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The bishop closes his Charge with an earnest exhortation to a vigilant union among the clergy for the vindication of themselves, and the support of the Church, -•■•-■
"When a citadel" says he, "is beset on every side by combined armies contending for its overthrow, the besieged, if they regard their own safety, will not altercate about names and words, nor about the design with which some minuter parts of the garrison were originally built. They will rather consider thems&Ves as being all fellow-soldiers, engaged in the same warfare, exposed to the same danger, and expecting safety from the same means; they will rather see if the whole of their castle be strong, and guarded in its general structure; they will defend their fortress as behoves men; they will stand by each other as becomes brethren in arms, taken up in the service of the same country, and for mutual protection against assailing foes. This illustration you will easily apply to our own situation, and to existing circumstances, which in their nature and tendency affect our establishment. • "There are many things in lift*, which we do not rightly appreciate, till some inconvenience, or greater evil, arising from the loss of them, makes us sensibly perceive their real value. This it particularly the case with regard to customs and usages. During their continuance, and whilst we are observing them, we seldom reflect on their utility, or on the purposes for which they were appointed. But when, from their cessation, we have experienced some serious and ill consequence, then we discover the end Which they had in vie*, and the wisdom irt which they originated.
"(p customs and usages ecclesiastical* delivered down to thein from early days, those who framed the polity of bur Reformed Church retained such as they conceived were calculated to render the clergy individually and collectively more respectable, and thence more efficient, Either through less knowledge of mankind, or relaxed attention, or inconsistent desire of secularity, or affectation of what is called liberality, their successors in after-times, in this respect departed from the prudence of those who lived before them; and most assuredly sueh departure was not to the spiri? tual advantage either of clergy or laity. The usage of Visitations Still however remains. They are not indeed holden with primitive rigour; for happily the correct morals of the clergy in general have now superseded the necessity of rigour; but they ar» nevertheless productive of so many salutary effects, that the omis-, sion of them would soon furnish too just occasion for sincere regret. Your appearance here this day, so creditable to yourselves, and gratifying to your Diocesan, in itself evinces the right sense you entertain of the propriety and utility attached to Visitations. You therefore need not be exhorted to attend with regularity, at All the seasons when you are officially convoked.
"But It might not be superfluous, if through you, the, future candidates for our ministry and cures were told, That in ecclesiastical, equally as in civil government, obedience to fcws is a duty; tftat 6ft the clergy, toho have Solemnly promised lo conform, and to • obey their Ordinary and other chief Ministers, uritd whom Ss committed the charge and government over Ih'eift,' the obligation of obedience to laws is doubly binding. That among other api pbintments, the laws of our church lave ordained stated clerical assemblies. That observance of those laws, and attendance on those assemblies should be made matters of conscience. '•' With a view moreover to that union among ourselves, which many weighty considerations urge us to cultivate, and which therei fore has been recommended to you; with a view to that most desirable object we should persevere In paying dub regard to the institutions of which we are speaking. For? by frequently convening, we promote familiar intercourse. Familiar iriterc'durse creates attachment; attachment not ohly of individuals to each otheirj but of all who so assemble, to the order.of clergy in general:
"Those, who wish not well to the civil and religious polity of this nation, are not insensible of the efficacy derived from frequent association with persons engaged In the same cause. They have therefore their private conferences, their local classesj their extent slve connections, their general assemblies, by means of which thcjr co-operate from one part of the kingdom to the other. 'Fas est et ab Hpste doceri.' If our malignant and subtile adversaries embrace every possible opportunity of convening, for the purpose of concerting measures to undermine our civil and religious Goifc stitution, fa;* be it from us to neglect any occasion, by which we can hope to coalesce in closer union and combine in stronger force, for the preservation of what we should value as the basis of Rational religion and virtue, of national prosperity and happiness, oui wisely-constructed and lohg;tried Establishment in Church arid! State/'
In a note the bishop of Gloucester pays a handsome compliment to several of the Clergy of his diocese, by enumerating a variety of works published by them in philology, antiquities, poetry, and divinity.
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A Sermon, preached in the Chapel of the Magdalen Hospital, before the Prejident, Vice-Presidents, and Governors of that Charity, at their Anniversary Meeting, on Thursday, April 23, 1807. By Thomas Lewis Q'beirne, D. D. Lord Bishop of Mtath, 8vo, Is. 6d.
THIS eloquent discourse is inscribed to Mr, Park, one ef his Majesty's counsel, and from the dedication we extract the fpllowing wkh pleasure. <
*** ■ «Ia
ula an age, wiæa to every tl-,l-,r-"ng rv-d it Bast be ssoer as Khob aiara. to witness so general * degeneracy £xcn die spark and temper of the earier cayi « ocr Keiocz:cc Church, it must be pecuJar'ly consoEng lo have Lriz* earn? les to n—:nri B of the distiag'xsoexi iegal cLaracters of uose cars, who, to tee highest proiesiiooal reputation, abided the still higz«er praise of genuine piety,^r-afected devotion, and erteasiTi Ctrlstlin knovieJge.
** From the countenance and co-operation of sech characters, refuting the senseless position that Religion is the business of the clergy alone, the study of none bat the weak, the ignorant, and site deluded, the teachers of the Gospel most derive angular advantage in their ministerial labours: nor can we but congratulate with every friend of Christianity, when, in support of oar claims on the laity to join with us in stemming the torrent of irrriigion that is breaking in upon us, we have to plead the instance of one of the most eminent and learned of the profession of the law edifying the public by such productions as, the u Earnest Exhortation to a frequent Reception of the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper," and amidst ail the toils and fatigues of the bar, that always increase with increasing celebrity, taking an active part in the promotion of every charitable Institution that provides a Christian education for the children of the poor, that reclaims them from vice, or withdraws them from its early.contagion, and that opens an asylum lo the repenting sinner."
