Reply to the remarks in two leading articles of the Christian Journal entitled "Our Separating Brethren."

J. N. Darby.

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Address

The following tract, the occasion of which is most deeply regretted by the writer, has been hastily written merely in answer to the two articles in the Christian Journal to which it alludes, and in no way as any formal tract on the subject; as the second article consists chiefly of arguments from scriptures which have been referred to in reply, and the length of the latter has been so extended by the insertion of the first, it was not thought necessary to insert it, especially as this tract will come chiefly into the hands of those who have opportunity of reference to the Christian Journal.

The writer has only to repeat his entire regret at the occasion of it. He has refrained from any statement of, or invective against, the flagrant and painful abuses, which must and ought to shock the conscience, connected with this subject; or attributing motives to those implicated in what the tract charges as evil; nor has he attempted to ransack history to prove the evil connected with the settlement of the Church of England. He has merely stated the principles on which it and its state must be a continual reason for the righteous and bounden separation of conscientious persons from it, in reply, as has been stated, to the two articles in which those who have done so have been attacked as evil doers. The Lord must judge between them and the Church of England, and those who, as the editor of the Christian journal, defend it and its principles.

"Our Separating Brethren"

The above is the title of a leading comment of the Christian Journal. It is painful to be drawn from the simplicity and fulness of Christian enjoyment to contend with those who would reproach us for following our consciences. We do not doubt the editor of the Christian Journal is both wise and prudent; but, though he knows the world in all ages and the Church in all ages, there are often things which the simple are taught which are hid from the wise and prudent. That the evils of a depraved nature are attached to and to be contended with by the "separating brethren" is certainly not new; that they have to contend with the snare of the enemy, who would take advantage of their ignorance and weakness but for One who helps them, is equally true, and they are in a measure conscious of it. Of this part of the subject the editor of the Christian Journal in all his writings seems to be profoundly ignorant; and it is not to be wondered at, as he continues in a system of which he has seen the evil - which he has rejoiced at being shaken to the foundations, as a heretical system inconsistent with the progress of the gospel. The "separating brethren" believe this, and therefore they are dissociated from it. The editor of the Christian Journal believes it, and he is not dissociated from it. It cannot therefore be a matter of surprise to them if his eyes are dim to other and greater evils. Acting on what we know is the real power of faith. Could the editor of the Christian Journal condemn any one for not being subject to that which he declares to be "inconsistent with the progress of the gospel"? One would suppose the answer to be easy: to a simple Christian it would be easy - he would not condemn them. The answer is, that he does condemn them, and approves of those who remain connected with it and supports that which he says is so. What can his "separating brethren" see in this but the spirit of the world? Nor is it anything else. And since the editor cast off so distinctly his "separating brethren," from whom he was not always so alienated, to throw himself into the hands of the worldly party in the Church, it has been quite manifest to a discerning eye that the spirit and character of the Christian Journal have quite changed, that it is become less spiritual and more worldly, less pressing separation from the world, and more sanctioning continuance in known evil; that it has ceased, comparatively, to press conformity to Christ in order to press conformity to the Church of England. The latter purpose it may do well, and we will not compete with him in the pursuit of it; we would desire in peace to seek the former: to this the Christian Journal has ceased to be available. We should not have had formerly as we have in the number, on the leading article of which I am now commenting, a sermon on the text, "Be ye [not] conformed to this world," signed "A Clergyman." I do not deny that occasional articles of measured difference from the world may be introduced to suit the taste of all; but the character and tendency of the Journal are in this respect wholly changed, and the reason is obvious. The editor, or others with whom he is associated, found that he could not press thorough nonconformity to the world, without its producing nonconformity to the Church of England, because the spirit of the world was in the Church. Not having faith to get over human support of circumstances, he chose to hold by the Church, and resume the spirit of the world it carried with it, rather than give up the world and the Church that had identified itself with it. The article alluded to is adequately illustrative of this, and is very aptly signed "A Clergyman." It is the expression of the claim of conformity to the world, and worldly station, which is implied in the maintenance of the system symbolized by the signature of the paper; and I cannot but think that the pressing of that point in such a way would not at one time have met the approbation of the editor of the Christian Journal; but descent is gradual. I have but little hope of his present emerging from the system. When "Ephraim is joined to idols," the word is, "Let him alone." But I do think if the editor read the paragraph in that article "Our Gracious Saviour," his conscience would smite him on recurring to former thoughts; if not, I should grieve.

118 The "separating brethren" have felt differently as to the question, and acted differently; they have felt and sorrowfully felt, that they must (the necessity was not of their own making) leave the system the clergy sought to maintain, if they wished to leave the spirit of the world and to walk as Christians. They did so at cost and sorrow to themselves, the loss of friends and fortune, often of situations in life, and in many instances of home; and always at the cost of bitter and cutting reproach, none of which, but wisdom and prudence, is the character of those who remain: "so long as thou doest well unto thyself, all men will speak well of thee."

I know it will be answered, The Church is abused on all sides. But this is a far different thing from personal reproach, and merely produces esprit de corps. The Lord's denouncements of Jerusalem were far different from the reproach which He suffered, because He was a stranger to their ways, of which He says (how little we bear of it now, I well know), "Reproach hath broken my heart." May we abound in it if it is for His sake! Sufferings the Church is undergoing; but the question remains to be asked, Is she suffering for righteousness' sake? Is it for the abundance of her labours, her bold testimony, her separation from the world, her intolerance of its evil? We may suffer for evil, and the hatred of the nations accrue. I read, for other reasons against a corrupt church than for its righteousness, "These shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God hath put it in their hearts." The clergy have suffered in Ireland; they have also suffered in France; they are suffering in Spain and Portugal. Is it for righteousness' sake? I do not believe it is for righteousness' sake; but for unrighteousness' sake. The exertions of those who violate their own system and break through its authorities - in which exertions we may in a great measure rejoice, for every way Christ is preached - are not the cause of its sufferings, but quite the contrary; nor have they at all arisen from the order on which the system is based, but on an entire violation of it, as they will surely end in its destruction. But I would advert, as a passing service, to the article, whose title is at the head of the present paper; and the fairest way would be to give it

119 "Our Separating Brethren." - 'The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done, is that which shall be done, and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us,' Eccles. 1:9, 10."

"The world is the same in all ages; the same evils, and the same amusements, and the same manner of spending time, with very little variation, have obtained at all periods of the world. Horace's description of the upper classes in his day would serve to describe, with tolerable accuracy, the habits of the upper classes in the present day: hunting and shooting, and theatres, and feasts, and exhibitions of various kinds, occupied the time of the upper classes then as they do now. If this observation is true with respect to the world, it is equally so with respect to the Church: the same evils, the same follies, and the same extravagances, are recorded in the pages of Church History, as occurring in each century, from the time of our Lord to the present moment. This fact has been forcibly impressed on us lately by meeting a little work entitled 'Good Thoughts in Bad Times,' by Thomas Fuller, in which we find the same evils which trouble the Church at the present day, causing reflections to the mind of that acute and pious minister, corresponding with those which might occupy the minds of thinking persons now. Take for instance the following contemplation headed

120 "'Atoms at last'. - I meet not, in either sacred or profane history with so terrible a rout as Saul gave the host of the Ammonites, under Nahash their king (1 Sam. 11:11). They which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together. And yet we have daily experience of greater scatterings and dissipations of men in their opinions. Suppose ten men, out of pretended purity but real pride and peevishness, make an awful separation from the Church of England, possibly they may continue some competent time in unity together. Afterwards upon a new discovery of a higher and holier way of divine service, these ten men will split asunder into five and five, and the purer moiety divide from the other as more drowsy and feculent. Then the five, in process of time upon the like occasion of clearer illumination, will cleave themselves into three and two; some short time after, the three will crumble into two and one, and the two into one and one, till they come into the condition of the Ammonites, so scattered that two of them were not left together. I am sad that I may add with too much truth that one man will at last be divided in himself, distracted often in his judgment betwixt many opinions - that which was reported of Tostatus, lying on his deathbed: "in multitudine controversiarum non habuit quod crederet" - amongst the multitude of persuasions through which he had passed, he knoweth not where to cast anchor, and fix himself at last.'

"Who can read the above, without perceiving its applicability to the state of things in the Church at the present day? Let us examine a few of the sentiments contained in the passage. The writer speaks of pretended purity causing separation from the Church of England. We hasten to say, that as far as our experience reaches, we have not met with any instance where the brethren, to whom we conceive the above passage is so applicable, can be accused of extraordinary pretences to purity. It is true that in many of them, we believe, the depravity of human nature has much the same uncontrolled operation that it has amongst unconverted professors in the Church of England. But we believe that in the majority of instances they are 'Israelites in whom is no guile'; and that, like the beginners of all other Christian sects, they are more than ordinarily engaged in doing good. But we must remember that purity of life and conversation is no certain preservative against error in judgment; it is no preservative against mental derangement; nor is it a preservative against any of its degrees such as follies and eccentricities of various kinds, which we cannot but observe amongst many whom we acknowledge to be saints. We are particularly anxious that our readers should be well informed on this point, that holiness of life is not a sure preservative against error in judgment on points that do not affect the vitals of Christianity; because it is an argument which is commonly used, and particularly calculated to deceive unstable souls. As we have already hinted, the framers and beginners of every new sect must necessarily be, or appear to be, holy people: otherwise they would have no followers. Baron Swedenborg, we have reason to believe, was an eminently devoted man. It is said of him, that, 'he affected no honour, but declined it; pursued no worldly interest, but spent his time in travelling and printing to communicate instruction and benefit mankind.' He had nothing of melancholy in his manner, and nothing in the least bordering on enthusiasm in his conversation, yet he was not preserved from the grossest fanaticism. We are told by his biographer, that he professed himself to be the founder, under our Lord, of the New Jerusalem Church. His tenets are drawn from scripture, and supported by quotations from it. He asserts that in the year 1743 the Lord manifested Himself to him in a personal appearance, and at the same time opened his spiritual eyes so that he was enabled constantly to see and converse with spirits and angels. Then zeal and apparent spiritual-mindedness do not preserve from error: indeed it does not. Again and again we have heard Christians speaking of what they have termed truths which God had taught them, which we believe to be as simply the product of their own fancy, or the fancy of those from whom they learned them, as Baron Swedenborg's supposition, that his spiritual eyes were opened to enable him to converse with angels. Again, George Fox, the founder of the sect of Quakers, together with his immediate followers, were most unquestionably deeply pious persons. 'They were pious persons, who were dissatisfied with the settlement of the Church of England in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.' We are told that 'the tenor of Fox's doctrine was to wean men from systems, ceremonies, and the outside of religion in every form, and to lead them to an acquaintance with themselves. Drawing his doctrine from the pure source of religious truth, the New Testament, abstracted from the comments of men, he asserted the freedom of man in the liberty of the gospel against the tyranny of custom, and against the combined powers of severe persecution, the greatest contempt, and keenest ridicule.' Yet neither Fox's piety and zeal, nor that of his followers afforded any good reason for embracing their various extravagances.

122 "But we have, in our own day, perhaps, the most remarkable union of apparent piety, talent, knowledge of scripture and fanaticism, which has ever appeared in the Church of Christ. Mr. Irving we believe to be a very holy man; the generality of his followers we believe to be very holy people, and indeed they apparently surpass all others in devotedness, and I will say in their knowledge of the letter of scripture. But that is no reason why sober-minded persons should embrace their unaccountable follies, any more than the fact of George Fox and the first Quakers being holy people would have been a good reason for joining them. We would add for the truth's sake that the converse of this position is true. We would say, that the unholiness, the violence and strong language (to use no harsher term) which is used by some of the separatists, is no reason why we should not join them. No later than yesterday we heard the following very inconclusive argument used by an ardent and sincerely devoted Christian: 'At one time I was very well inclined to join them, but the violence and abusive language used by Mr. -  and Mr. -  has decided me against doing so, and I know others upon whom it has had the same effect.' Now, though we quite approve of the decision which this servant of Christ arrived at, yet we think it was made upon wrong grounds; for if continued attachment to the Church of England depends upon the real or apparent holiness or unholiness of every zealous, eloquent, talented, wild eccentric opponent who arises, attachment to it rests upon an unsteady foundation, and the membership of such while it lasts is not worth much. No, the apparent holiness or unholiness of men is no reason for our adopting or rejecting an unscriptural line of conduct, which separation from the Church of England appears to us to be. Fuller says that 'pride' caused separation in his day. Richard Baxter seems to have been of the same opinion in his day. He says, 'I have ever observed the humblest men most tender of making separations, and the proudest most prone to it. Many corruptions may be in a church, and yet it may be a great sin to separate from it, so that we be not put upon an owning of their corruptions, nor upon any actual sin. There is a strange inclination in proud men to make the Church of Christ much narrower than it is, and to reduce it almost to nothing, and to be themselves the members of a singular Society, as if they were loth to have too much company to heaven': Can the separations at the present day be attributed in any degree to the same cause?

