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The nature of schism to be determined from Scripture only — This principle by some opposed — Necessity of abiding in it — Parity of reason allowed — Of the name of schism — Its constant use in Scripture — In things civil and religious — The whole doctrine of schism in the epistles to the Corinthians — The case of that church proposed to consideration — Schism entirely in one church; not in the separation of any from a church; nor in subtraction of obedience from governors — Of the second schism in the church of Corinth — Of Clement’s epistle. — The state of the church of Corinth in those days: Ἐκκλησία παροικοῦσα Κόρινθον, — Πάροικος, who; παροικία, what — Πάροχος, “parœcia” — To whom the epistle of Clement was precisely written — Corinth not a metropolitical church — Allowance of what by parity of reason may be deduced from what is of schism affirmed — Things required to make a man guilty of schism — Arbitrary definitions of schism rejected — That of Austin considered; as also that of Basil — The common use and acceptation of it in these days — Separation from any church in its own nature not schism — Aggravations of the evil of schism ungrounded — The evil of it from its proper nature and consequences evinced — Inferences from the whole of this discourse — The church of Rome, if a church, the most schismatical church in the world — The church of Rome no church of Christ; a complete image of the empire — Final acquitment of Protestants from schism on the principle evinced, peculiarly of them of the late reformation in England — False notions of schism the ground of sin and disorder.
The thing whereof we treat being a disorder in the instituted worship of God, and that which is of pure revelation, I suppose it a modest request, to desire that we may abide solely by that discovery and description which is made of it in Scripture, — that that alone shall be esteemed schism which is there so called, or which hath the entire nature of that which is there so called. Other things may be other crimes; schism they are not, if in the Scripture they have neither the name nor nature of it attributed to them.
He that shall consider the irreconcilable differences that are among Christians all the world over about this matter, as also what hath passed concerning it in former ages, and shall weigh what prejudices the several parties at variance are entangled with in reference hereunto, will be ready to think that this naked appeal to the only common principle amongst us all is so just, necessary, and reasonable, that it will be readily on all hands condescended unto. But as this is openly opposed by the Papists, as a most destructive way of procedure, so I fear that when the tendency of it is discovered, it will meet with reluctancy from others. But let the reader know that as I have determined προτιμᾷν τὴν ἀλήθειαν, so to take the measure of it from the Scripture only. “Consuetudo sine veritate est vetustas erroris,” Cyp. Ep. ad Pomp.; and the sole measure of evangelical truth is His word of whom it was said, Ὁ λόγος ὁ σὸς ἀλήθειά ἐστι. “Id verius quod prius, id prius quod ab initio, id ab initio quod ab apostolis,” says Tertullian. It is to me a sufficient answer to that fond 100question, “Where was your religion before Luther? where was your religion in the days of Christ and his apostles?” My thoughts as to this particular are the same with Chrysostom’s on the general account of truth, Ἔρχεται Ἕλλην καὶ λέγει, ὅτι βούλομαι γενέσθαι Χριστιανὸς ἀλλὰ οὐκ οἶδα τίνι προσθῶμαι· μάχη παρ’ ὑμῖν πολλὴ καὶ στάσις, πολὺς θόρυβος, ποῖον ἕλομαι δόγμα; τί αἱρήσομαι; ἕκαστος λέγει ὅτι ἐγὼ ἀληθεύω, τίνι πειθῶ μηδὲν ὅλως εἰδὼς ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς; κᾳκεῖνοι τὸ αὐτὸ προβάλλονται πάνυ γε τοῦτο ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν, εἰ μὲν γὰρ λογισμοῖς ἐλέγομεν πείθεσθαι εἰκότως ἐθορύβου, εἰ δὲ ταῖς γραφαῖς λέγομεν πιστεύειν, αὐταὶ δὲ ἀπλαὶ καὶ ἀληθεῖς, εὔκολόν σοι τὸ κρινόμενον, εἴτις ἐκείναις συμφωνεῖ οὗτος Χριστιανός· εἴτις μάχεται οὗτος πόῤῥω τοῦ κανόνος τούτου. Homil. iii. in Acta.22 We have not been able to discover the passage quoted in the homily referred to. We have ventured on some slight corrections from conjecture. — Ed.
But yet, lest this should seem too strait, as being, at first view, exclusive of the learned debates and disputes which we have had about this matter, I shall, after the consideration of the precise Scripture notion of the name and thing, wherein the conscience of a believer is alone concerned, — propose and argue also what by a parity of reason may thence be deduced as to the ecclesiastical common use of them, and our concernment in the one and the other.
The word, which is metaphorical, as to the business we have in hand, is used in the Scripture both in its primitive native sense, in reference to things natural, as also in the tralatitious use of it, about things politic and spiritual, or moral. In its first sense we have the noun, Matt. ix. 16, Καὶ χεῖρον σχίσμα γίνεται, “And the rent” (in the cloth) “is made worse;” — and the verb, Matt. xxvii. 51, Καταπέτασμα τοῦ ναοῦ ἐσχίσθη, “The vail of the temple was rent;” Καὶ αἱ πέτραι ἐσχίσθησαν, “And the rocks were rent:” both denoting an interruption of continuity by an external power in things merely passive. And this is the first sense of the word, — a scissure or division of parts before continued, by force or violent dissolution. The use of the word in a political sense is also frequent: John vii. 43, Σχίσμα οὖν ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ, “There was a division among the people,” some being of one mind, some of another; John ix. 16, Καὶ σχίσμα ἦν ἐν αὐτοῖς, “There was a division among them;” and chap. x. 19 likewise. So Acts xiv. 4 Ἐσχίσθη δε τὸ πλῆθος τῆς πόλεως, “The multitude of the city was divided;” and chap. xxiii. 7, “There arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees,” καὶ ἐσχίσθη τὸ πλῆθος, “and the multitude was divided,” some following one, some another of their leaders in that dissension. The same thing is expressed by a word answering unto it in Latin:— “Scinditur incertum studia in contraria vulgus.” And in this sense, relating things, it is often used.33 Οἱ τὴν Ῥώμην οἰκοῦντες διεμερίσθησαν εἰς τὰ μέρη, καὶ οὐκέτι ὡμονόησαν πρὸς ἀλλήλους· καὶ ἐγένετο μέγα σχίσμα. — Chronic. Antioch Joh. Male. p. 98, A. MS. Bib. Bod.
