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all temptations to worldliness and pride, that they tear not the church, by striving who shall be the greatest, or have the preeminence. 10. By godly magistrates keeping their power in their own hand, and using it to rebuke intolerable, false teachers, and to encourage the peaceable, and restrain the railing and violence of pastors and parties against each other; and by impartial keeping the church's peace.s
Sect. 25. Hence the causes of church divisions are discernible. 1. The increase of ungodliness and sin, which is as fire in the thatch, and possesseth all men with dividing principles, practices, and ends. 2. The disability of pastors overtopped in parts by every sectary. 3. The ungodliness of the pastors, which looseneth the hearts of the people from them. 4. The strangeness, violence, or hurtfulness of the pastors. 5. The encouragement and toleration of all the most flagitious and impenitent, in undisciplined churches, which frighteneth men out of the church as from a ruinous house, and tempteth them to an unwarrantable separation, because the pastors will not make a necessary and regular separation. 6, The discord of the bishops among themselves. 7. The people's ignorance of the pastoral power and their own duty. 8. An unruly, fierce, censorious spirit in many of the young and inexperienced of the flock. 9. The pastors striving who shall be the greatest, and seeking great things in the world, or popular applause and admiration. 10. The magistrates either permitting the endeavours of dividing teachers in palpable cases, or suffering self-seeking pastors or people to disturb the church.t
Sect. 26. But next to common ungodliness, the great causes of the most ruinating church divisions are, 1. Wars and dissensions among princes and states, and civil factions in kingdoms, whereby the clergy are drawn or forced to engage themselves on one side or other; and then the prevailing side stigmatizeth those as scandalous who were not for them, and think themselves engaged by their interest to extirpate them. 2. Mistaking the
* Phil. ii. 4, 21; 2 Cor. xiii. 14; Tit. iii. 5; Eph. iv. 3—5, 14—16; 1 Thess. v. 12, 13; Tit. i. 9, 11; Luke xxi. 1, 5; 1 Tim. iii. 4-6; 1 Pet. v. 2,3; Acts xx. 20, &c.; 2 Cor. i. 24; 1 Tim. v.; 1 Tit. iii. 10; 1 Cor. v.; John xvii. 21, 23; Acts xv.; Heb. xiii. 7, 17; 1 Thess. v. 12, 13; 1 Pet. v. 5; Luke xxii. 24, 26, 27; 1 Pet. v. 2, 3; 2 Chron. xix. 6, 7, 11.
* 1 Kings xv. 13, 29; 2 Kings x. 17, 28; Rom. xiii. 3-6; 2 Chron. xxviii. 23; Ezek. xviii. 30; Numb. xxxii. 23; 1 Tim. iii. 6; Eph. iv. 14; 3 John 9, 10; 1 Kings xxii. 24, 25; 1 Cor. i. 11, and iii. 3, 4; 1 Cor. v. 5, 12, &c.; Tit. i. 10; 1 Thess. v. 12, 14; 3 John 9. Non qui jussus aliquid facit, miser est; sed qui invitus.—Senec. Ep. 62, Nullum violentum est perpetuum.
just terms of union and communion, and setting up a false centre as that which all men must unite in. Thus have the Roman party divided themselves from the Greeks and protestants, and made the greatest schism in the church that ever was made in it. 1. By setting up a false, usurping, constitutive head, the Roman bishop; and pretending that none are members of the church who are not his subjects; and so condemning the far greatest part of the catholic church. 2. By imposing an oath, and divers gross corruptions in doctrine, discipline, and worship, upon all that will be in their communion, and condemning those that receive them not, and so departing from the Scripture sufficiency. These two usurpations are the grand dividers."
Sect. 27. All heretics, also, who speak perverse things against Christianity, to draw away disciples after them; or schismatics, who unwarrantably separate from those churches in which they ought to abide, that they may gather new congregations after their own mind, are the immediate adversaries of church union and concord.*
Sect. 28. So are the importune and virulent disputations of contentious wits, about unnecessary things, or matters of faction and self-interest.
