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Of the Distinction between the World and the
Church; with the Nature and Character of both Societies.
Of the Means of Grace, and the Marks by
which the Church of Christ is to be known.
Church, and make them easy when they
CHAPTER V. A short View of the present State of the Argu
ment between the Church of England and the Dissenters,
POSTSCRIPT. An Account of the first Separation of the
Dissenters from the Church of England.
THE three great subjects, with which a Christian Minister is concerned, are the Word of God, the Church of God, and the Christian Life. Circumstances and occasions will some times direct his thoughts to one of these, and sometimes to another: but so long as any of the three' are before him, he is within the circle of his duty.
I was led to the subject of the following Essay, by an accident. I am a Curate in a country parish; who make it my business, and have found it my pleasure, to teach the children CC 4
of my people, privately in my own house, and publicly in the Church; and I am, for the present, the only Sunday Schoolmaster of the place. In the course of my instructions, I had occasion to observe, that the Catechism of the Church of England, though a most excellent summary of the Christian Doctrine, is deficient in one point, viz. the Constitution of the Church of Christ; the knowledge of which, in a certaia degree, is necessary to the preservation of that charity which is the end of the commandment; and, for the want of which, so many are drawn away from the Church, who would certainly have remained with it, if they had known what it is. Yet is our Catechism not so deficient, but that it includes the grand distinction betwixt the World and the Church; which distinction being explained, I found we were possessed of a leading idea, which gave so much light to my young pupils, that I determined to go through the subject.
As I have been persuaded, ever since I began to think on these things, of the great im
portance of uniformity in worship amongst Christians: so have I been led to observe, on the other hand, the many evil consequences of non-conformity, with the dangerous delusions of the mind, arising from the harangues of preachers pretending to extraordinary gifts, while they are but half learned in the gospel, which they undertake to publish, and are greatly mistaken in the spirit of it. I see how some men are cheated with the appearance of being converted to godliness; when they are only converted from one sin to another; from loving the world, to hating their neighbours ; from the coldness of church devotion, to an uncharitable heat against the Church itself; from the moral philosophy of some of our pulpits, to the Antinomian faith, which gives men a license to sin; from the drunkenness of the body, to the intoxication of the mind, with spiritual pride and false doctrine.
I am well assured, that if this subject of the Church, now so much neglected, and almost forgotten by those who are most concerned to