« PreviousContinue »
two Sacraments was not a temporary institution, which was to expire after the mysteries of the Christian religion were sufficiently revealed and understood. In these and many other like instances tradition is of great use against false teachers, to help us to the true and clear sense of the Scriptores, because where the sense of the Scriptures is controverted, the consentient testimony of antiquity is the best judge.
5. The Bishops and Presbyters of the Church of England have given the people the true Scriptures, and therefore they need not doubt but that in all controversies they have given, and will give, the true tradition. But if any person who is less learned doubt the authority of any one or more particular Ministers, he may consult learned laymen, to know whether the traditions which his Minister tells him of in private, be so or no.
VII. Of Sermons and Preaching. 1. As men formerly wrote, so they spoke by, divine inspiration, witness the Holy Scriptures.
2. If there were any ground now to pretend to divine inspiration, those Ministers who, out of reverence to God, and respect to their auditors, and great regard to peo-ple's souls, do carefully write their Sermons, that they may be more sure to feed them with sound and substantial truths; those, I say, who for such weighty considerations write their Sermons, have a better pretence to divine inspiration, than those who are not careful to write, nor, it may be, to premeditate their Sermons, let their elocution be never so good.
3. It is much more easy to move the affections than to convince the consciences and reason of men. The cir- cumstantial parts of Preaching, as tone and action, can do much towards that with a little Divinity in a Sermon; but he is the most powerful preacher that can, by the bare force of what be delivers, convince the reason and conscience of a man, and captivate his judgment with the truth of what he preaches. To begin here is to begin at the upper and right part of the man, and what reformation is made in any man by such preaching, is generally more sincere and lasting ; whereas the reformation begun at the other part, by raising the affections, is usually no better than a morning cloud, or the early dew that goeth away.
4. Wherefore the care of every Preacher ought to be,
in the first place, To inform and convince the reason; and, in the second place, to move the affections; and of the two 'tis better to be deficient in this than in that:
5. All judicious and wise auditors will attend more to what is spoken in a 'sermon, than to the elocution and manner of speaking, and mind the preacher's doctrine more than his manner or behaviour:
6. Soine people talk much of profiting by sermons, and of hearing those by whom they can profit most; and under that pretence neglect to hear their own Parish Minister, and by degrees learn to despise him who by the laws of God and man is over them in the Lord. Now there'are but two ways of profiting by sermons; whether they be read or heard ; the first is profiting in the knowlege, and the second is of profiting in the practice of the Christian religion. I pray you to apply this distinction seriously to your own heart, and to tell me sincerely after due consideration, whether you are better instructed in the doctrines of the Christian religion, or the true understanding of tbe Scriptures, at the Meetings, or at Church? And if you say, at Church, as you have confessed to me, tell me then how you can profit more in the practice of Christianity by hearing the Congregational Preachers? But if you think you can, before you finally conclude, I pray consider again seriously, whether you and your brethren of the Separation are more humble, chaste, charitable, just, peaceable, merciful, or sober, than the people of our communion ? Is there more sincerity or candour, or more honest and fair dealing between man and man among them? Or less backbiting and censoriousness and lying, than there is among us? Or, in short, do you or they understand or practise the Christian religion better than we do?
VIII. Of the Catholic, or Universal Church.
2. The Catholic Church at first was one single Church
н S. The
3. The Catholic Church in after ages was but that primitive Church enlarged, and diffused into many particuFar Churches, as in Antioch, Ephesus, &c. and all the Churches that sprang out of it were still incorporated and united to it, and made up one Church.
4. Those Churches into which it was diffused were not separate and independent Societies, but similar parts and members of the same Society, which held communion with one another, not only in faith and worship, but also in government and discipline, by which they maintained Catholic order, peace, and unity, as strictly as if there had been but one particular Church.
5. By virtue of this Catholic unity whosoever became a member of one particular Church did thereby become a member of all, and whosoever ceased to be a member of one particular Church, ceased to be a member of all.
6. Men cease to be members of particular Churches two ways, viz. by just Excommunication, or unjust Se paration, cominoply called Schism; and whosoever is cut off from any particular Church by just Excommunication, is thereby cut off from all other Churches, and by consequence from the Catholic Church. To make this plainer. Put the case a man had cut himself off from one of the two particular Churches into which the Catholic Church was at first multiplied, then he had cut himself off from the other; or from one of the three para ticular churches, then he had cut himself off froin the other two. In' like manner when a man cuts himself off from any one of an hundred thousand particular Churches into which the Catholic Church is diffused, he cuts off himself from all the rest.
