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wholly nor principally in their public preaching, or the stated functions of their order. It is from the example and in the society of such persons that the requisites which prepare the mind for the reception of virtue and knowledge, a taste for serious reflection and discourse, habits of thought and reasoning, a veneration for the laws and awful truths of Christianity, a disposition to inquire, and a solicitude to learn, are best gained : at least, the decency of deportment, the sobriety of manners and conversation, the learning, the gravity, which usually accompany the clerical character, insensibly diffuse their influence over every company into which they are admitted. Is it of no importance to provide friends and companions of this character for the superior as well as for the middle orders of the community? Is it flattery to say, that the manners and society of higher life would suffer some depravation from the loss of so many men of liberal habits and education, as at present, by occupying elevated stations in the church, are entitled to be received into its number? This intercourse would cease, if the clergy were reduced to a level with one another, and, of consequence, with the inferior part of the community. These distinctions, whilst they prevail, must be complied with. How much soever the moralist may despise, or the divine overlook, the discriminations of rank, which the rules or prejudices of modern life have introduced into society; when we have the world to instruct and to deal with, we must take and treat it as it is, not as the wishes or the speculations of philosophy would represent it to our view. When we describe the public as peculiarly interested in every thing which affects, though but remotely, the character of the great and pr---rful, it is not that the soul of the


rich man is more precious than that of the poor, but because his virtues and his vices have a more considerable and extensive effect.

Thirdly; they who behold the privileges and emoluments of the superior clergy with the most unfriendly inclination profess nevertheless to wish, that the order itself should be respected; but how is this respect to be procured ? It is equally impossible to invest every clergyman with the decorations of affluence and rank, and to maintain the credit and reputation of an order which is altogether destitute of these distinctions. Individuals, by the singularity of their virtue or their talents, may surmount all disadvantages; but the order will be contemned. At present, every member of our ecclesiastical establishment communicates with the dignity which is conferred upon a few—every clergyman shares in the respect which is paid to his superiors—the ministry is honoured in the persons of prelates. Nor is this economy peculiar to our order. The professions of arms and of the law derive their lustre and esteem, not merely from their utility (which is a reason only to the few), but from the exalted place in the scale of civil life which hath been wisely assigned to those who fill stations of power and eminence in these great departments. And if this disposition of honours be approved in other kinds of public employment, why should not the credit and liberality of ours be upheld by the same expedient ?

Fourthly; rich and splendid situations in the church have been justly regarded as prizes held out to invite persons of good hopes and ingenious attainments to enter into its service. The value of the prospect may be the same, but the allurement is much greater, where opulent s'

res are reserved to reward the success of a

few, than where, by a more equal partition of the fund, all indeed are competently provided for, but no one can raise even his hopes beyond a penurious mediocrity of subsistence and situation. It is certainly of consequence that young men of promising abilities be encouraged to engage in the ministry of the church; otherwise our

l profession will be composed of the refuse of every other. None will be found content to stake the fortune of their lives in this calling, but they whom slow parts, personal defects, or a depressed condition of birth and education, preclude from advancement in any other. The vocation in time comes to be thought mean and discreditable—study languishes—sacred erudition declines--not only the order is disgraced, but religion itself disparaged in such hands. Some of the most judicious and moderate of the Presbyterian clergy have been known to lament this defect in their constitution. They see and deplore the backwardness in youth of active and well-cultivated faculties to enter into their church, and their frequent resolutions to quit it. Again, if a gradation of orders be necessary to invite candidates into the profession, it is still more so to excite diligence and emulation; to promote an attention to character and public opinion when they are in it; especially to guard against that sloth and negligence into which men are apt to fall, who arrive too soon at the limits of their expectations. We will not say, that the race is always to the swift, or the prize to the deserving ; but we have never known that age of the church in which the advantage was not on the side of learning and decency.

These reasons appear to me to be well founded, and they have this in their favour, that they do not suppose too much ; they supp any impracticable precision

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in the reward of merit, or any greater degree of disinterestedness, circumspection, and propriety in the bestowing of ccclesiastical preferment, than what actually takes place. They are, however, much strengthened, and our ecclesiastical constitution defended with yet greater success, when men of conspicuous and acknowledged merit are called to its superior stations : “when it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth.” When pious labours and exemplary virtue, when distinguished learning, or eminent utility, when long or arduous services are repaid with affluence and dignity, when a life of severe and well-directed application to the studies of religion, when wasted spirits and declining health are suffered to repose in honourable leisure, the good and wise applaud a constitution which has provided such things for such men.

Finally ; let us reflect that these, after all, are but secondary objects. Christ came not to found an empire upon earth, or to invest his church with temporal immunities. He came " to seek and to save that which was lost;" to purify to himself from amidst the pollutions of a corrupt world “a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” As far as our establishment conduces to forward and facilitate these ends, so far we are sure it falls in with his design, and is sanctified by his authority. And whilst they who are intrusted with its government employ their cares, and the influence of their stations, in judicious and unremitting endeavours to enlarge the dominion of virtue and of Christianity over the hearts and affections of mankind; whilst “ by pureness, by knowledge,” by the aids of learning, by the piety of their example, they labour to inform the consciences and improve the morals of the people committed to their charge, they secure to themselves, and to the church in which they preside, peace and permanency, reverence and support. What is infinitely more, they “sare their own souls ;” they prepare for the approach of that tremendous day, when Jesus Christ shall return again to the world and to his church, at once the gracious rewarder of the toils, and patience, and fidelity of his servants, and the strict avenger of abused power and neglected duty.

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