101This being the next posture of that word, from whence it immediately slips into its ecclesiastical use, expressing a thing moral or spiritual, there may some light be given into its importance when so appropriated, from its constant use in this state and condition to denote differences of mind and judgment, with troubles ensuing thereon, amongst men met in some one assembly, about the compassing of a common end and design.
In the sense contended about it is used only by Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, and therein frequently: Chap. i. 10, “I exhort you, μὴ ᾖ ἐν ὑμῖν σχίσματα,” — “that there be no schisms among you.” Chap. xi. 18, “When ye come together in the church, ἀκούω σχίσματα ἐν ὑμῖν ὑπάρχειν,” — “I hear that there be schisms among you.” Chap. xii. 25, the word is used in reference to the natural body, but with an application to the ecclesiastical. Other words there are of the same importance, which shall also be considered, as Rom. xvi. 17, 18. Of schism in any other place, or in reference to any other persons, but only to this church of Corinth, we hear nothing.
Here, then, being the principal foundation, if it hath any, of that great fabric about schism which in latter ages hath been set up, it must be duly considered, that, if it be possible, we may discover by what secret engines or artifices the discourses about it, which fill the world, have been hence deduced, — being, for the most part, universally unlike the thing here mentioned, — or find out that they are built on certain prejudices and presumptions nothing relating thereto. The church of Corinth was founded by Paul, Acts xvii. 8–11; with him there were Aquila and Priscilla, verses 2, 18. After his departure, Apollos came thither, and effectually watered what he had planted, 1 Cor. iii. 6. It is probable that either Peter had been there also, or at least that sundry persons converted by him were come thither, for he still mentions Cephas and Apollos with himself, chap. i. 12, iii. 22. This church, thus watered and planted, came together for the worship of God, ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό, chap. xi. 20, and for the administration of discipline in particular, chap. v. 4, 5. After a while, through the craft of Satan, various evils, in doctrine, conversation, and church-order crept in amongst them. As for doctrine, besides their mistake about eating things offered to idols, chap. viii. 4, some of them denied the resurrection of the dead, chap. xv. 12. In conversation they had not only the eruption of a scandalous particular sin amongst them, chap. v. 1, but grievous sinful miscarriages when they “came together” about holy admininistrations, chap. xi. 20, 21. These the apostle distinctly reproves in them. Their church-order, as to that love, peace, and union of heart and mind wherein they ought to have walked, was woefully disturbed with divisions and sidings about their teachers, chap. i. 12. And not content to make 102this difference the matter of their debates and disputes from house to house, even when they met for public worship, or that which they all met in and for, they were divided on that account, chap. xi. 18. This was the schism the apostle dehorts them from, charges them with, and shows them the evil thereof. They had differences amongst themselves about unnecessary things. On these they engaged in disputes and sidings even in their solemn assemblies, when they came all together for the same worship, about which they differed not. Probably, much vain jangling, alienation of affections, exasperation of spirit, with a neglect of due offices of love, ensued hereupon. All this appears from the entrance the apostle gives to his discourse on this subject: 1 Cor. i. 10, Παρακαλῶ ὑμᾶς, ἵνα τὸ αὐτὸ λέγητε πάντες, — “I beseech you that ye all speak the same thing.” They were of various minds and opinions about their church affairs; which was attended with the confusion of disputings. “Let it not be so,” saith the apostle; καὶ μὴ ἦ ἐν ὑμῖν σχίσματα, “and let there be no schisms among you,” which consist in such differences and janglings. He adds, Ἦτε δὲ κατηρτισμένοι ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ νοῒ καὶ ἐν τῂ αὐτῇ γνώμῃ, — “But that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” They were joined together in the same church-order and fellowship, but he would have them so also in oneness of mind and judgment; which if they were not, though they continued together in their church-order, yet schisms would be amongst them. This was the state of that church, this the frame and carriage of the members of it, this the fault and evil whereon the apostle charges them with schism and the guilt thereof. The grounds whereon he manageth his reproof are their common interest in Christ, chap. i. 13; the nothingness of the instruments of preaching the gospel, about whom they contended, chap. i. 27, iii. 4, 5; their church-order instituted by God, chap. xii. 13: of which afterward.
This being, as I said, the principal seat of all that is taught in the Scripture about schism, we are here, or hardly at all, to learn what it is and wherein it doth consist. The arbitrary definitions of men, with their superstructions and inferences upon them, we are not concerned in: at least, I hope I shall have leave from hence to state the true nature of the thing, before it be judged necessary to take into consideration what, by parity of reason, may be deduced from it. In things purely moral and of natural equity, the most general notion of them is to be the rule, whereby all particulars claiming an interest in their nature are to be measured and regulated. In things of institution, the particular instituted is first and principally to be regarded; how far the general reason of it may be extended is of after-consideration. And as is the case in respect of duty, so it is in respect of the evils that are contrary thereto. 103True and false are indicated and tried by the same rule. Here, then, our foot is to be fixed; what compass may be taken to fetch in things of a like kin will in its proper place follow. Observe, then, —
1. That the thing mentioned is entirely in one church, amongst the members of one particular society. No mention is there in the least of one church divided against another, or separated from another or others, — whether all true or some true, some false or but pretended. Whatever the crime be, it lies wholly within the verge of one church, that met together for the worship of God and administration of the ordinances of the gospel; and unless men will condescend so to state it upon the evidence tendered, I shall not hope to prevail much in the process of this discourse.
2. Here is no mention of any particular man’s, or any number of men’s, separation from the holy assemblies of the whole church, or of subduction of themselves from its power: nor doth the apostle lay any such thing to their charge, but plainly declares that they continued all in the joint celebration of that worship and performance together of those duties which were required of them in their assemblies; only, they had groundless, causeless differences amongst themselves, as I shall show afterward. All the divisions of one church from another, or others, the separation of any one or more persons from any church or churches, are things of another nature, made good or evil by their circumstances, and not that at all which the Scripture knows and calls by the name of schism; and therefore there was no such thing or name as schism, in such a sense, known in the Judaical church, though in the former it abounded. All the different sects to the last still communicated in the same carnal ordinances; and those who utterly deserted them were apostates, not schismatics. So were the body of the Samaritans; they worshipped they knew not what, nor was salvation among them, John iv. 22.
