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holy communion and fellowship, it is no less obvious that, as individuals, we must be members of, and united with, some particular local church, national, provincial, or diocesan, that is, we must belong to some regular branch of the One, catholic church ; in which we must carefully abide, as a branch abideth in the vine, and must conscientiously attach ourselves to its communion, during every external change of adventitious circumstances, and notwithstanding all opposition and temptation whatsoever ; with this single exception, that this particular local church become neither heretical in its doctrine, nor corrupted in its worship, so as to render its communion sinful, and a separation from it both lawful and necessary.

In such a melancholy case, the pious christian has only to submit himself to the wise providence of his infallible and invisible Guide, humbly and stedfastly depending upon his merciful care to take pity on the lamentable situation of his church, and in his own time and way, to reform and regulate whatever is wrong and defective about it. But, on no pretext whatever, is even the most learned or most devout private christian, to go beyond his own proper sphere, as a lay member of the church catholic, and seek a supply of his spiritual wants by sacrilegiously assuming to himself, or by countenancing others in assuming, the instituted office of ministring in holy things, of which oslice ‘no man * can take the honour to himself, unless he be called to it of God, as was Aaron'. He ought always to remember the admonition of Samuel to Saul in a similar case, that where both cannot be done,' to obey is better than sacrifice'

While, on the other hand, where no such case does occur, where the particular church, within whose jurisdiction his lot has fallen, neither alters the faith, nor adulterates the worship of God, by indefensible additions, and profane mixtures, no private christian ought to quarrel with such salutary injunctions and prohibitions, as his ecclesiastical superiors shall from time to time deem proper and seasonable, for supporting discipline, and for maintaining the unity of faith, and that • decency' and • order' which an apostle recommends. But, on the contrary, so long as these objects are kept in view, so long as both faith and worship are thus kept pure and unsullied ; and so long as discipline is regulated by charity, and not exercised to sinister purposes, so long ought the prohibitions and injunctions of church governors to be not merely acquiesced in, but enforced, by the private christian, whenever and wherever opportunity may serve. To act otherwise is to be guilty of disobedience to spiritual authority, which (seeing that both church and state are composed of the same individual members) is equally obligatory as civil authority is in things indifferent, being only a terror to evil doers, but


i Heb. v. 4.

2 , Sam. xv. 22,

for the praise of them that do well. Indeed, where the least act of spiritual disobedience is cherished, it is . as when one letteth out water, and before he is aware, it may overwhelm him in the monstrous and devouring gulph of schism, that is, of forinal, and wilful separation, from a blameless communion, and, by consequence, from the true church of • Christ, which is his body, the fullness of him that • filleth all in all."

I am aware that such doctrines are not only, nowa-days, lightly regarded, but are even branded with the terrifying names of bigotry, intolerance, and illiberality. Nay, after having exhausted the vocabulary of railing, the latitudinarian professor of christianity thinks no farther reasoning on the subject necessary, than to put to the orthodox churchman the following trite question, · If grace and * salvation are only to be had within the pale of . catholic communion, what shall become of the many nations, who have never heard of the ca

tholic church, nor even of the gospel of salvation • itself? I am none of those who feel insensible to the force of this question. On the contrary, I respect the scruples, which it has, on many occasions, been found to raise in pious ininds. But let it not be too triumphantly viewed either by the modern philosopher, or the modern sectary. It is a question which does admit of a very satisfactory answer ; and by such answer, the pious mind may be relieved of all its doubts and all its difficulties, while


the philosophic, and sectarian scoffer is effectually confuted.


any view which I can take of the question, it appears to be improperly conceived ; and would seem to convey a suspicion of a defect in the divine goodness, in not having communicated unto all nations alike, that knowledge which is necessary to salvation. Whereas I believe, (and I think upon

infallible grounds), that this is by no means the case ; but that the gospel of salvation has been notified, in the

way which seemed good to its divine author, to every nation under heaven. Sure I am, that St Paul, having put the question, have they (that • is both Jew and Greek) Not heard ?" decides in the affirmative, when he replies, “ Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world'. I know that this latitude of expression, which the apostle borrows from the psalmist *, has been artfully brought down to a more confined interpretation; but, I appeal to the most learned theologian, whether I am not warranted to apply the passage, in the literal and comprehensive sense, in which one inspired writer delivered it, and in which 'another did certainly use it. Wherefore if there are either nations, or provinces, either individuals, or communities, which bave rejected the gospel, when, by the dispensation


i Rom. x. 18.

2 Psalm xix. 4.

of providence regularly preached to them; or, if there are any such, who, having received the glad tidings of salvation themselves, have not taken due care to transmit, on the original plan, these glad tidings to their posterity, I should wish that the philosophical, or sectarian caviller would point out what it is that he would have had the author of our salvation to do with such nations, provinces, individuals, or communities, as once had the faithful sayings of the gospel regularly offered to them for

acceptation ? Whether he ought still to be, miraculously (as it were) forcing his means of

grace and salvation, from time to time, upon them; or not rather leave them to the consequence of their progenitors unbelief now, but at the disposal of God's infinite wisdom, justice, and mercy, hereafter.

I must be permitted to say, that if those who take such an interest in the discussion of the above question, respecting the nations now. in a state of pagan idolatry, had but an equal interest in working out their own salvation, which they are called upon to work out with “ fear and trembling , they would find little leisure for such vain speculations. • Lord, what shall this man do?' was a question of equal propriety, and of equal importance. When however it was put to our Lord by one of his • familiar friends, in whom he trusted,' the answer given shewed at once the light in which the blessed Jesus viewed it. If I will, that he tarry till I come,


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