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extraordinary influence of the Holy Ghost, viz. a power of working miracles? No such thing is presumed, or intended; but surely Mr. V. will not deny, but that the general influence of the Holy Spirit upon the fouls of the candidates, may be conveyed by this outward ceremony, accompanied as it is by earnest prayer to the great Dispenser of all spiritual gifts.— Mr. V. maintains that the influence of the Holy Spint is necejfary ;—now is it to be supposed that this necessary influence must be intercepted or destroyed by the laying on of hands by the bishop and the attendant priests? will Mr. V. be so uncharitable as to deny that the Holy Spirit aids the ministers of the church in their labours? that he influences those who preach by the way-fide, in a field, in a bam, or in the secret-chamber ; and is withheld from those who exercise their functions in a church? that he powerfully assists those who pour out extemporaneous effusions in the pulpit, orjel se where; and that, though besought by earnest and humble supplication, he is denied to the pastor, who in his closet first composes assiduously, what he is afterwards to deliver to his stack? Of old this exclusive right was set up by those whose zeal outstripped their knowledge.—" Zedekiah, the son of Chenaanah (the deceived prophet) smote Micaiah (the prophet of truthJ upon the cheek, and said. Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak unto thee? and Micaiah said, behold thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself."
Mr. V. has a fling at the delivery of preconceived sermons. "Telum imbelle fine iclu." "We conceive, fays he, that reading is not preaching; and we think that even the reasoning powers of a Newton would fail in attempting to prove that it is. We conceive it a scandal to a man, whose business it is to study and teach divinity, if he be not able to speak for an hour upon the doctrines and duties of the Gospel without first writing it down, and then reading it as a school-boy does his theme." Intellectual powers equal to Newton's, might be better employed than in discussions such as Mr. Vipond's. The Apostles saw the affair in another light. They deemed reading and preaching one and the same thing. Acts xv. St. "Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him; being read in the Synagogues every Sabbath-Day." It does not appear that in the Apostles' days men were so fastidious as not to bear the repetition of a sermon, after a very short interval; for we find, Acts xiii. 42. that when Paul had preached to a mixed assembly
fembly of Jews and Proselytes at Antioch; after *• the Jews had gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the Next SabBath." But, after all, does it necessarily follow that because a man commits his sermon to paper, he must needs read it in the pulpit as a school-boy reads (not a theme, for school-boys do not read themes but) a declamation? Has Mr. Vipond ever heard that most animated preacher, the Bishop of London, deliver a written sermon ? Has he ever heard Dr. Andrewes preach? Do they, or do multitudes of the clergy, admirable preachers, throughout our towns and villages, read their sermons like school-boys? Fye, Fye.—Mr. Vipond knows full well the miserable work which extemporaneous preachers make of it. Surely he must have heard them •' fretting their hour," racking their barren invention; beginning sentences without finishing 'hem; substituting noise or vigour of argument, and whining for pathos; eking out then* frothy rant with patches of stale common-place, or a few ready-manufactured sentences learnt by rote and repeated as often as necessity requires.—I am sick of enumerating their wretched deficiencies and offences against common fense, sick of reckoning up their miserable shifts!
"We begin, (fays Mr. Vipond,) our public worship by singing an appropriate hymn." The Church of England does not commence her worship with praising God. She first confesses her fins, and presumes not to address God with "unclean lips." In beginning Divine service with singing; the methodists harmonize with the dissenters;—not the only point in which they agree. Certainly, by giving up the neecsiity for episcopal ordination, the methodists are become prelbyterians.
Mr. Vipond fays, they " use the Book of Common-Prayer, or an abridgement of it, in many of their larger chapels." They not only abridge but alter the Common-Prayer-Book. Instead of praying for "bishops, priests and deacons," or for "bishops and curates," they pray for ministers of the.Gospel. Casting off, with the Genevan Calvinists, the authority of bishops„and caring not at all whether they have a priest among them or no, they do not choose to say Amen to a prayer for the well-being of either; and superseding as far as lies in their power the office of curates, they would sink the very appellation itself.
Mr. V. would willingly obviate an objection brought against the frequenters of methodistical meeting-houses, viz.
"that "that tbev have no proper pallors;"—but be does this in a very bungling manner. He sap as long as "the preachers remain in any circuit, they are properly the pastors of every congregation therein." What fort of pastors are these? whai is the meaning of the words "proper" and " properly," introduced here? can these flitting itinerants be deemed proper pastors? what knowledge can they pick up of the spiritual wants of the people whom they seduce? with what authority are they invested ? are they recognized by law ? are they not intruders, and usurpers of the province of others? can they be correctly denominated proper pallors? have words lost their meaning? does Mr. Vipond think that the public will endure such stuff as this? It may do in a con* venticle, but the good fense of the people of England, will laugh such jargon to scorn.
