Unity in Action: An Address Delivered before the Church of England Clerical and Lay Association, on Tuesday, June 8, 1858.
By Archibald Boyd.
London: Seeley, Jackson and Halliday, 1858.
The following pages contain the Report of an Address delivered at the first Conference of the Church of England Clerical and Lay Association for the Maintenance of Evangelical Principles, and committed to print at the unanimous desire of its Members.
THERE can be no question that a condition of Unity is one of those blessings which the Church most requires, and on which much of her strength and efficiency is dependent. It is that which gladdened the heart of the Psalmist King when he composed the well-known hymn, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" It is that which our Lord has made so prominent a feature of His sacerdotal prayer—”That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me." It is that which is announced as one of the undoubted results of the outpouring of the Spirit’s influences—”He is the God that maketh men to be of one mind in an house;" and that which shall form one of the most striking characteristics of the next dispensation—"There shall be nothing to hurt or to destroy in all my holy mountain."
And yet, desirable in many respects as this condition of Unity is, it may well admit of a question, whether it be practicable so long as the Church is in a state of militancy, and composed of the mixed and [3/4] imperfectly sanctified materials which we designate her members? The history of the past, whether we apply that term to the very earliest Christian times, to those ages which stand most connected with the establishment and extension of the Church, or those later periods, which mark the movements of free thought, and of submissive, if not enslaved, judgment, would seem to declare the opposite. It reveals the efforts made to unite Christians with each other, to "make them of one mind in the Lord;" and it reveals also the failure of the attempt. The churches of the apostolic age were, confessedly, not in harmony with each other; nor were some of those churches at unity among themselves. The injunction of the great Apostle, to whom "the care of all the churches "seems to have been, in an especial manner, committed, "to walk by the same rule, to mind the same things," to "endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace," clearly intimates that that condition was not to be obtained without effort and self-denial, and was always liable, if obtained, to be disconcerted and disturbed. The state of the Galatian churches was one of opposition to all those other apostolic brotherhoods which were regulated by the decrees of Antioch; while the Church at Corinth exhibited the unmistakable features of "a house divided against itself,"—rent, not only into different opinions, but into those more obvious and formal schisms which assumed the form of discordant and rival parties. And the prophecies bearing on times far distant, which meet us in the epistles of the New Testament, leave us but slight ground for expecting, that as Christianity grows older it will become necessarily wiser and holier; for the picture of "latter days" sketched by inspired pens, rather reveals the storms and clouds of [4/5] conflicting opinions, than sunset landscapes of serenity and peace.
And if we carry our thoughts outside of the age of the Apostles, the feeling of the impracticability of unity on a large platform rather increases than lessens. The numerous heresies which sprung up—some on points of fundamental importance, and some on subtile topics of doubtful disputation—the earnestness by which they were maintained, the multitudes who espoused them, the indignation and vehemence with which they were condemned, and the social separations to which they led—all declare how soon the dream had melted away, which led the simple-hearted men of the very early times to expect that the Christian "Jerusalem was to be built as a city, that is at unity in itself." Nothing could be more attractive than the theory, that truth, once announced, would never be questioned; that men, once made to drink into the same spirit, would never be at variance. But never was there an expectation in which hope was more signally disappointed. Mental freedom, strong convictions, and perhaps carnal passions, trampled on theories, which could not he realised but at the cost of the suppression of independent thought, or a cold and careless indifference to the interests of truth.
And, in truth, it is impossible for us to ponder on the history and necessity for those Symbols of the faith which the early ages produced, without confessing that unity—affecting to control the whole body of Christians—was gone, and human opinions likely to stray into paths more or less divergent from the great centre. Had men continued "of one mind," even with respect to broad and fundamental doctrines, we should not have seen the simpler creed of the Apostles amended and expanded into the more [5/6] theological dogmata of Nice; nor again, the symbol of the first General Council calling for the supplemental and explanatory definitions of that of Athanasius. If these creeds are to be regarded as fuller explanations of Catholic doctrine, and bulwarks raised by the fears of the Church against the incursions of heresy, they stand up in the line of the Church’s progress, not simply as monumental columns recording the true faith, but, like those friendly erections which declare the vicinity of a concealed ravine or dangerous precipice, as solemn protests against perilous and multiform error. And if so, they are evidences to that state of discord in which the orthodox and the heretical, the names of Arius and Athanasius, Cyril and Nestorius, Leo and Eutyches, appear as representatives of the strength or weakness of contending parties. Whether then, we look to the state of Christianity in apostolic days, to the judgment of councils condemnatory of heresy, to the decision of creeds not only maintaining truth but sternly denouncing error, and recollect that all these disagreements implied controversy and formal schism, we are brought to the same conviction, that unity, embracing large masses of thoughtful, earnest, or fanciful men, is a state rather to be longingly wished for than reasonably to be expected.
