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worshipped. Hence our Lord lays so great a stress upon the knowledge of the true God, and of the Messiah, who is the only medium of access to him whom no man hath
seen nor can see.
The Old and New Testaments contain the revealed mind of God. The love of that mind is the essence of true holiness. They who love the mind of God love God, and feel the deepest contrition on account of the sins of their most holy things. From these principles flows that obedience which is accepted by God after it has been washed in the blood of the Saviour. Any other holiness is no better than suffering coals of fire to lie on the head, with the Hindoo; than visiting the tomb of Mahomet, with the mussulman; or than going on pilgrimage, with the catholic, to what he calls the holy land.
I pray, my dear child, that our correspondence which you have transcribed for your brother's perusal, may have a proper effect. The obedience and death of Christ are the sin-offering, the peace-offering, and the grand atonement, whereby a guilty sinner has access to God. If your brother has had his sins set in array before him, and if he has had a view of the mountains of divine wrath which will certainly overwhelm the ungodly, the letters which you have transcribed may with the divine blessing convince him that nothing can recommend him to the divine favour but the blood of the Saviour. Being once convinced of this, he will esteem the many things substituted by both catholics and protestants in its room, as things of no value. Thus Paul esteemed every thing, when compared with the knowledge of Christ, and with being found in him, not having his own righteousness.
In my niece's last letter is a dialogue between her and Mrs. Law upon the subject of dissent from national religions. Any religion would do better for a state religion than Christianity, because no other religion would be thereby injured: whereas Christianity, by its alliance with the state, is greatly debased. The only motive for teaching and professing Christianity ought to be the hope of
eternal life. Should it be objected, that dissenting teachers as well as others live by preaching the gospel, it may be replied, that there are few instances wherein the abilities and character required of a dissenting minister might not be more profitably engaged in trade, manufactures, and merchandize, or in the professions of medicine and the
Your brother may possibly reply, that the catholics in England are in this respect upon the same footing with other dissenters. I answer, This is not the case ; for, the consciences of Roman catholics being under the direction of the bishop of Rome, they are obliged to approve of a national religion. When they cease to do this, they are Ro. man catholics in nothing but the name ; for the very sting and poison of popery consist in the alliance between church and state ; or in the kings of the earth giving their power to that ravenous beast, which is represented in the Revelation as the IMAGE of Rome pagan. But for the interposition of the kings of the earth, the Scriptures could not for so many ages have been kept out of the hands of the people. The invention of printing, that wonderful art, was such a cause of the dissemination of knowledge, that from that moment we may date the beginning of the fall of antichrist. A partial reformation took place in several countries of Europe, and popery, even in popish countries, received a rude shock: but this is nothing to what it is to receive ; for the word of God must be accomplished. The time approaches when national religions will fall to rise no more. Indeed, a knowledge of the pride, ignorance, covetousness, and cruelty of the great body of the clergy of all establishments, will be so abundantly transmitted to future generations by the faithful page of history, that when the mother of harlots and her daughters are buried, there will be no danger of their rising from the dead.
I do not wonder that there are some dissenting ministers who approve of religious establishments under what they call proper regulations. Human nature is the same out of national churches as in them. It is because they desire to be independent of their people. I have however long observed, that, in general, where ministers among the dissenters walk in a becoming manner, no people meet with greater respect Where it is otherwise, it commonly arises from a real or supposed difference of sentiments. In such a case, it may be prudent for a minister to remove to a place where his labours will be more acceptable : and, if he has behaved properly, in doing this he will find no difficulty. But if the great majority of the people where he has laboured should desire him to continue among them, and he should comply with this desire, the minority will probably secede. If any should form an objection froin this to the independency of churches, we may reply, that in this life there is nothing perfect; and that every rose has its thorn. Frequently, however, such divisions are necessary, and, instead of being an evil, are a great good. In process of time, the majority of a church of protestant dissenters are liable to depart from the faith and practice of their pious ancestors. A minister of their own sentiments will probably be chosen. It will then be prudent for the minority peaceably to withdraw. And it ought to be esteemed a great mercy that they can do so: for what fellowship has Christ with Belial ; or those who tremble at God's word, with persons who 'appear not to pay an implicit obedience to what he has revealed ? It is a great imperfection adhering to national churches, that they are composed of Calvinists, Arminians, Arians, Socinians, and the visibly dishonest and profane. Such a heterogeneous mixture, united neither by truth, nor love, nor civility, can derive no benefit from church-fellowship. When they meet together to commemorate the death of Christ, and to profess, in the presence of God, that, as they partake of one bread, so they consider themselves as one body, united together by faith and love ;-if they think at all, they must consider this as solemn mockery.
The church of Rome, my dear friend, has this imperfection in common with other national churches, and frequently in a much greater degree. If, therefore, I were to be with your brother at St. Omer's, I would entreat him to read his New Testament on his knees, and to endeavour to learn from that invaluable book, whether the church or kingdom of Christ was intended to be a worldly kingdom, contrary to the good confession testified by Christ before Pilate, that his kingdom was not of this world.
Pray give my kind love to your brother. He will perceive that in writing this letter, I did not forget him. I have had two things principally in view ; first, the nature of Christ's church or kingdom ; and secondly, the nature of that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.
As we cannot expect to hear regularly from you, and as we shall wish to know how you spend your time in France, I beg you will minute every night the occurrences of the day, especially the conversations in which you shall have been engaged. A journal of this kind will exceedingly oblige me. Indeed I shall esteem nothing uninteresting that concerns my dear friend.
Wishing you a prosperous journey, and the presence of him who has promised to be with his children to the end of the world,
I am, with the greatest esteem,
From Mrs. Worthington to Miss Barnwell.
MY DEAR CHILD,. I HAVE written a letter to Miss Eusebia Neville, which I shall enclose in a cover to you, and which you will endeavour to convey to her before she sets out for St. Omer's.
I do not expect, my dear Miranda, that you will have much comfort at home. Light cannot have fellowship with darkness, nor Christ with Belial. I shall expect yoiz therefore to share with me at Islington what God has mercifully left me of my fortune. You had great, and appa-, rently just expectations of an ample fortune yourself, being the only child of a parent more than sixty years of age : but you will more and more perceive that nothing in this world is to be accounted of. Remember, that God as a sovereign has a right to dispose both of us and ours; it becomes us then to be still, and to know that he is God. The remainder of unbelief and of a corrupt nature never appears more conspicuously than in discontent and impatience under the cross. Our God knows what is best for us; he proportions our sufferings to our strength; and I doubt not we shall have reason to acknowledge, that he has led us through the wilderness by a right way, and that all things have worked together for our good.
I have read your conversation with Mrs. Law, and have not the least doubt that national churches will come to an end. The fall of them will be the fall of the kingdom of antichrist. I do not deny that many servants of God are to be found in the different streets of Babylon : but his command is, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. If there were no Christians in those antichristian commu. nities, they would not be commanded 10 come out from them. I cannot say that I wish the corporation and test acts to be repealed; for though I consider them as unjust towards dissenters, and as highly offensive to God by profaning a divine institution, yet if dissenters were more mingled with the world, it might be injurious to them in a religious view. Those acts too are the mark of the man of sin: and why should dissenters try to wash that Ethiopian white?
I shall now endeavour, agreeably to your desire, briefly to state the rules by which a Christian ought daily to con. duct himself.
It is unnecessary for me to remark that the word of God is the only rule of faith and practice. You are fully es.