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of speaking from any but him? Do they derive it from mammon, that enemy of Christ and his religion? I will venture to say, the dignity of the ministry will never be retrieved, till it ceases to be put on a worldly footing, and is founded again in Christ; 'for other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.'

Again, a clergyman can in nothing demonstrate a greater dignity of soul, nor a more exalted spirit, than by a settled contempt of that, which the rest of mankind are so miserably enslaved to; I mean, the riches and honours of the world. But if, while he preaches up things above, his affections appear to be nevertheless riveted to things below, he gives but a sorry proof of his fidelity to Christ, and his zeal for the honour of a function, so properly, so purely spiritual. If all the ardour of his heart is exhausted in hunting after preferment, and doubling on the scent of worldly interests, let us not blame the laity for calling him a renegade and a deserter from Christ. If we believe our blessed Saviour, we must be satisfied, “No man can serve two masters;' and, if we believe our own eyes, we must be convinced, this man is serving mammon, and therefore cannot be serving Christ; who hath assured us, “No man can serve God and mammon.' What a light does he set himself in to all men, and even his holy function to the undistinguishing, who thus, like another Judas, sells his master to a new cross, for some pieces of silver.

In the next place, that such men only may be admitted into the ministry, as are qualified to advance its credit, all possible care should be taken to examine into the piety, the virtue, the learning, of those who stand candidates for holy orders; that none but chosen men may be ordained ; and that the church may no longer be a sink and a receptacle for wretches, every way too contemptible to do honour to any other employment. What account shall they give at the last day, who are more nice in the choice of their own, than of God's servants.

And the better to answer the intention of this care, as soon as these men are ordained and employed, their conduct ought to be closely inspected, that the good only may be advanced, and the worthless kept down, or discarded. By this management, the work of the ministry will be soon brought into able and honourable hands, the clamours of our enemies silenced, and the credit of our holy function restored to its primitive dignity. But, without this, I will be bold to say, no art, no policy, no power of this world will be able to prevent our tumbling headlong into a still greater degree of contempt.

Lastly, in order to restore the dignity of our employment, and, with it, the credit of Christianity itself, union or uniformity is absolutely necessary. But here I mean not uniformity in the common acceptation, as applied to ceremonies, and the constitutions of particular churches. No; more dangerous and more pernicious differences, than such as end in schism, bad as they are, call for our attention. We need no longer shew a concern to see Christ's seamless garment divided, when our eyes are summoned to a more rueful spectacle, to see his very body torn in pieces, and that by such means-0 that it were possible to speak of them with any tenderness towards those who use them, and yet at the same time not to forget, that Christ is thereby crucified afresh!

There are those among us (may God avert the dreadful evil) who begin to lay new foundations ; who, although as yet a little covertly, indeed, insinuate a set of doctrines diametrically repugnant to others, that have been hitherto esteemed, by all the churches, most necessary and sacred. Hence it comes, that while one preaches up the doctrine of the Trinity, another denies it; while one insists on the atonement made in the death of Christ for the sins of all men, another calls us off, and bids us trust in our own righteousness for our eternal salvation; while one bids us pray for, and rely on, the assistance of God's grace, in order to faith and reformation, another bids us lean entirely to our own strength for both; while one frightens us with the menaces of eternal torments for our unrepented sins, another sooths us with assurances, that our punishments shall be only temporary.

What shall our unhappy hearers do in this dilemma ? Shall they follow him who leads to the south? Or him who beckons them to the north? Or shall their faith waver in suspence, till obstinacy becomes pliant, and conceit blushes for its own ignorance; or till they themselves become better casuists than their teachers ?

But the abettors of new opinions will say, wbat would you have us do ? Is it possible for all men to think one way? We must follow our own reason, not

yours ; and if superior reason leads us to principles contrary to yours, or not universally believed in former times, you have no right to condemn us for publishing such principles, as truths, since you carry the importance of those principles, whether embraced, or rejected, farther than we do.

• Why, herein now is a most marvelous thing that we should disagree about such matters, as of all things ought to be most plain, and which the Spirit of God judged he had made sufficiently plain ; or he would never, by St. Paul, have told us, that there is but one faith ; commanding us to stand fast in that faith, to stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel ;' he - would never so pathetically have .besought us, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we should all speak the same thing, that there should be no divisions among us; but that we should be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.' Shall a Christian, after hearing these words of God, still insist, that there is nothing in which all men can judge alike ? Or, at least, that points, essentially related to the very object of our worship, to the very foundation of our hopes, are so obscurely set forth in holy Scripture, as to leave room for sensible and honest men to differ so widely about nem?