The condition of the Roman Church has been pointed to as declarative of an opposite judgment. We are told, that so gently persuasive is her spirit, so effective her discipline, and so complete the confidence which her children repose in her wisdom, —that in her the aspirations of the earnest of past times have been fulfilled. In her bosom is to be found peace, and in her system, that unity which is to be found nowhere else. But it surely may admit of a serious doubt, whether the unity she has [6/7] attained to (such as it is) is that which Apostles commended and the Saviour prayed for. It is attained by assumptions for which there is no foundation, and by the confiscation of rights for which there is no authority. The claims of infallibility in matters of faith on one hand, and the prohibition of the exercise of private judgment on the other, form the real basis of such unity as Rome possesses—the one disallowed by her own acts and self-contradictions; the other, by all those clear passages of inspiration which, recognizing in men the gift of reason, and binding on man the correlative condition of responsibility, require him "to prove all things, and to hold fast that which is good." An unity built on such assumptions as these, is not the unity which Christ desires. It is not the result of the operation of grace and truth on man’s wilful nature and man’s erring mind, which graciously and holily binds Christians together, but the cold cohesion of the petrified or frozen mass, in which substances the most incongruous are bound (despite of themselves) together by a force which changes their nature and destroys vitality, and which is doomed, some time or other, to relax its icy grasp, and "let the prisoners go free." Such unity is purchased by the reduction of Christian men into serfs. It is the harmony of the slave-ship, in which no man may move, or think, or speak, but according to the regulations of a despot. Nor, while speaking of unity thus obtained, let us forget that it admits of a question whether Rome, with all her boasted power of dislocating human minds, by stretching them on the rack of her unbending system, has succeeded in the unholy experiment. Unless the conflicting decisions of Councils, and the diversity of doctrine held by different Pontiffs, and the strifes of contending parties,—from [7/8] Jansenist and Jesuit to Dominican and Franciscan—and the records of the Inquisition, and the struggles of Ultramontanes with Gallicans,—unless these be inventions of history, the boasted unity of Rome is but a fiction. Angry suspicions, and disturbing surmises, and embarrassing convictions, are agitating many a section of society, where all looks peaceful on the surface. Secret distrust and alienation are preparing the way for an open rejection of an authority which has ceased to rule, and of assumptions which have ceased to be respected; and, unless symptoms significant and many are fallacious, within the States of the Church herself the volcano rages under foot, and nothing but political considerations and foreign restrictions prevent the outbreak of imprisoned feelings, and "the four winds from striving upon the great sea."
If we glance at the principles and constitution of our own Church, we shall not be slow to discern how many elements of real unity are to be found in them. She presents to her people the great features of the same government, the same services, the recognition of the supreme authority of the same Bible, and the same code of Articles or doctrines, as points on which they might think and act alike. It would be idle to expect, after a survey of the dissensions of other days, that even such common ground as these features present, could lead to a wide and thorough unanimity. And yet it is deserving our attention, how much, in the construction of our Articles, the Church has laboured to comprehend different views and opinions in the harmony of one Confession. Speaking upon undoubted and unquestionable verities, as the Trinity, the Divinity of the Three Persons, the supremacy of the Bible as a rule of faith, original sin, and the atonement, nothing [8/9] can be more distinct and intelligible than her enunciations; while, on the other hand, her views on the great points in the Calvinistic controversy are advanced with so much of caution and discretion, that a Scott and a Fletcher could, without a strain of conscience, subscribe to the same declarations. In thus acting, doubtless the aim of the Church of England was to embrace as many of the earnest, the pious, the believing, as possible within her communion; to inculcate upon her children the duty of charity and forbearance among themselves; to give to each man, within certain limits, full freedom of judgment, and to ask from him, within the same limits, respect for the convictions and conscience of his brother. And it is to that principle of candid and humble toleration that the Church can trace so much of her efficiency and power. Mind and attainments, eloquence and learning, zeal and devos tion, have been kept within her pale, and pressed into her service, which an inconsiderate dogmatism would have alienated from her. And in these days of theological strife and unhappy division will it not be well for us to remember, that there may be qualities in others with whom we cannot unite—zeal, purity, and self-denying earnestness—which are well entitled to our commendation and respect, If it be "wise to be taught by a foe," it cannot be unwise to learn from a brother, although that brother’s creed be, even on points material, at variance with our own. If it could be done consistently with that first consideration, the rights of truth, there is that in the ignorance and vice which surround us, in the state of the world and the condition of our own country, which might call upon Christ’s servants to close up their ranks and present an unbroken front against a common foe.
