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Balguy's Charge and my Lectures, there is not any. real one.

If one could have his remarks upon what I say here, I doubt not but they would be very improving

15. I will conclude this Chapter with a few practical inferences from what has been laid down in it: they may be useful, both as practical directions, and as proofs of the justness of our reasoning:

1. Any Church may reasonably admit some unintelligible propositions into its forms; that some are found there, is no proof that such church is erroneous.

2. It is most immediately to our present purpose, to observe, that though, in assenting, unintelligible propositions are wont to give us the most care and uneasiness, they ought to give us the least.

3. In settling principles of action in our minds, we ought to be very cautious, lest we take for granted, that we understand what in reality we do not. We should be aware, that most propositions relating to religion, if we include all particulars in them which can be included, contain something, which is above our comprehension.

4. Lastly. When we are obliged to engage in controversy, we should never indulge any malevolence, or any intemperate zeal, particularly about mysterious doctrines. We are most apt to fall into disputes about those subjects, which we understand the least. We do not know enough of the mysterious doctrines of religion, to quarrel about them. Were we to see two children fighting about their creeds, we should think them too ignorant to be champions of orthodoxy; but they seem almost as well qualified to be so, as we are to contend, with violence, about the eternal generation of Christ, when opposed to his creation before all worlds.

It • See Arius's Letter in Epiphan. Her. 69. (7. and S.) See also Pearson on the Creed.

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It may be said, though both these doctrines are mysterious, yet one may be nearer to the truth than the other:- If you are at the top of a steeple and I at the bottom, it is never worth our while to quarrel about which is nearer to the Sun.

The truth is, that, in the eyes of superior Beings, we are none of us right; and that a superior being would have difficulty in pronouncing which of us is nearest to being right; I mean, in mysterious doctrines : in ceremonies, and other things of an arbitrary nature, (the other thing we quarrel about) we are all right; so long as we do not dispute.-İ should wish to mention here the story of three Ladies, who were reading about Cupid and Psyche: one called Psyche, Fisk (Physch); the second reprimanded her, and called it Fish (Physch); the third snatched the Book, and insisted on the word's being called Skew (Pschew): the dispute ran high; at last, an agreement was made to refer it to a gentleman of the University, (for in the midst of an University the dispute is said to have happened :) the Academic arrived: which is right? why I cannot say any one is right :—which is nearest right? that is a point too difficult to be determined. Now, suppose each of these Ladies to have a number of followers in her pronunciation, and we have three sects; what might be the event of a violent controversy between such sects, it is impossible distinctly to foresee: they might want Dr. Balguy's advice, “ least of all to censure and persecute our brethren, perhaps for no better reason, than because their nonsense and ours wears a different dress."

Finally, if it should ever be our fate to be engaged in controversy on incomprehensible doctrines, let read, mark, learn,” that beautiful passage of



a P. 192.

Augustin, about his own controversy with the Manicheans.—“ Illud, quovis judice, impetrare me à vobis oportet, ut in utrâque parte omnis arrogantia deponatur. Nemo nostrûm dicat se jam invenisse veritatem. Sic eam quæramus quasi ab utrisque nesciatur. Ita enim diligenter et concorditer quæri poterit, si nullâ temerariâ præsumtione inventa et cognita esse credatur.”

Thus may we speak the truth in Love, search for it as friends and brethren, and, at length, come to hold it in the unity of Spirit and bond of peace.

See the end of Lardner's Account of the Manicheans, from Aug. Contra Ep. Fund. Cap. 2. n. 2, 3, 4.

c Eph. iv. 15.




1. We have been treating of using and assenting to Forms: and we have been examining into those Liberties, which arise from changes in the meaning and force of such forms; either by tacit improvements in the Religion, to which they belong; or by the decay or extinction of the Heresies, which they are adapted to correct.-We have also considered other Liberties, which arise from the imperfection and indistinctness of our conceptions. These liberties may all together seem to be numerous; but yet, in practice, more may be wanted:-- after they have been all used, there may be some things in the religious society, to which we belong, that we cannot approve; something that we wish to have changed. —Even a considerable number of the members may wish for change; or the governing part may be satisfied, and lower orders dissatisfied; in such dissatisfaction, what is to be done?—the most obvious thing to suggest is, chuse another church; but, it does not follow, as a matter of course, that a person, who desires to have some things changed, must necessarily quit his religious society ;-and, if he does not quit it, he must continue under obligation to do every thing as a regular member; amongst other things, he must assent to use Forms, when that is required of him by Authority; either as a private man, or a Minister.

Whether he must quit his society or not, must depend on this principle ; he must chuse the least


evil: of which principle, more hereafter; now we only say, if, on the whole, it is the least evil for him to quit, he must do so; if, to continue, he must continue, whatever difficulties he may have about assenting in form to Doctrine, which does not coincide with his private opinion: I say assenting in form, because, when he has his choice of words, he must declare his private opinion plainly, and say what his real meaning is, in using expressions inconsistent with his private opinion; namely, to comply with rules of a Society, of which he thinks it his duty to continue a member:-he must declare, that he speaks as he would act in any office, without interposing his private judgment: as an Herald would perform ceremonies, which he thought had better be altered or omitted, or would proclaim unmeaning titles of a King:

2. But, how are evils to be calculated, so that he may know, whether his retiring or his continuing will be attended with greater? I apprehend this should be done by the principles already laid down in the present Book; and by considerations of public and private utility; to mankind in general, and to religious society in particular. -Schism is the term commonly made use of to express needless division of the whole Society of Christians, or needless separation from any Church“: and the evil of it is extensive; it consists in interrupting uniformity, making Christians consider each other as enemies, or rivals; unhinging men’s principles, lessening the number of those, who assist each others religious sentiments by sympathy; taking attention from practice to speculation. To these should be added, harm to civil government, and detriment done to the principles of the individual himself, who separates.

3. However Just mentioned Chap, iv. Sect. 4.- Vi øj ev vpîv oxiquata. 1 Cor. i, 10,

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