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should never come into any closer union with the common secular departments of life. It must be counted pernicious, if the Church should be drawn into nearer contact with the State, or art be made more extensively subservient to divine worship, if Christian morality should seek to occupy all social relations, or Christian theology presume to incorporate with itself the results of worldly science, philosophy in particular.
“It were a vast object gained for the interests of American Protestantism, if this radically false and miserably narrow prejudice, opposed as it is to all true and proper progress on the part of the Church, could be effectually subverted. The theme is indeed one of the very highest consequence. It enters into the inmost life of the time, and includes in itself the most momentous questions with which the time is concerned. The following historical hints, which we are not permitted here farther to pursue, may serve possibly, in some measure at least, to direct attention to the subject.
“We set out then with the assumption, that Christianity stands in an absolutely negative, hostile relation, only to sin and death; while all that is properly human, the world with its several spheres, government, science, art, and social life, is regarded by it as of divine institution and force; which religion is required accordingly neither to annihilate nor yet to overlook as foreign to its nature, but on the contrary to occupy and fill with its own heavenly spirit. This itself serves to show the universal character of the gospel, and the cathoJicity of the church. It follows, of course, that no one of these spheres of natural life can reach its highest stage, its true perfection, until it has come to be thoroughly transfused with the leaven of Christianity. In the absolute view of the case therefore, there can be no perfect scholar or philosopher, no perfect ideal artist, whether architect or sculptor, or painter, or musician, or poet, no perfect statesman, and finally no truly moral man, who is not at the same time animated throughout with the living power of faith. It follows again with equal necessity from the same view, that the church cannot be said to have completed its career, till the whole world shall appear transfigured with its divine spirit, and states, and sciences, and arts, with all their glory, shall fall down before the altar of the Most High in full, free worship." -(pp. 135–137.)
We are compelled to pass by the closing sections, where the author, together with some views from which we partly dissent, gives a striking sketch of the present state of Germany, the seat of rationalism, and of America, the hot-bed of sectarian divisions, and is thus encouraged in his hope of a coming change. We can only extract the prayer which ends the dissertation.
“ May the nineteenth century, by a magnificent Union, consummate the ever-memorable Reformation of the sixteenth! May the New World, enwombing the life-spirit of almost every nation of the old, prove the birth-soil of this new era for the church! As the distractions of Protestantism have been most painfully experienced here, so here also may the glorious work of bringing all the scattered members of Christ's body into true catholic union be carried forward with the greatest zeal, and soonest crowned with the great festival of reconcilation; transmitting its blessings, in grateful love, to the world we honour and love as our general fatherland.”—(p. 176.)
There follow, as a supplement, one hundred and twelve theses, in which Dr. Schaff sums up the views he has advocated through the whole work. The last of them is in striking harmony with the incipient movement in our own country.-" The ultimate, sure scope of the church, towards which the inmost wish and most earnest
prayer of all her true friends continually tend, is that perfect and glorious unity, which may be said to constitute the burden of our Lord's last memorable prayer of intercession.”
Such are the truths which the Spirit of God, brooding as of old upon the troubled waters, is now awakening in the hearts of his own people. The present state is unnatural, and can scarcely last, while such presages of stormy conflict are around us. When evils have reached their climax, there is a sure and inevitable recoil. Every new development of human sin must give birth to some brighter discovery of Divine grace and holiness. And as in America the evils of sectarian division have almost reached their height, we may well hope that a deep.cry will be heard, as of old over the narrow Hellespont, so now in these latter days from beyond the Western Ocean, saying to the Christians of the old world, “ Come over and help us.” “You have sown the seeds of our divisions, and the noisome weeds have spread with a tropical luxuriance, till they are ready to choke the vineyard of the Lord. Lend us your help to detect the source of the evil, and to provide the remedy. Teach us how to maintain the supreme authority of the Divine word, and still to guard against the abuses of selfwill; to keep Christian liberty from recoiling into servile bondage, without degenerating into an ungodly license; how to prize the mint, anise, and cummin of Divine truth, and still to be growing manifestly into the fulness of Christian love."