7. This hath always caused a distinction betwixt the Church and Schismatical communities which cut themselves off from the Church : and when we so distinguish them in any place, we do not thereby distinguish the Church of that place from the Church of Christ, as some men falsely say, but from the Schismatical Community or Communities that withdrew from it, and the distinction between any particular Church, or the Catholic Church, of which it is a similar part, and a Schismatical community, is true and natural, and ever was a distinction since there was Schism in any particular part of the Catholic Charch. · 8. Every Community of Schismatics, how great and powerful soever, acting as a Church under Schismaticab
Bishops and Presbyters, though at first they were duly ordained and authorized, is but a faction in the Catholic Church: but for a Community of Schismatics to act as a Church under schismatical and titular ministers that were never duly ordained and authorized to their ininistry, is a further aggravation of their Schism,
9. There cannot likely be a greater Schism than for the Presbyters of any Church to rise up against their own lawlul Bishops, and without just cause to separate from them, and set up opposite Churches and Altars to them; and no tract of time or prescription can make such Chạrches, or a succession of them, true, lawful, and regular Churches, by reason of their first obliquity and nullity, which makes their continuance a continuing of Schism against the Universal Church, 10. Whoever separates from
any Church upon the account of Episcopacy, or forms of Prayer, separates for a reason for which, had he lived in the best and purest ages, he must have separated from the Universal Church.
11. To separate from any lawful Church in' which a man may hold communion without sin, under the pretence of greater purity, is to separate for an endless pretence that will destroy all the Churches in the world,
These things ought to be seriously, closely, and impartially considered by you, and I pray God give you grace so to consider them, and all other things that I have written for your sake in this paper, which I hope you will look upon as a testimony of the pastoral care and effection of your most
Faithful friend and servant in Christ Jesus.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
Extracts from a Work entitled Appello Evangelium, or
the true Doctrine of the Divine Predestination, concorded with the Orthodor Doctrine of God's Free Grace, and Man's Free Will. By John Plaifere, B. D. sometime Fellow of Sidney-Sussex College, Cambridge, and late Rector of Debden, in Suffolk. 8vo. pp. 114. and Preface xviii. Rivingtons. THIS is the fifth number of that seasonable publication the CHURCHMAN'S REMEMRRANCER, HO
and glad are we to observe that the editors continue their exertions in defence of the best principles with so inuch judgment and christian zeal. The whole of Mr. Plaifere's excellent performance was printed in a collection of scarce and valuable, Tracts, at Cambridge, in 1719, with an Appendix on the Salvability of the Heathen, which we inserted in that part of our Miscellany appropriated to Extracts, volume IX. p. 125, of this re-publication, and the reason for it, the
“ In the present day no less than in the times when this tract was written, it is the practice with too many, who profess extra. ordinary zeal for the Gospel, to represent all who subscribe to, the articles of our Church in any other than a Calvinistic sense, either as guilty of dishonesty, in subscribing to what they do not believe, or as entertaining very defective notions of the Christian scheme. To preach the Peculiarities of Calvin is, by them, too often identified with preaching the Gospel; and true Churchmen are to be ascertained (according to their views of the subject) by this sole criterion of Orthodoxy."
Plaifere's Appello Evangelium is, among other excellent properties which it possesses, well calculated to remove these prepossessions, and to shew, that a man may interpret the Scriptures, and subscribe to the Articles of the Church of England, in an Anți-calvinistic sense, without any perversion of the word of God, or any departure from the principles of our Church. The work is written in a style rather didactic than polemical; the author intending (as appears no less from the tract itself, than from his own declaration in the introductory part of it) impartially to examine and compare the several opinions relating to the great leading questions in the predestinarian controversy ; and to form such clear and satisfactory notions concerning them, as should be consonant with the sense and spirit of the Holy Scriptures, with the judgment of the ancient fathers of the church, and with the doctrine of the Church of England, con. tained in the Book of Cominon Prayer, the Articles, and the Homilies. With this view he first lays down five several opinions, maintained by Calvinists, Arminians, and others, relative to the doctrine of predestination, as the principal point on which the other controverted questions depend; subjoining to each opinion his obser, vations on its particular merits. He then proceeds to a detailed consideration of the several questions branching out of this doctrine: treating, first, of those truths which