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availed themselves of their countenance and assistance, with Charles, the fifth, Henry the eighth, or even our illustrious queen Elizabeth, we should consider what was scriptural, and what not, in their several measures : we ought to distinguish between the precious and the vile ; and, while we unite in condemning all compulsory and persecuting proceedings in matters of conscience, we should be careful not to condemn what God approved and commended in Hezekiah and Josiah.
Finally, if the reasoning in this Treatise be conclusive, it shews that the exercise of authority (with this and a few other exceptions,) in the pious princes who favoured the Reformation was as much their duty, and the improvement of their talent, under the Christian dispensation, as that of the pious kings of Judah was in their days; and called on the friends of true religion, to thank God for putting such things into the hearts of their princes. And we also are called on to pray, that God would speedily, by putting such things into the heart of all kings and princes, render them, according to his sure word of prophecy,
NURSING FATHERS TO HIS CHURCH.”
If, indeed, all concerned could be induced to agree, that authority, as well as wealth, might be improved as a talent in promoting the cause of God; and that princes and senates, individually and collectively, have duties in this respect as well as other men ; and if all would employ their attention in carefully distinguishing between the scrip
* That is, with the exception of all cumpulsory and persecuting proceedings.'-J. S.
tural exercise of this authority, and that which is contrary to scripture : if, in respect of existing establishments, those who dissent from them would candidly acknowledge what is right and good in them, and point out calmly, yet firmly, and with scriptural proof, not with general declamation, what they disapprove; and if, on the other hand, the zealous friends of establishments would not attempt to vindicate what cannot admit of scriptural vindication, and only plead with firmness and temper for what can be thus supported; the case would then become more hopeful. But, so long as, on one side, every thing is indiscriminately reprobated, and, on the other, indiscriminately justified, or even extolled, there can be no hope of improvement or of peace; and nations professing “the gospel of peace” must continue to resemble, not " a city that is at unity with “ itself,” but “a kingdom or house divided against “ itself.”—May “the God of peace" increase the number and active zeal of those who “ endeavour “ to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of
Aston Sandford, March 28, 1817.
END OF THE NINTH VOLUME.