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earth under Episcopal government, as you appear to be of your favourite doctrine; as a minister, would you think you had discharged your duty to your Master, if, when you saw ignorant, deluded, and misled people daily separating from that Church, and running after any and every one who called himself a minister, you did not take some pains to prevent further separation; by giving the members of the Church such correct information on this subject, that they might know where the Church of Christ was, and by whose hands alone the sacraments of it were duly administered? Knowing your zeal, I need not wait your answer.

my

Have I then, as a minister of the Church, done more in this case, than you would have done under book similar circumstances? The object of you will find to be the same which the Church had in view, in the construction of her Articles and Canons; namely, to induce Christians to embrace that covenanted plan of salvation, which is offered to them by the ministers of the visible Church. Should Christians reject it, we lament the circumstance, but refrain from denouncing any sentence in the case; less than this, we cannot do, if we would act consistently with the character we are supposed to bear.

Permit me, Sir, to state a plain case. Suppose an unsettled, wavering, and undetermined Christian professor, should put a similar question to me as a minister of the Church, which the affrighted jailor heretofore put to Saint Paul and Silas in prison, Sirs, what must I do to be saved."* My answer,

* Acts xvi. 30..

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if what it ought to be, must be to the following
effect: "Believe in Jesus Christ, as the Saviour of
the world; enter into covenant with him, by
becoming a member of his Church, in the
way he
has appointed to make you such; and live agree-
ably to the engagement you have entered into, and
you will be in the sure road to salvation." Sup-
pose a second question should be put to me, to the
following purpose: "But, Sir, many who believe in
Christ, have not been admitted into his Church
in the appointed way you mean; what, then, is to
become of them?" This, I conceive, is a question
which no minister is bound to answer. It contains
a proposition of a very different nature from the
former; and changes the character of the ambas-
sador for Christ, into that of a judge of his fellow
Christians.

We read in scripture, that "he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved."+ We also know, that there is a very considerable sect in this country that totally reject the sacrament of baptism. Should I be called upon to give an opinion on the condition of the members of such an association, my answer would be in the language of St. Paul, "What have I to do, to judge them also that are without? them that are without God judgeth."‡

When I speak, as in my ministerial character it is my duty to do, upon the covenanted plan of salvation in the Church, I am pointing out to Christians what I know to be the good and right way; but I do not thereby determine the consequence of what appears to be a departure from it. 1 Cor. v. 12, 13.

+ Mark xvi. 16.

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When I say, upon the authority of the Divine word, that" in the Church there is absolute security for every sound member of it, and that I know of no security out of it,”* because I find no part of scripture that authorizes me to speak confidently on that subject; this appears to me to be only saying, that in a case where an undeniable security is offered, if there be persons who choose to take up with what appears to be a doubtful one, they must abide by the consequence. But this is not saying, that those who prefer the lesser security to the greater one, have no security at all; in other words, that those who have not thought fit to embrace the covenanted plan of salvation in the Church of Christ, are therefore excluded from all hope of salvation. This is, indeed, what you would make me say; but I beg to observe, this is your conclusion, not mine; and it is a conclusion (so far from being warranted by my book) that I have taken some pains to guard against.

The Church is represented in my book as the only revealed road to heaven. To those who travel in it, as Christians ought to travel, clothed with "the whole armour of God," according to the Apostolic direction, salvation is certain; because "He is faithful that promised." This, as a minister of the Church, I feel myself authorised to say. But when I say that the members of Christ's visible Church, provided they are faithful members, are sure of salvation by virtue of the Gospel covenant, I do not say that those who are not members of it are left without hope; or, to make use * Guide, p. 145. Eph. vi. 11 and 13. Heb. x. 23.

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of your own words, "that salvation is withheld
from them, merely because they are Dissenters."
God forbid! Suppose a wayfaring man should
enquire of me respecting the road to the proposed
end of his journey, and I should inform him that
the broad road in which I was travelling led directly
to it;
but having a dislike to travel in a beaten
road, and a fancy to pursue bye-paths, that turned
out of it to the right hand and to the left, suppose
he should ask me a second question-whether either
of those bye-paths might not lead him to the same
place? My answer would be, possibly they might;
but if he would follow my advice, he would keep to
the broad road in which I was travelling, because
that was a sure road; it having been marked down
by authority in the book of roads, for the express
direction of the traveller.

You say, Sir, that "have read The Guide"
you
with accurate attention." If so I must have written
with great want of precision; for certain it is, that
the conclusion have drawn from it is not more
you
foreign to my ideas, than it is inconsistent with
that charity which ought to mark the character of
a Christian minister. I embrace, therefore, the
opportunity you have given me, of removing that
false impression, which appears to have been
made upon your mind relative to the present sub-
ject; and through you, it is probable, upon that of
others trusting that those persons who have at-
tended to your heavy charge, will also attend to my
vindication.*

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It was the general received persuasion of the ancient Christian world," says Hooker,

66 that

Vindicia, c. vii. p. 326, &c.

• Ecclesia est in Episcopo,' the outward being of a Church consisted in the having of a bishop; insomuch that they did not account it to be a Church, which was not subject unto a bishop." Upon this idea the writers of the Church have proceeded in their judgment upon separatists; considering them as separated from that visible society, the Church, to which, according to the Divine plan, they ought to be joined; and thereby deprived of the privileges annexed to a communion with it: and upon this idea alone does it appear to me, that any argument can be addressed to them on the subject. For, unless there be a visible Church on earth, so distinguished by its form and government as to be known, of which it is required that all Christians should become members; what has been written upon the subject of Church communion, from the days of the Apostles down to present time, is but so much waste paper. One chief object of my book was to point out the precise nature, design, and constitution, of this visible Church; that Christian professors might know what it was, and where to be found. Whilst at the same time that I felt the most Christian regard for those who separated from it, and refrained from all harsh judgment on their condition; I should have betrayed the cause I had taken in hand, had I been induced, by what appears to me to be mistaken charity, to make use of equivocal language, calculated to lead the reader to a false conclusion upon a subject of most important consideration. As a minister of the Church, it is my duty to speak of it as it is: I cannot alter the nature or form of it, to

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