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Preserving all due respect for the Episcopal churches, we observe, That we do not see from the beginning any distinction betwixt bishops and presbyters, between Presbyterian and Episcopal powers. We fee a greater conformity, in many things, among Episcopal churches, to that church which we all left at the Reformation, than we think can accord with the simplicity of the primitive and apostolical churches. "We knowalso, that the great objects of edification and holiness, of comfort and joy, in the religious life, are promoted as completely by the labours of those overseers of the flock of Christ, who are distinguished in our day by the name of presbyters, as by theirs who are set apart for the work of the ministry by an uninterrupted succession of mitred heads; and on whom, not grace only, but the very existence of the human foul, has been represented as depending.
On this subject, my brethren, I speak with a firm tone: to adopt the words of our apostle, " we use great plainness" or bold-ness, " of speech: great is our glorying of 'you: truly the signs of the ministers of
T "Christ "Christ have been wrought among you,'r by those who have laboured among you, in word and doctrine. There are, I have no manner of doubt, thousands of thousands of whom their ministers can say, " Ye are our "epistle ministered by us, written not with "ink, but with the Spirit of the living Gon; "not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables "of the heart." Are there not in this place, and in every corner of the land, many to whom the apostle's appeal to the Thefialonians can be made with confidence ?" Our '* exhortation was not of deceit, nor of un"cleanness, nor in guile; but, as we were "allowed of God to be put in trust with the ** Gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing "men but Gon which trieth our hearts: for "neither at any time used we flattering "words, as ye know, nor a cloak of cove"tousness: God is witness: nor of men "sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of "others, when we might have been burden'* some (or used authority) as the apostles of "Christ. But we were gentle among your "even as a nurse cherifheth her children: "so, being affectionately desirous of you, we "were willing to have imparted to you, not
*' the Gospel of Gon only, but also our own. 'souls, because ye were dear to us. Ye are *' witnesses, and God also, how holily and "justly, and unblameably, we behaved our"selves, among those who believe. As you "know how we exhorted and comforted, "and charged every one of you, as a father "doth his children, that you would walk "worthy of God, who hath called you unto "his kingdom and glory." This is their ground of thanksgiving and rejoicing, that the word they preach is received, "not as "the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the "word of God."
Have not the Ministers of the Church of Scotland instructed those of the rising generation in the principles of our holy faith, endeavoured to form them betimes to the lo\$ of God and goodness, instilling worthy sentiments, cherishing good dispositions, inspiring virtuous purposes: in the strong language of the apostle, "labouring as in birth till *' Christ be formed in them:" with all tenderness, initiating them in the holy service of the communion, and uniting them to the congregation of the faithful?
T 2 Need
Need I to depart from the audience before me, in a successful appeal for die excellence and efficacy of the means of grace, as dispensed by the Ministers of the Church of Scotland? There are not a few, I trust, who can say, "By their ministrations we were "made serious, were persuaded to flee from "the wrath to come, and to lay hold of eter"nal life: the fulness of blessing of the Gos"pel" was unfolded: We were relieved and encouraged, when darkness and despondency had almost overwhelmed our fouls: We went to the house of God: what we heard and were engaged in made us to say, '* Yet "God is good to Israel; God is among them "of a truth : it was the house of God : it was "the gate of heaven." I trust that Christians of all varieties of characters, of states dad frames, have been found out, reproved, directed, assisted, trained to piety and universal holiness, by the Ministers of the Church of, Scotland; and have been thus prepared for the regions of peace and joy, and immortality. Her Ministers have also walked before their people in the way of salvation, able to address their flocks, with St. Paul, [* Those things which you have both learned
"and "and received and heard and seen in us, do: ** and the God of peace shall be with you.'* Of them it may be said as of Titus and his brethren in the ministry, "They are the "messengers of the churches and the glory "of Christ."
All this, will it be said? cannot be affirmed of every one who has been, or is at present a Minister or a Preacher of the Church of Scotland. Alas! my friends, all this cannot be said of every one of the apostles of Christ, or of every one in the churches of Christ, the most respectable, of any country, period, or denomination: but we ask, and desire it may be duly considered, what are the foundations for purity, respectability and usefulness, laid elsewhere, and among separatists from the church, and innovators as to religious instruction and ministrations, that are not as firmly laid, by the constitution and practice of the church? I refer particularly to the course of study that is prescribed, and must be passed through, the nature and mode of trial, the confession. After a probationary period, sometimes of considerable length, the preacher is ordained: he perceives and feels,