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mit the crime itself; so that they remind us of the epitaph of Warburton on Charters, who says of him, that “having daily deserved the gibbet for what he did, was at last condemned to it for what he could not do.” They have not had the means of committing it. Schism is not a question of geography, but of theology: yet, according to what the doctors of the churches teach, it is schism to be a Presbyterian in England, and schism to be an Episcopalian in Scotland. But our late king wisely determined otherwise; and when he visited Scotland, worshipped with the Presbyterian Church, the Establishment of the north ; and in returning to England again, worshipped with the Episcopal Church of the south: yet George the Fourth was no schismatic.
Schism is a very serious crime; but nobody would dream of being a criminal merely because he crossed the Tweed, or because he preferred to listen to a sermon from Doctor Chalmers, rather than to one from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The true meaning of the word schism, is cutting into parts the one body of Christ; and consequently, before any one can be shewn to be guilty of schism, it is necessary to shew out what is the one body of Christ. Now it is obvious that for this end the definitions given above of the word church, do not apply; and therefore it follows that the terms church, and body of Christ, are not convertible. To cut off oneself, or to be cut off from the body of Christ, is the most terrible act that can be committed : to separate from a church may be a very righteous thing. The Church of England has openly separated herself from the Church of Rome, although she still acknowledges the latter to be a church; the Church of Scotland has separated from both. The Church of Scotland has now committed the same act as that which sealed the apostasy of the Church of Rome-namely, exalting a set of human writings above the word of God. Both these churches, therefore, are to be separated from, because they are both alike apostate ; and all the faithful servants of Jesus must be called to come out of them, and testify against them.
It is remarkable how no church has openly ventured to call itself exclusively the body of Christ (unless the miserable band of Sandemanians or Glassites are reckoned worthy of such a title), while all the charges of schism which it has brought against separatists from its communion have virtually gone upon that basis. There is probably no point in divinity on which so much confusion has arisen, as upon that of a church and schism ; and for this one simple reason, namely, that there has not existed upon the earth such a body as that which is called a church in the New Testament; and, consequently, the crime of schism, or separation from such a body, could not exist.
Mr. Vaughan and Mr. Irving, as well as some writers in this
Journal, have, at various times, endeavoured to clear the subject up, and contend against the schismatic spirit of the times, but, we must confess, with very little success. A few clergymen of the Church of England have become a little more Papistical than they were before, so that some have even gone the length of refusing to hold prayer-meetings with the laymen of their parishes or congregations—and we fear they lay their pride and folly at our doors, as if they had learned it of us—but this is all the fruit that can be boasted of from our united labours. We endeavoured so to define the church of which we were speaking, as to include all, and exclude none, of the members of the body of Christ, and shewed the evil of schism in, or separation from, the body, the church, so defined. The warning has been enforced by many who have neglected the definition ; by many who have assumed that their sect alone included the church, when the slightest examination would shew that their party could be but a sect or division at best; but a part of a church of the church universal. In that portion of the church which subsists here, and is called the Church of England, a party subsists calling itself The Church, and exercising a very considerable influence within its own circle, though this is notoriously a narrow sphere. A minister of this party was requested by a friend, and one who prides himself on his strict observance of the prescribed forms of the English Church, to be godfather to his child. The minister knew that his friend was habitually and scrupulously attentive to the ordinances of the Church of England ; knew that his piety and morals were unimpeachable; but, knowing that his father was a Baptist, inquired whether he had been baptized in infancy! The father had died a Baptist, but the son had received adult baptism in the Church of England; yet, as he had not been baptized in infancy, simply because his father was a Baptist, this minister of the Church of England refused to stand godfather for his child, saying he would have nothing to do with schism ! We have no hesitation in saying that this minister was the schismatic ; and further, that he is ignorant of the meaning of baptism, and of the origin and duties of a godfather; and that it is well for the child that he refused an office which he is not qualified to fill.
A church, in the New Testament, is, as we know from various parts, and especially from the epistles to the seven churches in Asia,“ a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure word of God is preached, and the sacraments duly administered, according to Christ's ordinance in all things that of necessity are requisite to the same.” Now the thing requisite to the having the pure word of God preached, is the living Voice of the Spirit of God; for the Spirit was to speak as well as the Angel. There
must be two witnesses in order to confirm any truth of God, Christ speaking through the angel, and the Holy Ghost speaking through the prophets. Thus it is often said, “ Ye are witnesses, and the Holy Ghost also ;”—the faithful men, and the Holy Ghost also. Thus in Rev. xi., where the re-constitution of a pure church is foretold, it is described by its essential characteristic of two witnesses—the ministry of the word, and the ministry of the Spirit-for where either is lacking, there is no church, that is, no visible body of Christ. The definition of the Church of England is not strict enough : according to it, there is no such thing as schism in Christendom. It feels and acknowledges this, and therefore proceeds to make some other bond of union amongst its members, a breach of which bond it calls heresy. This is very proper; that is, it is very proper to have another bond: the Lord provided another bond, which was His own Spirit : all churches have rejected this, and substituted creeds, confessions, &c. for it. The Lord's bond was internal and living; their bond has been external and dead. Since the church lost the Spirit from the midst of it there has been no bond of the Lord's appointing, and therefore no breach of that bond could be made. To separate from a body bound together by the one Spirit of Christ, was indeed to rend the body of Christ; but to separate from a parcel of people with various spirits, and only bound together by putting their hands to the same piece of paper, may be right or wrong, but has not in itself, and independent of other considerations, the smallest resemblance to the sin of schism.
