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haust the strength of their bodies, and make it the only, or principal employeven, in some degree, to forego the ment of the Sabbath, the due sanctificare of their souls, in order to preserve cation of that day would be, comparathe polish of their furniture, and to pre- tively, an easy task : it would not then
pare the endless superfluities of their be, as it certainly now is, a work which ! prodigal entertainments.
demands no common abstractedness of It is curious sometimes to hear cer- thought, a great spirituality of temper, tain professors of religion descanting, and a predominant love of him to whom with apparent conviction and delight, the day is to be devoted. on the spiritual lessons which they have The other ordinances of the sanctureceived; while almost every article of ary require far more predisposition of dress which they have on, at the very mind, in order to their being pleasant moment they are speaking, demon- as well as beneficial, than the one of strates to how little purpose such spiri- which we have been speaking. Supa tual instructions have been given them. plication and praise can then alone be
With respect to domestic tempers, delightful to the worshipper, when they how frequently do the zealous follow- issue from a prepared heart; whereas ers of the sound of the Gospel appear to a hearer of a sermon may be delighted those who are acquainted with their through no other cause than the preadaily life, as if they thought, that with cher's eloquence, and attracted to a sewhatever ardour they may go abroad dulous attendance at church, by no betin pursuit of religious knowledge, it is ter motive than the preacher's populaperfectly unnecessary to bring back any rity. fruits of that knowledge to their own It may be confidently asserted, that houses; and that they cannot better ex. he who feels little or no interest in the press their gratitude to God for the in- service of our church; till the preacher structions which they receive in his has ascended the pulpit, has awful reahouse, than by leaving them all behind son to suspect, that he has not brought them when they depart out of it. with him a rightly disposed mind, and
Of persons such as these, we are too to fear that he will not carry away with often compelled to pronounce, that while him an edified understanding. they exhibit to the world, and more es It is allowed, that some of the prepecially to those with whom they asso- sent exercises of a saint on earth ciate in public worship, the profession should be, in a certain degree, anticia of discipleship and conformity with him pations of the future exercises of a who was meek and lowly in heart, they saint in heaven; and that one of the are almost Egyptian task-masters among purposes of the earthly Sabbath is that their servants, and altogether morose of training us up for the enjoyment of tyrants or passionate furies among their the eternal Sabbath, in the kingdom of children.
glory. Those therefore who limit the The case of such persons is lamenta. occupations of the Lord's-day to the ble and dangerous. They have an idea, hearing of sermons, should be remindthat they prove themselves such sound ded that there will be no preaching in Christians, by an abundant hearing of heaven. God's word on the first day of the week, Every precept of Christ is obligatory that they may, with perfect impunity, on his disciples; and the persons whom pass the other six days in the indul- this essay has been designed to admongence of tempers which God hates, and ish are requested to consider, how they in practices which he has expressly mutilate the plan of the Gospel, and forbidden.
dishonour the authority of its divine It is probable, that of all the duties author, who live as if they supposed, in which a Christian can be engaged, that the command which says, “ He there is no one which calls for so litile that hath ears to hear, let him bear," spiritual exertion, or which so little contains, exclusively, the whole sum puts his sincerity to the test, as that of and substance of Christian duty. hearing a good preacher. But if this were (what too many think it, or rather
For the Christian Observer.
exercise of that forbearance, candoür, A Sect of which no Account is to be found in and brotherly love, towards those who any Ecclesiastical Historian.
