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PREFACE TO THE READER.

IN taking up a subject, which has been so often and so ably handled, as that now before the reader; I must either be an uninformed man, or one who has the vanity to consider himself possessed of more than ordidinary abilities and discernment; by supposing myself capable of bringing forward any thing new or important upon it: whereas all that I have to say on the present occasion, can be new to those only, who are strangers to the subject in question.

But, though the less a man says of himself the better, still after the much that I have read and thought on the present subject, it would be false modesty in me, were I to subscribe to the first of the above positions; and it would be to betray a great

want of self-knowledge, were I to presume to lay claim to the latter distinction. In fact, the subject before the reader does not, in my opinion, furnish employment for uncommon abilities and discernment; so much as for the exercise of a sound, tolerably informed, and unprejudiced mind. Placed on its proper ground, the ground of Scripture, it appears to have nothing in it above the comprehension of the plainest understanding. And there was a time, when persons of the plainest understanding, and moderate attainments, were at no loss to comprehend it. The general ignorance now prevailing on this important subject, which has by degrees grown like a supernatural fungus out of the old decayed stock of ecclesiastical knowledge in this country, might easily be accounted for. But it is not so much my present object to enquire particularly into past causes, as to counteract, so far as may be, their effects; now so visible in that prevailing indifference to, and that growing sepa

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ration from the established Church of this country, which furnish a subject for serious alarm to all thinking minds.

SCHISM, to which the attention of the reader is more immediately directed in the following pages, I am not singular in ranking among the crying sins of the present day. It is indeed a sin at all times productive of important consequences to the peace and order of society. But when a spurious philosophy and miscalled liberality have contributed to damp the zeal, and check the energy, which a sense of duty to the cause of true Religion ought to inspire; whilst through the unsuspecting conduct of some well intentioned men, a wider field has at the same time been opened to the indefatigable exertions of the enemies of our Establishment, who profess to leave no stone unturned, to effect its destruction; under such circumstances, the sin of Schism, as

origo mali," becomes a subject for most serious consideration. When, however, we

look beyond this world, and consider ourselves in an awful state of responsibility to the Judge of all the Earth, the sin in question assumes a still stronger character; from the consideration of its being committed more directly against God, than any other sin, to which the frailty of man's fallen nature has subjected him, can well be. It is indeed that great mother sin, as it may be truly called, on account of the abundant progeny which it never fails to produce, which has done, and perhaps will do more to counteract the Divine scheme of human Redemption, than any other mean that the great Deceiver of Mankind has ever yet employed against it. And it is on this account, it may be, that this Deceiver, in these latter days, when his time is drawing to an end, is permitted more generally to employ it, as preparatory to that awful period, when it seems to have been made a question, whether the Son of Man shall find faith on the earth.

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