 But, while this respectful consideration for the convictions of others be a duty which few will question, it is of the last importance to remember that those convictions, though sincere, may, according to our views, be erroneous, and that on points not immaterial but vitally opposed to that which we understand by the Gospel. The Apostolic command is this,—”If it be possible, live peacably with all men;" and the Apostolic estimation, “Wisdom must be first pure, then peaceable." When opinions conflict with that which we regard as Gospel truth, charity and forbearance are not only possible but right, but unity is impossible. That, or rather its shadow, could only be obtained by a compromise, which regard for the truth would neither sanction nor permit. And in these days we, who profess to be evangelical, find ourselves in unsought opposition to two schools of religious opinion, which, widely separated from each other, appear each to threaten the simplicity of the faith as it is in Jesus. The one is the school of progress, the other that of return to the past. The temper of the one is a kind of irreverence for the decisions of Revelation, bordering in some instances on scepticism; that of the other is veneration for all things sacred, bordering for the most part on superstition. The one carried out to its probable results would land us in infidelity; the other, carried to its logical conclusions, has landed many of its adherents in Romanism. Each of these schools, by a different process, trenches on that system which we call Evangelical, and which we hold to be a faithful exponent of the great truths asserted by the Reformation. The Neologian school appears to be based on the principle that Reason rather than Revelation (or perhaps Reason as well as Revelation) is to be regarded as the criterion of truth. If these two [10/11] instructors harmonise, then the latter is respected, because accredited by the former. But should they be in opposition then Inspiration is suspected, because uncountena need by the conclusions of Reason. And the practical operation of these principles is this, that inspired statements, too sacred and weighty to be rejected, are so bent and accommodated to the foregone decisions of Reason, that truths from which the sceptic once recoiled become tolerable, if not acceptable. The dogma received is not Christian truth in its purity and simplicity, but truth diluted down to the level of an erring and presumptuous standard. Abroad, the school has led to dangerous interpretations of Scripture; to a weakening of the evidences of Christianity, by reducing miracles to acts accounted for on natural grounds; to a substitution of myths for historic facts; and, in a word, to discrediting everything which is not within the apprehension of Reason. At home it appears to be paving the way for Socinianism, and, although perhaps its principal exponents mean it not, to a revival of Pantheism. This school of opinions in its own way, trenches so much on those doctrines which we hold to be of the very essence of the faith, as to make union with its professors impossible. How can we coalesce with men who consider the transactions recorded in the earlier chapters of Genesis, not as creations of "visible, material things, but of that which lies below the visible material thing, and constitutes the substance which it shows forth;" who hold that "Christ is in every man," "actually one with every man," whether he be converted or unconverted; that "redemption is not in consequence of any act that men have done, or any faith they have exercised, their acts being the fruits of a state they already possess;" that "good acts [11/12] of every man are not splendid sins," notwithstanding the decision of the thirteenth Article; that the Atonement is not the result of "artificial substitution," but of "the purity and graciousness of the Son;" and that the "popular notions of the judgment are exceedingly figurative, fantastic, and inoperative," so that, for the production of terror in the mind of man, "the constabulary force is a more useful, effective, and more godly instrument." Does it express our views of the part which our crucified Lord has taken in the work of our redemption to maintain, "that it is a great thing to set Christ always before us as our example, and he who does so is not far from the kingdom of God;" that "in the union of the Christian with Christ there is enough for faith to feed on, without sullying the mirror of God’s justice, or overclouding His truth; peace and consolation enough, without raising a suspicion which secretly destroys peace?" Does it meet our belief that "Christ was wounded for our transgressions, and that He died the just for the unjust," to admit that "the giving up His Son to take upon Him their flesh and blood, to enter into their sorrows, to feel and suffer their sins (that is, "to be made sin,") the perfect sympathy of the Son with His loving will towards His creatures, His entire sympathy with them and union with them—this is God’s method of reconciliation." To all this the Unitarian could subscribe, because it all falls short of the plain, undistorted notion of a vicarious sacrifice, and mainrains not the view of the way of a sinner’s justification and sanctification affirmed by our Articles, and by the consentient voice of English and Foreign reformers. To expect union while such formidable barriers stand up between the advocates of these opinions and ourselves, would seem to be futile, and [12/13] the profession of it "rather the speaking of lies in hypocrisy," than "the truth in love." Nor, indeed, if possible on our side, would it be possible on the other. The Neologian, or new Neo-platonic school, stands as much opposed to us as we to them. "Orthodox English Churchmen and Unitarians" (observes the leader of this school in this country, in a section of an Essay which is but a bad specimen of that forbearance and universal charity which the author eulogises) "alike foretold that the consequences of holding and preaching justification by faith must be the weakening of moral obligations.". . . "A highflown pedantical morality might be cultivated by those who adhere to this tenet; plain, homespun, English honesty and good faith, would be undermined by it."
