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that all established churches are evil in principle, and only tolerated by Heaven's merciful eye; others are trained into the notion, that all creeds are impositions of ambitious churchmen, and restraints of Christian liberty; others are possessed with the notion, that infant baptism is a vile superstition, and not to be defended upon any ground of Scripture, history, or common sense; others again are taught, that ordination is of no avail unless by the hands of a bishop, and that all others are intruders into the vineyard. And the impurity of all other communions is spoken of as if their own certainly were pure. And so on I might proceed through a thousand prejudices and fallacies, which the great theological ignorance of the times puts into circulation, and keeps in circulation to the imprisonment of many souls, and to the prejudice of almost all. It is not to be told what obstacles these things are to the Divine discourse of reason and the spiritual charity of the soul. I have often spent a whole night in vain attempts to pass the barriers of these prejudices, which will make professing Christians uncivil and even rude to one another.

And it is not to be told what a hindrance this is to the preaching of the word. One will not have a moral duty inculcated, another will not hear a prophecy explained.; one is impatient of instruction, and will rise and go away if you do not excite his feelings, which excitement another decries as enthusiasm; another cannot receive the matter if it be read, and another dislikes that it should be spoken. You may not tell masters their duties lest ye should offend them; and if you preach of duties to rulers, you are political; and if you shew the errors of the times, you are setting yourself up for a judge of others; and if you bring forth former times in the experience of the church, you go beyond the knowledge of the people: and unless you harp upon every man's single string, you do not preach Christ. These things I do not imagine, but have sadly experienced, to my own personal wounding, but which, I trust, is far dearer to me, to the wounding of the truth and honour of Christ.

This was Satan's device against the Corinthian church, as we read in the First Epistle to the Corinthians: “Ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying and strife and divi, sions; are ye not carnal and walk as men? For while one saith I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, are ye not carnal ?" Let no one, therefore, ignorantly say that these dissensions in the visible church of Christ are good. They may be, and doubtless are, overruled for good; but in themselves they are evil, flowing from the eyil fountain of our malignant and carnal minds, and perpetuating that natural enmity from which they spring. And again ; “There are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. Is Christ divided ? Was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized into the name of Paul?” This same spirit was found in the church and the wilderness, when Core and his company arose against Moses and Aaron, and would dispute the authority in the congregation which God's ministers had received from the Lord ;, and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them quick. And Satan will ever continue to reveal himself as a maker of divisions in the body of Christ, to mar its beauty and to destroy its health ; of which, not only the Apostles but also the Reformers were fully aware, who were at pains to guard themselves from the inroad of sectarianism, shewing their faith to be after the primitive church, and protesting only against the errors with which it had been overlaid. But it is not to be denied, that Satan, when he could not enter among them as a heretic, entered as a sectarian; yet not at the first, for in the beginning the Reformed Churches enjoyed mu unity of spirit, though they differed in their outward order according to the convenience and judgment of their various countries and nations. But soon Satan introduced into some. a spirit of power and authority and tyranny over the conscience, which excited in others a spirit of wrath and obstinate resistance, whence arose dissension and separation, and the formation of distinct parties, from which time the faith of men declined into controversy, and their love cooled into indifference, and even bitterness, one towards another, until Satan hath prevailed so far as to establish dissent into a great principle in men's minds, which seems now like a mighty tree to overshadow the whole spiritual field of Non-conformity, and to bring into dwarfish and puny state all its productions. There is a fiery spirit diffused abroad against the sentiments and the very persons of those who belong to those churches which were the instruments in God's hand of reforming the faith of these lands, and introducing amongst us that light and liberty which so many are disposed to use against them. Which spirit the Lord

hath greatly rebuked by shewing himself favourable to his former handmaidens, returning to them again, and quickening in them repentance and love and new obedience, to the great confusion of all who love not their prosperity.

I know, brethren, how unsavoury and unpalatable these truths are to many hearing me, who may have drunk deep into that sectarian spirit which I reprove; but I cannot suffer myself to be overawed with any fear, or seduced by my own facility of nature, that I should not sharply rebuke this evil spirit, which fights so strenuously and so successfully with the Spirit of Christ Jesus whom we preach, and you profess to obey. When discoursing upon the preceding topic of Satan as a self-righteous formalist, I did not hesitate to warn all those of you who had been brought up

in the Established Churches against his arts, shewing you how you were specially prone to that temptation; and now, wherefore should I hesitate through any fear of being thought illiberal (which word, I think, hath almost changed its character), from warning such of you as have been born and brought up among the various denominations of Dissenters, from Satan's arts as a sectarian? For certainly as those reared in the Established Churches are wont to reject' the word faithfully preached in them, through a reliance

their orthodox opinions and regular services; so are those reared in the narrow schools of Dissent, most disinclined to receive the word from any other mouth, or in any other stile, or in any other place, than those to which they have been accustomed to attach their reverence as alone just and


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righteous in the sight of God. And the reason why Satan should have such easy access under this disguise into their fold is obvious: because they or their fathers have taken up an opposite position from the church, for the sake of some principle which they deemed a sufficient reason for so doing; holding in all other respects the same doctrine of faith, and discipline' of a holy life. The danger, therefore, is imminent, that they should brood over that singular or those several exceptions they have taken, as being the cause and occasion of their separation; whence it will come to take an undue importance in their minds, and bring them into a state of animosity towards those for whom they should feel the love of brethren. This was what the Reformers and Non-conformists were afraid of, and therefore they were so reluctant to be torn away from the church; but now, through the long habit of nourishing this spirit of separation instead of the spirit of community, a new principle hath been engendered, which I regard as Satan's spell upon the spirit of our dissenting brethren; namely, that it is a right godly thing for every disciple of Jesus to dissent from a church because it is established by authority, without respect to any other ground or consi, deration whatever. Wherefore they have taken to themselves a name which is the very antagonist of the communion of saints; namely, the Dissenting Interest. This is the spell by which Satan holds such multitudes of them chained in utter darkness or in twilight; as the spell by which he binds the churchman is, “ that there is no salvation out of the church :” and so he hath a plentiful harvest

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