3. Here is no mention of any subtraction of obedience from bishops or rulers, in what degree soever, no exhortation to regular submission unto them, — much leas from the pope or church of Rome. Nor doth the apostle thunder out against them, “You are departed from the unity of the catholic church, have rent Christ’s seamless coat, set up ‘altare contra altare,’ have forsaken the visible head of the church, the fountain of all unity; you refuse due subjection to the prince of the apostles;” nor, “You are schismatics from the national church of Achaia, or have cast off the rule of your governors;’’ with the like language of after days; — but, “When ye come together, ye have divisions amongst you.” “Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth!”
A condition not unlike to this befalling this very church of Corinth, sundry years after the strifes now mentioned were allayed by the 104epistle of the apostle, doth again exhibit to us the case and evil treated on. Some few unquiet persons among them drew the whole society (upon the matter) into division and an opposition to their elders. They who were the causes, μιαρᾶς καὶ ἀνοσίου στάσεως, as Clement tells them in the name of the church at Rome, were ὀλίγα πρόσωπα a few men acted by pride and madness; yet such power had those persons in the congregation, that they prevailed with the multitude to depose the elders and cast them out of office. So the same Clement tells them, Ὁρῶμεν ὅτι ἑνίους ὑμεῖς μετηγάγετε καλῶς πολιτευομένους ἐκ τῆς ἀμέμπτως αὐτοῖς τετιμημένης λειτουργίας. What he intends by his μετηγάγετε, etc., he declares in the words foregoing, where he calls the elders that were departed this life happy and blessed, as not being subject or liable to expulsion out of their offices: Οὐ γὰρ εὐλαβοῦνται μή τις αὐτοὺς μεταστήσῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἱδρυμένου αὐτοῖς τόπου. Whether these men who caused the differences and sedition against those elders that were deposed were themselves by the church substituted into their room and place, I know not. This difference in that church the church of Rome, in that epistle of Clement, calls everywhere schism, as it also expresses the same thing, or the evil frame of their minds and their actings, by many other words. Ζῆλος, ἔρις, στάσις, διωγμός, ἀκαταστασία, ἀλαζονεία, τύφος, πόλεμος, are laid to their charge. That there was any separation from the church, that the deposed elders, or any for their sakes, withdrew themselves from the communion of it, or ceased to assemble with it for the celebration of the ordinances of the gospel, there is not any mention; only the difference in the church is the schism whereof they are accused. Nor are they accused of schism for the deposition of the elders, but for their differences amongst themselves, which was the ground of their so doing.
It is alleged, indeed, that it is not the single church of Corinth that is here intended, but all the churches of Achaia, whereof that was the metropolis; which though, as to the nature of schism, it be not at all prejudiced to what hath been asserted, supposing such a church to be, yet, because it sets up in opposition to some principles of truth that must afterward be improved, I shall briefly review the arguments whereby it is attempted to be made good.
The title of the epistle, in the first place, is pretended to this purpose. It is: Ἡ ἐκκλησία Θεοῦ ἡ παροικοῦσα Ῥώμην τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ παροικούσῃ Κόρινθον· “wherein” (as it is said) “on each part the παροικία, or whole province, as of Rome, so of Corinth, the region and territory that belonged to those metropolises is intended.” But, as I have formerly elsewhere said, we are beholden to the frame and fabric of church affairs in after ages for such interpretations as these. The simplicity of the first knew them not. They who talked of the 105church of God that did παροικεῖν, at Rome little then thought of province or region. Ἐκκλησία παροικοῦσα Ῥώμην is as much as ἐκκλησία ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις, Acts viii. 1. Πάροικος is a man that dwells at such a place, properly one that dwells in another’s house or soil, or that hath removed from one place and settled in another; whence it is often used in the same sense with μέτοικος. He is such a inhabitant as hath yet some such consideration attending him as makes him a kind of a foreigner to the place where he is. So, Eph. ii. 19, πάροικοι and συμπολῖται are opposed. Hence is παροικία, which, as Budæus says, differs from κατοικία in that it denotes a temporary habitation, this a stable and abiding one. Παροικέω, is so to “inhabit” to dwell in a place, where yet something makes a man a kind of a stranger. So it is said of Abraham, Πίστει παρώκησεν εἰς τὴν γῆν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας ὡς ἀλλοτρίαν, Heb. xi. 9; joined with παρεπίδημος, 1 Pet. ii. 11 (hence this word by the learned publisher of this epistle is rendered “peregrinatur, diversatur”); and more clearly Luke xxiv. 18, Σὺ μόνος παροικεῖς ἐν Ἱερουσαλήμ; which we have rendered, “Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem?” Whether παροικία and “parœcia” is from hence or no by some is doubted. Πάροχος is “convivator,” and παροχή “præbitio,” Gloss. vetus; so that “parochiæ” may be called so from them who met together to break bread and to eat. Allow “parochia” to be barbarous, and our only word to be “parœcia,” from παροικία then it is as much as the voisinage, men living near together for any end whatever. So says Budæus, πάροικοι are πρόσοικοι· thence churches were called παροικίαι, consisting of a number of them, who were πάροικοι or πρόσοικοι. The saints of God, expressing the place which they inhabited, and the manner, as strangers said of the churches whereof they were, Ἐκκλησία παροικοῦσα Ῥώμην, and Ἐκκλησία παροικοῦσα Κόρινθον. This is now made to denote a region, a territory, the adjacent region to a metropolis, and suchlike things as the poor primitive pilgrims little thought of. This will scarcely, as I suppose, evince the assertion we are dealing about. There may be a church of dwelling at Rome or Corinth, without any adjacent region annexed to it, I think. Besides, those who first used the word in the sense now supposed did not understand a province by παροικία, which with them (as originally) the charge of him that was a bishop, and no more. Επαρχία was with them a province that belonged to a metropolitan, such as the bishop of Corinth is supposed to be. I do not remember where a metropolitan’s province is called his παροικία, there being many of these in every one of them. But at present will not herein concern myself.
