distrust their own senses, as to believe, on the affirmation of nobody knows who, that in that place of worship which they constantly attend, there are means used to propagate any thing different from what the Church of England requires of her members, if it be not really so.
But on the public mind, this confounding of things that materially differ, may have a mischievous effect. It tends to bring that earnestness into disrepute, which, in the present declining state of religion, is requisite to prevent a further departure from the spirit and practice of Christianity. The public good, therefore, requires, that some means be used, for putting mankind upon judging for themselves, of that individual who comes before them in the character of a Christian minister; and for guarding them against those, who, whether from Sadducean principles, want of information, or misguided zeal, may lead them to misconceive of those endeavours, which are