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enormity .... Separation from the church is incapable of justification. No excuse can be admitted in the case of a positive and deadly sin, except the plea of ignorance

Separation from a christian church is incapable of excuse, no reason can possibly justify it, and the society formed by such an act of separation, is entirely cut off from christian unity, and from the true church of Christ.'

* This fixes ineffaceably the mark of schism on the origin of all those communities which separated themselves from the British churches. For they not only separated themselves from this branch of the visible catholic church, but did so on principles which involved separation from every other part of the church equally; and accordingly they held communion with no church which existed previously to their separation, nor were they acknowledged afterwards by any ancient church as a portion of the church of Christ.' 'Their (the Dissenters') separation from the church of England was founded not only in schism, but in heresy; and this being the case, they could not have been any part of the church of Christ, nor were they capable of forming christian churches Dissenting communities are human societies. The will of man makes them, regulates them, unmakes them. They are, in a word, purely voluntary associations; and there

fore cannot be any part of that church which is formed by the divine command, and by means instituted by God, and from which man cannot separate without most grievous sin.'

* The Presbyterians (of Scotland) were innovators .... Their opinion was erroneous, but had it merely extended to a preference for the presbyterian form, it might have been in some degree tolerated: it would not have cut them off from the church of Christ : but it was the exaggeration of their opinion : their separation for the sake of this opinion, their actual rejection of the authority and communion of the existing successors of the apostles in Scotland, and therefore of the universal church in all ages, that marks them out as schismatics; and all the temporal enactments and powers of the whole world would not cure this fault, nor render them a portion of the church of Christ .... With regard to all the other sects in Scotland, which have seceded from the Presbyterian community ... the same observations apply to them all. Their predecessors, the Presbyterians, voluntarily separated themselves from the catholic church of Christ, and they, in departing from the Presbyterian communion, have not yet returned to that of the true church. Consequently, they form no part of the church of Christ."*

* A Treatise on the Church of Christ : designed chiefly

Such are the views respecting the church of Christ, unity, and schism, which are proposed for the instruction of each successive race of students in theology, who are prepared, at the University of Oxford, to be spiritual guides, and interpreters of the will of Christ, to mankind. These young men, who are toteach others also,' are taught that 'the state has a right when necessary, to oblige the members of the church, by temporal penalties, to submit to her ordinances.. It has a right to prevent persons from separating from her communion.' Yet the author strangely advocates' toleration,' ' if experience show that penalties have in vain been employed, to secure obedience: if a schism be formed and established: if it be obviously in vain to expect any good results from measures of compulsion.'*

The above extracts are a specimen of doctrines which, after having been supposed to be nearly obsolete, have, in our day, been revived; and which scarcely seem, at present, to have attained their full development. Separation from a human opinion, is here identified with separation from the unity of the universal church of Christ. . The for the Use of Students in Theology. By the Rev. Wil. liam Palmer, M.A. of Worcester College, Oxford. Vol. i. Part i. chap. iv. Section 2; chap. xii, Section i. iii ; and Part ii. chap. i.

* Id. vol. ii. part v. chap. viii.

formation of purely voluntary associations,' is regarded as an exercise of the will of man,' incompatible with the idea of the christian church being instituted by the divine command.' But how, we may ask, can an intelligent obedience be rendered to the commands of God, otherwise than voluntarily? Acts of repentance and of faith, are the objects of ' divine command ;' yet they are essentially voluntary. Again, the simple preference of the Scottish Presbyterians, for the platform of Geneva, 'would not, it seems, have cut them off from the church of Christ:' but their separation from Rome, without retaining Episcopacy, was fatal to unity. In other words, if their offence had extended no farther than conscientiously believing, in private, that the Presbyterian discipline was more accordaut with the will of Christ than the Episcopalian, this liberty of bare opinion, "might have been, in some degree, tolerated ;' but their acting on the principle of this conscieutious belief, by worshipping God accordingly, 'marks them out as schismatics;' and they, and all who belong to the christian communities that have originated from them, are declared (miserable men !) to 'form no part of the church of Christ!'

Such is the awful sentence which is pronounced on those Scottish martyrs, thousands of whom suffered on the gibbet, or were butchered in the

See page 175, above.

mass, by the armed savages, sent by Charles the Second and his brother James, to dragoon them into conformity to prelacy! Of such commemoration are they thought worthy, who, for conscientious adherence to the Presbyterian worship, endured torture, imprisonment, exile, and death, on a scale, worthy of the persecutions inflicted on the Christians, by heathen Rome; and which Rome ecclesiastical did not equal, when the darkness in which she had enveloped the Scottish nation, was 'made visible' by the flames of martyrdom, in which Hamilton, Mill, and Wishart, were consumed! These new martyrs to conscience, are declared to be' schismatics ;' and no part of the church of Christ ! Such, also, is the judgment held to be due to the two thousand English Confessors, of 1662. Their separation from the church of England was founded, not only in schism, but in heresy; and this being the case, they could not have been any part of the church of Christ.'! __ The Guthries, Govans, and Learmonths of Scotland; and the Howes, Baxters, and Flavels of England ; - the Erskines and M'Cries, who belonged to Christian bodies derived from the Church of which the former were ornaments; and the Doddridges and Wattses,

i See Howie's Scots Worthies, 1828–9.

· Palmer's Treatise on the church of Christ. Vol. i. Parti. chap. xiii. section 1.

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