differ from them, so repeatedly and so Although a pious reader of church- forcibly inculcated in the New Testahistory must be grieved to see into what ment. á multitude of different sects the Chris
I am not describing a people who tian world is divided, it may, never
hold all opinions alike important. theless, be a pleasure to know, that There is an undefinable class of men there is one in existence of which those called Latitudinarians, whom, perhaps, memorials give no account; it being a
the reader may conceive to be the persect of so peculiar a character as to be sons here described. To obviate such inimical to all sectarianism, though ut
a mistake, I should apprise him, that terly averse to intolerance. The first the Antisectarian differs totally from of these circumstances constitutes so
these. They seem to be indifferent to essential a part of its character, that I
some truths that are essential to Chriscan think of no better term, by which tianiiy. He is zealous of them. He the persons here intended may be de- may resemble them in his temperate scribed, than the following litle,
conduct, with respect to the mode in
which Christianity is expressed; but he THE ANTI-SECTARIAN SECT. is far from being indifferent to the thing It should be observed here, that if it itself; on the contrary, he has it greatbe necessary that they have a distin. ly at heart. Though he would not force guishing name, we must give it to you to shew your repentance towards God, them; they themselves having assum or to express your faith in Christ, or to ed none.
They are perfectly satisfied offer up your prayers to the Almighty, with that name which was given to the under precisely the same external cirfollowers of Jesus, some hundreds of cumstances with himself; yet, that you years ago, at a place called Antioch.* be a penilent, that you have faith in In that name they glory; and they wish Christ, that you pray daily to God, that that the disciples of their master had you endeavour to live to his glory, are never been known by any other title with him matters of infinite consethan that of CHRISTIANS.
quence, which he earnestly desires to They lament the divisions into which take place in your case, because he conthe Christian Church is now rent.
siders them as the only grounds of They consider them as having sprung hope in his own. as much from the depravity, as from The people of the Antisectarian sect the infirmities, of human nature; from have not formed themselves into a disa haughtiness of requisition in those tinct society, but are distributed through who had acquired power, an unreason
various classes of Christians. It may be able scrupulosiły in those who were doubled, on this account, whether they required to subroit, or the wayward dis- can, in strict propriety, be called a sect; position of fantastical and untractable and, indeed, it would be very difficult to minds. From such sources do they maintain the affirmative of this quesconsider that humiliating fact to have tion, if the following reasons be not proceeded, which the infidel often brings deemed sufficient; namely, the distinforward with no little triumph-the di- guished rank in which they hold the vided state of the Christian world.
vital principles of Christianity-their Greatly would they rejoice to see the averseness to claim to themselves exChurch on earth resemble that which clusively the honour of being consideris in heaven, in unity as well as in holi- ed as true Christians—and their conseness: but they have no hope, at this quent readiness to allow this honour to late period of the world, of reducing all many who differ from them in some its inembers to one model. They con
circumstantial points of religion, not ceive that a more practicable duty is deeming these of equal consequence incumbent on Christians; namely, the with its essential qualities, but account
ing that man the best Christian, though * See the Acts of the Apostles, chap. xi, 26. a member of a Church less pure than
they conceive their own to be, who ex- churches, they can leave untouched less cels in the faith, the charity, the humi- essential points of difference, and conlity, which belong to the character. tent themselves with seizing on admitAnd with respect to such of the Anti- ted truths of prime importance, in orsectarians, as belong to the Church of der to convey, through that channel, England, I have found them capable of such arguments or exhortations as tend acknowledging and honouring the picty to the spiritual improvement of those found among Dissenters, without the at whose benefit they aim. least diminution of attachment to the In their own community they are not constitution of their own Church, for always spending their sirengti on those which they are pårticularly thankful to topics which tend to increase the bitterGod, as conceiving it to be peculiarly ness of party zeal. If, indeed, the ocadapted to forward the great purposes casion demand it, they are ready to of the Christian Revelation. In short, produce a meek and manly defence of they pity the man, whether within or the doctrine or worship of that church without their society, who is shut up to which they belong; but they are gewithin his own community, and never nerally employed in urging upon all, looks, with an enlarged mind and bene- those points which are of perpetual and volent heart, beyond the contracted circ indispensable necessity, and without cle of those, with whom he agrees in which there can be no salvation to any the circumstantials of religion.
