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preach on that account, he charges them, in the person of Timothy, to make full proof of their ministry, by preaching it with more earnestness and long-suffering. The kingdom of Christ "is not of this world:" the less the concerns of this world are mixed up with it, the better. To sacri fice, therefore, the establishment of the Church to what may be deemed the security of the state, under the plausible idea of conciliation, would not be political wisdom but political weakness, and must eventually terminate in the destruction of both. My book was written for the express purpose of maintaining the constitution of that Church of which I am a minister, at a time when the love of many towards it is waxen cold. Your book, written by a person who calls himself a steady member of the same Church, under the idea, it shall be admitted, of promoting the cause of true religion, is calculated, if I understand it rightly, by setting Christians loose from the established order and government of that Church, to undermine and destroy it. Allow me, Sir, to call upon your' cool judgment to determine, to which of these two cases your threefold consideration, "an liceat, an deceat, an expediat," does most properly apply?"
In page 167, speaking of the evangelical plan of Divine grace, you observe, that " it is by its secret," peculiar, and efficacious operations alone, that we can ever become the living members of the Church.” We are both, it is presumed, perfectly agreed, that without the Spirit of God, no man can become a` Christian; or, if you please, "a living member of the Church." But there is not, I conceive, a more
dangerous delusion than to rely on the secret and
* Acts ii. 41, 42,
aware of. It is a doctrine, which, if traced to its source, will be found to spring (too often, it is to be feared) from that fatal root of pride which threw the angels out of heaven, and which will effectually bar all entrance into it. Pride, joined with human learning, causes men to deny every doctrine which their finite understandings cannot fully comprehend, and leads to Unitarianism, Deism, and Atheism. Pride, joined with ignorance, and a warm imagination, causes men to despise all human learning, and sometimes even the ordinances and word of God, and leads to enthusiasm, delusion, and madWhilst the humble Christian, sensible of his own weakness, relying on the merits of his Saviour, and continuing steadfastly in the use of those means which He has appointed for the attainment of Divine grace, is thereby guided safely in the way that leadeth unto life.
And now, on taking once more a general review of your publication, there does not appear to me to be any thing of importance which has not received some answer; written, I trust, in such a style and temper, as neither to offend you, nor disgrace myself. Should we unhappily still differ, I trust you will at least do me the justice to think that I write from principle and settled conviction, and not hastily conclude, (because I see some things in a different point of view from that in which they appear you) that I must be a dishonest man. A great part of your book proceeds on the position, that the Calvinistic doctrine is the established doctrine of the Church of England. But as this position is rather taken for granted by you than proved, I feel
myself at liberty to reject it, provided I do it upon what appears to me conclusive evidence. That evidence has been fairly brought before you in the course of the foregoing letters: it is evidence, I flatter myself, which no Calvinist will ever succeed in his attempt to invalidate.
Confirmed, however, in my own opinion on this as well as other subjects treated in my book, I, at the same time feel (thank God) no portion of that odium theologicum, the greatest disgrace of Christian divines, which leads them, in unguarded moments, to speak harshly or disrespectfully of those who may happen to dissent from them on speculative points. The great fundamental doctrines of the cross have been both sincerely believed, and fully taught, by the most learned and pious men in different ages of the Church, who never considered that particular doctrine, for which you are so warm an advocate, as constituting any part of the Divine counsel. Those pious and learned men who have thought with you on this subject, admitting them to be in error, are entitled to respect; and I should consider myself to be most defective in Christian charity, was I to withhold what is most certainly their due. My sincere wish, in correspondence with my duty, has been to write in defence of the Church of Christ, not (according to the charge brought against me in the second page of your publication) "to give a stab to our excellent mother;" but to maintain the cause of Christian unity, as every minister of the Church ought to do, without pronouncing judgment upon those who offend against it. With this view I
have thought it necessary to maintain episcopal government as essential to the constitution of the Christian Church. That it is the best form of government, may be inferred from its having not only the warrant of scripture for its institution, but also the constant practice of the Church for its continuance, from the days of the Apostles to the present time. Strong, however, as the authority is on which this declaration is founded, I nevertheless do not take on myself to say, that the Church may not subsist under any other form of government; but this I conceive to be a point for God, not man, to determine. Nor do I take upon me to assert, that the salvation of Christian people depends absolutely and entirely upon the lawful calling of their ministers; for it was not the object of my book to enter into all the circum. stances that have taken or may take place among Christians in Church matters: still I do not scruple to say, according to the most decided judgment of the Church from the beginning, that where a valid ministry is established, of which advantage may be taken, it ought to become a matter of very serious and important consideration with Christians, how far any of the ordinances or sacraments of religion can be duly and effectually administered without it. For although the definition of the Church contained in our Articles, was purposely less definitive than it might have been, with the view of giving the least possible offence to those whom our reformers wished to reconcile; a moderation by which our Church has rather lost than gained; yet it must not from thence be concluded,