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66 ment is to be found, is in the sure road so sal. “ vation.” Appendix, Letter 7, 452. Antijaco6 bin Review, Feb. 1800, p. 145. The distinca " tion between the national establishment, and " the true church of Christ, Mr. Daubeny “ teaches, is “ unnecessary," and a “false dis< tinction." “ That," he says, “ may be a true " church in which the pure word of God is not u preached.” Appendix, p. 252, 475, 476. Mr. 6 Polwhele considers it
greatest extravagancies, to think unfavourably of the state of
many," who every Lord's day attend the ser. 66 vice of the church.” Letter to Dr. Hawker, “ p. 38. Dr. Paley, Dr. Croft, and their admirers, “ teach that the scripture titles of “ elect," "cal“ led," " saints," “ being in Christ," &c.“ 66 intended in a sense common to all Christian “ converts," and that, “ the application of such " titles to distinguish individuals amongst us, the
professors of Christianity, from one another,"
argues the greatest ignorance and presumption. " Dr. Paley's Visitation Serm. at Garlisle, 1777, p. 66 11, 12 Dr. Croft's preface to his Thoughts, * &c. and Mr. Clapham's Sermon. In further 66 conformity to this doctrine, the scripture terms " and phrases, “ conversion," " regeneration,” the “ becoming “ dead to sin,” and “ alive from the “ dead," the being made “sons of God, from
children of wrath," these divines tell us, now - mean nothing," that is, as they explain it, “no
thing to us, or to any one educated in a Christian
*.” What Mr. How himself may think of his own prudence, after reading these "extracts, I know not; but I should suppose that others could be at no loss what opinion to form on the subject.
Mr. How refers frequently, and with much triumph, to a passage toward the close of my Letters in which he considers me as having advanced à claim as high and offensive as his own, and also, as having contradicted myself. The passage alluded to, is one which occurs in discussing the doctrine of Uninterrupted Succession, and is in the following words. “If, as we have proved in the foregoing “ Letters, the right of ordination, according to
Scripture and primitive usage, belongs to Presby* ters, it is evident that the succession through
them, is as valid as any other: or rather, to speak
more properly, it is only so far as any succession “flows through the line of Presbyters, that it is
OVERTON'S True Churchman ascertained. 2d Edit. p. 115_118. It will probably be contended by Mr. How and his friends in this controversy, that Mr. Overton, though a good Churchman, is not accurate in his representation. He has indeed been loaded with much abuse by many for his fidelity. But it unluckily happens, that the editors of the Christian Observer, though warm Episcopalians, and men of great talents and learning, fully justify Mr. Overton in the substance of his representation. They think, it is true, that he scarcely does justice to Mr. Daubeny; but they acknowledge at the same time, that Mr. D. has too frequently expressed himself in a manner calculated to give countenance to the opinions ascribed to him.
“ either regular or valid. It is the laying on of " the hands of the Presbytery, that constitutes a
scriptural ordination ; and it is because Episco
pal Bishops are Presbyters, and assisted in all “ ordinations by other Presbyters, that we consider “ their ordaining acts, on the principles of Scrip“ture and primitive usage, as valid.” In this passage, Mr. H. asserts, that I have pronounced Presbyterian ordination alone to be valid, and, of course, have unchurched all who are destitute of it. Now as the whole strain of my volume is of a different kind; and as, in various parts of it, an oppo. site doctrine is explicitly avowed and maintained, candour, I think, should have dictated to this gentleman a more favourable construction, even supposing my lunguage to admit of that which he puts upon it. But, in truth, when this passage is examined, it will be found that the doctrine which it contains, is so far from being high-toned and of fensive, that it is taking the very lowest ground that any denomination of Christians, who hold to a regular ministry at all, have maintained. What does it say? It affirms that ordination by Presbyters is valid, and that it is the only ordination which the Scriptures warrant. Now the Presbyterian Pastors, the Episcopal Bishops, the Ministers of the Independent, Lutheran, Methodist, and Baptist churches, are all Presbyters; and, of course, are all empoi. ered to ordain. The doctrine of the above cited passage, therefore, instead of being high-toned or ex. clusive, recognizes as valid the ordinations of every
church on earth, which receives and acts on the principle that clerical ordination of any kind is necessary.
But after all, how has the Episcopal claim been construed by impartial judges? If, as these gentlemen assert, the most zealous and high-toned advocates of Prelacy, do not lay greater stress on their particular form of church order, than Presbyterians do on theirs ; if they make no greater nor more of. fensive claims ; how has it come to pass that the contrary has been, by all parties, so generally understood and acknowledged ? How has it happened, that every respectable Presbyterian who ever wrote on this subject, has utterly disclaimed sentiments in anywise resembling those of the Jure divino Prelatists? How has it come to pass that many warm friends of Episcopacy have reprobated the claims of some of their own denomination, as peculiar to themselves, as well as groundless and offensive? How could such men as Archbishop Wake, be so grossly deceived ? He, in a letter to a Presbyterian Minister of Geneva, in the year 1719, pronounced the highchurchmen of his day, for advancing exactly such claims as those of Dr. Bowden and Mr. How, to be madmen.* Was this respectable prelate ; were the great body of the most eminent writers, both Pres. byterian and Episcopal, who have treated of this subject for the last two hundred years, all ignorant and mistaken? I must be allowed to believe that they were at least as learned, and discerning, and that they understood the points in dispute, at least as well as either Dr. Bowden or Mr. How.
* See my former Letters, p. 273, 274.
Dr. Bowden, and Mr. How, more than once accuse me of departing from the doctrine of our Confession of Faith concerning the christian ministry ; and express some apprehensions that I may be called to an account by my own church, for deviating from her standards. The former of these gentlemen also observes, that, before he saw my Letters, he had supposed me to be a Presbyterian; but that to such Presbyterianism as mine both Calvin and Knox were entire strangers.
The best refutation of these charges will be found in the facts exhibited in the following sheets; the slightest attention to which will convince you, that, until my opponents become better acquainted with our Confession of Faith, and also with the writings of Presbyterian Reformers, they are but ill qualified to pronounce what system agrees or is at variance with these great authorities.
But although I am not conscious of departing either from the letter or the spirit of that Confession of Faith which I have solemnly subscribed; and although I am confident that my Presbyterianism is substantially the same with that of Calvin and Knox; yet let us remember that we are to call no man, or body of men, Master on earth. One is our Master, even Christ.
His WORD is the sole standard by which, as Christians, or as Churches, we must stand