Surely the Christians of our land will not be the last to respond to this deep cry of spiritual need, which is now finding utterance in every quarter of the world. Unity may exist, it is true, without outward uniformity, but it can never grow and prosper without manifested union. The stream of love must flow, and flow freely, or it will stagnate into corruption; and the hearts of Christians, kept asunder by coldness and prejudice, will be covered by the foul weeds of petty jealousies, when each ought to be a pure and crystal lake, to reflect the brightness of that heaven which bends down over all. But for this end something higher and holier is needed than mere party war-cries. It is neither by hearty hatred and round abuse of establishments, nor by dark hints of subtle treachery and fraudulent conspiracy against the Church, couched under the mask of desires for union, that the breaches of the spiritual Zion will ever be repaired. Those who see the true wants of the Church of Christ in these days, and feel what their Lord claims at their hands, will leave such weapons to champions who may delight to use them, and will aim at nobler and better things. They will probe the wounds of the Church, but only to discover what healing medicines can be found. They will scarch patiently and calmly
the great questions which even angels might desire to look into,
-bow authority may be reconciled with freedom, unity of faith with variety of spiritual feature, in the sons of God; the supreme importance of truth and holiness with a due honour of the means which God has appointed for their attainment; the conscience of the citizen, the liberty of the Christian, with the honour and sacred duty of Christian princes and kings ; in a word, how the limbs of truth, which have been rent and torn asunder by party strife and bitterness, by lordly oppression and sectarian stubbornness and self-will, may build themselves once more into living unity, under the noble and plastic power of Christian love. It is neither by Anti-State-Church tea-parties, nor by a scrap-book stored with receipts for reviving old jealousies, that such high problems can be solved, or the truths be brought to light, which might prove as a healing medicine to the diseases of the whole Church. There is need rather of deep research and calm forbearance, of self-distrust, and large trust in God; of a spirit jealous for the honour of the least portion of Divine truth, but still more fearful lest we should copy the folly of Jeroboam, and while we cling to some tattered shred of her garment, should suffer the truth itself, which is light, life, and love, to escape utterly from our grasp. We must learn once more to think deeply, to love heartily, and to pray fervently, or the Church will never be healed of her sore divisions, and put on her beautiful garments, prepared and ready for the appearing of her Lord.
We cannot but see, in the very publication of such a work as is now before us, approved by a leading body of American Christians, a cheering token for good. We have here another proof that the great Head of the Church, in various ways, is now stirring up his people to repentance for their divisions, to serious reflection on the causes which have rent the body of Christ, and to prayerful effort to recover and maintain “ the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The steps must perhaps, for a little time, be painful and slow. But if the last conflicts be pressing on so rapidly, as we believe them to be, events will soon wonderfully deepen the impulse which has already begun. Even silly sheep flock together at the lowering of the clouds, and the muttering of the thunderstorm. Shall the sheep of Christ be less provident ? Shall they stir up old jealousies against others, when they ought to deplore with tears their own sins ? Shall they deceive them. selves with the notion that they do God service, by treating Christians as no Christians, and brethren as no brethren, because they dislike something in their conduct, or have a store of smart anecdotes in reserve, to justify suspicious dread; as if we could
pull out the mote from the eyes of our fellow-Christians, by finging vinegar in their faces ? The aspect of the times is serious, and indeed, in many respects awfully impressive. Our own country appears to be sinking slowly into the pit from whence God had once delivered us. Popery and Infidelity are both of them aggressive, bold, and threatening: True believers are divided from each other, by sins, by errors, by prejudices, by fears, by habits of separation. This is no time for unboly suspicions, in which charity is forgotten, and our Lord himself is wounded in the house of his friends. We can
