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is not comprised in the terms of this definition, which is so truly scriptural, and which so admirably describes thousands of Christian societies in this kingdom, assembling and worshipping apart from the Church of England. These societies are congre

gations of faithful men, men of uprightness, purity, zeal, and love, retaining a profession of “ the faith once delivered to the “ saints,”- retaining, and duly administering the sacraments

as instituted by Christ.'— These societies would be very happy in holding communion with Mr. O'Donnoghue, in admitting hiin to the pulpits of their respective places of worship, and to all the rights of Christian fellowship among them. We fear however that this truly scriptural definition of a church, is too simple, too much divested of human additionals, and too extensive in its application, to be a bond of union, and to determine the practice of the Author. We must wait till we shall baye accompanied him through the remaining part of his work, ere we congratulate ourselves and our fellow Christians who assemble in barns and meeting-houses, in possessing Mr. O'D.'s perfect sanction to our assemblies, and the cordial hope of communion with him. There is something in the Articles about * authority in matters of faith,' &c. on which we must hear our • Expositor,' before we can dismiss our apprehensions that 'in• tegrity, purity, zeal, and love,' are not the whole which the • Church established by law,' as Mr. O'Donnoghue has it in another part of his book, requires, as Christian qualifications in her members. Had we any recollection of the use of this phrase in the New Testament, we should not, perhaps, be so very cautious; but as we do not find it there, we are, we confess, suspicious that there may be too much reason for our hesitation. But let us examine the matter.

On the XXth Article, . Of the authority of the Church,' we find many gratuitous assertions; but neither statements nor arguments that can for a moment challenge our confidence. We are not informed to whom the power of decreeing rites and • ceremonies, and authority in matters of faith,' is coinmitted. · The Church' ought surely to be defined, before its authority is explained. But whether it is owing to the limited plan of the work, or to some cause less easily assignable, no definition of the Church is given. Whether it is composed of the bishops, or of the dignified clergy, or of the whole body of the clergy, or the whole body of believers, or of an individual, is left in perfect mystery; nor are we told whether the power specified, is limited to this country and age, or belongs to other countries and other periods.

No obscurity however attaches to the terms of the Author's propositions; they are sufficiently clear. For example : 'We • desire and wish that nothing should be received or believed

“as an article of faith, by our people, but wbat is sanctioned

and may be proved by positive declaration of Scripture. This sentence it is as impossible to misunderstand, as it is that it should be misconstrued. "We desire,' says Mr. O'D. speaking as the representative of his Church, that nothing be received

as an article of faith, but what may be proved by positive de& claration of Scripture." A positive declaration is the expression of a doctrine or opinion in plain decisive terms" which cannot be mistaken, for it is neither an assumption nor an argument. Mr. O'D. requires us to believe, that ' It is certain " by God's word, that children which are baptised; dying before { they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved.' For this article of faith we ask Mr. O'D. to produce a positive declaration of Scripture. I et him shew us an explicit statement of this doctrine, 'in the form of a positive declaration, in any part of the Bible. We feel fully authorized, from the unqualified language which he has thought proper to employ, to ask, further, fór a positive declaration of Scripture, prescribing the baptism of children. We are not either questioning the former doctrine, or opposing the belief of infant baptism ; but we have a right to demand that an assertion so broad and unqualified as that which we have quoted from this Exposition, be verified. If Mr. O'D. can produce the express testimony of Scripture to the points before us, he will receive bur sincere thanks, as well as those of many other persons who would be glad of such an authority for their opinion and practice in relation to the case of baptized infants. We forbear to press any further considerations, suggested by a paragraph occurring near the conclusion of the baptisinal service of the Church.. .

It would seem to be no very difficult task, to demonstrate the inconsistencies of the Author, in his elucidation of the XXth Art. He asserts, p. 167. that in matters of religious controversy the Church hath authority to decide: but, in p. 170. he quotes from Bishop Horsley, a passage in which he expressly denies the claim of authority to prescribe magisterially to the opinions and consciences of men, whether in an individual, or in assemblies and collections of meii'; such a claim, the Bishop remarks,is never to be admitted,' and he proceeds to state, that the Apostle Peter lays down 2 Pet. 1, 20. a plain s rule, which, judiciously applied, may enable every private Christian to interpret the written oracles of prophecy, in all points of general importance for himself. The plain rule which the Apostle lays down, is assuredly none other than the written word of God, which alone can furnish an arbiter of religious controversy. Authority, then, we perceive, is denied to assemblies of men, to prescribe magisterially to the opinions and consciences of men. But is not the claim of the Church to decide authoritatively controversies in religion, identical with prescribing magisterially to the conscience? If so, Mr. O'D. clearly contradicts his own statements, and invalidates the claims of his own Church. If itibe not, we would request him to favour us with a definition of the terms— In matters of religious • controversy, the Church hath authority to decide

is " In p. 161. it is asserted, that we do not find in the New " Testament any particular form of ecclesiastical government or ' discipline prescribed;' which we apprehend does not quite comport with the assertion in p. 201. that the Episcopal form of church-government obtaibed in the Apostles' time; por with the assertion in p. 199. that « Titus was appointed Bishop of ! Crete.'. That no such form of church-government as the Episcopacy of the Church of England, was known in primitive times, is sufficiently evident, and that Titus was bishop of Crete, or bishop of any oi her place, is more than we could ever learn from the New Testament.

