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lighten the world by philosophical discoveries,
pay the involuntary homage due to genius, and boast of our names when, amongst foreign societies, you are inclined to do credit to your country. If
If your restraints operate towards keeping us in that middle rank of life where industry and virtue most abound, we shall have the honour to count ourselves among that cla:e of the community which has ever been the source of manners, of population, and of wealth. If we seek for fortune in that track which you have left most open to us, we shall increase
your conimercial importance. If, in short, we render ourselves worthy of respect, you cannot hinder us from being respected—you cannot help respecting us —and in spite of all names of opprobrious separation, we shall be bound together by mutua) esteem and the mutual reciprocation of good offices.
One good office we shall most probably do you is rather an invidious one, and seldom meets with thanks. By laying us under such a marked disqualification, you have rendered us—we hope not uncandid—we hope not disaffected—May the God of love and charity preserve us from all such acrimonious dispositions ! But you certainly have, as far as in you lies, rendered us quick-sighted to encroachment and abuses of all kinds. We have the feelings of men; and though we should
be very blameable to suffer ourselves to be biassed by any private hardships, and hope that, as a body, we never shall, yet this you will consider, that we have at least no bias on the other side. We have no favours to blind us, no golden padlock on our tongues, and therefore it is probable enough, that, if cause is given, we shall cry
aloud and spade not. But in this you have done yourselves no disservice. It is perfectly agreeable to the jealous spirit of a free constitution that there should be some who will season the mass with the wholesome spirit of opposition. Without a little of that bitter leaven there is great danger of its being corrupted.
With regard to ourselves, you have by your late determination given perhaps a salutary, perhaps a seasonable check to that spirit of worldliness, which of late bas gained but too much ground amongst us. Before you--before the world—we have a right to bear the brow erect, to talk of rights and services; but there is a place and a presence where it will become us to make no boast. We, as well as you, are infected. We, as well as you, have breathed in the universal contagion : a contagion more noxious, and more difficult to escape, than that which on the plains of Cherson has just swept from the world the martyr of humanity. The contagion of selfish indifference and fashionable manners has seized
us; and our languishing virtue feels the debilitating influence. If you were more conversant in our assemblies than your prejudices will permit you to be, you would see indifference, where
you fancy there is an over proportion of zeal : you would see principles giving way, and families melting into the bosom of the church under the warm influence of prosperity. You would see that establishments, without calling coercive measures to their aid, possess attraction enough severely to try the virtue and steadiness of those who separate from them. You need not strew thorns, or put bars across our path; your golden apples are sufficient to make us turn out of the way. Believe me, gentlemen, you do not know us sufficiently to aim your censure where we should be most vulnerable.
Nor need you apprehend from us the slightest danger to your own establishment. If
will needs have it that it is in danger, we wish be aware that the danger arises from among yourselves. If ever your creeds and formularies become as grievous to the generality of your clergy as they already are to many delicate and thinking minds amongst them; if ever any material articles of your professed belief should be generally disbelieved, or that order which has been accustomed to supply faithful pastors and learned inquirers, after truth should become a burden upon a gene
rous public, the cry for reformation would then be loud and prevailing. It would be heard. Doctrines which will not stand the test of argument and reason will not always be believed; and when they have ceased to be generally believed, they will not long be articles of belief. If, therefore, there is any weak place in your system, any thing which you are obliged to gloss over and touch with a tender band, any thing which shrinks at investigation-look ye to it, its extinction is not far off. Doubts and difficulties, that arise first amongst the learned, will not stop there; they inevitably spread downwards from class to class : and if the people should ever find that your articles are generally subscribed as articles of
peace, they will be apt to remember that they are articles of expense too. If all the dissenters in the kingdom, still believing as dissenters do, were this moment, in order to avoid the reproach of schism, to enter the pale of your church, they would do you mischief; they would hasten its decline: and if all who in their hearts dissent from your professions of faith were to cease making them, and throw themselves amongst the dissenters, you would stand the firmer for it. Your church is in no danger because we are of a different church; they might stand together to the end of time without interference : but it will be in great danger whenever it has within itself
many who have thrown aside its doctrines, or even, who do not embrace them in the simple and obvious sense. All the power and policy of man cannot continue a system long after its truth has ceased to be acknowledged, or an establishment long after it has ceased to contribute to utility. It is equally vain as to expect to preserve a tree whose roots are cut away. It may look as green and flourishing as before for a short time; but its sentence is passed, its principle of life is gone, and death is already within it. If then you
think . the church in danger, be not backward to preserve the sound part by sacrificing the decayed.
To return to ourselves and our feelings on the business lately in agitation-You will excuse us if we do not appear with the air of men baffled and disappointed. Neither do we blush at our defeat;-we may blush, indeed, but it is for our country: but we lay hold on the consoling persuasion, that reason, truth and liberality must finally prevail. We appeal from Philip intoxicated to Philip sober. We know
We know you will refuse us while you are narrow-minded, but you will not always be narrow-minded. You have too much light and candour not to have more. We will no more attempt to pluck the green unripe fruit. We see in you our future friends and brethren, eager to confound and blend with ours your interests and your affections. You will grant us all