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distress and disorders of a fiege; but may come forth in the face of her enemies, “ terrible as an army with banners.' Even so, Amen.
It remains only, from a respect usually paid to the candid reader, that I briefly inform him, that the present edition differs from the preceding one, chiefly in the adduction of those authorities, which were judged necessary to the more firm establishment of the ground undertaken to be maintained. And if, instead of taking up with the floating, unsettled, and for the most part erroneous opinion of the day, on the subject 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 circumstance, it must be allowed, to those who take the world for their standard) he will have the satisfaction to think with those, who most considered, and certainly best understood, this important subject. In the second place, should the argument, in his opinion, have suffered 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 wise man makes the practice of the world a;
rule for his government in religious matters; being. satisfied that no practice, however general, can make that right, which the word of God has determined to be wrong. Custom may indeed reconcile us to any thing. But custom is not the law of the wise man; because, being at times no less 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 essentially different from each other; and it will always constitute the best employment of the reasoning faculty, properly to discriminate between them.
To enable the thinking man so 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.
Time was, when Schism, or the fin of dividing the Church by a separation from it, was considered to be a fin of the most heinous nature; “ so great, that some of the ancients have thought it is not to be expiated by the blood of martyrdom.”* It cannot be, because opinions on this subject have changed with the times, that the nature of this fin is also changed. For so long as the Church continues to be, what it originally was, a society of Christ's forming, a wilful separation from it must be at all times equally sinful; it being not less an opposition to a Divine institution in one age of the Church than in another. Consequently what was said upon this subject in the first days of Christianity, must apply to it with the same force and propriety in the times in which we live.
Upon the authority of an inspired Apostle we are informed, that those who “ cause divisions in the Church” are to be avoided, as persons “ who serve
* Persuasive 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 cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them: for they that are such, serve 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 ferved; 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 himself, whose constant employment it is, so 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 division among the parties professedly engaged in its support. A consideration, which accounts for that stress, so repeatedly laid in the Apostolic writings, upon the
prefervation of union and harmony among Christians; as essential to the well-being of the Church, consider ed 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 ftuation, which has given me an opportunity