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they justly disallowed, because this was no part of the original and apostolical constitution of the church of Rome; but a mani. fest usurpation, which had grown out of the depravity of a corrupt age. And those abo surd doctrines and evil practices which were unauthorised by the word of God, unprecedented in the primitive apostolical church, and which history pointed out as spurious and corrupt innovation of mere human device, they also rejected.

But their abhorrence of the corruptions of the Roman church did not impel them rashly and unadvisedly to discard every thing that she retained, merely because she retained it. Their aim was to reform, not to subvert; to rectify, not to destroy. Hence they preserved the confession of the apostolical faith, the authorised succession of the ministry, the use of the sacred ordinances, and such institutions as were essential to the being of a church-such as were conducive to promote obedience to the laws of Christ, and habits of charity amongst men.

Whatever was of apostolical appointment --whatever was indispensably requisite to the very form and existence of a Christian church

this they presumed not to remove. And in the disposal of those things which were ofan indifferent nature, and had always been permitted to the judgment of the authorised stewards of Christ's household such as the framing of a public liturgy, the regulating of the form of public worship, and the establishing of laws and constitutions for the maintenance of duè order, harmony, and internal discipline-they directed their view. to the cause of general edification, under the guidance of the holy Scripture, and of authorised usage, in the primitive ages of Christianity.

By this discreet and temperate proceeding our reformers were enabled to preserve their union even with the church of Rome, whilst, they laboured to restore that branch of it which was planted in these realms to the state in which the Roman church had existed, when the apostle testified that its faith was spoken of throughout the whole world—and that its obedience was come abroad unto all men. (Rom. i. 8.; xvi. 19.)

And this uninterrupted union was so plainly perceived, and so fully acknow... ledged, both by the members of the reformed


church and by those of the Roman commu. nion, that multitudes of the latter joined with us in public worship, and in the celebration of the Lord's Supper; and, provided they lived as became the Gospel of Christ, they were received without scruple. So far, were the conscientious members of either of those churches from regarding themselves as separated from their Christian brethren, And hence, the great act of our pious ancestors is not called a breach, but a reforma, tion.

But the bishop of Rome, not being dis-, posed to a similar reformation, and probably dreading the effect of such fellowship with a society in which his usurpation was disallowed, and his errors exposed, by a formal edict, passed an unwarranted censure on the church of England, and forbad the use of its sacraments to the members of his communion.

Hence it evidently follows, that it is not upon us that the charge of sepatation must attach. They went out from us; not we from them. We reformed abuses, which did not originally and properly belong to the constitution of the church. We obeyed the injunction of the Holy Spirit, in remembering from whence we were fallen, repenting, and doing the first work. But the act of separation, which the same spirit expressly forbids, was the act of the Roman hierarchy. Our reformers, therefore, cannot be justly charged with the crime of having divided the body of Christ, nor can their conduct be pleaded as a precedent to the dissensions of the present age.

Of this our opponents themselves appear to be conscious, when they reverse the argument, and impute it to us as a grievous charge, that we have retained much of the form and usage of the church of Rome.

But whilst we can plead the injunctions of the New Testament, the apostolical insti

tution, and the usage of the primitive -- church, for what we have done, and what

we have left undone, ke shrink not from this charge. We are ready to answer in our own defence. And we could wish, in charity, that the church of Rome, and other communions of professed Christians, would imitate and even excel the conduct of our national reformers.

Happy for the Christian world would it have been, had other reformers prese

rved the same temperance, moderation,


evangelical spirit of charity; had they as şteadily kept in view the apostolical constitution of the church, and the harmonious model which it exhibited in its early and þrighter day. · But, without impeaching the sincerity of their professions, or the upright, peşs of their intention, it must be lamented that, in many instances, their proceedings were rash and unwarranted. The

proper work of reformation is, to restore the church to that state of perfection in which it originally stood : not to remove the foundaţion, bụt to repair the breaches of the structure. And the example of the church of England sufficiently proves, that this might be done without destroying the unity of the body:

But, alas! in removing the errors and subbish of degenerate Rome, many have effaced the beautiful edifice of the Christian church, so that its essential form, as constituted by Christ and his apostles, and exemplified in the earlier and happier days of Christianity, can no longer be recognized. Instead of maturely studying and duly attending to the direction of the word of God, and the plan of the primitive church, many

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