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and yet this circumstance was no obstruction to the forming of a christian church in any place? We read of churches in private houses.
Assemble together, therefore, in the name and in the sear of God, and according, to- the order of the gospel,, every Lord's-day, if there be no more than two or three, or even a single family of you in a place; read the scriptures, and pray together. Also read sermons, or other works of moral instruction, of which there is, happily, no want at this day. Baptize, arid administer the lord's supper among yourselves; and as you grow more numerous, form yourselves upon some regular plan of church-discipline, that it may be the means of uniting and keeping you together; and rigorously exclude all persons whose conduct would be a reproach to you.
As to a learned-ministry., it is-acknowledged to ba desirable, where it can be had, but it is by no mean3 necessary. The gravest and most respectable persons among you, and those who have the most leisure, will, in the character of elders, select and read proper prayers and discourses, and perform all the offices of christian societies, just as well as the elders in the primitive churches, who had no such. helps as you now have; and miraculous powers were not of long continuance with them.
If you be at present members of the established church, you will sind a reformed liturgy ready piepared for your use by Mr. Lindsey. But is you
should preser the mode of worship among the dissenters (but men of sense will not make much account of such distinctions) you may in many authors, especially at the end of Mr. Holland's sermons, find forms of such prayers as you have been used to: or you may apply to dissenting ministers of your acquaintance, who will chearsully give you any assistance in their power.
AH these are trifling obstacles to a great design. It requires indeed a proper degree of christian zeal; but the object is worthy of it. The example has been already set in Scotland, where it was least of all to be expected; and the success has been such as should abundantly encourage similar attempts in this country.
The baptists and methodists,-not laying much stress upon a learned ministry, flourish greatly; the independents are now taking the same methods, arid with the same success; while the rational dissenters, sancying they would be disgraced by the want of a learned ministry, are dwindling away almost every where.
Whatever inconvenience may arise from mere novelty, it is soon over; and as the methodists are collecting into bodies in all places, a thing of this kind will excite much less surprize. But what impression ought the censure of the world to make upon those who, as christians, prosess to be above the world, and to rejoice that they arc counted worthy to suffer shame in the cause of Christ, and to think themselves happy if they be reproached en that account. count. You should imagine that you hear that awful voice from heaven, recorded in the book of Revelation, ch. xviii. 24. Come out of her, (i.e. mystical Babylon, the great scource of all the corruptions of christianity) my people, that ye be not partakers of her fins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
Be careful, however, to do this in the spirit of christian charity, which should be extended to all men, but especially to all that bear the christian name. Consider them as men who are in an error, which is always involuntary. Endeavour to remove the prejudices they unhappily lie under, but forbear all angry reproaches, all insult, and even ridicule; for religion is a serious thing, and brotherly love is the very essence of it. And if this love is to be extended even to enemies, much more should it be indulged towards our merely mistaken friends.
The author of this address intirely approves of Mr. Lindfeys Liturgy, or that which was used at the Octagon Chapel in Liverpool; and he would recommend responses, especially to societies formed in this manner, in which it is particularly desirable, that the members, being nearly on a level, should each bear his part in the service. But lest some, from the force of habit, should not be able to reconcile themselves to the use of a liturgy, and object to the scheme on that account, he has drawn up, and published a set of Forms for all the occasions of Unitarian societies.
THE TRIUMPH OF TRUTH;
BEING AN ACCOUNT OF
THE TRIAL OF MR. ELWALL,
HERESY AND BLASPHEMY,
AT STAFFORD ASSIZES,