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was never in the world before; for the church is the same now as formerly, only sick and overgrown with corruptions then; healed, weeded, purged, and reformed now. were there wanting, in former ages, after those corruptions prevailed in the church, many witnesses who appeared for the truths then suppressed, greatly complained of the contrary abuses, and earnestly desired a reformation;-as, under the defection of the ten tribes, the Lord had seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal, (1 Kings xix. 18) and a remnant according to the election of grace, under the apostasy of the Jews. (Rom. xi. 1, 5)
3. We should be exhorted to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; not to judge, despise, or condemn one another, but mutually to edify where we agree, and to endeavour reconciliation wherein we differ; to be perfectly joined together, if it be possible, in the same judgement; to think, and to speak the same things; however, to mind the same end, to intend the same common salvation, to hold fast the same end, to pursue the same interest; and however we go in several paths of the same road, yet still to have our faces towards the same city.
Arguments to persuade unto this holy unity, to obey the government of Christ under his staff Bands, are many and weighty. 1. A Contrario. Consider the unity and confederacy of Satan, and all his instruments against Christ and his church for our Saviour telleth us, 66 that Satan is divided against himself." (Matth. xii. 26) We read of the ⚫ gates of hell";' whereby we understand the united powers and counsels of the kingdom of darkness against the kingdom of Christ :-and as devils, so the wicked of the world join hand in hand against the church; they consult together with one consent", and are confederate against it; they will lay down their own private enmities to combine against Christ, as Pilate and Herod did. Fas est et ab hoste doceri.' If enemies unite to destroy the church, should not we
supra. sect. 179. B. Usher's Serm. p. 27, 31.-Mornay, of the Church. c. 9. p. 324. c. 10. p. 358.-Crakenth. c. 85. sect. 2.-Field, of the Church. 1. 3. c. 8, 12. et Appendix. p. 3. sect. 2.-B. Land, Epist. Dedicat. to the King. p. 16.—Chilling. sect. 91.-Carleton, Consens. loc. de Scriptura. ep. 1. p. 9, 14.-Dr. Jo. Whiteway. m Matth. xvi. 18. "Psalm ii. 2. lxxxiii. 3, 8. Acts
sect. 50. iv. 27.
• Luke xxiii. 12. Isai. ix. 21.
unite to preserve it? especially considering what a grave historian noteth, "That, in the cause of religion, every subdivision is a strong weapon in the hand of the contrary party."P Our intestine mutinies and distempers, do the enemy's work for him. He may stand still, and please himself, to see us bite and devour one another. Again; consider the turpitude, deformity, and danger of schisms and divisions,-which are the same in a politick or ecclesiastical body, as in the natural; wherein whatsoever mangleth and separateth part from part, doth greatly weaken and deform the whole. They gratify the common enemy. Hoc Ithacus velit.' They grieve the Holy Spirit, as wounds in the body natural put the soul to pain. They dishonour the holy gospel, which is a gospel of peace. They loosen and weaken the interest of religion; for when we bite and devour one another, we are in danger to be consumed one of another. They minister occasion to profane spirits to turn atheists, and cast off all religion as a thing of uncertainty, wherein the professors thereof themselves know not how to agree. They have their foundation in carnal and sensual interests, as pride, revenge, discontent, covetousness, and other inordinate lusts, and therefore are reckoned by the apostle amongst the fruits of the flesh.'If we examine the rise and original of many of the antient heresies, whereby the peace of the church hath been torn and mangled, we shall find that some carnal end or other, as ambition, animosity, discontent, or other the like sins, have been the basis on which they were reared. It was the speech of a graceless son to his mother, "Transferam me in partem Donati, et bibam sanguinem tuum';"-as St. Austin. saith, "Mater omnium hæreticorum superbia." It is a very true speech of Baronius, "Ex officina Sardanapali prodire consueverunt hæresium sectatores." *
2. A Necessario.' From the necessity of this excellent duty and this is a twofold necessity; Necessitas præcepti,' because it is commanded, "Have peace one with another." (Mark ix. 50) Necessitas medii,' because peace and
P History of the Council of Trent, p. 49. Hoc consilio Julianus inter Christianos dissidia fovebat, ut minore negotio debellarentur, si prius bello inter se conflictati fuissent. Baron. Ann. 392. sect. 285.
9 Gal. v. 15.
• Vid. Danai
t Aug. ep. 168.
Baron. An. 474. sect. 6.
v. 20. 1 Cor. iii. 3, 4. Rom. xvi. 17, 18. 1 Tim. vi. 3, 4, 5.
unity amongst brethren in the church, is an excellent means to glorify God, when with one mind and mouth we call upon him, and serve him with one consent ;-and to farther the gospel, and gain it honour and credit even in the hearts of strangers. The heathen themselves took notice of the love of Christians, as Minutius Felix telleth us; "Vide," say they, "ut se diligunt Christiani!"
