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till the will shall become general, instruction as to the means must be superfluous.
To obviate this objection, it is only necessary to remark, that, although the great body of the laity are far too little concerned respecting this important question, yet that there are very many individuals among them who view it with intense interest: and of these it may occur that there are some whose habits of life or line of thinking have not particularly led them to consider the mode in which their efforts may be best employed for attaining the desired object; and to such persons any useful suggestions will not be unwelcome. :: Nor let us despond because of the indifference of the mass of the laity. These in every country consist of either the actually poor, or of those who rise but a very few steps above them; both which classes need, and are accustomed to defer to, the advice and excitement of those who are more: wealthy, better educated, or possessed in any way whatever of influence and power. The few, therefore, who are interested on such subjects may by means of wise and unanimous measures effect much towards influencing the population at large. It is to the officers, if we may so speak, of the moral army, that we address the present topic. The class of laymen whom it is most desirable to interest in the in
quiry are those whose rank or education, whose property or situation in life, qualifies them for reducing their benevolent wishes to practice. Still, according to their opportunities, all are concerned to reflect upon the subject; for who is there that is not responsible for the use of his best énergies in benefiting the souls of his fellow-creatures?
Among the various ways in which laymen may best foster and perpetuate devotion and church principles, the following may be espeeially mentioned.
i. By their personal character and example.
ii. By the pious regulation of their families. : M. By providing for the religious education of the infant poor.
id. By securing adequate means of spirituál instruction for the adult population.
v. By an enlightened and conscientious use of their wealth, patronage, and influence.
Each of these points will furnish some interesting topics of remark, applicable to the existing state of things and the modern habits of society.
i. Personal Character and Example. First, then, every person, whatever his rank or station, may more or less promote the cause of religion and the church by his per
ON THE MEANS OF EXCITING' AND MAIN
TAINING AMONG THE MEMBERS OF THE
FROM the thorny mazes of controversy in which we have hitherto been entangled, we now turn to a more fruitful and pleasing field. Having shewn generally that a National Church Establishment is lawful and necessary, we shall bend our view to our own, in order to ascertain how such an important instrument of utility may be rendered most efficient in its operation; as the Christian pastor, after proving the abstract truth of the Gospel, gladly changes his theme to the consideration of its life-giving doctrines, its heavenly precepts, its ineffable rewards. Hitherto we have been surveying at a distance a goodly and extensive edifice, the foundations of which, as we trust, we have ascertained to be firm, and the buttresses impregnable; but
what, alas ! would be its actual value, if it should prove, after all, but a Tadmor in the Wilderness, with its massy columns dilapidated, its beau. teous proportions destroyed, and its original utility forgotten? A national establishment, however scriptural its plan or venerable its institution, is after all but a means to an end; a vast machine which requires corresponding springs and movements, and can be practically beneficial only in proportion as its actual performance, abating for the imperfection of every thing human, corresponds to the theoretic calculation. Much must be allowed for impediment and friction--for the imperfection of materials and the gradual wear and rust of years ; yet still society has a right to demand that a.. church establishment shall be found to accomplish its professed object in as efficient
as can reasonably be expected, under the actual circumstances of the case, and taking fully into the account the innumerable frailties and obliquities of human nature.
But how may such a consummation be best ensured? This is a most important inquiry; and the answer to it will involve many interesting considerations, a few of the more prominent of which it will be the object of the present chapter to suggest.
It is nothing to the purpose to say that the de.
sired effect would be produced, were all our clergy and láity precisely what it behoves them to be; for the question still recurs, how may they most effectually be rendered so, and what particular processes of amelioration seem best calculated to meet the existing exigencies of the case? The greater part of the treatises which have appeared on this question are rather glowing descriptions of the blessings which would accompany a high state of perfection, than practical suggestions for its attainment. It is intended, in the following remarks, to deviate from this course, by pointing out some of the actual : means and instruments for ob. taining the wished-for blessing, rather than descanting upon the blessing itself." - The Author supposes his reader to be really anxious on the subject: he supposes him further to be convinced of the total impos tence of all human means without the constant « dew of God's blessing;” to be looking up implicitly to the Great Head of the church as the Supreme Agent in its preservation, and to be imploring the abundant effusion of His Holy Spirit to extend its usefulness; yet, at the same time, as prayer and exertion should always go together, to be anxiously inquir: ing in what way, in his own sphere of life, whatever it may be, he can best employ his