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CONTENTS.

ESSAY I.

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15. The Christian Church Universal has

no one spiritual head on earth

36

16. Importance of points excluded

38

9

17. Contrary errors opposed to the above

principles

38

10

18. Church Ordinances removed from a

firm foundation and placed on one of

10

sand

39

19. The English Reformers chose the true

foundation

40

11

20. Pretended Church Principles fatal to

12

the Christian hopes and privileges,

even of their advocates

43

13

21. Appeal to the practice of the early

Churches, an argument inaccessible

to the great mass of Christians

44

14

22. Pretended decisions of the Catholic

Church

16

15
23. Appeals to supposed decisions, &c. of

the Catholic Church, as superfluous

15

as they are unsound

49

24. The Articles, the Symbol embodying

the deliberate decisions of our

16

Church

50

18

25. Pretended distinctions between co-ordi-

nate and subordinate tradition

52

26. Alleged importance of human teaching 53

19

27. Use and abuse of human instruction 55

28. The System of Reserve

55

29. Unsound reasons brought in aid of

21

sound ones

57

30. Difficulty of ascertaining unbroken

succession in the case of individuals 58

31. Increased danger of Schism

60

32. Irregular formations of Christian com-

munities

61

22 33. Presumption in favour of the Church

23 to which one actually belongs

63

34. Apprehension of what is called unset.

24

tling men's minds

63

25 35. Supposed case neither an impossible

one, nor useless even if it were so 65

26 36. Cases of a moral necessity for Sepa.

27

ration

65

27 37. Mistakes to be guarded against by

reformers when compelled to sepa.

28

ration

66

38. Certain views seductive to the feelings

29 and Imagination

68

39. Case of deposed Bishops and Presby.

70

30 40. System of traditionists incapable of

being supported by clear argument 71

31 41. Fallacies resorted to on religious sub-

jects

72

33 42. False views of what is Christian Faith

and Humility

73

34 43. Principles of the Anglican Reformers 74

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ing from the above views

13. Things enjoined, things excluded, and

things left at large

14. Christianity a religion without sacrifice,

altar, priest or temple

34 | Appendix

75

PREFACE.

The following Essays contain the substance of some Discourses not originally designed for the Press, but which I was strongly urged to publish by several of the persons to whom the Volume is inscribed.*

I have endeavoured to throw the materials into a form more suited for private perusal than that of the Discourses originally delivered. I fear, however, that in consequence of frequent interruptions during the preparation of the work for the Press, some defects may be found in the arrangement and comparative developement of the several topics, and other such imperfections in the compositions, which cua only be effectually guarded against by means of a period of unbroken leisure beyond what I can ever reasonably expect.

But whatever may be thought of the Work as a Composition, I trust that, in respect of the matter of it, the reader will give me credit for being incapable of putting forth, on subjects so important, any views that have not been carefully considered.

In fact, among the subjects here treated of are some on which I have not only reflected much, but have written and published from time to time for above twelve years.

And it may not be impertinent here to remark, that in respect of some most important points now maintained, I may appeal (besides the arguments contained in ihe following pages) to the strongest of all external confirmations, the testimony of opponents.

Not that I have ever written in a polemical form, or sought to provoke controversy; but by opponents, I mean those who have maintained, and who still maintain, opinions opposite to those I have put forth; but who have never, to the best of my knowledge, even attempted any refutation of the reasons I have adduced.

For instance, that the introduction into the Christian Religion of Sacrifices and Sacrificing Priests is utterly at variance with the whole System of the Gospel, and destructive of one of its most important characteristics; and, again, that the implicit deference due to the declarations and precepts of Holy Scripture, is due to nothing else, and that it is not humble piety, but profane presumption, either to attribute infallibility to the traditions or decision of any uninspired Man or Body of men, (whether Church, Council, Fathers, or by whatever other title designated,) or, still more, to acknowledge in these, although fallible, a right to fix absolutely the interpretation of Scripture, to be blended therewith, and to supersede all private judgment,—these are positions which I have put forth, from time to time, for many years past, in various forms of expression, and supported by a variety of arguments, in several different works, some of which have appeared in more than one edition. And though opposite views are maintained by many writers of the present day, several of them professed members of the Church of England, I have never seen even an attempted refutation of any of those arguments.

