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sent case, will expose the spurious impres: sion. Saints are patient under real persecution ; whilst hypocrites are always ready to cry out under imaginary sufferings. Saints never covet persecution: for however indifferent they may be to their own suffer ings, and however willing to suffer for Christ's sake, they know that persecution cannot be exercised without sin ; and no sincere disciple of Christ can be a voluntary accessary to the sin of another. To all this the hypocrite is indifferent and insensible. His only aim is to obtain the credit of sanctity, by displaying the mark of persecution. But, even were the impression genuine, it is a subject of obvious reflection, that persecution cannot justly promote any man's religious reputation, unless he suffer for righteousness” sake. The thief at the bar of justice, and the seditious person in his banishment, derive no credit from persecution. Restraint on the propagation of pernicious principles, or chastisement for irregularity of conduct, and habits of insubordination, is not persecution ; it is lawful correction. Instead of establishing, therefore, the reputation of sanctity, it only ex
poses the disorderly sufferer, and adds disgrace to his just punishment. So that, upon the whole, notwithstanding a disposition to magnify, common sufferings into real persecution be the most decisive feature of the hypocrite, there is nothing which, in fact, can be less serviceable to his cause. Nevertheless, we still perceive, and shall perceive, : the odious name of persecution affixed to the most salutary and necessary caution against ambiguous changes - and mischievous intrusion. 1. And as every effort in defence of our national church is branded with the name of bigotry, so the most just and temperate pemark upon the disorder of separatists, and their visionary schemes, is characterised as horrid persecution. But our Lord was nó persécutor, when he said of the ostentati ous Pharisees--These things they do, that they may be seen of men : nor did his just reproof of their hypocrisy, and perversion of the Scripture, in the smallest degree advance their claim to the reputation of holiness. : The ministers of Christ are not, therefore, to be deterred, by this abuse of the term persecution, from the vindication of just discipline, or from declaring the reproofs and the threats, as well as the promises, of the Gospel.
That spurious liberality which is indifferent to truth and error-that pretended candour which aims to extinguish our zeal and to blind our judgment-in vain obtrudes upon us, under the name of Christian charity. It is not the thing it pretends to be. It is not consistent with it: for it obstructs that greatest effort of charityseasonable reproof, and evangelical admo; nition.
OF THE SIN OF SEPARATION.
1 cor. XII. 25.
That there should be no schism in the body.
his own eyes.
In the present age, a general sentiment seems to prevail, that Christianity allows every man to walk after the imagination of his own heart, and to do what is right in
As a natural consequence of such a mode of thinking, every attempt to expose the folly and danger of departing from the straight rule of the Gospel is censured as rash and illiberal judgment. And, for the purpose of enforcing this censure, has often been repeated that question of the apostle-Who art thou, that judgest another man's servant? To his own Master he standeth or falleth.
That all rash and uncharitable judgment is expressly forbidden ; and that whoever goes beyond what is written, in censuring the conduct of his brethren, and pronounces a sentence of condemnation, by the weight of his private opinion, or a conceit of hiş own self-sufficiency ; is chargeable with a great offence : these are truths which no sincere and well-informed Christian can deny.
But widely different from this is that duty which is incumbent upon every faithful minister of the Gospel, to open the book of sacred records, and truly and impartially to report such cases as have been already adjudged and determined ; and also to warn every professor of Christ's religion, that the authority of this book will be recognised in the supreme court-in that great day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.
In this book, then, it is plainly laid down and declared, that the church of Christ, upon earth, was established in perfect unity of fellowship, of faith, and doctrine, guarded by a wholesome law of discipline, and placed under the care and superintendance of a duly-constituted ministry, which derived its appointment and authority through Christ, from God the Father of all.
And, to those who acknowledge the New