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the Hebrews) would have been calculated, not so much to inform as to lead their disciples into error.
By referring to the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Numbers, we find in what the sin of Korah consisted. Korah conformed to the law, the doctrine, and worship, which God had appointed; for we do not read that there was any dispute upon either of these points. But Korah, being a priest of an inferior order, wanted to encroach upon the authority of Aaron the high-priest, and to continue no longer under subjection to him. The sin, therefore, of Korah, consisted in his rebelling against the order of government established in that Church, of which he was an inferior minister. An order of government, therefore, must exist in the Christian Church, against which it is a sin to rebel; otherwise the sin of Korah, described in the Old Testament, and the gainsaying of Core, mentioned by St. Jude,* cannot constitute parallel cases.
That a particular order of government has been established in the Christian Church, an unanswerable proof has been already brought from the writings of St. Paul, where he calls upon the members of the Church "to obey those that had the rule over them, and to submit themselves."+ To give force, therefore, to the Apostle's injunction in this case, spiritual governors there must be in the Church, to whose authority submission is required. In withdrawing, therefore, that submission, in consequence of certain self-sufficient ministers of an inferior order setting themselves up as heads and leaders of separate congregations, independent Epist. of Jude, II. + Heb. xiii. 17.
of their respective bishops, the sin of schism in the Christian Church, corresponding with that of Korah and his associates, alluded to by St. Jude, originally consisted.
The light in which this sin was seen in the primitive days of the Church, makes it a subject of serious consideration. The Apostles, and those who lived with them, could not be mistaken upon this point. Knowing what the constitution of that Church was, over which they were commissioned to preside, they must know in what the sin of those persons consisted, who set themselves up in opposition to it. An appeal, therefore, to their writings in this case, must afford unanswerable evidence to all who are open to conviction.
What St. Paul and St. Jude have said upon it has been already remarked. To which the testimony of St. John may be added, where, in his third epistle, he speaks of one Diotrephes, who, in the true spirit of Korah, loving "to have the preeminence,"* created a division among the brethren, by not submitting himself to St. John, who was his superior in the Church. And whatever different interpretations, with the view of favouring different opinions, have been put upon the Apostolic writings, evidence is to be produced from the primitive writers of the Church so decisive, as to take away all reasonable ground for dispute on this subject.
It will be sufficient to produce one of these writers; because, if his authority, direct to this point, be not sufficient to determine the opinion of every reasonable man, all further appeal becomes
* 3 John 9.
the bishop either to baptize, or celebrate the offices; but whensoever it may be approved of by him, according to the good pleasure of God; that every thing ye do may be firm and safe."*
Again, speaking of those who act without the bishop, he observes," As Christ did nothing without his Father, so neither do ye, whether presbyter, deacon, or laick, any thing without the Bishop."+ * Give heed to your Bishop, that God may hearken to you: my soul for theirs who subject themselves under the obedience of their bishop, presbyters, and deacons; and let me take my lot with them in the Lord."
The foregoing passages, to which others might be added, from the writings of Ignatius, speak so plainly and decidedly in favour of the government established in the Church, and so directly in condemnation of all separation from it, that a particular comment upon them is unnecessary. They speak a plain language, expressive of the sentiments of the
* Τὰ σχίσματα φεύγει ὡς ἀρχὴν κακῶν. Πάντες τῷ ̓Επισκόπῳ ἀκολουθεῖτε ὡς ὁ Κριςὸς Ἰησᾶς τῷ Πατρὶ, καὶ τῷ Πρεσβυτερίῳ δὲ ὡς τοις ἀποτόλοις; πὺς δὲ Διακύνες ἐντρέπεσθε, ὡς Θεῷ ἐντολὴν. Μηδεὶς χωρὶς ἐπισκόπε τὶ πρασσέτω τῶν ἀνηκόντων εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν· ἐκείνη βεβαία εὐχαριςία ἡγείσθω, ἡ ὑπὸ τὸν ἐπίσκοπος, ὅσα, ἢ ᾧ ἂν ἀυτὸς ἐπιτρέψη. Ὅπε ἂν φανῇ ὁ ἐπίσκοπος, ἐκεῖ τὸ πλῆθος ἔσω. Οὐκ ἐξὸν ἐςι χωρὶς τῷ ἐπίσκοπε, ὅτι βαπτίζειν, ἔτε δοχὴν ἐπιτελεῖν. ̓Αλλ ̓ ὃ ἂν ἐκείνῳ δοκῇ καὶ εὐαρέτησιν Θεῦ, ἵνα ἀσφαλὲς ᾧ καὶ βέβαιον πᾶν ὃ ἂν πράσσηε.--
IGNAT. Epist. to the Smyrnæans.
+ "Ωσπερ ὁ Κύριος ἄνευ τῷ Πατρὸς ἐδὲν ποιει, ὕτω καὶ ὑμεῖς ἄνευ το ἐπισκόπο, μηδὲ Πρεσβύτερος, μηδὲ Διακονος, μηδέ λαϊκος.—IGNAT. Epist. to the Magnes,
Τῷ ἐπισκόπῳ προσέχετε, ἵνα καὶ ὁ Θεος ὖμιν. Αντίψυχον ἐγὼ τῶν ὑποτασσομένων Επισκόπῳ, Πρεσβυτερίω, Διακόνοις· μετ' αὐτῶν μέρος γένοιτο ἔχειν παρὰ Θεό. Epist. to POLYCARP,
holy men who lived in the Apostolic age; and the general conclusion from them is, that whoever was in communion with the bishop, the supreme governor of the Church upon earth, was in communion with Christ, the head of it; and whoever was not in communion with the bishop, was thereby cut off from communion with Christ; and that sacraments not administered by the bishop, or those commissioned by him, were not only ineffectual to the parties, but moreover, like the offerings of Korah, provocations against the Lord.
If, then, the constitution of the Christian Church be the same now that it was in the days of the Apostles, (and if it be not, the time when, and the authority by which, an alteration was produced in it, should be ascertained) the sin of schism, however we may attempt to palliate it, is precisely the same sin it then was. And if the primitive writers of the Church spoke so decidedly upon this subject, with a view of guarding its members against so heinous a sin, where it respected chiefly the separation of inferior ministers from the jurisdiction of their respective bishops; what would they have said upon it, had they lived to mark the extent to which this sin is carrried in the days in which we live? If they considered schism, as it was then practised, as the greatest of all crimes, because it directly counteracted the Divine plan in the establishment of the Church; what language would they have found sufficiently strong to express their abhorrence of that Babel of confusion, which now prevails in the Christian world? If the preservation of the government of the Church constituted an object of that