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form, order, and authority of the Christian ministry. If the Scriptures recommend unlimited inquiry; if they condemn the alliance of Church with the State ; if they justify a diversity of religious profession, an elective ministry, and the independence of voluntary associations, in deference to their authority, it is our duty to become Dissenters: but if they discountenance private imaginations, and demand settled principles of belief; if they require a strict unity of communion; if they sanction the divine institution of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, for the edification of the Church, let us retain our communion with the Church of England, in the assurance, that it rests on an apostolical foundation.
Now may the great Master, who foretold and hath permitted the progress of heresy and offence, grant that we may be “ approved” in counteracting and resisting it! May he accelerate the fulfilment of the proinise, that we shall all come “ in the “ unity of the faith, and of the knowledge " of the Son of God, unto a perfect man,
“ unto the measure of the stature of the “ fulness of Christ d !” May he suffer no competition to arise among his disciples, but for excellence in love and good works, and so inspire the hearts of men“ with all “ lowliness and meekness, with all long“ suffering, that forbearing one another in or love, we may earnestly endeavour to keep “ the unity of the Spirit in the bond of “ peace !” May it be the constant, and may it be the accepted prayer of every man, that we may be “ filled with the “ knowledge of his will in all wisdom and “ spiritual understanding; that we may “ walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleas“ ing, being fruitful in every good work, “ and increasing in the knowledge of God; “ strengthened with all might, according to « his glorious power, unto all patience “ and longsuffering with joyfulness; giving “ thanks unto the Father, which hath made “ us meet to be partakers of the inheritance " of the saints in light : who hath delivered “ us from the power of darkness, and hath
d Ephes. iv. 13.
c Ephes. iv. 2, 3.
“ translated us into the kingdom of his dear “ Son: in whom we have redemption “ through his blood, even the forgiveness “ of sins: who is the image of the invisible “ God, the firstborn of every creature: “ for by him were all things created, that “are in heaven, and that are in earth, visi“ ble and invisible, whether they be thrones, “ or dominions, or principalities, or pow“ ers: all things were created by him, and “ for him: and by him all things consist : “ and he is the head of the body, the “ Church : who is the beginning, the first“ born from the dead ; that in all things “ he might have the preeminence f.”
f Coloss. i. 9--18.
· THE MANNERS OF THE AGE COMPARED WITH
2 TIM. iii. 4, 5. Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.. i
IT requires but a superficial acquaintance with the moral maxims of the Gospel of Christ, and a cursory or casual observation of the manners which have prevailed, and which continue to prevail, in countries professedly Christian, to discover the marked and striking difference between the precepts of the Master and the practice of the disciples. It would seem as if the regulation of the one had been left to the mere discretion of man, without reference to any prescribed rule, and variable in compliance with his pleasures, or in accommodation to
his convenience; and as if the other had been framed for a superior race of beings, who had never been called to act their parts on the theatre of this world.
That Christianity has effected a great and essential alteration in the public manners of nations cannot be denied. Under her genial influence, the amusements of the gay have been humanized, and the studies of the wise have been ennobled; the horrors of war have been mitigated, and charity has been made to flow through a thousand channels to the relief of every description of human wretchedness; the relations of social life have been improved ; and the frame of civil society has been adorned and strengthened, and such an equitable government been established between republican anarchy and unlimited despotism, as exceeds the brightest visions of antiquitya. These are some of the glorious triumphs which Christianity has achieved, which she has achieved
a Cunctas nationes et urbes populus aut primates aut singuli regunt; delecta ex his et consociata reipublicæ forma laudari facilius quam evenire, vel si evenit, haud diuturna esse potest. Tacit. Ann. iv. 33.