The subject of the sermon is education, and it is treated v/ith a force of reasoning and glow of eloquence suited to its vast importance. To a neglected or an erroneous education ire to be attributed most ot the evils which deform the present age, and threaten to destroy that solidity of principle which has hitherto given the people of this land an elevated distinction above most of the nations upon earth.
The accursed maxim, that religious instruction should make no part os the early education of youth, is most ably combated and exposed in this sermon; and the bishop exhibits its destructive consequences in a faithful picture of modern manners in what is called the fashionable world, and in those who are foolishly emulous to imitate the corruptions •f the upper ranks of lite.
M Departing from the wise and sober example of our ancestors, the sons and daughters of the country gentleman and the wealthy trader are, in our days, trained in the same course as the nobles and highest commoners of the land j and our modern system of -education is, so far, like most other modern systems, that it is fram•<l and calculated to level all distinctions and confound all ranks. —So far is this true, that it extends through all the gradations of thtte conditions amongst ut. Each treads so close on the other
that there appears to be a general contest and emulation in tricking out the youth of both sexes as creatures designed for no higher aims, or more exalted objects, than are to be attained by external appearances, and what are called fashionable accomplishments, to the neglect of all the religion of Jesus Christ teaches as most essential to their present, and exclusively essential to their future happiness.
"On these external appearances, and these fashionable accomplishments no expences are spared, no assiduities. The great ol> ject is to provide for what we deem the good things of this world. To give our sons those acquirements that shall fit them to appear with advantage on the public stage of life, to maintain their rank, or to raise themselves to wealth and consequence. It is to fashion and form our daughters for admiration, and to adorn them for advantageous pursuit.
"If those to whom we intrust them from their earliest days, not as assistants but as substitutes, to whom we altogether transfer the duties which nature and nature's God have imposed upon ourselves, should snatch a few moments from the various occupations that are enjoined them, to give their pupils of either sex some idea of God or of religion, 'tis well: but in how comparatively few 'instances does it form any part of the stipulation- of the parent on purchasing their services .'—And as for morals, who but priests or bigots, or the dupes of bigots and priests, would look for them to the dull and antiquated pages of the Scriptures, or to books written in their spirit and inculcating their maxims ?—The morals of a gentleman are to be learned from such fashionable volumes as those in which simulation and dissimulation are recommended by parental authority. Where the father inculcates to his son lessons of seduction, systematically delivered and experimentally enforced; and where the disgrace of families, and the destruction of their peace in the infidelity of the wife, are adduced as the best proof he can give of an education becoming his condition, as his best recommendation to universal acceptance whenever he presents himself, and a security of success in all his pursuits.
"Latterly, we have even seen exceeded what, not twenty years ago, was considered as a system deserving universal abhorrence and execration. The pupil of Chesterfield would be an object of love, compared with him who is left to be early initiated in the doctrines of our modern philosophers; and we should be almost reconciled to the polished vices of the one when placed in contrast with the vulgar, disgusting, shocking immoralities, and brutal licentiousness of the other.
"For the daughters another school is opened—The School of Novels and Romance ;<—the School of Modern Female Morality, —In that school, to purify their principles and rectify their morals, the senses must be seduced, and the passions inflamed. There the great master in this art, the canonised philosopher of Geneva, leads his youthful pupil through all the blandishments of voluptueusnessj all the violence of unrestrained desires, all the wild fancies
of of a heated imagination; and by every insidious attack on all the venerable prejudices and sacred institutions that have ever hitherto preserved the sanctity and purity of the union between the sexes, raises her to the sublime character of a ft-male philosopher, and of that monster of Christian days, a female Deist.
"In. that school are taught the Rights of Women. There the emancipated sex are instructed to shake off all the shackles with which they have been hitherto clogged by tyrannical custom and usurping prejudices; to break into all the provinces that have been hitherto supposed to belong exclusively to the rougher sex; to cast away every restraint that has hitherto guarded the lips of the modest virgin and the chaste matron ; to pry into those secrets of nature, the very mention of which has been hitherto considered as incompatible with female delicacy, and to indulge in as un? restrained a freedom of language, as in an unbounded freedom of thinking.*
"In that school, all the art and magic of the stage, all the fascinating power of those transcendent talents, that give reality to fiction, and that so irresistibly dispose the young and warm heart to act what so forcibly awakens all its feelings, and to be what it beholds with such interest and delight, all are employed to undermine the principles in which the female character is formed to soften, polish, and improve life: they are employed to recommend to pity, to commiseration, to affection, to respect, the adultress,— the adultress who, lo the foulest crime that can be committed •gainst religion or society, against the laws of God or man, adds the blackest ingratitude, and dishonours the bed of her benefactor and husband; while, by a refinement in the science of depraving the heart and debasing the principles, it is left in doubt, in. the play to which you all know I allude,+ whether that husband is to be an object of hatred, and branded with the imputation of brutality for not going the full length of the feelings which the poet has awakened in his audience, or whether he conforms himself to their sentiments; descends to what even the maxims of the •world so universally, and as it were instinctively, condemn as shocking and degrading; reconciles himself to his own shame; takes pollution to his arms; and commits the children of his love to the care and direction of that unnatural mother who forgot ail she owed them, aud involved them in her own disgrace and infamy!
• The Rights of Women, by Mrs. Wolstencroft.
f The Stranger.—Hopes have been entertained that the tastt.' for these German Plays was one of those novelties, that soon wear themselves out, and that our stage would not be long disgraced by them: but the Stranger, palliating, adultery, and Pizarro, debasing the Christian Religipn below all others, are still among our stock plays, and continue tq ;,'bq exhibited with the whale strength of the Theatre.