Project Canterbury





A MINISTER of the Church of
England to his Dissenting Parishioners


The Necessity of Unity and Peace and
the dangerous Consequences of Separating
from the established Episcopal Church



Missionary from the Honourable
Society for Propagating the Gospel &c.

Isaiah. XLIX v. 4, 5 Surely my Judgement is with the
LORD, and my Reward with my God, though
Israel be not gathered.



Printed for the Author, by John Peter Zenger
in New-York,



Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 2008

A MINISTER of the Church of
England to his Dissenting Parishioners, &c.

My Good Neighbours and Parishioners:

Being by the Divine Providence, placed among you a Minister of Christ, I think it a Duty incumbent on me by mine Office, to be very industrious, in labouring to promote the Welfare of your Souls; the Safety and Eternal Happiness of which, most certainly depends upon a right Belief, and sincere Practice, of the Religion of Christ; for we read, there is no Salvation in any other. Act. IV, 12. Nor in Him, without Believing and obeying his Religion, which we are plainly Taught, Mark XVII, 16. He that Believeth and is Baptized shall be saved; but [3/4] he that believeth not shall be damned. He that is baptized, promiseth and engageth Obedience, to all the Laws and Institutions of Christ's Religion, and therefore Salvation is promised to that, in Conjunction with Faith, but inasmuch as such a Promise can never be sincerely made, or ever preformed, without believing the Doctrines and Declarations of the Gospel, the Want of this Belief alone is mentioned as involving Men in Damnation; it is therefore of the greatest Importance to you to have such a Belief and in order thereto 'tis necessary you should know what to believe: And tis in Respect of such Doctrines as are peculiar to the Christian Institution; that St. Paul saith Rom. X. 14, 15. How can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? How can they hear without a Preacher? And How can they preach except they be sent? Wherefore our Blessed saviour, the Author and Finisher of our Holy Religion, committed the Dispensation of it to his Apostles instituting in them an Order of Men to whom as he gave Authority and Commission, to transact and manage the Affairs of his Kingdom upon Earth; so the Charge of Informing and guiding Men to the Knowledge and Practice of his Religion has devolved upon them: They were made Spiritual Guides, and it belongs to their Office to instruct [4/5] the Religion of Christ, what is necessary for them to Believe, and how to conduct their Practice that they may become entitled to the Previledges and Blessings of this excellent Religion;

'Tis in Pursuance of the Commission, which you will find, St. Matt. XXVIII. 19, 20. and the Obligation lying upon me, as having a particular Designation, a Power derived from Christ to execute my Office as his I undertake to guide and direct you, and in Minister among you in this Parish, that Christ's name intreat and beseech you to hearken to, and receive such Instructions, as by the Help of God's Grace may bring you to a blessed Immortality, in and through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

My Design in this Letter is to exhort, beseech and perswade you, if possible, to lay aside all Malice, Guile and Hypocrisy, that as new-born Babes ye may desire the sincere Milk of the Word that we may grow thereby: To lay aside your Divisions and Prejudices, Sloth and Indifference, and be constant in attending the Church, the House of God; there, as well to pay your Homage and Adoration unto God, as to receive these Instructions, which 'tis my Duty to inculcate, and yours to receive and attend to: For if it be my Duty to instruct and guide you, it must certainly be your Duty, [5/6] to give me Opportunity. Besides, the Advantage and Benefit is yours, to be saved from Misery and conducted to Life and Happiness Eternal; which as it makes it of greatest Importance to you, so the Neglect will be inexcusable Ingratitude.

A true Minister of the Gospel, is to be received as a Messenger of Christ, and so far as this Character is concerned, Christ himself is affected with their Treatment. What he said to the seventy Disciples, is applicable to all his Messengers, so far as relates to their Character; He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that rejecteth you rejecteth Me, and he that rejecteth Me rejecteth Him that sent Me. The least that can be inferred from hence, is that on Penalty of being found Rejectors and Dispisers of Christ, and God the Father who sent him, you ought to hearken to, and comply with those Messages that Christ has given Commission to his Ministers to declare and publish to you, and by Consequence, whoever is a true Minister of Christ, with a regular Designation to officiate as Christ's Minister among you, has a Right to expect your diligent Attendance to, and Compliance with his Ministry upon the Penalty above: For by such a Designation, he becomes charged with Messages of the greatest Importance, from Christ to be delivered to you in particular; [6/7] or according to the common Way of Expressing it, he that is truly and regularly your Minister, is charged with the Messages of Reconciliation to you in particular: And if you refuse to attend to and receive them, you affront and reject Christ himself, and can expect no other but to be finally rejected by him for such Contempt; These general Propositions will be readily attended to by every Party, because they will be willing to apply them, to their own Way: But let me intreat you, to consider without Prepossession or Partiality, what I have further to offer, with Design to promote Peace in general, and the Safety and Happiness of each your Souls in particular, by leading you to a Sense of your Duty and Interest, as they are both Concerned in the Messages of Pardon and Reconciliation, which Christ sends to you by his Ministers. Accordingly I shall prove to you.