123 "We believe that in some instances (perhaps unconsciously to the individuals themselves) pride has had some influence in producing the evil which we deplore; at least dissent has a tendency to gratify pride, and that feeling of individual importance which is so natural to man. For instance, in a large Church of England congregation, ministered to, we will suppose, by a good man, but a minister who is unenlightened as to the nature of a church, the services of individual Christians are seldom recognised as being of the importance to the welfare of the whole which they really are; in many places, nay, in most instances, the evangelical minister is the doer of everything himself, and no use whatever is made of the less honourable members; souls are converted to God, and the minister rejoices in their conversion, but they are not valued and cherished, and made much of, as if each were of vast importance to the well-being of the whole Church. But when they join a new sect, they are valued by their new associates; they are spoken of as belonging to them, whereas before they were not spoken of as belonging to any body; consequently they become conscious of their own individual importance to the body to which they attach themselves: and thus we say that at least there is an occasion afforded for the workings of pride. It is true that the grace of God may hinder its operations (and we are sure it often does), but still it is not less true that there is a temptation thereto; and if men or women have a little talent or imaginative powers, the temptation is very great. In some instances it is more than probable that in this matter the enemy may have gained an advantage.

"As to the peevishness spoken of as operating in the seventeenth century, it sounds rather too strong an expression for any thing that has come under our own observations, in connection with the evil of separation now; but it is not really so. According to Johnson, 'peevish' means, 'full of expressions of discontent,' 'hard to please, easily offended.' In all these senses our separating brethren seem to us to be peevish to an extreme; we speak in love, but we must say they appear to live in the use of expressions of discontent with every thing. They appear to take a kind of melancholy pleasure in contemplating the false fact that everything is growing worse and worse; and again and again have we perceived, or at least thought we perceived, the symptoms of Jonah's character. Jonah had preached to the Ninevites, and his word had been attended with power. This, instead of exciting cordial acknowledgment of the good done, filled Jonah with discontent, lest that, in consequence of the judgments with which he had threatened them not being executed, he himself should appear a false prophet. Reader, we know very little of ourselves if we do not recognize in Jonah more or less of our own characters; self-love, a desire that our predictions should prove true, often swallowing up our gracious feelings; and we greatly mistake if this failing does not manifest itself amongst our dissenting brethren. In this matter we should gladly find ourselves mistaken; but again and again have we feared, that if what the author of Fanaticism justly calls 'interpretations the most excessive, expectations the most dire, comminations the most terrible,' proved to be erroneous, there might possibly be feelings of discontent ('peevishness' in fact) entertained in the breasts of those, the most naturally amiable, kind-hearted saints of our acquaintance.

124 "If we were asked to state the cause which operates more generally perhaps than any other in producing divisions in the present day, we should say it arose from a diseased mind, or a certain morbid sensitiveness of the conscience in one speck to the exhaustion of all sensibility in a far larger portion - sensitiveness about corruptions to be deplored doubtless and remedied, and insensibility to the great dishonour done to God, and the widely extended injury done to souls by divisions amongst Christians. Yes, I say unaccountable insensibility of conscience to such passages as that to the Corinthians: 'I beseech you, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment'; or, as that to the Philippians, 'whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.'

125 "What one controverted point concerning church government is nearly so plainly revealed as the duty of avoiding divisions in the Church? What corruptions are there in the Church of England nearly so dishonouring to God, as divisions amongst those who have left the world and are living to God? None that we know of. What does nearly so much injury to souls? Nothing that we know of.

"But what appears to us as the most extraordinary feature in the system is, the general agreement which there seems to be to set common sense and stubborn facts at the most open defiance. If there is one fact more indisputable than another we think it is that within the last twenty years there has been an extraordinary spread of true religion throughout this country, so much so as to produce a great and beneficial influence over those who are not savingly influenced thereby. Now if this statement should meet the eye of any who deny that this is the case (as doubtless it will), we would ask pardon of such for not attempting to prove the same, and our brethren will forgive us for saying in all Christian sincerity, that any little knowledge which we have of human nature, and the manner of God's acting on the minds of men, forbids our entertaining the remotest expectation of convincing those whose minds have been brought into such a state as to deny the fact. We shall merely state what appears to us to be the cause of their not seeing it. It is briefly this: Our dear brethren see (in common with ourselves) that wickedness is spoken of in the scriptures as being great, and to increase at some period between the time of the apostles, and the second coming of Christ. But our brethren have determined in their own minds (what we have not determined in ours) that the present is the time alluded to by the inspired writers as the time of increasing wickedness: instead of the facts of the case leading them to doubt the correctness of their interpretation of the prophecy, with a degree of boldness worthy of a better cause they fly in the face of facts. The stubbornness of the fact is nothing in their estimation; their interpretation of the scriptures must be true, and therefore they do and will maintain to the end their position, that the world now is worse than it ever was and will grow worse and worse!

126 "We scarcely wish to give an opinion concerning the future, as to whether improvement or deterioration is to be expected; but as to the present, we must say in the retrospect, 'the Lord hath done great things, whereof we will be glad.' Reader, 'Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this,' Eccles. 7:10.

"In closing our observations we feel drawn out to express the most unfeigned love for those to whom they apply; and we know their love to be such, that they will not reckon us 'their enemy because we tell to them' what we believe to be 'the truth.' In a future number we may state the grounds upon which the duty of adherence to the Church of England, notwithstanding the gross corruption of its hierarchy, rests, and also point out what we conceive to be the duty of Christians who reside in parishes over which ungodly clergymen are placed, and who are not within the reach of the churches of any Christian ministers."

I cannot but remark that the style of our judges is very much altered. Heretofore we were "schismatics," and "enthusiasts," and the Epistle of Jude applied to us, and the like; now we are "separating brethren": and though there are some hints, in italics, about mental derangement, yet the great point to be pressed is, that holiness of life is not a sure preservative against error in judgment! a statement of most ambiguous and doubtful character. But surely the editor of the Christian Journal should at least, wise and prudent as he may be, hesitate before "pride and peevishness," if not pretended purity, be taken as the causes of the separation of those of whom he declares the great majority to be Israelites doing good. "We should have supposed there must have been something of the Spirit of Christ, not a "proud or peevish spirit" surely, though full of heaviness and scarce bearing the evil around Him, in those who are of such a character and activities. He was an Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile; and He went about doing good: and He was "separate" too from His brethren, and blessings descended upon His head. He was not indeed approved by the wise and prudent none of the rulers nor of the Pharisees believed on Him - only the foolish people who through grace would not call evil good and good evil, nor put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter; to whom fellowship with guileless Israelites, who went about doing good, was more valuable, though wise and prudent people thought it error, than the charge of error from worldly-minded people was the occasion of fear: the rest saw that, if they let Him thus alone, the Romans would come and take away both their place and nation. Little, little indeed have we of His Spirit, but if we are of this character surely it is from His Spirit; and they who condemn should be cautious, where the fruits are such; lest, where the Spirit of Christ so dwells, the separation may not come from the same cause. It is a circumstance singular and fatal to the established system, that those who separate from it should be habitually such.

127 But the editor of the Christian Journal seems habitually, I do not mean intentionally, to neglect the idea of the Spirit of Christ on the one hand, and the power of Satan on the other; and thus, while prudent as to circumstances, to be very little informed of God's estimate of the causes of things and of their real character. Thus in any selected articles, in the present number, you will find "Divisions of parishes," "Man contemplated," "The power of the press," "The calls are many," "Sales in a great city," "Hints to clever people," and a caution to Clergymen not to let poor people to their table but not one (save a feeble allusion of Coleridge's) of the selected articles, in which there is the smallest allusion to the Spirit of God or of Christ. Here is the real source of the difference between us. He looks to means of mending the world of human devisement, declaring it to be "a false fact" that it is not actually getting better. We, foolishly no doubt, would desire to be Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile, more than ordinarily engaged in doing good, and are content if our Lord finds us so, and seek for His Spirit to enable us to be so, while we cannot help thinking the world, as it ever was, an evil and an ungodly one, which is judged because it rejected Christ - crucified the Lamb of God. But smooth as the article may appear and kindly wise, it is indeed very bitter; and I regret to add very ignorant, or else full of what must be called chicanery - I do not doubt the former.

I shall merely comment, I trust very calmly, on some of its statements. It disclaims the charge of pretended purity, but does charge real pride and peevishness. This his "separating brethren" must leave to God, conscious that there is everything in them which would lead to it; and thinking it probable that in the abounding of evil they may have been sometimes guiltily weary in spirit, we will take courage from the warning, and be bolder and more decided, more cheerful in our opposition for the future.

128 But there is a remarkable confession contained in the account: "In the majority of instances they are Israelites, in whom is no guile; and, like the beginners of all other Christian sects, they are more than ordinarily engaged in doing good." The character given them I pass by here, though we might fancy there was a little of that sort of 'peevishness,' which is 'hard to please,' in the characteristics of "proud" Israelites in whom is no guile, who are more than ordinarily engaged in doing good; neither can we say that the Christian Journal, while hard to please if such Christians as these he describes do not satisfy it, is empty of expressions of discontent at the "separating brethren," though it may live more in expressions of self-satisfaction, and at the world which denied Christ around it. But it is not this I would dwell on but that the beginners of all other Christian sects are more than ordinarily engaged in doing good. Now this is surely an extraordinary circumstance - that invariably those who leave the church are more assimilated to Christ than others, than those who do not. Is not this an appalling circumstance in the character of the Church of England, that those who are more than ordinarily engaged in doing good are somehow or other driven out of it, or, in other words, beginners of sects? Is the selfishness of the system insensible to the fact; that as men become in all ages animated by the Spirit of Christ, they cannot remain in it? They may have failed in continuing their system in the same character it began. So did the apostles, because their work hung on the presence of the Spirit of God, and the spirit of the world came in and the Church sank. So did not popery; so did not the Church of England, because in various degrees they joined the world, and were of its spirit: and the world owned them; and they went with the world, and continued as long as the world bore them, and was satisfied with them. Hence when the Spirit of God wrought, discontent arose, because it would not bear with the spirit of the world, men became more than ordinarily engaged in doing good, and the Church would not bear that (it was irregular), and they would not give it up, because the Spirit of Christ and the love of Christ constrained them; and they were the beginners of sects. The same platform soon held them again when they became worldly together. But, indeed it was very evil, that they separated from the established system: they troubled the ease of worldliness. This could be the only reason, for "they were Israelites, in whom was no guile, more than ordinarily engaged in doing good," and therefore, not, it is to be supposed, worse Christians. They were better Christians, but worse Churchmen, and that was a very great evil.

129 But, indeed they were like to be reduced to "atoms." If so, the Christian Journal should have in the use of its motto turned to old Gamaliel, and taken his advice, and (after quoting kindly Swedenborgians and Quakers and Irvingites as the parallel cases of those Israelites in whom is no guile), have refrained from these men and let them alone: for if they are going to atoms by themselves, it is foolish to bind them by external compression and immortalize the ephemeral existence of the "separating brethren" in the Christian Journal, when they will be so soon gone to atoms. I trust that when they cease to be Israelites indeed in whom is no guile, more than ordinarily engaged in doing good, they will be remembered nowhere else and by no other testimony and go into atoms, heard of no more, even as two together. Such is my earnest wish and sincere prayer to God, save as their portion is with Him, who coming shall not reject such as He finds so doing. Whom He would estimate, we would be; and not say, "My Lord delayeth his coming": let us go on and live with the world.

But I repeat, that it is a remarkable fact for the Christian Journal to attest, that such has been the spirit of all separated from the Church of England, and what does she care? We agree entirely, "they went out from" her, because they were not of her. But of the instances.

And we must confess, besides the spirit which would associate the "separating brethren" with Swedenborgians, there is not only no reference to God's Spirit in this article, but a very fearful trifling with scripture.

As to Thomas Fuller, I will not question his piety, though much more remarkable for a very tenacious memory, and a strong adherence to all the corruptions which the editor of the Christian Journal would reform. His acuteness in the paper in question at any rate entirely failed him; for, having resisted all reformation such as the editor would seek, he was deprived, and when the gross corruptions were entirely restored, got his share of them again, and was only prevented from being one of the hierarchical system (inconsistent with the progress of the gospel) on account of his staunch support of the corruptions, by death. A reformation, however, of the Church of England took place, such as the editor desires; and it lasted about ten years. When it ceased to exist (which it did soon after their close), the atomic separatists remained on the restoration of Charles the Second a widely extended body, to which the remnants of the reformed Church of England of the day, being turned out by the new Church of England, under the monarchy, by the Bartholomew Act of 1666, attached themselves; and were lost amongst them under the general title of nonconformists, those who were distinctively such having for the most part in late years turned Socinians - the ultimate result of the improved Church of England. On Thomas Fuller's character, I do not think it necessary to comment. But it is beyond controversy, that the reformed or improved Church of England was lost, or remains in Socinian deputies, and the atoms of separatists form the active extended bodies of Independents and Baptists - a result I have no desire the "separating brethren" should ever arrive at. Thomas Fuller's sentiments may be excellent, and none can read them without perceiving their applicability, but unfortunately, though they may serve the editor of the Christian Journal as a prophecy, they have been sadly falsified. At any rate it is too bad to be blamed for studying divine prophecy, which is surely true, and given us to study, and to bring out human prophecy which has proved all false, and helps only to prove the present editor's prophecies false with it, which I pray the readers of the Christian Journal to note.

130 And now of the other instances. First of the Swedenborgians, to which the editor so kindly compares his "separating brethren," he has reason to believe Baron Swedenborg was an eminently devoted man. "His tenets are drawn from the scriptures, and supported by quotations from them." What does the editor mean? The Swedenborgians deny the Trinity, the atonement, and almost every sound Christian doctrine, and draw their notions from a vision of Baron Swedenborg in a coffee-house in London, and subsequent revelations. Was the editor aware of these things, when he said his tenets are drawn from scripture and supported by quotations from them? Surely, his jealousy of his "separating brethren" has carried him beyond the bounds of prudence, when he asserts that the tenets of those who deny the Trinity, the atonement, and the like Christian doctrines, and hold Swedenborg's revelations exclusively as to the other world, are drawn from scripture and supported by quotations from them. Probably he was quite ignorant of what he spoke; but scripture ought not to be thus trifled with, however, his "separating brethren" may.

