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boasted of as a signal triumph of this enlightened age,) is a virtual denial of the gospel of our salvation, and a high offence against God. I repeat, a professedly religious union ; because every man is at full liberty to join his fellows in the furtherance of secular objects, without any reference to their religious opinions. Whatsoever, saith the apostle, , is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake. The seller might be a heathen, a sacrificer to idols. The Christian purchaser need not inquire: religion was in no way involved. But when the ostensible object of a combination among men is declared to be religious, and when the leading theme of proud congratulation is the liberality on every side, which thus delightfully combines ; the state of the case is wholly altered. If any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, EAT NOT. How can conscientious Socinians, com. bine in any thing connected with religion, with us, whom they must abhor as abominable idolaters ? That is, if they have zeal and faith sufficient to rise into the dignity of abhorrence: for, it should be remembered, that indifference and indecision are frequently the real roots of apparent meekness, I deny not, that the defenders of Christian truth are often betrayed into unchristian tempers; that the sons of Zebedee, in their indignation at the ill treatment received by their Master, forget what manner of spirit they are of, themselves. Meanwhile, however, they are his instruments for keeping prominent and pure, those fountains of living water, at which their brethren drink and are satisfied. Athanasius is raised up in defence of the doctrine of the Trinity. In the performance of his work, he loses the serenity and self-possession of Christian meekness, and writes with unchristian acrimony against Arius. Meanwhile, he guards from insidious adulteration, that bread from heaven, upon
which thousands of Christians have fed daily for centuries : he vindicates the glorious truth that in one God, essentially and immutably One, there are three coequal and coeternal Persons ; that cardinal truth of the Catholic faith, " which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.”
I say not this, to justify, or in the slightest degree to palliate, unchristian tempers. God forbid ! But I observe it in devout meditation upon the
hand that rules the storm. And I write it to allay, in some measure, (if the Lord will,) the petty clamours which are raised against those men of God, who in all sincerity, though encompassed with our common infirmity, are doing the work of our heavenly Father.
With respect to the spirit in which the present volume is written, I have only to say,
that sign has been to avoid any approach to either of two extremes. On the one side, I detest that whining affectation of tenderness, which libels while it imitates the chastened manly sympathy of true Christian feeling. And on the other side, I equally abhor levity, or sarcasm, or jesting : such modes of speech being delicately yet powerfully stigmatized by an apostle, as not convenient---oúk åvñkovra. (Eph. v. 4; compare Rom. i. 28.) It has been my anxious desire and prayer to exemplify the scriptural characteristics inculcated upon Titus, uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity. How far I have succeeded, it is not for myself to judge. If I have failed, my infirmity, and not my will, consented.
The argument urged in the Introduction is familiar to every student of the evidences of Chris
tianity : yet Ideem it far from unseasonable to give a brief, popular statement of it, with a somewhat varied form of illustration.
The third Lecture of the series has been already published as a separate pamphlet; but is long since out of print. And I refrained from printing a second edition of it, in the design of the present publication.
Albury Rectory, June, 1830.