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unlimited and undue obedience: witness the Act of Uniformity, and previously in 1640, the oath with an et-cetera. Our own principle is, that nothing can justify a continued separation from a church, and the constituting a separate society, except anti-Christianism in the spirit and character of the body from which the separation is made. But it is the duty of all members of a church, upon the occasion of undue exercise of power on the part of the authorities of the same, to refuse their assent to those particular measures, and to bear a faithful testimony against them; but still to maintain Christian communion with the same, though to hold firmly to their resistance of unchristian measures, awaiting the good providence of God to overule all things to the well-being of the church, and to convince the authorities of their unjust demands. And these were the sentiments of that excellent man Richard Baxter, and the most learned and wisest of his brethren; and if this spirit had been perpetuated among the Non-conformists, we feel assured that long ere this an union would have taken place, and much that we now mourn over would have had no existence.
We now betake ourselves to our general argument.
When our blessed Lord instituted his church, he gave us the assurance that it should endure until his coming again; saying, “Lo, I am with you alway, unto the end of the world ; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Therefore, “I believe in the holy catholic church” is an article of our faith as certain
as any other article can be, being built upon the clear word of the Lord. But, at the same time, He assured us that tares should grow up with the wheat; and we have an early instance, in the unfaithfulness of one of the twelve: and therefore the true disciples of Christ must never be dismayed, although they may see within the same fold, and bearing the same name as themselves, unfaithful men. Nevertheless, to obviate the hindrance which these might cause to the promulgation of the Gospel, Christ invested his church with the power of discipline, to which it appertaineth that notice should be taken of evil men; and, being found guilty, that they should be suspended from the privileges of the church, until they repented : witness one instance in St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians. The catholic church is not limited to any one time or place, but consists of all the true members of Christ, and all particular communities which hold the true faith, wherever they may be, and they are members of the same so long only as they continue to hold it, and no longer : and therefore there may be many particular churches existing visibly at the same time, as we see to have been the case in the first ages.
“ Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Each member of the
one catholic church—or, as our Twentieth Article expresses it, each“ visible church-is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure word of God is preached, and the sacraments be duly administered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.” Now we cannot but infer, from the Apostolical Epistles, that each visible church to which they were addressed was complete in itself. Christ's presence by his Spirit in each church, constituted its completeness. Each church had its own pastors and rulers, and consisted of persons differing in gifts and faith, from the babes in Christ up to the strong men; and most of the Epistles contain appropriate spiritual food for all the various differences of growth in grace. ` All these various visible churches have this only guarantee for their perpetuity—their faithfulness to Christ: as St. Paul plainly teaches in his Epistle to the Romans (xi. 20—22):“ Because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear. For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness : otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” And for confirmation of this being the true doctrine of all visible churches, we refer to the seven churches of Asia. Each of these churches, as is evident from the language of the epistles addressed to them, was composed of men of different characters, to whom the threatenings and promises were applicable. Their remaining churches of Christ depended upon their adherence to him. (Rev. i. 20.) The continuing of the candlestick in each church was the condition of its being a member of the church universal; and our Lord's threat is, that he would unchurch that visible body of men who would not obey his words. (ii. 5.) “Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” And the desolation and estate of these churches, according to their faithfulness or disobedience, is become a matter of ecclesiastical history.
As members of the same church universal, it followed naturally that each distinct church recognised the others as sister churches; and when any preference was given to one particular church before the others, it was a matter of order, and mere human appointment. (Milner, vol. ii. p. 536.) This is testified, among other documents, by the Council of Chalcedon, in the fifth century: “ The preference which was accorded to the bishop of Rome was on account of the empire of that city...... New Rome, for similar reasons, being adorned with the empire and senate, should enjoy equal privileges with old Royal Rome” (Baxter's Keyfor Catholics,
p. 82). The acquiescence of the Western churches in the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, gradually grew, through the working of that mystery of iniquity which St. Paul assures us was in operation even in his day, and which awaited only the dissolution of the empire-to that monstrous tyranny and system of anti-Christianism having Rome for its centre ; from the thraldom of which God was graciously pleased mainly to deliver this nation, and many other parts of Christendom, by means of the Reformers. After Christianity was established as the religion of the empire, the number of nominal Christians greatly increased, from the decay of holiness and discipline in the church, and a spirit of accommodation to the world : superstitions were multiplied; and although there were some who opposed them, yet by far the greater number were indifferent about them; and they gradually obtained more and more, being fostered and encouraged by the clergy, who submitted