never heal the breaches of Christ's church without much wisdom and forbearance; but is it not a plain duty, nay, a high and holy pri. vilege, to " forbear one another in love?” We can never advance towards full union in the truth, unless, while errors do exist, we tolerate their honest expression. But is it not absurd to dream of plots and secret treachery, when the honest avowal of extreme -possibly, of absurd-opinions, is one main stumbling-block that embarrasses the first efforts at harmony and Christian union ? We ought doubtless to aim, with earnest desire, at the full unity which can only result from pure, full truth, in the hearts of all who fear God and love the Lord Jesus. But shall we ever persuade others to abandon one single error, or convince them that we stand on a mountain-eminence of truth, where we have collectively no sins to confess and no prejudices to unlearn, by using a microscope to enlarge all the foibles or follies of which they may have been guilty; instead of a telescope, to unfold to them the hidden glories of the triumphant church, and the high and holy and everlasting union, which will hereafter, in spite of all their sins and failings on earth, dawn upon their enraptured eyes in the kingdom of God? When we see real Christians, under some strange delusion, adopt such a course in this crisis of Providence, and wrap themselves in their own suspicions and jealousies as in a mantle of mist; when they do not merely forbear, with a natural caution, to lend an active support to the efforts of others for a noble object, till they have fully assured their own judgment and conscience on the means employed, as lawful and expedient; but fling all memories of the past, and jealous fears for the future, as stumblingblocks in their way; we cannot but say to them, as was said of old to the prophet, “Go, stand on the mount before the Lord.” Cease, we would say, to dwell in the narrow, Trophonian cave of a timorous and suspicious prudence, that has never awakened to the loud call of Providence, nor gazed intently on the sure triumph of grace and love in the hearts of all the children of God. That formalists and unconverted zealots will quarrel while the
world shall last, is very true; but are there not, in almost every branch of the visible church, many who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, and yet honestly differ in minor things ? Shall we ever convince these of their errors, where the error is real, by defaming them as enemies, who, with kindness on their lips, have war and treachery in their hearts ? Other bodies of Christians, and even their pious members, may have been guilty of many sins in word and action against the Church which we honour with a filial love ; but “are there not with us—even with us, sins against the Lord our God ?” There are great and mighty hindrances to the reunion of the Church; but is not the Spirit of Christ, who unites all true believers, greater and mightier than all the powers of evil that are in the world ? Go then, suspicious, jealous churchmen ! go, we would even say to many whom we greatly honour and love, but whose Christian prudence, as we think, has outstripped other graces more seasonable at this time, -go, and stand on the mount before the Lord. The Church is near the Pisgah that bounds her pilgrimage. Gaze on that goodly land, which lies before us, the consummate and perfect unity of all the ransomed people of God, and ask whether your hearts beat with no response to the words of Caleb, when the cautious and prudent spies brought a report of walls of partition that reached up to heaven " Let us go up at once and possess it, for we are well able to possess it !” At such a time as this, is it the first and most pressing duty of Ephraim to envy Judah, or of Judah to vex Ephraim; of Dissenters to parade the abuses of the Church, swelled with a little falsehood to make them more striking; or of Churchmen to charge Dissenters with treachery and wilful schism ? Sins of ignorance abound, it is only too clear, on all sides. Shall we provoke God to punish our own more severely, by resolving to aggravate those of our brethren, because they disagree with us, into a wilful resistance of known and manifest truth? O that, with the meekness of Moses and the wisdom of Solomon, the faith and zeal of Caleb and Joshua may now be poured upon all true Christians! We should grieve if our own Church could only prove its spiritual pre-eminence by pre-eminent suspicions against all those who follow not with us. As we believe it to excel every other visible communion of Christians in the fulness of objective truth, which it sets before its members, and in the harmony of contrasted elements in its constitution, we long that its members should equally take the lead in active piety, and in promoting a work dear to the heart of the Saviour. We must not forget, in its due place, even the wisdom of the serpent. But a grace far higher in itself, and far more seasonable to meet the wants of the