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vindication and rejoinder, with discussions foreign from the main question, often degenerating into mere logomachy, and with references to matters of temporary interest, which, although rendered necessary by the immediate occasion of the several publications, add but little to their permanent utility. In controversial works of this description, if any thing like an abstract proposition is employed as an argument, it too often assumes the shape of an indefinite dogma, which stands itself in need of being demonstrated, rather than that of an admitted principle, or established conclusion, which might serve as the medium of proof. In some of the writers alluded to, the reasons of Dissent are made to consist of a series of objections, which a scheme of wider comprehension would annihilate; in others, the doctrine of political right occupies too prominent or too exclusive a place among the grounds of Nonconformity. Between moral right indeed, and religious duty, the connexion is indissoluble, and the present question admits of being stated in either form,-in its relation either to right or to duty; but in reference to a practical question, the simplest and in every respect the most advantageous line of argument, is to be deduced from the nature of religion, rather than from the abstract, and more embarrassed ground of personal right. In the following pages, therefore, the chief stress is laid upon considerations arising out of the design and essential character of Christianity.

The Author has not written with the view of pleasing a party, nor yet with the ambitious hope of operating a change in the opinions of those who entertain opposite views of the subject. The work is primarily designed for the use of Protestant Dissenters. To others, whose curiosity may induce them to open it, it will perhaps afford some information; and if it should have only this effect--to make them respect more the principles of those from whom they differ, so innocent a modification of their sentiments, will be no disservice to either party.

To one class of Nonconformist readers, some apology may appear due, for the introduction of sentiments on one controverted point in which they cannot be supposed to acquiesce. On the maturest consideration, no alternative presented itself. In opposing the false views of the ordinance of Baptism, countenanced by the Church of England, which constituted a prominent objection to Conformity on the part of the ejected ministers, and which have also been pleaded as one of the reasons for a recent secession from the Establishment, it seemed incumbent on the Writer to exhibit what he conceives to be the proper light in which the Scriptures authorize our regarding theinstitution, notwithstanding that it led him to touch upon points respecting which Nonconformists themselves differ. Nothing, in his view, more directly tends to promote the spread of the anti-pædobaptist opinions, than the Baptismal ritual of the Church of England.

Deeply impressed with the dangers of controversy, the Writer has been unfeignedly solicitous not needlessly to offend, but he dares scarcely anticipate that he will be exempted from the blame so freely imputed, and too often deservedly imputed, to controvertists of every party. In laying before the public the present work, the fruit of some application during hours rescued from sleep and relaxation, he feels to have performed his duty, and he does it at all risks. He has friends, however, valued friends, some of them ministers, attached to the Establishment, to whose esteem he would earnestly deprecate any thing which seemed to diminish his claims. Yet not even to them can he offer any apology for his principles, or stoop to compromise them. The view which he has taken of the tendency of religious Establishments, even should it be deemed erroneous, will, he trusts, justify his earnestness, with those who give him credit for sincerity, in advocating what he regards not as the cause of a party, but, to adopt the words of the excellent Doddridge *, as the cause “ of truth, honour, and liberty, and, in a great

measure, the cause of serious piety too.”

*“ Free Thoughts on the best Means of reviving the Dissenting « Interest."

CONTENTS.

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PRELIMINARY. ·

§ 1. Necessity of ascertaining fundamental principles common to

both sides in the controversy. § 2. Definition of religion as op-

posed to irreligion. § 3. Moral design of Christian institutions.

§ 4. Jewish and Christian economies contrasted. $5. Nature of

Christian profession. $6. True nature and unity of the Catholic
Church. 57. Origin and essential character of Idolatry. . $ 8. Po-
sitive opposition in the Jewish ritual to idolatrous rites. $ 9. Spi-
rituality of the Christian economy. § 10. Idolatrous corruptions
of Christianity. § 11. Essential unity of the Church of Christ, the
basis of union

pp. 150.

BOOK THE SECOND.

ON CHURCH GOVERNMENT.

CHAP. I.-On Laws in general.

§ 1. Nature of Laws as originating in superior will. § 2. Human
laws rest on artificial relations. $ 3. Limitation of human laws in
respect of legislative right. § 4. Limitation of human agency in
respect of power. $5. Political laws relate to political actions.
$6. Moral actions essentially free. $ 7. Contrast between Divine
and human schemes of government. $ 8. No individual at liberty
to concede a legislative superiority to another in matters of religion.

60_78.

CHAP. II.-On the Law of Admission.

$ 1. Primary import of the term Church. $2. Origin of Chris-

tian assemblies. § 3. Conditions of voluntary association. $4.

Nature of religious fellowship, displayed in the first Christian

assemblies. $ 5. Religious Tests. $ 6. The Apostle's Creed. $7.

The Nicene Creed. 8 8. The Athanasian Creed. $ 9. The Thirty-

nine Articles

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CHAP. III.-On the Constitution of Christian Churches.

BOOK THE THIRD.

ON THE RITES AND SERVICES OF THE CHURCH.

CHAP. I.--The Rule of Public Worship.

ç). The sufficiency of the Scriptures, the foundation-stone of
Protestantism. $ 2. Tradition not an authoritative rule. $3. Rea.
son not a rule. $ 4. Hypothesis of an authorized interpreter exa-
mined. $ 5. On the authority to determine things not commandod
in Scripture. $ 6. On the circumstances of religious actions.

305-355.

CHAP. II.-The Nature of Christian Ordinances.

§ 1. True cause of the controversy respecting the Rule. $2. Na-
tare of Prayer. 3. On Forms of Prayer. § 4. Book of Common
Prayer. $ 5. On the ordinance of Preaching. $ 6. The Sacra-
ments. $7. On Baptism. $ 8. On the Lord's Supper. $9. Ad-
vantages of Protestant Dissent

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