131 As to George Fox, I do not doubt he was a pious man; wrong as I think the system he founded. But here we are told again, "drawing his doctrine from the pure source of religious truth, the New Testament," etc. Does the editor believe this? Does he know that the Quakers, though the Lord is now working very extensively amongst them, would not as a regular thing read the New Testament; and trusted to everything spoken (as they supposed) by the Spirit as of equal authority, looking to the living word and the inward light and not simply to the New Testament for guidance; though they thought that might be uttered or written from the same inward light, and therefore so far had authority with them, but in fact was very little attended to by them as the shell of the letter; the disregarding of the letter of scripture being a distinguishing mark of old Quaker habits? But wild as many of them ran (as surely they did, when following this supposed light), as separating from and testifying against the Church of England, very few of their testimonies failed to take effect. The system they might afterwards set up might be very defective, as it undoubtedly was, and their doctrine most defective as not founded on scripture; but their open testimony against the Church of England was often with much serious power, and the things took place. No one can read George Fox's Journal but must see, that he was remarkably sustained before the persecuting magistrates of the day, who sought to support the Church of England against them: and this it is in their great declension that has kept the Quakers together: they might be without a rudder, but the shore they had left behind them was in a ruin from which they had escaped.

As to Mr. Irving, he is too much present as it were amongst us to say much. I believe their great defect to be, as it is of the editor, and all he has quoted, that he does not take scripture as his guide, but modern utterances as equivalent to it, as with the Quakers, and my experience of Irvingites is that (though full of particular passages there used, and interpretations upon those current amongst themselves) there is very little unborrowed study of scripture, very little reading of it for themselves, looking for the guidance of the Spirit. The peculiar characteristic of the system, to my mind, is the withdrawing people from this; and I never find them give simple heed to scripture. I think the editor treats holiness with very little ceremony. Holiness, real holiness and subjection of heart according to the word, can proceed only from God's Spirit; and this is not what will lead into darkness and mistake. The form of it may, I admit, but spiritual subdual of evil is not the way of error, but a single eye the way of much light: and I do not think the editor is doing much service to Christianity in so carefully separating real holiness and truth. I believe there are many Christian amongst the Irvingites: I do not believe they are a holy people, but a deceived people.

132 Fuller, the editor tells us, complained in his day, and Baxter in his day, wise and holy men no doubt, and in every day along with the editor they have to complain of the same thing. But perhaps the editor would have the kindness in his next Journal to tell us, what the different days were in which Baxter and Fuller lived. It is hardly honest to make a parade of names at different eras, if the editor be ignorant whether they lived at the same or not; nor to state that the tenets of Swedenborgians are drawn from scripture, if he does not know what they are, and to make the scriptures an uncertain source of truth, that the infallibility of the Church of England, just going to be reformed, may be the resting place of some weary Tostatus.

As to dissent producing pride, it is very likely. The editor must settle that with his dissenting brethren: wherever the Spirit of the Lord is not, there will be pride, be it in the Church of England or in dissent; his "separating brethren" have nothing to do with either. I believe, his dissenting brethren think for the most worse of them than he does; for, as for this sect, it is everywhere spoken against: may it ever remain so, and if they are called Nazarenes, be found to be Nazarites indeed!

"The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their house in the rock."

133 With regard however to raising some to importance, we will not affirm that either adequate wisdom, or (we would add) adequate humility is shewn in those of this world's honour, who have separated from an evil state of things; but as to exalting the importance of individuals, they do not deny or shrink from the charge. Some are exalted and some brought low. If as the Church and the clergyman in this Journal would have it, the high are to keep their place in the world, we grant it may often do it; but if they mind not high things, but walk with men of low estate in the simplicity of Christ, great blessing follows. We read, "let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted, and the rich in that he is made low, because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away." They do not say, that there is not trial of grace in these things; but they believe when done in grace, the approximation of these to each other is accompanied with great blessing.

The use, as to us, the Lord made of His glory was to empty Himself, give it up, become poor that we by His poverty might become rich. He could not but be superior and different after all from those to whom He came; but He hid it, shewed it only in the glory of continued and more abounding service, and knowing that all things were delivered unto Him of His Father, and that He came from God and went to God, He took a towel and girded Himself, and washed His disciples' feet, shewing us that if He, our Lord and Master, washed their feet, we ought also to wash one another's feet, for He had given them an example that they should do as He had done to them. In a word, He took the privilege of His glory to be among them as one that serveth. May we be like Him! The only advantage I know of earthly glory is the privilege of giving it up. The poor man's grace will be shewn in a wholly unassuming spirit, giving the other double honour because of his willing lowliness; but the principle our Lord gives is, "he that is great among you, let him be your servant." The real secret is to give its value to Christ's grace. If it be the value of adding to numbers without the power of grace, it is purely evil.

But the great sin, the peevishness, of the "separating brethren," their hardness to please, seems to consist in their not thinking that the Christian Journal and the like is mending the world. This is a terrible thing - this "false fact." But the editor seems to forget that the great body of godly clergy in this country believe in this "false fact" too; while his dissenting brethren quite agree with the editor that their Lord delayeth His coming.

134 But, indeed, it comes out a little after that there is a general agreement to set common sense and stubborn facts at the most open defiance; and that too in spite of all the pains of the editor of the Christian Journal.

"If there is one fact more indisputable than another, we think it is this, that within the last twenty years, there has been an extraordinary spread of true religion throughout this country; so much so, as to produce a great and beneficial influence over those who are not savingly influenced thereby," etc. If any deny this, he asks pardon for not attempting to prove the same.

We do not think it a good thing continually to seek to make people pleased with themselves. It argues a low and a falling standard; but this, of course, must mend the country, and improve it, and given reason to think prospects are indeed brightening. We will not listen to these Micahs, that are always prophesying evil concerning us, and not good. And now, gentle reader, what is the blessed result of this amazing improvement, which proves that the world is growing better, and not worse and worse, as these foreboders would say, who determine in their own minds that the wicked times, prophesied of, are our own times?

The Christian Journal shall tell.

"Party violence, we are sorry to say, appears not to have diminished since we last wrote; on the contrary, the tendency of things at present is evidently towards a more decided separation between the two great bodies into which the population of Ireland is divided. This is a melancholy fact: we only state it without entering into the question of its immediate cause. We can hardly conceive any country worse circumstanced in this respect than Ireland. The frame of society is just kept from coming to pieces, and that merely by the action of an external force. Such is our view of the subject, that we do not know what is to keep any person who loves peace, in Ireland, except utter necessity, or a sense of duty." What! when such immense improvement has taken place in twenty years. These are stubborn facts.

As to the common sense, which would argue from it, that the amazing influential spread of religion which has taken place will mend the world, I leave it to the editor of the Christian Journal. It seems to me very uncommon sense. I have but turned the Journal round: both are its statements as to this country; one side "stubborn facts"; the other, the "editor's arguments," or "common sense," I suppose I should call it, who thinks the improvement immense and progressive. We are apt to think, that the ripening of the wheat may be accompanied by the ripening of the tares, but will not turn them into wheat, but leave the field just what it was, only more manifested, and ready to be cut down: but perhaps we are very foolish and the editor very wise, and that the frame of society being only kept from coming to pieces merely by the action of an external force, is a very plain sign of the universal and happy effect of religion in the country at present; perhaps it is wrong to say, it is growing worse and worse, as the editor of the last page can hardly conceive "any country worse circumstanced." We fear he has much sorrow to learn, and we doubt not much joy, for we trust the Church may be as much improved, as the evil of the world will be magnified; but the closing page of the Journal is a sufficient answer to all the words of the leading article on the subject. This country, at least, which has been so much blessed is growing worse; just as we expect, just so it has happened.

135 The truth is, that the effect of the Christian Journal on all who hold its views, and seek to put off the consideration of the growing evil and sorrow of the world and approaching judgments, is to daub up hollow walls, and corrupt systems with untempered mortar. They cannot bear to have it detected: the Christian Journal is merely an effort and an instrument to do this. It is taken in hand by those who know that things are not getting better, but who would wish to hide the fact that they are getting worse; who to keep the place that they have dung to, and the value of their judgment for a moment, are seeking to hide from others the impending ruin they themselves well see. But their "separating brethren" have no hostility to them, though they see the evil coming; they are guided by moral reasons, and not by that reason, which must be therefore everlastingly stable, when all that may be attempted to be supported by the efforts of man shall have passed away frittered in his hand. They believe that the Christian Journal is doing great sin in beguiling souls, and alienating them, through ignorance, from very important truths - amusing them with toys and plans, while judgment is crowding around them, and filled often with as much nonsense and what is merely human as any other thing going. They believe indeed, though they give little credit to much of the religion that is going, that the saints are ripening for separation to God; they believe for the same reason the tares are doing so too, and the hope of turning tares into wheat they believe to be just the folly of the editor of the Christian Journal. When many were called in the days of the apostles, how would modern calculators of results have concluded that the nation would have been blessed and brought in? What did it prove to those who knew the truth? That the nation was going to be judged. The judgment of human experience is the judgment of folly; but human experience is the wisdom of man set up as an idol by the name of common sense. This it is the editor of the Christian Journal worships. The abounding of testimony and evil together are the sure sign of judgment, if scripture wisdom is to be taken as guide.

136 The last point I shall notice is that which brings the question to issue.

"If we were asked to state the cause which operates more generally perhaps than any other in producing divisions in the present day, we would say, it arose from a diseased mind, or a certain morbid sensitiveness of the conscience in one speck, to the exhaustion of all sensibility in a far larger portion - sensitiveness about corruptions to be deplored doubtless and remedied, and insensibility to the great dishonour done to God, and the widely extended injury done to souls, by divisions amongst Christians. Yes, I say unaccountable insensibility of conscience to such passages as that to the Corinthians, 'I beseech you by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, that there be no divisions amongst you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment'; or as that to the Philippians 'whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.'"

We shall have to see where the unaccountable insensibility lies, where the guilt of division. In the first place, as to morbid conscience, the editor is simply sanctioning sin against Christ in sanctioning sin against a weak conscience. That there are many things that affect weak consciences, worse than eating herbs, is confessed; nay, it is now the fashion to confess, that there are gross corruptions in the system of the establishment: abominations is the usual word. Now morbid consciences are ill at ease about these. Well, of course, they are removed, and the weak conscience is left unoffended, "straight paths made for their feet lest that which is lame be turned out of the way" but that it rather might be healed, and these strong wise men bear their infirmities, and remove the difficulties? Not the least. The morbid consciences may go and get comfort where they can, not with these: they may be shocked if they stay, and reproached if they go: what do the strong ones care for that? They have got the world with them, and morbid consciences may comfort themselves where they can. They are Christ's sheep: but what do these shepherds care for that? They have disabled themselves from, or are unwilling to seek, their good, and they may go and get comfort by the roadside. Who would trouble themselves with morbid consciences save to reproach them, if they act on them, which they are bound to do unless they commit sin? In thus doing what offends the weak conscience, they are confessedly sinning against Christ; and in order to gain the world's help, they have sold or given up to the world the deposit of Christ with them, of acting upon the necessary exigencies of the Church - they confess they have done so; they have petitioned the State to get leave to amend themselves - the open confession, that they have sold their Christian power of fulfilling a direct known duty in the Church of Christ. The "separating brethren" feel this, and they leave the evil, which the clergy confess they cannot amend; but these things which morbid consciences are uneasy about were the subject of the greatest uneasiness, and were entirely objected to by the English reformers at the Reformation, and were imposed by the queen against their wishes, and in spite of the earnest entreaty and remonstrance of many, I might almost say all, of them. The queen wished to win the papists, and loved her supremacy, and she insisted on them.

137 It is often said, Can you not acquiesce in what these saints shed their blood for? My answer is, they shed their blood for no such thing, but remonstrated against these things, and secular authority alone enforced them. It is but an example, how the piety of good men becomes continuing sanction for any evil they continue in, and so the snare of Satan; as the piety of FĂ©nelon, Pascal, Arnauld, and De Sacy, is used as an authority for continuance in the Roman-catholic church system: and what is more, the editor's friend, Baxter, in his day (having in vain endeavoured to get them altered, much as he disliked separation and thought it an evil to separate) did separate, when these things were enforced by an Act of Parliament, and with him between one thousand five hundred and two thousand godly ministers,* who all left their cures, rather than acquiesce in the things, dissatisfaction at which is now sneered at as the sign of a morbid conscience. I do not doubt that the editor and his friends are much better and wiser than these men, these separatists, whose piety however they are generally content to feed on and to minister for the present food of the Church. But how comes it, if this same Baxter was so averse to separation, he felt it necessary to separate, when these things which constitute the uniformity of the Church of England were imposed? Or will the editor allow me to ask, is it honest to adduce Baxter as an enemy to separation in his day, when Baxter did actually separate because the things objected to now were insisted on? The editor should remember, that the Church of England had ceased to be "a hierarchy inconsistent with the progress of the Gospel" when Baxter objected to separation, but when it was, he separated from it - got, I suppose, a morbid conscience, along with the hundreds of fellow ministers, for which they were fools enough, many of them, to beg their bread with their families. Morbid consciences are very troublesome things sometimes easy consciences very seldom. There is a day coming in which they may be more occasion of sorrow.

