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there were conflicting opinions, and men were led to choose between them, and range themselves in parties for the support of their favourite systems. The secondary signification of pets, therefore, was that of a sect or party. Thus Galen, as cited by Wetstein, speaks of the two sects or parties, into which the physicians of his day were divided, o asperisp
pic; so Josephus designated the pharisees, the sadducees, and the essenes, as the three principal dipices, sects or parties in the Jewish philosophy; and by the same term it was common among the heathens to distinguish the sects or parties formed among them by the almost innumerable varieties of opinions which an apostle has so aptly termed "the oppositions of science falsely so called." On the meaning then of the term heresy, both in its primary and its derivative sense, there cannot, we are persuaded, be any diversity of sentiment; and we are gratified that we are able to take Dr. B's own definition of it. "The literal meaning of heresy, in the original, is choice. Among different persuasions, an individual makes his election." Serm. xxii. p. 309.
But this brings us a very short way in our argument. Dr. B. has assumed, as usual, the very point to be proved. The question is not, whether paris, heresy, be innocent in its application to the healing art, or to philosophy, or to the parties existing in the Jewish church, or to any of the diversities of opinion now prevailing on subjects of
the inseparable preposition, corresponding with it, and derived the noun from secuit, in the sense which it assumes with a, of making a covenant or agreement. We are aware that ἐξ αἱρέσεως αὐτῶν may be rendered, "agreeably to their own will," that is, they did as much injustice as they pleased; and so it is rendered by Biel, ex proposito suo, pro lubitu suo. Lex. in LXX. etc. v. "Aptos But if this translation should be admitted in the present case, we should be at a loss how to account for the translation of by
human science or polity, but whether it is innocent in our own religion, and consistent with the principles of Christianity. It is not, whether it be a matter of little consequence to the lives of men that physicians, in gratifying their own choice, should be divided into sects and parties on the theory and practice of medicine; it is not, whether the conflicting and contradictory sentiments of the porch, the lyceum, and the academy tended to make the heathen world wiser; it is not, whether the parties in the Jewish church, continuing as they did in the bonds of external union, did not draw the minds of men aside from practical holiness, and weaken the commonwealth by the intestine commotions to which they gave birth; it is not whether the political parties which now agitate, and often distract and convulse human governments, be in themselves salutary or hurtful, unnecessary or unavoidable;— but it is, whether the individuals, who compose the Christian church, have a right to indulge in that licence of choice on the subject of religious doctrine and discipline, which leads them to divide into sects and parties. Now here is the difference between Dr. B. and us. He first assumes that men, from the exercise of choice, or what he elsewhere calls private judgment, have a right to separate into different sects. We maintain, on the contrary, that they have no such right; that the great design of our Saviour and his apostles was to preserve unity; that every thing which tended to produce schism was branded with opprobrium ; and hence, that heresy, under which term we include every thing which in itself tends to separation, is, in a Christian, deeply criminal. Being thus fairly at issue, let us proceed to try the question by the authority of scripture, and the practical results furnished by experience.
The noun dipois, translated sometimes heresy and sometimes sect, occurs nine times in the new testament;
the adjective aiparinos, a heretick,
Acts v. 17. "Then the high priest rose up,and all they that were there with him, which is the sect (ra spec) of the sadducees," &c. The historian here uses a term which, as we have seen, had become a common appellative of the parties in the Jewish church; but common sense must teach every one that this can have no bearing on the question respecting the application of the term to Christians.
Acts xv. 15. "But there rose up certain of the sect (rñs aipirews heresy) of the pharisees which believed, saying that it was needful to circumcise them, (the gentiles,) and to command them to keep the law of Moses." Some of the sect or heresy of the pharisees had become Christians, but retained the notions of their party respecting the perpetual and universal obligation of the law of Moses. This was the great source of discord, to stop which the apostles had to exert all their authority; so that if this passage proves any thing, it is against, rather than in favour of heresy. If it be construed into an approbation of heresies or parties in the Christian church, we may on the same principle infer that there ought to be Christian phari
Acts xxiv. 5. "For we have found this man (Paul) a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect (rus aipérews) of the Nazarenes." These were the words of Tertullus, a Roman and heathen orator, and the relation of them by St. Luke proves the fidelity and accuracy of the historian, but expresses no sentiment, either of approbation or disapprobation. The Romans felt a great con. tempt for the Jews and their religion, and they considered the Christians as only a Jewish sect. Tertullus expressed himself, therefore, as a Roman and a heathen. In St. Paul's answer, (14,) he alludes to the contemptuous language of the orator, as a calumny which
it was proper for him to disclaim. "But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, ( Aéyovon dipso-itwould have been better to have rendered it as in the 5th ver. which they call a sect,) so worship I the God of my fathers," &c. Though Ter tullus might call the Christian church a sect or heresy, putting it on a level with all the Jewish and heathen parties, St. Paul would not call it so. The Christian church, in his view, was designed to embrace all men, and therefore could not be a sect. It was the state of relationship between God and his creatures, in which pardon was provided for the guilty through a Redeemer, not a sect of religious philosophers ranged under the name, and obeying the laws, of a great human teacher of morality. We have in these words of the apostle, an evident disapproval of the use of the term, with regard to the Christian religion.