3. A Possibili.' Our endeavours in this kind are not after things, which are unattainable; for Christ hath, by the blood of his cross, procured the church's peace, and by his powerful intercession, prayeth for it. Since therefore Christ died not in vain, but did see of the travail of his soul, and was heard in every prayer which he made; it is certain that the Lord will, in due time, pour out upon his people a spirit of unity, and close up the breaches of his tabernacle. As it is our duty to seek peace, so is it his promise to work itf; he is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
4. A Facili.' It is not only possible, but easy for believers to be at peace one with another. Those things which are natural, are ever wrought without difficulty. It is not hard for the sun to shine, or the fire to burn. Nothing more easy than for the members in one body to agree with one another. And believers are members of the same body, and have one common spirit to actuate and animate them; and therefore should suffer and rejoice together, and be kindly affectioned one towards another with brotherly love; as the apostle argueth. (Rom. xii. 4, 10. 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13, 25, 26)
5. Ab Utili;' from the great good and advantage, which hereby cometh unto the church. It is as the dew of Hermon, which bringeth a blessing with it. It strengtheneth against all adverse power, and maketh the church terrible as an army with banners. It openeth the passages for the communion of saints, that they may derive good from one another by the supply that every joint maketh: as divers members in the body have divers uses; the eye to see, the ear to hear, the tongue to speak, the hand to work; and
y Rom. xv. 5, 6, 7. Isai. liii. 11.
Eph. ii. 13, 16.
■ John xvii. 21, 23. d John xi. 42. • Amos f Psalm xxix. 11. Isai. liv. 13. Jer. xxxii. 39.
e Gal. ii. 21.
these uses mutually serviceable to the good of each other, and union a necessary bond of this service: so in the church or body of Christ, every member hath his measure of gifts and graces, by which he may be profitable to the whole; one, the spirit of wisdom; another, of knowledge; one able to counsel; another, to comfort; one, to exhort; another, to rebuke. What is wanting in one, is supplied by another; and this supply is made by those joints, whereby these divers members are united together. Love is the Vehiculum of all that help and service, which one Christian man deriveth upon another. Hereby we serve one another i, and edify one another; we bear with the infirmities, sustain the burthens, and rejoice in the comforts, mourn in the sorrows, distribute to the necessities, pray for the souls, of one another. By this means, the graces of the church are more bright and resplendent; as the flame which ariseth out of united fuel, is much greater than that which each stick alone by itself doth render. And hence it is that the servants of God do love the habitation of his house, and the place where his honour dwelleth': assembling themselves there together with one accord, because he hath promised that in every place where he recordeth his name, he will come unto them, and bless them" and by this means there were added to the church daily such as should be saved.
6. A Jucundo et honesto.' It is not only good, but pleasant, for brethren to dwell together in unity; not only as the dew of Hermon for profit, but as the ointment on the head of Aaron for comfort and delight. In the united assemblies of the saints, we behold the beauty of the Lord. P When the members are disjointed, the body is deformed: shave away the eye-brows only from the face, "Quantillum decedit de corpore, quantum de pulchritudine," saith St. Austin; you much lessen the beauty, by so little lessening the body.—Now a schism in the church, is the same deformity as a mutilation in the body.
7. Ab Exemplo,' from the great examples which we have in the word. God known by the name of 'a God
of peace, with whom his people, having acquaintance and communion, are at peace. Christ by the name of a Prince of Peace ';' who as he is not divided in himself, so neither should he be divided in his members. Our consolation in him should make us be of one accord, and of one mind. The primitive church a mirror of unity and peace; the multitude of believers were of one heart, and of one soul ": " et primum in unoquoque genere est Regula cæterorum."
8. Ab Evangelio,' from the nature of the gospel,—which is called by the apostle, a gospel of peace ;' whereby we are called unto peace; by the power whereof the rage of lions and bears is calmed and subdued2; much more should the sheep of Christ be preserved from biting and devouring one another. It is a presage of rain and storms, when sheep run heads together: and certainly it bodeth no good unto the church, when the sheep of Christ are at discord one with another.
Lastly, A Sacramentis,' which are 'sigilla et vincula pacis ;' from the sacraments which are the seals and bands of Christian peace.-In baptism we were baptized into one body; in the Lord's supper, we, being many, are one bread, and one body; for we are partakers of that one bread. b As the wine is made of many grapes pressed into one liquor, and the bread of many grains moulded into one lump; so the church of many believers, compacted together by one spirit of faith and love into one mystical body.
I shall conclude this exhortation with two or three solemn and emphatical passages of the apostle, pressing Christians unto this duty; "Let us," saith he, "follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another." And again; "I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same. judgement." And again, "Be perfect, be of good comfort,
Sicut multa grana unum panem conficiunt, et ex multis racemis unum vinum extrahitur, sic ex multis hominibus Christi corpus efficitur. Serm. 28. ad fratres in eremo, apud. Aug. d Rom. xiv. 19. 1 Cor. i. 10. 2 Cor. xili. 11. Phil.
ii. 1, 2. 2 Thess, iii. 16. Rom. xv. 5.