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TO THE FIRST EDITION.
SOME apology is due to my Reverend Brethren for my delay in meeting their wishes by the publication of this Sermon; and for the addition of Notes which must necessarily enhance the price. When their unexpected request was made to me, it will be in their recollection that I hesitated about complying with it. They acquitted me, I trust, at the moment, of any insensibility to the flattering approbation which the request implied. The truth is, I was fearful that, unexplained by Notes, and unverified by Quotations, the Sermon might appear, (not indeed to those before whom it was delivered, but, perhaps, to some into whose hands it might chance to fall in its printed state, who may not have so attentively considered the subject), to have gone beyond the necessity of the case. At the same time l apprehended that by such quotations as the subject demanded, if the Sermon were to be published,
and by the remarks which, with the utmost reserve of candour, such passages were likely to call forth, I might appear to provoke the controversy which it was my first care to disarm of its rage against us. From such an accusation, however, as that under which the Members of our Church lose much of their usefulness, it is not possible to defend ourselves without apparent hostility to our accusers. While they deal in vague generalities, we cannot repel the undefined and unlimited charge of having forsaken the doctrines of the Gospel ; without attempting to shew, that, what they call upon us to teach as the true doctrines, are not those of Christ and his Apostles: and, happily, it is only necessary to place their doctrines and the doctrines of Scripture by the side of each other, to shew their utter incongruity. A sense of duty has, therefore, prompted me to dismiss
fears of giving personal offence by the Extracts; and, conscious of not intending any, under such auspices, and with such precautions, I venture to publish the Discourse. So much for the conceived expediency of Quotations and Notes. The delay has chiefly arisen from the difficulty I met with in supplying myself with the books from which these extracts are taken for I had composed the Sermon on the spur of the occasion, and (though with a very painful impression of the nature of the
Charge) Charge,) with little more than a general recollection of the phraseology of the passages whieh I have since thought it right to copy verbatim from the leading Authors of the Sect. · I could wish that they did not bear me out so fully in the observations I have made upon them; and should this little publication possess more than an ephemeral interest-should it travel beyond the limits of the Archdeacopry, and should it attract the notice of any of our aceusers, it will give me solid satisfaction to see the language which I have thought reprehensible explained in a better sense ; and the doctrinal errors which that language appears to convey, authoritatively disavowed,
For-in thus lending my humble aid to the vindication of those Doctrines which are our study, our delight, our hope, our glory; and which it is our blessed duty to preach as the truly glad tidings of the Gospel; my ulterior view has been, (if I may pot hope to disabuse thereby deluded Piety and mis directed Zeal, objects at once of our respect and of our commiseration !) to warn, at least, Ignorance, Indecision, and Unconcern, of the danger of error in things of a Spiritual nature : especially in Doc trines, which, having regulated our Faith and our Practice here, will, in their final results, survive the tomb. May the Almighty Spirit further the feeble effort!
I enter not upon the political dangers of this growing schism, which threatens the overthrow of all that is good and fair, and lovely and venerable, in our Ecclesiastical Polity, and, eventually, as inseparably blended therewith, in our Civil Liberty. It is impossible indeed, to contemplate, without dismay, the gathering combination of heterogeneous Sects against us, agreed in nothing so much, as in their inveterate hostility to the Regular Clergy. It is painful to see in what numbers the Deluded croud the ranks of our enemies: it is still more painful to consider that Scepticism, Irreligion, and Misrule, those giant-forms of evil, though overpowered and routed in the open war of argument, are again in array before us, leagued with our accusers, and fighting under the banner of Religious Zeal. Silenced, but not subdued in spirit, they seem to have been meditating, even in their abasement, new schemes of future mischief-to have been plotting the degradation and downfall of that Church, whose crime it is, that she has nurtured those able Champions of Christianity, by whom their bolder pretensions have been resisted and defeated.
This theme of awful apprehension I leave to abler pens, and confine myself to the consideration of the more immediate and certain effect of unsound Doctrines on the Moral Principle: and if any casual Reader should glance cursorily over these pages