man, however unexceptionable his They take an interest in the welfare Church may be. of every society which professes the Their minds are too much occupied Christian name, and, as opportunities about great truths to be influenced by present themselves, are ready to pro. little circumstances, and this preserves mote the edification of its members; them from the spirit of innovation. their object, however, not being so They are averse lo minute or unimpormuch to proselyte them to their own tant alterations, even though, in them. communion, as to reaniinate them, by selves considered, they should be imexciting attention to the vital truths of provements; lest, prejudice being Christianity. In the ardour with which thereby awakened, more should be lost they desire to see this end accomplish- than gained. Knowing that they have ed, they can rejoice to hear of any opposition enough to contend with, in writer or preacher in another Church, the aversion of buman nature to the whose heart is evidently alive to the essentials of religion, they wish to reeternal interests of the community to serve themselves for that necessary which he belongs, and who labours not combat, without making any diversion so much to enlarge the size of that of their force 10 objects of comparative body, as to increase its spirituality; and insignificance. This caution they think should his efforts occasionally discover incumbent upon them at all times, but a taint of undue predilection for what especially when there appears a ten. is peculiar to his own Church, they dency towards a dereliction of the esforgive it, seeing that the governing sential doctrines of the gospel. They motive is the promotion of genuine account it unwise to urge inferior piety. Thus with a rooted aversion to points, when those of supreme imporpopery, which they consider as the tance are at hazard. grand apostacy foretold in the scrip Another thing which prevents them tures, they regard the writings of some from innovating in religion, is their of its adherents, as having a happy dread of schism. They would not tendency to promote the life of religion break the unity of the Church, by atin the soul, and they are, therefore, tempting to alter that order of things, ready to aid the circulation of such which, though not perfect, may yet be writings in that community for which retained without endangering or imthey were immediately intended. peding ihe salvation of men; and they
If they publish any work of their are fully aware, how much the magni. own with a view to ameliorate the views fying of trivial circumstances tends to and conduct of the members of other alienate men's minds from ancient es. Christ. Observ. No. 11.
tablishments of tried utility, to induce a ness. They judge it more conformatenaciousness on sạch points, and there. ble to the genius of Christianity, that by to form separatists. Holding schism religious men should remember, as to be a great and ruinous evil, they take well when speaking of one another care that they do not, by such a con as when speaking of themselves, how duct, indirectly contribute to it.
much more their lives fall short of the And not only do they guard against full measure of their obligations, than sectarianism by their conduct, with re- they rise above the ordinary level of spect to things of small importance, general practice. This moderation but even by the manner in which they they particularly observe with respect enforce truths of the highest conse- to such as they have been known to quence. If some essential point of assimilate with in opinion and conduct. Christian doctrine be neglected, their If a good action be done, or a good life love to God, and their love to man, have been exhibited, within their own both require them strenuously to as- circle, they do not call all the worid sert and maintain that doctrine. But to admire it, as if they alone were the while discharging this duty, they are people among whom human excel. careful not to let their zeal betray lence was to be found. Such a conthem into any thing which may be the duct may answer the views of a party ; occasion of sectarianism, or be fairly but they have a nobler design ; it is interpreted as a proof of a sectarian religion, not any particular class of reintention. If the doctrine in question ligious men, which they wish to see be fallen too low, they conceive it to held in high esteem. It is true Chrisbe their bounden duty to raise it to its tianity, therefore, to which they enproper place, but no higher. To ele- deavour to direct the eyes of men, and vate it above that point, to urge it with as its advancement is their predomia zeal which tends to obscure other re nant desire, they think it necessary to vealed truths, and to lead men to sup- avoid all imputation of having another pose that religion consists merely in be- end to serve, the suspicion of which ing right on that article, is the business might impede or defeat them in their of a sectarian, not of an Antisectarian. grand pursuit.
Further, they are careful lest they Having this object steadily in view, should inadvertently forward the in- simplicity is one of their characteristentions of sectarians.
