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Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions (oxiopata, schisms) among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, that there are contentions among you. Every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul ?" Where, then, the parties were at tached to ministers of equal authority, and who preached the same doctrine, as was the case with all the apostles, even there we see, that to indulge a party spirit and to contend on that account, is pronounced to be contrary to the duties of Christians. How much more so must it be when these qualifications of the Christian ministry do not exist.
Chap. xi. 18. When ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions (rxiuata, schisms) among you. 19. For there must be heresies (sects) among you, &c. We have already noticed this passage in our comment on the word heresies or sects; and it is mentioned again only to impress on the minds of our readers the intimate connexion of heresy and schism, and the opposition of both to the true spirit of the gospel of peace, Ch. xii. 25. The apostle in this chapter compares the Christian church under the influences of the Holy Spirit to one human body animated by one soul. He affirms that the Spirit fits men by diverse gifts and operations for the performance of their various employments in the church, as the soul by its union with the body of man enables the different members to perform their various functions, (1-12.) He tells the Corinthians that by one Spirit we are all baptized into the one body, (the church,) and, alluding to the sacrament of the Lord's supper, that we have been all made to drink into one 49 ADVOCATE, VOL. II.
Spirit. From this comparison he then takes occasion to warn the Corinthians to be content with their several stations in the church and not to assume the offices of others. They are warned that the body of man is kept in perfect order and sound health, by the regularity with which the several members perform their operations; and that for this very purpose God had adjusted the several parts, assigning to each its proper office, and making each useful in its own way to the rest, (13-24.) And then he assigns the reason why God had done this: that there should be no schism (oxíoμa) in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another; and whether one member suffer all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured all the members rejoice with it." If the smallest member of our body suffer violence, the whole body feels the pain; if any one of our senses is gratified, the whole body partakes of the enjoyment: what a delightful picture of the unity of the Christian church! and this unity is destroyed by schism. In the 27th and following verses, the apostle applies the allegory to the Corinthian Christians. "Ye are the body of Christ and members in particular, and God hath set (9ero constituted or appointed) some in the church, first apostles; secondarily, prophets; thirdly, teachers, &c. Are all apostles? &c." Let the members of the Christian church, both clergy and laity, learn to confine themselves to the station in which God has placed them. The moment they intrude themselves into the functions of other members, the whole body is disordered.
The unity of the Christian church is described, Acts ii. 42. They who had been baptized into the one body the church, "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." This unity was the subject of our Saviour's pathetick prayer imme
diately before he suffered. John xvii. 20, 21. "Neither pray I for these alone, (the apostles,) but for them also which shall believe on me through their word: that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." This unity all Christians are exhorted to keep," with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love," (Eph. iv. 2.) and they are entreated to "mark them which cause divisions (dixocracias) and offences contrary to the doctrine" learned from the apostles," and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." (Rom. xvi. 17, 18.)
We do not think it necessary to produce any further authorities from scripture to prove to our readers that heresies and schisms are utterly repugnant to the express injunctions of the Holy Spirit, and of course utterly inconsistent with the duties of the Christian life. But we shall proceed to make a few remarks upon the practical evils resulting from the sectarian spirit.
We have defined heresy to be that exercise of choice or private judgment which leads men to form sects or parties. All truths necessary to salvation are contained in the scriptures, and we hold that in the interpretation of the scriptures on doubtful and difficult points, that sense for which antiquity, universality, and consent can be pleaded, is more likely to be true, than any sense affixed to it by private or individual judgment. In other words, we prefer the choice or judgment of the catholick or universal church to the choice or judgment of any private person. Supposing, however, that an individual does reject the sense so recommended, we hold that as long as he does not disturb the peace of the
church, the question must rest between him and the Searcher of all hearts. We do not say that he is innocent ; for that must depend upon the subject, and the extent of his doubts. We are assured by an inspired apostle that "the ignorant and unstable wrest the scriptures to their own destruction ;" and we consider it as inconsistent with Christian humility to lean so much to our own understanding as to make it a judge from whose decisions there is no appeal. We only say that his innocence or guilt is cognizable by him alone who formed and who knows the heart.
But the case is different, the moment he promulgates his sentiments and endeavours to lead other men to embrace them It is no longer a matter of private conscience; and if he now forms a party, in opposition to what has the three great characteristicks, of antiquity, universality, and consent, the quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus, of Vincentius of Lerins, he becomes a heretick. It was in this sense that St. Augustin said, "Errare possum, hæreticus esse nolo," I may be in errour, but I will not be a heretick. I may be in errour myself, but I will not disturb the peace of the church by persuading others to adopt my sentiments for the purpose of forming my own sect or party. Is this the surrender of any Christian privilege? Is it a violation of religious liberty? Is it an undue restraint upon the inherent right of private judgment? We think not; for it is no more than what is done every day in civil society. It is a restraint put upon the private members of a community for the benefit of the whole ; a restraint, without which liberty must degenerate into licentiousness; order be subdued by confusion; peace and harmony exchanged for strife and discord; indifference to religious truth substituted for zeal ; and practical piety lost amid the janglings of vain controversy.