The next mention of the term heresy occurs in St. Paul's celebrated speech to king Agrippa, Acts xxvi. 5. "My manner of life-know all the Jews, which knew me from the beginning, (if they would testify,) that after the most straitest sect of our religion (r» ἀκριβεστάτην αίρεσιν, the sect most punctilious in observing every jot and tittle of the Mosaick law) I lived a pharisec." It is hardly necessary to observe that St. Paul was speaking of his unconverted, not of his Christian state, and he uses the appellative dipsos, sect, as it was commonly used among
In chap. xxviii. of the Acts, it is mentioned that when St. Paul arrived in Rome, he assembled the chief of his countrymen to inform them of the reasons why he had been sent thither a prisoner; to which they answered, (21, 22,) "We neither received letters out of Judea concerning thee; neither any of the brethren that came showed or spake any harm of thee. But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect (PETING TRUTHS) we know
that every where it is spoken against." The Jews at Rome looked upon Christianity, either as a sect of their own religion, or as a purer kind of heathenism. Their answer shows that they had regarded it with unconcern, and taken up the common prejudices against it. St. Paul, however, did not expound to them the doctrines of the sect, but "he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets." ver. 23.
Here are six places out of the nine in which the word spis occurs. And hence Dr. B. draws the inference that "in most of the passages, the word (heresy) does not imply criminality in those to whom it refers!" "St. Paul, where he uses it," he adds, "is commending bis practices!" Serm. p. 310. We appeal to our readers whether this is sound criticism, or sound logick. In three instances out of the six, the word is used in speaking of the pharisees and sadducees. In two, it is used concerning the Christian religion indeed, but used by a heathen and by Jews. In the remaining instance, where St. Paul, in the language of Dr. B.," is commending his practices," he takes especial care to disclaim the epithet. "After the way," says he, "which they" not I" call a heresy or sect." Dr. B. and his friends are very much in the habit of calling all those who worship the Lord Jesus Christ, a sect; and if we should reply, But this we confess unto thee, that after the way which ye call heresy, so worship we the God of our fathers," we should undoubtedly commend our practices, but we should be very sorry if any of our posterity should thence infer that we considered ourselves as a sect, or approved of heresy. We have sometimes also mentioned those who call themselves unitarians, under that appellation as the well known name of a party, but God forbid that our mentioning of them should be considered as an acknowledgment of what they
mean by the title, or as an approval of their doctrine.
In a historical book, like the Acts, when the object of the historian is not to express his own opinions, but to relate facts, no inferences of a doctrinal nature can properly be drawn from the use of common appellatives. We must look for expressions of commendation or censure to the epistles only, because they were addressed to Christians, and treated exclusively of the affairs of Christians. B. can find no use of the term heresy, which does not imply criminality.
But here Dr.
The first place where it occurs, 1 Cor. xi. 19. St. Paul is sharply reproving the Corinthians, for their disorderly conduct, their contentions about trifles, their spirit of insubor. dination, and their profanation of the Lord's supper. "In this that I declare unto you, I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For, first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions, (oxiruara schisms,) among you, and I partly believe it, (xapos si misiva, of a certain part of you I believe it.) For there must be also heresies, (aipére sects or parties,) among you, that they which are approved (doxins a word relating to the purity and genuineness of the precious metals, q. d. they which are genuine Christians) may be made manifest among you. Here the genuine Christians are evidently put in opposition to that certain part who cause divisions. The necessity of there being heresies or sects, springs from the corrupt conduct of those who cause them. Dr. B. indeed, puts a different eonstruction upon this passage, because he considers division and separation among Christians as no crime. "The different tempers, situations, and pursuits of men considered," says he, "difference in religious opinions among them must be expected; and their divisions afford opportunity to test the integrity, the resolution, and con
stancy of the ingenuous friend of truth. Heresy, in all the above passages, means a sect, a particular religious denomination."
311. All this is true but are we to infer that heresy is no crime? We cannot but think that the ancient father, whose words we have placed at the head of this article, reasoned much more correctly than Dr. B., when he said that we might as well call evil good, because in the divine administration of the universe it is made subservient to good purposes.
