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increase, in defiance of all the remedies which the prudence, żeal, and ability of the steady defenders of the Church could apply, until it prevailed for a time over established order and authority, and the miseries inseparable from disunion had fully proved the wisdom of the Apostle's caution, g“ If ye bite and devour one an
other, take heed that ye be not consumed 6 one of another."
The lesson however thus severely inculcated, though salutary in its effects, as it has taught us to provide for the future security of the Church, has not hitherto induced her adversaries to heal the breaches which misguided zeal had produced. The same unyielding adherence to their own inventions, which marked the character of hér' early opponents, still obtains among their descendants; the disunion is perpetuated, though all the motives which originally led to it have by degrees lost their influence; the spirit of disaffection and hostility still continues to operate, and ever' will continue until party feelings can
be separated from religious discussions, and disputants shall consent to make truth the only object of their pursuit, and to follow it even though it lead them to selfcondemnation.
In a word, while men.“ walk as men, and not as Christians, there will be among them * envying, strife, and divisions." The course of events may change the subjects of contention, but some will always exist: the artful will magnify them for their own advantage; and the unlearned and unwary will be led away by their craftiness, and become the victims of prejudice, and the instruments of faction. The enemies of all religion may endeavour to represent these unhappy contentions as a proof, that it has no truth or certainty in it; that the blessings expected to result from it are more than counterbalanced by the evil which it occasions. But the same perverted reasoning might be employed to prove,
that the sun itself does not exist, because some of its phenomena are yet subjects of doubt or discussion; or that its influence is not really benefical, because
the arid desert or the pestilential vapour are "produced by its unmitigated rays. Ours is still a religion of peace, though wars and contention, distress and misery, have arisen from the unsubdued passions of its professors. These are not to be attributed to religion itself, but to that depraved nature, which it has not been able entirely to reclaim. Disunion and schism are carnal sins, and carnal men will continue to encourage and commit them. The peaceable Christian however, while he learns to know such characters and shun them, will submit with patience to the evils which their unruly passions may occasion ; looking forward in hope to that predicted time, when such troubles shall cease to agitate the Church of Christ; when the Spirit shall obtain its due influence over the flesh, and b“ the work of righteousness shall be
peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever."
h Isaiah xxxii, 17.
Mart. xviii. 7.
It must needs be that offences come, but woe unto
that man by whom the offence cometh.
THAT the divisions of Christians are a scandal to our holy religion, and have ever tended to contract the sphere of its saving influence, is a position which few, even among the separatists themselves, have been prepared to controvert : perhaps indeed it may be asserted, that the mischievous consequences of these divisions have never been more truly a depicted, or lamented with a greater appearance of real feeling, than by those divines, who prepared the way for the separation from our own Church.
But while all moderate and reflecting