{* By the Act of Charles II in 1666, whoever did not conform to the liturgy of the Church of England, by St. Bartholomew's Day in that year, was to be deprived. Nearly all the godly ministers in England left house and home, and wandered some in severe trial, where they might find relief.}

138 The editor is probably also ignorant, that the imposition of the same things in Scotland produced sadder effects, even in many morbid consciences there.* These, morbid as they were, were more constant and more valuable to many there than their lives; and the beauties of the Church of England liturgy were enlivened and exalted by the blood of martyrs, and the torments of the iron boot, on those whose consciences preferred temporal death to the imposition of that they believed to be evil. The prayerbook has been the occasion, and its ministers the instruments, of other blood of martyrs, than it is perhaps aware of, or accustomed to boast. But what is that to the editor or the rest of the body here? They have not morbid consciences; they acknowledge it is full of abominations, but no giving up livings, or iron boots for them: they will protest and stay in them, and blame those who leave them for making divisions. No wonder, their consciences are really ill at ease, and they tread a testimony to it; and the editor knows this.

{*Archbishop Sharpe and the Duke of Lauderdale carried on a most bitter and relentless persecution against those who opposed, and in order to enforce, the liturgy of the Church of England and her hierarchical arrangements; and there was episcopacy in Scotland till the Revolution.}

139 I cannot help thinking, and my experience has led me to the same conclusion, that if there were a little more morbidness, or (if I may be allowed to change the expression) activity in the consciences of some brethren who do not separate, it would have been no harm. And I cannot help thinking that the state force put on the consciences of all the early reformers, and the surrender of beloved flocks, by one thousand five hundred and upwards of the godliest ministers that ever breathed, and the surrender of their lives, and the endurance of torments by the saints of Scotland, might have called for something more than the reproach of morbid consciences from anything but the Church of England. But the unjust knoweth no shame. The infection has certainly not reached them. But perhaps some modern Baxter may reform all this, and it shall shine in spotless purity, such as shall satisfy his mind, if not God's; and some pious and acute prebendary, who can give good thoughts in bad times in these days, may acquiesce in the reformation and its arrangements, results which he may regret, but which he cannot control. We would only hint, for we do not judge (we acknowledge) of the future from the past, of which we are very ignorant, but from the word of God, which is very sure; but only remind (as an argumentum ad hominem) Christians that do, that this reformation of Baxter's of old, godly though he was, and disliking separation, lasted ten years, and then everything became worse than before, and he was obliged to separate; nor could in these days, we would suggest, any modern prebendary, when the ten years were closed, feel so sure of recovering his prebend, as the pious and acute Thomas Fuller; for they are, we will agree, evil days - they will hardly afford (may we prophesy?) in any such sense, "mixed contemplations in better times." We did once to such an one, and the things have not been untrue, though despised.

140 But widely extended divisions amongst Christians are caused by it. Let me ask, if there are divisions between Israelites indeed in whom is no guile, who are more than ordinarily engaged in doing good, and others who are continuing in connection with, and support of "gross corruption," how is the division to be healed? by those who are not in the corruptions returning to them, or those who are leaving them? But there is no need of the corruptionists joining their separating brethren - let them only get rid of these corruptions, and division would immediately cease. Will they forgive one proposing such a remedy, or think it "proud or peevish"? They know they cannot, and therefore they rail at their "separating brethren" as proud and peevish, and promise that at some future time they may state the grounds on which the duty of adherence to the Church of England rests in spite of the gross corruptions. In the meanwhile prejudice has been excited against the guileless Israelites, and people maintained in connection with the corruptions, and the point is gained. It is a very hardening system. The closing paragraph speaks with the most perfect coldness of whole districts not within the reach of a Christian minister by virtue of the system; and of those who in such places, led by God's Spirit, may labour and suffer reproach, and gather out souls to Christ, and if any be wicked enough to watch over them, or seek their continued good, they are to be branded as schismatics and proud and peevish. There is certainly no morbidness in the conscience of a modern corruptionist, save that which may consist in having lost its feelings altogether - a mind, I suppose, as diseased in God's eye, as one which would refrain from eating herbs, if it thought it a sin.

As to "unaccountable insensibility of conscience, to such passages, as 'I beseech you by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment,' or as that to the Philippians, 'whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing'" as to the first we say, the Church of England has made it impossible. She is bound up in positive error, and so most of her active ministers think. They do not believe for example in baptismal regeneration, though they sign their consent to it. As to "no divisions among you," divisions among whom? among believing disciples? Does the editor of the Christian Journal mean at sent to persuade us that the Church of England is a body of believing disciples, among whom we make divisions by leaving it? We leave it, because it is no company of believing disciples at all, but a very wicked and nefarious union between the Church and the world; because its essence and essential distinction is the chief of all iniquities, the mixing the Church in the world, the holding of apostate principles if not a ripened apostate state. The editor of the Christian Journal must know that the majority of Christians in the world think the Church of England a system of great abominations; and are apt to charge upon men, such as the editor himself, the sin of division, because they force upon the morbid consciences of weak brethren that which, by the apostle's rule, it would be a sin for them to do. The editor too knows, as to divisions, there was a time, when many were willing and desirous to work with and be servants in the activities of godly members of the Church of England, though they could not sign what they did not believe. They were all cast out as an unclean thing: what could there be but division? and who made it, unless we are to quench the Spirit of God for the fancies of the assumed functionaries of Christ?

141 At this time, and the writer is not unacquainted with Ireland, I know scarcely a single active devoted Christian layman in the Church of England. There may be a few readers in parishes paid by the clergymen, and I trust God will bless their labours; and there may be a few gentlemen patrons of religion in their neighbourhood, but otherwise I do not know such a thing in existence. I did know one, as an active devoted labouring Christian layman in the Church of England: such as begun so, and were more than ordinarily engaged in doing good, speedily left it. Of those, not in it, there are multitudes, but I suppose they are beneath the notice of those with whom it would be wrong to have them at the same table. But I can tell the editor, there was a time when many a mechanic was ordained because he would conform, and the ablest ministers in England shut out because they would not. The clergy delight, I do not doubt, to rest in their solitary self-sufficiency, and maintain their dignified association with the world; and they are welcome.

142 As to "whereto we have already attained, walking by the same rule." As regards other Christians, we would subject ourselves to brotherly judgment as to our failure. As for my part, though the progress of Christians who have separated from the Church of England has, speaking of the mass, been very marked and decided in principle and practice, certainly not less acquainted with scripture, as indeed seems to be implied in the comparison of them with the Irvingites, and confessedly more than ordinarily engaged in doing good - yet compared with the standard that is before them, they know nothing, yea, ever will it be so; and as to doing, I suppose the most of them would confess with sorrow of heart that they come altogether short. They see a standard in every sense in Jesus, and even in early Christianity, but especially in Him which humbles them and keeps them in the dust at every step They only pray for more of the Spirit of God to conform them as one body to Him; and may it be so with them and with others!

But as regards the Church of England, they confess the attainment is beyond them; they have not reached to this point in practical conduct - to wait for reasons in future to adhere to a thing, in spite of gross corruptions, where God has said "withdraw thyself from every brother that walketh disorderly." They have not so learned Christ, and they confess that they cannot walk by this rule. It may be their weakness, but the strong should have compassion upon them, and remove the difficulty. No, they have not attained to this; they have not attained to cast their conscience and the testimony of the Spirit behind their back. They know that the Lord will judge His people, and they fear His judgment more than the reproach of a morbid conscience, when they cannot do this great wickedness and sin against God. The Spirit of the living God urges them not to abide in or to bear with evil; and they do not, taking scripture as their guide, understand (it may be their folly) a Christian's adhering to gross corruptions. They leave the palm of prudence to the editor of the Christian Journal.

Attainment in knowledge they know little about only that if a man think he knows anything, he knows nothing, yet, as he ought to know it. But they count a good conscience a thing for a Christian to keep, and they have been accustomed to apply the passage in Philippians to humbleness of mind as to knowledge, and not, as the editor of the Christian Journal has done, to a question of continuance in what they account the greatest moral evil under the sun; a system calling itself a church, but really "inconsistent with the progress of the gospel," the continuance of the Church in the world grieving the Spirit of God. If the editor does not apply his quotations to this, he is talking beside the question. His "separating brethren" do not separate because of attainment in knowledge, but because the light has broken in upon their souls, that the system he belongs to is a system of ungodliness - to use other words, if he please, though very inadequate words, of "gross corruptions." I say inadequate words, because corruption implies the spoiling of something good: and the Church of England was never something good, but a modification of popery, brought about under Providence by Henry VIII, and good men who held justifying truths for their own souls, and who got rid of as much of popery as the sovereign of the day allowed them.

143 "The protestant church system is nothing but a continuation of the catholic church system, on a less extensive scale. I would add, with more thorough subjection to the world. I have spoken of this upon the ground that the conscience of these who are drawn out by the Church of England is morbid and weak, in which case it is manifest, that the sin is with the Church of England entirely, and the editor of the Christian Journal partakes of it, if the rule of scripture and the apostles be heeded.

But are the objections to the system merely those of weak consciences? We admit the palm of strong consciences belongs entirely to the clergy of the Established body. But there are grounds of objection, which might strike an indifferent observer of a Christian spirit, and, without evil weakness of conscience, may be accounted objects of the Lord's judgment. The first great objection I would urge against the Church of England is that (instead of being in any sort the gathering of the children of God upon the foundation of a heavenly calling, sitting in spirit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; being filled with His Spirit; and by the supply of His spirit manifesting the life of Christ, and the power of His grace and presence, in the unity of His sanctified members) it is essentially, as the Church of England, the opposite of all this: and that is, the union of the Church and the world. This makes it the Church of England: for that is the Church, not which God owns, but which the world owns, and of that world Satan is the prince; and the consequence is that if men be all that God owns but not what the world owns, they are accounted schismatics and evil doers, not because they separate from Christians, but from the world presumptuously calling itself the Church, and the Spirit of God and the path of Christ is blasphemed. The Church of England is not the Church of God; but the merging of disciples - of the Church in its members, in a great worldly system. It is that peculiar sin, which pollutes, nullifies and renders void the last great witness of the holiness of the Lord, previous to the coming glory: and therefore along with other similar bodies, constitutes the great final sin of the Church, the substitution of the power of the world for the support of the Church, in lieu of the power, presence and Spirit of God, the consequent necessary desecration of the Church, the grieving of the Spirit of God, making the Church of God the sport of its enemies, and causing the weak sheep of Christ, whom the presence of the Spirit in the grace of the Lord alone could comfort and feed, to be scattered to the winds and to wander on every mountain.

144 But they have the world and that is the point. And here is the grand sin of the godly clergy: they are using their godliness to sustain this, and let them not say the Church has not the world. I repeat, it is written, "these shall hate the whore." The system means, its name means, the union of the Church and the world, that is, the union in sin of what God has separated, the putting the Church into the world which God had taken out of it, and the grieving, in consequence, of the Holy Spirit of God. And He gave Himself for our sins, as of the world, that He might deliver us out of this present evil world. The Church of England is the putting the saints into the world again, the sanction of an unholy meretricious union with it. It buries the sanctified ones in the world and takes unsanctified ones, and alike calls them Christians, and the life and distinctive character of Christ is lost. I do not say God's Spirit does not act in spite of it; I know it does often in the necessity of His love. I do not say that infidelity, the wickedness of the world may not seek to pull down and deprive of its temporal goods the wickedness of the Church. I do not doubt, and the word of God teaches us, that such things will be: one need not be a prophet to discern it now; but the word of God teaches us the character of that which is so wronged. The spirit of the saints of God has nothing to do with either. It may wonder at, nay, be bowed in spirit at the thought, that that which ever had the name of the Church or form of it should be in such case; but it can have nothing to say to either.

145 The objection of the saints to the Church of England is, that it is the union of the Church and the world; this is what constitutes it the Church of England. The necessary consequence of union with the world is grieving, resisting, and denying the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God cannot bear with the world, and the world cannot bear the Spirit of God, cannot receive it, for it seeth it not, neither knoweth. The Spirit of God may be in individuals in the Church of England, because in fact it is no Church at all; and, so far as they act from the individual indwelling of the Spirit, they may be blessed, and may they be abundantly so! But the system is nothing else (it may sustain the flesh and so be not thought to be so) but a hindrance to them and every one else in whom the Spirit dwells, so far as it constitutes the Church of England. It is a system which the world has prescribed to prevent hurting the feelings of the world, and disallowing all that would, and must do so while on regular terms of alliance with it. Oh! it is a great sin. Hence, wherever the Spirit of God acts, it is discountenanced, or if this be feared from its power, attempted to be confined to the channel of entire dependence on the world. Its energies thus cramped and crippled within the bounds of the system the next consequence is that, when men are not tied up in the system, they do not yield to this effort to connect them with the world and receive its sanction, and they still continue to work, and though blessed and labouring hard in the Lord's cause by the strength and help of the Spirit of God, they are counted separatists and dividers of the Church. Then Satan raises up some scheme of his own, perhaps of active labour with pretence of the word, and not connected with the Church nominally, and those who have been working simply, as Christians not connected with it, are identified with this by the jealousy of those who are, and every pains taken to discredit them, and thus (by virtue of the system of the Church of England) the Spirit of God is hindered, polluted, and mixed with the world; crippled on one side, discredited and dishonoured on the other, and the sole cause and doer of all this is the Church of England. Satan gains his point and laughs at them doing his work. It is impossible that those who are united with the world can love the unhindered working of the Spirit of God.