I. That such Ministers of the Church of England as are from Time to Time, according to the Laws in Being, fixed and settled in this Parish are true Ministers of Christ, and ought to be received by all the Inhabitants of the Parish, as Christ's Messengers to them in particular.

II. That as Matters now stand you can receive no Others as Ministers of Christ, in Opposition [7/8] to the Minister regularly settled, according to the Laws in being.

I. I shall prove to you, that such Ministers of the Church of England, as are from Time to Time according to the Laws in being, fixed and settled in this Parish, are true Ministers of Christ; and ought to be received, by all the inhabitants of the Parish as Christ Messengers to them in particular.

That they are true Ministers of Christ, must be allowed by all Parties of Christians, as capable of Proof upon their own Princeples. Ex. gr. If, (according to the Presbyterians) the Ordination of more Presbyters makes Men Ministers, and there be no Office in the Church superior to Presbyters, then the Ordinations of Bishops and Presbyters must be good; for Bishops are at least good Presbyters.

And if (according to the Independents) Lay-Men, can give ministerial Power by Imposition of hands, and there be really no Distinction of Layity and Clergy, in respect of any Offices and Powers, but according to Seniority and for more Decorum, then Bishops and Presbyters may at least do as well as Soldiers and Mechanics; And if any weight be laid upon the Call of the People, tis well known we have to plead upon this Head too, being called and invited [8/9] by the chosen Representatives of the whole Parish, the Church-Wardens and Vestry.

And as to the Quakers, tis sufficient among them that a Man be verily perceived that he is called by the Holy Ghost, and proves himself able to hold forth and make an Harangue: And so much I hope we may be allowed to plead as well as any of them. For no proof is required among them of a Spiritual Misslar, but a Man's own Affirmation, and others Willingness to receive him as a minister, upon their liking his Holding forth.

Now whoever will but confur the Form of Ordination in the Church of England, will find the Bishop always asks the person to be ordained, Whether he verily believes himself moved by the Holy Ghost, to take upon him that Office? To which he answers in the Affirmative. And we do insist upon being sent by the Holy Ghost; And let them understand it as Necessary in what Sense they will, we have at least as much to say in Proof of it, as any of these Men whatsoever: And we have as good Men, and as Fit Judges as they can pretend to, who do allow us to be Such, and esteem us true Ministers of Christ; so that I might venture to leave this Point here If there be any true Ministers of Christ in the World, as certainly there are, the Ministers of the Church of England [9/10] are such, even upon the Principles of every Sect.

But then, if all their Ways of proving a Mission from Christ, should not convince an Infidel, we have something further to produce than any of them can pretend to, viz. an Apostolical Designation being appointed and Commissioned by those who have derived their Authority by an uninterrupted Succession from the Apostles themselves, to whom, Christ by his own Mouth and by the Mission of his Spirit, gave Power to manage the Affairs of his Kingdom, and act as his Ambassadors; And their Power, to transmit to such faithful Men, who should be able also to teach others: And so he promised his Presence, should be with them to the End of the World. If any want further Satisfaction upon this Head, I shall always be ready to give it: For the present I may fairly enough suppose you don't any of you need further Proof, that Ministers of the Church of England are true Ministers of Christ. But the Difficulty will be to perswade you that those Ministers of the Church, who are fixed and settled in this Parish, according to the Laws in being, are charges with Messages from Christ to every one of you in particular, which you are to attend to and comply with, or else be looked upon Rejectors and Despisers of Christ.

[11] To make this clear to you, I must desire you to consider the Import of our Lord's Commission to his Apostles, which we find St. Mark XVI. 15. Go ye into all the World and preach the Gospel to every Creature.

To preach the Gospel, is to carry the Messages of Pardon and Reconciliation, and act in Christ's Name, in bringing Men to enjoy and partake of the Previleges that Christ by his Death hath purchased for his Church. Nay the whole Discharge of their Office as the Ministers and Ambassadors of Christ is here comprised, in preaching the Gospel.

