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on of the Principle, and the Consequences of the Transgression, equally affect a great as well as a small Number, and condemn whole Nations of Christians as much, and ás effectually, as single Men. But these Gentlemen should consider, that they are the Multitudes, and great Numbers, that will be condemned at the Day of Judgment. Furthermore, Sir, you know, what indispensible Obligations lie upon all Chriftians, and Christian Nations, to profess the Faith once delivered to the Saints, and to contend earnestly for it; and accordingly, how carefully it was guarded, and how zealously contended for against all Hereticks, who (from the Beginning) oppos’d it, or any Part of it.' And therefore, if we must believe, and contend for Divine Revelati. ons, which have always been oppos’d; why should we not as zealoully observe, and contend for that Divine Institution, which was never oppos’a for 1500 Years? I mean, that Form of Government which all Chriftianity receiv’d and practis’d for so many Ages, as that only Ecclesiastical Polity, which was appointed by Christ to continue unto the End of the World.
Şir, I have taken Occasion from your Affertion to say thus much in Behalf of Epifcopaty, as a Receiv'd Principle of Chriftianity ; and from thence to shew, how it
concerns all our Divines, especially of the Episcopal Order, to set the Dangerous Consequences of Rejecting it, before the Foreign Churches ; and thereupon to invite, encourage and exhort, nay, to conjure them in the Name of Christ, to join the Apoftolical Government to the Apostolical Faith of the Church; that thereby they may be come wholly Pure and Primitive, and not only in Part, but in Whole, as we are, and all Christian Nations ought to be. This, surely, would better become the Men of Higher Stations and Characters in the Church; than, in sinful Complaisance to Foreign Churches, to condemn Books of moft Excellent Instruction for the Younger Sort at School ; because they teach them, that Bishops were Successors to the Apostles in the Church; and only have Power to Ora dain, and send forth Labourers into God's Vineyard. These Gentlemen surely forget, That as the Nature of the Church, as a Sect, consists in Doctrines; so, as she is a Society, it consists in that Frame of Polity which God hath Ordained for the Government thereof. Wherefore, instead of Condemning, they should rather Recommend all such Books, as instruct the Laity ( Young or Old) in Primitive Christianity ; and encourage them to read all such Tracts and Discourses, in their own or any other
Tongue, as will give them trúe Views of the State of the Primitive Church in the Best and Purest Ages, and of the Manners of the Primitive Christians in them. And were this diligently done by the.Clergy, the Church would soon find great Benefit, and God receive much Glory by it ; and the Stray-Sheep of our Countries, after your Example; would return in Flocks to her Folds.
Your Enquiring Genius, and the Provi: dence of God, led you to read such Books; and his Blessing upon Reading of them, made you fee, and correct your Error And tho' you have an Advantage above most others of the Laity, in Understand: ing Latin; yet there is already a great deal written in English, to let Pious and Inquifitive Persons into the Knowledge of the Primitive Church, and Primitive Christianity: Such as Dr Cave's Primitive Chri. ftianity; and his Learned and Élaborate Lives of the Fathers; Fleury, Of the Manners and Behaviour of the Primitive Chriftians, turn’d into English; The Ecclefiaftical Historians, in a Noble New Edition, illu. ftrated with Maps by the Learned Dr. Wells; The Genuine Epiftles of the Apostolical Fathers, by the Learned Bishop Wake; which is comé forth in a Second Edition : The Learned Mr. Bingham's Origines Ec
clesiastica, or Antiquities of the Christian Church; worthy to be read by all Men: The Second part of the Clergyman's Vade Mecum, commended above: Mr. Reeves's Apologies of the Antient Christians; for which he well deserves the Thanks and Praise of all Lovers of Primitive Chriftianity; who cannot but delight to hear them speak in our Language the same Things, with the fame United Force of Wit and Reason, and with the same Charms of Elo. quence
that they did in their own. To these let me add the Sermons and other Tracts of the late Bishop Beveridge, wherein much of Primitive Christian Antiquity may be learned ; as also the Sermons of the late Bishop Bull, (which will e're long see the Light) and in which likewise many Primitive Christian Doctrines are taught. There are other Excellent Pens at Work in Books of the like Nature with these; and I cannot but hope, that God hath excited the Spirit of Cultivating the more Early Ecclesiastical Antiquities, in Mercy to his Church. I could name * feveral other English Tracts upon several Subjects, full of Primitive Christian Divinity, were such a Bibliotheque fit for this place. And befides those which are written in English, there are many Excellent Pieces of the
* As the Principles of the Cyprianick Age, and the Defence of it, worthy to be read by all Learned Men. à
fame Kinds written in French: As Du Pin's Nouvelle Bibliotheque des Auteurs Ecclefia stiques, translated into English: Tillemonts Memoires, Pour servir à s Histoire Ecclefiastique, which also deserves to be translated : TheWorks of St. Cyprian, in French; which I cannot but with that all Englishmen, who are not versed in Latin, but understand that Language, would carefully rčad. Were our People exercised in such Writings as theses and their Minds season'd with the Ancient Doctrines and Principles which are in them, we should soon see the Spirit of Primitive Christianity begin to revive among them; in the Soundness and Orthodoxy of their Faith, in the Piety of their Practice, in their Zeal for the Divine Insțitutions, in their Love and Reverence of the Clergy, and in their Prayers and Endeavours, for supplying whatever is wanting to make the Church of England ( in the Sanctity of her Clergy and People, and in the Strictness of her Discipline, and every other thing) as Pure; and Perfect, and Venerable, as the Primitive Church
Sir, Your Book, had I Time to write them, would furnish me with Matter for more Useful Reflections and Observations; but these are sufficient to shew you, with how much Diligence and Delight it hath been read over by Your Friend, and Servant, GEO. HICKES.