146 The editor of the Christian Journal has recently united himself to the worldly part of the Church in hopes of doing more good, or of being sustained by them, and hence these articles; for I do not doubt, nor ought I, that his original purpose was to do the Lord's work. Union with the world, the grand distinctive sin and the power of apostasy in the Church, and that which is identified with it, the blaspheming and denying the Spirit of God, and refusing the word as the simple guide, is that which we object to in the Church of England: and let it leave this, all difficulty will cease. Dissenters will quarrel little, I suspect, about episcopacy, and the separatists will be forgotten, for all the saints will be separatists from the world; but while the nominal Church is in it, it may be persuaded that there will be separatists from it. It however is the necessary cause of the division, and this must be while the Spirit of God is grieved and the character of Christ lost by its worldliness.

The truth is, the power of Christ's resurrection and the presence of the Comforter are lost and unowned; and hence the evil and thence the separation. Now it is quite true that every believer may not attain to the same apprehension of heavenly things, but originally the Church held the place suited to them; and it, being heavenly, led onward the less full-grown saints, and the Church as a body held the position. The stronger were a guard and a help to the weak, and the Spirit was ungrieved in the Church (though individuals might be in feebleness), and found its resting-place there, and the Church, its comfort in its presence. Now Satan having beguiled the Church, the Church is in the position of earthliness, and united in system with the world: he has got it while it was in its low state, tied down by its own will first, then by actual bonds into the unhallowed union which makes it a bar and a hindrance to the Spirit of God, and, the bonds being on it, whoever becomes really spiritual and heavenly-minded, and holds his course on, becomes a separatist from it; and it is grieved and complains of division. But this arises, not from the evil of the saint pursuing heavenly-mindedness, but from the helpless union of the Church with the world.

I will freely make a further admission. The leaving many saints behind tied by ten thousand bonds which Satan and circumstances have formed around them, and the feebleness of faith, which long bondage in Egypt has occasioned, weaken the ranks of those who are out, make gaps in their spiritual advantages which they fully feel, and make them more liable to the inroads of Satan; their labour more abundant than it would otherwise be. The question is, are they to go back to those who are thus behind, or march on looking for them to follow? It may be, their want of courage for war has caused them a more toilsome journey through the wilderness, but they are learning faith in God who supplies every need there, which their long worldly supply in Egypt, since they left their strangeness in a promised land, had taught them almost to forget entirely. Leeks and onions were there, but there was not the supply and the care of their own God, and they were in bondage under hard and cruel masters, whose enmity was against their firstborn. They trust that, if journeying through the wilderness to the Canaan left of old, it is now not to be as strangers, without so much as to set their foot on, but to the rest and to the inheritance which God hath prepared for them; they prefer indeed the path of faith, feeble though they be; they are sorry for their brethren behind.

147 There are other things in which these, which constitute the great principles, are shewn in practical detail. The whole arrangement of ministry is from the world, and not from God. All the chief pastors of the Church and a great body of the inferior (but it is sufficient here to note the chief as the fountain) are appointed by the world in its worst forma perfectly monstrous notion, under which the godly men are themselves groaning, but which is much more important, as shewing the practical dependence on, and identity of the whole system with, the world. The letters patent of the king, that is, the fiat of a worldly minister, perhaps an infidel, are the credentials and appointment of all the bishops in Ireland. All the parochial cures or non-cures are secular livings incident to a profession, and a large portion of them not even in the gift of men who have the moral control of the Church, however they got it, but come directly from the world. It is perfectly ridiculous to talk of godly appointed ministers, or of this being ministry.

Mr. Simeon, of Cambridge, and others, used to buy up livings in order to get godly men into them: has this the smallest resemblance to spiritual pastorship in the Church of Christ? The result is, that in the very best of time a large majority of the pastors, so-called, are not Christians at all, but serve only to make everything but themselves schismatical (and the best comfort one can get is, that there are often no Christians under them), and where a godly man has been, in the majority of instances the effect of the system is, that the person who shall follow shall have his only business in sedulously rooting up the principles taught, and scattering the flock. We have a promise, in this number, of instruction what Christians are to do when a Christian ministry is not within reach, although there are plenty of pastors brought there by the system of the Church of England.

148 If it is not the fault of the Church of England, whose fault is it? I shall be told the bishops'. The bishops are to take care - and who appoints the bishops? are they appointed according to God's order? No, but according to the system of the Church of England, by what as to church matters (however to be obeyed in civil) we must say is the devil. All this then is the system of the Church of England, and is destructive of the nature and possibility of a Christian ministry. People may talk of books and regulations in the Prayer Book. They do not let out the great secret of the whole. The source of the ministry is in the world, with the ministry of the country, and not with God, by the system of the Church of England There can be no regular Christian ministry in it. It is impossible that any order or discipline should be in it. The Spirit of God may be too strong for the system. So it is; and therefore there are both godly individuals and separatists; and such is the case, partly by virtue of their being separatists. But the system is irreclaimably destructive of the being of a Church. In the same way there is, and can be, no legislation - no provision for the emergencies of the Church by any meeting assembled as a Christian one for the purpose. They have signed that they have no right to meet unless by the king's calling them together, not the Lord's. They had to do with the world, and it was jealous of their doing anything without the prerogative authority of the world - they belong to it, and therefore are regulated by it. In lieu thereof they are legislated for by infidels, dissenters, Socinians, Roman-catholics, and everybody else that may be; and to such extent is this, that at one time half the chief pastors of the country were cut off, when the leader of the Commons has considered the circumstances of the Church, and the arrangement of their pastoral care settled by him: and there is not a pastor in the country but derives his authority from them, and there is now a commission in the country to examine the inferior ones. How ridiculous to talk of the divinely ordained ministry of the Church! And are the sheep of Christ to be subjected to this - to own such a system at all? This then is another objection to the Church of England, that its ministry is entirely the appointment and arrangement of the world, because it is of the world.

149 I have not here spoken of the monstrous and horrible abuses which are the consequences, but of the principles of the whole system. It was an ominous circumstance when the image of Christ, which was always in the roodloft of the church, was taken down at the Reformation, and the king's arms were set up there instead. This is the symbol of the Church of England, the sign of what it is. It is not formed then to act as a Church, but to obey and be arranged by the king and the parliament. They could not legislate for the spiritual welfare of the Church of Christ; they are the only legislature for the Church of England. Why? Because it is of the world, not of God. These are not abused - not corruptions; they are its principles, its system.. The Home Mission is a disorder - a corruption like the separatists; the system is orderly subservience to the king and parliament, generally not, and never acting as, Christians. This is an objection moreover which acts upon the circumstances of almost every private Christian, and is felt in the grieving of the Spirit to the utmost corner to which it reaches, or where it precludes another from going who might be a blessing.

And hence another deadly evil in the Church of England: the ministry itself becomes a worldly ordinance - a clergyman is a clergyman without reference to grace or gift in him. There is an entire separation between gift and nominal office in the Church. Nominal office is not founded on the exercise of gift, as it was in the primitive Church, and hence becomes and is an authority entirely independent of gift, and necessarily hence apart from and independent of God, whose part in the office is conferring the gift. It becomes simply derivative from man, and thus the nominal authority of God's offices is attached to every error, unbelief, and evil doing that can be in the Church; and this is the Church's apostasy in office; and this is the meaning of the Church of England as to its offices. They are derivative without grace, not the recognition of gift in any case, but the conferring of authority with or without it. A man has them because of his human derived authority, and what is merely human becomes an exclusion of God's Spirit, and a divine warrant attached to evil. The authority is derived from the appointment, and is as good in the Church of England without grace as with it; and yet there is the awful assumption of actually conferring the Holy Ghost, and this is so entirely and avowedly the case in its worst form, that a clergyman of the Church of Rome, ipso facto on his coming over, is a clergyman of the Church of England without any reference to gift or office at all, for then gift and office cannot be, proving the whole force to be in the humanly derived authority. Their orders are identical in their source. Whence then is the mission and authority of the Church of Rome? Thence are the boasted orders of the Church of England. They are the human substitute for divine grace, and thus the constant security of mischief and evil in the Church, the seal of apostasy.

150 Hence a man with less grace - less of God's Spirit - less knowledge - less holiness, would be received and trusted to, because he was a clergyman; because the world owned his fleshly order, while he who had all of them would be slighted. It is the denial of the exercise of all gifts, and the substitution of a clergyman (be he even no Christian at all) in their place. He and no other may speak, though he may be totally incompetent to edify the Church, and God may have specially qualified someone else to do it, and there is no remedy in the system for this, no provision for the exercise of any gifts; for, were he even ordained, he must go elsewhere. The clergyman is the person to give his half-hour's instruction, bad or good, and no one else can be allowed to speak. Let him be an apostle, it would make no difference; let God send him expressly, it is no matter. It is irregular for the Spirit of God to act in the Church of England. It would not suit the world, and therefore it does not suit the Church of England; unless therefore the Spirit of God be quenched, there must be divisions. While the system of the Church of England remains, it is the grand bar to the operations of the Spirit of God; and so I have ever found it in this poor benighted land. Oh! the loads of guilt it will have upon its head in this country.

The next thing shewing its connection with the world, and rejection of the Spirit of God, is indiscriminate communion: thus it becomes the positive witness of the compatibility of unholiness and all Christian privileges. Sacramental communion is the seal and symbol of the participation of all Christian privileges. We are identified with every person who partakes these, not as to his being a child of God as known to God, but as to his being one as known to us with all due spiritual investigation. "Looking diligently," says the apostle, "lest there be among you," etc. "Inasmuch then as ye are partakers of that one loaf, ye are all one body," 1 Cor. 10:17. It becomes then the solemn sanction of unholiness, making Christ the minister of sin. This is the universal practice of the Church of England; it makes her, the National Church, no church at all disciples in it is simply ridiculous. The moment it is exercised, it ceases to embrace the nation: the King and the bishops must be the first persons excommunicated, and then where is the Church of England? So in the colleges, the education for the Church, all the fellows and students (Christians or no Christians is no matter) are canonically and by the regulations bound to receive, at least, three times a year. Thus it becomes, by embracing the world, the grand sanction for ungodliness in the Church of God, the nursery of apostasy. It makes no difference in godliness as to the privileges of Christianity. It is essentially and practically antinomian.

151 The next thing that may be mentioned is entire unsoundness of doctrine; the want of liberty which flows from this association with the world; assurance without discipline must be antinomian; and next the ascribing to ordinances an efficacy which makes the world without faith on the same ground as the believer; thus putting the ordinance in lieu of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.

As to doctrine, we read in the second article, "That Christ died to reconcile His Father to us" - a statement quite inconsistent with the gospel on its fundamental principle, which flows from the Father sending the Son out of His own voluntary and uncaused love. This mission of the Father from His own mind is of the very essence of the gospel; the error is an abuse of one part of the gospel, in which Christ made satisfaction for sin, to destroy another, the fountain from which it flowed, in which God gave Him so to make the satisfaction. It strikes at the root of all the liberty and settledness of peace of the people of God. It is false doctrine, and all the liturgy is founded on the bondage. The litany especially, much as people admire it, is what no simple holy Christian could use. Can a body of Christian worshippers continually be saying, "Spare thy people and be not angry with us for ever"? If these are joint supplications, is the Church always to be under the sense of God's anger? There is a continual confusion in these supplications between God's people and the people of England or Ireland as being a Christian nation; and they treat the world even as in a Christian state, and are no prayers of the Spirit of Christ and for the Church at all. The fact is, it is a relic (as any one may see in the treatises on the common prayer) of superstitious processions, begun about the seventh century, to arrest evils. But it is not a Christian supplication at all, though there may be Christian things in it. I do not think any part of the Prayerbook recognizes the Church in the place in which God has set it of redeemed liberty in Christ, and because it is identified with the world, and therefore always labours and tends to keep down the Church to the level of its association with the world. In the assertion of provision for everything there is the assertion of fitness for nothing. If I make the common supplication of the congregation to say, "be not angry with us for ever," it is foolish to say beforehand, "let us rejoice in the strength of our salvation."

152 The fact is, the Church is labouring under kingly prohibition to the Reformers to act upon the light which had opened upon their consciences. We have this statement in the homily for Whitsunday, "The true church is an universal congregation or fellowship of God's faithful and elect people, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. And it hath always three notes or marks whereby it is known: pure and sound doctrine; the sacraments ministered according to Christ's holy institution; and the right use of ecclesiastical discipline."

Will the editor say that there is the right use of ecclesiastical discipline in the Church of England? If not, it is not the Church of God at all; and for the plain reason that holiness ceases to be a characteristic of it. Truth, fellowship and holiness constitute the Church: take away either, and the Church is gone. The two latter the Church of England has not at all: the former, defectively.

I have noticed one point, I shall mention another in which they are mixed up.

