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great thing is to discern between those which are injurious to the eye of faith, and such as are only points of opinion or order, based on equal good intentions. This was certainly the case with the pious clergy and dissenters at the æra which now occupies our attention, though in some the overflowings of love and zeal let a spirit of unity degenerate into detrimental laxity. Nothing of this kind disfigured the consistent friendship of Walker and Darracott; firm adherence to the course prescribed by their understandings hardened not the sensibility of their hearts, nor did mutual admiration and Christian affection cause them to yield one iota of rooted principle in thought or action.
From the earliest dawn of the present day of light in our establishment, a similar spirit seems to have actuated its most learned and amiable divines, and was continued down to these times, without a suspicion that there lay a serpent, coiled in the downy folds of profession of love in many non-conformists, waiting only a convenient, not a fitting opportunity to dart its sting into the vitals of our church. Happily however this unchristian, demonstration is not universal among our dissenting brethren; there yet remain those with whom may be enjoyed the same friendship and unity, which adorned the days of Secker and Doddridge, of Walker and Darracott. It is not fair to charge the whole body with the errors of a part, even though a large one. Secker, when Bishop of Oxford, wrote thus to Doddridge in the truest spirit
2 Vid. Doddridge's Correspondence, &c. by his Son, vol. iv, p. 272. London, 1830.
of candour and affection2:-"The dissenters have done excellently of late years in the service of Christianity, and I hope our common warfare will make us chiefly attentive to our common interest, and unite us in a closer alliance ;" and when elevated to the province of Canterbury, he maintained towards him a like admirable feeling. Dr. Sherlock, Bishop of London, adopted the same kind and conciliatory tone to this excellent man. "Whatever points of difference," says he, "there are between us, yet I trust that we are united in a hearty zeal for spreading the knowledge of the gospel, and for reforming the lives and manners of the people according to it. I have lived long enough to know by experience the truth of what we are taught, that there is no other name by which we may be saved, but the name of Christ only."" He prays also that "God would bless their united endeavours to make his ways known."3 The same holy flow of kindness took place almost every where among the pious, but in some cases it unhappily ran over; yet the darkness of a world, enveloped in a night cloud of indifference and sin, will plead the lasting excuse of those somewhat erring but devoted children of God, who, unlike the divines just mentioned, suffered co-operation to become incorporation, and thus laid the foundation of many dangers, though they unquestionably effected much good.
As the happy spirit of concord increased between zealous clergymen and pious non-conformists, there seemed only to be wanting definite centres of union in
3 Vid. Doddridge's Correspondence, &c.
which they might associate for the common purpose of doing good, merging minor interests and opinions in the all absorbing object of spreading a knowledge of divine truth. Such presented themselves in the progress of time, and have gone on with various fluctuations to this hour; but what sort of spectacle does the conduct of those offer to the world, who profess love on the religious, and hostility on the political arena, who are to-day declaring affectionate co-operation on one platform, and the next proclaiming a wish to annihilate the essence of our system, on another!
The question is then, what should be the conduct of the clergy at this trying period-assuredly to do nothing in haste; to make a wide distinction between those who in a Christian spirit agree to differ with them, and such as do not; to wait and see if opposition will not pass away; to strengthen the union of their own ranks, to redouble their diligence in their own spheres ; to outlive, to outshine, and to outbuild the dissenters, that our church may rise in its due majesty and strength, and her lofty spires not be hidden, in the clouds of controversy, but reflect the beams of the sun of righteousness in the clear heaven of light and love. If hostility should increase, it will be necessary to withdraw within our boundaries in peace; but we must labour in patience, argue with calmness, and do good to our opponents, not striking hastily if assaulted, because the second blow makes the contest. We should likewise earnestly pray for a return of the peaceful season, when friendships such as those just recorded, (which are not extinct, though perhaps
Wrong spirit of the church's enemies.
necessarily diminished) may again adorn and dignify the Christian world, the only contest of whose different members ought to be, the one fabled of the vine and the olive, which should be most fruitful.
Fortunately for us, the moment chosen by those who would remove the cords and posts of our sanctuary, is that of the greatest illumination of its altar, and the most diligent devotedness of its priesthood, and when their own ranks are being thinned by the numbers who return to the renovated bosom of the church-indications of God's presence with us, which Watts, Doddridge, Darracott, and their contemporaries would have witnessed, not with jealousy, but delight. They have also selected the period of a readiness to reform those things that have unavoidably degenerated by time, and even to curtail some of our own borders, where they have accidentally encroached on the natural field of others. We are placed in a difficult position, are surrounded by men who are ready to invent, to amplify, and to believe every possible slander, and to pierce with false accusations, names illustrious for truest virtue, relying on a multitude's credulity, that "adamant of lies;"4 and who, artfully interlacing with professed zeal for public interests, private ambition and personal discontent, profess to be involuntarily carried on to their desire of innovation by the current of time, a stream let them remember, which bears the disaffected to change, the wise and good to perfection. The consequence has been
4 Lord Bacon says, Magnes mendacii credulitas: credulity is the adamant of lies.
that in communities presided over by leaders of this stamp, policy has usurped the scat of spirituality, violence of Christian meekness, evil speaking of dignities, of the charity that hopeth all things, but-this wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish; for where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.5
Before this brief digression, Mr. Walker was seen moving, in the peace and loveliness of true charity among those who were strangers to his division of the Christian camp, though guided by the same cloudy pillar as pilgrims to a better region; we will now follow him again into the circle of his own beloved friends and coadjutors.
The following letter will shew what a privilege it was to have him as a friend, and how he felt and improved his bereavement, when he lost a brother in the ministry. It was addressed to a happy pair, whose union was cemented by the love of God in their hearts.
MY DEAR FRiends,
Truro, August 6th, 1758.
I have little to say and less time. My greatest trouble is with a very bad heart, overrun with selfishness, which contends for indulgence that way, and I am too ready to gratify it. I approve a living simply to God's glory in the world, and in a disregard of ease, interest or esteem, to maintain an interest in Jesus' kingdom. But my conduct is too much on the defen
5 James iii, 15, 16.