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time, as a field which the Lord hath blessed but their blossom shall go up as dust, be cause they have cast away the law of the Lord of Hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
To bring men to Jesus Christ, and when brought, to save them from their sins, and keep them steadfast unto the end, in the faith and obedience of the gospel, was the great work of the ministry of the apostles, the desire of their hearts, and the labour of their lives ; and this is the grand point aimed at by the reformed episcopal church. Of her strict conformity to the sacred writings, she has given, indeed, every reasonable satisfaction to mankind,*
* An objector may say that all sects and parties appeal to scripture.
This argument proves nothing, because it proves too much, for it is equally an argument against all rules. Heretics have appealed to reason, therefore reason is no rule. Some have pleaded tradition, therefore tradition is not to be pleaded. Heathens have appealed to universal consent (all Asia and the world worshippeth Diana. Acts, xix. 27.) therefore, it is not to be regarded. The later Arians pleaded the councils of Sirmium and Rimini, therefore, councils are not to be
1st, By publishing an excellent translation of the scriptures, and leaving them free and open for all persons to judge, concerning the doctrines which they actually teach. This shews
A firm persuasion that she is not afraid of any opposition in the word of God, to the articles of her religion.
2. By not pretending to deliver the sense of scripture on infallible authority, but requiring her members to examine for themselves, she removes all mistrust, for inquisitive men are always suspicious, where there is too much caution.*
appealed to. Miracles have been pretended to by impostors, as signs of truth, therefore, true miracles are no proof. All this objection is a transfering the fault from the men, and fixing it upon the faultless rule. But do not many, who pretend to follow scripture, deny the divinity of Christ? what then ?--this is not for want of evidence in scripture, but from making and devising ways to avoid this evidence. Will any one dare to say that there was no clear evidence from the word of Christ and his miracles, “that they were of God ;" because the Pharisees, and other unbelieving Jews, who conversed with him, and saw his miracles, and heard his word, did not acknowledge him as the Messiah ?
It does not follow, that there is no truth in the world because there is much falsehood; others may think themselves right as well as we, but the only way to talk to the purpose, is to examine the evidence in any controversy--to consider not, who says, he is in the right, but who proves it.
3. By constantly appealing to the primitive church, which believed the same doctrines, and expounded the scriptures in the same sense we do, (though the bible alone contains the religion of protestants) she shews, that she posseses sufficient certainty for
The Scriptures are called the bread of life, the food of our souls, the sight of our eyes, the judge of our ways, and I never can believe, that the people ought not to read, what God himself caused to be writ, or that they should be kept ignorant of the laws, which they are to be judged, and governed by. In explaining difficult passages, the priests' lips are to preserve knowledge, and it behoves private men to pay a due difference to the sentiments of their Spiritual guides, that they may inform their judgments, and enable them to understand for themselves. Thus our Saviour taught his disciples, and thus the apostles taught the world, by expounding scripture to them, which does not signify merely to tell them what the sense of Scripture is, and requiring them to believe it, but shewing them out of the scripture that this is, and must be, the true sense of it.
her faith—not an impossibility of erring, byt an assurance, that she does not err.
Let us, in the next place, direct our at. tention to the excellent incorporation of doctrinal and practical religion, which we have in our Articles, Homilies, and Liturgy. In the first of these, christian doctrines are em, bodied from scripture, in a brief, clear, and masterly compendium. In the second, they are illustrated, defended, and enforced, And in the last, namely, the Liturgy, they are made the vehicle of our daily addresses to the throne of grace ; and with them we ascend to the presence of our Maker.
Men are social beings, and when they are assembled in the temples of the Almighty, their natures and the community of their blessings and wants, require that they should offer a common worship,
In order to this, a form of prayer and praise is necessary. As a form is in the nature of the thing requisite, so established forms have, in all ages of the church, been esteemed most conducive, to the
public worship. They were used by God's chosen people, in the service of the tabernacle and the temple. They have the sanction of the blessed Lord, they were adopted by the apostles and primitive christians, and have continued from that time to the present day.
By such stated services the people know beforehand, the sacrifice which is to be offered,--they have it, as it were, in their hands,--they unitedly bring it to the altar, and lay it thereon. It is their offering, as well as the priests”; here then may be observed, the happy adaptation of our Liturgy to the social character ; whereas it is not easy for us to conceive, how, having no such established services, we could assent to that, which we had never contemplated, or offer that, which we never possessed.
Further, that the service of the sanctuary might be perfectly, social, the people have in it an active part; responding in alternate verse, the praises of God, and the desires of men,