153 In the homily on "Common Prayer and Sacraments," we read, "And as for the number of them, if they should be considered according to the exact signification of a sacrament, namely, for visible signs, expressly commanded in the New Testament, whereunto is annexed the promise of free forgiveness of our sins, and of our holiness, and joining in Christ, there be but two; namely, baptism and the supper of the Lord. For although absolution hath the promise of forgiveness of sin; yet, by the express word of the New Testament, it hath not this promise annexed and tied to the visible sign (I mean laying on of hands), is not expressly commanded in the New Testament to be used in absolution, as the visible signs in baptism and the Lord's supper are, and therefore absolution is no such sacrament as baptism and the communion are. And though the ordering of ministers hath this visible sign and promise; yet it lacks the promise of remission of sin, as all other sacraments besides the two above named do. Therefore, neither it, nor any other sacrament else, be such sacraments as baptism and the communion are."

Now here we have the annexing and tying of promised forgiveness to the visible sign, and this is habitual in the minds of most, as to the eucharist, where a man ought not to come except in full forgiveness. It is taught in the most objectionable way as to baptism. Thus "it is certain that children baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved."

Now I am not here questioning the point of infant's salvation, but adduce it to shew that salvation is annexed to baptism by its own efficacy under all circumstances. Children who are baptized are undoubtedly saved: no wonder, if they are regenerate and have their sins forgiven them. As to both then we have the prayer, and the assertion, "Dearly beloved, ye have brought the child to be baptized. We have prayed that our Lord Jesus Christ would vouchsafe to receive him, to release him of his sins, to sanctify him with the Holy Ghost, to give him the kingdom of heaven, and everlasting life. Ye have heard also that our Lord Jesus Christ hath promised in gospel to grant all these things that ye have prayed for, which promise He for His part will most surely keep and perform": and then: "Seeing now, dearly beloved brethren, that this child is regenerate," etc., and afterwards, "we yield thee hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it hath pleased thee to regenerate this infant with thy Holy Spirit; to receive him for thine own child by adoption and to incorporate him into thy holy church." And he is asserted thereby to be made partaker of the death of God's Son, though not of His resurrection.

154 And in the Catechism the statement is made broadly that the child was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven, which last indeed is made a matter of hope in the baptismal service. So in confirmation, "Almighty and everlasting God, who hast vouchsafed to regenerate these thy servants by water, and the Holy Ghost, and hast given unto them forgiveness of all their sins." And so much is this the case that in the sixteenth article we read, "not every deadly sin willingly committed after baptism is sin against the Holy Ghost and unpardonable." Why after baptism, but that baptism was regeneration and the forgiveness of sins? The whole statement is utter confusion, but it shews the place baptism had in the system. The prayer in the eucharist service is equally strange. "Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ; and to drink His blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by His body, and our souls washed through His most precious blood, and that we may ever more dwell in Him, and He in us."

Now these things really involve most important points of doctrine; they show a continuous system, by which though Christ has died "to reconcile his Father to us," the Church is still praying God may not be angry with it for ever, and seeking by the use of ordinances to make daily available to itself the security of averted wrath. I do not believe this is a correct view of the gospel, but puts the gospel and the Church in a false, an unchristian, position. It arises from the necessary sense of unknown and unascertained love and craving for mercy, which its identification with the unbelief of the world imposes on it. Let it have as much love towards the world as it pleases, but let it have the joy of forgiveness for itself. I repeat then, it is but the systematic perpetuation of unbelief, I do not say intentionally, but in fact. By asserting every one to be regenerate and in a state of salvation, it has lost for itself what it is to be regenerate and saved.

The next point is the want of spirituality of worship. This must be the case in its utter mixture with the world, because of the grieving of the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is not looked for in worship, but instead of it prayers which must suppose the thoughts of the Spirit of God in the Church, and the wants of the saints to be invariable every Sunday in the year and all years; and capable of being appointed beforehand; and the incongruity of which to the real expression of spiritual wants is proved by their never being by any chance used by Church of England men at any other time than that in which they are prescribed by law. As a matter of fact, the worship of the Church of England is not the worship of the Church of God, not therefore spiritual worship, and consequently unacceptable to God. They do not reckon on the presence of the Spirit of God to enable them to worship, but have substituted the Liturgy in its stead, in which there are many holy things doubtless, but which are not the Spirit of God, nor are they necessarily the wants of those who may be there, nor are they gathered together in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They meet as the parishioners of a parish, not as Christians. The service goes on just the same whether there be a single person who knows the Lord or not, whether they are Christians or not, and if there be such there, they have not been gathered together in His name. Whatever form of piety, no stranger nor any spiritual Christian going in could feel that there was dependence there on the Spirit of God, nor consequently His presence there, because two or three were gathered together in Christ's name, unless for judgment on the form of it; and the general answer is, they go for communion between themselves and God. They confess that the communion of the saints is lost; but for the other home is a better place. But think of the whole congregation, taking them in their best light, getting publicly absolved every Lord's day! and I say it now not in reproach, but as showing the character of the service, and again, as a whole congregation of Christians, saying, "Be not angry with us for ever." Where is the peace and liberty of saints in this?

155 But the great point is, they do not meet as Christians leaning on the Spirit of God, but as men trusting to a form. It is vain to attempt to bring it to one's self, as the spiritual worship of believing people, the joint spiritual worship in whatever feebleness of believing people. Is there such a thing called for in the Church of God? Is it not its special character? The Establishment destroys any such thing. Hence the whole enquiry is, Is the gospel preached there? I want spiritual worship with the saints. I believe it the supply of God's goodness for our weakness, and the special privilege and comfort of the Church. The other is a form of godliness for the world, but indeed denying the power of it. Extempore prayers need not be spiritual, but the leading of the Spirit is the power of prayer and spiritual worship, expressing thereby its necessities; and daily reiterated forms cannot be assumed to be the expression of the Spirit's mind, though it may serve for the world who do not want it. It serves perfectly to prevent the ascertainment whether men are spiritual or not - the great object where the church is joined to the world.

156 I would ask godly Church of England men, why on every other occasion, they make use of what is called extempore prayer. Is the meeting of the saints, the Church, the only place where such guidance and assistance of the Spirit could not be? Or is it that indeed there is such mixture of the Church with the world that it cannot be; that is, that it is no meeting of the saints at all; and that dependence on the Spirit of God is given up, as in a place unsuited for His presence and help? The truth is, it is framed for meeting the world, and hence it is public worship: that is, of the world and the saints in the world, not the gathering into one, in any sort, the children of God which were scattered abroad. And here, while I acknowledge there are many saints in the Church of England, as we find Jonathan the beloved of David mixed up with Saul, I would notice what appears to me a very fatal consequence as to them, of this state of things, and of the whole position of the clergy - an habitual disregard to convictions of mind. The system being inevitably and infallibly tied to all these things, they meet every conviction with the feeling, "If I give way to this, I must leave the whole system." The consequence is, they endeavour somehow or other to repress, or else to quiet, the conviction by some subtle reasoning or general comforting persuasion - "I shall do more good by being here" - but the Spirit of the Lord is grieved, and the honesty of their conscience and judgment impaired in its principles. If we suppress our conscientious convictions in one thing, it is not in that alone we suppress it, but we suppress the conscience itself, and we weaken the godly spring of judgment in it. There is not the same nearness to God of our conscience, the surface of it is hardened by the resisted conviction, and nothing tells upon it as it did. It does not tell so speedily, as by the presence of the grieved Spirit of God, the presence of good or evil. It is not, in the discernment of the healthful Spirit of God, God's index to the soul; the man ceases comparatively to be of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord. I have known a clergyman tell me, "he had no conscience"; another, "things were true, but he had no faith" - another, "that he thought he did more good by preaching against the principles of some of the services, than harm by using them"; and multitudes, "that though they did not agree with everything," though they signed that they did, "they thought they did more good, by staying where they were, than leaving it"; some that "the sixth article neutralized their signature to all the rest." I never found anyone, any believer that is, but a clergyman, say such things. I have known persons stay where a measure of actual evil was, which they had not signed, which they opposed, in the hope of getting rid of it; but I have not known any but clergymen sign what they did not agree to, or twist their consciences and judgment together in some way, so as to let their consciences slip through the difficulty for the sake of gaining an end. It seems to a simple Christian "doing evil that good may come"; for I am putting the best case for the clergy, and that no temporal motive actuates them in the least. I do not believe that one godly clergyman in the country until lately (for this wrenching of conscience has now, I believe, obscured many a spiritual thought) believed in baptismal regeneration - at least they preached against it. I do not believe, if left to themselves, ten christian clergymen in the country, until it became a matter of partisanship, would have used the public baptismal service as it stands; but they signed the approval of it, and used it, thereby not only grieving God's Spirit in their conscience but wronging the people by an untruth. They taught continually and repeatedly in their black gown contrary to what they used and declared continually in their white; and this has had a most fatal effect upon the conscientiousness of the whole body, and a most visible one to those who are free; and they may be assured that the perception of this is not confined to "separating brethren." Acting upon conscience they are pleased to call a morbid conscience. The tendency this will have in bringing in popery, I believe they are very little aware of: dulling the conscience is the great secret of that system, and in connection with the necessary value and power of formal ordinances. Dark as they may be, the high-church clergy are more honest in this. How deep a sin it is against the people, they must answer in that day.

158 But the editor of the Christian Journal has established us in the conviction of the rightness of our principle. If he tells us that we are weak and feeble, we acknowledge it altogether as thrown upon the Lord, but not without His guidance. He tells us, we are "separatists," "Israelites indeed in whom is no guile, more than ordinarily engaged in doing good." I read that Christ the Lord "gave himself for us, that he might purify to himself a peculiar people zealous of good works." We accept the designation and crave of the power of His presence and Spirit, that we may abound more and more, that we may be more nothing, and His presence everything among us. We are not satisfied, nor shall be till the resurrection, if we are saints; but, apart from evil we see to be more every day, preparing to meet the Lord; and we would remind the editor that to continue in gross corruptions may be human wisdom, but we read "The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; to depart from evil, that is understanding."

We believe that the editor of the Christian Journal has signed many things which he does not believe, and is what he is by virtue of doing so; we cannot think that is right. I have refrained from entering into actual abuses; but when we look around, we see the effect of the Church of England system to be the destruction of pastorship as to the great body of Christians, and the large majority of them called so, not Christians at all; the abuse of ordinance to a frightful degree; the destruction of spiritual worship; the sanction of abounding iniquity, and the casting the reproach of schism and disorder upon the saints of God who labour in His name, or seek to keep a good conscience. And we do not think it requires a morbid conscience to have done with this. As to ourselves we are feeble and weak, but we are not careful to answer them in the matter: our God is able to deliver us through the fire we may be brought into, and He will deliver us; but if not, we will not serve their gods, nor worship the golden image which they have set up. They have taken the graving tools and got the gold (while our Mediator has gone on high, receiving the commandments of His grace for us) and put it into the fire, and fashioned it with the tools; and when we would ask, with the broken word in our hand, what did the people, or what the king that thou didst do this? we are answered, Providence, Providence. "There came out this calf." The principles of the Church are gone in it. The spirit of obedience is gone in it. They know not what is become of Him who guided them, and they have left the principle of obedience, the only guide meanwhile, and they have formed a guide for themselves, and called it a feast to Jehovah. They may be saved (indeed we would intercede for them), but their idol must go to the ground - it must be made dust of, not by man's hand, save the wicked "the men of God's hand," but by God's. "They have not continued in God's goodness," the Church has not; and the word runs, "otherwise thou also shalt be cut off"

159 And now I have only to add, what perhaps may seem an odd conclusion, that I look for no effect merely from these reasonings. If there be not spirituality enough to give up the Church on the highest principles, it is of little avail that reasonings convince; though, as a positive hindrance to truth and the opening out of real spirituality in the soul, I do sincerely desire every Christian to be out of it. I have only to add, that the reforms in the Christian Journal lead, as we have seen, to no real result. I do not believe the editor would now insert articles he did some months ago, while they plunge at present persons who act on his provisional plans into the worst principles of dissent. Thus in this Journal "On Hearing Sermons," we have this recommendation as "excellent advice." "As the gifts and talents of ministers are different, I advise you to choose for your stated pastor and teacher one whom you find most suitable upon the whole to your own taste, and from whom you are likely to learn with the most pleasure and advantage."

Now this is merely passing, from the confessed ruin which the church system presents of efficient worship and ministry, into the very worst principle of dissent, and that upon which more of dissenting and real evil is founded in the Church of God than perhaps any other - choosing teachers suited to our taste. It is in fact, much as the Church of England dislikes dissent, the only real principle of conduct it has left, but such a one as from one end of scripture to the other shall be hard to be found unless in "I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas." Unity I believe to be the most desirable of all things, but unity founded on godliness, the unity of the faith, the unity of the Spirit in a good conscience, and, as the apostle describes, "the wisdom from above, first pure, then peaceable." But Jehu's reformations will not save Israel from the judgment that is to come; no getting rid of mere abuses, though it may protract awhile in the patience of God. But the temple of God is lost: it is not Judah, nor ruling with God, nor faithful with the saints. May the Lord grant us to know our own feebleness, and purge us from all evil!

160 Before the above could be printed, the November number was seen late in the month, and the December number with an additional article appeared on the subject. It will not require many words. The early part of it strikes us as low, but so timid of the prophecies of the last proving true, that it convinces us rather of the uneasiness of the writer's mind on the subject than of anything else. In the close of it he recommends us (by a simile, if possible, more kind than even the early Quakers or Swedenborg) to be prayed for as apes. All this I would pass by; only hinting in all friendliness, that as to the Church of England, wherever it has been brought (it is his nurse-child, not ours), we hope he may get safe down without killing himself or his nursling. We simply disclaim all care of it. I am not aware of any dying Tostatus amongst his "separating brethren." But he has now ventured into scripture, and I cannot help feeling that as in the former part he must have been ignorant of the facts he spoke of, so here there is very great ignorance of the mind of scripture; but when it is quoted, it must always be met. The first part is so little to the purpose, from the character of the worship of the time, that it is difficult to deal with it; but the evidence it does afford is conclusive against the editor. It is perfectly clear, that separation from the public worship of Israel was a bounden duty, and there is express commendation of it in scripture. Does the editor mean to say that it was right for Israelites to continue in the worship of the golden calves - the sin of Israel; or to make the Church of England the answering analogy to the sin of Jeroboam who made Israel to sin?

