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Of the Distinction between the World and the Church; with the Nature and Character of both Societies.
Of the Means of Grace, and the Marks by which the Church of Christ is to be known.
The Errors which tempt men to leave the Church, and make them easy when they are separated from it.
Vol. iv. c c 3 CHAPCHAPTER IV.'
On the Abuse of the Reformatio?!, SCc.
A short View of the present State of the Argument between the Church of England and the Dissenters.
An Account of the first Separation of the Dissenters from the Church of England.
The three great subjects, with which a Christian Minister is concerned, are the Word of God, the Church of God, and the Christian, Life. Circumstances and occasions will sometimes direct his thoughts to one of these, and sometimes to another: but so long as any of the three are before him, he is within the circle of his duty.
I was led to the subject of the following Essay, by an accident. I am a Curate in a country parish; who make it my business, and have found it my pleasure, to teach the children \ c c 4 of of my people, privately in my own house, and_ publicly in the Church; and I am, for the present, the only Sunday Schoolmaster of the place. In the course of my instructions, I had occasion to observe, that the Catechism of the Church of England, though a most excellent summary of the Christian Doctrine, is deficient in one point, viz. the Constitution of the Church of Christ} the knowledge of which, in a certain degree, is necessary to the preservation of that charity which is the end of the commandment; and, for the want of which, so many are drawn away from the Church, who would certainly have remained with it, if they had known what it is. Yet is our Catechism not so deficient, but that it includes the grand distinction betwixt the World and the Church; which distinction being explained, I found we were possessed of a leading idea, which gave so much light to my young pupils, that I determined to go through the subject.
As I have been persuaded, ever since I began to think on these things, of the great im
* portance portance of uniformity in worship amongst Christians: so have I been led to observe, on the other hand, the many evil consequences of non-conformity, with the dangerous delusions of the mind, arising from the harangues of preachers pretending to extraordinary gifts, while they are but half learned in the gospel, which they undertake to publish, and are greatly mistaken in the spirit of it. I see how some men are cheated with the appearance of being converted to godliness; when they are only converted from One sin to another; from loving the world, to hating their neighbours; from the coldness of church devotion, to an uncharitable heat against the Church itself; from the moral philosophy of some of our pulpits, to the Antinomian faith, which gives men a license to sin; from the drunkenness of the body, to the intoxication of the mind, with spi- . ritual pride and false doctrine.