Imágenes de páginas

" whereof we are glad !” When, with the page of history open before us, we reflect upon the storms which have passed over her, upon the trials she has endured, and the deliverances she has received; and when we compare her present state with that of the Protestant communions whose reformation was coeval with her own; we cannot but confess, that the e" hand of the “ Lord has been upon her for good.” She has indeed been visited with affliction; but it has been for the trial and confirmation of her faith, and the increase of her glory. Not only has she been enabled to for keep that which was committed to her “ trust;" to preserve her scriptural doctrine, her holy worship, her episcopal constitution; but, while misery and unbappiness have prevailed around her, she has rejoiced in the temporal prosperity, as well as the spiritual edification, of her children.

Shall it then be said, that these things afford her no claim to the veneration and obedience of those, who have so long flourished under her protection? If she be denied the voice of authority, may she not be permitted to use g“ the word of exhortation?” May she not intreat them, no longer to undervalue the blessings, which are placed within their reach; no longer to forsake that fold, which has been so signally defended? The question well deserves consideration. If the Church of England have continued faithful; if the h« law of truth “ has been in her mouth;" and it has been her constant labour, to.“ turn many from

e Ezra viii. 22.

fi Tim. vi. 20.

iniquity;” (and that such has been her conduct, presumptive proof, at least, is afforded by her preservation;) then may sbe hope, that her wandering children may yet be persuaded to see their error, and is ask for the old paths, where is the

good way, that they may walk therein, “ and find rest for their souls.”


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]



Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and

of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature

of the fulness of Christ. AS the Apostle, in the preceding verse, had stated the necessity of a divinely appointed ministry, to promote the edification of the Church; so, in the present, he declares, that it is the object of their labours, to lead the Christian to perfection, while he adheres to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God : thus teaching us, that agreement in faith, or doctrine, is essential to that unity, which the priesthood, according to the plan laid down by an all-wise Providence for man's salvation, was to be the great instrument of promoting.

They who are not aware of the confi

dence with which propositions, almost self-evident, are sometimes questioned by the supporters of an opposite system, might suppose,

that this would be universally admitted as a point incontestable; that there can no more be a multiplicity of true faiths, than there can be a plurality of true Gods.

Yet, while every sect and denomination of persons professing Christianity assents to the latter position, as one of the first elements of religious truth, the a former has not been considered as equally unexceptionable : and they who have assumed it as an axiom, and have built their arguments upon it, have been sometimes staggered and confounded, at finding a proposition, in their view of the subject so undeniable, boldly resisted.

This course of proceeding reduces us to the necessity of proving what might otherwise have been considered as granted; and instead of being satisfied with asserting, in the language of holy Writ, that as

a See Note XXXIV. Appendix.

there is but “one Lord,” so also there can be but 56 one faith ;" we are called upon to demonstrate the connection of these two propositions, and to shew, that, if God be one, and his dealings with man one, which all Christians allow, then our faith must be one alsob.

By the term faith, we mean a firm belief in those peculiar and fundamental doctrines of our holy religion, which God has revealed to us in the Scriptures; doctrines which respect his nature, his counsels, and his operations. But we cannot' otherwise conceive of God, than as a Being immutable and true; we must then allow, that it is impossible for him to have made contradictory declarations concerning his own nature, and that his purposes respecting

cannot have suffered change. If therefore it be admitted, that God has vouchsafed to man a revelation of his will, since this will can be but one, the words in which it is revealed must be intended to bear some precise and definite meaning,


« AnteriorContinuar »