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the very foundation of all piety and usefulness is subverted,
It would ill become the writer of these pages to attempt to lay down a definite standard of all the minute particulars of correct doctrine; or to specify the exact point where fundamental and secondary topics appear to meet. He can only recommend, on this subject, to others, what he would earnestly desire to practise himself; namely, to “search the Scriptures” with an unbiassed aim to discover truth, and with constant prayer to Him who is the enlightener of the ignorant; employing at the same time every subordinate assistance, and especially that afforded by the truly valuable formularies of our own church. The two greatest obstacles in the way of acquiring a correct knowledge of Scripture-doctrine, next to the natural ignorance and indifference of the human heart, are the love of system and the spirit of party. It is almost impossible for any person in the present day wholly to avoid these two sources of misconception; and we are all too apt to read the Scriptures themselves in such a way as to make them rather minister to, than correct, our prejudices. It is perhaps the wisest advice which can be given to a young student in divinity, to avoid irrevocably identifying himself with mere partizans on any side;
especially till he has had time and opportunity for taking a large and scriptural survey of the Gospel, and for weighing the writings of our most eminent divines; especially those of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, who flourished nearest the period of the Reformation, and best knew the principles on which our church was founded.
But not to anticipate those observations on doctrine which may occur more at length in the remarks which will be made on preaching, the author will only say under the present head, that he believes the more forcibly and explicitly the clergy insist upon the great subjects of the Fall of man and the Atonement effected by Jesus Christ, including, of course, all that is connected with these fundamental topics ;-as, for example, the personality and Divinity of the Son of God and the Holy Spirit; the doctrine of original and actual sin; the insufficiency of man to merit heaven by his own works ; justification exclusively by faith; the need and nature of the Divine influences; the importance of the Christian sacraments; the necessity of conversion to God, --its character, its evidences, its results; with all the social, moral, and spiritual duties which become the Christian, and which are to be grounded upon evangelical principles-on love to God,
and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ ;--the more scriptural will be their preaching, the greater will be the benefit to the souls of men, the better will the interests of Christian holiness be consulted, and the more conformable will be their doctrines with those of the Established Church.
iï. By the piety and spirituality of their lives.
But in vain will the clergy prove themselves orthodox in their creed, and learned in the studies of their profession, if to these intellectual, they do not also add spiritual and devotional, attainments. It is not enough that a member of the sacred order is free from the grosser vices, or that he practise the popular virtues; he must be “a man of God,” a humble disciple in the school of his Redeemer; he must be “ crucified with Christ,” and appear upon earth as though he were an inhabitant of heaven, which he had only quitted for a season in order to teach his, fellow-mortals the way thither.
“ The life of a pious clergyman,” as the exemplary Hooker was accustomed to remark, “ is visible rhetoric; and is so convincing, that the most godless men, though they will not deny themselves the enjoyment of present lusts, yet secretly wish themselves like those of strictest lives.” It is true that Christianity
might still be true though all its disciples were inconsistent, and all its professed ministers vain and worldly; but it is the usual habit of mankind to identify an office with the agent, and thus to take their measures of religion chiefly from the lives of those who profess to advocate its cause. On this subject the following pointed remarks from the close of Bishop Burnet's preface to his “ Vindication of the Ordinations of the Church of England,” deserve to be seriously weighed by all who value the interests of religion or the Established Church. “ If we study to adorn our profession and walk worthy of our holy calling we need not fear our cause, nor all the endeavours of those that study to defame us. Without this, the most laboured apologies will not signify much to support our credit; for the world is more affected with lively instances and great examples, than with the most learned composures. Every man's understanding is wrought on by the one; the other only prevail on considering and judicious persons. And any charge that is put in against the pastors or orders of a church will be but little regarded when those that bear office in it, chiefly in the highest degrees, are burning and shining lights: few will then stumble or be shaken with any thing that can be said to eclipse their bright
'Tis for the most part want of merit in churchmen that recommends any arguments that are levelled at their persons or functions to the world. And though malice and spite ferment with the more rage the worthier the persons are against whom they work, yet all attempts must needs be not only unsuccessful, but fall back with shame on the authors, when all the world sees the injustice of them.”—The truth of these remarks is too obvious to need illustration; and oh that all who profess to have at heart the cause of religion or the welfare of the Church of England would endeavour to act up to the inference which results from them!
But though the world at large are thus quick-sighted in discerning gross defects of conduct, and in making use of them in the case of the clergy for the disparagement of religion they are by no means acquainted with the scriptural standard of what a minister of Christ ought to be; and hence the views which are ordinarily entertained relative to the duties of the clerical character are far more calculated to debase than to elevate the ideas of a young divine who takes his estimate of the office from the opinions current in society. A modern writer on “ Professional Education * " rates economy, the love of retirement, plain
• The late Mr. Edgeworth.