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state; and ultimately to diffuse the knowledge and influence of religion throughout the whole earth.

Although the holy spirit, speaking by the mouth of David, and the prophets subsequent to his day, foretold a future period, when the church should appear in the greatness and glory to which God had destined her, his ultimate design, in the erection of the church, was not communicated to the Old Testament saints, in the form of a command to extend her bounds and influence, so as to embrace the whole family of mankind. This was reserved until the time of the appearance of Christ in the world, and then was the command given by himself to his disciples to teach all nations, and to preach the gospel to every creature. Yet God, who sees and comprehends all things, from the beginning to the end, so constituted the church, at its first erection, as to combine in it the principles of that moral power which he saw to be necessary for the accomplishment of his ultimate design. The church was to be the instrument, in his hands, of resisting the assaults of wicked men and the hosts of hell, and eventually to vanquish them, and deliver the world from the thraldom of Satan and sin, by bringing it under the lawful and happy dominion of the Saviour.

Whenever power, either of a physical or of a moral nature, is placed in the hands of members, it is essential that there should be between them all that union of which they are capable. And God has most unequivocally declared his mind, that the individuals composing his church, should be held together by a strong, indissoluble bond of union.

1. God has constituted the church one and indivisible. It has but one head, and that is Christ. Col. i. 18. Under the Old Testament dispensation, prior to the build

ing of the temple, the manifestation of God's glory was in the cloud and in the tabernacle. There was but one cloud, and there was only one tabernacle, nor was there more than one ark of the covenant. And thus was the unity of the church represented in that period. After the children of Israel had taken full possession of the land of promise, the unity of the church was demonstrated by the erection of one temple; and to this one temple all the tribes of Israel were commanded to resort for the public worship of Jehovah.

If the unity of the church constituted any portion of its excellence, beauty, or strength, under the first dispensations, it would be strange indeed, if, under the New Testament, we had found a warrant for the severance of this union. In the history of our Lord and Saviour, we find no intimation from him that the unity of the church was not to be preserved, nor any warrant for a division of the church into distinct denominations, sects, or parties. His intercessory prayer for his church, which consists of all believers, is, "that they all may be one," as the father was in him and he in the father, " that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." John, xvii. 21. And in the next verse he says, " And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one." These words do most evidently convey the idea of a most intimate union between the followers of Christ, even as that which subsisted between him and his father; and this union was to be visible to all mankind, that the world, seeing the union of his disciples, might believe that the father had sent him. An union of heart,, merely without an open visible union, which the world would perceive, could have no influence in convincing the world of the divine mission of Christ.

Valuable and indispensable as an union of heart among believers is to the prosperity and beauty of the church, it is the open, visible, and known union of the disciples, that must conquer the prejudices and convince the understandings of the men of the world into the belief that Jesus Christ came from God. There is no force, no appropriateness, (be it spoken with reverence,) in the prayer, if an union of heart is all that is asked. No; this prayer of our Lord will not be answered; the avowed object for which he desired that his people might be one, will not be accomplished, until Christians shall be one in affection, in counsel, in action, and in name.

Though the personal ministry of Christ was confined to the Jewish nation, he knew that under the dispensation of the spirit and through the preaching of the Apostles, the Gentiles would also be called into the church, which before that period embraced only the children of Israel. When the Gentiles should thus be brought to embrace the gospel, there was not to be a Gentile church as distinguished from that of the Jews, and a line of division drawn between them; but they together were to form one church. In express reference to that event the Saviour says, John x. 16, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also must I bring in, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." And after the gospel had, subsequent to the death of the Saviour, been propagated among the Gentiles, and many in the city of Ephesus had been received into the family of believers, St. Paul, in the second chapter of his epistle, addressing the Ephesian converts, says, "But now in Christ Jesus, ye who sometime were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ, for he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath

broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances, for to make in himself of twain' one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby; and came and preached peace to you which were afar off and to them that were nigh. For by him we both have access by one spirit unto the father."

The doctrine of the unity of the church, so plainly declared by the Saviour, was taught and earnestly inculcated by his Apostles, under the plenary inspiration of the Holy Ghost. St. Paul represents the unity of the church under the figure of a human body, consisting, indeed, of many members, but between which there is an intimate union and necessary dependence, and between which a schism cannot take place, without endangering the destruction of the body itself. "For as the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many are one body; so also is Christ." 1 Cor. xii. 12. "For the body is not one member but many. If the foot shall say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?" v. 14, 15. "Now are they many members yet but one body, and the eye cannot say to the hand I have no need of thee, nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you." v. 20, 21. "That there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." v. 25, 26, 27.

When the same Apostle reproves the Corinthians for


their contentions and divisions, he proves to them the inadmissibility and absurdity of such divisions, by putting the emphatic question, "Is Christ divided?" leaving it to themselves to draw the inference irresistibly flowing from it, that as Christ, the head of the church, is one and indivisible, so must the members of Christ, constituting the church, be one among themselves, as well as one with him. 1 Cor. i. 10 to 13. Believers are declared by St. Paul to be members of Christ's body. Eph. v. "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 1 Cor. xii. 27. "Ye are the body of Christ and members in particular." And they are declared to be members one of another, constituting the body of Christ. Rom. xii. 4, 5. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office, so we being many are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." The saints. are declared to be the family of God on earth, excluding the idea that there may be more than a single family constituting the church of Christ. And in the first chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle beseeches them, by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that they all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among them; but that they be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement. 1 Cor. i. 10.


2. The division of the church into sects is a violation of its constitutional unity.

Having proved the unity of the church by the constitution of God himself, we proceed to show that its division into denominations and sects, is a violation of this unity. A division into congregations cannot be understood to be a breach of this unity, when made for the

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