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intolerance manifested by the contending sectaries, in the last century, leads to a similar conclusion upon this subject. Whilst the railing accusations continually brought against the established clergy, together with the indecent language in these days so lavishly bestowed upon them, by those self-constituted teachers, who nevertheless profess themselves to be disciples of the same Master, will not allow us to hope for better things than have heretofore been experienced from the uncontrolled passions of the natural man.

by facts;

To lead men, therefore, to think that a Catholic spirit of universal good-will and amicable fellowship, may be kept up among those of different sects and persuasions in religion, is to induce them to act upon an imaginary idea unsupported whilst they hold themselves indifferent to the plan which God has provided for the certain attainment of that desirable object. Let us not fancy men to be more charitably disposed than they really are, and thereby flatter them into schism. Charity, be it remembered, is the offspring, not of nature, but of grace. Let us, therefore, rather tell men what they are, and use our utmost endeavours to persuade them to make use of the means calculated to make them what they ought to be. The unity of the Christian Church will as certainly lead to a Catholic spirit of good-will and amicable fellowship, as does the division of it to the opposite disposition. To imagine that this characteristic of true Christianity will be found among men left to the guidance of their own fancies and passions in religion, is to be wise above what is written; is to

forsake the paths of truth and knowledge, and flatter ourselves that we shall find comfort in those of confusion and error.

Whilst, therefore, it is impossible but to look up with respect to the author before me, I nevertheless must think, that the effectual advancement of Christianity, and the consequent security of its benefits to the world, will ever depend upon a conformity to the plan laid down by God for that purpose. Consequently, the more attention is paid to the unity of the Christian Church, considered as a society of Divine institution, the more of true Christian faith and charity will be found in the world.

Upon this ground I would suggest it to the consideration of those members of the Church to whom I now address myself, who regard the establishment of the Church in this country as an object of great national importance, whether, by their occasional attendance upon irregular teachers, who hold themselves independent of it, they would wish to become instrumental to the destruction of the cause they profess to have at heart. Whether they are not actually placing themselves in that predicament, when, by their influence and example, they convey an idea into the minds of the people, absolutely destructive of one great end of the Divine institution of a Church; by leading them to conclude, that it is a matter of no consequence whether they continue in communion with it or not. I would entreat them, by the love of Christ, to consider, whether the doctrine which they may hear out of the Church will balance against what

they lose by their separation from it? Putting the nature of the Christian ministry, as a commission, out of the question; whether the partial good that may be done by a certain individual, to whose ministry they have attached themselves, in consequence of the good opinion to which his character may have entitled him, will compensate to the community for the general evil derived from that violation of order, which, in the appointment to a most important office, removes the line of distinction necessary to be drawn between the real and imaginary qualifications of different parties? For is it not more than probable, that the evil, in this case, will be found to outweigh the good, in the proportion that vain pretenders to knowledge exceed in number those who really possess it?

But upon the consideration that all order in this matter proceeds from God, (the Apostle having told us, in reference to the priesthood, that "no man taketh this honour to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron; "* and that, as man, Jesus Christ himself proceeded in the discharge of the Christian priesthood by commission) I would conjure them, by the obedience which they owe to the Head of the Church, to consider, whether their disregard of an establishment calculated to promote peace and unity among Christians, may not provoke God to deprive them of a blessing which they appear to undervalue. Whether this taking cause, as it were, into their own hand, and upon the ground of occasional defect in the ministers of the Church, running into an open breach of



* Heb. v. 4.

order, in contempt of a Divine institution, be so likely a way to correct the evil complained of, as leaving the cause in God's hand; continuing dutiful members of his Church, praying for its ministers, and by conversation, writing, and example, endeavouring to re-animate them to a more spiritual discharge of their trust.*

"It is safest (says an old writer) to trust God with his own causes. If Aaron had been chosen by Israel, Moses would have sheltered him under their authority. Now that God did immediately appoint him, his patronage is sought, whose the election was. We may easily err in the managing of Divine affairs, and so our want of success cannot want sin. God knows how to use, how to bless, his own means."

It should be remembered, then, that there is no excuse for separating from a Church, where the word of God is preached, and the sacraments duly administered; because, as it has been above observed, the efficacy of the service and sacraments of the Church does not depend upon the private

+"Cogitent in magnâ multitudine complures esse verè sanctos et innocentes coram oculis Domini, qui aspectum suum fugiant. Cogitent, et ex iis qui morbidi videntur, multos esse, qui in vitiis suis nequaquam sibi placent aut blandiuntur; sed serio timore Domini identidem expergefacti, ad integritatem majorem adspirant. Cogitent non ferendum esse de homine judicium ab uno facto; quando sanctissimi interdum gravissimo casu exci dunt. Cogitent plus subesse ad colligendam ecclesiam momenti, tum verbi ministerio, tum sacrorum mysteriorum participatione, quam ut quorundam impiorum culpâ, vis illa tota evanescere queat. Postremò reputent, in censendâ ecclesià pluris esse divinum quam humanum judicium.”-CALV. Instit. lib. iv. c. 1.

character of the officiating minister: and as there is no excuse for separation under such circumstances, so neither can there be any advantage derived from it. Piously-disposed persons may certainly be as pious in the Church as they can be out of it; and it is the design of our Church, that all its members should be such. It may be a subject, therefore, well worth consideration, whether the practice so frequently adopted by serious persons, of separating from a Church which furnishes the most effectual means of promoting the true spirit of Christianity, may not be traced to the artifice of that grand deceiver, whose business it is at all times and by all means to prevent, as much as in him lies, the success of the Christian ministry: and, under this head, whether the idea which is now taken up by Christians of a certain description, relative to a supposed distinction between the Church of Christ and Church of England, be not employed by him, by way of prelude to their more easy separation from Church communion. Upon those pious persons who are on the point of being led captive by such a fatal delusion, the strong language of Bishop Hall will produce more effects, at the same time that it will be better received, than any thing I can hope to say upon the subject. "The God of the Church (says this pious Bishop) cannot abide either conventicles of separation, or pluralities of professions. This flourishing Church of Great-Britain (after all the spiteful calumniations of malicious men) is one of the most conspicuous members of the Catholic Church upon earth; so we, in her communion, do make up one

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