Whether the Episcopal form of church-government is, or is not, of scriptural authority, whether it is the institution of Jesus Christ, or the appointment of man, its obligations, it would appear, are the same. We have seldom met with a paragraph of a more reprehensible nature, than the one we shall now quote from this “ Exposition.” The mere perusal of it will amply qualify our readers to form á just estimate of the spirit which dictated it, and which influences the conduct of at least one pious clergyman towards the Dissenters. We assure those of our readers who have not perused the ' Exposition,' that our extract is fairly taken. We give every letter and every word in order. . Although episcopacy is not enjoined us by divine authority, still as it is the mode of ecclesiastical government, sanctioned, and recognized by the civil power of this country, to which we owe un. reserved and implicit obedience in all things lawful, it is worthy consi.. deration, how far dissent is, or is not, sinful. That necessity must be very great, which can justify a violation of any of the positive precepts of the Gospel; and no precept is more positive, or more unlimited in its application, than that which commands us to be subject to the higher powers. (Rom. xiii, 1.) The advantages of dissent ought to be great, and its motives imperative, before the sin of disturbing the church's peace, and the order of society, and opposing the legitimate government, be incurred. It is surely a fearful risk at best.' p. 203. · Such are the expressions of an Evangelical Clergyman of the Church of England! We might indeed be well satisfied to pass them by and leave them to the silent contempt they so deservedly merit; but the just claims of the cause of truth will not suffer us to betray its interests, which demand a candid but manly exposure of the ungenerous insinuation and wretched sophistry of this paragraph.

We had thought, not only that nothing of a religious nature could be bound upon the conscience by any other than a Divine authority, but that all Protestants were agreed in this, as a primary and indisputable principle. The obligations of Episcopacy have been generally rested on the ground of its being of Divine origin. We are however now told, that Episcopacy is not enjoined by Divine authority; and in immediate connexion with this, that resistance to it partakes of the nature of sin ! Our obligation to submit to Episcopal church-government, and the guilt of refusing to acknowledge it, are rested on the ground of its being recognised by the civil power of this country! The civil power of this country once recognised Popery: Was it obligatory then on the people of England, to embrace Popery? The civil power in Turkey, recognises Mahommedanism : Are mankind therefore to receive the Koran, and acknowledge the • prophét,' because Constantinople or Alexandria happens to be the place in which they live? Presbyterianism is, equally with Episcopacy, the mode of 'ecclesiastical government

sanctioned and recognised by the civil power of this country;' and according to Mr. O'D.'s own principle, if he should take up his residence in Scotland, he must renounce his Episcopacy, and avow himself a Presbyterian. This is certainly no very difficult affair, and may not perhaps be without its advantages; but it may well deserve even our Author's consideration, whether it is not a moral offence, and a degradation too mean and despicable for the conscience of man.

But what is the purport of these allegations against the principles of Dissenters, as subversive of the order of society? What mean these insinuations against them, as persons whose principles oppose the legitimate government? Have any tidings reached Mr. O'Donnoghue, of conspiracies among Dissenters to restore the Stuarts to the British throne? Has he the knowledge of any plan, in which Dissenters are the great agents, to subvert the constitution of this country? We challenge Mr. O'D. to substantiate bis accusations, that Dissenters are incurring the sin and hazarding the fearful risk, of opposing the legitimate government. If the Author or his clerical friends have any proofs to offer of the opposition of Dissenters to the Government of the country, let them come forward as honourable men, and produce them. If they cannot, there can be no just reason that they should not be considered as calumniators. It is pitiful conduct in any of the clergy, to charge political pravity upon their ecclesiastical opponents. We can assure Mr. O'D. that Dissenters are as steady in supporting the constitution of their country, as himself. If by legitimate government, he means The House of Brunswick, he must well know that Dissenters have ever been its firmest adherents. We would advise him to · read candidly and attentively the history of this country for 1715, and 1746..

What positive precepts of the Gospel are violated by dissenting from the Established Church? We could wish Mr. O'D. would satisfy this our just request and produce them. Dissenters have too high a regard for the positive precepts of the Gospel, to view the violation of any of them with indifference. In their judgement the authority of the Gospel is on all points final, and they desire nothing further to engage them in the discharge of any duty made obligatory by the will of Christ, than a citation from his law as promulgated in the New Testament. All opposition on their part to a commandment prescribing religious obedience, will cease, when it shall be shewn that it proceeds from this source. "No precept,' says Mr. O'D. ' is more positive or more unlimited in its application, than that

which cominands us to be subject to the higher powers. Rom. . xiii, 1.? Does he then really mean to affirm, that this Apostolic precept enjoins obedience to civil government in matters of religion? If such be not his meaning, to what purpose is the citation? The precept is so far from being unlimited, that it has no bearing on any duty that is not strictly of a civil nature. It prescribes no other obedience than that which is due from subjects to the authority of the political laws of a state, whether the form of government in any country be republican or mua narchical ; points with which the precepts of the Gospel never interfere. The precept enjoins the payment of lawful taxes and customs, to the civil government, and prescribes civil respect and honour to the administrators of the laws. But religious obedience to civil rulers neither was nor could be in the contemplation of the Apostle, since he uniformly represents the responsibility of mankind in reference to Christian faith and Christian practice, as exclusively connected with a Divine authority. That the precept to which we are referred with so much confidence, cannot include the obedience of the conscience to human authority, is evident; for no civil government at that time in existence, could have required compliance with any religious prescriptions that were not idolatrous; and most unquestionably the Apostle was not permitting Christians to renounce their profession, or to adopt idolatrous practices at the command of civil rulers.

Is it, we would ask Mr. O'D. his opinion, that the precept which he quotes with so much apparent triumph, is particular and local, or general? If it is particular and local, by what law is its obligation restricted to this country? If in his judgement it is obligatory on all Christians, it is obligatory on them in all countries in all ages. Does obedience, then, to the higher

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