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FOR RESIGNING THE
RECTORY OF PANTON
VICARAGE OF SWINDERBY,
AND QUITTING THI
CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
TOR QUITTING THE
CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
A Public departure from my ministry m the established church, and withdrawing myself from all attendance on its worship, should seem not only to excuse, but to demand, a declaration of the reasons which have induced me to it, and made such a conduct necessary.
Several years have passed since a petition was offered to the consideration of parliament, praying for relief in the matter of subscription to articles of religious faith and doctrine. That petition had my entire concurrence. It maintained the only principle upon which any protestant church, or society of christians,, can desend itself against the arguments urged in behalf of popery; and pleaded strongly, in my opinion, for the removal of all those human inventions and additions to the gospel of Jesus, which create the too general disbelief and rejection of it. The prayer of the petition, however, did not necessarily involve in it the truth or falsehood of any particular doctrines; neither did it ask the substitution of others, either in whole or in part, in the
A z. place place of the present system. Nevertheless, I presume, there were very sew, if any, in the number of the petitioners, who did not look forward to a review and amendment of the established forms of public worship.
The ground which the petitioners had chosen was that impregnable rock, the susficiency of the scriptures, to the purposes of edification and salvation, for all christian ministers, as well as others; and thence they grounded their plea, that no church, or society of christians, had a right to require assent to human formularies of religious faith and doctrine, as the terms of communion, or admission to the ministry, or otherwise.
The examination into the right of protestant churches, in thus arrogating and exercising the claim of imposing explanatory articles of religious faith, in addition to the scriptures, necessarily brought on a more strict enquiry into the agreement, or nonagreement, of the particular doctrines contained in the formularies of the church of England, with the word of God. The consequence of this further examination was productive of the clearest demonstration to many serious and liberal persons, that not a sew of the doctrines of the established church were in no sort of agreement with the christian scriptures, whence they are presumed to be derived.
As far as this inquiry went to satisfy my understanding concerning these questions, I am free to
own, that I was convinced that many doctrines received as true by the church of England, in her articles and liturgy,, were not only in no agreement, but in direct contradiction to what appeared to me to be the word of God.
In this situation, I did not hesitate to determine never to accept any further preserment in the established church; because I could not conscientiously,, and without equivocation, declare my assent and consent to the thirty-nine articles and liturgy,, as by law is required. And this determination I have steadily adhered to more than once, when offers were mada me of preserments, in all other respects desirable and advantageous to my secular interests. For some years I did not apprehend that my convictions would carry me any further. In this supposition, however, I have been mistaken. And the same principle and reasons which have heretofore made me decline to repeat my subscription, have forced me to make a resignation of my benesices, and of all the ad van* tages I had acquired upon such terms.
The public service of the liturgy,, or book of Common-Prayer, holds out for its objects of religious worship three distinct Beings, there styled, Godths father, God the fin, God the holy ghost :*. one God in trinity, and trinity in unity :f not one only person, but three perfons.% ..»
A 3 These,
f Athanasian creed.