Sect. 29. Especially when the magistrate lendeth his sword to one party of the contenders, to suppress or be revenged on the rest, and to dispute with arguments of steel.
Sect. 30. The well-ordered councils of bishops or pastors of several churches assembled together, have been justly esteemed a convenient means of maintaining the concord and peace of Christians, and a fit remedy for the cure of heresies, corruptions, and divisions. And when the cause requireth it, those councils should consist of as many as can conveniently meet, even from the most distant churches, which can send their bishops, without incurring greater hurt or discommodity than their presence will
u Jam. iv. 1, 2; Phil. ii. 4, 21; 1 Kings xii. 31, 32, and xxii. 27; Rev. xiii. 16, 17; 1 Cor. xii. 12, 28; Eph. iv. 7, 8, 13, 16; 3 John 9; Matt. xv. 2, 3; 1 Tim. iii. 3.
* Acts xx. 30, 31; Rom. xvi. 17; 1 Tim. i. 19; Eph. iv. 14; 2 Tim. ii. 16, 17, 23-25; Rom. xiv. ; 1 Tim. vi. 3—5, and i. 3–7; Luke xxii. 24; 1 Kings xxii. 27; Gal. v. 15.
y Acts xv. Surely there is no better way to stop the rising of new sects and schisms, than to reform abuses, to compound the smaller differences, to proceed mildly, and not with sanguinary persecutions; and rather to take off the principal authors by winning and advancing them, than to enrage them by violence and bitterness.-Lord Veruiam's Essay 58.
countervail in doing good; and, therefore, the councils, called general, in the dominions of the christian Roman emperors, were commendable, and very profitable to the church, when rightly used. But, whereas, the pope doth argue that he is the constitutive head of the whole catholic church throughout the world, because his predecessors did often preside in those councils, it is most evident to any one who will make a faithful search into the history of them, that those councils were so far from representing all the churches in the world, that they were constituted only of the churches or subjects of the Roman empire, and those that, having formerly been parts of the empire, continued that way of eommunion when they fell into the hands of conquerors, their conquerors being commonly pagans, infidels, or Arian heretics. I except only now and then two or three, or an inconsiderable number of neighbour bishops. There were none of the representatives of the churches in all the other parts of the world, as I have proved in my 'Disputation' with Mr. Johnson and desire the reader, who thinketh that his "Reply' doth need any confutation, but to peruse Ortelius, or any true map of the Roman empire; and Myræus, or any Notitia Episcopatuum, and withal the names of the bishops in each council; and then let him ask his conscience whether those councils were true or equal representatives of all the christian world, or only of the subjects or churches of one empire, with a few inconsiderable, accidental auxiliaries: and if he smile not at Mr. Johnson's instances of the bishops of Thrace, and other such countries, as if they had been out of the verge of the Roman empire, at least he shall excuse me from confuting such replies.
And since then Christ hath enlarged his church to many more nations, and remote parts of the world, and we are not hopeless that the Gospel may yet be preached to the remotest parts of the earth, and an equal, just representative may become more impossible than it now is. Yet now such proper universal councils are so far from being the constitutive, visible head of the church, or, the pope as there presiding, or any necessary means of its unity and peace, that, rebus sic siantibus, they are morally impossible. For, 1. Their distance is so great from Abassia, Egypt, Armenia, Syria, Mexico, New England, and other parts, to those of Muscovy, Sweden, Norway, &c., that it will be unlawful and impossible to undertake such journies, and
deprive the church of the labours of the pastors so long on this account. 2. It cannot be expected that many live to perform the journey and return. 3. The princes, in whose countries they live, or through whose dominions they must pass, are many of them infidels and will not suffer it, and many still in wars, and most of them full of state jealousies. 4. When they come together, the number of just representatives which may be proportioned to the several parts of the church, and may be more than a mockery or faction, will be so great that they will not be capable of just debates, such as the great matters of religion do require: or, if they be, it will be so long as will frustrate the work, and waste their age, before they can re turn, when usually the cause which required their congregation will bear no such delays. 5. They cannot all speak to the understanding of the council in one and the same language, for all the commonness of Greek and Latin, God hath neither promised that all bishops shall be able to converse in one tongue, nor actually performed it. 6. Such a council never was in any christian emperor's time; for they neither could nor did summon all the just representatives of the churches in other princes' dominions, but only those in their own.