We appeal to every serious and reflecting Christian, and ask him to consider whether experience does not justify our assertion. We might ask him to survey the whole history of the church, and see how the perpetual divisions by which it has been more or less in every age rent in pieces, have marred its beauty and prevented its increase. But we confine ourselves to our own country, and ask, with a doubting and a fearful heart, what will be the inevitable result of this factious spirit of party.
which we may be awfully afraid. Means will be wanting to maintain a pious and learned ministry destitute parishes will be left open to impressions from ignorant and enthusiastick itinerants; and the worst evils of party, and the most extravagant excesses of fanaticism, it must be expected, will prevail." Serm. xiii. p. 195.
The evil is faithfully stated, but the attention of the reader is diverted from its real cause. It is not ecclesiastical censures, but it is the spirit of heresy, the disposition to create Every man, it is said, has an inherent new sects, which is the parent of these right to choose for himself in matters of disorders. And how does Dr. B. religion. He may belong to any one or think they are to be remedied? Why to none of the existing denominations. truly the self-named unitarians must He may with all freedom proclaim his be permitted to propagate the tenets own sentiments, and use every other of their sect without any censure. means excepting brute force, to propa- Opposition to what he calls liberal gate his tenets. If he can collect a suffi- Christianity, is the source of the whole cient number of hearers, he may take evil. Every minister must be perupon himself, or, what amounts to the mitted to preach what he pleases to same thing, may be appointed by call the gospel; and no them, to dispense the word and sa- censure him for so doing because he craments. In this way there can be has a right to think for himself. If no end to the formation of sects. unitarians may do this, why not the min"There is no errour," says Raleigh, isters of every other sect?-The way, "which hath not some appearance of then, according to Dr. B., to heal diviprobability resembling truth; which, sions, is to give every man, who chooses where men, who study to be singular, to call himself a minister of the gospel, find out, straining reason, they then full liberty to promote them. We are publish to the world matter of con- fearful that the unity for which our tention and jangling." Dr. B., himself, Saviour prayed, in order that the world cannot contemplate the prospect which might believe in his divine mission, lies before him without having some- will not be promoted by such means. thing of a right feeling respecting the The wall of God's holy temple is not fatal effects of the sectarian principle. to be built with such untempered "The thought," says he, " of crushing mortar. When " every one hath a liberal Christianity, as many denomi- psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, nate it, (i. e. unitarianism,) by eccle- hath a revelation, hath an interpretasiastical censures, is idle. But I am tion," (1 Cor. xiv. 26,) how is it posappalled, by a view of the temporary sible that all things should be done evils which must arise from the at- unto edifying. Such things cannot tempt. Angry disputes will prevail, proceed from above; for God is and those divisions may take place, not the author of confusion but of which must paralize the strength peace." of many of our parishes, and leave no denomination the ability to support the publick institutions of the gospel. Evils, then, may follow, of
What is left to the discretion of the minister is left also to the indiscretions of the man. For the laity, the terms of communion should be as broad
and extensive as possible. There should be no attempt, in the language of the wise secretary of queen Elizabeth, "to make windows into men's hearts and secret thoughts," for the purpose of excluding them from the privilege of unity with God's holy church. But the case is very different with regard to the clergy. They are the publick teachers of religion. The views which the great body of the laity take, depend almost entire ly upon their representations. How important is it for the promotion of unity, and for the avoiding of schism, that they should agree together as touching the doctrines which they preach! And how can this be done, unless there be some standard, some confession of faith, some articles of agreement, by a conformity to which their conduct is to be estimated. Blessed be God, through the controlling influence of Episcopal government, and the catholick and temperate formularies of our church, we have such a safeguard. There is not, we may safely say, a doctrine or a
practice enjoined in the protestant Episcopal church which will not bear the test of antiquity, universality, and consent. There is not therefore a single principle insisted on, which, in the proper sense of the term, can be called heretical. We disclaim the title of a sect, or a party. Our object is the promotion of unity; not the unity of indifference, but of zeal and love. We think we have reason to doubt whether this can ever be accomplished till there shall be a unity in the body, as well as in the spirit, in the outward form, as well as in the inward temper, of the catholick church. In the mean time we continue to preserve that outward form with unvarying strictness, praying constantly that God will preserve us "from all false doctrine, heresy, and schism," and that he will be pleased so to guide and govern his holy church universal, "that all who profess and call themselves Christians, may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life."
