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country; and that new books, though containing nothing fresh upon the subjects of which they treat, will be read; whilst old ones, more fraught with information, lie useless on the shelf.
The Postscripts subjoined to the Discourses must speak for themselves; because they were written for the purpose to which they are applied.
Upon the subject of Establishments I have nothing to unsay. Upon this subject I have written as I have been always taught to think. An uniformity of sentiment on great and momentous subjects constitutes a criterion, by which the thinking honest man will ever be distinguished. The opposite infirmity (if it may be called by so soft a name) will, I trust, never attach itself to my character. From the reader who differs from me in opinion, I have only, therefore, to crave that candour which, I trust, I shall on all occafions be ready to return.
“ Errare possum, litigiofus esse non volo.” To write upon ecclesiastical subjects without cenfure, is what no author must expect. The chief source, therefore, from which his fatisfaction must be derived, will be the sincerity of his intention. To promote in any degree the honour of God by preferving the unity of the church, is an object which
every minister of that church ought to have at heart. With this view I have placed myself at the door of the temple with my torch; in the full confidence, that whoever shall be induced to enter in, will abide there for ever.
But though I am too well acquainted with mankind to expect that, after what has been heretofore written on the subject of church communion, any thing now said upon it will produce effect on those in whose minds judgment in this matter has been already passed; yet, if I may prove the instrument of confirming one wavering member of the church in a rational attachment to it, I shall not think my time to have been wholly thrown away. Should it, however, be the will of that Divine Master, in whose service I feel myself engaged, that I succeed not even thus far; there is one consolation remaining, which I shall still enjoy in common with all those of my brethren, who have exerted themselves in a similar cause; that so far at least as this subject is concerned,
LIBERAVI ANIMAM MEAM.
PREFACE TO THE READER.
THE writer who seeks not popularity, must not
I expect to be popular; whilst he whose object is truth, will be satisfied with the conviction, that the positions laid down by him are capable of being subftantiated by their proper proofs. Should it be his misfortune to be writing to a world too much en. gaged with itself, or too indifferent to the subject he is handling, to give it due attention, he will consider himself as one born out of due time; and that his words are not true, only because they are not seasonable ;-a consideration, which, to a man who has learned that the truth of God is of more value than the whole world, cannot, in the present day, be so much a subje&t for surprise, as it is for regret. · An endeavour to rouse Christians from an appa. rent àpathy to a due sense of the tremendous danger attendant on that unsettlement of principles, and un
settlement of institutions, which characterise the present revolutionary age; and to guard against the defertion of those old and tried paths, by which, under God, this country has been conducted to the acmé of national pre-eminence; by opposing a barrier to those licentious opinions, and irregular practices, which, if not counteracted, must terminate in the destruction of our excellent constitution; and by exposing the fallacy of that specious reasoning on Church subjects in particular, by which uninformed minds are continually drawn astray from the established road of truth into the bye-paths of enior and fchism; is an endeavour, for my engagement in which, as a minister of the Church of England, I have no apology to offer. At the same time, when I consider the vitiated taste of a fastidious public, which causes the generality of readers to pay more attention to polished periods than to the matter they contain, and, from an infatiable thirst after new things, to neglect the laying in that fundamental information neceffary to qualify them to distinguish the chaff from the wheat in any subject of importance; I certainly feel it necessary to claim indulgence for a work, which, rejecting all meretricious ornaments unsuited to its dignity, professes only to deliver those plain words of truth and sober ness, which are best calculated for general edification. Whilst to every one feriously attending to the subjects contained in the following pages, (and to no other we write) it must, it is pre