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probably to be apprehended from the unhappy divisions of our Church, it becomes us, not only to wish and to "pray for the
peace of" this our "Jerusalem "," but to combine our most strenuous exertions in support of her sacred cause; to temper an avowed decision of principle with that charity and conciliation in practice, which may tend, by God's blessing, to restore her to harmony and accord, and make her once more, so far as human frailties will allow, "as a city that is at unity in itselfi."
"And who," said the venerable and pious Bishop Andrews, at a period when our Church wore an aspect of dissension and danger too fearfully analogous to the present," who shall make us of one "accord? High shall be his reward in "heaven, and happy his remembrance on
earth, that shall be the means to restore "this accord to the Church ;-that once "we may keep a true and perfect Pente"cost," when the disciples of Christ "were "all with one accord in one place'."
h Psalm cxxii. 6.
i Psalm cxxii. 3.
k Sermons, p. 384, fifth edition.
1 Acts ii. 1.
JOHN XX. 21.
As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. IN further prosecuting the consideration
of the claims of our excellent Church to the undivided attachment of the people of these kingdoms, and of the unreasonableness of deserting her communion, the next point which naturally presents itself is the outward form of that polity which our blessed Saviour and his holy Apostles instituted for his Church. For if it shall appear that our own ecclesiastical institutions are formed on that primitive model, our pretensions to being regarded as a sound and undoubted branch of the one universal Church must receive a most material confirmation; and the force of those arguments which have already been derived from a general review of the obligations to Christian unity, and the guilt of schism,
must be augmented in a similar proportion.
The two leading positions which it is present object to establish are these :—first, that the form of government under which the Apostles placed and left the Church by the direction of their blessed Master, and the unerring guidance of the Holy Spirit, was in all essential points what we now term Episcopal; and, secondly, that such are the circumstances connected with this original institution, and such the important and permanent purposes which it was designed to answer, that Episcopacy must be regarded as an immutable characteristic of the true Church of Christ.
Before I proceed to establish these positions by direct proof, one or two previous considerations naturally present themselves, which may serve to prepare the mind for its more candid reception.-If there are privileges annexed to the Church which God only can bestow, God, and not man, must be the author and framer of that sa
cred society. If the Church, as we have already seen grounds to infer, be a visible
society, nothing can well be expected to be more notoriously observable in it, than its external polity.-If it be, moreover, a society to which unity is indispensable, an uniformity in that polity, at least in its more prominent features, is naturally to be looked for.-Again, if schism be a sin of so deep a die as the Scriptures represent it to be, what can be greater than the antecedent improbability, that the humble and diligent inquirer should meet with any insurmountable difficulties in ascertaining how he is to avoid that sin, and what that is from which he must not separate?—If our blessed Lord commands us on certain occasions to "tell" our case "to the Church"," surely the Church should readily be discovered;-if it be a society to which we are all bound to unite ourselves, as we hope to partake of the privileges of the Christian covenant, it must consistently possess such conspicuous and decisive marks as may distinguish it from every rival association; it must be as "a city set on an hill, "which cannot be hid"," but to the blindb Matth. v. 14.
a Matth. xviii. 7.
ness of wilful inattention or unreasonable
If these considerations directly lead us, as they surely ought, to the rational expectation, that he who candidly investigates the form of that society which Christ, by his holy Apostles, established for his Church, will not search in vain; let us, on the other hand, beware of looking to the holy Scriptures for that professed and clear and accurate explanation on these points, which they were not intended to give, and which, for obvious reasons, cannot, in fairness, be expected from them. It should be carefully recollected, that the historical parts of the New Testament, besides being but a short abstract of the transactions which they record, refer, in
"He that desireth to espie light at a narrow hole, "must lay his eye near, if he mean to discover at large. "So must he be curious in considering the Scriptures, "that meaneth to discern those things that are not de"clared there at large, but are collected by circum"stance or consequence: especially in matters which "we view at this distance of time, which representeth "to us things done then through a mist of succeeding "custom." Thorndike on the Primitive Government of Churches, ch. i. p. 1.