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Such a plea would equally excuse a concurrence in the worship of the church of Rome, from the liturgies* of which, these excellent things are borrowed. Besides, no mixture of truth can alter the nature of the errors blended with it; nor any ardour and elevation of spirit in some parts preserve us innocent in the use of those services, the leading sentiments of which are sinful. As to the candour and charity you wish to show, permit me to observe, that we ought to be greatly upon our guard, that we do not impofe upon ourselves, by imagining that we possess and exercise a virtue, of which we have only the appearance. There is scarcely any thing more injurious to our religious character and conduct, than this self-deception. I sear it is too often the case, that those who persuade themselves that they are actuated by candour in attending statedly, or occasionally, D 3 upon
* Even in the darkest times of popery, there was a variety of forms in different sees. That uniformity was not then known, which is now so rigidly insisted upon. The ail oj uniformity of service, which passed in the reign of Edward VI. in the year 1549, begins thus: " Whereas of long time there hath been had, in this realm of England, and in Wales, diverse forms of common prayer, commonly called the service of the church, that is to fay, the use of Sarum, of York, of Bangor, and of Lincoln: and besides the fame, now of late, much more diverse and sundry forms and fashions have been used in the cathedral and parish churches of England and Wales," &c.
upon the worship of the establishedchurch, never think of shewing their candour by joining in the religious services of some little, mean, and despised sect, and would really be ashamed to be seen in their poor and obscure conventicles. But, in truth, such persons totally mistake the nature and proper exercise of candour. Candour does not consist in the sacrifice of principle, in the countenancing and supporting of error, but in meekly bearing with the sentiments of other people, in loving the men, though we reject their opinions, and in entertaining just views of their character and future condition. You show no true candour and charity, then, in adopting the idolatrous worship of the church of England, or of any other church. When you publicly and uniformly show your detestation of that worship, you will afford yourselves an opportunity of testifying your charity towards those who conscientiously perform it. But you will, perhaps, state, as a
Third Objection, That you have some office, or employment, in the church, in the discharge of which you benefit the community.
But do you really think that the service, which you render to your neighbourhood, is by any means equivalent to the injury you do to your own mind and to the cause of pure christianity? Will it by any means make up for your countenancing falsehood and idolatry, for your upholding the most glaring corruptions of the gospel, and bringing a discredit upon
the christian religion? Do you really imagine that God stands in any need of your insincerity, wickedness and ruin, in order to accomplish his designs? To do evil that good may come, is an evil which Paul disclaims with abhorrence; and James says, that if a man offend, that is knowingly, wilsully and habitually offend, in one point, he is guilty of all.
No longer, then, support the grossest corruptions of christianity, no longer disguise the character and persections of the almighty, no longer afford an occasion for the unbelief of the jew, or for the ridicule of the gentile. Prosess the genuine gospel of Jesus; separate yourselves from an idolatrous church; protest against her errors; awaken the attention of men; excite them to inquiry; teach them to shake off that slavish reverence for public forms, and an established religion, which screens jargon, absurdity, and mysticism from a free examination. I address you as christians: I address you as persons who have learned to look not entirely at the things which are
seen and temporal, but at things which are unseen and eternal; as persons who think it their duty to give some attention to the concerns of religion, as well as to the concerns of business. If you be disposed to obey God rather than men; if you have that holy dread of idolatry, which animated the primitive believers; if you be friends to that simplicity and godly
sincerity, in which the apostle gloried; if you have any love for the truth; any reverence for the gospel, any
regard to the salvation of mankind; I am persuaded you will seel yourselves disposed to pay some attention to the thoughts which have now been submitted to your consideration. But there are always disficulties to be encountered in treading the path of duty, and especially that part of it, to which we have hitherto been strangers. Happy the man who is not discouraged by them from proceeding! Happy the man who has resolution and steadiness enough to encounter all, and to "press forward to the mark of "the prize of his high calling of God in Christ "Jesus!" Some discouraging thoughts are now, perhaps, presenting themselves to your minds, my friends. Be upon your guard, I pray you, that they have not more influence upon you than they deserve. Consider that if you be unitarians in principle, every suggestion which pleads in favour of your conformity to trinitarian worship, pleads in opposition to your duty and your eternal interest. One difficulty, and which, indeed, may be considered as an unanswerable objection to the conduct here recommended, is that
(fourth Objection.) There is no place of worship near you, in which God the Father only is worshipped.
It is a most melancholy thought that this should be the case with any of you. But, alas! it must be acknowledged, that where there are even dissenting societies, there are frequently no Unitarian ones, many diilenters being as firm trinitarians as any church-of
England England man, and conducting their religious services in a manner equally repugnant to the seelings and principles of a conscientious worshipper of the one, only living, and true God. But when there is a dissenting society of unitarians, you ought, undoubtedly, to join them in preserence to the church of England: for though you like a liturgy better than an extempore prayer; yet a matter of this kind ought never to be considered of so much importance as to make you sacrifice sincerity, truth, and the gospel cause. But if there be in your neighbourhood no unitarian place of worship of any kind, there is so much the greater call for your exertions. A clear, explicit, open, and decisive conduct is absolutely necessary, if you would serve the cause of God and of truth. If you would be the only man in your neighbourhood whose eyes almighty God has opened to the truth; still be persuaded to "flee from idolatry." If you make a point of conscience to devote the Sunday, or any other part of the week, to religious purposes, yourconduct will soon be noticed, some persons will be led to inquire, and it cannot be long before you will meet with some, ready to join you in social worship upon a scriptural plan. A cause so good, must gain advocates, when it is properly understood. Nothing is wanting but attention and inquiry, and the truth will flourish. Let the steadiness of your conduct, added to the persection of your character, excite that attention. As soon as you meet with any ready to join