But it is said that this epistle of Clement was written to them whom Paul’s epistles were written; which appears, as from the common title, so also from hence, that Clement advises them to whom 106he writes to take and consider that epistle which Paul had formerly wrote to them. Now, Paul’s epistle was written to all the churches of Achaia, as it is said expressly in the second, “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints, which are in all Achaia,” chap. i. 1. And for the former, that also is directed πᾶσι ἐπικαλουμένοις τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ. And the same form is used at the close of this [Clement’s]: Καὶ μετὰ πάντων πανταχῆ κεκλημένων ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ, wherein all places in Achaia (and everywhere therein) not absolutely are intended; for if they should, then this epistle would be a catholic epistle, and would conclude the things mentioned in it of the letter received by the apostle, etc., to relate to the catholic church.
Ans. It is confessed that the epistles of Paul and Clement have one common title; so that Τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ παροικούσῃ Κόρινθον, which is Clement’s expression, is the same with Τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τῇ οὔσῃ ἐν Κορίνθῳ, which is Paul’s in both his epistles; which adds little strength to the former argument from the word ταροικοῦσα, οὔσῃ ἐν Κορίνθῳ, as I suppose, confining it thither. It is true, Paul’s second epistle, after its inscription, Τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τῇ οὔσῃ ἐν Κορίνθῳ, adds, σὺν τοῖς ἁγίοις πᾶσι τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Ἀχαΐα. He mentions not anywhere any more churches in Achaia than that of Corinth and that at Cenchrea, nor doth he speak of any churches here in this salutation, but only of the saints; and he plainly makes Achaia and Corinth to be all one, 2 Cor. ix. 2: so that to me it appears that there were not as yet, any more churches brought into order in Achaia but that mentioned, with that other at Cenchrea, which, I suppose, comes under the same name with that of Corinth. Nor am I persuaded that it was a completed congregation in those days. Saints in Achaia that lived not at Corinth there were perhaps many, but, being scattered up and down, they were not formed into societies, but belonged to the church of Corinth, and assembled therewith, as they could, for the participation of ordinances. So that there is not the least evidence that this epistle of Paul was directed to any other church but that of Corinth. For the first, it can scarce be questioned. Paul writing an epistle for the instruction of the saints of God and disciples of Christ in all ages, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, salutes in its beginning and ending all them that on that general account are concerned in it. In this sense all his epistles were catholic, even those he wrote to single persons. The occasion of writing this epistle was, indeed, from a particular church, and the chief subject-matter of it was concerning the affairs of that church; hence it is in the first place particularly directed to them. And our present inquiry is not after all that by any means were or might be concerned in that which was then written, as to their present or future direction, but after them who administered the occasion to what was so 107written, and whose particular condition was spoken to. This, I say, was the single church of Corinth. That πάντες οἱ ἐπικαλούμενοι τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν παντὶ τόπω, “all in every place,” should be all only in Achaia, or that Clement’s μετὰ πάντων πανταχῆ τῶν κεκλημένων ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ, should be, “with them that are called in Achaia,” I can yet see no ground to conjecture. Paul writes an epistle to the church of Ephesus, and concludes it, Ἡ χάρις μετὰ πάντων τῶν ἀγαπῶντων τὸν Κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ, — the extent of which prayer is supposed to reach farther than Ephesus and the region adjacent. It doth not, then, as yet appear that Paul wrote his epistles particularly to any other but the particular church at Corinth. If concerning the latter, because of that expression, “with all the saints which are in all Achaia,” it be granted there were more churches than that of Corinth, with its neighbour Cenchrea (which whether it were a stated distinct church or no I know not), yet it will not at all follow, as was said before, that Clement, attending the particular occasion only about which he and the church of Rome were consulted, did so direct his epistle, seeing he makes no mention in the least that so he did. But yet, by the way, there is one thing more that I would be willingly resolved about in this discourse, and that is this: seeing that it is evident that the apostle by his πάντες ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ, and Clement by his πάντων πανταχῆ κεκλημένων, intend an enlargement beyond the first and immediate direction to the church of Corinth, if by the church of Corinth, as it is pleaded, they intend to express that whole region of Achaia, what does either the apostle or Clement obtain by that enlargement, if restrained to that same place?
It is, indeed, said that at this time there were many other episcopal sees in Achaia; which, until it is attempted to be put upon some kind of proof, may be passed by. It is granted that Paul speaks of that which was done at Corinth to be done in Achaia, Rom. xv. 26, as what is done in London is without doubt done in England; but that which lies in expectation of some light or evidence to be given unto it is, that there was a metropolitical see at Corinth at this time, whereunto many episcopal sees in Achaia were in subordination, being all the παροικία of Corinth, all which are called the church of Corinth, by virtue of their subjection thereunto. When this is proved, I shall confess some principles I afterward insist on will be impaired thereby.
This, then, is added by the same author, “That the ecclesiastical estate was then conformed to the civil. Wherever there was a metropolis in a civil-political sense, there was seated also a metropolitical church. Now, that Corinth was a metropolis, the proconsul of Achaia keeping his residence there, in the first sense is confessed.” And besides what follows from thence, by virtue of the principle now 108laid down, Chrysostom calls it a metropolis, relating to the time wherein Paul wrote his epistle to the church there, in the latter sense also.
The plea about metropolitical churches, I suppose, will be thought very impertinent to what I have now in hand, so it shall not at present be insisted on. That the state of churches in after ages was moulded and framed after the pattern of the civil government of the Roman empire is granted; and that conformity (without offence to any be it spoken) we take to be a fruit of the working of “the mystery of iniquity.” But that there was any such order instituted in the churches of Christ by the apostles, or any intrusted with authority from their Lord and Ruler, is utterly denied; nor is any thing but very uncertain conjectures from the sayings of men of after ages produced to attest any such order or constitution. When the order, spirituality, beauty, and glory of the church of Christ shall return, and men obtain a light whereby they are able to discern a beauty and excellency in the inward, more noble, spiritual part, indeed life and soul, of the worship of God, these disputes will have an issue. Chrysostom says, indeed, that Corinth was the metropolis of Achaia; but in what sense he says not. The political is granted; the ecclesiastical not proved. Nor are we inquiring what was the state of the churches of Christ in the days of Chrysostom, but of Paul. But to return.
If any one now shall say, “Will you conclude, because this evil mentioned by the apostle is schism, therefore nothing else is so?”
