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and subjects of it.”* But, pray tell me, is not the church of Scotland equally co-extended with that kingdom, as the church of England is with this! And do not all who live within its pale, owe it the like submission? Is not the Presbyterian discipline and worship, as much established there as the episcopal is here? If it be schism then, and a grievous sin for Dissenters to withdraw from the established church in South Britain, is it not alike schismatical and wicked in your episcopal brethren, to withdraw from the presbyterian church, established in the North? Whence is it we never hear from you any solemn admonitions to your bethren beyond the Tweed, of the detestable sin of schisin; warning them of its damning nature, and exhorting them speedily to unite with the established church? Here your grave lectures may possibly have a good effect; and, if you really thought schism so grievous an offence as you affect to represent it, it is strange you never try the power of your persuasions with your brethren in the North. This would be a noble proof that you were in earnest and sincere. But whilst, amidst your warmest harangues against the English separation, you encourage and support the dissent from the Scottish church, what can be thought of your outcries against schism, but that they deserve a name more severe, than I am willing here to give them.
Your notion of our being “ true members of “ the church of England, de jure, though we are “ not, and will not be, de facto," is a refinement indeed, and quite surpasses my comprehension. I thought it entered essentially into the idea of a church, that it is a society of volunteers, a company joined together in certain acts and professions by common consent ; and that without,
• Defence, p. 29.
much less against his own agreement and consent, no man could with truth, be styled a member of any church. All persons living in Christendom, may be said to owe Jesus Christ obedience and submission with infinitely greater reason than all the people of England can be said to owe it to the church: but does it therefore follow that they are all de jure, if they will not be de facto, true members of the church of Christ? What, those who openly renounce Christ, declare him an impostor, and utterly disavow obe dience and subjection to himn, can such, with any truth or propriety, be styled true members of his church? Strange divinity indeed! Christ's church then, instead of a congregation of faithful persons, may now be defined a society of impious blasphemers, of infidels and profane persons, who neither fear God, nor believe in Jesus Christ; these all may be declared and treated as true members of his church. If this indeed, be right then, with some pretence it might be said, that those who openly renounce and disclaim the church of England, and declare they will not live in any subjection to it, may yet be considered as true members of it.
I owe allegiance to the King of England, because I receive under him the protection of the laws, and enjoy innumerable civil blessings by means of the government in which he presides, and under which I consent to live. But it does not hence follow, that I owe subjection to the church of England, (as you argue, p. 29,) from whom I receive no protection, enjoy no benefit nor advantage, and in communion with which I by no means consent to live. Consent, Sir, is indispensably necessary to form the relation between pastors and people; and without this consent, no church, in any christian or scriptural sense, can possibly be formed. Dissenters, therefore, cannot with any justness or propriety, be styled true members of your church. Your solemnly excommunicating them, which is casting those out of it who never were in it, would be an absurdity deserving only of contempt, if the censures of your ecclesiastical courts respected only their religious interests ; but when we consider the cruel penalties, and the deprivations of a civil nature, with which excommunications is attended, we are justified in asserting that a power is assumed, with which the civil magistrate was never entrusted, and which can never be thus executed without violating our natural rights.
As to our posture of receiving the Lord's supper, instead of ingenuously owning your great misrepresentation, you endeavour to conceal it by purposing some quaint and frivolous questions, as, what meaneth this informant by some of “ their churches, which have admitted kneeling? “ What by some in their churches? If there * were any considerable number, &c."* Their number, give me leave to tell you, Sir, is nothing to the purpose. The liberty they have to do it, is the only point in debate. - If all have this liberty, though not one in five thousand should actually use it, my point is established, yours overthrown; and you stand convicted before the world of having given a very wrong and injurious account of us. You rashly asserted that sitting among us was never allowed to be departed from; that our ministers insisted upon, and refused to abate it. This from my own certain knowledge, from the information of others, from Baxter's reformed Liturgy, I proved to be a false representation. In the second edition of my leiter, (page 21,) I added a passage from Dr. Čalamy's brief account of the German Divines, which expressly says" The communicants amongst 5 Protestant Dissenters, are at liberty to use their
• Defence, p. 82.
« own posture in the time of receiving, though “ a table posture is most commonly used." Note, to this brief account, &c. you appear to have been no stranger: you had, doubtless, read it; for you quote a long passage from it, (Letter II. page 62,) not four lines distant from that which I have now cited. How then could you take upon you so roundly to affirm,“ That it is never “'allowed to be departed from, &c.” when you had seen it declared to the world, that our communicants were at liberty to use their own pose ture!
But if this deserves an ingenuous blush, I am called upon to blush with you, “ for having said " that Christ and his Apostles, without all pera. “ adventure, sat around the table, when every " body knows, who knows any thing at all, that
they used the recumbing posture, wbich is no “ more sitting than it is kneeling."* If my assertion cannot be supported by indisputable authority, I have a blush at your command. Let my
vouchers be heard. St. Matthew + says, he sat down with the twelve. And, as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it. St. Mark, As they sat and did eat, Jesus took bread, 8c. St. Luke,š When the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve Apostles with him; and he took the bread and gave
thanks. If I am now to be corrected for representing Christ and his Apostles as sitting around the table, the weight of the stroke will fall entirely upon the scriptures, under which patronage 1 am safe. I make no manner of doubt, Sir, but the posture was sitting, though with the body, perhaps, a little leaning, or reclined. Nor would our language afford our translators any better, or indeed any other word than sitting to express it by. Pray how would you render its ---As they RECUMBED and did eat?
• Defence, p. 31. txxvi. 30. Sziv, 18. xxii, 14,
for he says,
And, when the hour was come, he ReCUMBED. with his twelve Apostles ? If every body, who knows any thing at all, knows“ they used the
recumbing posture," then the judicious and indefatigable Mr. Henry knew notbing at all;
“ He sat down in the usual table gesture; not lying on one side, for it was not
easy to eat, nor possible to drink in that pos“ ture, but sitting upright, though, perhaps, site
ting low;" or rather, as Dr. Lightfoot tells us, the posture was sitting on a couch, leaning the left elbow on the table.
There is something truly extraordinary in your affirming, “That the damnatory clauses of the « Athanasian creed, may be as safely subscribed « without any explanatory declaration, as the “ holy scriptures: at least such passages as-He " that believeth not shall be damnedhe that “ believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the “wrath of God abideth on him, * &c.” As much as to say, you may as confidently assent to the decisions of a weak and fallible man, concerning the everlasting state of multitudes of his fellowmen, as the decision of the omniscient and infallible God. Or thus, because God hath fixed some terms for a man's entrance into life, therefore man may take upon him to devise and fix others. Or thus, because Christ had authority to pronounce that no man, who received not the gospel which he preached, should finally be saved, by it, therefore Athanasius (if he was its compiler) hád authority to pronounce, that no man, who believed not the creed which 'he had made, should attain eternal life, but should everlastingly perish. Are these conclusions just?
I cannot think that I need your forgiveness, Sir, for asking “ whether you were among the ♡ weak and uncharitable minds, who damn to