If in concur
tics. They will have no jargon in ring with a member of any other their language. They make a point Christian society, for the purpose of of discarding all cant terms, and are furthering the propagation of genuine averse to Shibboleths. They likewise Christianity, they perceive, that under guard against pushing things to exa profession of this catholic intention, tremity. What the Holy Scriptures their associate is after all only availing plainly teach, they hold fast; but are himself of the connection to increase fearful of refining upon general truths, the numbers or consequence of his lest they should go farther than their own sect, they withdraw from him. guide will accompany them. This They did not associate for any such caution prevents iheir embarrassing purpose, nor will they aid such a themselves and others with minute scheme with the assistance of one of objections and frivolous distinctions ; their fingers.
evils of which they are so much afraid, Among sectarian tendencies, they that they keep a guard on their conreckon that too forward disposition, in versation before their children, in orsume persons, to emblazon every good der to avoid the error of those reliaction or character which happens to gionists, whose quibbling table-talk appear within their own circle. They tends to form a race of quibbling and are sparing of panegyric, because, even fastidious objectors, rather than of where there is much to commend, the humble and simple hearted Christians, subject is still a frail creature, who who can discern and relish the sub. stands in great need of God's forgive- stance of religion.
For the Christian Observer.
ON THE PREVAILING DISUSE OF SCRIPTURE
LANGUAGE IN THE PULPIT.
It only remains, that I obviate a sus. minent, nothing thrown back which picion which the above account may revelation brings forward. The selecpossibly have generated in some minds. tion of favourite points is, in their It may be thought, that as the predo. view, a departure from a simplicity of minant object with the Antiseciarians faith. They will be of no school, but is the life of religion, tbcy hold in that in wirich Christ presides; and 10 contempt all that relates to its forms. all the dictates of their divine master, This, however, is as much sectarian. they desire to pay an equal attention. ism as any thing else which may have acquired that name. They are free from it. They consider that to obtain the ends and purposes of Chris- Extracts from the Common-Place Book of a tianity, it is necessary that it have
Country Clergyman. some form, and that the argument respecting its form is therefore an argument of great consequence ; that form being unquestionably preferable, The dry moral strain of preaching, which is best calculated, all things which has for a long time prevailed in considered, to accomplish the pur- the English pulpit, has been often justposes of the Christian Revelation, ly censured and lamented, as well by while it is most consonant to the apos- the friends as by the enemies of our tolic institutions. They think it of ecclesiastical constitution. great importance that men should be instances, however, I am apt to think attentive to the forms of religion. They that the departure from evangelical themselves reverence those forms, as doctrines is greater in appearance than things pertaining to God, and have it in the intention of the preacher, owing niuch at heart, that they should be so to the unhappy disuse of scripture lanadministered and supported, as to give guage in our discourses, and the adopthem the greatest possible efficiency as tion of other terms and expressions in means of bringing men to God. their stead. The language of scripture
In short, it is their constant aim to is highly figurative. The change that watch over themselves and others, must take place on the heart of a sinwith respect to the whole of Chris- ner to qualify him for heaven, is detianity. It is their earnest desire, that scribed by a new birth-a new creation no part of it be neglected : and if they ---a resurrection from the dead, &c. seem, at any time, more attentive to The relation of a real believer to Jesus one part than to another, it is because Christ is represented by various images, that particular part may be lost sight expressive of the closest and 'most inof. According to the nature of the timate union, such as that of the vine prevailing defection in religion, do they and the branches, the head and the memvary the direction of their zeal. Some- bers, the husband and the wife, &c. times they are particularly attentive to Hence has arisen a persuasion, that the articles of faith, sometimes to moral phraseology of the scriptures is hardly duties, sometimes to the power of reli- intelligible to the common people, and gion, sometimes to its form, according peculiarly liable to misapprehension as they perceive a disposition to neglect and abuse ; and it is speciously pleadany part of that beautiful whole, the ed by those who avoid it on those ac. entireness of which, like an unbroken counts, that they give the meaning of chain, they consider it their duty to scripture, if they do not employ its preserve.
terms : they only reduce figurative to And as they are zealous that every plain language, and by doing so, obvi. part of this whole may be preserved, ate the danger to which warm imagithey likewise desire to adhere to every nations and bold presumptuous tempart with equal fidelity; so that there pers might otherwise be exposed. Let shall be no partialities in their religion, it be allowed, that the doctrines of the nothing that is disproportionately pro- Christian revelation are both understood,