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MARCION,* who begged to be recognised by him as a brother, “ I recognise thee,” cried Polycarp, “as the first born of Satan!” “ So religiously," adds IRENÆUS,“ did the Apostles and their disciples shun all intercourse, even in conversation, with any of those who adulterated the truth.”+ These traits of primitive character bear as little resemblance to the “ charity” of the present age, as that charity bears to real love to men or loyalty to God. CYPRIAN is very explicit. “The
* MARCION of Pontus, uttered horrible blasphemies, maintaining, among other things, that “the God of Abraham and the prophets is not the father of our Lord Jesus Christ; but a different being, the au. thour of evil, a delighter in wars, mutable and self-contradictory."
IREN. adv. 1 hær. Lib. I. c. 19, 20. The expression addressed by this heretic to Polycarp, viz. Ewiyev wore ques, i.e. Recognise us,” was somewhat technical in the primitive church; and equivalent with a brotherly salutation. The deacons were accustomed to use it at the celebration of the supper, frequently calling out to the communicants as they came up, Επιγινωσκεσε αλλήλους;
Recognise each other!" viz. lest a Jew or profane person might apa proach the holy table. A custom which throws light upon, and may have been borrowed from, Paul's expression. 1 Cor. xvi. 18. Ewice Y COTXETE TOUS TOIOUTOUS, “ Acknowledge them that are such.”
H. VALESII, Annot. ad. Euseb. H. E. T. I. 161. + Εισιν οι ακηκοοτες αυτου (Polycarp) οτι Ιωαννης και του Κυρίου μαθήλης εν τη Εφεσο, αορευθεις λουσασθαι, και ειδων εσω Κηρινθον, εξηλατο του Βαλάνειου μη λουσαμενος, αλλ' εαειπων, «φυγωμεν, μη και το Βαλανειον συμπεση, ενδον ονθος Κορινθου του της αλήθειας εχθρου.» Και αυτος ο Πολυκαρσος, Μαρκιωνι ποτε εις οψιν αυτω ελθοντι και φησαντι, «Εαιγινωσκε ήμας,» ATEXgotin, « Επιγινωσκω τον πρωτοτοκον του Σαλαγα.» Τοσαυτην οε Αποσολοι και οι μαθηται αυτων εσχον ευλαβειαν, προς το μη δε μεχει λογου 8οινωνειν τινι των παραχαράσσοντας την αληθειαν.
IREN, ap, EURER. Lib. IV. c. 14. p. 161.
enemy,” says he, “exposed and prostrated by the coming of Christ-contrived a new fraud that he might deceive the thoughtless under the very sanction of the Christian name. He invented heresies and schisms, that he might subvert 'the faith, corrupt the truth, and rend unity." One of the ways, then, of rending the unity of the church, was the subversion of her faith ;which is the effect of fundamental errour, and the design of that father of lies from whom it proceeds.
It is superfluous to multiply quotations. The very term HERESY, which simply signifies Division, was early appropriated to false doctrine, for this very reason, that the bond of the church's unity is faith in the TRUTH ; which bond nothing more effectually unties than the propagation of doctrinal FALSEHOOD.
3d. The unity of the primitive church was broken by withdrawing from her communion ; or. which
in her eyes, the same thing, the setting up of separate and restricted communions.
If custom, which reconciles men to both ab
* Quid vero astutius, quidve subtilius, quam ut Christi adventu detectus ac prostratus INIMICUS.-excogitaverit novam fraudem, ut sub ipso Christiani nominis titulo fallat incautos ? Hæreses invenit et schismata quibus subverteret fidem, veritatem corrumperet, scinderet unitatem.
Dc Unit. Eccles. Opp. p. 105.
surdity and sin, had not familiarized the spectacle of evangelical churches alienated from, and often arrayed against, each other-my soul shudders in the NAME OF THE LORD JESUS!! it would be inconceivable how the idea of one catholic CHURCH can be dissevered from that of one catholic COMMUNION. That union should not be a basis for communion--that “particular churches, which are members of the catholic church,»* as parts of one whole, should, in their church-capacity, have no fellowship with each other, though they constitute but one body-nay, that such fellowship should be unwholesome, unholy, unlawful ; although as parts of one whole, they have the very same means of life, health, vigour—is so desperate an assault upon the sense of consistency--such a Leviathan of a paradox, that the faculties of poor human nature sink beneath it.
None of the ancients blundered in this style. Orthodox or heterodox, they agreed in one point, viz. that different communions exclude the idea of unity. Hence, on the one hand, the Novatians, Luciferians, Donatists, who set up restrictive communions, acted upon the avowed principle that the Catholic church, from which they withdrew, had ceased to be the church of Christ.
* Con. of Faiik, ch. xxv. 4.
And, on the other hand, they who eondemned the separatists, held, that by the very fact of their separate communion, they threw themselves out of the church of God, and 'ceased to be a part of her. The ground, then, upon which they both stood, is this, that two churches refusing communion with each other, do thereby renounce their relation to each other as parts of a common whole: and that it is idle to pretend that the public unity of the church can be made to consist with such divisions.
To give at full length the proofs of what is here advanced, would be to transcribe a large portion of the works of some of the early fathers. It is assumed, as incontrovertible, by both CYPRIAN and AUGUSTINE, in their respective controversies with the Novatians and Donatists; and frequently asserted in the most formal and unqualified manner. A specimen shall suffice.
After showing from the scriptures the visible unity of the church, Cyprian thus demands:
“Does he who maintains not this unity, imagine that he possesses the faith? Does he who sets himself against the church, cherish a confidence of his being in the church ?" — Again : “Whoever is disjoined from the church, is joined to an adulteress; is separated from the promises made to the church. Nor can that man attain to the rewards of Christ, who leaves the church of Christ. He is an alien, he is profane, he is an enemy.
:2* Once more. “Let no one, brethren, cause you to err from the ways of the Lord. Let no one tear you, Christians, from the gospel of Christ. Let no one remove from the church, the church's sons. Let them, who are willing to perish, perish by themselves. Let them who have departed from the church, remain without the church, alone.”+
These things are spoken of the Novatians, who were not accused of unsound doctrine; who carried their ecclesiastical discipline to an excessive rigour; and who, from displeasure at what they accounted the laxness of the church, in dealing with the “lapsed,” withdrew from her fellowship, and formed a church and communion of their own. It was the fact of this se
* Hanc Ecclesiæ unitatem qui non tenet, tenere se fidem credit ? Qui Ecclesiæ renititur et resistit, in Ecclesià se esse confidit? Quisquis ab Ecclesiâ segregatus adulteræ jungitur; a promissis Ecclesiæ separatur: Nec pervenit ad Christi præmia qui relinquit Ec clesiam Christi. Alienus est, profanus est, hostis est.
Cyp. de Unitate Eccles. p. 108, 109. + Nemo vos, fratres, errare a Domini viis faciat. Nemo vos Christianos ab evangelio Christi rapiat. Nemo filios Ecclesiæ de Ecclesia tollat. Pereant sibi soli, qui perire voluerunt. Extra Ecclesiam soli remaneant, qui de Ecclesia recesserunt,
Io. En. XLIII. p. !,