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which they did not venture to break—the bond of their common Christianity. This still preserved their public union with each other, and with the church of God. Yet observe the topics which Clemens urges for the restoration of concord. They are three:
(1.) All schisms; all dividing of Christian from Christian-all things which prevent their free, full, affectionate, evangelical intercourse, are at war with their relations as members of the one body of Christ.
(2.) They are incompatible with the reigning power of Christian love.
(3.) They hinder the progress of the gospel ; they shake the faith of some; produce apostacy in others; grieve the hearts and weaken the hands of unwavering believers, and expose their authours and abettors to the severest comminations of our Lord Jesus Christ.
If the many and woful contentions now in the church of Christ, affect not her children in the same manner, their indifference arises, and can arise, from no other cause than their having “ left their first love.
Let this suffice for the first point.
2d. The primitive church considered the renunciation of fundamental truth as inconsistent with her tunity.
This Howed, and must forever How, as a ne-. cessary consequence from the very principle of her being, viz. her FAITH. She is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and PROPHETS, JESUS Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.*
The apostles and prophets, i. e. their inspired doctrines, contain God's TESTIMONY concerning that eternal life which he hath GIVEN to us in his son ;t which divine TESTIMONY is addressed to, and embraced by, the Faith of his church. I And as the sole foundation of faith, in every possible form and degree, is testimony; so, whatever rests upon testimony, must have faith as its essential principle. Therefore, the church of God, founded upon pure revelation, i. e. upon his own testimony in his written word, exists by faith, and by faith alone. As this is not the time to stop the mouths” of those “ vain talkers,” who charge the doctrine which so highly exalts the faith of the church, with depressing, in the same proportion, her love and practice of moral virtue ; they shall be dismissed with a single remark-Should a man, on the search for "true holiness,” go in
* EPA, ii. 20, 21.
+ 1 Joun, v. | The BIBLE, from beginning to end.,'
quest of it among the unbelievers, the world itself would account him vastly simple!
To return. Try the common sense of mankind on this point. Ask them what they would think of an unbelieving church of God ? The idea is shocking. Our understandings revolt from its absurdity ; our hearts from its impiety. No ingenuity has ever been able to justify, or even to palliate, before the bar of plain dealing, subscription to creeds which the subscriber does not sincerely believe, upon the pretence of their being “articles of peace;" or of their admitting a construction which is not their obvious, unlaboured, natural meaning. This is jugglery all over. The two-faced oracle of Delphos in the sanctuary of God. It belongs to those deep dissimulations,
That palter with us in a double sense ;
The agreement thus apparently effected between belief and unbelief; between faith and no faith-the oil and water in Christian doctrine; was well defined by one who “smacked" but little of orthodoxy, to be, “nof the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; but the union of knaves in the bond of hypocrisy.”
In such arts the early church was no adept. That same Spirit of God who taught her the most extended charity towards those who, with all their differences, were one in“ the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ,” taught her also to contend earnestly for that faith ; and not to receive into her bosom, and nurture as her children, any by whom it should be corrupted. "If there come any unto you,” says John, “and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. For he that biddeth him "God speed, is partaker of his evil deeds."* To that conspiracy against truth, which, under the guise of charity, welcomes or endures all sorts of doctrines, and those the most contradictory, even concerning the person and work of “God our Saviour," both the beloved disciple and the church of his master, were utter strangers. To deny any capital article of her faith, was, in her view, to mar her symmetry, to destroy her unity, to tear up her very foundations. Hence her public creeds, which she required to be embraced by every candidate for baptism-hence her stress upon her ONE faith throughout the whole world—and her abhorrence of heresy and heretics. Hence the work of IRENÆUS against the doctrinal heresies which had troubled her peace until his day.
* * John 10, 11.
IRENÆUS was for some time a contemporary of POLYCARP, having seen him, as he says himself, in the early part of his life. This zealous vindicator of the one faith of the church, tells us upon POLYCARP's authority, as the story was related by those who had it from POLYCARP's own lips, that the apostle John, having gone into a bath at Ephesus, and observed CERINTHUS,* sprang out immediately, exclaiming, “Let us fly, lest the bath should fall-CerintHUS, the eneny of the truth, is there !99 And POLYCARP himself having fallen in with
* CERINTAUS, of the Gnostic sect, the earliest corrupters of Christianity after the Judaizing teachers, was in some respects the prototype of the modern Unitarians. Among other fundamental errours,
he de nied the proper divinity of Christ, whom he considered as the most glorious of the æons, a set of created beings-a notion from which the Arians are not very remote. He denied also, that Jesus was born of a virgin, which he held to be impossible; and maintained, that he was the son of Joseph and Mary, in the ordinary course of nature
a leading doctrine of the Socinians of the present day; and openly avowed, in a note to Mat. i. 18, in what is called an improved version of the New Testament, printed at London in 1808, and reprinted at Boston in 1809. Cerinthus, however, taught, that this Christ, this unintelligible con, descended on the man Jesus at his baptism, and flew away from him at his crucifixion.(a) We do not know that any of his discipłes, who dream after him in other respects, have dreamed this dream also. But it was needless to stop; while they were about it, they might as well have dreamed the whole.
(a) Iren. adver. hæreses, Lib. I. c. 25.