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John, and Jude. There were even damnable heresies broached in the church as well as minor differences, in the days of the apostles; and in the long period from their day to the middle of the third century, the world was inhabited by an intellectual population, whom, it is impossible to believe, were unanimous in their religious opinions and practices. What then was it that kept Christians together in one church? It was the strength of the principle which they believed-which they knew to be according to the constitution of God, that the church is one, and any division of it wholly inadmissible; and their faithful adherence to the directions of the scriptures that heretics must be cast out of the church, and that the principle of forbearance must be applied to differences, which are not of fundamental importance. Accordingly, we find that all who were believed to be the real disciples of Christ, having been born of his spirit, were received into the church, and heretics were rejected; and this line of distinction was found sufficiently precise. Milnor's church history, vol. I. 154.

The adherence to these sound scriptural principles became, however, in process of time, weakened, as the bond of charity which held the body of believers together, was relaxed. The thing so much dreaded and so long resisted, at last happened. The church became divided. Ichabod was written upon its banner. Its glory had truly departed. The constitution of the church was violated, and as might have been expected, one disaster after another befel the church until the man of sin obtained the ascendency, and brought the dark ages upon the world. Long, very long was the earth enveloped in the gloom of night, even until the reformation from popery ushered in the light of morning. That morning was


bright. The reformed church remained one for many years, growing with the increase of God. Although minor differences arose, they were not permitted to rend her asunder. But after the lapse of years, the spirit of controversy was suffered to prevail among the successors of the reformers, and in the heat of their disputations, they separated into different sects, according to their varying creeds. The parties, however, were very reluctant to commence the business of separation. Their consciences were ill at ease, knowing as they did the unscriptural character of any division of the church of Christ. The reformers themselves, when they withdrew from the Church of Rome, did not do it on the ground that it is lawful for Christians to separate from each othOn the contrary, the only justification they avowed for leaving that church, was that she was not the church of Christ. They were agreed that the church is one, and that any division of that church is a breach of its unity.


Having shown in what sense the unity of the church was understood by the apostles, by the primitive Christians of the three first centuries, and by the reformers in the sixteenth century, we proceed to show that the constitution of the church admits of no other exposition. This constitution we have seen is coeval with the church itself; and in the intercessory prayer of the Saviour, it is recognised as applicable to the Christian church, embracing all, both Jews and Gentiles who then believed, or who should thereafter believe in his name; and for them he prays that they all may be one even as he and the Father were one. That it is the duty of believers to be united in the sense here expressed, will not be denied. The inquiry therefore is, what is the nature of that

union which Christ prays may subsist among his disciples? It is plain that he cannot be understood to refer to that ineffable union which subsits between himself and the Father, as two of the persons in the Trinity, because, of this union his creatures are not capable; but he must be understood as speaking of a union which may be predicated of mankind; and as praying for a union among his people in all those respects in which men can be bound together in the same sense that he and the Father are united. Men are capable of a union in feeling, in counsel, in action, and in name; and if Jesus and his Father are in these respects one, his disciples, if there be any meaning in words, are bound to be, also, one in the same sense. For the Saviour says in the twenty second verse, "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” There cannot, then, be a doubt that he intended to pray for, and inculcate upon his disciples, a union of the same kind and nature in all respects, as that which subsists between him and his Father, with the single exception above mentioned, arising from the subject matter. In what sense, then, were the Saviour and his Father one. Independently of their mysterious union above alluded to, they were one in feeling, in counsel, in action, and in name. They are united together in the feeling of love one to another. So must his children be. But so they cannot be when divided into distinct denominations; for not only do such divisions spring from the want of that degree of mutual love and forbearance necessary to hold them together in the bond of union, but they tend to weaken and destroy what of the principle of love may be remaining, and produce the contrary affec

tions of opposition or indifference, alienation of heart and hatred.

Jesus Christ and his Father are one in counsel, there being no discord or contrariety in their plans. So it ought to be with those who believe in the Saviour. They should speak the same thing and be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement. 1 Cor. i. 10. But this cannot be predicated of believers belonging to opposing sects. Their counsels and their plans are not in unison; and the very reason why they have separated is, that they could not hold counsel together, because of their various views and feelings.

The Father and his beloved Son are one in action. The works that Jesus seeth the Father do, these he doeth also. John, v. 19. They always act in concert. So it ought to be with believers; they should stand fast in one spirit, and in one mind, strive together for the faith of the gospel. Phil. ii. 2. But this cannot be asserted of Christians of different persuasions. They have arrayed themselves under different banners, manifesting that they are not willing to act together; and in point of fact each acts independently of the other. They do not strive together for the faith of the gospel. The faith which is propagated by the one is denied and opposed by the other. What one builds, another destroys, for the plain reason that what promotes the prosperity of one, often tends to the injury and even destruction of the other.

Our Saviour and his Father are one in name. There is indeed, a variety of names given to them in the Scriptures, expressive of the several perfections of their character, office, or appropriate work, not indicating opposition or contrariety, but the most perfect harmony.

So it should be with the members of Christ's church. One name ought to suffice for them all; and if more than one name be applied to them, these names should convey to the mind a harmonious and not a discordant sound; as that of believers, Christians, disciples, saints, children of God, the faithful, the just, and the like; all of which are in strict accordance with the characters and relation to Christ which they ought to exhibit. But how is it in point of fact? The very names by which Christians of different denominations are known, which they themselves have assumed, and of which all sectarians are proud, are names of distinction, to show the line of division between one and the other. As the Corinthians were some of the party of Paul, some of Apollos, and some of Cephas, so Christians now call themselves Calvinists, Lutherans, Armenians, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, Quakers, all indicating the absence, instead of subsistence of union between them. Should the apostle Paul now arise from the dead, and under a commission from his divine master, visit the churches of Christendom, what surprise would he not manifest at finding these discordant names among the professed disciples of his Lord! Would he not demand of us, as he did of the Corinthians in regard to their divisions, who is Calvin, other than a minister of Christ, that you call yourselves after his name, as though he were your master? What is Luther, more than any servant of the Lord, that you should take his name upon you? And who were Arminius and Wesley? Were they more than servants of the Lord, as you all ought to be? Are each of these men entitled to the same honour with Christ himself, that God's own people should be named after them, even as the disciples were first called Christians at Anti

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