I answer, that having before asserted this to be the chief and only seat of the doctrine of schism, I am inclinable so to do. And this I am resolved of, that unless any man can prove that something else is termed schism by some divine writer, or blamed on that head of account by the Holy Ghost elsewhere, and is not expressly reproved as another crime, I will be at liberty from admitting it so to be.
But yet for what may hence by a parity of reason be deduced, I shall close with and debate at large, as I have professed.
The schism, then, here described by the apostle, and blamed by him, consists in causeless differences and contentions amongst the members of a particular church, contrary to that [exercise] of love, prudence, and forbearance, which are required of them to be exercised amongst themselves, and towards one another; which is also termed στάσις, Acts xv. 2, and διχοστασία, Rom. xvi. 17. And he is a schismatic that is guilty of this sin of schism, — that is, who raiseth, or entertaineth, or persisteth in such differences. Nor are these terms used by the divine writers in any other sense.
That any men may fall under this guilt, it is required, —
1. That they be members of or belong to some one church, which is so by the institution and appointment of Jesus Christ. And we 109shall see that there is more required hereunto than the bare being a believer or a Christian.
2. That they either raise or entertain, and persist in, causeless differences with others of that church, more or less, to the interruption of that exercise of love, in all the fruits of it, which ought to be amongst them, and the disturbance of the due performance of the duties required of the church in the worship of God; as Clement in the fore-mentioned epistle, Φιλόνεικοί ἐστε ἀδελφοὶ καὶ ζηλωταὶ περὶ μὴ ἀνηκόντων εἰς σωτηρίαν.
3. That these differences be occasioned by and do belong to some things, in a remoter or nearer distance, appertaining to the worship of God, Their differences on a civil account are elsewhere mentioned and reproved, 1 Epist. chap. vi.; for therein, also, there was, from the then state of things, an ἥττημα, verse 7.
This is that crime which the apostle rebukes, blames, condemns, under the name of schism, and tells them that were guilty of it that they showed themselves to be carnal, or to have indulged to the flesh, and the corrupt principle of self, and their own wills, which should have been subdued to the obedience of the gospel. Men’s definitions of things are for the most part arbitrary and loose, fitted and suited to their several apprehensions of principles and conclusions, so that thing clear or fixed is generally to be expected from them; from the Romanists’ description of schism, who violently, without the least colour or pretence, thrust in the pope and his headship into all that they affirm in church matters, least of all. I can allow men that they may extend their definitions of things unto what they apprehend of an alike nature to that which gives rise to the whole disquisition, and is the first thing defined; but at this I must profess myself to be somewhat entangled, that I could never yet meet with a definition of schism that did comprise, that was not exclusive of, that which alone in the Scripture is affirmed so to be.
Austin’s definition contains the sum of what hath since been insisted on. Saith he, “Schisma ni fallor est eadem opinantem, et eodem ritu utentem solo congregationis delectari dissidio,” Con. Faust lib. xx. Cap. 3. By “dissidium congregationis” he intends separation from the church into a peculiar congregation; a definition directly suited to the cause he had in hand and was pleading against the Donatists. Basil, in Epist. ad Amphiloch. Con. xliv., distinguisheth between αἵρεσις, σχίσμα, and παρασυναγωγή. And as he makes schism to be a division arising from some church controversies, suitable to what those days experienced, and in the substance true, so he tells us that παρασυναγωγή is when either presbyters, or bishops, or laics hold unlawful meetings, assemblies, or conventicles; which was not long since with us the only schism.
110Since those days, schism in general hath passed for a causeless separation from the communion and worship of any true church of Christ (“The Catholic church,” saith the Papist), with a relinquishment of its society, as to a joint celebration of the ordinances of the gospel. How far this may pass for schism, and what may be granted in this description of it, the process of our discourse will declare. In the meantime, I am most certain that a separation from some churches, true or pretended so to be, is commanded in the Scriptures; so that the withdrawing from or relinquishment of any church or society whatever, upon the plea of its corruption, be it true or false, with a mind and resolution to serve God in the due observation of church institutions, according to that light which men have received, is nowhere called schism, nor condemned as a thing of that nature, but is a matter that must be tried out, whether it be good or evil, by virtue of such general rules and directions as are given us in the Scriptures for our orderly and blameless walking with God in all his ways.
As for them who suppose all church power to be invested in some certain church officers originally (I mean that which they call of jurisdiction), who on that account are “eminenter” the church, the union of the whole consisting in a subjection to those officers, according to rules, orders, and canons of their appointment, whereby they are necessitated to state the business of schism on the rejection of their power and authority, I shall speak to them afterward at large. For the present, I must take leave to say, that I look upon the whole of such a fabric as a product of prudence and necessity.
I cannot but fear lest some men’s surmisings may prompt them to say that the evil of schism is thus stated in a compliance with that and them which before we blamed, and seems to serve to raise slight and contemptible thoughts of it, so that men need not be shaken though justly charged with it. But besides that sufficient testimony which I have to the contrary, that will abundantly shelter me from this accusation, by an assurance that I have not the least aim δουλεύειν ὑποθέσει, I shall farther add my apprehension of the greatness of the evil of this sin, if I may first be borne with a little in declaring what usual aggravations of it I do either not understand or else cannot assent unto.
Those who say it is a rending of the seamless coat of Christ (in which metaphorical expression men have wonderfully pleased themselves) seem to have mistaken their aim, and, instead of an aggravation of its evil, by that figure of speech, to have extenuated it. A rent of the body well compacted is not heightened to any one’s apprehension in its being called the rending of a seamless coat. But men may be indulged the use of the most improper and groundless 111expressions, so they place, no power of argument in them, whilst they find them moving their own, and suppose them to have an alike efficacy upon the affections of others. I can scarce think that any ever supposed that the coat of Christ was a type of his church, his church being clothed with him, not he with it. And, therefore, with commendation of his success who first invented that illusion, I leave it in the possession of them who want better arguments to evince the evil of this sin.
It is most usually said to be a sin against charity, as heresy is against faith. Heresy is a sin against faith, if I may so speak, both as it is taken for the doctrine of faith which is to be believed, and the assent of the mind whereby we do believe. He that is a heretic (I speak of him in the usual acceptation of the word, and the sense of them who make this comparison, in neither of which I am satisfied) rejects the doctrine of faith, and denies all assent unto it. Indeed, he doth the former by doing the latter. But is schism so a sin against charity? Doth it supplant and root love out of the heart? Is it an affection of the mind attended with an inconsistency therewith? I much question it.
