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TO At r.
TO REFRAIN FROM
We preach unto you, that ye should turn unto the Living Gon, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all things that are therein. Acts xiv. Ij.
In the following address, great use is made of a trail entitled, "A free and serious address to the christian, laity, especially thofe, who, being of Unitarian sentiments, conform to trinitarian worship," which is ascribed to Mr. Toulmin, of Taunton. The words of other authors, as quoted by that writer, are also in some places adopted, without any reference being made to them.
[ Re-printed froni the second edition, 1789. J
The writer of the following address is unwilling to let a second edition of it appear, without attempting to point out the inconsistency of those who have expressed their approbation of the sentiments it contains, whilst they continue to join in trinitarian worship. It was not drawn up so much with the view of exposing the errors of the book of Gommon-prayer, as of prevailing upon you, who are sensible of those errors, to discontinue the use of devotional forms, which you look upon as inconsistent with the scriptures. Be intreated, brethren, caresully and seriously to review the considerations which are laid before you in this little tract. Carry in your minds, whilst you are reading it, that you are the persons principally addressed. Apply every argument—for religion is a personal concern—apply every argument to yourselves. Examine them caresully, and inquire if you can be justified in treating them with neglect. Do not trifle with yourselves. Beware of admitting any vain plea, as a sufficient apology for your acting inconA z sistently sistently with your convictions. Will you fay that
you are advanced in lise—that your habits are fixed
that it is too late for you to think of forsaking the ways to which you have been accustomed from your infancy? And do you really think that such an excuse will be admitted by the great searcher of hearts? An excuse for what? For acting as an hypocrite* and for supporting those gross corruptions of the gospel which rob it of its beautiful simplicity, and prove an insurmountable stumbling-biock in the way of unbelievers of every denomination. If such an- apology will acquit you, it will acquit the greatest sinner upon earth; for such an one can plead that his habits are of too long a standing for him to root them up. The fact, however, is, that this consideration, instead of excusing him, will serve to aggravate his guilt and increase his punishment. Trifle, therefore, no longer —no longer consess the truth in words, whilst iri actions you deny it: assert the fairness and simplicity of your characters. Let the promise of our lord to those disciples who should act a consistent part, animate you to surmount the difficulties which lie in your way. "He that sindeth his lise shall lose it, and he that loseth his lise for my fake shall sind it." Matt. x. 39. In the present happy times, the sriends of the truth have not those dreadful hardships to encounter, which in former days sell to the portion of those who stood forth in opposition to pre\ ailing errors. But still, if you act agreeably to your convictions, you
must expect to meet with some reproach and opposition. "In the world we must have tribulation: but let us be of good cheer: our lord hath overcome the World." Let his example encourage us. Let us be neither terrified from bearing an unwavering testimony to the truth, nor irritated against those who may condemn us. Ere long they may become our firmest friends. And if it be otherwise, let us not render evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing—in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves. This is by no means inconsistent with the most determined zeal for the truth- Let us always remember that it is not the men, but their errors, that we are to Oppose. Of the men, let us endeavour to think as charitably as possible. Let us avoid putting the most unfavourable construction even upon their heat and violence. Let us not be ever ready to impute that behaviour to mere malice, which may really spring from a sincere attachment to what they believe to be the truth. One should hope that the violence of persecutors may sometimes be ascribed to the mistakes of the head, and not to the depravity of the heart. I trust that some of those who would draw the sword against us on earth, will rejoice to meet us in heaven.
But whilst you exercise the greatest candour towards those who differ from you, permit me to recommend it to you to take every opportunity of attempting to correct their errors, and to give them julter A 3 notions