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by no means undervalues union and harmony among all Christians; and does from the heart desire that grace may be with all them that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. But he is persuaded that it is most conducive to real charity and edification, that, while mutual kindness is cultivated, Christians should constantly and regularly attend the public ministry of the Communion to which they belong, at the stated seasons of worship in that Communion.
May the Holy Spirit descend more and more on the Church and on the world, and give efficacy to this and every attempt, however feeble, to increase religious knowledge and promote religious improvement, till at length the knowledge of the glory of the Lord cover the earth as the waters cover the sea!
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE SECOND EDITION.
IN this Edition the Author has omitted the Chapter on Private Study, as but little connected with the subject of this book. This has enabled him to enlarge some other parts of the work, and he hopes, if it please God, at a futuré time to publish that chapter, in an enlarged form, under the title of "The Christian Student." As some however might regret the omission of the lists of Religious Books for those in the lower and middle classes in the present work, they are inserted in a Note in the eighth Chapter.
The Author has reason to be grateful for the favourable notice of his work in some of the Periodical Publications; it has, however, been censured by one or two, as taking a too exclusive and bigoted view of the importance of attending a Parochial ministry, and as too much disregarding a faithful ministry among Dissenting brethren.
He can truly say, that he is not insensible of existing evils in the ministry of the Church to which he belongs; nor of the great danger of hearing doctrines from the pulpit not agreeable to the word of God; nor of the piety, and devotedness, and labours of love, of very many ministers and private
Christians in other Denominations, whom he rejoices here to regard and to love as brethren, and with whom he hopes hereafter to spend a blessed eternity, magnifying in one song of praise the one Redeemer of all. He can fervently unite in the prayer of his own Liturgy, to that one Saviour, "that all they that do confess thy holy name, may agree in unity and godly love;" he longs for the day when Christians, of all names, that love Christ shall be ONE, in the full meaning of the Saviour's prayer; however near the connection might be in other respects, he would ever feel it his duty to impugn and condemn a worldly, proud, self-exalting, covetous, sensual spirit. External things have been too much magnified, and lesser differences too eagerly pressed; and we have not followed the Apostolical rule, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. He can therefore truly rejoice, that through the labours of those who differ from him in Church Government, divine truth is much more widely diffused through our Country than it otherwise would be, and extensive spiritual good has thus been effected.
Let it ever be recollected, that after all that all faithful Ministers of every denomination do, the world, the flesh, and the Devil, have in every place many more devoted and constant followers than the best Ministers; and the number that altogether refuse to hear, vastly exceeds those who attend all Christian Teachers put together.
Yet fully admitting what he has admitted, there are other principles of which, though they may be in some views subordinate, he still feels the importance. Let it only be borne in mind that he is decidedly and conscientiously attached to the
Established Church in which he ministers, and fully persuaded that much may be done, without leaving her pale, to alleviate or remedy existing evils; and that, looking at the history of the Church on the large scale, he is convinced that much good often follows patient waiting, and prayer, and forbearance, and much evil ensues from rash separation and multiplied divisions; and he thinks that even his Dissenting brethren will not condemn him for want of charity.
It should also be noticed, that he exclusively addressed Churchmen, on points connected with their own Church; and he apprehends that the general strain of his sentiments might with equal propriety be applied to members of any Commu-' nion, and be addressed by Ministers of every denomination to the people who attend upon them. Though truth is never to be sacrificed, yet the spirit of unity and love, and especially among members of the same body of Christians, is of immense
In giving therefore the directions to which objections have been made, he felt that there were dangers besides those of neglecting the truth, to which Christians are exposed. All ministers, who have had much religious experience, of whatever communion they may be, will, he thinks, agree that the spirit of wandering is truly injurious; that the indulgence of a fastidious, hypercritical, judging, self-conceited, and separating spirit, is very prejudicial; that hearers sometimes mistake from ignorance, and sometimes object from prejudice; and far too little pray for their minister; it is to these things that he specially directed their attention. He has, in this edition, more strongly stated the scriptural duty of hearing the truth, but he does not
feel that, on the points above alluded to, he has misstated the duties of hearers. He did not feel called upon to enter more fully into topics, to do justice to which would require another volume, and the various bearings of which call for a large spirit of Christian wisdom and charity, both in the author and the reader.
May the God of all grace, more and more remove from all Christian Communions whatever may be unscriptural: may he make all the ministers of his word faithful Stewards of his mysteries: may he multiply the numbers of those who shall hear them, in our own Country, and through the world and may he give to every hearer a teachable, believing, and loving heart!
July 14, 1826.