The commendation of the seven thousand is that they had refused to join in the national worship, because it was corrupted with worldly practices. There were no such things as religious communities then: it could not be; it was not the form of divine worship to have churches. But they separated from the public worship of the country when it was corrupted, and were commended for doing so. And when even much less corruption than Baalim was practised; when the golden calves were set up in Bethel and Dan, pretended to be the worship of Jehovah but mixing for worldly reasons Egyptian practices with it, it is mentioned with honour that out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel separated from them and left the country; and if the editor had ever read the prophets, he would have known that their testimony was incessant against having any such worship. As to Jerusalem, no person could have gone from the Temple, or he would have had no sacrifice at all. When it was corrupted, they were bound not to join. As to Ezekiel, he prophesied in Babylon, and the people of whom he speaks were shut up in the city of Jerusalem besieged, but they were to be marked, because they sighed over the abominations. But the editor seems not to be aware that they were commanded by the prophet Jeremiah to separate themselves and leave it, because the judgment of the Lord was coming on Jerusalem, and that so their lives would be spared, and that all the princes and king, etc., were very angry because thereby they said Jeremiah was weakening the hands of all those who were striving to save Jerusalem and resist the Chaldeans. There is indeed nothing new under the sun; so that, far from there not being in a single instance anything like separation, it was commended or commanded in both the instances to which the editor alludes; when the church had become corrupt, and that even at the risk, nay the certainty (for they could be performed nowhere else, which is not at all our case), of losing the ordained and regularly necessary sacrifices of God. Thus we see, in the case when we might least expect it from the nature of the worship, it is exactly the opposite to the editor's statement.

161 Does he seriously mean to tell us, that the Israelites ought to have worshipped the calves in Bethel and Dan? It is quite clear, they ought not, and sinned if they did: ought they not to have owned therefore any God? ought they not to have owned, thanked and worshipped Jehovah? It is clear it was their very point of faithfulness to do so; and they were separatists from corrupt national worship for the Lord's sake, and worshipped as well as they could by themselves. Evil having got possession of public worship, they were hated just as much as, or more than, modern "separating brethren," hid perhaps by fifty in a cave, where of course it would have been a sin to worship Jehovah, or they would have been "separating brethren.

162 I protest, I cannot see what the editor means, but that Baal and the calves were like the Church of England, and that people ought to have worshipped at them. The former part may be true for aught I know; but certainly the scripture totally condemns the latter and makes it the very point of faithfulness that it had been refused, in spite of acts of uniformity by kings and queens; and this makes a wide breach in his argument. He says, "in their several places in the Church, protest" what Church? Were they to worship the calves, and protest against them? They did not worship with the nation at all, and could not: this was their protest, and the whole point in question, as it is now, and the Lord specially owned them because they would not, but did form a separate communion, and there were worshippers of Baal and worshippers of Jehovah, so that Jehu could separate them for the slaughter of the former. So it is now. It is not I who have drawn the comparison; but the conclusion is manifest - the protest of refusing to worship with them, and worshipping Jehovah by themselves at all cost, constituted the point of Israelitish faithfulness.

And now as to the New Testament: first, the Jewish Church in our Lord's time. It is a mere subtlety to call it a church; it was no church, but an outward prescribed form of legal sacrifices and ceremonies, ordained by God Himself, from which no one could wilfully deviate without sinning. As our Lord says, "not a jot or tittle should pass from the law, till all was fulfilled"; and our Lord being made under the law, having graciously humbled Himself to this, was bound to be, and would not have conformed to all righteousness had He not conformed Himself to it. Was a Jewish Messiah (as such, though much more, He then came) to have been the first to break the law God had given to the people He was of and came to? Who ordained the pattern of the Established Church? On what mount was it shewn unto a mediatorial Moses? We are getting into popery in earnest now. The church of Judaism, if he will call it so (for church it was not), was not corrupt, but the people were who ministered in it. The state of things in the ordinances was exactly what God had ordained, even to the tithing of mint, rue, and cummin: and therefore the Lord says, "these ye ought to have done." Conformity, therefore, was a plain duty: therefore the Lord says, "the Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat." They were prescribing Moses' enactment, by Moses' authority, and therefore, what they commanded was to be observed; but their works were not to be followed. There is no such seat unless we come to popery, or legal prescriptive ordinances in the Christian dispensation.

163 The confessed inventions of man we do not feel it necessary to follow: the works of those who assume the place we would for the most part avoid; but the simple answer to this is, that the temple was a divinely ordained system, and that the structure of the Church of England is not. Our Lord Himself therefore could not separate Himself from it. "He came to be the minister of the circumcision for the truth of God," to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and of course came in connection with them, would not go to a Gentile, and commanded His disciples not. But, consistently with this, He was as separate as He could be, living in despised Galilee, and choosing His disciples thence, from whom Jews were a distinct designation, as is manifest to any one well acquainted with the Gospels: but the moment our Lord died and rose again, the whole thing changed. The Church became partakers of "the heavenly calling," and the character of His priesthood, and consequently of worshippers under it, was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, made higher than the heavens. He was to be known in the Church, "not after the flesh," in which He was connected with Judaism, according to the faithfulness of God, but "the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." It was then not Messiah walking blameless under the law, but "what communion hath light with darkness, Christ with Belial, or a believer with an unbeliever?" The world was a condemned world, having rejected Christ; "wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

The Church of England and the editor of the Christian Journal will not obey this primary command, constituting the spiritual character of the Church as one with Christ. They will not "come out, and be separate," but say, under the sanction of the Irvingites whom they despise, that Christ can have communion with Belial. "Be it ever so corrupt, people ought to stay there." They have destroyed and corrupted the foundation principle of the Church of God, stated in that passage, that a believer cannot have communion with an unbeliever, that it is Christ and Belial. They would rather justify the worship of the golden calves, or Baalim, or Ashtaroth the abomination of the Sidonians, than have the trial of losing the support and comfort of the world. For my own part, I have no hesitation in saying, that were it to come to this, I would rather worship with two or three in a house separate from evil, though it were in every street of Dublin, than be deliberately mixed with evil, which the Lord must judge and set aside when He shall appear.

164 Such a state of things may be an evil and sorrowful state, but it is not the deliberate and haughty sanction of wickedness. They might have been destitute of the order and beauty of worship, and hidden in their caves on bread and water, but not sanctioning a system, in which whosoever would, people that were not priests at all, the king consecrates to minister to the calves, which are called Jehovah - the departure from the covenant of God. But I trust that the readers of the Christian Journal will remember that the principle on which the editor calls on them to continue in the Church of England is avowedly that which is built upon the sanction of, and continuance in, the worship of the golden calves of Bethel and Dan. I desire no other evidence of what the principle really is.

As to the principle of Jerusalem worship, it is simply this: the Lord had recorded His name there, according to His promise in Deuteronomy 12, and other places, and there He had promised to meet them, and there to bless them. The place where He has promised now to meet them is, "wherever two or three are gathered together in his name, there he is in the midst of them," Matt. 18. This is the constituent difference of the dispensation, the Lord taking care first to shew the order of discipline, by which a wrongdoer is to be put out as a heathen man and a publican. This then is the promise of this dispensation, that on which it hangs - the presence of the Lord "wherever two or three are gathered in his name." So even, while the temple was standing, the apostles went up there to teach, and broke bread (Acts 2:46) from house to house, or at home. The Lord has provided comfort for His poor saints, seeking holiness in these promises against the haughty scorn of the sanctioners of corruption, of wickedness in the place of judgment. They know that however weak, yea, or failing in particular instances, it may be through their foolishness, gracious as the Lord is, they rest upon the basis of the whole dispensation; their adversaries, upon the corruption of its principle and alliance with evil and the world, which the Lord will judge. We would meet then in the Lord's name, and hail everyone, even though not perfectly one in opinion, who loved the Lord Jesus, and was led by His grace in truth and righteousness, resting in His atonement and resurrection, and subject to His will.

165 I do not believe that in any church of the Church of England, although I freely admit there are individual worshippers, they meet as two or three gathered in the Lord's name at all, or that His name consequently is recorded there to bless. The sermon may be blessed, or the individual may very humbly intend to worship God, but there is no blessed common spiritual worship; they are not met at all according to the Lord's commandment as Christian believers, nor are they addressed as such, when the clergyman speaks for himself, though he may do so when the Prayerbook speaks for him, thus making the whole thing a sort of mockery; in which the Spirit of Christ speaks one thing in the minister, and the form he reads another thing in the congregation.

And now to turn to the parts of scripture which do apply, that is, subsequent to our Lord's ascension.

"We find," the editor says, "the apostles and all the Christian Jews observing them with scrupulous exactness." I do not see any such thing. I see considerable and natural slowness in dropping what had ceased to be obligatory on those who had been brought up amongst them, and difficulties arising in the Church in consequence of their adherence to them, the attempt to maintain what had nothing to do with Christianity, and impose it, as the editor and his friends would now, but strenuously and steadfastly resisted by the apostle of the Gentiles, as marring the progress of the gospel, with one exception which we shall see just now. First Peter did not observe them, though he dissembled evilly about it, just shewing the effect of such things. Let us turn to Galatians: "but when some sought to spy out our liberty," says the apostle, "which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage. To whom we gave place by subjection, no not for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you."

166 This was the apostle's way of dealing with what was sought to be imposed; and we say, we cannot be subject to, nor worship your golden calves, though you may call it Bethel, and it may be set up where the pilgrim of God once was, with his staff in his hand, and God the portion of his inheritance, a wanderer for the sake of the inheritance and promise; yea, though it be the king's chapel, and the king's court. "Again when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed; for before that certain men came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles, but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself [here is another sort of separation - separation from saints, not from evil], fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with them, insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation."

Well it was for the Church of God, that there was one even then to stand out against these imposers of Jewish observances, that the truth of the gospel might continue with them. But what a picture of the effect of this continuance in the church ceremonies! dissimulation that jeopardized the truth of the gospel. But where was all the exactness of their observance? Not at all, till the fear of man and dissimulation came in; the two things which ever go together, and of which human ordinances, assumed to be divine or obligatory, are ever the instrument. Are there no Peters at Antioch now? Paul was a foolish man not to conform to harmless ceremonies! He knew they were the parent of dissimulation, and the destruction of the truth of the gospel, the moment they were made obligatory. And he withstood it to the face, and would not be in subjection for an hour. But it is clear, that the Christian Jews did not observe them with scrupulous exactness. Hear the bold apostle. "But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?"

What does the editor mean by scrupulous exactness, except in the way of dissimulation? But let him hear the same Peter again, and he might learn a wise lesson about what creates separation. In the chapter he has referred us to, I read this: "God [says the apostle, now unburdened by his fears] which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost even as to us: and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear? But we believe that, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved even as they." And it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to them to lay no greater burden than certain necessary things, from which I suppose few "separating brethren," led of God, would be anxious to be free. Would (but God is wise) it had seemed good to others to observe the apostolic rule! To us, indeed save in love, it matters little, but we should have heard little of "separating brethren."

167 The editor states it was decided that the Jewish ceremonies were obligatory on Jewish Christians. This is quite untrue: there was no such decision whatever; if so, Peter was wrong at Antioch in eating with Gentiles, and Paul and Barnabas and all. Indeed, so far from being true, it would have been destructive of the whole order and unity of the Church, and is merely ignorance of the progressive actual freedom to say so, as it is contrary to the matter of fact in the scriptures.

But there is an instance of Paul's acquiescence in their prejudices, which the editor refers to. Not acting from the guidance of God's Spirit to himself, he takes counsel with flesh and blood. James and the elders advise him to volunteer in shewing conformity to the customs of the Jews, who were all zealous of the law of which, it is clear, Christ had been the end as to this. However (whatever Paul's full concurrence was with their counsel, which does not appear) he acted on it - acted on conference with the flesh and blood deliberately for the first time. But what was the consequence? It brought him into all the difficulties from which he had been praying and begging the church's prayers to be delivered. If Romans 15:30, 31 be compared with Acts 21, it will be found that this very act was the source of all the difficulties which he had foreseen and deprecated, and besought them to deprecate so earnestly. God in His overruling mercy might turn it to good, as ever He will with His children. But it is a remarkable instance of the danger of temporising with fleshly conformity to prejudices, and not acting from the simple guidance of God's Spirit and word. They caught him in the temple where he, the apostle Paul, went to purify himself with the men, as if God had not accomplished these things, building again the things destroyed, tending to make "Christ the minister of sin." Two years' removal from all ministry, and deliverance to the will of the Gentiles, under God, was the fruit of his acquiescence in the advice of conformity to the Jews. It is wonderful while they so often deny Jewish hopes, how fond churchmen are of Jewish manners, and the rudiments of this world, which is all their ways are now. The apostle teaches in Galatians 4:8-10, that for Gentiles to return to Jewish ordinances, habits and observances (now that God's sanction has been removed from that system, and it is consequently merely the world), is to go back to heathen idolatry and evil. They were desiring to be again in bondage to the weak and beggarly elements, from which, as idolatrous Gentiles, they had been delivered: for Jewish ordinances without divine sanction were the same thing, human inventions sought out, and the principle of heathenism and idolatry in the sight of God. For the rest, we have seen, it clearly was not Paul's habit among Jews, for it was Peter's dissembling led to it in Antioch, and to it Paul would not yield. As to "imposed to the time of reformation" we shall see its use just now. Only meanwhile we would recommend the editor's reading Colossians 2.