Sect. 31. The predominancy of selfishness and self-interest in all hypocrites, who are but Christians in name, and not by true regeneration, and the great numbers of such hypocrites in the visible church, is the summary of all the great causes of divisions, and the prognostics of their continuance.
Sect. 32. Unity and harmony will be imperfect, whilst true holiness is so rare and imperfect; and to expect the contrary, and so to drive on an ill-grounded, unholy unity, is a great cause of the division and distraction of the churches.a
Sect. 33. When differing opinions cause discord betwixt several churches, the means of christian concord is, not an agreement in every opinion, but to send to each other a profession of the true christian faith, subscribed, with a renunciation of all that is contrary thereto; and to require christian love and communion on these terms, with a mutual patience and pardon of each other's infirmities."
Sect. 34. No Christian must pretend holiness against unity
z Isa. ix. 17; Phil. ii. 21; Acts viii. 18, 20; 1 Tim. vi. 10; 1 John ii. 15; Gal. v. 11, and vi. 12-14.
a Luke xxii. 24; Acts xv. 39; Gal. ii. 12-15.
b Phil. iii, 15, 16; Rom. xiv. and xv.; 1 Peter iii. 15.
and peace, nor unity and peace against holiness; but take them as inseparable in point of duty: and every tender conscience should be as tender of church division and real schism, as of drunkenness, whoredom, or such other enormous sins. (James iii. 14-17.)c
Sect. 35. III. The extensive interest of the church, consisting in the multiplication of Christians, is, 1. Principally in the multiplication of the regenerate members of the church mystical: 2. And, subordinately, in the multiplication of professed Christians in the church visible.
Sect. 36. It is not another, but the very same Christianity which in sincerity constituteth a mystical member, and in profession a visible member of the church (which is not two churches, but one); so that all are hypocrites who are not sincere.d
Sect. 37. The instituted door or entrance into the church visible, is by baptism.e
Sect. 38. The pastors of the church, by the power of the keys, are judges who are to be admitted by baptism, and to baptise them: and the people are to take the baptised for church members, and in point of public communion, to see as with their pastors' eyes (ordinarily); though, as to private converse, they are judges themselves.
Sect. 39. Those that are baptised in infancy should at age have a solemn transition into the rank of adult members, upon a solemn, serious owning and renewing of their baptismal covenant.g
Sect. 40. God doth not require a false profession of Christianity, but a true; but yet he appointeth his ministers to take a profession not proved false, as credibly true, because we are no heart-searchers; and every one should be best acquainted with himself; and God will have every man the chooser or refuser of his own felicity, that the comfort or sorrow may be most his own and a human belief of them that have not forfeited their credit, especially about their own hearts, is necessary to human converse.h
Sect. 41. And God taketh occasion of hypocrites' intrusion:
c Rom. xvi. 17; 1 Thess. v. 12, 13; 1 Cor. i. 10; ii. and iii. throughout.
d Matt. xxviii. 19; Mark xvi. 16; Eph. vi. 24; 1 Cor. xvi. 22; Rom. viii. 9. e Matt. xxviii. 19.
f Acts ii. 41, 42, and viii. 37, 38.
See my Treat. of Confirmation.'
Acts viii. 37; xiii. 21, 22, and ii. 41; Luke xiv. 16, 18, 21, 23.