Of the thirteen counties into which New Jersey is divided, ten contain churches. We notice with pleasure that the parochial returns in this diocese as far as they have been made, are in general very full and accurate. We are sorry however to find no report from ten, and very imperfect reports from three. A little pains in all the dioceses would enable us to give every year an accurate account of the state of the church throughout the union. We proceed to give as full a summary as we are able.
In Sussex county, there are three churches, Christ church, Johnsonborough, vacant, no report. Christ church, Newton, and St. James's, Knowlton, reverend Clarkson Dunn, minister.* The congregation at Newton
*The distinction of rector and minister is as follows: rector denotes a presbyter who has been instituted into his parish by the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese: minister
continues to flourish, and means are in progress to erect, with the divine blessing, a handsome stone church next summer.
ESSEX county. Four churches. Trinity, Newark, H. P. Powers, rector elect. Increasing in numbers, unanimity, and it is thought, in piety. The Sunday school, though small, increasing Christ chapel, Belleville, vacant, no report. Patterson, vacant, the congregation are endeavouring to obtain funds to build a church. St. John's, Eliza beth Town, John C. Rudd, rector. Flourish ing. An excellent organ has been put up. Sunday school has varied from sixty to forty regular attendants.
BERGEN County. One church. St. Matthew's, city of Jersey. Supplied every second Sunday by the reverend Cave Jones, of New York, no report.
HUNTERDON C. Two churches. St. Thomas, Alexandria. Vacant. The bishop on his visitation preached there to a large and attentive congregation, and administered the holy communion. "The building belonging to this congregation", says the bishop," after having laid in ruins many years, at length neatly repaired and improved." St. Andrew's, Amwell. Vacant, no report.
SOMERSET C. One church. Christ church, New Brunswick. Right reverend Dr. Croes, bishop of the diocese, rector. The congregation have lately repaired and improved their church; and though not large, are attached to the doctrines and worship of our communion, and unite in the services of the church in a very proper and devout manner. The number of Sunday scholars about forty.
MIDDLESEX C. Four churches. St. James's, Piscataway, and Trinity, Woodbridge, vacant and no report. St Peter's, Spotswood, vacant. Visited twice by the bishop. St. Peter's, Perth Amboy, James Chapman, rector.
MONMOUTH C. Three churches, Christ church, Middletown, and Christ church, Shrewsbury, both under the rectorship of the reverend John Croes, jun. a son of the bishop. "The church at Shrewsbury," says the bishop, “preserves its strength and respectability and its spiritual, as well as its temporal concerns, may be considered in an improving state. Since my last visit, the congregation has repaired and painted the interiour of its house of worship' "" St. Peter's, Freehold, still vacant, but has the prospect of obtaining a minister very shortly. BURLINGTON C. Five churches. St. Michael's, Trenton, Abiel Carter, rector.
is one in deacon's orders only, or an uninstitated presbyter,
Since the last report, a commodious edifice with two rooms has been erected and finished for the accommodation of the Sunday school. "The number of scholars," says the rector, "attached to this school, is much smaller, than attended during the last year. This decrease is to be ascribed chiefly to the impossibility of keeping a competent number of teachers engaged. By the gentlemen of the congregation, little or no attention has ever been paid to the school; and, even among the ladies, the burden falls upon a very few. Had it not been for the great and unremitted exertions of these few, the school must have become utterly extinct. Too great praise cannot be bestowed upon those, who have thus persevered, notwithstanding the many discouraging circumstances they have had to encounter. It affords pleasure to the rector to state, however, that he has reason to hope and trust, that an institution of so much importance to society will not be suffered to perish; but that it will continue to prove an effectual means of grace to many of the rising generation, who might otherwise perish for lack of knowledge." St. Andrew's, Mount Holly, George Y. Morehouse, rector. The young ladies who teach the Sunday school manifest the most exemplary attention, faithfulness, and perseverance. St. Mary's, Colestown. This congregation, long vacant, and hitherto supplied with only occasional services, has engaged the reverend Mr. Ward to officiate there one half of his time. W. reports "That the situation of the church is such as to render the institution of a Sunday school in it, quite impracticable. The chren, however, have been taught their catechism, and an increasing attention to religion and divine service, generally appears, in the congregation." St. Mary's Burlington. Reverend Charles H. Wharton, D. D. rector. The congregation increasing and attentive. St. John's, Chew's Landing. This church has been vacant for many years, and has become almost extinct. There is no parochial report, but it has been visited by the bishop and several of the clergy, and the congregation is mentioned by one of them as attentive to his preaching. GLOUCESTER C. Four churches. Thomas, Glassborough, vacant, no report, visited by the bishop and two of the parochial clergy. St. Stephen's, Mullica Hill, vacant, no report, visited by the bishop and clergy. Trinity, Swedesborough, Jacob M. Douglass, rector. Mr. D. reports that the congregation is large and respectable, and manifests an increasing zeal and fondness for the services and principles of our church; and that the Sunday school is improved as to its