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the fellowship of the Church. Thus, "the "Lord added to the Church daily such as "should be saved "Christ loved the
"Church, and gave himself for it"." If we are assured that "the branch cannot bear 66 fruit, except it abide in the vine," can we too anxiously avoid an unfruitful, a withered separation? If by baptism alone" we are admitted to the inestimable privileges of the Gospel covenant, and "by one Spirit we are "all baptized into one body"," how awful is the thought, how tremendous the hazard, lest by a wilful violation of the unity of that body, we become self-excluded from the benefits of that blessed sacrament!
That the sentiments of the Christian Church in the succeeding ages remained in perfect unison with the doctrines of Scripture, is abundantly testified by the writings of the Fathers. Their strong and decisive language on these subjects may well astonish the latitudinarian indifference and
t Acts ii. 47. u Eph. v. 25.
x John xv. 4.
y" Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, "he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." John
z 1 Cor. xii. 13.
schismatical prejudices of these degenerate days. "Let no man deceive himself," said St. Ignatius; "if a man be not within the "altar, he is deprived of the bread of "God"." And again, "Be not deceived,
my brethren; if any man follow him "who makes a schism, he inherits not the "kingdom of God." Not less decisive are expressions of the venerable Cyprian; "He cannot have God for his father, who "has not the Church for his mother.” "He who holds not this unity, holds not "the law of God, holds not the faith of "the Father and the Son, and holds not "life and salvation"." "The inexpiable
a Μηδεὶς πλανάσθω· ἐὰν μή τις ᾖ ἐντὸς τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου, ὑστερεῖται τοῦ ἄρτου τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ignatii Epist. ad Ephes. edit. Voss. p. 20.
b Μὴ πλανᾶσθε ἀδελφοί μου· εἴτις σχίζοντι ἀκολουθεῖ, βασιλείαν Θεοῦ οὐ κληρονομεῖ. Ad Philadelph. p. 40.
Quisquis ab Ecclesia separatus adulteræ jungitur, a promissis Ecclesiæ separatur. Nec perveniet ad Christi præmia, qui relinquit Ecclesiam Christi. Alienus est, prophanus est, hostis est. Habere jam non potest Deum patrem, qui Ecclesiam non habet matrem. Cyprian. de Unit. Eccles. edit. Baluzii, p. 195.
d Hanc unitatem qui non tenet, Dei legem non tenet, non tenet Patris et Filii fidem, vitam non tenet et salutem. Ibid. p. 196.
" and heinous sin of discord is not cleansed ❝even by suffering. He cannot be a mar"tyr who is not in the Church "." They "who do not come into the Church," says Irenæus," are not partakers of the Spirit, "but defraud themselves of life;-for where "the Church is, there is the Spirit of "God f." And the opinion of the pious Chrysostom is, that "nothing sharpens the "wrath of God so much as the divisions "of the Church "." The day would fail
e See above, p. 2. note b.
f Cujus (Spiritus) non sunt participes omnes, qui non concurrunt ad Ecclesiam, sed semetipsos fraudant a vita, per sententiam malam, et operationem pessimam. Ubi enim Ecclesia, ibi Spiritus Dei; et ubi Spiritus Dei, illic Ecclesia, et omnis gratia; Spiritus autem veritas. Irenæus, lib. iii. cap. xl. edit. Grabe.
5 Οὐδὲν οὕτω παροξύνει τὸν Θεὸν ὡς τὸ ἐκκλησίαν διαιρεθῆναι. Chrysostom. in Epist. ad Ephes. cap. iv. Homil. xi. edit. Benedict. p. 86. Eusebius has preserved a letter from Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, to the schismatical Novatian, strikingly illustrating the importance attached to unity by the early Christians. He says, "One ought to suffer any thing whatever rather than "divide the Church of God; and martyrdom endured "for the sake of avoiding schism is not less glorious, "than that which is undergone to avoid worshipping "idols, but in my opinion even more so; for in the "latter case a man becomes a martyr for his own soul
me, to lay before you the passages of similar import which might be cited from the Fathers of the Christian Church.
How striking is the contrast between those primitive ages and the times on which
" alone; but in the former for the whole Church." "Ede μὲν γὰρ καὶ πᾶν ὅτιοῦν παθεῖν, ὑπὲρ τοῦ μὴ διακόψαι τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ. καὶ ἦν οὐκ ἀδοξοτέρα, τῆς ἕνεκεν τοῦ μὴ εἰδωλολατρήσαι γινομένης, ἡ ἕνεκεν τοῦ μὴ σχίσαι μαρτυρία, κατ ̓ ἐμὲ δὲ καὶ μείζων. ἐκεῖ μὲν γὰρ ὑπὲρ μιὰς τις τῆς ἑαυτοῦ ψυχῆς· ἐνταῦθα δὲ ὑπὲρ ὅλης τῆς ἐκκλησίας μαρτυρεῖ. Euseb. Εccl. Hist. lib. vi. cap. 45.
h Notwithstanding the general propensity of modern times to overlook the guilt of schism, Divines have not been wanting in our Church who have expressed their sense of its heinousness, in terms sufficiently corre-. spondent with the language of Scripture and of the primitive Fathers." If schism be an innocent thing, "and the true Catholic spirit, I have no more to say, "but that the whole Christian Church ever since the "Apostles' times has been in a very great mistake. But "if schism be a very great sin, and that which will "damn us as soon as adultery and murder, then it must "needs be a dangerous thing to communicate with "schismatics." Resolution of some Cases of Conscience which respect Church Communion, by Dr. Sherlock; London Cases, p. 35. "I would not be an heretic or "schismatic in the Church, to have the wisdom of So"lomon, the tongues of St. Paul, and the eloquence of "Apollos, no not to be caught up into Paradise and "hear those unutterable things. I would not be the "best preacher that ever was, and speak in the pulpit
our lot has fallen! Not indeed that they stand distinctly and totally contrasted as the respective æras of unity and schism. Schisms there were, and schisms there must be, so long as pride and passion sway the heart of man;—but those were not schisms lightly regarded; they were ever viewed, as the Scripture teaches us to view them; they were opposed with zeal and vigilance, and marked with appropriate reprobation. It was reserved to these "latter days" of indifference and compromise, for a crime to which the early Christians applied the epithet of horrible, (Opixwdns',) to pass unheeded among the most ordinary transactions of life; to be even upheld by some as conducive to the glory of God; to be practised without remorse, and regarded without emotion.
"by inspiration, to have that accusation lie against me, "which St. Paul drew up against the Corinthians, of 66 envy, strife, and schism." Hickes's Posthumous Discourses, Sermon vii.
i Literally, what would cause one to shudder.
"Conclude then, that, if God be a rock, and his "work is perfect; if variety be characteristic of all his "works; an attempt to establish uniformity is revers❝ing and destroying all the Creator's glory." Kilham's Methodist's Monitor, vol.ii. p. 6.