If it is fundamentally necessary to think rightly on these points, they must be clearly revealed, or revelation must have somewhat in it very foolish and defective. If they are not necessary, if they are not fundamental, then, in whatsoever establishment the one side or the other shall happen to be embraced, it is better for those, who look on them as unnecessary, and who cannot, merely by their private judgment in expounding Scripture, digest the determinations of that establishment, either honestly to stay out of it, or modestly to distrust their own understandings, and to acquiesce in that of the church, than to destroy its peace by vending contrary opinions; for peace is as confessedly necessary, and charity as confessedly fundamental, as the commands of God can make them.

If, on this occasion, these men declare, they have no rancour nor spleen against those with whom they differ; and that they cannot see, why Christians should hate one another, merely because they are unable to pursue one track of thinking in matters so mysterious and speculative, as they are pleased to call them; they will in vain attempt to excuse themselves by such a declaration, while they contend with as much heat, perhaps, I might say, with at least as much bitterness, as their opponents, for their own favourite opinions. On a careful examination of their own hearts, and an impartial review of their past conduct, it is to be feared, they will find them far enough from that humility and moderation they cry out for in their adversaries. But, be it as it will with themselves, they cannot be so ig. norant of human nature, as not to know, that religious disputes, although concerning matters never so trifling in themselves, have ever been, and, till men become indifferent to all religion, will ever be, attended with uncharitable animosities. Since, therefore (if we believe themselves), they prefer benevolence and charity to every thing else, they ought not surely to throw a needless bone of contention among their brethren, who may happen not to be blessed with so much temper as they are, nor with so much sense as to see, that opinions, for the sake of which men of so great learning think fit to disturb the repose of their own church, are, after all, far from being essentials in the judgment of those very men.

But even granting, that the Scriptures, in prescribing the unanimity just now contended for, had therein required of us a thing unreasonable or impossible; or, that the unanimity prescribed relates to other points, than those about which we are divided ; yet this will be no excuse for men, who, when they were ordained, and when they were instituted, and again when they were inducted into their livings, did most solemnly subscribe, and declare their unfeigned assent and consent, to certain principles of great importance; and also solemnly promise to teach those principles, and no other; which principles they now, neverthelesss, without either renouncing their orders, or resigning their livings, do

to the uttermost of their power oppose. Nay, what is worse than all this, after having thus opposed the principles they so solemnly engaged to defend, these men, we see, are ready, as often as tempted by a new benefice, again solemnly to declare, in the face of God, and the congregation, for the very same principles; yet (astonishing!), as soon as they are in, set themselves to run them down again without a single blush ! and, instead of these, for which the word of God himself is voucher, to cant up the feeble, the affected philosophy of others, or new-fangled nonsense of their own.

Woe unto us if we preach not the gospel ;' or rather, double woe unto us, if we preach any thing else for gospel; if we turn moralists, instead of apostles, and conceitedly preach up ourselves, or Cicero, or Seneca, or (pardon me for naming them with these illustrious heathens) if we preach up Shaftesbury, or Hutcheson, or Chubb, in the place of Christ and Scripture; whereas we ought to know nothing among the brethren, but Christ, and him crucified.'

And are these the men, thus, through love of the world, declaring for one thing, and, through conceit and self-sufficiency, insisting on quite the contrary, who are ever telling us, that our articles of faith are of little consequence? and that good works, sincerity, and moral righteousness, give the only title to salvation? Is it thus they exemplify, to a criticising world, their own applauded morality? Is theirs the very sincerity, that is to stand for all religion and virtue, and which renders them so highly meritorious, as to need no atonement, no imputed righteousnes? O thou God of truth! who cannot look on iniquity, is this the righteousness that will justify in thy sight? O thou guileless Lamb of our salvation! Is this the infantine simplicity, that is to recommend us to thy embraces, and make us the children of God? Would to God I could have done justice to my subject, without touching on a topic, that wounds the very vitals of Christianity, that throws infamy on the ministry, that pierces every honest Christian to the soul, as often as he thinks of it, with a mixture of shame, terror, and indignation !

But bear with my infirmity, my dear brethren, and give me leave to shut up this already too tedious discourse, with VOL. II.

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