What I have my Eye chiefly upon in this Commission is the Extent of it; they have Messages to carry in the Name of Christ to every Creature, that is to every humane Creature through all the World. Now I believe you will readily conclude our Saviour did not intend by this Commission, that each Apostle should singly preach to every Man all the World over, or that all of them conjunctly should do it in an Instant or in any limited Time: But so much seems very evident, that is;

That all Men without Distinction, should have the gracious Terms of Pardon and Reconciliation offered to them, and be urged to comply therewith, as the Providence [11/12] of God should from Time to Time open the Way thereto, and those authorized hereunto, in Pursuance of this Commission should have opportunity, so that as this Commission extends to all Persons, that is, to have the Messages of Grace and Reconciliation declared to them, as these Messengers of Christ have Opportunity, so it must be understood to extend to all Times. It is not limited to any Number of Days or Years, but as they were to begin to preach immediately upon receiving their Commission, so they were to proceed till they had accomplished it, that is, till they had published their Messages all the World over to every Creature.

Nay, this Commission is plainly implyed to stand in full Force to the End of the World, not only from the Nature of it, but from the Promise of Assistance in the Execution of it expressly made to continue to the End of the World. 5. Matt. XXVII. 20. And from hence it will follow.

That seeing they were Mortal Men and could not in their own Persons execute such a Commission in it, utmost Extents their Office should live in their Successors when they were dead, and all other Ministers of the Gospel according to their several Powers derived from Christ's Institution should be charged with this work, that is to carry [12/13] the Messages of Christ relating to Man's Reconciliation and Pardon to every Creature.

That the Apostles to whom the Direction and Management of this work of Preaching the Gospel was committed, were not, even while they lived, sufficient to the Greatness and Extent thereof, our Saviour himself before the giving of this Commission had plainly told them, saying, the Harvest is great and the Labourers few, pray ye the Lord of the Harvest to send forth Labourers into his Harvest. St. Matt. IX. 37, 38.

And as Christ himself took the Seventy to be Assistants to the twelve Apostles in this Work before his Crucifixion, so afterwards he sent St. Paul with the Fulness of Apostolic Power, and these Apostles as fast as they found Occasion to others to their Assistance, constituting them the Ministers of Christ, with Commission to carry the Messages of the Gospel through the World, still increasing the Number of Ministers as the Providence of God opened the Way for spreading the Gospel.

And here it will not be amiss to desire you to take Notice of the different Powers committed to such Men as were constituted Ministers of the Gospel for the carrying on of this past and glorious Work, according as the Exigencies thereof required.

[14] After choosing Matthias into the place of Judas the first Ministers the Apostles ordained were the Seven Deacons, who were appointed to assist the Apostles in some inferiour Offices of the Ministry.

Afterwards we have an Account of their ordaining Elders or Presbyters in every City; but it is plain these Elders or Presbyters were to perform the Duties of their Office in Subordination to a superior Order, to which alone was committed the Power of presiding in the Ordination of others, and exercising Jurisdiction, over both Clergy and Layity, as is evident in the Cases of Timothy and Titus and the Ministers, who are called the Angels of the Seven Churches.

Whoever reads St. Pauls Epistles to Timothy, will easily discover his Superintendent or Episcopal Power, from St. Paul's Direction to him, concerning laying on his Hands in Ordination, and the Qualifications of such as were to be ordained by him; and touching the Exercise of Jurisdiction, in receiving Accusations against Elders or Presbyters.

And the same Footsteps of Episcopal Power, according to the present Use of the Word, we find in St. Pauls Epistle to Titus, to whom he expressly says, Tit. I. 5. For this cause left I thee in Crete that thou shouldest set in order Things that are wanting [14/15] and ordain Elders in Every City, &c. The same I could shew, of the Angels of the Seven Churches. And for a further Proof of Different Orders appointed in the Church, in such maner as to derive there several and distinct Powers from God, I might refer to 1 Cor. XII. 28. Where St. Paul tells us, that God hath set in the Church, first Apostles, secondarily Prophets, thirdly Teachers. But a full Proof of Episcopal Power as the Institution of Christ, would run this Letter to greater Length then I designed.

I would only have you observe, for my present Purpose, how Labourers were received into his Harvest. The Apostles were appointed by Christ, and to them the chief Management of this Work of Preaching the Gospel to all the World was committed: They had authority to admit others as Partners with them in this Work, either as to their full Power and Office, or to some part of it; accordingly they appointed Presbyters and Deacons to assist them in some parts of their Work, to preach and baptize &c. and where they found it needful they appointed one of superior Gifts and Abilities in the Fulness of their own Office, to preside over Clergy and People, and ordain as many others as they should find it necessary; thus it was in the Instances of Timothy and Titus.

