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while her slave-population was left to groan under the miseries of a hopeless captivity, without any anxiety felt or expressed by the nation at large concerning their wretched condition, or any endeavours to promote their moral or spiritual improvement.

Such appears to have been the awefully declining state of the country, as to religion and morals, during the greatest part of the eighteenth century. So powerfully did the tendency of human nature to deterioration and apostacy display itself, under circumstances which, arguing upon merely human principles, we should have thought would have led to very different results. At the same time, however, there were several phenomena of a more promising aspect, which were directly counteracting this tendency; and which, by indicating that the nation was as yet far from having relapsed into the state out of which, at the Reformation, it had been brought, might have inspired a hope, that, notwithstanding present appearances, it might yet, through the goodness and mercy of God, be recovered from its deep fall and declension.

Among the things to which this observation applies, were the purity of the doctrines still retained in the accredited articles and formularies of the Established Church, and disseminated through the country by means of her liturgy and public services : the distinguished revivals of religion, which were effected through the preaching of those doctrines by pious and gifted men, both in and out of the national Church; whom God was pleased, during the period in question, to raise up, from time to time, in different parts of the kingdom: the general ontward respect and veneration paid to the observance of the Sabbath, so contrary to the habitual and authorised profanation of it in Papal countries : the religious toleration granted and secured by law to those whose consciences did not permit them, whether erroneously or otherwise, to maintain communion with the Established Church, — a toleration, directly opposed to the bigoted and intolerant spirit and practice of Popery: but especially the free and unfettered circulation of the Holy Scriptures through every corner of the land ; the avowed attachment and almost constant appeal to the word of God, as the recognised standard of truth and duty; and the increasing and general acquaintance with its contents, promoted by the introduction of so large a portion of the sacred volume in the vernacular tongue, into the daily services of the Church. All these were hopeful signs; signs, which showed that England, though greatly fallen

from her Protestant purity and profession, had not resumed her station among the persecuting and idolatrous kingdoms of the Beast.

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218

CHAP. X.

RETROSPECTIVE AND COMPARATIVE VIEW OF THE

STATE OF ENGLANI), FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION TO THE END OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR,

Such was the state of things when that tremendous event unexpectedly burst forth, as a snare and a trial to all the nations of the earth, the French Revolution.* From this mystery of iniquity was suddenly discharged a torrent of impiety, infidelity, and anarchy, which was calculated to put to the proof the power of every opposing barrier, and to try the strength of every principle. Like a mighty deluge, it rapidly spread over the Papal kingdoms; and which of them, in the end, was enabled successfully to withstand its fury? One after another yielded to its force. The monarchs,

* The writer here speaks of the French Revolution, as it began practically to develope itself in the year 1792, under the influence of those abominable principles which incorporated themselves with it, and of those detestable characters who soon became the conductors of events in that great political commotion.

indeed, from personal and political considerations, endeavoured to resist its progress, and to stop the march of principles so directly subversive of their interests. But their efforts were vain.

The people, previously fortified by no solid principles, soon gave way to the attack of false ones; and in the readiness with which, in almost every country, the mass of the population embraced the jacobinical and revolutionary doctrines, the Papal governments reaped the fruit of that tyranny, which they had exercised over the consciences of their subjects, and of that ignorance, which they had' purposely promoted, by studiously secluding them from the fountains of heavenly knowledge and truth.

What, in the mean time, was the Destiny of England ? She felt, indeed, severely felt, the shock, and seemed at first to reel and totter to her base. Those who can remember the era of the French Revolution must call to mind with appalling recollections the danger which appeared to threaten this country, when the revolutionary tenets were first broached among the people. Sedition and impiety were publicly taught, avowed, and embraced by thousands. For a time the public mind was hurried away by the novelty of principles so gratifying to the pride and restlessness of the human

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