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“What charter hath Christ given the church to bind men up to, more than himself hath done? or to exclude those from her society who may be admitted into heaven? Will Christ ever thank men at the great day for keeping such out from communion with his church, whom he will vouchsafe not only crowns of glory to, but it may be aureolæ too, if there be any such things there? The grand commission the apostles were sent out with, was only to teach what Christ had commanded them. Not the least intimation of any power given them to impose or require any thing beyond what himself had spoken to them, or they were directed to by the immediate guidance of the Spirit of God.”
The love of controversy was in no degree the motive for writing the following sheets. Controversy the writer considers as an evil, though often a necessary one. It is to be deprecated when it is directed to minute or frivolous objects, or when it is managed in such a manner as to call forth malevolent passions. He hopes the ensuing treatise will be found free from both these objections, and that as the subject must be allowed to be of some importance, so the spirit in which it is handled, is not chargeable with any material departure from the christian temper. If the author has expressed himself on some occasions with considerable confidence, he trusts the reader will impute it, not to a forgetfulness of his personal deficiencies, but to the cause he has undertaken to support. The divided state of the christian world has long been the subject of painful reflection; and if his feeble efforts might be the means of uniting a small portion only of it in closer ties, he will feel himself amply rewarded.
The practice of incorporating private opinions and human inventions with the constitution of a