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Can two walk together, except they be agreed.....AMOs üi. 3.

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3-1-1932

PREFACE.

It is now held by many, thạt there may be several articles in the public profession of a particular church, which, howeyer clearly found. ed on the holy scriptures, are not essential or necessary to salvation, and therefore ought not to be terms of church communion. 6 The “ obviously vital doctrines of the gospel," say they, " which whoever 66 renounces cannot be a christian, are a sufficient basis of sacramental “ communion." This scheme, under the plausible name of catholic and liberal communion, is much recommended in various popular writings of the present day, particularly, in a recent publication, en: titled, A Plea for Sacramental Communion on Catholic Principles. This Blea the author pretends to found upon scriptural principles con: cerning the nature of the christian church, and upon approved exam, ples of her sacramental communion in the times of the apostles, and in what have been termed, the first and second periods of the reformation. Though the scheme pleaded for seems not only contrary to the constitution and practice of the christian church, but even to the nature of human society; for it is obvious, that there are many things in the common order of any regular society, which cannot, in strictness, be deemed essential to its existence; and yet no person is admitted a member of it without consenting to the whole of that order. The publication now mentioned, by continually keeping the true state of the question out of sight, by the abuse of detached passages of scripture, by the pretence of being countenanced by human authorities, by pathetic declamation, and peremptory assertions, is remarkably calcu. lated to seduce from the scriptural order of church communion, and to promote that laxness, which has too long prevailed in the protestant churches, and deprived them, in so great a measure, of their purity and true glory. Such an attempt, therefore, as is now submitted to the judgement of the public, seems to be a proper means, through che Divine blessing, of leading them to exercise their judgement in coniparing, the scheme of sacramental communion so much extolled in this Plea, with the holy scriptures, and with the example of the church of Christ in former periods. Several just observations on Dr. Mason's Plea have been already offered to the public by the Rey. Messrs. Black and Rankin. But there seemed to be a peculiar call to consider the sub

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