Gal. v. 21. Certain persons had taught the Galatian converts that unless they received circumcision and observed the Mosaick law they could not be saved; and they appear to have been very successful in raising up a sect or party in favour of Judaical observances. This was the occasion of St. Paul's epistle, and his fears that the unity of the church would be destroyed, are very observable through the whole, and especially in the fifth chapter. "If ye bite and devour one another" (the natural effect of party Spirit)" take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.-Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit.-The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, HERESIES, (aipéσus, SECTS,) envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Heresies or sects are here put in such goodly company that even Dr. B. is obliged to admit that they are criminal. But he relieves himself from the difficulties of this concession, by making the crime to consist, not in the act of heresy itself, but in the motive which leads to the act. The criminal heretick, says he, "is the man
who chooses his sect from selfish and wicked motives." Who does not see that in this he completely begs the question? It is surprising that after having justly defined heresy to mean a sect, or particular religious denom ination, he should not have gone on to the legitimate conclusion that the division of Christians into sects is one of the works of the flesh; that it is therefore abhorrent from the spirit of Christianity; and consequently that all who cause such divisions have reason to fear the anger of God.
2 Peter. ii. 1. The apostle having spoken (chap. i. 16,) of the voice from heaven, and the miraculous transfiguration of Christ, of which he was an eye and ear witness, as rendering. more firm the prophesies of the old testament respecting the Saviour, exhorts the persons to whom he writes to attend carefully to those prophesies in connexion with their fulfilment, as productive of clear conviction of the truth of the gospel; remembering, that the holy men who uttered them were excited thereto. by the Holy Ghost. But though the prophets spake by inspiration, they were notwithstanding opposed, and often opposed successfully, among the people, by false prophets. From this opposition to God's true prophets, under the law, the apostle draws an admonition with regard to the false teachers who should oppose the ministers of Christ, and pervert the truths of the gospel. "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, (αipéis awλeias, sects of destruction, sects tending to perdition,) even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction, (,) and many shall follow their pernicious ways, (Griesb. years, impurities,) by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of, and through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchan
a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." The false teachers are described as introducing their heresies or sects covertly, so as not to alarm the people whom they teach, though their sects are in themselves destructive. The consequence is that many follow their impurities, on account of whom even Christanity itself shall be evil spoken of. We forbear any further comment, excepting the single remark, that what was written aforetime was written for our learning, and that it behoves every Christian, who values his own salvation, seriously to examine whether the apostle's admonition may not be applicable to himself.
dise of you, whose judgment now of acknowledged that he was in the wrong? Such an acknowledgment is foreign from the very character of one who causes divisions; and at this rate, the apostle might have spared his counsel, since it would be questionable whether there ever had been a heretick in the world. But if heresy be that exercise of private choice which leads men to form parties in the church, then the heretick is obviously self-condemned by the fruits of his own conduct. His crime is now palpable; for, however sincere he may be in his opinions, and however consistent he may think them with the scriptures, he cannot but perceive that they have rent asunder the body of Christ, and consequently is self-condemned from the very nature of his own act.
Titus iii. 10. In the two preced ing verses, the apostle requires Titus to insist most strenuously upon the necessity of practical holiness in the Christian character, but to shun all foolish questions, and disputes about the law, from the conviction that they are vain, and unprofitable. And then he proceeds: "A man that is a here. tick, (aiperinóv ävdparov, a man who is constantly raising these foolish, unprofitable, and empty questions and controversies, dividing Christians in to sects, and leading them off from practical holiness, such a man,) after the first and second admonition, reject, (xaputo, avoid or shun ;) knowing that he that is such is subverted, (ἐξέστραπται, literally is turned inside out, a metaphor derived from so turn ing a soiled garment; in other words has made manifest the perversity of his mind. See Wetst. vol. 2. p. 378,) and sinneth, being condemned of himself." How self-condemned? If Dr. B.'s construction is to be allowed," he must himself approve the sentence of exclusion." In other words, he must himself allow that he is in the wrong. Who will not exclaim, "O lame and impotent conclusion!" for of all the turbulent spirits that ever distracted the Christian church who has ever
We have shown, we think, that in every passage of the new testament in which the word heresy applies to the Christian state, it is condemned as inconsistent with the very character of our religion. To confirm this view of the subject in the minds of our readers, we shall proceed to some of the passages in which the word schism occurs; for if it shall appear that schism is inconsistent with the obligations of the Christian life, it will be obvious that heresy, from which it inevitably proceeds, cannot be innocent.
Schism, (oxioua,) it is well known, signifies a division or separation. Our Saviour speaks of a rent (σχίσμα) in a garment becoming worse, Matt. ix. 16. Mar. ii. 21; and St. John uses the same word to denote the conflicting sentiments of the Jews concerning Jesus. (John. vii. 43.)
a division (exiona) among the people because, or on account, of him." So also ix. 16. x. 19. It occurs no where else, but in the first epistle to the Corinthians; the church at Corinth being greatly distracted by contending parties.
1. Cor. i. 10. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord