Imatges de pÓgina
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teaches; when she gives her members to understand, that repentance, faith, and obedience, through Divine grace, are the terms or conditions upon which they may look for salvation unto Christ; who, "being made perfect, became (the Apostle tells us) the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."

99*

Having, I persuade myself, replied to every part of your letter which relates to the general subject before me, what applies personally to myself in it may be passed over unnoticed, as not affecting the main argument, with which alone the reader is concerned. Taking leave, therefore, to remind you, that " He that judgeth me is the Lord,"+

I have the honour to be,

VOL. II.

* Heb. v. 9.

P

+1 Cor. iv. 4.

&c. &c.

separate from the Church. Still it affords me no inconsiderable satisfaction to think, that the book which you suppose to contain that sentence, has been read by many men of understanding and judg. ment, with whose opinion any author might be flattered, to whom such an idea has never presented itself. Unless, therefore, the uncharitable idea can be fairly drawn from my words, taken in a plain and unperverted sense, I have a right to plead that rule of candour under which you shelter yourself; according to which, all conclusions drawn for an author which he does not acknowledge, are not to be answered for by him, but by the party who draws them.

"I

Had you been disposed to give the author of "The Guide to the Church" credit for that charity towards his brethren who differ from him in religious matters, which he feels; more passages are to be found in his book to justify such a conclusion the in his favour, than are to be found to support one you have thought proper to draw from him. Give me leave, Sir, to point out a few such passages, which, in an apparent hasty zeal for the cause you espouse, seem to have escaped your observation.

In page 342, you find me speaking thus strongly, and I presume you will allow charitably, upon the "The subject of Separation from the Church. minister of the Church, however, who constantly prays against schism, should in consequence think it his duty to prevent Christians, as far as may be, from falling into so dangerous a sin; and whilst he remembers of what spirit a Christian ought to

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be, the means made use of by him for the purpose
will be no other than what a Christian ought to
employ. Without pronouncing sentence, there-
fore, upon or disturbing those who are without
the Church, his object will be to preserve those
that still remain in it," &c. In page 337, you find
me speaking the same charitable language.
"Cus-
tom has, indeed, so far reconciled us to the divi-
sions that have taken place among Christians, that
they are no longer seen in the light in which they
were seen in the primitive days of the Church;
whilst charity, forbidding us to speak harshly of
the spiritual condition of our brethren, has in a
manner tended to efface the sin of schism from
our minds. But though we presume to judge no
man, leaving all judgment to that Being who is
alone qualified to make allowance for the ignorance,
invincible prejudice, imperfect reasonings, and
mistaken judgments of his frail creatures; yet must
it not from hence be concluded, that it is a matter
of indifference whether Christians communicate
with the Church or not, or that there is a doubt
upon the subject of schism, whether it be a sin
or not." In alluding to Baxter and his ejected
brethren, in the last century, I speak of them as
"pious, learned" ministers; and in common with
every well-wisher to the cause of religion, lament
the existence of those unhappy prejudices which
deprived the Church of their ministerial labours.

You favour me with a passage from Dr. Saunderson, whom you call an able and strenuous advocate for our national Church, where he says,

"For

* Guide, p. 255.

my own part, I make no doubt, nor dare I be so
uncharitable as to think, but that many of them
have honest, and upright, and sincere hearts to-
wards God, and are unfeignedly zealous of the truth
and for religion. They that are such, no doubt feel
the comfort of it in their own souls, and we see
the fruits of it in their conversation, and rejoice at
it."* Give me leave to ask you, what does this
passage contain that is not to be found, if the
reader was disposed to find it, in my book. I have
represented separatists as pious Christians, many
of them exemplarily so, and in that respect a pat-
tern worthy to be copied after. I can look up with
as much reverence to the names of a Watts, a Le-
land, and a Doddridge, as Christians of distin-
guished piety, as you or any dissenter possibly
can; at the same time that I lament their separa-
tion from our Church. And Dr. Saunderson,
though charitable in his judgment upon dissenters,
as Christians, possessed, I have no doubt, a similar
idea upon the subject of their separation; or I
do not understand upon what ground he could be
a strenuous, able advocate for our national Church:
and could I not discriminate between the pious
Christian professor and the member of the esta
blished Church, I should be totally unqualified to
write upon the subject I have undertaken.

Having pleaded thus far in arrest of judgment in a case in which I feel myself deeply interested, because no charge is so readily brought against the ministers of the Church of England as that of want of charity; (and I believe no charge will, upon * Dr. Saunderson, p. 169.

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fair trial, be found more destitute of foundation; for I will venture to say, that upon an appeal to the dissenters themselves, it will be admitted, that of all the Christian societies in this kingdom, that of the Church of England is by far the most tolerant and the most charitable ;) having, I say, pleaded thus far in arrest of judgment against a charge, which of all those contained in your book I feel most anxious to set aside, I proceed to the examination of the particular passage upon which your judgment against me in this respect has been formed. The passage in question is taken, I perceive, from my tenth discourse, which treats of the advantages attendant upon a conscientious communion with the Church, together with the disadvantages consequent on a wilful separation from it.

One of the principal considerations necessary to be impressed upon the mind of the reader on this occasion, was the commission from which the act of the minister of the Church derived its validity, for the benefit of the parties concerned in it. The commission to administer the sacraments of the Church was originally delivered by our Saviour to his Apostles, accompanied with a power to invest others with the same important office. From this Divine fountain all authority in this case must be derived. The priest " is ordained (says the Apostle) for men in things pertaining to God."* He, then, who is to act in things pertaining to God in the affairs of his Church, must certainly have a commission from God to authorise him so to do. * Heb. v. 1.

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