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deliberate falsehood. And on one occasion, he permits himself to address me thus : “ You could not
possibly have adopted a mode of address more “ calculated to sour the minds of your readers, or “ better fitted to indulge the bitterness of your own
It is indirect and insidious, covering un“ der the mask of moderation and kindness, all the “ loftiness of pride, and all the rankling of passion."
Dr. Hobart represents me as writing with great “arrogance" and "bitterness," and even with insidiousness, a term which no intelligent reader needs to be told, implies dishonesty. I regret that such language has found its way into this controversy. I am not able to see that it aids the argument of those who employ it; and it certainly contributes nothing to the charity of Christian inter
You will not imagine, I am sure, that this language is capable of exciting in me a feeling of personal resentment or pain. But it is ex. ceedingly to be lamented, that gentlemen of their station should indulge in a style so scrupulously banished from all dignified and polished society ; that a person so long employed as one of them has been, in forming the moral principles and character of youth, should discover so little success in the discipline of his own temper; and that they have not all more highly appreciated the duty of being examples to the flock. It shall be my aim, in the following pages, to avoid all similar language. And if you should ever find me inadvertently betrayed into it, be assured it is contrary to my fixed resolution ; and
that, when discovered, it will be a source of unfeigned regret. May we all remember, with the celebrated author of the Ecclesiastical Polity, that “ there will come a time when three words uttered “ with charity and meekness shall receive a far
more blessed reward than three thousand vo“ lumes written with disdainful sharpness of wit !"
But these gentlemen not only employ, on their part, what I must consider as exceptionable language; they also impute to me language scarcely less offensive or exceptionable than their own. Dr. Bowden says that I pronounce Episcopacy an antichristian usurpation. Vol. I. p. 245. And Mr. How asserts, that I “brand prelacy as the detested of spring of ecclesiastical fraud and tyranny.” I can only say that no such expressions are to be found in my book; and that whatever there is in them which bears an opprobrious or indelicate character, is to be ascribed, not to me, but to the invention of my
I shall not attempt to follow these gentlemen through all their minute and tedious details. For this drudgery I have neither leisure nor inclination, It would be again to travel over the whole ground which I have already endeavoured to explore, and to exhibit in a just light; and which, after carefully attending to all that they have said, still appears to me to rest on immoveable foundations. After requesting you to peruse my former Letters a second time with care, and to compare them impartially with what my opponents have advanced, the cuse is cheerfully committed to your decision. All that I propose, at present, is to review some of the most plausible reasonings of these zealous and confident polemics; to point out a few of their more gross and palpable mistakes; and to show the candid reader how far he can rely on the statements of persons who discover so little acquaintance with more than one side of the controversy ; and at the same time allow themselves to speak as if they engrossed all knowledge, and as if wisdom would die with them.
These Letters, my brethren, as well as the former series, are intended solely for your use. They are occasioned, indeed, by the strictures of the gentlemen whose names are mentioned in the title page ; but I have not thought proper to address those gentlemen directly. With them I have no personal dispute. Though they have intruded into our Church for the purpose of attacking me in the peaceable discharge of my pastoral duties, I have still no disposition to do more than to act on the defensive. But to refute their cavils, to repel their unfounded and injurious charges, to lay open the weakness of their cause, and to expose their want of information on this subject, is a duty which I owe to you. This duty I will attempt to discharge ; and in the execution of it, I hope you will follow me patiently.
Comparative stress laid on Ecclesiastical Order by
Presbyterians and High-Churchmen. The doce trine of the Fure-Divino Presbyterians briefly stated.
Two of the gentlemen whose attacks I am called upon to repel, accuse me of misrepresenting the high-toned Episcopal doctrine which they avow, and endeavour to maintain. They impute to me a desire to excite prejudices against them, by insinuating, that they exclude all but Episcopalians from salvation. Mr. How, in particular, brings forward and urges this accusation with great zeal. ly deny the charge. I never intended to convey such an insinuation ; and am persuaded that my Letters do not contain a single sentence which can be fairly construed as 'expressing it.
But I have asserted, that such Episcopalians as agree with these writers, exclude us from the covenanted mercy of God, and declare us to be destitute of all interest in the promises of salvation. I have asserted, that they pronounce us to be out of the church of Christ, and aliens from the covenant of grace. I have asserted, that, while they express a
charitable hope that such of us as depart from the Episcopal church from “involuntary ignorance or error," will find mercy; they uniformly consider and represent this mercy as extended to Presbyterians, in the same manner, and on the same principles, as to the heathen; that is, not in virtue of any covenant engagement, or explicit promise ; but on the footing of general, unpledged mercy. I have said this, and this only; and all this, they have themselves, in effect, avowed, repeated, and gloried in with a zeal worthy of a better cause.
But these gentlemen insist, that however high and offensive their claims may be considered, we, on our part, advance claims as high and as offensive as theirs; and, therefore, on our own princi. ples, have no right to complain. They urge this argument with much confidence, and seem to regard it as a triumphant answer to the charge of unscriptural assumption. Mr. How expresses himself thus : Episcopalians lay no more stress on - external order than does the society to which you “ belong. Who could have supposed it possible, " after seeing you through several pages, declaiming against the monstrous pretensions of
your opponents, that they carry external order precise" ly as far as your own Confession of Faith, and not
a tittle further.” p. 16. Again he says,
inveigh bitterly against your Episcopal neigh« bours, for asserting the exclusive validity of Epis
copal ordination. But you equally assert the ex- . 56 clusive validity of Presbyterial ordination; tell