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communion, anathematising those who would not worship a consecrated wafer, nor bow down before the material cross, the images of the Virgin and other supposed saints, nor rely on any other intercession than that of our one great Mediator. If there has been schism, the papists are the schismatics. When the Council of Trent excommunicated all who would not yield to its decrees; when Pope Pius IV. added twelve new articles to the Nicene Creed, and insisted that all Christians must believe them, on pain of damnation,— they caused the schism, by refusing to hold communion with those who rejected their abominations. then, no more be asked, Where was your religion before Luther? for we can answer, It was in the Bible; in the Nicene Creed; in the decrees of the first four Councils ; in the writings of the earliest Christian Fathers; in the hearts and in the confessions of the faithful witnesses, who preserved one unbroken succession of testimony, in the Syrian, the Bohemian, the Waldensian, and other Churches, during the whole period of papal domination; nay, even in the bosom of the Romish Church some were to be found who held fast all essential truths, and were in a great measure free from the errors which so commonly prevailed. Ours, then, is no new religion, nor are we members of any new Church; but we hold fast the primitive religion, and are members of the ancient Church, which is built not upon St. Peter, nor his supposed successor, but "upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone." We do hold "fast the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having support"
(for so the original word signifies, rather than nourishment) "ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God."
Whilst we vindicate ourselves from the charge of schism, unreasonably brought against us by the papists, we may, at the same time, protest against those who justify their real schism by our involuntary separation. I feel it needful to do so, though time will not permit me at present to enter at length into the argument. But I hope on some future occasion to prove, that those who refuse conformity to our national Church have no such cause for separation as that which compelled us to quit the Church of Rome. If, indeed, it could be proved that we insisted upon false doctrines, or required unlawful practices; if our worship could justly be called superstitious; or we could be convicted of tyranny over the consciences of men, they might have a better plea for separation. But, whatsoever they may allege, they cannot establish any such charges. We can shew that our doctrine is the same with that of the Apostles and their early followers. The same may be asserted with regard to our general form of ecclesiastical polity. In our worship we have endeavoured to preserve all that was edifying, and to reject that which appeared erroneous in the liturgies to which the people were accustomed, adding such supplications and thanksgivings as were appropriate to particular circumstances and occasions. Separation, therefore, from our communion can derive no warrant either from the course pursued by our reformers, or from any of the terms they have imposed. But if it cannot be proved necessary, there can be no
good excuse for it; nor will it be vindicated by those who feel the importance of maintaining "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace and charity."
After all, my brethren, whatsoever be our views o ecclesiastical authority or discipline, the lesson taught by the text must be acknowledged most important by every real Christian. Not to hold the Head—that is, not to have communion with Christ by a true and living faith-is to sacrifice the only well-founded hope of salvation. From whatever else we may venture to separate, there can be no life in us if we are separate from him; he is the source of life, and health, and growth, to all the members of his body. Let us, then, carefully examine whether we are indeed united to him; and never rest till we are assured of that union by the presence of his Spirit in our souls, and by the transformation of them into his holy image. Let his words be always present to our minds: "He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for separate from me ye can do nothing." And let us always remember, that if we would cleave to the Head, we must cleave also to the mystical body; for the whole must by joints and bands, the bands of charity and close communion, be supported and knit together; that, by the effectual working in the measure of every part, we may increase with the increase of God.
Cultivate, therefore, I beseech you, fervent charity, as well as lively faith in Jesus. 'Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." Put on, as the elect of God, holy and
beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of
mind, meekness, long-suffering; and let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called, in one body; and be ye thankful." Thus shall “ come, in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." To Him, our glorious Head, be ascribed, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, &c.
OUR LORD'S REPROOF
PHARISAIC TRADITIONS APPLIED TO THOSE
MARK, Vii. 9.
"He said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."
OUR blessed Saviour, whose general deportment was full of mildness and tenderness,-who never brake the bruised reed, nor quenched the smoking flax,-yet on many occasions treated the Pharisees with great severity. Though they were the most powerful sect amongst the Jews, and most capable of advancing or of injuring his cause, had that cause depended upon man for its success, yet he never scrupled to expose their hypocrisy. For they were, for the most part, hypocrites, making great pretensions of zeal for the honour of God and the observations of his worship, but in reality substituting their own unauthorised traditions for his just and righteous laws.
We have an example of this in the passage from which my text is taken. Though by no means scrupu