I am, Sir,
Yours faithfully, Sep. to, tBoy. A LONDON CURATE.
ON SKELTON'S WORKS.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN S
IT may, probably, afford some satisfaction to your respect, able correspondent Iota, as well as to many other of your readers, to be informed that the Sermons of Skelton and his Deism revealed, with some other pieces equally interesting, will shortly be republished. The third volume of sermons which was sold in Ireland only, is now in the press, and will be in the hands of the booksellers in November next; to which I shall probably add his Essay on the Sacrament, being a reply to bishop Hoadley's plain account, divesting it of its irony and satire; and his admirable Prayers for Families. It may be proper to acquaint your readers that those discourses which I have incorporated into my Selected Sermons, and also those which I intend for a
third third volume now ready for the press, will not be repubHslied: for as Skelton is, I believe, known chiefly by my means, and as, in consequence, his works, which within a few years, fold at eighteen-pence a volume, are not now to be bought at any price; I presume that the purchasers will consist of those chiefly who have been delighted with his sermons in my selection: it would, therefore, be unreasonable and unjust to subject such of his admirers to an unnecessary expence.
Should the book get into the circulation I am sanguine enough to hope it will from its intrinsic value, and the cha>raster of its author; I shall next re-publish those sermons contained in his first and second volumes which I have not transplanted into my selection. After which, I (hall, as is recommended by a learned and distinguished prelate, re-publish the Substance of Deism Revealed, with the Appeal to Common-Sense on the subjeel qfChriJHanity, which, lays Mr. Burdy, "is superior to any thing Skelton wrote before;" and perhaps, a part of his seventh volume. My design at least is, to comprize in three volumes, every thing which will, I conceive, be now interesting that Skelton has written.
It may be, probably, not unacceptable to your readers to have in one view, a short history of the publications of this celebrated writer.
In the year 1736, he published a pamphlet, the title of which is, A Vindication of the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Winchester. Skelton, as Mr. Burdy expresses it, "under the pretence of defending the bishop's character, exposes him." He published in the same year, Some Proposals for the Revival of Christianity. "The design of this piece is to ridicule the infidels and enemies of our church." In 1737, A Dissertation on the Constitution and EJFe&s of a petty Jury: Trial by a petty jury being, as he justly imagines, a temptation to perjury. Soon after its publication, the attorney general enquired of the printer who the author was, adding, "inform him from me, I do not think there is virtue enough in the people of this country even to put his scheme in practice." In 1741, he published the Necejjity of Tillage and Granaries, in a Letter to a Member of Parliament; also in the same year, in the Transactions of the Royal Society, a piece entitled, A curious produclion of Nature. "It gives a curious account of a great number of caterpillars that crawled onsome trees in the countyof Monaghan.leaving on the bark of the trees a sine silken web." In 1743, Truth in a Mas que: "it .. , consists consists of thirteen allusions, in which he fays, in his dedication, he has given religious truth such a dress and malk as rnay perhaps procure it admittance to a conference with some of its oppofers and contemners. The dedication alone is worthy pf being preserved." In 1744, The candid Reader, addressed to his terraqueous Majejty the World. The objects of his satire are Hill the mathematician, lord Shaftesbury, &c. In the same vear he also published a Letter to the authors of Divine Analogy, and the Minute Philosopher :from an old Officer. "The veteran, in a military style advises the two polemics to turn their arms from one another against tha common enemies of the Christian faith." In 1745, he published a pamphlet called The Chevalier's Hopes: " in which he (hews that the pretender had no other hope of success than in the horrible wickedness of these kingdoms, which might justly bring down Oh them the Divine vengeance." In 1749, ms Deifm revealed appeared, by which he made about jjaoo.* In 1753, The Confutation, or a Dialogue of the Gods, in the manner of Lucian. "It is intended to ridicule the Arians whom it represents as polytheists, because they hold one supreme, and other inferior gods." The next year his two volumes of sermons. In 1770, he published his works in five volumes. The 4th volume contains the sermons I am now re-printing, and the 5th, the pamphlets I have mentioned, with five other tracts. In the year 1784,116 pub* timed his 6th volume, entitled An Appeal to Common-fense on the fubjeS of Chrijlianity; with the addition of Some thoughts on Common fense." "The rest of this volume cons lists of thirteen hymns, with a poetic introduction to them, and a Latin poem, which appear rather calculated to enliven his own piety in private, than to excite devotion in others." In 1786, his 7th volume was published, entitled Senilia, or an Old Man s Miscellany. "It consists, for the most part, of brief observations on some passages of the New Testa*, ment."—I requested a literary friend who went lately to Dublin, to bring me a copy of it. He informs me that the Dublin booksellers had never heard of such a book; and that Skelton, they assured him, had published only fix volumes. After a long search he met with a single copy. I have not yet received it, but am in daily expectation of it.