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is an honour, Madam, and a blessing, more precious than any other attribute of the Crown, which by God's will is about to be placed on your Majesty's head.
That your Majesty may be long preserved by God's good providence to exercise your royal prerogative in the protection, the encouragement, and the advancement of this true member of his universal Church; and that you may personally derive from your communion in her spiritual ministrations all those benefits, which she is God's ordinance for conferring ; is the earnest wish and prayer of no one of her members more than of him, who intreats your Majesty's gracious permission to be accounted,
Most dutiful and most devoted
subject and servant,
RD. DOWN and CONNOR.
TO THE READER.
For discharging my duty in the pulpit, as a Minister of the United Church of England and Ireland, it has been one object of my endeavour, in obedience to my ordination vow, to “teach the people committed to my cure and charge with all diligence to keep and observe the doctrine and sacraments and the discipline of Christ, as the Lord hath commanded, and as this Church and Realm hath received the same according to the commandments of God.” And I have accordingly taken all convenient occasions for bringing forward in my Discourses the character, the principles, and the provisions of the national Church, and showing their agreement with the word of God in holy Scripture. That which I have thus done myself, I have frequently pressed on the Clergy of my diocese as a part of their duty likewise. And, in pursuance of the same obligation, it has of late occurred to me, that a series of printed Discourses on those subjects might be further instrumental in conveying such instruction to those who are “committed to my cure and charge;" that it would at the same time, among the various theological productions of the day, bear somewhat of a distinctive if not of a novel character; and might, from the actual state of men's minds on religious topicks, as well as on account of the inherent importance of the subjects themselves, prove an acceptable and, by God's blessing, an useful publication. My respectable publishers having concurred in this latter opinion, the result is the present volume, of the several contents of which I request the reader's permission to add a brief exposition.
In the first two Discourses the character of the National Church is upheld, as a true part of the Visible Church of Christ: the former being employed in setting forth the marks of Christ's Church, and in showing their existence in our part of it; the latter in stating and controverting the principal Romish objections to this character. These two Discourses were at first combined in a single Sermon, which was preached in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, in 1829, before his Excellency, the Duke of Northumberland, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, President, and the Members of the “ Association incorporated for discountenancing Vice and promoting the knowledge and practice of the Christian Religion :" and was then published in obedience to their collective vote. The passages,
which connected the argument of the sermon with the particular occasion of its delivery, have been now omitted, as foreign from the object of the present publication; as well as numerous extracts from ecclesiastical writers, which were appended in justification or explanation of various positions in the sermon, but of which the introduction at the present time appears not necessary, and might be inconvenient.
The third Discourse is intended to show the conformity of our national Church in prniciples and practices with the primitive Church of Christ, on a general view of doctrine, Church-government, the sacraments, and Divine worship in each. This sermon, together with the fourteenth in the
present series, from each of which mention of the circumstances attending its delivery is omitted, was published by request in 1821, having been both preached for the benefit of certain parochial and national schools in London and its neighbourhood.
The substance of the fourth Discourse is taken from a charge delivered to the Clergy of my diocese in 1836, and put out in its present form in compliance with a suggestion of its probable usefulness in this form. It is intended to show how the Church is distinguished from other protestant professors of Christianity.
The conformity of ours with the primitive