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not of the same name, than in a feud existing between them, on account of the one worshipping in a Gothic building, the other in a Grecian.
If individuals, and there have been many,) eminent for piety, learning, and talents; whose motives appear to have been as pure as can actuate man; and who have shown the greatest anxiety to discover truth,-have, nevertheless, formed different conclusions respecting church-government; does not this very circumstance, even in itself, amount to a considerable presumption that,-account for it as we may, the scriptures are less explicit on this point, than on those respecting which these men have been agreed?
That such men, for example, as Baxter, who was inclined to a modified Episcopacy; and Watts, of the next age, who was an Independent; each, worthy to be reckoned among the first men of their respective times.;—the former, a man,' says Sylvester, of clear, deep, fixed thought, of copious and well-digested reading;* and, we may add, of vast and almost incredible intellectual labour ;—the latter, also intense in study, and of varied and unusual attainments in learning, philosophy, and polite letters; who has provided instruction,' says Johnson, 'for all ages, from those who are lisping their first lessons, to the enlightened readers of Malebranche and Locke;'
* Sylvester's Funeral Sermon for Baxter, 1691. p. 14.
and “has left neither corporeal nor spiritual nature unexamined:”—both, men ofunearthly mould, of deep devotion, of profound conscientiousness and integrity; ardent in the pursuit of truth, lead them where it might ;-the one a sufferer for conscience' sake ;-and both sacrificing to conscience worldly advantages within their reach ::—that men such as these should, after all their painful
| Johnson's Lives of the Poets.
* Immediately after the Restoration, the government appeared disposed to some modifications in Episcopacy, by way of concession to the Non-conformists; and, on these terms, a bishopric was offered to Baxter, which he refused; 'but not,' he says, 'as a thing which I judged unlawful in itself, as described in the King's declaration ;-but I feared that this declaration was but for present use, and that shortly it would be revoked or nullified; and if so, I doubted not but the laws would prescribe such work for bishops, in silencing ministers, and troubling honest Christians for their conscience, and rul. ing the vicious with greater lenity, as that I had rather have the meanest employment among men.'—Baxter's Life, part ii. p. 282. That Baxter judged correctly of the Stuart policy, was but too soon proved; for in 1662, less than two years after the ' Declaration,' this conscientious man, and upwards of two thousand more, were ejected from their livings by the Act of Uniformity.
Of Watts, Johnson says, “A subscription was proposed for his support at the University; but he declared his resolution to take his lot with the Dissenters. Such he was, as every Christian church would rejoice to have adopted.' -Lives of the Poets.
studies, their prayers, and heart-searchings in the presence of the God of truth, not arrive at the same views of the form and order of the church, while they agreed so nearly on other points, and especially in the most catholic principles of christian fellowship;—is surely one instance, among the many facts of the like kind, which may well be allowed to have some weight in causing all candid persons to pause, and deeply to inquire “ What saith the Scripture?' before they pronounce that a certain uniformity in externals is essential to the unity of the church.
Is it not worthy of reflection, whether these men, and others like-minded, are not the very persons who have kept 'the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?'
When Watts's distinguished biographer, himself of another communion, said of him, 'In his mind orthodoxy was united with charity; and happy will be the reader who is disposed to imitate him in all but his non-conformity;"'~~was this a description applicable to one who held lax notions of truth and moral obligation ? or was it the highest eulogy? And when Baxter said, 'I can as willingly be a martyr for love as for any article of the creed,"? was this false candour? or was it an audible expression of the genuine spirit of Christianity? Human examples, it is
true, are no substitutes for the divine testimony; but such examples may well lead us to look more carefully to the scriptural grounds and manifestations of unity; and to inquire wherein it does, and wherein it does not, consist.
THE GENIUS OF CHRISTIANITY IN RESPECT TO EX
TERNALS, AS COMPARED WITH JUDAISM.
It appears that there were elements in the Jewish church essential to its unity, which do not occupy a similar place in the christian institution. Though Judaism and Christianity are parts of the same divine plan of mercy, their genius is widely different. The spiritual ideas of the former were deeply enshrined in materialism; the outward and visible signs of the latter are so manifest, and so transparent, that they form no veil to the thing signified. Judaism was chiefly a code of laws; Christianity is rather a system of principles. In Judaism, formal command and prohibition were found everywhere. Rites, ceremonies, and all the punctilious details of external order, were so exactly prescribed, that little room was left for diversity. These things, indeed, were Judaism. They
were as much a part of it, as were the moral and spiritual elements which distinguished it so entirely from all heathenism, and of which elements these outward observances were, in many cases, the vehicle and the emblem. The moral law itself was not more armed with divine sanctions, than the ceremonial. Both were given from Sinai. Both were proclaimed with awful solemnity. If the ten commands were ushered in with thunders and lightnings; so also, the glory of Jehovah was like devouring fire on the top of the Mount,' while the same divine voice described the loops and taches of the tabernacle, the rings of the ark, and the branches, knops, and bowls of the candlestick.' To infringe the minutest regulation of the ceremonial law, was as plain and direct a violation of the command of Jehovah, as to make a 'graven image for the purpose of idolatry.
Hence the sacred history records that Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, were miraculously destroyed, because they "offered strange fire before Jehovah, which he commanded them not."!
The genius of Christianity with regard to externals, is obviously that of another economy. Here, almost everything is spiritual. The baptismal water and the eucharistic bread and wine, are the only rites of the church which have been com
Exod. xxiv. xxv. ? Levit. x. 1; comp. xvi. 12, 13.