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cere desire of recalling, if possible, the heated and distracted minds of Christians to a sober consideration of their common interest and duty; and of laying before the younger part of this congregation such a view of that real unity, which our Lord intended to establish, as may guard them against the dangerous errors, by which some perhaps of its most conscientious advocates have been hitherto misled.

Many fallacious descriptions of this blessed state are indeed abroad in the world; descriptions but too well calculated to blind the judgment, while they gain upon the affections; and to make the most benevolent feelings, and the most pious intentions, the instruments of disorganization and confusion. Many projects, plausible and attractive in their appearance, are continually recommended, and ardently supported, for the professed purpose of softening the acrimony of religious dissension, and uniting the affections of Christians. Experience however has fully proved, that while some of these are inefficient, others are more dangerous in their tendency

to the interests of pure religion, even than the discord, which it is their object to re.move. But the devices, which the good providence of God has formerly brought to nothing, are still again resorted to, and in a more insinuating and seductive form. If those therefore, on whom the important charge of defending the vineyard of the Lord is hereafter to devolve, would be prepared to detect, expose, and defeat such attempts, they must learn wisdom from the experience of former times of trouble and conflict; that being fully instructed in the dangers, to which the Church has repeatedly been exposed, by the attacks of open enemies, or the insidious exertions of pretended friends, they may be enabled to "mark those "who cause divisions," whatever may be their pretext, and to "avoid them;" and that knowing what real unity is, they may seek it, as the greatest of temporal blessings; as the best preparation for that heavenly state, where charity, the leading

e Rom. xvi. 17.


grace of Christianity, shall reign triumphant in every heart; when faith is absorbed in vision, and hope is swallowed up in enjoyment.


EPH. iv. 11, 12.

And he gave some, apostles; and some. prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

IT is impossible to read this plain statement without perceiving, that our Lord Jesus Christ intended his disciples to be formed into a society, under rulers and governors appointed by himself; for they are expressly called "the body of Christ ;" and the several a officers, by whose ministration they were to be "edified" and “ perfected," are said to have been " given by "him."


The Apostle does not indeed here enumerate the different orders of the priest

a See Note XIII. Appendix.

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