The other school or system, on whose movements we look with sorrow and apprehension, is nearly the opposite of this. If the one questions everything, the other questions nothing. It resigns itself to the acceptance of "all Catholic doctrine;" rejoices in symbolism,—reposes with childish, but not childlike trust, on sacramental efciencv,—believes in a necessary baptismal regeneration,—approaches perplexingly near to the Tridentine or Lutheran view of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist,—”makes (in the language of a modern Reviewer of Church parties) Christianity a system of magical forms and incantations, tending to the exaltation of the sacerdotal office, and calls on men to believe those doctrines on the infallible authority of the Church." It is true that the adherents of this system demand to be considered and called Evangelical, even as ourselves. And if that term means, the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, and a Redeemer giving Himself for man’s salvation, it were unjust to deny it to [13/14] them. But there are errors of excess and addition, as well as errors of denial and reduction,—errors such as those into which the Churches of Galatia fell, when they superadded to the preaching of "Christ, and Him crucified," certain ceremonies and rites, which, if they did not remove trust from the Redeemer, shared that trust with others. And that the keen-sighted Apostle pronounced to be "another gospel." That, he declared, would go far to neutralise the virtue of the Atonement, for "if circumcised, Christ should profit them nothing." Our charge against our Tractarian brethren is, that they have "corrupted the simplicity of the faith." That faith may be in their system, and yet so affected by the introduction of other elements into it, as to make it "another gospel," and rather a danger than a safeguard. The most eminent of the perverts to Romanism from that school has told his former friends that they are bound, by the necessary sequence of their own principles, to follow him into his present position. He warns them, that in taking up their views they have abandoned the right of private judgment, and are bound to obey the voice of the Church infallible. If all this be so, and there be such a close affinity between Tractarianism and Rome,—that men of that school hold "people injudicious who talk against the Roman Catholics for worshipping saints and honouring the Virgin and images,"—if justification be not an act, but a habit continued through life,—if the Bible be not the sole standard of truth,—it seems difficult to see how unity can subsist between us who protest against these errors, and those (whatever be their piety and moral excellence) who maintain them.
Nor should we be at all prepared to say, that a state of unbroken harmony, undisturbed by any [14/15] "contentions for the faith," is, in our present condition, a thing in all respects to be coveted. Times of profound peace are frequently times of inaction. The warrior rests ingloriously on his shield, and the martial spirit languishes for want of excitement. Truth, universally adopted, settles down into a monotony, and errors slowly and stealthily creep in, because jealous scrutiny and vigilant suspicion have gone to rest. The best times of the Church have not been her most tranquil days. Never did our own Church enjoy more profound peace than in the age preceding the religious revival towards the end of the last century, and never, perhaps, was she in a more worthless and inefficient condition. Religion had become a thing of decent usage and ceremonial propriety, and no man dreamed of disturbing the siesta of his neighbour. Look back to the history of those days, and say, where was the thunder of the pulpit—where congregations taking an interest in doctrine—where the prosecution of missionary enterprise—where efforts to reclaim, christianise, civilise, our home population—where the broad-casting of the Word of God—where the pastor a pattern to his flock—where the mild but felt force of authoritywhere emulation in the cause of benevolence and faith? The world was asleep and the Church was rocking its cradle, vice was unrebuked and immorality was in fashion, and ignorance went untaught; and if here and there the whisper of conscience made men tremble, the Church could scarcely comprehend the cause of disquiet, and seldom knew how to prescribe a remedy. And yet, then there was unity. Better far even wrathful contentions, than a state of deathlike stagnation. Better far the thunder which clears the sky, than the perpetual brooding, leaden clouds, whose oppression tempts every one to slumber. [15/16] From the days of Paley and Watson—when men, startled not by ignorance and sloth, became dismayed at the assaults made on Christianity herself, and girded up their loins for learned discussion—up to our own days, the Church has been a field for disputation. Calvinism