168 Now as to the Corinthians, the apostle's command was to come out from the midst of evil in the world; our word is the same now to Christians mixed with the world in what is called the Church of England; because there can be no communion between Christ and Belial. And till the Church had proved itself clear in this matter, the apostle would not go at all, but sent Titus to see how it was, and when he proved their entire subjection in the matter, and that they were clear, went then, for he wished to spare them; but he would not hear of what the editor now defends, nor go to the place until it was remedied. This is the instruction we have from the Corinthians - the instruction expressly that we are never to bear the mixture of known evil in the Church; that it is the horrible lie of the possibility of the communion of Christ and Belial, that they must separate from the world and not touch the unclean thing, and then God would receive them, and they should be His sons and daughters. "He would walk in them and dwell in them." "The old leaven being purged out." The apostle separated between the guilty and not guilty, and kept the Church pure. He did make separation, but it was by turning out the evil which the Establishment keeps and clings to. "If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No." "If one that is unclean by a dead body, touch any of them shall it be unclean? And the priests answered, and said, It shall be unclean. So saith the Lord is this nation, and so is this people before me, and so is every work of their hands, and that which they offer there is unclean."

169 As to the Galatians, there was nothing corrupt in the Church at all: they received false doctrine from other teachers which the apostle corrected; so of the other evils which arose in the churches. The apostle corrected them, and so held them together - an example in the matter, of course. When corrected, they had no need to separate. It would have been sheer madness to have corrected the evil, and told them to separate at the same time; a provision for separation, while the Church was planting in holiness, would have been simply denying His apostolic work, which was to form the churches on those principles which have now been departed from, so that which is called the Church is nothing but another aspect of the State.

But the Seven Churches "furnish cases exactly in point." They do no such thing. The Seven Churches exhibited churches formed thoroughly on sound principles - principles of not allowing evil; and because they did not act upon them, they were to be judicially removed out of their place, which they were accordingly. They formed the next step in church history to the epistles of the apostles, the parting warning from the Lord. The Epistles afford the example of apostolic energy in maintaining churches rightly planted in their right position of separation from evil, the apostle warning that he knew, that after his decease things would go wrong, and evil arise. The Seven Churches' epistles are the judgment of Christ on this subsequent state of things, the Son of man, but judging in the midst of the candlesticks - churches rightly founded, having generally ceased to be rightly ordered and therefore removed out of their place by the Lord's judgment, making way for the apostasy as "things that should be." Removal for practical corruption of a holy thing is the tenor of these epistles, the setting aside the church as standing in its first planting. But they were "things that are." As prophecies, if such, they have nothing to do with this question. The Church of England never stood on such ground at all - never was the subject of such judgment. It never was planted as a colony of believers in the midst of the world - removed when it ceased to act on the principles of separate holiness. It was the result of the union of the Church and the world in the outset; or rather the Church never came out of the apostate world at all, and therefore there were no principles on which to judge it, except general professed principles in Christendom. It never reached the point, nor sought it, nor understood it, in which these churches began, and on which therefore Christ judged them, for their departure from them. It never stood on their ground as to moral position at all. It is a perverted attempt to apply "things that are," as if it applied to "the things that shall be," which is a perversion of scripture. Christ's judgment was on "the things that are"; His prophecy of "the things that should be." If the churches be taken prophetically, I may apply the Philadelphian to the separate saints and Laodicean to those who are not. If this be set aside, and on which I do not now rest, then I say it was the Lord's judgment on the things that were, and the removal of them, because they did not conform to the principles on which the Spirit of God in the apostles, etc., had founded them, and which thereupon ceased to exist and made room for the apostasy; and that no subsisting church rests, or can pretend to rest, on the ground on which this judgment rests at all, for they are founded on the union of the Church and the world, which is the moral principle of apostasy, which resulted from the failure of the judged churches to maintain the principles on which they were founded. It was the warning of what led to the consequences which followed since, under which we are now suffering. In the Acts of the Apostles we have the founding of the Church on the principles on which Christ established it; in the epistles, the sustaining it by the apostolic energy of the Spirit; in the epistles to the Seven Churches, the judgment of Christ upon their subsisting state, as not continuing upon the ground on which they were planted; and, consequent upon that, the apostasy out of which we are commanded to come, from which it is our clear business to keep separate. Separation from evil - a peculiar people - the gathering together in one the children of God which were scattered abroad, are the meaning and purpose of God in the Church. In its institution, separated from evil, and secured by the energy of that preached; and death, or immediate rejection for inconsistency by the presence of the instantaneously detecting power of the Holy Ghost, that its meaning and character might be adequately exhibited as pattern in the outset; then the apostles, watching, guarding, preserving, judging, and calling them effectually to correct themselves, as we see in the epistles. Thus evil was separated from them, when manifested among them. Then, this being inadequately performed, the judgment of the Son of man rejecting the churches, and threatening their removal if not corrected, which happened; and then the whole being in a fallen evil state, in which it was not only evil, but in the world (during which God has ever maintained a separating witnessing people, that it might be seen, He gave no sanction to evil) and, when fully discovered, the actual command - "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and receive not of her plagues" - separation then being so far from wrong that it becomes the test of obedience and faithfulness.

171 And now as to separating from the Jewish system, and the adherence of Christian Jews to it, we have seen the practice not to have been at all what the editor states it; but this is not all. There is upon the very ground of the Church being of a heavenly character, and having no portion in this world, a direct summons to go forth out of its now unacknowledged sanctity. "Christ, therefore [as the sin-offering was burnt without the camp of God] that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate "of what? of the world? Nay, of the holy city. "Let us, therefore, go forth to him without the camp, bearing his reproach." It is, when the Church thus is worldly and not heavenly, bearing Christ's. reproach to go forth without the camp. The camp was not Egypt, nor the city the world in form; but it was in character; and they, being heavenly "partakers of the heavenly calling," could have no more to say to it. This then was the positive direction to the Hebrew: separation from evil - separation from the world, both which are "enmity against God"; but we being "reconciled to God" is the essential character and meaning of the Church. It was for this Jesus suffered. "For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified through the truth." It is in this character He is our risen head and priest, "separate from sinners," "no more in the world." It is in this people walk, for this the martyrs suffered; it was for this John Huss was burned, and Wickliffe was persecuted. When it was reproved by apostolic discipline, the Church was kept separate from evil. When not, it was judged. When the Church coalesced with the world, it ceased to have any such character, and separation from it was separation from the world and, where this is not, righteousness cannot be. It must be maintained at all cost.

172 As to Jude, the editor's professed love to his "separating brethren" proves that he does not himself believe in its application to them; but our answer is this - separation from the Church of God we admit not only to be an evil but a totally ruinous evil. It is to leave the only holy sanctuary of God in the world, and it is the reckless doing and blasphemy of this of which Jude speaks. Does the editor really believe that the passages in Jude or Peter apply to his "separating brethren"? If he does not, why does he quote them? If he does, let him fairly state so. Either we are not Christians but totally lost persons, or Jude and Peter do not apply at all. These are the passages he quotes to condemn separation. They condemn separation from the Church of God - to mock, and walk after their own ungodly lusts and speak hard words against Christ. Does this apply to the guileless active Israelites? If not, it is entirely another conclusion which must be drawn from it - that the Church of England is not the Church of God at all: if it were, the consequences in Jude would follow; but if not, separation from it, so far from being evil, is but a bounden testimony against the pretences to be such, by which the saints of God are so deceived. The editor has spoken a bold word in saying that all who separate from the Church of England "are sensual, not having the Spirit." Is this his opinion of many of them? if not, is he not blaspheming them? much rather, incurring the charge of hard things spoken against Christ in His people? I count him much more a separatist in truth, who (when saints are trying to walk orderly, devotedly, and in grace) separates himself from them or them from him; because of lying and worldly ceremonies, most of which had long had the sanction of Satan in an evil world, but never that I could learn of God.

As to the only remaining passage which he could cull from all scripture against his "separating brethren" (besides these, which do but fully ascertain that the Church of England is not the Church of God at all, and which he knows are not applicable), to that from 1 John 2:19, they plead or I plead entirely guilty. "They went out from the Church of England, because they were not of it." They have not left off being Christians, but though once many of them were in the Church of England, they were not of it - they did not really in spirit belong to "a hierarchical system, inconsistent with the progress of the gospel"; and consequently sooner or later they went out from it; a system where practical abuses (as the editor has taught us in a previous number) flow not from casualty but from the source of all its appointments being corrupt and worldly. I repeat, they have agreed with him, and they have acted on it, in humble trial and sorrow - he has not. He, perhaps, may be of what he has thus designated, and therefore has not gone out from it; they were not, and consequently have. Whether they are sensual, not having the Spirit, God, and not the editor, must judge. If not, the editor has not a single text of scripture to plead against it, nor could he (while the holiness of God remains) find from His word a sanction for continuance in known evil. The editor may speak of remedies, and mend the Church in connection with the world. His "separating brethren" will seek by grace to have a conscience void of offence toward God and toward man, and to keep themselves, waiting for His appearing, unspotted from the world. They rejoice that in all the word of God the anxious care of the editor can find nothing to charge them with but these passages in Jude and Peter, the application of which may prove apostasy in the Church but not in those who separate from it. We would recommend to the editor 1 Samuel 22 and he may see, though unowned, where God's king, God's prophet, and God's priest may sometimes be found, and what sort of people are around the king What a judgment would have been forming of David's cause by the world then!

173 As to things imposed till the time of reformation, it is hardly worth while to any Christian acquainted with scripture to refer to it. But I need only remark that, instead of sanctioning the Jewish Christians in the exact observance of their ordinances, the apostle (as is the tenor of the whole epistle) is pressing on them that they had no obligation on them at all, now Christ was come, their calling being heavenly in union with Him, as their High Priest not in this world at all: that they were merely carnal ordinances imposed on them till the time of reformation, figures for the time then present; and that they were identified with the way into the holiest not being yet manifested, but that, Christ being come, they had passed away. He having entered not into holy places made with hands, figures of the true, but into heaven, they had no longer anything to say to Him. The Church of England, by the editor's confession, just returns to and imposes them, witnessing that to her the holiest is not made manifest, and that, in lieu thereof, she is imposing carnal ordinances, not having come to that "time of reformation," in which the glory and high priesthood of Christ took the place in the Church of these things. This is exactly our complaint against her; and we do not wish to be bound down in this confessed evil bondage. It is exactly the editor's confession; she has not entered into the heavenly calling and priesthood of Christ. Her services are bondage; her ordinances carnal; the time of reformation in a heavenly calling has not reached her soul; she is still seeking a priesthood on earth, not a portion in heaven; she was founded in what was earthly, and never got out of it.

174 As to the degeneracy of the age, which is noticed and denied in this number, we believe the editor is most awfully and guiltily misleading the Church. As to Ireland, we have noticed the inconsistency of his statements; and (while it is against the direct testimony of scripture, declaring that things shall go on, as in Noah's days and Lot's days till the Son of man come, days in which men despised warnings as much as the editor does now) nothing but the grossest ignorance of the state of England could lead him to such a statement. He confesses that crime is largely increased, but he says it is among the rabble. Yet how comes wickedness to have increased so much among them? But, in truth, this is the least part of the evil; the universal degeneracy of principle with much profession, and the great progress of infidelity, of atheistical principles, and the spirit of rebellion against lawful power, which is identified with these principles, and the slight of testimony and judgment, the "where is the promise of His coming" (in which the editor takes his part), are far worse signs of apostasy and judgment than the petty acts of evil which are but accompanying results.

The editor makes it his business to prove the world better, the world that rejected Christ. In this we believe he is most ruinously and desperately deceiving the Church of God. It is this which would make us decided. He rejoices in the increasing circulation of his Journal: I fear, and I say so sincerely, in proportion as it is of the world, the world will love its own. The editor rejects and slights, in ignorance we are assured, the warnings and judgments of the Lord, and therefore recommends continuance in evil. He denies, as a thing in which the Church of Christ has any present concern, the coming of the Lord, and therefore must be the instrument of darkness and of error. I do not doubt his desire to serve the Lord generally. In this point he is surely in utter and mischief-working blindness; and his labours can but serve to bind the blind in the error they are in.

175 Separation from godly persons I deprecate as much as he; I desire union with them as earnestly, much more earnestly than anyone I know; but to go into ungodliness to be one with them is impossible for the saints of God.

I look for better things for Ireland than I do for England as to its state, but not by the saints continuing to sanction and be mixed with evil, as he would advise.

If they do not discern "this time," let them at least of their own selves judge the things that are right. We would just refer those who have the Christian Journal (I have but my Bible with me here and a borrowed liturgy) to the "Ten Bishoprics," in No. 14 of the Christian Journal; the leading article on Church Reform in No. 6; the two leading articles in No. 10; and compare the petition with the "Ten Bishoprics" in No. 14.