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that ecclesiastical unity may be dispensed with,
With these sentiments before you, I trust you will no longer think, that the most confirmed judgment with respect to the nature of the Christian Church, and the obligation all Christians lie under to conform to it, is necessarily connected with an uncharitable disposition towards those who think fit to separate from it. To give Christians right notions of the Church, that, by understanding what is meant by living in unity and godly love, they may be disposed to conform to the will of its Divine Founder, is, I conceive, one of the greatest acts of charity that a Christian minister can perform. Should he not succeed in his endeavours to promote the welfare of his fellow-Christians, he ought, at least, to have credit for his intention, and not be made answerable for consequences which it is his professed object to prevent. Many learned and wise men, from a want either of firmness of mind or decision of judgment, have been induced to palliate and soften doctrines which it was their duty earnestly to maintain. Others there are, whose professional abilities might qualify them to stem the tide of prevailing error, who adopt a maxim unsanctioned either by the Gospel or experience, that false opinions, if let alone, will die of themselves. These are patterns of discretion, after which I feel no wish to copy. The Bible has taught me, what it will teach every man who is disposed to learn, that there can be no compromise between truth and error. If, therefore, the doctrine
maintained in my book respecting the Church, as a society of Christ's framing, be true, the conclusions drawn from it must stand their ground, how unpalateable soever they may be to those Christians, who, instead of drawing living water for the use of the sanctuary from the fresh springs of antiquity, take up with such as comes to them at second or third hand from the Lake of Geneva."
The cause I have taken in hand, I am well aware is not a popular one. That weak and temporizing conduct, by which many of the cabinets of Europe have contributed to the success of the desolating system of French policy, seems to be the conduct which is judged to be best suited to the present circumstances of the Church. The consequence, it is to be feared, will be, that that deluge of sectarianism which is now inundating our land on every side, will, in the end, sweep away every barrier which the constitution of this country has to oppose to its destructive progress. This idea, however, is not likely, at this time, to be generally adopted. The loose habit of thinking, which constitutes one of the characteristics of the present day, must be unfavourable to an advocate for established order. But that minister of the Church who is not prepared to go through evil report, has undertaken an office for which he is unqualified.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?"*
When I consider what the Church of England
*Matt. x. 25.
has been, and what she now is, (to make use of the strong language of a very great man) "like an oak, cleft to shivers with wedges made out of its own body," it is not without anxiety that I look forward. When I consider, moreover, that the established Church of England, an undoubted branch of the Church of Christ, furnishes the best security for the preservation both of Christian doctrine, and the peace and happiness of my country; my earnest prayer to God is, that she may be restored to Apostolic purity. Should it, however, be the will of that Being who ruleth in all the kingdoms of the earth, that in judgment for the desertion of her professing friends, or the general unworthiness of her members, the enemies of the Church shall be permitted to lay her honour in the dust-as a minister sincerely attached to her cause, I feel no wish to survive the fatal event.
I have the honour to be,
GUIDE TO THE CHURCH;
IN WHICH THE PRINCIPLES ADVANCED IN THAT WORK ARE MORE FULLY MAINTAINED,
ANSWER TO OBJECTIONS.
REV. CHARLES DAUBENY,
LATE ARCHDEACON OF SARUM.
TO WHICH ARE ADDED,
Some Extracts from the Author's Diary, &c.
F. C. AND J. RIVINGTON, ST. PAUL's CHURCH-YARD, LONDON, BY F. C. BAKEWELL, CHRONICLE OFFICE, BATH.