[16] And when the Apostles all died, the Work was carried on after the same manner, as we are fully informed by ancient History. The chief Governours of the Church, the Bishops, to who the Apostles committed their Churches together with the same Power themselves had, they proceeded still, as the Christian Faith gained Ground in the World, to increase the Number of Ministers both Bishops and Presbyters as well as Deacons, as they found Occasion.

That all Things might therefore proceed with Order and Regularity it was necessary that the chief Governours of the Church should have their proper Districts assigned them; and the inferiour Clergy within those Districts were subject every one to their Governour or Bishop.

This Method was settled in the Apostles Time, as is especially evident from the Instances of Timothy and Titus, and the Angels of the Seven Churches; as well as from authentic History, and the best Monments of Antiquity. And as the Superiour Minister or Bishop of every Diocese, became particularly charged, with the Cure of all the Souls within his District, at least to take the most suitable Methods to have the Gospel preached to them, according to our Lord's Commission to his Apostles; so every Presbyter in Subordination to his proper [16/17] Bishop is charged with the same Commission, (according to the power he is invested with) within such Limits in particular as are assigned him.

Since the Division of Dioceses into Parishes, the Cure of each Parish is committed in particular to inferiour Ministers; and the Commission they have to act as Ministers of Christ, is particularly determined to that Cure; and this being done by the Governours of the Church, conformable to their Commission which they have received from Christ, authorizing them, to concert such Methods in Propagating the Gospel, as most effectually to answer the Design of their Commission, prevent Confusion and Disorder, and have every Thing proceed with Decency and Regularity, to which Purposes this is certainly a wise and necessary Expedient, and having the Sanction of the Civil as well as Ecclesiastical Authority, it certainly obliges every Minister, that has the Cure of such Parishes to execute his Commission as Christ's Minister, in such a District as is thus particularly assigned to his Charge; which is as much as to say by the Will of Christ, and the Disposition of Divine Providence, he is required as Christ's Messenger, to carry the Messages of Reconciliation, to the Inhabitants of such a Parish as is thus assigned to his Cure, [17/18] and in the name of Christ, transact with them in Order to their Pardon and Salvation, whatever he has received in Commission from Christ.

And as the General Commission to preach the Gospel all the World over, extends to every Creature, so this particular Commission, must have the same Extent within such limited Districts, Every Minister must publish his Messages to, and transact such affairs as he has received Commission for, with every humane Creature without Exception of any.

Thus 'tis therefore in this Parish, both the Civil and Ecclesiastical Power, from Time to Time make this the particular Limits of a Minister's Charge and Cure, as therefore he is to preach to every Creature, according to the Commission of Christ, he has Messages from Christ, to deliver to every one of you, to which you ought to hearken and attend, or else be looked upon Dispisers and Rejecters of Christ himself, and of God the Father who sent him; the Consequences of which, I desire most seriously to Consider of, and lay to heart.

And this Method of Reasoning will have the same Force in respect of those who are separated from the established Episcopal Church of the Nation, although they may belong to no particular Parish; nay, although the [18/19] Iniquity of their Schism may be established by a Law.

For whatever Constitution they may have thrown themselves into, they are parts of the Nation, and bound to pay Obedience to the National Laws: And having separated from their Bishops, and made a Schism in the Church their Recovery to Unity and Peace of the Church of Christ, is as well comprized, in Christ's Commission to his Ministers to preach the Gospel to every Creature, as the Conversion of those who have never made any Profession of Christ.

And now I will offer a few Words, upon the second Thing I proposed to prove to you, viz.

II. That as Matters now stand, you can receive and entertain no Others, as the Ministers of Christ, in Opposition to the Minister regularly settled, according to the Laws in Being.

This is but a natural Consequence of what I have proved already: for, if the Parish Minister thus regularly settled among you, be charged with Messages from Christ to Every one of you, the Rejecting of which is interpretatively Rejecting of Christ, then to receive any Other in Opposition to him, is nothing less then to reject Christ, because by receiving and entertaining another, as your Teacher, you deny so much [19/20] as a Hearing to the Messages Christ sends you; And are far from complying with the Design and Purpose of them.