and Arminianism, Orthodoxy and Socinianism, Rome and Protestantism, Biblicists and Sacramentarians, Evangelicals and Tractarians, the friends of Inspiration and Neologists, Pantheists and the believers in a Personal God—have all appeared in the arena, met, contended, and retired. In all this there is strife, because there has been heresy. But who will say, that a condition of things "which proves all things;" which sifts to the bottom the claims of truth; which sweeps away specious sophistries; and puts down rash and undigested postulates; which carries with it reflection, reading, learning, discrimination; which sharpens the pen of the writer, educes the acumen of the scholar, practises the eloquence of the speaker; which habituates men to the consideration and dissection of points disputed,—is not, on the whole, a state more favourable to religious interests, than a peaceful calm, which reduces men to Sybarites, and prepares the way for ultimate doubt by the encouragement of indifference? As with the soul, so with the Church:
"More the treacherous calm we dread,
Than tempests bursting o’er our head."
And yet, through all this, there is a confessed craving, a low, longing cry, for more of mutual good understanding and practical unity. And it is possible, when the fever of disagreement has passed away, and men look more to gigantic evils around [16/17] them, and understand more dispassionately the views of their antagonists, that much of that good understanding will spring up. But still the difficulty will remain as to the way of prosecuting great enterprises of good, when the principles which are to direct them, and the agents who are to carry them out, are, on great points, discordant with each other. The experiment is beginning to be tried in the matter of school education. But even already men begin to see that a system which is expurgative of all that is offensive to all, will leave but a wretched residuum of negative truth. And where can we faithfully look for that success which is dependent on the blessing from above, if we build on the miserable basis of a compromise or suppression of the truth?
At all events we, in our present position, are not called upon to consider that question. We are here in the position of men admitting the necessity for, and the possibility of, a Sectional Unity. That which may not be on the broad basis of a National Church, may yet be on the narrower one of a section of that Church who hold the same views, cling to the same opinions, have confidence in the same system, are animated by the glorious recollection of its past achievements, believe that the same principles which led to great results half a century past, can produce great effects still. In a word, we, as Evangelicals; understand each other, understand our views, and have confidence in our system. Why should not we be united? The Scotts and Newtons, the Venus and Romaines, the Forsters and Milners of other days, were united, and out of their union came those plans and attempts, those successes and triumphs, which have made men confess that Evangelicism has a power and virtue, a life and an activity, [17/18] suggestive of the Source from whence its strength came, and the benediction which has rested on its use.
Other men laboured, and we have entered into their labours." It has been said, and that by the pen of an eloquent essayist, that not the strength, but the "nominis umbra" of Evangelicism, is ours. "Gradually," remarks that accomplished writer, “it came to pass, that in the Evangelical, as in other Societies, the symbol was adopted by many who were strangers to the spirit of the original institution, by many an indolent, trivial, or luxurious aspirant to its advantages, both temporal and eternal. The distinguishing tenets were few, and easily learned; the necessary observances neither onerous nor unattended with much pleasurable emotion. In the lapse of years, the discipline of the Society imperceptibly declined, and errors coeval with its existence exhibited themselves in an exaggerated form. Although the fields and the market-places no longer echoed to the voice of the impassioned preacher and the hallelujahs of enraptured myriads, yet spacious theatres, sacred to such uses, received a countless host to harangue or to applaud, to recount or hear adventures of stirring interest, to drop the superfluous guinea, and retire with feelings strangely balanced between the human and the Divine, the glories of heaven and the vanities of earth." Much there is in this sketch that is true,—somewhat that is exaggerated. It may be that worldliness, secularity, vanity, have crept into the Evangelical Succession; but it is surely questionable, whether the founders of the order, could they have commanded place and audiences, would not have rejoiced in standing forward and telling to thousands "how the word of the Lord had free course and was glorified."
