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The Church of England, blessed be God, never possessed so many truly devoted preachers of righteousness, as at this present moment; never were flocks, (generally speaking) so well instructed in scripture truth; never were there so many societies aided or upheld by Her, for extending and perpetuating the knowledge of the way of salvation. How painful, then, to see the unchristian spirit with which she is attacked by those from whom we had hoped better things. But we do not wish to return to them “ railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing;

" and to give the contradiction to our calumniators, not by our lips so much as by our labours. The clergy are keenly watched and criticised ; be it so: as a body we do not shun, we rather invite criticism, only may it be kind, and just, and generous; and never let it be supposed, for a moment, that we object to any safe reform in our churchfar otherwise. “ Nothing, we know, is infallible but God; nothing perfect but his word :" and instead of being adverse to reform in its legitimate acceptation, we are most anxious for the correction of every real abuse; and gladly would we lend our assistance and influence too, in bringing about any judicious improvement: but we are not to connect ourselves with those whose intentions are not even disguised, and who hesitate not to declare that the reform which they seek is 'notbing less than her destruction. But has the church any thing to fear


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if she be true to herself, and if her clergy, both “ by their preaching and living, set forth God's word," and shine like lights in this dark world ? O

God will not forsake his own, and “ the very gates of hell will not prevail against her; ” “ her foundations are on the holy mountains, her doctrines are entirely scriptural, her liturgy approximates to inspiration, her articles were written by the blood of the reformers, her prayers comforted the hearts of martyrs; she is in her spirit the most tolerant Church in the world, and in her operations the best adapted to the actual state of mankind.”

I bless God that I was brought up within her pale, and “if I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her cunning.”

Against those who differ from me, I would not set down “aught in malice," for well I know (to use the words of the pious Hooker) “ that there will come a time when three words uttered with charity and meekness, shall receive a more blessed reward than three thousand volumes, written with disdainful sharpness of wit:" nevertheless I would have every member of our excellent Church to be

ready always to give an answer to every man, who asketh a reason for the hope that is in him; and to have it in his power to prove that she is " built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief Corner Stone."

In printing a second edition of this work, I have followed the advice of some judicious friends, by giving the Scripture Proofs at full length. I have also compiled or composed for each article, some explanatory remarks which under God's blessing may be useful. The Scriptures alone are the proper standard of truth; the Bible, and the Bible alone is the religion of Protestants; but the Articles, Homilies, and Liturgy of the Church of England, are an authorized interpretation of the sense in which all her members profess to understand the Scriptures. The first on this list, (the thirty-nine Articles) are now presented to you in the form of a Catechetical Exposition, with Scripture Proofs and Practical Observations, for the use of yourselves and your children; that in these times of religious warfare you may " speak out," and boldly declare to those who oppose themselves, why you are a Churchman. May you study the Articles well, they are the grand bulwark of the Church of England; they contain the very essence of the gospel, and are, in the scriptural sense, really and truly evangelical.

I pray that the Spirit of God may instruct you all in the spiritual meaning of his written word, and that you may by God's grace every day become more humble, more holy, and more happy. May he “ guide you with his counsel, and afterwards receive you to glory.” But I warn you, that there is a form of knowledge, as well as a form of godliness. I believe that the danger of the present day is a worldly religion, exhibiting the appearance of evangelical doctrine. O may we never try to reconcile a quiet conscience with a worldly mind. We may turn Calvinists, or Arminians, or Methodists, or Roman Catholics, or Protestants, and not once have thought seriously of turning Christians. We may become wise in our own conceits, without becoming wise unto salvation. If any man be in Christ he is a new creature;” this is the sum and substance of the gospel-but if we presume to hope that without holiness we shall enter heaven, we are under the strongest possible delusion; and the stronger that hope the stronger that delusiou. God bless you, my dear people; from your affectionate friend and Minister,


St. Helen's Parsonage, Lancashire.

July, 1835.

"" I will endeavour that ye may be able, after my decease, to

have these things always in remembrance.—2 Peter i. 15.”

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