It cannot be alleged that they are not worth noticing: since whether intrinsically weak or strong, the reception they have met with from the Public indicates their having had some influence.

And again, if any one is averse to entering into controversy, and especially perscnal controversy, (a feeling with which I cordially sympathize,) this would not compel him to leave wholly unnoticed all the arguments that can be urged against h.ts views. It would be absurd to speak as if there were no medium between, on the one hand, engaging in a controversy, and, on the other hand, passing over with

In the earlier part of the first Essay, I have been much indebted to a valuable Work which, for several years, I have been in the habit of recommending to divinity students,—“Wilson on the Interpretation of the New Testament,” (published by Parker, West Strand.] In the first edition this notice, though referred to in a foot note to $ 6, (as if inserted,) was accidentally omitted in this place

out any notice at all, every thing that ever has been, or may be, urged on the opposite side. Nothing is easier or more common, and I should add, nothing more advisable, than to notice in general terms the opinions or arguments opposed to one's own, and without reference to any particular book or author : as by saying, for instance, “Such and such a doctrine has been held;" — this or that may be alleged ;"_" some persons may object so and so," &c. In this way, not only personal controversy may be avoided, without undue neglect of what may be said on the opposite side, but also the advantage is gained (10 the cause of truth, I mean) of confining the reader's attention to the real merits of the case, independently of the extraneous circumstances,* which ought not to influence the decision.

It is true, no one should be required to notice every minor objection,-every difficulty relative to points of detail,—that may be alleged against any principle or system he is contending for; since there may be even valid objections against each of two opposite conclusions.† But this does not affect the present case; the arguments I am alluding to having relation to fundamental principles. Whatever any one may think of the soundness of those arguments, no one can doubt that, if admitted, they go to prove that the system contended against is (not merely open to objections, but) radically wrong throughout; based on false assumptions, supported by none but utterly fallacious reasoning, and leading to the most pernicious consequences.

And these arguments, though it is not for nie to say that they are unanswerable have certainly been hitherto, as far as I know, wholly unanswered, even by those who continue to advocate opposite conclusions.

Should it be asked why they do not either abandon those conclusions, or else áttempt a refutation of the reasons urged against them, that is evidently not a question for me, but for them, to answer. Else, an answer is not unlikely to occur to some minds, in the words of the homely proverb, “ he that's convinced against his will, is of his own opinion still.”

It is only, however, in reference to the subject matter itself of the question under discussion—to the intrinsic soundness of the conclusions advocated—that the opinions and procedure of individuals can be worth the attention of the general reader. All that I wish to invite notice to is, the confirmation that is afforded to the conclusiveness of arguments to which no answer is attempted, even by those who continue to maintain doctrines at variance with them.

All that has been said in reference to the positions above alluded to (which are among those maintained in the second of these Essays) will apply equally to some of those maintained in the first Essay: for instance, that to attempt the propagation or support of Gospel truth by secular force, or by establishing in behalf of Christians, as such, a nionopoly of civil rights, is utterly at variance with the true character of Christ's Kingdom, and with the teaching and practice of Ilimself and his Apostles ;I and that lo attribute to them any such design, is 10 impugn their character, not merely as inspired Messengers from Ileaven, but even as sincere and upright men.

These conclusions have been maintained by arguments which have been as long before the Public g as the others above alluded to, and have remained equally unanswered.

If in these, or in any other points, I am in error, I trust I shall be found open to conviction whenever my errors shall be pointed out. In the mean time, I trust I shall not be thought to have been unprofitably employed, in endeavouring more fully to elucidate, and to confirm by additional arguments, what appear to me to be momentous truths, and in developing some of the most important of the practical conclusions which result froin them.

In the present edition a few notes have been added in further illustration of the principles maintained; and here and there a sentence has been slightly altered in expression, in order to guard, as far as lies in myself, against all danger of misapprehension. * "FERO TCU magiquatec, Arist. Rhet.

† See Logic, b. iii. $ 17. + See a very interesting pamphlet on the present condition of the Vaudois. (Murray, Albemarlo Street.)

$ Particularly in the Essay “ On Persecution,” (Third Series,) and in Appendix E. and F. to the Essays " On the Dangers,” &c., (Fourth Series.)

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