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Excerpt from Lectures on the Gospel of St. Matthew: Delivered in the Parish Church of St. James, Westminster, in the Years 1798, 1799, 1800, and 1801
T the time when the following Lectures were first begun, the political, moral, and religious state of this king dom, wore a very unfavorable taped, and excited no small degree of uneasiness and alarm in every serious and reﬂecting mind. The enemies of this country were almost every where triumphant abroad, and its still more formidable ene mies at home were indefatigably active in their endeavors to difi'us the poison of disafi'ection, infidelity, and contempt of the holy Scriptures, through every part of the kingdom, more especially among the lower orders of the people, by th most ofi'ensive and impious publications; while at the same time it must be acknowledged, that among too many of the higher classes, there prevailed, in the midst of all our distresses, a spirit of dissipation, profusion, and voluptuous gaiety, ill suited to the gloominess of our situation, and ill calculated to secure to us the protection of heaven against the various dangers that menaced us on every side. Under these circum stances, it seemed to be the duty of every friend to religion, morality, good, order, and good government, and more especially of the ministers of the Gospel, to exert every power and every talent with which God had blessed them, in order to counteract the baneful effects of those pestilential writings which every day issued from the press to give some check.
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