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form of error; for each, in succession, the tempter provides new snares or revives old

Against each heretical or schismatic tendency, as it arises, it is the duty of the Christian Priesthood to warn the faithful. Hence, at different times, some one class of doctrines has been more urgently insisted on than any other; and this, not so much on account of the relative importance of those doctrines in the scheme of Revelation, as because, from special circumstances, there was at some given period a special danger lest the children of the Church should be perverted in some particular respect.

Thus, at one time, the activity of Infidel writers has forced the current of Theology into a channel in which Apologies for Scripture and discussions on the Evidences of natural and revealed Religion have been multiplied, till other subjects of equal importance have seemed well nigh forced into the background. At another time, the maintaining and propagation of Socinian heresy has caused the Godhead of our blessed Lord to be as assiduously maintained and defended by the orthodox, as if that were almost the only point on which a right faith is necessary. In every age the Church warns her children against the

errors that are most likely to beset them, not really giving to any doctrines a greater importance than Scripture has assigned to them, but speaking under certain circumstances more fully of those which happen to be in dispute, than of those about which there is no controversy.

In the present volume it has been the Author's wish and endeavour to avoid disputed topics as much as possible, not because he has no opinion of his own on the subjects which so unhappily agitate us, not because he deems it undesirable that Churchmen, when fully instructed, should choose their side ; but simply, because the object of a Sermon is something more than to help persons to become judges of controversy; and it is more than ever the duty of a preacher, in times of controversy, to remind his hearers that the way to be enlightened to discern divine truth is to seek it in the practice of obedience. (John vii. 17.)

Accordingly, in the ensuing discourses, he has said as little as possible on the religious questions of the day, and has preferred speaking on subjects in respect to which advice seems most needed, while party spirit is running high, and wherein Christian duties have been most forgotten. At the same time, he feels it due to

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himself and to the reader to say that he has uniformly enforced Church-principles, as they are called, wherever the subject under discussion has led to them.

And by Church-principles he means those which are in entire accordance with the Church of the Prayer Book; a Church in which all things necessary to salvation may be found, and which offers us blessings and privileges far greater and more numerous than we choose to avail ourselves of;—a Church which is Catholic, not sectarian; following primitive rule and practice, not the corruptions of divided times and later ages; neither Romanizing nor ultraProtestant, but evangelical and apostolical in the true sense of those terms; a Church in which there may be imperfections and deficiencies, (as in her discipline, in the working of her system, and in the lives and tempers of her members), but with which, till they have lived up to her ordinances, fully and unreservedly, it does not behove any of her children to be dissatisfied, and of which, therefore, it still less behoves them to set themselves up as judges.

With the teaching of that Church, as exhibited in her Prayer Book, the writer has endeavoured to identify his own; and if there be anything in this volume which is not in

accordance with that teaching, which comes short of it, or goes beyond it, the writer desires to repudiate and revoke it, and to submit bimself in all things to her teaching.

And he begs the prayers of those who may chance to differ from him, as well as of those who agree with him, that what he has here said truly, may bring forth fruit unto perfection, and that what is unsound (if, unhappily, any such thing there be,) may wither and die, and find no entrance into his readers' hearts.

Elford Rectory.



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