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PRE FACE.

M

E LM H E Subject of the ensuing Treatise is, Be h i n it self, of so little Moment, that it K I T may seem needful to apologize for offerOL ) ing it to públic View. But no one

3 knows any Thing of the Hißory of ReDA LIGION, that barb not seen, with Astonishment, the power of that Name to make little Things become great ; to give Trifles a solemn Air ; and to exalt Circumstances and Modes into Objets, not of Men's grave Attention only, but, of their warmest Passions and Zeal.

Even under the Christian Dispensation, that rational, sublime and spiritual Scheme of Worship, the Minds of it's Profesors have with great violencé been agitated, and fierce Controversies have arose upon the most frivolous Points-Whether the Sacramental Supper is to be eaten with leavened, or with unleavened Bread ?-Wbether Easter is to be kept precisely on the fourteenth Day after the first vernal Moon : Or, not till the Sunday following ? -Whether the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father AND the Son: Or, from the Father by the Son ?-Whether the Christian Laity were to cross themselves with two Fingers only : Or, whether, like the Clergy, they might not use three*?-Furious and dire Contro

versies * The Church, through the vast Empire of Ruffia, was greatly rent and inflamed, even to Tortures and Death itself, in the reign of Czar Theodore, by this insignificant Dispute. Vid. Present State of Ruffia - Vol. I. Page 238. Voltaire says, a violent Sedition was raised by it in Afracan. Life of Charles XII. Page 21.

THENEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

ASTORLE SOX AND
DEN' FOUNDATION

PRE FACE.

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E H E Subject of the ensuing Treatise is, e in it felf, of so little Moment, that it

may seem needful to apologize for offer

ing it to public View. But no one CARI knows any Thing of the History of Re

DA LIGION, that bath not seen, with Astonishment, the power of that Name to make little Things become great ; to give Trifles a folemn Air ; and to exalt Circumstances and Modes into Objets, not of Men's grave Attention only, but, of their warmest Parfions and Zeal.

Even under the Christian Dispensation, that rational, sublime and spiritual Scheme of Worship, the Minds of it's Profesors have with great violence been agitated, and fierce Controversies bave arose upon the most frivolous Points-Whether the Sacramental Supper is to be eaten with leavened, or with unleavened Bread ?-Wbether Easter is to be kept precisely on the fourteenth Day after the first vernal Moor : Or, not till the Sunday following? Whether the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father and the Son: Or, from the Father by the Son ? Whether the Christian Laity were to cross themselves with two Fingers only : Or, whether, like the Clergy, they might not use three* ?-Furious and dire Controversies, to the terrible Convulfion of Kingdoms and States; and to the infinite Reproach of the Christian Doctrine and Name, have been kindled up in the Church, upon such trifling Debates.

verlies • The Church, through the vast Empire of Russia, was greatly rent and inflamed, even to Tortures and Death itself, in the reign of Czar Theodore, by this insignificant Dispute. Vid. Present State of Rufha Vol. I. Page 238. Voltaire says, a vio- , lent Sedition was raised by it in Afracan. Life of Charles XII. page 21.

Of much the same Moment is the Point bere discussed; viz. whether Baptism is to be administered by Dipping the Body under Water ; Or, by Sprinkling or Pouring on.

There are some worthy and good Persons (extremely Strange to consider !) who lay so great stress upon this trivial Circumstance in Religion, as to allow none to be baptized Christians but those who have been dipe-TO break off christian Fellowship, and renounce Communion as Saints, with Men of the most shining Piety, if they have not been thus besptized-And even to think themselves obliged to be unwearied in raising Doubts and

Anxieties in the Breasts of Such, concerning the Validity and Truth of their Baptism.

Many pious, but weak Minds have been greatly disturbed, not to say distressed, with Scruples on this Head. When they bear it confidently affirmed That Baptism evermore, and constantly, implies Dipping That no Person ever.was, or can be, baptized, who has not been

dipt-And consequently, that themselves are as really un1 baptized, as Pagans or Turks-It fills them with con

cern. They doubt whether they are not wanting in Obedience to an express Command and Institution of CHRIST.

EffeEtually to remove every Scruple of this kind, to mew, that ibere is no Occasion of putting this Yoke upon the Neck of the Disciples, and to vindicate CHRISTIANITY from the unworthy Imputation of laying to great « Stress upon so merely circumftantial and external a Thing, is the Design of the ensuing Treatise. How far it all be effectual to answer this Purpose is humbly left to the Favour of Heaven; and to the calm and impartial Judgment of those into whose Hands it may happen to fall.

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