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SECTS AND PROFESSIONS IN RELIGION.
But cast your eyes again,
And view those errors which new sects maintain,
Or which of old disturb'd the Churches' peaceful reign :
And we can point each period of the time
When they began and who begat the crime ;
Can calculate how long th' eclipse endured ;
Who interposed; what digits were obscured ;
Of all which are already pass'd away,
We knew the rise, the progress, and decay.
Dryden.-Hind and Panther, Part II.
Oh! said the Hind, how many sons have you
Who call you mother, whom you never knew ?
But most of them who that relation plead
Are such ungracious youths as wish you dead;
They gape at rich revenues which you hold,
And fain would nibble at your grandame gold.
Hind and Panther.
Sects and Professions in Religion are numerous and suc
cessive-General Effect of false Zeal-Deists-Fanatical Idea of Church Reformers—The Church of Rome–Bap
tists—Swedenborgians-Universalists—Jews. Methodists of two kinds ; Calvinistic and Arminian. The Preaching of a Calvinistic Enthusiast—His Contempt
of Learning—Dislike to sound Morality: why–His Idea
of Conversion-His Success and Pretensions to Humility. The Arminian Teacher of the older Flock—Their Notions
of the Operations and Power of Satan—Description of his Devices — Their Opinion of regular Ministers-Comparison of these with the Preacher himself-A Rebuke to his Hearers; introduces a Description of the powerful Effects of the Word in the early and awakening Days of Methodism.
SECTS AND PROFESSIONS IN RELIGION.
“ Sects in Religion ?"_Yes, of every race
We nurse some portion in our favour'd place;
Not one warm preacher of one growing sect
Can say our Borough treats him with neglect ;
Frequent as fashions, they with us appear,
And you might ask, “how think we for the year ?"
They come to us as riders in a trade,
And with much art exhibit and persuade.
Minds are for sects of various kinds decreed,
As diff'rent soils are form’d for diff'rent seed;
Some when converted sigh in sore amaze,
And some are wrapt in joy's ecstatic blaze;
Others again will change to each extreme,
They know not why—as hurried in a dream;
Unstable they, like water, take all forms,
Are quick and stagnant; have their calms and storms;
High on the hills, they in the sunbeams glow,
Then muddily they move debased and slow;
Or cold and frozen rest, and neither rise nor flow.
Yet none the cool and prudent teacher prize,
On him they dote who wakes their ecstasies ;
With passions ready primed such guide they meet,
And warm and kindle with th' imparted heat;
'Tis he who wakes the nameless strong desire,
The melting rapture, and the glowing fire;
'Tis he who pierces deep the tortured breast,
And stirs the terrors, never more to rest.
Opposed to these we have a prouder kind,
Rash without heat, and without raptures blind;
These our Glad Tiding's unconcern'd peruse,
Search without awe, and without fear refuse;
The truths, the blessings found in Sacred Writ,
Call forth their spleen, and exercise their wit ;
Respect from these nor saints nor martyrs gain,
The zeal they scorn, and they deride the pain ;
And take their transient, cool, contemptuous view,
Of that which must be tried, and doubtless--may be true.
Friends of our faith we have, whom doubts like these, And keen remarks, and bold objections please ; They grant such doubts have weaker minds oppress’d, Till sound conviction gave the troubled rest.
“ But still,” they cry, “ let none their censures spare, “ They but confirm the glorious hopes we share;
“ From doubt, disdain, derision, scorn, and lies,
“ With five-fold triumph sacred truth shall rise."
Yes! I allow, so truth shall stand at last,
And gain fresh glory by the conflict past :
As Solway-Moss (a barren mass and cold,
Death to the seed, and poison to the fold,)
The smiling plain and fertile vale o'erlaid,
Choked the green sod, and kill'd the springing blade ;
That, changed by culture, may in time be seen,
Enrich'd by golden grain, and pasture green;
And these fair acres rented and enjoy'd,
May those excel by Solway-Moss destroy'd. (1)
Still must have mourn'd the tenant of the day, For hopes destroy’d, and harvests swept away; To him the gain of future years unknown, The instant grief and suffering were his own: So must I grieve for many a wounded heart, Chill'd by those doubts which bolder minds impart: Truth in the end shall shine divinely clear, But sad the darkness till those times appear; Contests for truth, as wars for freedom, yield Glory and joy to those who gain the field : But still the Christian must in pity sigh For all who suffer, and uncertain die.
Here are, who all the Church maintains approve, But yet the Church herself they will not love;