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pray God, by his special grace, to incline the hearts of the parochial clergy, yea, all of then, to follow the excellent advice, contained in this conclusion of the chapter. The substance of it is so excellent, that I have no disposition to except to any particular expressions, which may not exactly accord to my own sentiments. By zealously and steadily attending to these counsels, and by no other means, without this,


troversy, when considered without reference to the general tenor ' of Scripture, or the peculiar circumstances and opinions to which they allude; but, guided by the light afforded them by ' our truly venerable Reformers, in the articles, the liturgy, and 'the homilies of our church, let them take a comprehensive


view of the whole of Scripture, and, "rightly dividing the "word of truth," let them explain its doctrines and enforce its precepts in a manner consistent with the general design of christianity, and the known attributes of God. Let them, 'while they exhort men to remember that schism is not become 'the less criminal from its being more common, exert themselves


to check its progress, by a diligent discharge of the various ' duties belonging to their several stations; and conformably with


' that spirit of forbearance, by which our church is so especially distinguished, and which so clearly appears in the declaration 'prefixed to our articles, let not those, who are of one mind


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respecting the fundamental principles of our faith, suffer "ferences upon certain curious points" to break the bonds of

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peace and unity, so necessary, in this hour of common danger, 'for the preservation of true religion in these dominions. Thus

by temperate zeal, sound knowledge, persevering diligence, ' and fervent charity, they will best evince themselves genuine 'members of a church, founded upon apostolical authority.


Thus, "shewing their faith by their works," according to an

apostle's injunction, they will most effectually reprove gain

sayers, recal wanderers, and prepare themselves, "in this day "of trial which is come upon all the earth," to give account of 'their stewardship when summoned before their Judge.'

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the parochial clergy may recover, and establish, that preponderance over the dissenting teachers, which is so much desired by them. It may, however, be foreseen, that if only a part of them do this; so that the total number forms by far the minority among the whole company; they will soon be either classed with the evangelical clergy, so called; or will receive some other name of opprobrious distinction, by the majority, which continues to neglect them.



'Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to 'salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, 'nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of 'any man, that it should be believed as an article of 'faith, or be thought requisite or necessary unto sal'vation.'1 ( There is no truth or doctrine, neces


sary for our justification, and everlasting salvation, 'but that is, or may be, drawn out of that fountain, ' and well of truth. Let us diligently search for 'the well of life, in the books of the New and Old 'Testament, and not run to the stinking puddles of 'men's traditions, devised by men's imagination, for 'our justification and salvation."2 The concluding words of this quotation refer to the pernicious traditions of the papists: but "the mystery of iniquity," at length called popery, began very early to work, in the christian church; nay, even in the life-time of the apostles and very many traces of it may be discerned, in the quotations adduced in this chapter, which occupies 224 pages. Our appeal is therefore

Art. vi. 2 Homily on the reading and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. 3 Col. ii. 18. 2 Thes. ii. 7.

"to the law, and to the testimony;" "the law of "the Lord, which is perfect, converting the soul; "and the testimony of the LORD, which is sure, "making wise the simple." The decisions of our church are authority to the whole body of the clergy, without exception; and the evangelical clergy are more disposed to appeal to it, than from it. But other human authority we peremptorily disclaim. We do not indeed put even the authority of our church, on the same footing, as that of the sacred Scriptures. While we voluntarily officiate as ministers of the establishment, we are amenable to its tribunal; yet our responsibility would cease, by our receding from it: but the authority of Scripture must remain, and our responsibility for our conduct, as men and ministers, continue the same, through life, notwithstanding any change in our situation or sentiments. The authority of the church is vested in its rulers, and enforced only by temporal sanctions: except as, by continuing to act as her ministers, while men disbelieve her doctrine, and disapprove her worship; they become chargeable with gross hypocrisy, in the sight of God: and if they do it for the sake of emolument or distinction, they are guilty of base venality, and a corrupt ambition; for which also they are responsible to God. But the authority of the Scriptures, is the authority of God; to him we are responsible for our refusal to submit to it; and the sanctions are spiritual and eternal.

The ancient fathers of the christian church

Ps. xix. 7, S. Is. viii. 20.

may be read with benefit, in various ways; their persons ought, in general, to be venerated; even their supposed mistakes are entitled to our candour: but they have no authority over our creed; any more than we have over the creed of our remote posterity. We are, therefore, in this chapter, cited before a tribunal, the authority of which we disclaim: we are to be tried by a jury, every individual of which we challenge, and against whom we can bring most valid exceptions. So little agreement in senti ment is found among these fathers; that it would be a very easy task, to bring together a long catalogue of their mutual discordances: and so inaccurate were they, as to historical facts; that it would be equally easy, to make a long list of their most undeniable mistakes. Their comments upon the Scripture were often such, as would be almost universally rejected, nay despised, in these days. They were uninspired men; and fallible as others are: few of them had enjoyed the benefit of a religious education, or been trained up in any learning, which did not rather disqualify, than prepare, them for theological studies. Copies of the Scriptures were not then multiplied as they now are: few of the fathers were capable of studying the original of the Old Testament; and some were unacquainted with that of the New. What those, who perhaps had conversed with the apostles, or who lived soon after, learned from this source, more than we have in the Scriptures, must be preserved by recollection, and communicated by tradition; neither of which are greatly to be depended on, in respect of controverted points of



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