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nest in enforcing the duty of unity, and in exposing the danger of schism. But further : since St. Paul dissuades his brethren against dissensions and divisions, even by the solemn adjuration of the Lord Jesus (1. Cor. i. 10); since he numbers heresies, seditions, variance, emulations, envyings, among the works of the flesh (Gal. v. 20); and directs that those who caused these divisions and offences, preaching Christ out of contention, sub. perting houses, teaching, what they ought not, and understanding not what they affirm, creeping into houses, and leading captiye silly women (Phil. į. 16; Tit. i.J]; i Tim. 1:7; 2 Tim. iii. 6), should be marked and avoided (Rom. xvi. 17; Tit. iji. 10): since another Apostle condemns those who separate themselves from the church, as sensual, having not the Spirit (Jude, 19); and since the denunciation is extended to persons of itching ears, who, not satisfied with the doctrine of their appointed ministers, heap to themselves unauthorized teachers *; and thus participate the guilt of schismatical teaching, by encouraging it; nay, since, by disunion and schism, we cause OFFENCES, or hindrances offences contrary to the doctrine of love (Rom. xvi. 17), and hindrances to the gospel of peace (2 Cor. xiii. 11, and Ephes. vi. 15), as well as to that order which St. Paul recommended (1 Cor. xiv. 40); unity
must be regarded as still more desirable and irnportant.
There is undoubtedly a degree of strong conviction, which may supersede all these considerations. But strong it must be: a complete con viction of the understanding; after long, patient, and unbiassed investigation, The desertion of a religion consecrated by the allegiance we owe tò governors and laws; a religion pure in its doc? trines, apostolic in its ordinances, spiritual in its forms, simple in its ceremonies; sublime, rational, conducive to sound morals; and sufficient for eternal salvation : a religion bearing every token of its being the ark of God, the church of Christ; preserved for ages, but purified from base corruptions ; more especially when this is the religion in which we have been trained: the desertion of such a system, we must needs allow, is not by any to be enterprised rashly and wantonly; to gratify itching ears, or fickle propensities, or slight objections to minor arrangements : and that man incurs a heavy responsibility, who forsakes the established church of England, without being able fully to disprove to his own mind, by satisfactory reasoning; its pretensions to all the characters of a true church, above recited. But, alas ! how scanty is the number of dissidents, who are competent to investigate the merits and principles of the church abandoned ! how few take the trouble of pursuing such an inyeștigation! Even of those few, how pre
carious is the situation! Like doves escaped from the ark, they may attempt to nestle on the waves; but may, perchance, in the end, regret that they had not abided in a habitation of greater safety *.
* Nothing less than sinful terms of communion can justify a separation : such as the idolatries of the church of Rome. Now the old dissenters, the Brownists, accused the English church as idolatrous; and the old non-conformists conformed as laymen. It was reserved for late years to deem schism justifiable on slight grounds.' The Scotch Presbyterians, in their memorial to the House of Commons, of 1790, allow that their members may occasionally hold communion with the church of England. But it is remarked by the Presbyterian Assembly of England, in 1649 (Papers for Accommodation, p. 48), that separation from churches, visibly. and ordinarily, with whom you may occasionally conform, seemeth a most unjust separation. The Irish Presbyterians allow, that Episcopalians belong to the true church of Christ--that presbytery is not essential, and has no divine right, &c.- Nicholson's Letters to Rogers, p. 17, 1810. That the French Protestants are of the same opinion, is manifest from Bingham's Apology of the French Church, &c.
if, then, occasional communion may be admitted, why not perpetual ? or, why should the sin of schis le hazarded, if the things complained of are such non-essentials as to admit of occasional communion? Nothing, says Dr. Bennet, can justify non-conformity, except the sin of conformity.
See Hooker, Collinson's Abridg. p. 195, 332.
Unity, so strongly recommended in the New Testament, can only be kept up by visible communion. Nor can the ampřibious men, who divide their affections betwixt a church and conventicle, be excused from the charge of schism. Each yisit to the conventicle is a schismatical act: St. Cyprian would not have pérınitted men, after it, to join in the church com, munion. See Barwick, p. 62.
THE REIGN OF JAMES I,
Contents. I. James I. on his Accession, promises to support the
Hierarchy.-II. The Millenary Petition : other Petiq tions.-III. Hampton Court Conference.-IV. Remarks on the Proceedings.--V. Death and Character of Whitgift: Bancroft Archbishop. VI. First Par. liament: Sentiments of King and Puritans relative to the Catholics.--VII. Convocation: Canons.--VIII. Con.
formity enforced. IX. Gunpowder Plot.-X. Reflec- . - tions on James's Conduct towards thé Papists and Puri• tans.-XI. Oath of Allegiance.- XII. Complaints re
specting the High Commission Court.-XIII. Death and Character of Bancroft: Abbot Archbishop:-XIV. Book of Sports.-XV. Synod of Dort.-XVI, State of Parties : Calvinists and Arminians.-XVII. Papists: and Regulations for Preaching.–XVIII, Death and Character of James.---XIX. Miscellaneous Matters: Character of the Reign: Conduct of Abbot : Convocations : Amusements of the Clergy: Form of consecrating a Church : Şelden's History of Tithes.
XX. Acts of Parliament.--XXI. Learned Divines. 1. 1603. ELIZABETH was succeeded on the English throne by James, the son of her unfortunate rival, Mary. As this monarch had been born of a Popish mother, but educated by rigid Calvinists,
the hopes of the Roman Catholic and puritanical parties were equally elevated on his accession. Both, however, speedily sustained a grievous disappointment, by finding in the new sovereign a most zealous supporter of the English ecclesiastical constitution
Whitgift, on the death of Elizabeth, had dispatched Neville, his dean, to make professions of loyalty to James, in the name of the bishops and their clergy, and to recommend the English church to his protection and favour. In reply to this ema bassy, the monarch signified his intention of preserving the doctrine and discipline of the church of England, in the state in which it had been left by his predecessor ; an assurance productive of the highest satisfaction, by dissipating that Scottish mist, as his approach was 'termed, of which the southern divines had expressed their apprehensions *.
II. An address, denominated the Millenary Petition, from the round number employed in denoting the signatures, which, though boasted of AS MORE than a thousand, did not really exceed seven hundred and fifty, was presented to James, on his way to the English metropolis, by the puritan clergy of the church. It contained little more than a repetition of the old invectives. With respect to the church service, it prayed, that the cross in baptism, interrogatories addressed to in
* Life of Whitgift, p. 559.