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gently observed with respect to oaths; and he, that takes an oath according to these rules, may be confident he doth not sin, but doth that which is lawful and right in the eyes of God."-Bp. Beveridge.
I HAVE thus endeavoured to explain the meaning of "the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion," and to prove that they are founded in Scripture, and conformable to the opinions of the early Christians. All persons, when they enter into holy orders, or are admitted to any ecclesiastical cure or benefice, are required by law to subscribe these articles, with a design that those who are employed in the ministry of our established church, whether as curates or incumbents, should unfeignedly believe the truth of the doctrines which they contain. "The avoiding of diversities of opinion, and the establishing of consent touching true religion," was the professed object of these articles; and consequently they lose their effect, if they do not produce a general agreement among such as subscribe them. "I do willingly and ex animo subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England," is the indispensable form of subscription; and therefore it behoves every one,
before he offers himself a candidate for holy orders, to peruse carefully the articles of our church, and to compare them with the written Word of God. If, upon mature examination, he believes them to be authorized by Scripture, he may conscientiously subscribe them; but if, on the contrary, he thinks that he sees reason to dissent from any of the doctrines asserted in them, no hope of emolument or honour, no dread of inconvenience or disappointment, should induce him to express his solemn assent to propositions, which in fact he does not believe. It is not indeed necessary that he should approve every word or expression, but he ought to believe all the fundamental doctrines, of the articles; all those tenets in which our church differs from other churches, or from other sects of Christians. He ought to feel that he can from his own conviction maintain the purity of our established religion, and sincerely and zealously enforce those points of faith and practice, which our church declares to be the revealed will of God. This appears to me the only just ground of conscientious subscription to the articles; and let it be ever remembered, that in a business of this serious and important nature, no species whatever of evasion, subterfuge, or reserve, is to be allowed, or can be practised, without imminent danger
of incurring the wrath of God. The articles are to be subscribed in their plain and obvious sense, and assent is to be given to them simply and unequivocally. Thus only can a person offer himself at the table of the Lord as his minister with safety; thus only can he expect to receive the divine blessing upon that course of life to which he then solemnly devotes himself.
Lately Published, by the same Author.
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF THE BIBLE: Being the Eighth Edition of the First Volume of The ELEMENTS OF CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY. 12mo. Price 6s. in boards.
A SERMON, preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, before His MAJESTY and both Houses of Parliament, on Tuesday December 19, 1797, being the Day appointed for a General Thanksgiving. 2nd Edit. Price 1 s.
A CHARGE, delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Lincoln, at the Triennial Visitation of that Diocese, in May and June 1794. Price 1s. 6d.
A CHARGE, delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese, of Lincoln, at the Triennial Visitation of that Diocese, in June and July 1800. 2nd Edit. Price 1s.
A REFUTATION of CALVINISM; in which the Doctrines of Original Sin, Grace, Regeneration, Justification, and Universal Redemption, are explained, and the peculiar Tenets maintained by Calvin upon those points are proved to be contrary to Scripture, to the writings of the antient Fathers of the Christian Church, and to the Public Formularies of the Church of England. 7th Edit. Price 12s. in boards.