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don, but also against that Rev. Gentleman himselfcannot well conceive any thing more truly disgusting to an honest mind, tban to wade through the mass of viru. Jent matter, invective, and false statement.contained in their publications, in the different stages of the canvass, and of the election. At the vestry meetings, every thing was carried that Mr. Foster's party proposed by acclamatory applause. Every, one of their speakers was atten, tively heard, while the friends of Mr. Lendon, if they -attempted to express their sentiments, were silenced by hootings, hisses, and groans. Even the sacred place in which they were assembled could not awe them into de cency.--Much of this tumult and irregularity might have been prevented by the Churchwarden who presided at these meetings. But riot and disorder were suffered to reigo unmolested; and though the Churchwarden was several times called upon to preserve order, he contented „himself with making iwo or three feeble attempts for that
purpose, by saying " Order, order, order, Gentlemen ;) knocking his hammer for a few seconds, and then let. sing turbulence and outrage take their course. Considering that this Church warden though er officio, the returning officer at the election, had so imperfect an idea of the impartiality which ought to have governed his conduct, as not only to have personally canvassed for Mr. Foster, attended bis committees, and signed their publications but even, in his excessive zeal to serve the interests of that gentleman, did not think it degrading the office which be held to turn bill sticker in his service, his con. duct on the occasions to which I allude was by no means. extraordinary. .
Mr. Foster is allowed by the Church wardens to preach every Sunday morning at the church to a motley group, collected from all parts, both within and out of the paTish. Nothing could exceed the confuson and bustle which prevailed at his first sermon. The church was filled at an early period; the seats of the parishioners were pre-decupied in many instances, so that it was with great difficulty that any could get access to their pews, and several were obliged, after many fruitless exertions, to return home. The church had more the resemblance of a theatre on a benefit night, than a place dedicated to religious worship. Seats were broken in the eagerness to enter them; the prayers were considered as little more than the averture to the entertainment; all
med at his cd; the seats.ces, so that it the
was noise and disturbance; that excellent and sober form of service, the liturgy, seemed to be utterly disregarded, and the reader was not to be heard for the clattering of tongues; but as soon as the preacher entered the pulpit, a still and attentive silence prevailed. : I have long been of opinion that the conduct of the Methodists cannot be too minutely exposed.' This I hold to be one of the most effectual means of putting the true friends of the Church of England on their guard, and of rouzing them to proper and timely exertions for its security and defence. Our venerable Church is exposed to two dangers of no uncommon magnitude, though of very opposite natures, Infidelity and Enthusiasm, though I am disposed to believe that the former of these evils does not exist * to the extent it did some years ago. The solemnly impressive events which have passed, and are now passing in the world; and, in particular, the experience furnished by a neighbouring nation within the last 14 years, have had a most powerful tendency in bringing the minds, at least of what is called the reflecting and welldisposed.part of our countrymen to a juster way of thinking on matters of Religion. As to enthusiasm, it seems to be a disease, which, in the form of Methodism, is making its way with accelerated progress; and there is no saying to what mischievous consequences it may not lead. We all know how this species of enthusiasm (which is no other than puritanism under another name) terminated in the reign of Charles I. and I do not see what is to prevent it from producing the same bitter fruits in our days, unless something be done to check its violence, pay, unless every exertion be made to counteract its influence. Who, I would ask, can contemplate the genius and character of modern Puritanism ; the wildness and extravagance of its votaries, the variance between the principles they profess, and those of our Church; contemptuous animosity they bear to the regular Clergy; the variety and extensiveness of those means which they employ to increase their party, the numbers who are daily seduced from our communion to their societies; the swarms of new places of worship which are constantly springing up in various parts of the kingdom, under the most powerful patronage;
* We are afraid that this belief of our worthy Correspondent has been too hastily adopted. Enthusiasm is a more powerful friend to Infidelity than is generally imagined.--Ep.
