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OF THE PRESENT STATE
ARGU M E N T
CHURCH OF ENGLAND
SHORT VIEW, &c.
THE excellent Hooker, in the Preface to his Ecclesiastical Polity, gives us a curious and clear account of the zeal and artifice with which the first Puritans maintained and recommended their schism against the Church of England. But every member of this Church should see, within as short a compass as may be, how the same cause (allowing for the difference of times and fashions) is maintained now.
A worthy Divine distinguished himself some thirty years ago, in Three Letters to a Gentleman dissenting from the Church of England; which Letters were much attended to at the time, and
procured the author the notice and encouragement of Archbishop Secker. He afterwards reduced the substance of them into a small manual, addressed to a dissenting parishioner, with the pious desire of guiding him to the Church of England: and an excellent little piece it is. But as the zeal of our Dissenters permits nothing of this kind to pass, without the appearance of an answer, it is probable they set one of their best hands upon the work of writing a short reply to it; that the dissenting parishioner might not be guided to the Church of England. This reply, which was printed at Birmingham, (that modern mint of base money, and false doctrine) I have, with some difficulty, procured; and I shall produce, in their order, such arguments as I have found in it; from which it will be seen, how the Dissenters of the present age defend their separation.
1. They make very light of the sin of schism, as a thing which has nothing frightful to wise people; although it be dressed up by us in a frightful form, to terrify the ignorant, and such as are children in understanding.
Such is schism, when it is committed against us; but when it comes home to themselves, they have entertained a very different opinion of it, and have carried the principle of unity as high