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SECOYDLY. Suppose Jeroboam had indeed been the head of the Samaritan schism, what is that to us? Yes, it is observed, -" The trespass of Jeroboam, whieli the scripture notes as emphatically his, in the main consisted only (N.B.] in his setting up temples and altars at Dan and Bethel, in opposition to the temple and altars at Jerusalem, and offering sacrifices in other places, than those which God bad appointed ; it was not,” he once and again asserts and lays stress upon it, “ that he changed or altered the laws and customs Moses had left, but his commanding them to be observed in another place than that which God had appointed."* Here again the doctor greatly mistakes. For the divine lawgiver had said expressly, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graver image ; nor any likeness of any thing in heaven or earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.t--But Jeroboam made two calves of gold, and said unto the people, it is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem, behold thy gods, O Israel. I Was not this changing a fundamental law, and altering a most sacred and essential custoin of that religion. His worshipping in another place, in which the whole of his crime is here made to consist, was a trivial offence in comparison of his erecting graven ima. ges, and likening the God of Israel to a four-, footed beast; concerning which sin God speaks by his prophet with the greatest indignation. They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped a : molten image; - thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an or that eateth grass. But this, it seems, was a light matter; his breaking off from the place of worship was the main,
Serm. I. p. 7. 8. + Exod. xx. 4, 5.
yea the only trespass which the scripture stigmatises as emphatically his. As though the violating the topical, ceremonial, 'temporary sanctity of Jerusalem, by worshipping in another place, was worse than violating the eternal, immutable spirituality and sanctity of the Divine Nature by likening it to a calf. Had the good doctor shewa us but half the candour he does our pretended father Jeroboam, we had not fallen under this scourge.
Well, but if Jeroboam's case be not allowed a proper parallel to the dissenters, the Samaritans inust... The only difference betwixt them and the Jews, as to religion, was about the place of worship : they agreed in their helief of the same God, owned both of them the same religion, and differed only about the place where they shoulli perform it." Yet our Lord expressly says, le (Samaritans) worship ye know not what. we (Jews) know what we worship * plainly imply. ing some difference as to the object : but to let that pass:-“The Samaritans separated ther. nselves from the temple of the Lord at Terusalem, and set up distinct altars and places of Worship of their own, in opposition to those esta'blished by the law; so that their sin and guilt consisted in this, and in this only, that whereas the established church of the Jews was such, that a man might safely hold communion with it, yet the Samaritans wilfully separated from it, refused to join in coma munion with it, and set up distinct congregations and assemblies in opposition to it. Hence we see the true nature of schism, and likewise the great sin and guilt of it. As to the Samaritans it consisted in a needless separation from the es
* John iv, 22.
tablished church of God among the Jews; SO as to the christian church it consists in a man's separating himself from that particular church, to which, according to the constitution of it, he does of right belong--This, I believe, is a charge the dissenters from our church (as unwilling as they are to hear it) will never be able to answer.
Can it then be a crime to look on such men as schismatics, or to call them sinners ?"*, No, let them be called this, and what worse blind zeal can suggest, if they cannot clear themselves from so trifling and impotent a charge. The argument stands thus against us.---The Samaritans needlessly separated from the established church, and from the only appointed place of worship;, so do the dissenters; therefore as the former were, so are the latter, schismatics and sinners. Could such an argument as this be published by a learned doctor without knowing it to he most weak? For,
FIRST. As to the place of worship, on which so mighty a stress is laid : is there 'now any place in which alone God's worship is to be paid, and from which to withdraw and worship in a distinct place is schismatical and sinful ? Such the Jewish temple was. , Was not Jerusalem chosen out of all the tribes as the place where God would put his name 2. There he visibly and locally dwell, reigning as king of Israel in the temple as in his palace : sitting on the mercy seat, as upon a throne betwixt surrounding cherubims. And thither, he expressly commanded, they should bring all their offerings, their sacrifices and dows, -Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest, dut in THE PLACE which the Lord shall chuse in one of thy tribes, THERE shalt thou offer thy
† Serm. I. p. 21, 22, 24.
burnt offerings, &c* Against this express .com. mand Jeroboam and the Samaritans notoriously offended: but will our accuser dare to say, that there is any like command, against which the dis; senters sin? Is there a place now upon earth, in which God hath chosen thus to set lis name, and to which he hath confined the solemn worship of his people? If there is, let it be shewn, and we will presently break up our separate assem, blies, and all resort to it.
Did the publisher insagine, the worthy gentlemen, into whose hands this performance was put by him, did not know that this unity of place was a circumstance peculiar to the Jewish dispensation; and that when that dispensation ended, all holiness of places, all confinement of worship to any particular mountain, or city, or house, ens tirely ceased ?. Has not our great lawgiver himself expressly determined this case ?. Woman, bes lieve me the hour cometh, the dispensation is commencing, when ye shall neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem worship the father. i. e, When worship paid either here or there, shall not be more acceptable than what is paid in any other place : but the true, and only acceptable, worshippers shall, be such as, worship the Father in spirit and in truth.† And I will, says the apostle, that men pray every where lifting up holy hands. I
Agreeably to this doctrine did not our Lord, and his apostles pray or preach in gardens, on mountains, from a ship, on the sea coast? Where did they usually administer the sacraments, those solemn parts of public worship? 'In places set apart, and consecrated for this purpose ? Not
Deut. xii. 5, 6, 11, 13, 14. + John iv, 21.
11 Tim. ii. 8. 67607 TOTT.
at all. They generally baptised in rivers, and open fields : and as to the sacrament of the supper, it was instituted, and first celebrated by our LORD and his disciples,* and afterwards by St, Paul t in a private chamber : and the dwelling houses of Nymphas, and of Philemons were as real and true churches in the apostles account, as any buildings amongst christians ever have been, or can be since. This then being the undoubted doctrine and practice of Christ and his apostles ; whence in their name) comes that sacredness of places of which we now so often hear! Is there any power in men now to stamp a peculiar sanctity on a building or a place which the apostles had not? Or if the apostles really had this power which their successors the bishops now upon occasion solemnly exert, how was it they never used. it? Did they hide their talent in a napkin? Or is it that we in these latter ages are more jealous' for God's honour and the dignity of his worship, more careful that it be performed decently and in order, than these first believers were? But we forbear the freedoms the subject will admit, for we would not offend. ? As for any fixed places then, where we ought to worship, and from whence to withdraw and ta worship in another is schismatical and sinful, the christian dispensation knows nothing of any such, Though the Samaritans were schismatics for not offering their oblations in that particular place, where, and where only God had commanded them to be offered up; yet the dissenters are not so, because there is now no particular place concerning which God has thus commanded; on the contrary, their Divipe Master bath told them,
+ Luke xxii. 12. f Acts x8. 7, 8.
Coloss. iv. 15. Philemon ij.