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rated. The Bishop with the concurrence of many of the clergy desired that the sermon should be printed; in order that himself and all who had heard it might have an opportunity to judge of it, after deliberation. In expressing this desire, his Lordship declared at the same time, that there were statements in the sermon, to which, as he heard them, he did not assent.

When published, the sermon caused excitement and adverse remark in several parts of the diocese. I cannot say that I was astonished at this : on the contrary, I was prepared for remark:

I but I was not prepared for accusation without reasons, or for complaints without argument.

In particular; twenty clergymen addressed a memorial to the Bishop, calling on his Lordship for the expression of some grave episcopal censure of the sermon. Several letters followed, which have been published, and, not troubling you with details, let me make one or two remarks.

The whole correspondence was closed without a single application from the memorialists to myself to explain or to withdraw any one statement in my sermon. Do not suppose that I think that this was, in the most remote degree, improper; far from it; my thanks are due to those who, coming forward in so formal a manner to ask for “ a grave episcopal censure,”—whatever they supposed that to be,-gave me at least credit for having carefully thought over beforehand all that I deemed it right to speak in the presence of the bishop and many clergy of the diocese assembled in Visitation. And, let me add, herein they did me justice.

Nor do I complain for one instant of the memorial itself. If I have preached unsound doctrine, let it be condemned. Only let no man publish accusations against another,- be they heavy or be they light, many or few,—accusations, I say, and not matters of dispute in controversy, unless he is prepared to go on and try to prove the truth of them.

I do not comprehend upon what principle it is, that many people, well-intentioned, are so ready to charge one another with all kinds of religious errors ; neglecting at the same time to specify standard of appeal, and abstaining from all attempt to offer evidence confirmatory of an opposite view of Divine Truth. Accusations of teaching erroneous doctrine are not light to bear: they ought not to be lightly brought; neither ought they to be left unsupported. Although perhaps an individual may hardly claim it, yet when one or more of the clergy come forward, conscientiously, to contradict some definite teaching, the Church has a right to know the opposite view which, by implication, they who object require their brethren, and him also whose teaching they condemn, to accept in its place.

There is one sentence only in the letters addressed by the Plymouth clergy to the Bishop which I wish to lay before you. It is this:

“ The statement [in the sermon] that the absolution pronounced at the administration of the Lord's Supper is intended only to meet the case of venial sins, ... we allege to be in opposition to the Form itself, in which the priest pronounces these words, Almighty God have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins.

I quote this in order that you may decide how far the present work meets the objections of the memorialists, upon the doctrine of absolution. The sentence, as it seems to me, (coupled with the fact that no objection was made against my interpretation of the form in the office of visiting the sick) can only mean that, in their opinion, the form in the communion Service conveys remission of all sins. In other words; the efficacy which I restrict to a form of absolution after oral confession, is by them extended to the form, after a general confession, in the liturgy. If, on the contrary, the memorialists had denied the

grace of absolution or explained it away :-if, that is, they had declared my doctrine to be unsound because absolution is only a preaching generally of the promises of God; or, a particular declaration of His promises to an individual; or, again, is only exercised in the administration of the sacraments of baptism and the eucharist ;-this would have been another and an equally intelligible line of argument; but then they would not have found the errors on which it must be based treated of, except very briefly, in the following pages. You must impartially judge whether I have misrepresented the obvious meaning of their words. If I have not, then I am glad to think that I differ from them, not about the effect of absolution as a chief ordinance of the Christian Faith, but about the interpretation which we are to give to the several forms of absolution in our Common

prayer Book.

There were other clergymen, besides the memorialists from Plymouth, who complained to the Bishop of the diocese that I had preached unsound doctrine. From only one of them did I receive the courtesy of being made aware that charges so serious had been brought against me. As their letters have not been published, it probably would be thought improper for me to enter into any particulars. I would only say this much : that I have a right to ask for some justice at their hands. My argument upon the doctrine which was especially objected against is now before them.

Some persons complained because my visitation sermon was published without an appendix of authorities ; let me ask them to consider how I was to discover what part of it, in particular, would be chiefly objected against ? There are, if I mistake not, important assertions in the sermon upon other doctrines besides absolution ; and here, upon that doctrine alone, is an attempt at a distinct treatise to begin with. Incomplete (I know well) it is : there has been but little time for me to finish it, because not a sheet was written before the first of November. I would plead this, as an excuse for so much as perhaps it may be worth ; namely, for inaccuracies of reference, or carelessness of style: but, not as an excuse for erroneous statements of doctrine, or for incorrect arguments, or for misrepresentations of the teaching of our Church. These last are not to be excused; they must be explained, or retracted.

After this book, with the exception of the supplement, was sent to press, I received a copy of a printed Letter to myself, by the Rev. F. T. Hill of Ottery S. Mary. This circumstance will account for my not having particularly noticed his

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