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THE

DISSENTERS APOLOGY:

OR THEIR

PRINCIPLES AND CONDUCT JUSTIFIED,

FROM THE

GROUNDLESS AND

SEVERE CENSURES

LATELY SET FORTH AGAINST THBM

BY THE

EDITOR OF Dr, WARREN'S SERMONS :

IN WHICH

THE NATURE OF SCHISM, CHURCH AUTHORITY, AND

CIVIL ESTABLISHMENTS OF RELIGION IS CONSIDERED; AND THE MEMORY OF THEIR FATHERS PURGED FROM THE ODIUM THERE CAST UPON THEM.

IVMBLY ADDRESSED TO THE IMPARTIAL WORLD; AND ES.

PECIALLY TO THE WORTHY GENTLÉMEN, WHOSE NAMES ARE PREFIXED AS SUBSCRIBERS TO THOSE SERMONS.

(FIRST PRINTED, 1739.]

THE

DISSENTERS APOLOGY.

GENTLEMEN,

WE are far from being fond of troubling the world with matters of dispute : the preseut situation of our common cause, both as christians and as protestants, calls for union and peace: but disgrace cuts deep; and to fall under public odiain is one of the most afflictive evils of life.

In several of Dr. Warren's sermons, lately honoured by your subscriptions, the publisher (for the worthy author, now with God, has kinder sentiments of us) brings us forth upon the stage, and presents us to your view in a very odious and disgraceful light. As it was in his power to have suppressed these ungenerous and severe censures, and it is by him we are thus publicly arraigned and traduced, he las made himself answerable for the black charges he has advanced. By prefixing your honourable and worthy names, he appeals to you as judges of the brand he fixés on us : we are too ambitious of your esteem, gentlethen, to sit easy or silent under it, when we know ourselves innocent; we stand forth therefore, as in your presence, to make our defence.

The sermon which the editor has placed in the front, as recommending it to special view, is intitled, “The schism of the Samaritans compared

with that of our Protestant Dissenters." He herein not only likens us to those antient vile schismaticks the Samaritans, but, to render us yet blacker, “ represents Jeroboam as the father of that schism, and charges us as guilty of the same abominable trespass, which is emphatically called His, by which he made Israel to sin-our schism, like his, proceeds from reasons of state, and meer carnal regards, from a vicious indulgence of ease and sloth, from malice and revenge From the unruliness of our lusts and passions; and whatever pious pretences we make for our division, there is no real goodness at all at the bottom, but pride and ambition, hypocrisy, and malice : mens unruly passions and worldly interests first lead them into them, and the crafty politics of cunning men improve them. And I do not scruple to say,' (the publisher adds, with whom alone we are concerned) “ that it is from these roots that all our schisms and divisions have sprung up and spread abroad amongst us; conscience indeed was ever pretended, but I think it no breach of charity to think it was but a pretence."*

We acknowledge the gentleman's courtesy in making us Samaritans and children of Jeroboam; but his zeal in doing us this favour, has drawn him into two gross historical mistakes, whicb quite spoil the truth and beauty of his comparison. The first is, his tracing up the mutual hatred betwixt the Jews and Samaritans to the separation of the ten tribes, from the two, in the reign of Rehoboam ; and affirming that Jeroboam's sin, was what gave the first_rise to that difference and animosity, fct For those Samaritans in our Saviour's time were not the posterity of the ten tribes, but a quite different people; as every one

• Sermon I. p. 8, 15, 17. Sermon I. pa 2, 8, 9.

sees in the history, 2 Kings, xvíi, 18, 20, 23, 24. The ten tribes were all rejected of God, car* ried captive, and dispersed through the vast em: pire of Assyria, and never returned more; and various strange nations were transplanted from Cuthel, Ava, Hamath, &c. to inbabit Samaria and its cities in their stead, who thenceforward were called Samaritans : so clean were the Israel ites removed, that there was not a single priest left in the land, verse 27, 28. It is true there were many Jews who afterwards mingled with these nations, but not till near two hundred years after their translation hither; and even the Jews that did so, were such only as belonged to the two tribes who joined Manasseh in his revolt, and set up the temple and worship in Mount Gerizim.* It is therefore certainly wrong to say, “ If we will trace it up to its first original, we "must look as far back as the reign of Rehoboam, " and that Jeroboam's sin was what gave the first “ rise to that difference. The learned Dr. Pri deaux,t agreeably to the sacred history, gives a quite different account, “ This hatred, betwixt the Jews' and Samaritans, first began from the opposition the Samaritans made against them, on their return from the Babylonisla captivity, both in rebuilding their temple, and repairing the walls of Jerusalem.” There was therefore no nécessity of bringing Jeroboam into the account of the Samaritan schism: the doctor breaks through the fences of historical truth tà come at his dissenting brethren and give them this lash. But, i 1479 1,18

* The Samaritans were the offspring of those nations, 'I which the king of, Assyria placed in the cities of Samaria. when he had carried away ihe ten tribes captive. · Jos. Mede: Disc. XII.

+ Prid, Connec, of list. Part 1, B. VI. p. 414.

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