It remains for me, but in conclusion, to point [18/19] out the necessity and the use to be made of this attempt to give to ourselves a better organisation. It will be at once admitted that "unity is strength." Strong though the cause is in itself, yet “Vis unita fortior." The fault and reproach of our Evangelical Zion have been this—that our efforts are unsystematic and desultory, and therefore are comparatively feeble. We live lives of individual and isolated usefulness, and probably fail in the effecting of extensive good for want of conference and brotherly communication. If it be true that other parties in the Church can claim the aid and sympathy of their professed members for the accomplishment of their object, why may not we? If we did little more than this,—meet to look each other in the face, to become better acquainted with each others’ persons, to educe each other’s peculiar excellencies, to ventilate and discuss points of doctrinal and practical importance, surely our Association has done something. But much more than this we may do. We may, by comparing experiences, discover better ways of doing old things, or be excited to the doing of new things. We may learn what has been tried by some, and failed; by others, and succeeded; and we can trace the causes which led to the one result and the other. We can set on foot plans of usefulness to be carried out in our several spheres, controlled, perhaps, not merely by the impressions of our own mind, but by the collective wisdom of many. We can do, as the Founders of the Evangelical Section of the Church did, detect—perhaps I should say, discover—powers and aptitudes buried in many minds, unknown it may be to the possessor, unused, because unknown, and enlist them on the side of the interests of Truth. The author from whom I [19/20] have already quoted remarks, “If the section of the Church of England which usually hears that title (Evangelical) be properly so distinguished, there can be no impropriety in designating, as her ‘Four Evangelists,’ John Newton, Thomas Scott, Joseph Milner, and Henry Venn. Newton held himself forth, and was celebrated by others, as the great living example of the regenerating efficiency of the principles of his school. Scott was the interpreter of Holy Scripture; Milner, their ecclesiastical historian; Venn, their systematic teacher of the whole Christian institutes." In all this there is the recognition of individual gifts, and a wise direction of their powers. What the one of their eminent men could do, the others, perhaps, could not. Newton could not have written history, or Milner, perhaps, a commentary. But the men of their party saw "the gift that was in them," and mightily helped forward the common cause by a distribution of duties, according to the peculiarity of powers.
Amongst ourselves, there may be some whose sphere is the pulpit—others whose place is the platform—others whose strength comes out in the study—others whose force lies in persuasive exhortation—others who seem made for the intricacies of controversy—others whose visits to a school would be remembered as the occasion on which new thoughts, new systems, new modes of education opened on the wondering mind of masters and pupil teachers. Nothing is more clear than this, that treasures of abilities, capacities, and powers, are lost to the Church for want of a discovery of their existence, and the assignment of a field for their employment. How often is one compelled to undertake anything and everything, qualified or [20/21] unqualified for it as we may be, because we know not where to turn for direction and assistance! How many are compelled to feel that their best efforts are, from the outstart, destined to failure, because they rest on themselves alone! And who does not see that, in this interchange of offices among brethren, agreed on all essentials, there is to be found one of the strongest cements for binding men together that could possibly be compounded? It may be mentioned as an illustration of this, that in one of our dioceses nothing proved so strong and kindly a bond among its Evangelical clergy as the institution of missionary meetings, in which each man who sought help was hound in turn to give help; presenting, in the reciprocity of their services, a picture, not only of brotherly kindness, but of the various powers which were thus brought (sometimes unexpectedly) into prominence.
Nor can we regard it as one of the least important ant results which may attend such an organisation as this, that opportunities will be given us to trace and apprehend the maintenance and advance of Evangelical principles. If we are true to our convictions, our trust for the spread and efficiency of religion depends mainly on the support and action of those principles. On them we depend, more than on any other, for the diffusion of truth and virtue, religion and piety. Anything that affects the one, affects the other: anything that extends the one, extends the other. This country could not move towards Rome on the one side, or German indifference and scepticism on the other, without receding from "the faith once delivered;" and therefore must we, if we are to preserve the character of our association for the maintenance of these principles, watch narrowly against all inroads, whether direct [21/22] or covert, whether learned or impetuous, which may be directed against the creed we venerate and rest on. How that may be effected is more a point of detail than of principle; belonging, perhaps, not so much to the very infancy as to the future days of our society. But as our boast is, that we accept r the Articles of our Church in their plain, literal, grammatical, and natural sense, so must it be our duty to look with distrust on any opinions which "accommodate" them, still more, or any that contradict them. We believe these Articles, unvitiated by the addition of others, to declare the truth which Apostles preached, and we enter on our conference with the avowal, that "with one mind we strive together for the faith of the Gospel."