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not the LORD JESUS." “ Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions 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 serve not the Lord Jesus, it requires no great fagacity to determine whom they ferve, for there are but two masters in this case that can be served; either that Divine Master, who, in love to man, fet
up dom in opposition to the prince of this world, that he might thereby counteract his evil work; or that EvilWorker himfelf, 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, tlaan by a division among the parties professedly engaged in its support. A confideration, which accounts for that stress, so repeatedly laid in the Apostolic writings, upon the
prefervation of union and harmony ainong Christians; as effential to the well-being of the Church, considered as a society formed by God, for the purpose of carrying into effect a regular design for the benefit of its members.
It having pleased Divine Providence to place me in a situation, which has given me an opportunity
of seeing some of those many evils consequent upon a deviation from God's plan in the establishment of his Church upon earth; I should do less than my duty, did I not take occasion to speak plainly on this fubject; trusting that what, from a motive of pure charity to all, may be said upon it, will be received charitably by all; without, if it be possible, any mixture of that prejudice, which is able in a manner to convert truth into error, when the mind of the party, to whom it is addressed, feels indisposed to receive it.
The object in view on this occasion is two-fold; to qualify, in the first place, the members .of the Church to give a reason for their communion with it; and thereby prevent their being carried about from one place of public worship to another; upon the miltaken idea, that it is a matter of indifference where the word of God is preached, or by whom: and in the second place, to open
the of those, who, with perhaps the best intention, may, through ignorance, have separated from the Church; and who, were they better informed, might not scruple to prefer its sober and edifying worship to that in which they are at present engaged.
He must be little acquainted with the world who does not know, that religious prejudices: leave the
most powerful'impression upon the human mind; and that till these are removed, it is impossible to form a fair judgment upon a subject of this nature. Those who have taken their religion upon trust, or have received it as a sort of hereditary posseslion from their forefathers, seldom give theinfelves the trouble to form any judgment upon it. Whilst others, who, in the choice of their religion, consult the gratification of passion, interest, or the promotion of fome particular object; are, for the most part not in a condition to bring this matter to a fair discussion. The only hope of success therefore in this case must be, from an appeal to the honest and well-disposed; those who seek the truth in fincerity, and are refolved to follow wherever it
Such are doubtless to be found in all congregations of Christian 'people; some of whom, in consequence only of their never having had the truth properly laid before them, have taken up with erroneous opinions; which, from prejudice of education or incapacity, they are prevented from bringing to the test of reason and Scripture. Deriving their natural growth in error from their parent stock, they have by years acquired an habitual attachment to it; at the same time that the earnelt zeal even of those who
might be qualified for the purpose, will not let them stop to examine the source from which it has been derived. Such men may be considered as not far from the kingdom of God; and it must be the ear. nest wish of every minister of that kingdom to bring them into' it. Could these men be but once brought acquainted with the nature of Christ's church, they would never separate from its communion; be cause they would be convinced that the plan upon which Christ has established that church, must be conformed to by all, who expect to enjoy the privileges annexed to it.
On looking into the writings of the Apostles, we find frequent mention made of the unity of the Christian church, as necessary to the preservation of that peace
which CHRIST left with his followers; and repeated and earnest cautions against those divisions, by which it must be unavoidably disturbed. The Founder of this church is emphatically stiled the Prince of Peace; because he is not only the maker of
peace between God and man, but also the author of a religion calculated to promote that blessing upon earth. The mark or distinction, therefore, by which the professors of this religion ought to be known, is, that love and harmony by which they are joined
together in the fame mind and in the fame doctrine: agreeably to the description given of them in the earliest stage of their connection; before the prince of this world, that destroyer of peace, had fown his seeds of division among them; when, as we read, “ the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.” Acts iv. 32.
As the time of our Saviour's departure from the world drew near, the future establishment of his church appears to have constituted the most interesting subject of his thoughts.' That most earnest and folemn prayer addressed to his father almost immediately before his fuffering, strongly marks out to us his dying wilh upon it; where, after having first prayed for those particular disciples, to whose immediate care and direction he thought fit to commit his church; that they might be duly sanctified for the great work of their ministry, he thus proceeds:“ Neither
pray I for these alone, but for them also which fhall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world
may believe that Thou hast sent me." Јонх
xvii. 20, 21,