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diftrefs and diforders of a fiege; but may come forth in the face of her enemies, "terrible as an army with banners."* Even fo, Amen.
It remains only, from a refpect ufually paid to the candid reader, that I briefly inform him, that the present edition differs from the preceding one, chiefly in the adduction of thofe authorities, which were judged neceffary to the more firm establishment of the ground undertaken to be maintained. And if, instead of taking up with the floating, unfettled, and for the most part erroneous opinion of the day, on the fubject of the Church, he will be at the trouble to visit the fountains, from which I have drawn; he will know, that no new things are brought to his ears, but that I have written as I have read. The advantage he will derive from this mode of proceeding will be twofold. In the first place, as a balance against his not thinking with the croud, (a mortifying circumftance, it must be allowed, to those who take the world for their standard) he will have the fatisfaction to think with thofe, who most confidered, and certainly best' understood, this important fubject. In the fecond place, fhould the argument, in his opinion, have fuffered from my want of skill in conducting it, he' will be qualified to improve it to his own mind; and having, as I have no doubt will be the case, thereby confirmed himself, his time cannot afterwards be better employed, than in strengthening his brethren,
* Song of SOLOMON, C. vi. v. 4.
O wife man makes the practice of the world a rule for his government in religious matters; being. fatisfied that no practice, however general, can make that right, which the word of GOD has determined to be wrong. Cuftom may indeed reconcile us to any thing. But cuftom is not the law of the wife man; becaufe, being at times no lefs an advocate for error than for truth, it can furnish no reasonable fatisfaction to the party governed by it. Men, as men, are liable to error. Nevertheless error and truth are two things effentially different from each other; and it will always constitute the best employment of the reafoning faculty, properly to difcriminate between them.
To enable the thinking man fo to do, that he may thereby become proof against the various delufions'
upon the subject of Religion, which have at different periods prevailed in the world; his appeal must be made to the standard of judgment set up in the word of Gov.
66 fo great, that fome
Time was, when Schifm, or the fin of dividing the Church by a feparation from it, was confidered to be a fin of the most heinous nature; of the ancients have thought it is not to be expiated by the blood of martyrdom."* It cannot be, because opinions on this fubject have changed with the times, that the nature of this fin is also changed. For fo long as the Church continues to be, what it originally was, a fociety of CHRIST'S forming, a wilful feparation from it must be at all times equally finful; it being not lefs an oppofition to a Divine institution in one age of the Church than in another. Confequently what was faid upon this fubject in the first days of Christianity, muft apply to it with the fame force and propriety in the times in which we live.
Upon the authority of an infpired Apostle we are informed, that thofe who caufe divifions in the Church" are to be avoided, as perfons "who ferve
* Perfuafive to Communion with the Church of England, by Bishop GROVE. See London Cafes.
not the LORD JESUS." "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which caufe divifions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them: for they that are fuch, ferve not our LORD JESUS." Rom. xvi. 17. If they ferve not the LORD JESUS, it requires no great fagacity to determine whom they ferve, for there are but two masters in this cafe that can be ferved; either that Divine Mafter, who, in love to man, fet up his kingdom in opposition to the prince of this world, that he might thereby counteract his evil work; or that EvilWorker himself, whose constant employment it is, fo far as in him lies, to divide and destroy that kingdom,
Now no greater advantage can be given to the common enemy in any cause, than by a divifion among the parties profeffedly engaged in its fupport. A consideration, which accounts for that stress, fo repeatedly laid in the Apoftolic writings, upon the prefervation of union and harmony among Chriftians; as effential to the well-being of the Church, confider ed as a fociety formed by GoD, for the purpose of carrying into effect a regular defign for the benefit of its members.
It having pleased Divine Providence to place me in a fituation, which has given me an opportunity