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ignorant of our duty under the prepuffeition of ill hi.bits and the biass of a wrong education : In all these instancis, the providince of God remarkably favoured us: Early were our minds tincturtd with a difiin riling sense of good and evil; early were the needs of a divine love, and holy fear of offending, sown in our hearts. If therefore our improvements be not answerable to snich beginnings, if we “fall away after tasting of the heavenly gift, and the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come;' how criminal muft such a defection be, and how terris ble the condemnation with which it is attended.
St. Chriffton.e *, in his admirable treatise of the priesthood, observes, not only that the ex. piation, appointed for the fin of the high-priest, was equal to that which was prescribed for the whole congregation; but that even the children of priests (such, whose fex permitted them not to minister at the altar) were, by the Levetical law, to be punished more severely than an other offenders in the same kind were ; Not, says he,
• Δειξαι βελομεν- [ο Θεος] οτι τα αμαρτηματα μιξονα πολλα εκδε χέλαι τιμωριαν, οταν υπο των ιερεων γινεται, και όταν υπο των ιδιωτων, προςατι τοσαυτην υπερ των ιερεων προσαγιαύαι την θυσίαν, οσην υπερ παντός τύ λας, Lcv. ιν, 3. Τυτο δε «δεν έτερον δελ 9τες κιν, η οτι μειζον βοηθειας δειται τα τε ιερεως τραυμαθα, και τοσαυτης, οσης ομκαι τα παντοσ λας, Μειζον δε εκ αν εδιτο, ει μη χαλεπωτερα ην, Χαλεπώτερα δε γινεται και τη φυσει, αλλά τη αξια τολμωντα αυτα ιερεωα βαρομενα, Και τι λεγω της ανδρας τες την λαι? Ηργιαν μετιονίας και αι γαρ θυγατερες των ιερεων, αις ουδεις
ρος την ιερωσύνην λόγG-, ομυς για το σατρικον αξιωμα των αυτον αμαρτημάτων αολυ πικροτερον υπεχουσι την τιμωριαν, Lev, xxi 9. Deut. xxii 1 To μεν πλημμέλημα 1σον ανταις και ταις των ιδιωτών θυγρασι (τορηεια γρ αμφοτερ.2) το δε επιτιμιον σολλω τουτων χαλεπωτερον, &c. Chryf. σιρι Ιεροσ. P 50. Ed. sav.
" that the offences were, in their own nature, un.
equal; but those committed by the children of priests were aggravated, $18 1 'ITalpoxon es w je z by the dignity of their parents. The very relation which those children bore to the priestina hood, contributed to enhance their guilt, and İncrease their punishment.
“I beseech you therefore, Brethren, by the * mercies of God, that ye present your bodies « and souls à living sacrifice, Holy, acceptable
unto God, which is your reasonable fervice," Roin. xii. 1. “Whatsoever things are true, what« foever things are honest, whatsoever things are "just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever " things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good o report; if there be any virtue, if there be any s praise, think on these things. Those things W which ye have both learned, and received, and « heard, and feen, do,” Phil. iv. 8, 9, -" Red * membring them which have had the rule over w you” (both as your natural and spiritual parents), " whose faith follow, considering the end * of their conversation," Heb. xlii. .
Many are the enemies of the priesthood, and of you, for the fake of it. They are diligent to obferve whatever may either nearly or remotely blemilh it ; and ready to impute to the order itselt, the faulty conduct of those who owe their birth and education to it; that they may wound religion through the sides of its most profeffed servants and followers. Let not any of us furnish their maliee with objections, or give an edge to the weapons which they use against us, by so living as miibecomes our holy stock. The facred office VOL. IL.
can never be hurt by their sayings, if it be not first reproached by our doings. Since the eyes of men are upon us, fince “ they mark all our steps, “ and watch our haltings,” let a sense of their infidious vigilance excite us so to behave ourselves in all the offices of life, and in all the duties of our several stations; that they, who seek occasion, may not only not find occasion against us, but may find also what they do not seek, even a conviction of the mighty power of Christianity towards regu. lating the passions, and fanctifying the natures of men. So shall we defeat their malice, and draw good out of evil ; so shall we best put in practice that noble instance of charity, that divine lesson of loving enemies, which our religion hath taught us; so thall we most nearly trace the example which he, of whose retinue and houshold we are, hath set us, of" blefling them that curse us, and "doing good to them that despitefully use us.”
It might be expected, that among the sons of the clergy themselves, not one of this chararcter should ever be found. But “ they are not all
Ifrael, that are of Israel; neither because they are - the feed of abraham, are they all children,” Rom.
i. 6, 7. “ There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother,” Prov. XXX. 14. “Ye are clean” (said our blessed Lord, even of the apostles), “ but not all for he knew who should betray him.” When such instances happen of men, sprung from the loins of Levi, and yet enemies to the tribe, their rage and malice is usually exceeding great ; and it is natural that it should be so: For a revolted Christian is worfe than a mere heathen; and those among Christians,
who have been best educated and principled in their youth, if they once break through such restrains,' grow wicked in proportion to their former advantages; “ waxing worse and worse ; deceiving, and being deceived ; till, by the just judgment of God, they arrive at the utmost pitch of impiety. God be thanked, such apostates are few, and do always, sooner or later, meet with the just reward of their apostacy, in this life, a general detestation !
Let us turn our eyes from such displeasing objects, and proceed, in the
HIId and last place, to take a view of the bleffings, which have attended the sons of a married clergy; and will, I doubt not, ftill attend them, if they live answerable to their holy birth and.education.
From the dawn of the reformation to this day, it is easy to observe the various and visible interpositions of God's providence, in behalf of those who waited at his altar, and their children and descendants. Kings have been raised up to be their nursing-fathers, and queens to be their nurfing-mothers; under whose shadow and encouragement they have rested and prospered. While the monarchy flourished, these faithful servants of God and the king wanted not a protector; when it funk, they fell for a time; when it rose, they revived with it. God put it into the heart of one of our princes, towards the close of her reign, to give a check to that facrilege, which had been but too much winked at, in the former parts of it. Her fucceffor passed a law, which
A a 2 prevented
prevented absolutely all future alienations of the church revenues. The royal martyr took fome excellent steps towards making a more equal di ftribution of those revenues, between the present pofleffors, and such as were to succeed them, His son, a gracious prince, pitied the wants, which the great rebllion had caused or increased among the widows and children of clergymen ; and, in order to provide a supply for their present and future neceffities, erected that corporation of charity, to which the perfons, compofing this assembly generally belong; some as the happy objccts, others as the worthy directors of it, or ge. nerous benefactors to it; All, I hope, as hearty well-wishers, encouragers, and friends. But to her present majesty, we owe the greatest shower of royal bounty, that ever fell from the throne: even “ a gracious rain, which,” by her means, “ God sept on his inheritance, and refreshed it “ when he was weary,” Pfal. Ixiii. 9. “ Her blefe 6 fings have prevailed above the blessings of her “ progenitors;" Gen. xlix. 36. and have, we trust, the foundation of yet more, and greater, which God, in his good time, will bestow, when we have qualified ourselves for them by a right use of those we already enjoy,
Only let us not murmur if he now and then stop the current of his mercies, if “ he hide his face as it were for a moment," and fuffer evil, and not good to lay hold of us. Both are in his power, and he ditpenseth both with equal wil, dom and tenderness; and both shall alike turn to the advantage of those, who have the skill to make use of them. Wherefore, " in the day of