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SHECHINAH, OR DIVINE PRESENCE
CHURCH OR PEOPLE OF GOD.
In the Sketch of the author's Life, prefixed to these volumes, it has been mentioned, that during his imprisonment, in consequence of the acts passed against the nonjuring episcopal clergy of Scotland, he employed part of his time in studying the nature of that peculiar symbol of the Divine Presence, which is known to the biblical scholar, under the Hebrew title of the SHECHINAH. The direction of his thoughts to this interesting subject was no doubt suggested by a political measure, which in the summer of 1753 very strongly agitated the public mind. In the month of June, that year,
al assent was given to an Act to “permit persons * professing the Jewish religion to be naturalized by • Parliament;' an act which raised such a clamour in the country, as induced the legislature to repeal it in the very next session of Parliament.-While it existed, however, the alarm produced by it will account for the fears expressed in the following Letter, addressed to a friend, upon this subject.
In our ļațe conversation on various religious topics, you will remember it was observed, that the encouragements given, or supposed to be given, to the papists, in the reign of King James II. put the clergy on examining more narrowly the state of the popish controversy, and produced, in that short time, more publications in vindication and defence of the church of England, than had been seen in former reigns, or than have indeed
appeared since. The press was occupied with little else but Answers and Replies, and Rejoinders; and the more that the popish missionaries fancied themselves in the good graces of the court, the more diligent were the established clergy in confuting their pretensions, and exposing to the eyes of the people the various corruptions and superstitions of their religious system. This was the happy effect of the apprehensions then entertained; and thus in a great measure was good brought out of