The apostle tells us that “love is the bond of perfectness,” Col. iii. 14, because, in the several and various ways whereby it exerts itself, it maintains and preserves, notwithstanding all hindrances and oppositions, that perfect and beautiful order which Christ hath pointed amongst his saints. When men by schism are kept off and withheld from the performance of any of those offices and duties of love which are useful or necessary for the preservation of the bond of perfection, then is it, or may in some sense be said to be, a sin against love.
Those who have seemed to aim nearest the apprehension of the nature of it in these days have described it to be an open breach of love, or charity. That that expression is warily to be understood is evident in the light of this single consideration: It is possible for a man to be all and do all that those were and did whom the apostle judges for schismatics, under the power of some violent temptation, and yet have his heart full of love to the saints of the communion disturbed by him. It is thus far, then, in its own nature a breach of love, in that in such men love cannot exert itself in its utmost tendency in wisdom and forbearance for the preservation of the perfect order instituted by Christ in his church. However, I shall freely say that the schoolmen’s notion of it, who insist on this as its nature, that it is a sin against charity, as heresy is against faith, is fond and becoming them; and so will others also that shall be pleased to consider what they intend by charity.
Some say it is a rebellion against the church, — that is, the rulers 112and officers of the church. I doubt not but that there must be either a neglect in the church in the performance of its duty, or of the authority of it in so doing, wherever there is any schism, though the discovery of this also have innumerable entanglements attending it. But that to refuse the authority of the church is to rebel against the rulers or guides of it will receive farther light than what it hath done, when once a pregnant instance is produced, not where the church signifies the officers of it, but where it doth not signify the body of the congregation in contradistinction from them, or comprising them therein.
Add unto these those who dispute whether schismatics do belong to the church or no, and conclude in the negative, seeing, according to the discovery already made, it is impossible a man should be a schismatic unless he be a church member. Other crimes a man may be guilty of on other accounts; of schism, only in a church, What is the formal reason of any man’s relation to a church, in what sense soever that word is used, must be afterward at large discussed.
But now this foundation being laid, that schism is a causeless difference or division amongst the members of any particular church that meet together, or ought so to do, for the worship of God and celebration of the same numerical ordinances, to the disturbance of the order appointed by Jesus Christ, and contrary to that exercise of love in wisdom and mutual forbearance which is required of them, it will be easy to see wherein the iniquity of it doth consist, and upon what considerations its aggravations do arise.
It is evidently a despising of the authority of Jesus Christ, the great sovereign Lord and Head of the church. How often hath he commanded us to forbear one another, to forgive one another, to have peace among ourselves, that we may be known to be his disciples, to bear with them that are in any thing contrary-minded to ourselves! To give light to this consideration, let that which at any time is the cause of such hateful divisions, rendered as considerable as the prejudices and most importune affections of men can represent it to be, be brought to the rule of love and forbearance in the latitude of it, as prescribed to us by Christ, and it will evidently bear no proportion thereunto; so that such differences, though arising on real miscarriages and faults of some, because they might otherwise be handled and healed, and ought to be so, cannot be persisted in without the contempt of the immediate authority of Jesus Christ, If it were considered that he “standeth in the congregation of the mighty,” Ps. lxxxii. 1; that he dwells in the church in glory, “as in Sinai, in the holy place,” Ps. lxviii. 17, 18, walking “in the midst of the candlesticks,” Rev. i. 13, with his eyes upon us 113as a “flame of fire,” verse 14, his presence and authority would, perhaps, be more prevalent with some than they seem to be.
Again; His wisdom, whereby he hath ordered all things in his church on set purpose that schism and divisions may be prevented, is no less despised. Christ, who is the wisdom of the Father, 1 Cor. i. 24, the stone on which are seven eyes, Zech. iii. 9, upon whose shoulder the government is laid, Isa. ix. 6, 7, hath, in his infinite wisdom, so ordered all the officers, orders, gifts, administrations of and in his church, as that this evil might take no place. To manifest this is the design of the Holy Ghost, Rom. xii. 3–9; 1 Cor. xii.; Eph. iv. 8–13. The consideration, in particular, of this wisdom of Christ, — suiting the officers of his church, in respect of the places they hold, the authority wherewith from him they are invested, the way whereby they are entered into their functions; distributing the gifts of his Spirit in marvellous variety unto several kinds of usefulness, and with such distance and dissimilitude in the particular members, as, in a due correspondency and proportion, give comeliness and beauty to the whole; disposing of the order of his worship, and sundry ordinances in especial, to be expressive of the highest love and union; pointing all of them against such causeless divisions; — might be of use, were that my present intendment.
The grace and goodness of Christ, whence he hath promised to give us one heart and one way, to leave us peace such as the world cannot give, with innumerable other promises of the like importance, are disregarded thereby. So also is his prayer for us. With what affection and zeal did he pour out his soul to his Father for our union in love! That seems to be the thing his heart was chiefly fixed on when he was leaving this world, John xvii.. What weight he laid thereon, how thereby we may be known to be his disciples, and the world be convinced that he was sent of God, is there also manifested.
How far the exercise of love and charity is obstructed by it hath been declared. The consideration of the nature, excellency, property, effects, usefulness of this grace in all the saints in all their ways, its especial designation by our Lord and Master to be the bond of union and perfection, in the way and order instituted for the comely celebration of the ordinances of the gospel, will add weight to this aggravation.
Its constant growing to farther evil, in some to apostasy itself, — its usual and certain ending in strife, variance, debate, evil surmisings, wrath, confusion, disturbances public and private, — are also to be laid all at its door. What farther of this nature and kind may be added (as much may be added) to evince the heinousness of this sin of schism, I shall willingly subscribe unto; so that I shall 114not trouble the reader in abounding in what on all hands is confessed.
It is incumbent upon him who would have me to go farther in the description of this evil than as formerly stated, to evince from Scripture another notion of the name or thing than that given; which when he hath done, he shall not find me refractory. In the meantime, I shall both consider what may be objected against that which hath been delivered, and also discuss the present state of our divisions on the usual principles and common acceptation of schism, if, first, I may have leave to make some few inferences or deductions from what hath already been spoken, and, as I hope, evinced.