These Messages are delivered from Time to Time, in the public Administrations of the Church: There the Sacraments are administered in Christ's Name, to give Assurances of Pardon and Reconciliation to the Penitent and Believing: in these the Minister executes his Commission from Christ, which 'tis impossible for you to attend to, whilst in stead of coming to the Church of God, You are following Teachers, which you heap up to your selves, after your own Heart (or in your own Way) having itching Ears.

Besides, as you reject Christ by rejecting those Messages he sends you, when you don't comply with the Design of them you will be pleased to consider, that there is nothing which Christ more expresly injoyns and requires of you, than Unity and Peace, you will find all the Writings of the Apostles abound with Exhortations and Intreaties hereto; To keep the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace. Ep. IV. 3. to follow Peace with all men, Heb. XII. 14. and, to have no Schisms or Divisions in the Body. I. Cor. XII. 25. The Church of Christ is one Body into which we are all Baptised by one Spirit. I. Cor. XII. 13. and the Lords Supper [20/21] is a Profession of Unity and Combination among the true Disciples of Christ, for St. Paul tells us we being many are one Bread and one Body, for we are all Partakers of one Bread. I. Cor. X. 17: and if ever you have read the New Testament with Care, you must be sensible, that there is nothing more frequently and more earnestly inculcated, upon the Followers of Christ, than Unity and Peace, the Preservation of which, and abstaining from every Thing contrary thereto, by every ones minding the Duties of his Place and Station in the Church, I take St. Paul chiefly to have respect to, in I. Cor. XIII. where he speaks so much of Charity, its Excellence and Necessity; that all Gifts and Prophesy and Miracles and good Works, would profit him nothing if he wanted Charity; which if you consider as connected with his Discourse in the conclusion of the preceeding Chapter, of the different Orders of Ministers and Station of Christians in the Church, you will not think the Sense strained, by Charity to understand such a Behaviour in every respect, as shall tend to the Unity and Peace of the Church; reserving to every one the proper Business of that Station in which God has placed him in the Church, to prevent Disorder, Confusion and Schisms in the Body.

[22] And indeed what greater indication can there be of Uncharitableness, or Want of Love to Christ, the Church, or the pious Members of it, than to withdraw from their Communion, and set forward Division among those, who are so strictly United as to be even Members of one another; such Divisions our own Experience shows us, deprives Christians of that Satisfaction and Comfort, they might reap from each others Friendship and mutual good Offices, opens a Door to the contempt and Neglect of Religion, and lets in a Flood of Immorality, Vice and Profaneness: it renders Christ's Discipline ineffectual, and tempts the unconverted Part of the World, to believe Jesus Christ an Imposter: Thus when our Saviour prayed his Father, before he left this World, John. XVII. that Those who should hereafter believe in him, might be one even as the Father is in him, and he in the Father, so (saith he) that they may be one in Him he adds this Reason that the World might believe that thou hast sent me. Intimating what I have said, that Divisions among those that profess to believe in him, would be a Temptation to the World, to think the Father never sent him, and that he was a Deceiver and Imposter, in pretending to be sent by God. So much and a great deal more, Dishonour and Injury redounds to [22/23] Christ, his Church and his Faithfull People, by Schisms and Divisions; on which Account the Study of Unity and Peace may well be called Charity, and St. Paul had reason to insist so much, upon the Necessity of it.

And let me intreat you to consider, how 'tis possible for Men to live peaceably and charitably in the Church, without performing the Duties incumbent on them, as Members of the one Body or Christian Society? for when St. Paul exhorts Christians to Study to be quiet he adds and to mind their own Business, i.e. for every one to do the Duties of his own Station, without interrupting others. There are various Offices, and Gifts differing, tho' all from one Spirit; And Christ has bestowed his Gifts for the Edification of the Body, not for the Destruction of it; Every one ought therefore to employ his Gifts, to the Purposes for which Christ gave them, viz. for the Edification of the Body in Unity and Peace.

As therefore Christ has appointed Government in his Church, 'tis the Duty of those in whose Hands it is lodged, to order all Things, for Decency and Edification: And for others, their Business is to do all things dia Taxan, according to order; i.e. according to the decent Orders of their Governours. And let Men talk of Peace and Charity [23/24] never so much, there can be no Peace without Obedience to Government.

And since there is no Limitation, in the Commands of Obedience and Submission in the Scriptures, we must not presume to set any our selves, but such as our absolute and unlimited Subjection to God will infer. In all Cases, where the Commands of Men are repugnant to the Command of God, let them have never so just and regular Authority over us, we may say as the Apostles to those who forbid them to preach in the Name of Jesus, Act. IV. 19. whether it be right in the sight of God, to hearken unto you more than unto God judge ye. But then this must be only where there is a plain Repugnancy, between the Commands of Men and the Commands of God.

