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The contentions which occur in an individual congregation, often inflict a fatal blow on its prosperity, by the local odium which theybring on religion. But when more general and public breaches of charity arise between different churches and denominations, they are calculated to do injury on a wider scale; according to the degrees of their manifestation from the coldness and repulsion of alienated hearts, to a state of the church (to its shame be it spoken !) almost analogous to that of civil war in a nation.

WHEN CHRISTIANS OF DIFFERENT COMMUNIONS REGARD EACH OTHER IN THE SPIRIT OF OPEN HOSTILITY, an example is exhibited of the most flagrant and lamentable kind of schism. For nothing, surely, can be more unnaturally antichristian, than that the church of Christ should be divided into parties, more resembling opposed armies, which are keeping up a desultory warfare against each other—than one great community, various in the modes and customs of life, but animated by one spirit, and one desire, for the common good. Yet such has, too often, been the attitude which different christian denominations have maintained towards each other such the melancholy and degrading spectacle, which the church has exhibited to the world !-a spectacle which would be scarcely credible when actually seen, were it not, unhappily, so familiar :-for

who would expect to find the religion of love chiefly attracting the attention of the profane, by overt demonstrations of mutual hostility, on the part of its professors !

But there may be public schism, where there is no open war. All JEALOUSIES AND UNHOLY RIVALRIES BETWEEN CHRISTIAN SOCIETIES, are similar in their cause, though different in degree. Uncharitableness is the fertile source of all these evils. “The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy'*-a humiliating confession to the Christian, who knows what he ought to be, as an imitator of Christ! Strange, indeed—were we not aware what human nature is—that brethren of the same family should ever view each others households as rival establishments !- strange that the carnal envy between Ephraim and Judah, should have its counterpart among Christians; whose proper interests are wholly centred in the 'things which are eternal!' Yet there may be an unhallowed, earthborn rivalry, even in reference to what is good-a 'provoking one another to good works, without a 'provoking to love:'-there may be a competition, even in works of benevolence, which is attended neither with humility nor charity.

More especially may jealousies occur, when one society happens to have owed its origin to an unfriendly separation from another; - above all,

* Jain. iv. 5.

where separation may have taken place in consequence of some minute difference:—for jealousy loves to mar the closest intimacies, and to act as a principle of repulsion between objects which have been in the nearest contact. Hence the alienation and prejudice which have arisen from such a cause, have sometimes not even been buried in the graves of the generation with whom they originated.

The apostle of the Gentiles rejoiced that 'Christ was preached, though it might be ' of envy and strife :'-but the jealous schismatic is of a far other mind. To him, the prosperity of another christian society, may be the triumph of a rival; and may occasion little else than morbid feelings of suspicion and chagrin. He almost loses sight of Christ, and of the salvation of souls, unless they are, in some way, identified with himself and his party; and he thinks more of feuds which ought to be forgotten, than of the good which may have been educed out of former evil. Such are the strange distortions of character, avowedly christian, which may be produced by selfish uncharitableness! How marvellous the power and wisdom of God, who can carry on his great designs of mercy, amidst all the weaknesses, follies, and inconsistencies, of his professing peo


Unhappily for the honour of the gospel, pecuniary interests have also been found among the

sources of schismatical jealousy and strife between Christians. Such is the mixed state of things in the present world, that even religion cannot be supported without money. Hence the possibility of rival secular interests, between one minister and another; or between a pastor and his flock; or between different congregations; or different denominations. Nor is there any taunt which the worldly-minded infidel is more eager to fling at the church, than the remark, that one of the esoteric doctrines of the sanctuary, is, that 'gain is godliness. However it may have occurred, certain it is, that the impression (be it right, or wrong,) is extensively cherished by men of the world, that much of the public strife which takes place, from time to time, on the subject of religion, is deeply inflamed by gross selfishness. When a minister of the gospel, whether taking the high ground of

apostolic succession,' or content with more lowly claims-is found so far departing from the selfdenying apostolic spirit, as to grasp after money, and to seem intent on accumulation—what wonder if the world should scoff at the spectacle, and compare him, who thus belies his profession, to that fallen angel, who was

* The least erected spirit that fell From Heaven; for e'en in Heaven, his looks and thoughts Were always downward bent, admiring more The riches of Heaven's pavement, trodden gold, Than ought divine or holy else, enjoyed In vision beatific.'

If worldly men find that their great idol has attractions so powerful for spirits that profess to be intent heaven-ward, and not to love the world,' nor the things that are in the world'— they will but rush with more headlong and exulting confidence to their idolatry: they will be at once confirmed in their conviction that money is the chief good of man; and in the suspicion which they are always ready to indulge--that where religion is not fanaticism, it is little more than 'close ambition,' or a trade. Though examples of ecclesiastical avarice and pride are not confined to one party; it should be remembered that any system which furnishes the greatest opportunity for the growth and luxuriance of these roots of bitterness in the vineyard of the Lord, exhibits the widest departure from the economy of the apostolic church.

Again : is there a follower of Christ who sees no excellence out of his own little circle of the church ?-does his own sect and party appear to have attained perfection, while all other Christians are but 'babes in Christ?-in this NARROW, BIGOTTED, SECTARIAN SPIRIT, we discern another trait of schism. For schism is a chameleon, which may assume various hues, when examined in the full light of the law of love, though under no changes it loses its native character. Uncharitableness is a 'beam' in the eye of the mind

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