On supposition that the church of Rome is a church of Christ, it will appear to be the most schismatical church in the world. I say on supposition that it is a church, and that there is such a thing as a schismatical church (as perhaps a church may from its intestine differences be not unfitly so denominated), that is the state and condition thereof. The pope is the head of their church; several nations of Europe are members of it. Have we not seen that head taking his flesh in his teeth, tearing his body and his limbs to pieces? Have some of them thought on any thing else but, “Arise, Peter, kill and eat,” all their days? Have we not seen this goodly head, in disputes about Peter’s patrimony and his own jurisdiction, wage war, fight, and shed blood, — the blood of his own members? Must we believe armies raised, and battles fought, towns fired, all in pure love and perfect church order? not to mention their old “altare contra altare,” anti-popes, anti-councils. Look all over their church, on their potentates, bishops, friars, — there is no end of their variances. What do the chiefest, choicest pillars, eldest sons, and I know not what, of their church at this day? Do they not kill, destroy, and ruin each other, as they are able? Let them not say these are the divisions of the nations that are in their church, not of the church; for all these nations, on their hypothesis, are members of that one church. And that church which hath no means to prevent its members from designed, resolved on, and continued murdering one of another, nor can remove them from its society, shall never have me in its communion, as being bloodily schismatical. Nor is there any necessity that men should forego their respective civil interests by being members of one church. Prejudicate apprehensions of the nature of a church and its authority lie at the bottom of that difficulty. Christ hath ordained no church that inwraps such interests as on the account whereof the members of it may murder one another. Whatever, then, they pretend of unity, and however they make it a note of the true church (as it is a property of it), that which is like it amongst them is made up of these two 115ingredients, — subjection to the pope, either for fear of their lives or advantage to their livelihood, and a conspiracy for the destruction and suppression of them that oppose their interests; wherein they agree like those who maintained Jerusalem in its last siege by Titus, — they all consented to oppose the Romans, and yet fought out all other things among themselves. That they are not so openly clamorous about the differences at present as in former ages is merely from the pressure of Protestants round about them. However, let them at this day silence the Jesuits and Dominicans, especially the Baijans and the Jansenians on the one part, and the Molinists on the other; — take off the Gallican church from its schismatical refusal of the council of Trent; — cause the king of Spain to quit his claim to Sicily, that they need not excommunicate him every year; — compel the commonwealth of Venice to receive the Jesuits; stop the mouths of the Sorbonnists about the authority of a general council above the pope, and of all those whom, opposing the papal omnipetency, they call politicians; — quiet the contest of the Franciscans and Dominicans about the blessed Virgin; — burn Bellarmine’s books, who almost on every controversy of Christian religion gives an account of their intestine divisions; branding some of their opinions as heretical, as that of Medina about bishops and presbyters; some as idolatrical, as that of Thomas about the worship of the cross with “latria,” etc.; — and they may give a better colour to their pretences than any as yet they wear.
But what need I insist upon this supposition, when I am not more certain that there is any instituted church in the world, owned by Christ as such, than I am that the church of Rome is none, properly so called? Nor shall I be thought singular in this persuasion, if it be duly considered what this amounts unto. Some learned men of latter days in this nation, pleading in the justification of the church of England as to her departure from Rome, did grant that the church of Rome doth not err in fundamentals, or maintained no errors remedilessly pernicious and destructive of salvation. How far they entangled themselves by this concession I argue not. The foundation of it lies in this clear truth, that no church whatever, universal or particular, can possibly err in fundamentals; for by so doing it would cease to be a church. My denying, then, the synagogue of Rome to be a church, according to their principles, amounts to no more than this, — the Papists maintain, in their public confessions, fundamental errors; in which assertion it is known I am not alone.
But this is not the principle, at least not the sole or main principle, whereon I ground my judgment in this case; but this, that there was never any such thing, in any tolerable likeness or similitude, as that which is called the church of Rome, allowing the most 116skilful of its rabbis to give in the characters and delineations of it, instituted in reference to the worship of God by Jesus Christ. The truth is, the whole of it is but an imitation and exemplar of the old imperial government. One is set up in chief, and made ἀνυπεύθυνος in spirituals, as the emperors were in several things; from him all power flows to others. And as there was a communication of power by the emperors, in the civil state to prefects, proconsuls, vicars, presidents, governors of the lesser and greater nations, with those under them, in various civil subordinations, according to the dignity of the places where they did bear rule and preside; and in the military to generals, legates, tribunes, and the inferior officers; — so is there by the pope to patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, in their several subordinations, which are as his civil state; and to generals of religious orders, provincials, and their dependants, which are as his military. And it is by some (not in all things agreeing with them) confessed that the government pleaded for by them in the church was brought in and established in correspondency and accommodation to the civil government of the empire; which is undeniably evident and certain. Now, this being not thoroughly done till the empire had received an incurable wound, it seems to me to be the making of an image to the beast, giving life to it, and causing it to speak. So that the present Roman church is nothing else but an image or similitude of the Roman empire, set up, in its declining, among and over the same persons in succession, by the craft of Satan, through principles of deceit, subtlety, and spiritual wickedness, as the other was by force and violence, for the same ends of power, dominion, fleshliness, and persecution with the former.
The exactness of this correspondency in all things, both in respect of those who claim to be the stated body of his ecclesiastical commonwealth, and those who are merely dependent on his will, bound unto him professedly by a military sacrament, exempted from the ordinary rules and government of his fixed rulers in their several subordinations, under officers of their own, immediately commissionated by him, with his management of both these parties to balance and keep them mutually in quiet and in order for his service (especially confiding in his men of war, like the emperors of old), may elsewhere be farther manifested.
