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in consequence of which they became necessarily joined together by that similarity of condition and interest, and that use of the fame appointed means for the promotion of their general concern, which myst, from the constitution of human nature, be productive of mutual regard and mutual assistance; would be the plan, which, if proposed to him by his fellow, creatures, every thinking Christian, it might be fupposed, would readily adopt.
Let not, then, this plan of social religion be negJected, or thought lightly of, because it has been projected by that all-wise Being, who, from knowing what was in man, not only knew how best to provide for the circumstances of the party for whose service it was established, but who, from the relation in which man stands to Him, has a right to exact his obedience to it. Rather let us with gratitude avail ourselves of that affistance, which the establishment of the church upon earth minifters to our condition; and not sacrifice that good, which it is so well calculated to produce, to vain dreams of more spiritual perfection, in ways of our own devising:
“ The first blessing that I daily beg of my GOD for his church (said that pious and affectionate bic Shop,* whose character the Christian is only at a
* Bishop HALLE
loss whether most to love or admire) is, our SAVI.' our's legacy, peace; that sweet peace, which in the very name of it comprehends all happiness both of estate and disposition. Other graces are for the beauty of the church; this for the health and life of it. Nó marvel then, if the church, labouring here below, make it her daily suit to her glorious bridegroom in heaven: “ Give peace in our time, O LORD.” And would to God, that the united voice of Christians, of every denomination, might be heard joining in the charitable petition, “ Give peace in our time, O Lord; that peace which passeth all understanding."
But division, we all know, cannot lead to unity and peace. Division, therefore, must in its nature be hostile to one great object of the Christian religion. As such, it must be fcrupulously avoided by every man, who would co-operate with God in the restoration of his fallen nature · It is the employment of the Christian's life to be gradually changed into the image of his Divine Master; that “the same mind,” so far as human infirmity will permit, “ may be in him, which was in Christ Jesus: and the hope which he enter. tains, will be always proportionate to the degree of
resemblance, which is to be traced between him and his Divine pattern.
When Christians, therefore, regard the Church as. their common mother, and themselves as brethren, travelling in fellowship through the wilderness of this world to their promised land; they will not, by petty disputes on the road, expose themselves to the attacks of their surrounding enemies: but, the grand object in view swallowing up every other confideration, all differences of opinion will give way to the cultivation of that temper, necessary to qualify them for the enjoyment of the blesfed country towards which their course is directed, - In such case," the golden age of the primitive church would return upon us; and the proverb, descriptive of the amiable character of its early members, “ see how these Christians love one another," would again be realized. Such an event, rather to be wished for in these days than expected, would bring in the accomplishment of the glorious promises, which in the spirit of prophecy have been made to the church—" when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them:” when
“ Ephraim shall no longer envy Judah, nor Judah vex Ephraim;" and there shall be no more consuming or devouring in all God's holy mountain.
O thou Prince of Peace, and Friend of fallen man! who purchased the church with thine own bload; heal the breaches of it, we beseech thee, by the communication of thy grace to all its members; prepare them for that more perfect state of thy kingdom, to which they are taught to look forward; by giving them an heart capable of receiving all those impressions, which thy religion was designed to make upon it, that those who hold fast the faith of thy Gospel, may also possess the spirit of it: to this end, fix in the mind of every Christian professor this important truth, that charity, or a difpofition to peace and unity, is that bond of perfectness, without which no man, be his other pretensions what they may, can be qualified for adıniffion into that holy place, from whence discord and division will be for ever excluded, and where nothing will be heard, but the grateful sounds of harmony and love. Even so, blessed Jesus, for thy church's fake. Amen.
To those Members of the CHURCH, who occasion.
ally frequent other Places of Public Worship.
O CCASIONAL Separation from the church
stands, in point of argument, on the same ground with occasional conformity to it. If conformity to the church be a sin against the conscience of the party, which was the plea originally set up by those who separated from it in this country, every act of occasional conformity, being a commission of that sin, must be subject to condemnation.
Schism, or a wilful separation from the church, be in itself a sin, as from the authority of scripture and the primitive writers of the church it is adjudged to be; every occasional separation from it must be seen in a similar point of view. It is a commission of an acknowledged fin; and the only difference between