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under consideration will be this; that provide they believe, what as Christians they must believe, it is a matter of no consequence what form of religious worship they adopt; whether they hold communion with the church, or the meeting-house; in other words, whether they assemble as members of the Church of Christ, or as members of a schismatic congregation.

The admission of this idea cuts up by the roots the unity of the Christian Church; and makes what the Apostles and first Christians wrote upon this subject somewhat worse than nonsense; for in this case they imposed on their fellow-Christians, by making matters in themselves indifferent subjects of very important consideration.

In short, this inter-communion (if we may so say) between the Church and the conventicle, so utterly inconsistent with the regular economy of Divine grace, can never lead to good. It must ultimately destroy the cause it is meant to serve.

To point out its danger, we have only to ask, whether it be not possible for Christians to profess

the true faith, and yet by disobedience to lose all the benefits expected from it? If so, there is, doubtless, something of essential importance with the Christian, besides the acknowledgment of the fundamentals of Christianity.

Korah and his company were swallowed up, not for any error in faith, but for disobedience of prac tice; not because they disbelieved any of the established doctrines of the Jewish Church, but because they rebelled against the Divine ordinance in its establishment.

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It was not for their renunciation of the faith, but for their separation from the Church, that St. Paul, St. Clement, and St. Ignatius, in their addresses to the primitive Christians, expressed themselves so strongly and decidedly upon the subject of ecclesiastical unity; that it is impossible, one should suppose, for an unprejudiced reader of their writings, to harbour a doubt upon this subject.

Upon what ground, then, are we to conclude, that conformity to the established government of the Church, which in the primitive days constituted a subject of the first magnitude, is now dwindled Can down into an unimportant consideration? any thing which has received the sanction of the Divine institution in religion be deemed a nonessential? Can, for instance, the Divine institution of the Christian Church, become at any time a matter of no importance? Can the rule given by the Apostle to the members of that Church, in consequence of its Divine establishment, respecting their obedience and submission to the spiritual authority of their appointed governors,* become a matter of indifference to the professors of Christ's religion? Can the cultivation of Christian charity, that bond of perfectness, as it is called; that Christian grace, which the establishment of the Church was in a particular manner designed to promote among men; in speaking of religious practice, can this be deemed a non-essential?

Our author, it will be urged, means no such thing. It shall be readily allowed that he does not. On the contrary, that he directs true Christians

* Heb. xiii. 17.

"to cultivate a Catholic spirit of universal goodwill and amicable fellowship towards all, of whatever sect or denomination," &c.

Had we no experience in human affairs, did we know nothing of the corrupt creature man, we should pay attention to a direction so well calcuBut as man lated to harmonize a jarring world. is, it is a direction irreducible to practice upon any plan, but that which has been laid down by God for the purpose. God knew what was in man. He knew that what ought to be the strongest cement of affection and brotherly kindness, would, through the corruption of his nature, be made the ground of animosity, hatred, and revenge. He saw, when on earth, in the case of the Samaritans, a striking instance of the fatal effect produced by a difference of opinion in religious matters, upon the harmony of society. The remedy which he provided against it was the institution of a Church, in which all mankind should be brought together, "in the unity of the same spirit," to worship the same God " in the bond of peace."*

Such is the idea so strongly inculcated by the Apostle, in his epistle to the Romans; where he directs the members of the Church "to follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."+ "Now the God of patience and consolation," says he, “grant you to be like-minded one towards another, according to Christ Jesus, that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."+ "Let the peace of God

* Ephes. iv. 3. + Rom. xiv. 19.

Rom. xv, 5, 6.

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rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body."

The peace prescribed to Christians, and intended as a blessing to them, is here described by the Apostle as the end of their vocation, and of their being united into one body. If, then, the end of Christians being united into one body, the Church, be the production of peace among them; the most probable consequence of their being broken into sects and parties will be the destruction of it. Had it not been for the sake of peace and love, and the great blessings which attend them, God might have let Christians live in different bodies, as well as in one; and exercise their religion in opposite Churches, as well as in Churches agreeing in the same communion. But the reason why He hath enjoined Christians to unite into one body and communion, was to put them into a blessed state of Catholic peace and love; for promoting the happiness of mankind, and the honour of His holy name. Could this perfection of Christianity have been brought about in any other way; to use our author's words, could the fundamentals of religion have been preserved in the world, and “ a Catholic spirit of universal good-will, and amicable fellowship," have been kept alive among men in any other way, than by their joint communion in religious worship; it is probable that the institution of the Christian Church, as a society under an appropriate government, had never taken place. To talk, therefore, of nothing being of essential consideration with the Christian disciple but the * Col. iii. 15.

profession of the true faith, is to propagate a doc-
trine as unknown to the Church of Christ as it is
contradicted by the experience of the world. For
conformity to the appointed government of the
Church, is not only a matter of importance to the
Christian, as it is an obedience to the Divine will;
but it is, moreover, a subject necessary to be at-
tended to by him, upon the very ground pointed
out by our author; because it essentially contri-
butes to the promotion and preservation of those
very objects which he has particularly in view.
“The Church,” the Apostle tells us, "is the pillar
and ground of the truth."* One of the ends of its
institution was, that, by establishing a standard of
judgment in religious matters, it might be the
guardian and preserver of the Christian faith;
that Christians might not be "tossed to and fro,
and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by
the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby
they lie in wait to deceive. But speaking the truth
in love, may grow up into him in all things,
which is the head, even Christ: from whom the
whole body (of the Church) fitly joined together
and compacted by that which every joint supplieth,
according to the effectual working in the measure
of every part, maketh increase of the body unto

* “Quibus verbis significat Paulus, ne intercidat veritas Dei in mundo, ecclesiam esse fidam ejus custodem: quia ejus ministerio et operâ voluit Deus puram verbi sui prædicationem conservari et se nobis ostendere patrem familiâs, dam nos spiritualibus alimentis pascit, et quæcunque ad salutem nostram faciunt, procurat."-CALV. Inst. 1. iv. c. 1.

+1 Tim. iii. 15.

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