gement and rebuile necessary acich not least, th
the enlargement and rebuilding of conventicles belonging to this sect to furnish the necessary accommodation to overgrown congregations; and last, though not least, the aspiring views of this “ vast and growing species.” Who, I say, can coolly and deliberately weigh these things and not feel something more than a cammon conviction of the danger to which our constitution, as well in State as in Church, is exposed by the free and unopposed progress of their doctrines; and the widely spreading influence of those who espouse them. None but a Methodist will, I think be disposed to deny that if these people should ever gain that ascendancy among us, to which they are so fast advancing, that they would like their precursors, the old Puritans, feel it a duty zealously to contend for the establishment of their own visionary principles, under the supreme authority of law, in lieu of the doctrines of that Church which at present enjoy its protection, This is no uncharitable conclusion; it is warranted by human observation; it is confirmed by the experience of former times; if these wild enthusiasts look with an evil eye upon the doctrines of our church; if they regard, as they unquestionably do the Clergy, as men of « darkened understandings,” as “ dumb dogs," as unprofitable and erroneous Teachers;" if they have separated from communion with that Church, because the truths of the Gospel are not taught within its pale, (at least but by a comparatively small number, viz the Gospel Ministers as they call themselves, who are in general no other than ordained Methodists *, and if they are continually striving, by every
* Of the similarity of doctrine, and indeed sympathy of feeling which exist between the Methodist Sectarists, and the Gospel Ministers of our Establishment, it is unnecessary to multiply proofs; for the very térm of Gospel Minister, by which they arrogantly distinguish themselves from their brethren at large, most clearly implies, that according to their judgments, “ the great body of the Clergy," (as it is stated in Cado gan's Discourses)“ do not preach the Gospel." I will, at present content myself with the relation of two facts in corroboration of it. A Lecturer of St. George's, Southwark, within a few years, declared from the pulpit, that “ nine-tenths of these Ministers, i. e. the regular Ministers), « preach directly contrary to their ordination oaths;" and I have it from the most respectable authority that the Reo. Henry Foster. who, at present, has possession of the pulpit of St James's, Clerkenwell, (but will not I trust long) did, on the i7th of July, in the year 1796, in a Serinon which he preached at the Parish Church of Margate, on a charitable occasion, from the text.“ Is there no balm in Gilead;" after mentioning or reading the 11th Article of our Church), insinuate, if Bot directly assert, that the Clergy teach a doctrine opposite to the oath
means, imeans, both open and concealed, to entice others, in what they conceive to be a more wholesome path of instruction, is it not natural and reasonable to infer, that if they but once possess the power, they will exert the inclination, (and with all the zeal and energy by which they are distinguished) to establish an order of things in the Church more consonant to their own ideas; and can we doubt but that they would make Methodism the established Religion of the Country * and eject those Ministers from their cures and offices who preach sound and sober doctrine. Is it not then incumbent on every true friend to our happy form of Government, “ Ecclesiastical as well as Civil, established within these Realms," to set his countrymen on their guard against these dangers. It is not the security of the Church only, but that of the State also, which is endangered by the spread of this fanatical contagion. It is the observation of an eminent Writer, that “ when å man breaks the Communion, and leaps out of the fold of the Church, 'tis a chance but he bids adieu' to that principle which preserved his loyalty to his Prince.” The remark applies, in a greater or less degree, to all schismatics, of whatever description; but in a particular manner to the Methodists, who are more under the governance of blind zeal, and its concomitants, bigotry and extravagance of principles and conduct, and therefore less under che direction of reason, than any other séct, of any note
they subscribed at Ordination ; and declare, in pretty broad terms, that the members of our Church arrogute merit to themselves for the observance of moral duties; and that they rest on them their justification, forgetful of what they owe to their blessed Redeemer. These may not be the preeise words of the Preacher, but I believe them to be nearly so; but to shew the sense and meaning of the sentimients actually expressed by Mi. Foster, it may not be uvimportant to state that the Curate of Margate Church felt it his duty, on the following Sunday, to inake pointed alla sion to the Sermon in question, and to expose to his congregation the great injustice of the charge, which in that Sermon had been brought against his clerical brethren by one of their own order. Mr. Foster, I am of opinion, will not attempt to disprove the foregoing statement.
* The Puritans who railed so loudly against an Established Religion, and who were the violent enemies of that uniformity which the Church endeavours to preserve, had no sooner succeeded in destroying one than they atteinpted to establish another of their own. “ To bring the Churches of God in the three Kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in Religion, confession of Faithi, form of Church government, directory for worship and catechizing, that we, and our posterity atter us, inay as bretbren live in faith and love, and the Lord may delight to dwell in the vidst of us." That the Lord may be one, and his name one, in the terec Kingdoms."--Solenn Laugue und Covenant.
in the Christian world. It may be proper here to observe that in an attempt made a few years ago by domestic traitors to overthrow the Monarchy and establish a Republic after the jacobin fashion in its room, the conspirators reckoned the religious enthusiasts, of which I have been speaking, among the fittest instruments of their designs * • Under all these circumstances, the danger is not ideal; it is present to our minds; “ it is about us and upon us;" and every precaution and effort should be made to protect us froin it. Let then the Clergy continue to employ and increase their vigilance and care in watching over their respective flocks, in discharging the important duties of their office ; let them be " intent in season and out of season;" and explain, (what I fear is not done as often as it ought, and as the character of the times require), the excellence of every part of our Established Church; her mild and animating spirit; the purity and soundness of her doctrines; the wisdom of her discipline and forms; the beauty and unrivalled excellence of her Liturgy; and, what is equally necessary, the sin of schism, and the evils arising from separation. Let the laity, particu larly those whose examples have the greatest influence, pay a regular and constant attendance on the public service of the Church, and a minute attention to all her ordinances, leading lives correspondent to their outward professions ; let them embrace such opportunites as may naturally present themselves, whether in the free intercourse of private life, or in such other modes as their means and abilities may enable them, of impressing on the minds of others the necessity of discouraging the wild and ungovernable spirit of fanaticism, by developing its nature and tendency, by shewing how contrary it
* In the secret “ Instructions of the British Union to the Condu tors and Members of their Society,” it is stated in Art. V. The Methodists are not to be overlooked. Art. VI. Write to Norwich to preachers among the Methodists. Art. VII. A conference to be held by chosen persons of the Methodists, &c. to concert measures. Vide Report of Committee of House of Conmons. .
“ The Jacobins of this country I very much fear are at this moment makng a tool of Methodism, just as the illumines of Bavaria made a tool of Freemasonry."—Bishop Horsley's Charge, 1800,
“ A pretence of extraordinary zeal for what they call the doctrines of the Gospel has been made use of by many to supplant the hunnble and benevolent precepts of it ; has been converted into a vehicle of practical immorality and licentious conduct; and thus easily worked to the pure, poses of faction and sedition."--Bishop of Bristol's Charge, 1801. 71. Vol. VII. Church. Mag. Dec. 1804. Iii