And because this Limitation, from the Nature of humane Power as subordinate to God's absolute Authority, is the only thing you can fix upon, to excuse your selves for breaking in upon the Orders of Government, both civil and Ecclesiastical, (for I now speak to those who separate from us) Let me intreat you to consider impartialy, what Diference God expects should be pay'd, to those Powers he has himself ordained; And let none persuade you, that because you owe absolute and unlimited Obedience to God, therefore you can be under [24/25] no Obligation to obey, those whom he appoints to rule over you, any further then God himself, is pleased to injoyn the particular Instances of your Obedience: this is wholly to destroy Government and make it of none Effect.

God's commanding Obedience in general to Governours, binds us out of Duty to God, to submit to them in all Things Gods Commands don't limit us in: i.e. whatever our rightful Governours, in Church and State, Order and injoyn us, we are bound to submit to, out of Conscience to God, if their Orders be not contrary to any Command or Prohibition of God.

And in respect of those Laws and Orders, by which the Church is setled in this Parish, I do assert, that they are Not repugnant to any Laws or Commands of God, nor can you have any Colour of Reason to Imagin them so.

It is repugnant to no Command of God to have this Parish assigned to the particular Care of a Minister of Christ: And it will be no great presumption to say, there is no Command of God that requires you or any of you, to receive another as your Minister, in such manner as to neglect a due and Constant attendance, on the Ministrations of him who is the settled Minister of the Parish which makes good the [25/26] second thing I proposed to prove to you: viz. that as matters now stand, you can receive and entertain no others as the Ministers of Christ, in Opposition to the Minister regularly settled, according to the Law in Being.

You will perhaps say, 'You like another way of Worship, better than the Forms of the Church, and are more affected, by Extempore Prayers than by Set Forms.'

If it be really so, there is no Command of God that requires, or authorizes every Person, to make Innovations in Religion, to please his Fantasie; or to break the decent Orders of the Church, to affect himself the more. Men may think themselves wiser than their Governours, yea, and be really so, and yet bound to Obedience, for the preservation of public Peace and Order.

The Question must not be, whether every Rite and Ceremony of the Church, be the most decent and prudent that might possibly be and whether some things might not be mended? but, whether what you are required to comply with, be Lawful? and if it be found so, 'tis sufficient to bind you to Obedience, that 'tis injoyned by Lawful Authority.

The Decency and Expediency of Rites and Forms of Worship, is fit to be debated by those who have Power to prescribe; [26/27] Others are only to dispute their Lawfulness. And that can never be unlawful, which no Law of God or Men makes so.

Which is all I need say, in answer to all the Exceptions that are taken, against the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England: Tho' the Fitness and Expediency of our Rites and Worship, has been over and over proved and represented in so clear a Light, by many worthy Hands, as one would think sufficient, to put our Adversaries out of all Countenance.

I must intreat you, to lay aside your Prejudices and think modestly and humbly of these things; and prefer Unity and Peace of the Church, before the pleasing of your Fantasies, in things of an indifferent Nature. Remember what St. James says, III. 14, 15. if you have bitter Envying and Strife in your Hearts, glory not and be not against the Truth, this Wisdome descendeth not from Above.

Men may think themselves wise enough, to mend the setled Forms and Rites of Religion, but if it be done in Envy and Strife, such Wisdom descendeth not from Above, it does not come from God, But is earthly sensual divelish, for where Envying and Strife is, there is confusion and every evil Work: But the Wisdom that is from above, is first pure and then peaceable.

[28] Christian Religion don't consist, in Scruples and Disputes about things of an indifferent Nature; but Peace is Essential to Religion, and the Happiness of your Souls, depends upon your being peaceable Members of the Christian Society, and in order thereto upon your Submission, to those whom Christ hath set to rule over you, who watch for your Souls, as they that must give an Account. Heb. XIII.

We must not trifle in Religion; if we loose our Souls nothing will compensate the Loss of them; let me hope therefore, you will seriously weigh and consider, what I have here writ, to perswade you to such a Practice of true Religion, as may bring Honour to Christ, Reverence to his Institutions, Peace to the Church, and Joy to us all in the Day of our Account, which happy Effects are the hearty Desire and ernest Prayer of

Your faithful Minister,

James Wetmore


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