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o us, and through us, and in us all, and " should not this be an argument to pre“ serve peace and union among us?” In short, to adopt the words of another writer', who is much venerated by many of the dissenters themselves, “ A true Christian, that “ hateth fornication, drunkenness, lying, 66 perjury, because they are forbidden in 66. the word of God, will hate divisions also, 66 when he well observeth how frequently 66 and vehemently they are forbidden, and 66 concord highly commended and com66 manded.”
The evil of schism appears farther from the evil root from which it springs. I would not willingly give offence to any, and allow that it sometimes proceeds from a sincere though mistaken piety: too often however it has its origin in that spirit of pride, and self-conceit, which is so natural to sinful man ; that spirit which produces sedition and rebellions in the State, and dissension and schism in the Church. Religion inculcates humility, and meekness, and patience; a peaceable obedience to the laws and established government; and
a dutiful submission in spiritual things to spiritual pastors. Pride tells a man not to submit to any body; and self conceit makes him think himself too wise to learn or be directed. United they dispose him to find fault with the established religion and government, and nourish in his bosom à proud factious spirit of insubordination. I trust that you will guard against this evil. spirit. I speak not these things to reprové you, but, as my beloved sons, I warn you. • Schism then appears to be sinful in itself, and sinful in the origin from which it springs. It is also too likely to lead you into HERESY, or false doctrine. The ministers of the Church of England are pledged and bound to teach no doctrines at variance with those which are contained in her Liturgy and Articles_contained in them as being the sense of holy Scripture. The frequenters of a dissenting meeting-house have - seldom a similar security, and are liable to be led wherever the preacher chooses to carry them. Many of the dissenters pride themselves upon the unrestrained licence of their opinions. Some of them represent our Saviour to have been a
mere man, and deny that his death made atonement for sin. And there are, I believe, dissenting teachers in these evil days of rebuke and blasphemy, who even dispute the divine authority of the Scriptures. A man possessed of natural talents and readiness of tongue may easily make the worse appear the better reason, can easily give a specious colouring tọ erroneous doctrines, and “ by fair words deceive the hearts of “ the simple.". Men who earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, cannot generally be supposed to be possessed of learning and ability sufficient to detect the errors and false reasoning of a man fluent in speech, and able to pervert the words of Scripture, so as to give a seeming support to what he says. Hence, those who go to dissenting meetings are in danger of being carried about with every wind of doctrine, till at length, wearied and puzzled by the many opposite opinions presented to them, they end in doubt, and quit religion altogether. A man who keeps stedfast to the form of sound words, which he has been taught; who lives in quiet submission to the Church in which he has been baptized
and brought up, is in little danger of being led into error; and if he should err, much allowance is to be made for him. But a man who frequents schismatical conventicles, runs himself wilfully into danger ; and if he should be led away either by irregular zeal, or “cunning craftiness," he has no one to blame but himself. His departure from the faith is his own work. His having become a heretic or an unbe liever is to be imputed to his own love of irregularity, his own itching ears. “The “ time will come,” says St. Paul, “ when " they will not endure sound doctrine; “ but after their own lusts shall they heap “ to themselves teachers, having itching "ears":"
You remember also the warnings of St. Peter, and of St. Jude—“There shall be “ false teachers, who privily shall bring in • damnable doctrines, even denying the 6 Lord that bought them.--And many u shall follow their pernicious ways." The former speaks of them as “despising “ government ;-presumptuous are they,"
says he, “self-willed, they are not afraid " to speak evil of dignities."
My friends, think on these things. If you go at all to dissenting meetinggeven though you may also go to church-if I say you go at all to dissenting meetings, you do by so doing encourage dissent and schism; you expose yourself to the danger of being led into false doctrine or heresy ; you act undutifully towards that Church in which you have been baptized, and towards the spiritual pastor, whom you ought to regard as 6 the minister of Christ, and 66 steward of the mysteries of God.” Be on your guard therefore against irregular teachers, who may unawares creep in; mark them which cause divisions and schism in the Church, and avoid them; “ hold fast the form of sound words,” in which you have been instructed from your youth; and endeavour quietly « to keep 6 the unity of the Spirit in the bond of 56 peace.”
s 2 Pet. ii. 1, 2. and Jude 8.