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Articles of Religion as

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these things, does not properly declare that he believes them to be contained in Scripture; but rather that they are not repugnant to it, and are among those matters allowed to be settled by human prudence.

The Articles of Religion, which relate to these prudential matters, may not improperly be called Articles of Peace. A man may conscientiously assent to them, because the Church has appointed them. Should the Church alter her conduct with respect to these matters, a Minister may with truth alter his assent.

But Articles, consisting of fundamental doctrines, stand upon a different footing. They cannot be assented to, consistently with truth, unless they are believed ; because (as hath been already observed) they immediately affect our worship of God, and other religious conduct. A Church, fundamentally wrong, must be deserted by the sincere worshipper. No custom can make it right for us to offer to God the sacrifice of fools, nor to worship Him with solemn acknowledgments which we disbelieve. No example can make it innocent for a Minister to declare, that he understands the Scriptures in a sense contrary to that which he judges to be their

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true meaning. Churches may err fundamentally ; but they must then be deserted. Truth requires that we come out from among them, and be separate. Conformity in such a case is only following a multitude to do evil.

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THOUGHTS ON THE SABBATH.

PART 1.

When we take up the Bible with the view of ascertaining its true meaning, and the extent of our duty; we ought to consider that God speaks to us as intelligent creatures, who are bound to make the best use of our understanding for the discovery of his will. We must not presume to limit the Almighty as to the manner in which he shall make known his will to us : in whatever way this is done, we are called to implicit obedience.

Express command is not the only method by which our great Creator and Governor has pointed out our duty; he has also revealed his will by symbols, by prophetic and somewhat obscure declarations, by significant actions of men divinely inspired, and by parables; and in these the obscurity we sometimes meet with may be designed to excite us to diligent inquiries after the will of God, and to be a test of our humility and sincerity.

Under the impression of these considerations, let us inquire, whether it be not the will of God, that mankind, in all ages, should dedicate one day in seven to the more immediate worship of the Almighty, and other religious exercises ; subject to certain limitations which the Bible has pointed out, and which our present condition in this world has rendered necessary.

If, in our researches, we should meet with some passages of Scripture, which, at first sight, appear contradictory; let us apply the following rules of interpretation.

1. Let us endeavour to find out some sense in which the apparently contradictory passages will

agree, without doing violence to the expressions on either side.

2. Let us interpret obscure passages by those which are plain ; instead of forcing the plain passages to bend to those which are ob

scure.

3. Let us, in all doubtful cases, choose that side which is practically the most safe, and agreeable to the general tenor of Scripture.

I shall consider the nature and extent of the command to sanctify the Sabbath, as it stood before the promulgation of the law on Mount Sinai ; as it was explained and enforced during the Jewish dispensation; and as it continues obligatory upon the disciples of Christ to the end of the world.

The first intimation respecting the Sabbath is given in the second chapter of the Book of Genesis. This is a very important passage of Scripture, and deserves our most serious attention, both as it respects the meaning of the words, and the period at which they were delivered. The second verse informs us what the Almighty did with regard to his own works: “ And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” The third verse proceeds to state ; “ And God blessed the seventh day

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