In our former teachings on this subject we endeavoured to shew that the Evangelical spirit was really a schismatic spirit: by which we did not mean that all the followers and readers of the Christian Observer were going to turn Dissenters, and that the old Nonconformists, and those who inherited their principles, had really a catholic spirit, while the Church from which they separated acted schismatically; but neither did this justify all the other altars which have been set up in latter times. We hear from all quarters respecting Baptism and the Lord's Supper such confused expressions as, “ I was baptized into the Church of England, or Scotland;" or, “ I am a member of the Church of England, or Scotland, because I never communicated any where else:” whereas we repeat, for the hundredth time, that baptism is into the body of Christ, and not into a sect; that communion is communion of the body of Christ, and not communion of a party of people. These expressions are the result of a purely schismatic spirit; which spirit is universal, and so powerful, that persons belonging to one of these sects cannot communicate in the other without a considerable struggle
with their habits and prejudices. This proves that their religion is schismatic or sectarian, standing in parts, divisions, according to forms and ceremonies, and not catholic : moreover, it shews that they do neither see nor find Christ in the ordinances, for He must be as much in one form as in another; yet they refuse the ordinance, or at least dislike it, if it be not according to a certain form: He is overlooked for the form. We are aware that some sincere and conscientious persons will be staggered at these remarks; but a little reflection will satisfy them of their correctness, and do much to expose to themselves motives and principles hitherto unsuspected.
We believe that the spirit universally prevalent among the Evangelical and Dissenting body now, to be catholic towards error, and schismatic towards Christ; while the high church party in England and Scotland seem to be more orthodox, only on account of the power and emoluments which as yet remain annexed to it.
A few sentences from works containing our own opinions upon this subject may be here profitably reiterated.
" The lie, the very great lie, that God hath not loved all, and died for alí in Christ Jesus, but only for a part of men, necessarily forceth the believer of it into the same form of spirit, to love and sacrifice himself only for a part of men. It becomes the sanctification of schism, the great generator of division upon the face of the earth; as may be seen at this day in my own poor country and church, where they can agree about nothing, but fight about every thing, save the persecution of the truth, to which they are wondrously accordant.” Lect. on Apoc. ii. 562.
Let the reader turn also to vol. i. p. 348, where the author is shewing that the sin of schism is rife now amongst all men called enlightened and liberal, and guarding against separation, but yet inserts the provisio," so that we do not follow her into any denial of the truth as it is in Jesus ;" and the whole of our present argument turns upon the assertion, that the manifestations of prophecy now making in the church are the work of the Spirit of Jesus; and, consequently, that the denial of it is
a denial of the truth as it is in Jesus.” Mr. Vaughan repeatedly warned his catechumens that they would fall into the priestcraft of the Papists, which consisted in the man taking the power which was vested in Christ, unless they would see themselves to be but tools to be used by another—a star in the hand-instead of assuming any thing to themselves, which must ultimately end in their taking to themselves honours that are not their due ; while, at the same time, the ordinances must stand in living persons, and not in ceremonies and forms. If they had seen this they would have seen also the importance, for their own sakes, as well as for the sake of their flocks, of having the
voice of the Spirit once more heard amongst them ; whereas now they fear it, because they know it would pull them down from a post of infallibility, in which pride and vanity, in violation of their consciences, has placed them.
If, then, there has been no perceivable body of Christ, nor any church claiming to be such, there can have been no visible church. There have been assemblies assuming the name, as Political Unions might assume the name of Parliaments; but the assumption of a name—that is, of an idle sound-without possessing the power and properties of that which the name imports, is but a braggart boast, an empty cheat, a hideous mockery of a sacred thing. But there must have been a church some where, for the Lord declared there ever should be. Where then has it been? We will answer this question in the Scotch fashion, by asking another: Where was the Judge of Israel when Samson's eyes were put out, and he was in fetters grinding at the mill? Even there was the Judge of Israel ; still the Judge of Israel; the holy one of God; the representative of God to the people ; the beloved of the Lord; ready, as soon as he should cry again to the Lord, from whom he had revolted, by giving up to please a harlot that wherein lay his real strength,
to come forth again with more than former power, and to do a deed for God, and upon the enemies of God, surpassing all that he had ever done before; in the doing of which he himself should be taken into the presence of the Lord, to abide with Him for ever. So has been the church shorn of her true ornaments, the gifts of the Spirit, in which alone her strength lay; shut up in human ordinances ; oppressed by fleshly wisdom; and made to serve the purposes of, and furnish food to, her enemies, and those who took her name in vain. She lies still in one dark corner or another; a poor woman in one place, or a prayerful man in another, scarcely heard of until they were gone, affording a flickering indication that she is still upon the earth. These despised ones are nevertheless the mighty of the Lord, and shortly will He again put within them superhuman might, by which they shall burst the bars of iron in which they are held, and by the same act pull down the stout towers of Babel, to the utter destruction of those who mock and scorn at the sanctified ones of Jehovah.
The locks of the church are now again appearing : the" little strength" of Philadelphia is beginning to put forth its vivifying influence over the “ few names left” in the midst of the formality of Sardis. The Spirit of Christ is knocking for admittance into the nauseous state of Laodicea; but, alas ! this church thinks herself so rich that she has no need of Him, and its angel slams to the door in his Master's face. Wherever the Spirit of the Lord can gain admittance, to His teaching must