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"Inexact agreement with the scriptures as illustrated by the uniform doctrine and usage of the first and purest ages of Christianity, the church of England teaches her sons that the Christian church is one holy universal society, founded by Christ himself, and settled and established by his Apostles under the immediate direction of the Holy Spirit; governed by Bishops, deriving their own authority from Christ and his Apostles, and empowered to give the like authority to others, and to appoint under them two other orders of ministers, viz. Priests, or Presbyters, and Deacons; and with their assistance to administer two Sacraments, instituted by Christ himself, and generally necessary to salvation: — Baptism, by which we are made members of Christ and of his church, and enter into covenant with God, professing our belief in the blessed Trinity, and promising to obey all the divine laws: and the Holy Communion, wherein we renew that covenant, and receive grace and strength to enable us to fulfil the same. It teaches us also the great danger of listening to false doctrines, and of forming schisms in the church, which it classes with other heinous sins, and calls on us to pray to our good Lord to deliver us from them.
"Now let us compare this account with the work in question. Instead of considering the church of England as a part of the universal church continued down from the days of the Apostles to this time, the author calls it a fabric produced and founded by the reformers. Of Bishops he takes little notice, and plainly does not consider them as essential; whereas the primitive doctrine was, Where there is no bishop there is no church.
"Of Baptism he also speaks little, and not well; for he does not state it to be, as it is, the only mode of admission into the church, appointed by Christ himself.
"Of the Holy Communion, I believe, there is not the least notice taken throughout the whole work; though eighty pages of it consist of instructions for young Clergymen, and a greater number are spent on the subject of preaching.
"By this author's own account, it is plain, that though there are very worthy men among the Evangelical Clergy, as he calls them, yet that, by taking a peculiar name, (which, by implication, casts a dreadful and very unjust stigma on all the other clergy of the church of England,) by holding meetings unauthorised by their Diocesans, and by various parts of their proceedings, they are decidedly schismatical. It also appears, by his own admission, that some of them are Calvinists and rank enthusiasts. Yet he states things as favourably as possible towards them, and very unfavourably, and indeed unjustly, towards the rest of the clergy of our church.
"Of our ecclesiastical constitution he speaks very unworthily; and though he strongly censures lay preachers and those appointed by unauthorised persons, he seems to admit of preachers who have never received episcopal ordination; and yet does not attempt to show what other ordination is valid, and what is not.
"He wishes for union, and seeing no prospect of bringing back the dissenters to the church, he recommends the church to unite with them, by compounding, qualifying, fyc.
"Now, for sober, sound Christians to unite with enthusiasts, and countenance false doctrine, heresy, and schism, is surely innovation. And what would be the consequences of this plan? Calvinism and enthusiasm would immediately spread far and wide, among both clergy and laity. A division would take place between the Calvinistic and Anti-Calvin
istic clergy. The former would join their brother Calvinists among the dissenters, and, having no real regard for Episcopacy or any outward ordinances, the church of England would be overturned, and probably the monarchy with it; and things would revert to the state in which they were during the great rebellion: in a word, all would be confusion; the usual consequence of doing evil that good may come: a mode of reformation which God has forbidden to man, and which, therefore, we cannot expect to prosper.
"But the union so strongly and frequently urged and enforced in Scripture, is not the union of various sects differing from each other in doctrine and discipline, but uniformity in those very things. One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism; — no schism in the body; — mark those which cause divisions and offences, and avoid them;—all must speak the same thing; if one says he is of Paul, and another, he is of Apollos, are they not carnal?"
The same work gave occasion to some remarks on distinguishing between errors and those who hold them.
"If there are any (and I fear there are some) who have not yet learnt to maintain truth with firmness, and still be in perfect charity, not only with those who may not see things exactly in the same light, but with all men; they have not yet learnt true Christianity, and whoever teaches them this, does a good work. But the more common and dangerous error seems to me to be, the confounding persons and things, applying that charity to error, which is only due to the erroneous, and fancying that error is of little importance, because amiable people are erroneous. A heretic, a schismatic, a Calvinist, or an enthusiast of any sort almost may be very amiable, and must always be an object of true Christian charity; but heresy, schism, Calvinism, and enthusiasm are most dangerous errors, and we cannot be too much on our guard against them; and, therefore, any work which represents them otherwise, or attempts to soften them down, is of a very pernicious tendency; and so are (for the same reason) all attempts to unite members of the church of England with enthusiasts, dissenters, &c.; as in the bible society, the mission societies, and the like; which have, also, another very mischievous tendency, viz. the bringing down the church of England to a level with dissenters."
One more paper shall be produced, occasioned by a book, the object of which was to set up the moral truths of the gospel, exclusively, as sufficient to salvation. The remarks are made in a letter to a lady.
"My dear Madam,
"I beg leave to return your book, for I cannot approve it. The author is plainly a Scotchman, and probably an Unitarian; for he lays aside, as dark mysteries, all the great fundamental doctrines of the gospel, and endeavours to persuade us, that repentance and good moral conduct are sufficient to save us; whereas, the terms on which salvation is offered to us in the gospel, are faith, repentance, and obedience. We must believe in Jesus Christ; not merely that he was a true prophet, but that he was the Son of God, that being God he took our nature on him, and by his death made an atonement for the sins of all mankind; and that it is through his merits only, and not our awn, that we can obtain pardon and salvation. But, in order to obtain these, we must, also, obey his commands; which are, to repent of all our sins, and forsake them, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly; and, in order so to do, we must use those means which Christ has appointed for obtaining the assistance of God's grace and Holy Spirit, without which we are not able to resist the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil:—and the chief of those means are,
"1st, Water baptism, by which we are cleansed from sin, and made members of Christ's church, and, as such, children of God, and heirs of heaven.
"2dly, Prayer, and especially public prayer, in the church.
"3dly, Reading, or hearing the holy scriptures.
"4thly, Receiving the holy communion, in obedience to our Lord's express command, whereby we are made partakers of all the benefits of his death; our souls are strengthened and refreshed, and we are enabled to work out our salvation.
"This I take to be the doctrine of the gospel; and that it is as great an error to say, that we can be saved by our own good works, without faith in the merits of Christ, as to say, we can be saved by faith, though we lead wicked lives.
"I am also shocked at the manner in which this author presumes to censure the Psalms; and the sly way in which he endeavours to set us against our most excellent liturgy (without even naming it), by charging it most falsely with many absurdities.
"That the Psalms being written by kings and prophets, three thousand years ago, contain many passages not applicable to us and our state, is not wonderful; but where else shall we find such helps to devotion, such comfort in affliction,