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of false tenderness. Truth never commands.
If, however, there be in any part of these letters, ought which violates the law of love, although at present unconscious of it, he here utterly disavows its spirit, and intreats his Christian brethren to place it to the account not of design, but of frailty. Nothing can be farther from his intention, than to offend against the generation of the righteous.
It may be supposed that the answers to several objections are needlessly minute, and that they might have been safely committed to the
* Isa, lviii, 1.
good sense of the reader. The author would have thought so too, had he not found by experience, the strength of their influence upon minds both serious and sensible.
Some who feel themselves interested in these letters may be gratified to learn, that the sentiments of the author are confined neither to himself nor to his country. They were expressed, in substance, many years ago by men whose praise is in the churches*. In one of the numbers of the Missionary Magazine, lately commenced at Edinburgh, is a review of a series of Dialogues recently published in Scotland, on the same subject, and with the same design: and from private information and correspondence, he is assured that the sacrament of the supper has actually been celebrated, of late, without the usual fast-days, not only in several churches of the Secession, but in many other churches connected with the Establishment in Scotland.
* The late Rev. THOMAS RANDALL, Stirling; Dr. Jous ERSKINE, and Rev. T. S. JONES, Edinburgh.
We should greatly undervalue our spiritual mercies, were we insensible that “ the lines have fallen unto us in pleasant places; yea, that we have a goodly heritage.” The unadulterated faith once delivered to the saints; that religious polity which Christ hath instituted for his church; and a worship, on the whole, scriptural; are benefits which Ged bestowed on our fathers, and which, by his grace, they have transmitted unto us. To insure our peaceful enjoyment of them they underwent no ordinary trials. It is the fruit of their labours, their tears, and their blood, which merit, from their posterity, an everlasting remembrance.
But, brethren, we should prove ourselves unworthy of such an ancestry, if, under the pretext of prizing their attainments, we become.indifferent about our own; if we lose their spirit, while we boast of their names: much more, if, falling short of their excellence, we do not endeavour to regain and surpass it. Magnanimous men! they not only cherished their light, but applied it to expose delusion, and to explore the paths of forgotten truth. Far from being satisfied with previous reformation, they inquired if any corruption had been retained; any error unnoticed; any duty overlooked: and exerted themselves to supply the defect, both by condemning what was wrong, and by performing what was right. No favourite prepossesșions; no inveterate habits, either appalled their courage or paralized their efforts. According to their knowledge, they cheerfully sacrificed whatever is contrary to the simple and spiritual ordinations of their Lord. Accompanied herein with his blessing, they were eminently successful, and have left us an example which it is our glory to imitate. And we are to imitate it, by comparing, with the scriptural pattern, that branch of the Church to which we belong, that we may discover whether there yet remains ought which needs correction. No opinion can be more dishonourable or dangerous than this, that reformation being already atchieved, we have nothing to do but to tread quietly on in the track of precedent. Godliness is not the nursling of tradition. If we have no better rea