I suppose it will not be needful to add any thing to evince the vanity of the pretensions of the Romanists or others against all or any of us on the account of schism, upon a grant of the principles laid down, it lies so clear in them without need of farther deduction; and I speak with some confidence that I am not in expectation of any hasty confutation of them, — I mean, that which is so indeed. [As for] the earnestness of their clamours, importuning us to take notice 117of them, by the way, before I enter upon a direct debate of the cause, as it stands stated in reference to them, I shall only tell them, that, seeking to repose our consciences on the mind of God revealed in the Scriptures, we are not at all concerned in the noise they make in the world. For what have we done? Wherein doth our guilt consist? Wherein lies the peculiar concernment of these ἀλλοτριοεπίσκοποι? Let them go to the churches with whom we walk, of whom we are, and ask of them concerning our ways, our love, and the duties of it. Do we live in strife and variance? Do we not bear with each other? Do we not worship God without disputes and divisions? Have we differences and contentions in our assemblies? Do we break any bond of union wherein we are bound by the express institutions of Jesus Christ? If we have, let the righteous reprove us; we will own our guilt, confess we have been carnal, and endeavour reformation. If not, what have the Romanist, Italians, to do to judge us? Knew we not your design, your interest, your lives, your doctrines, your worship, we might possibly think that you might intermeddle out of love and mistaken zeal; but “ad populum phaleras,” — you would be making shrines, and thence is this stir and uproar. “But we are schismatics, in that we have departed from the catholic church; and for our own conventicles, they are no churches, but sties of beasts.” But this is most false. We abide in the catholic church, under all the bonds wherein, by the will of Christ, we stand related unto it; which if we prove not with as much evidence as the nature of such things will bear, though you are not at all concerned in it, yet we will give you leave to triumph over us. And if our own congregations be not churches, whatsoever we are, we are not schismatics; for schism is an evil amongst the members of a church, if St Paul may be believed. “But we have forsaken the church of Rome.” But, gentlemen, show first how we were ever of it. No man hath lost that which he never had, nor hath left the place or station wherein he never was. Tell me when or how we were members of your church? We know not your language; you are barbarians to us. It is impossible we should assemble with you. “But your forefathers left that church, and you persist in their evil.” Prove that our forefathers were ever of your church in any communion instituted by Christ, and you say somewhat. To desert a man’s station and relation, which he had on any other account, good or bad, is not schism, as shall farther be manifested.
Upon the same principle, a plea for freedom from the charge of any church, real or pretended, as national, may be founded and confirmed. Either we are of the national church of England (to give that instance) or we are not; — if we are not, and are exempted by our protestation as before, whatever we are, we are not schismatics; 118if we are fatally bound unto it, and must be members of it whether we will or no, being made so we know not how, and continuing so we know not why, show us, then, what duty or office of love is incumbent on us that we do not perform. Do we not join in external acts of worship in peace with the whole church? Call the whole church together, and try what we will do. Do we not join in every congregation in the nation? This is not charged on us, nor will any say that we have right so to do without a relation to some particular church in the nation. I know where the sore lies. A national officer or officers, with others acting under them in several subordinations, with various distributions of power, are the church intended. A non-submission to their rules and constitutions is the schism we are guilty of
“Quem das finem, rex magne, laborum!”
But this pretence shall afterward be sifted to the utmost. In the meantime, let any one inform me what duty I ought to perform towards a national church, on supposition there is any such thing by virtue of an institution of Jesus Christ, that is possible for me to perform, and I shall, σὺν Θεῷ, address myself unto it.
To close these considerations with things of more immediate concernment: Of the divisions that have fallen out amongst us in things of religion since the last revolutions of this nation, there is no one thing hath been so effectual a promotion (such is the power of tradition and prejudice, which even bear all before them in human affairs) as the mutual charging one another with the guilt of schism. That the notion of schism whereon this charge is built by the most, if not all, was invented by some of the ancients, to promote their plea and advantage with them with whom they had to do, without due regard to the simplicity of the gospel, at least in a suitableness to the present state of the church in those days, is too evident; for on very small foundations have mighty fabrics and μορμωλυκεῖα in religion been raised. As an ability to judge of the present posture and condition of affairs, with counsel to give direction for their order and management towards any end proposed, — not an ability to contrive for events, and to knit on one thing upon another, according to a probability of success, for continuance, which is almost constantly disturbed by unexpected providential interveniences, leaving the contrivers at a perplexing loss, — will be found to be the sum of human wisdom; so it will be our wisdom, in the things of God, not to judge according to what by any means is made present to us, and its principles on that account rendered ready to exert themselves, but ever to recoil to the original and first institution. When a man first falls into some current, he finds it strong and almost impassable; trace it to its fountain, and it is but a dribbling gutter. Paul tells the members 119of the church of Corinth that there were divisions amongst them, breaches of that love and order that ought to be observed in religious assemblies. Hence there is a sin of schism raised; which, when considered as now stated, doth no more relate to that treated on by the apostle than “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” doth to the pope’s supremacy; or Christ saying to Peter of John, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” did to the report that afterward went abroad, “that that disciple should not die.” When God shall have reduced his churches to their primitive purity and institution, when they are risen and have shaken themselves out of the dust, and things of religion return to their native simplicity, it is scarce possible to imagine what vizards will fall off, and what a contrary appearance many things will have to what they now walk up and down in.
I wish that those who are indeed really concerned in this business, — namely, the members of particular churches who have voluntarily given up themselves to walk in them according to the appointment of Christ, — would seriously consider what evil lies at the door if they give place to causeless differences and divisions amongst themselves. Had this sin of schism been rightly stated, as it ought, and the guilt of it charged in its proper place, perhaps some would have been more careful in their deportment, in their relations. At present the dispute in the world relating hereunto is about subjection to the pope and the church of Rome, as it is called; and this managed on the principles of edicts and of councils, with the practices of princes and nations, in the days long ago past, with the like considerations, wherein the concernment of Christians is doubtless very small; or of obedience and conformity to metropolitan and diocesan bishops in their constitutions and ways of worship, jointly or severally prescribed by them. In more ancient times, that which was agitated under the same name was about persons or churches renouncing the communion and society of saints with all other churches in the world, yet consenting with them in the same confession of faith, for the substance of it. And these differences respectively are handled in reference to what the state of things was and is grown unto in the days wherein they are managed. When Paul wrote his epistle, there was no occasion given to any such controversies, nor foundation laid making them possible. That the disciples of Christ ought everywhere to abound in love and forbearance towards one another, especially to carry all things in union and peace in those societies wherein they were joined for the worship of God, were his endeavours and exhortations: of these things he is utterly silent. Let them who aim to recover themselves into the like state and condition consider his commands, exhortations, and reproofs. Things are now generally 120otherwise stated, which furnisheth men with objections against what hath been spoken; to whose removal, and farther clearing of the whole matter, I shall now address myself.
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