themselves, with few exceptions, to the court of Rome. But Christ, it must be remembered, was still with his church, although it was thickly veiled: and our most learned and industrious historians have sought out, and clearly proved, that witnesses for the truth of Christ against the usurpations and false doctrines of the Papal court never failed. At length the impositions of that court became so intolerable that faithful Christians could barely survive in such a gloomy and anti-Christian atmosphere. And what was the consequence ? As soon as ever a man of eminence, sufficient to attract the notice of the antiChristian rulers in church and state, through love of men's souls and zeal for the truth attempted to proclaim the muchhidden Gospel of Christ, he was either martyred, or constrained to submit to silence. As an instance or two, I would mention Berengarius, in the eleventh century, whose followers were so numerous, as old historians relate, that “ he had corrupted almost all the French, Italians, and English with his depravities." He was, by the authorities of Popes and Councils, compelled to renounce, abjure, and burn his writings. But his was a forced recantation as often as he recanted, he relapsed again. “ He returned like a dog to his vomit,” as a contemporary Popish writer expresseth it. He lived and died in the same sentiments. He wrote more professedly against the doctrine of transubstantiation; and also called the Church of Rome a church of malignants, the council of vanity, and the seat of Satan. (Bishop Newton on the Prophecies.) Witness also the poor persecuted Waldenses ; our Grosthead of Lincoln, who was excommunicated ; and Wickliff, and many other eminent men. Nothing could be more cruel and anti-Christian yet done in the name of Christ, than the murder of John Huss and Jerome of Prague. In this sanguinary and deadly way did that spirit, bearing the name of Christian, act, when it had possessed itself of power. It trampled under foot every thing that was sacred. although the true church was rendered almost invisible by the cloud of multitudinous professors of Christianity, and apparently consented to the aboninations of the Romish hierarch, yet in the sixteenth century, when God was pleased to raise up so many preachers of the truth and protesters against the false doctrines and corrupt practices which prevailed on every side, the whole of Christendom became agitated. Christendom was then a chaos, upon the face of which the Spirit of God was moving. The primitive church had been succeeded by a less faithful generation; and at last God permitted the church to lose herself for a time in the wilderness of the world, which assumed only the Christian name; but so completely antichristian were the powers in church and state become, that it was inevitable death to the church to be faithful; and many were sacrificed, who counted not their lives dear, so that they might bear witness to the truth. The Christian church then (at the Reformation) raised its head, after so long an obscuration, under the name of Protestant. The circumstances rendered it necessary for the church to assume this name.
The mixed mass, this chaos of men bearing the Christian name, were called upon, by the preaching of the Reformers, to arouse themselves, and shake off the load of error and superstition which by wicked men, and through the supineness of the true members of Christ, had been heaped upon them : they were called upon to return to that from which they had fallen-to return to the primitive faith. Then they who were desirous of reformation were opposed, as was to be expected, by those who were filled with that spirit of error, and that party which had from the earliest times of the church introduced these corruptions. Those who strove to return to Apostolical Christianity appeared throughout Christendom under the name of Protestants; whereas those who were the high priests, and maintainers of anti-Christian errors, assembled themselves under the banner of the Romish Hierarchy. The process of dividing the light from the darkness lasted long; from the rising of Luther and his compeers, to the Council of Trent. This council was the expression of the anti-Christian party, wherein they excommunicated all those who would not submit themselves to that creed of corruption. (At the end of this review we will subjoin the Creed of Pius IV. under whom the Council of Trent was concluded.) And Bishop Burnet most truly affirms, in his History of the Reformation (vol. iii. part ii. p. 278), " It (the Council of Trent) was, by the cunning of legates, the dissension of princes, the great number of poor Italian bishops, and the ignorance of the greatest part of the others, so managed, that, instead of composing differences in religion, things were so nicely defined that they were made irreconcileable. All those abuses for which there had been nothing but practice, and that much questioned before, were now, by the provisos and reservations excepted for the privileges of the Roman see, made warrantable.” (vol. iii. p. 178, part ii.) From the time of that council begins the history of the Romish church; before that period, Catholic and Roman Catholic existed as one body, but then the two spirits separated into two great parties. Those who advocated and insisted upon the manifold corruptions, shewed to which party they belonged by adhering to the Papal bierarchy, who acknowledged and sanctioned them with their utmost power and authority; whereas those who were truly Catholics, and professors of Apostolical Christianity, protested against the same: and hence the occasion of the name Protestant being superadded to the various visible churches which arose, severally complete in themselves, the jurisdiction of each being determined by territorial limits; and by the purity of their faith they proved themselves true members of the one catholic church. The Papists refer continually to writers preceding the sixteenth century as authorities on their side ; but we tell them, that we have an interest in all such : we abandon only those parts of their writings which favour the unjust pretensions of the Romanists, but acknowledge the remainder, which evince a catholic and Christian spirit. That which is Roman we give up to them, as their due; that which is catholic we retain, and therefore let us hear no more of our Roman-catholic ancestors; we strip off the Roman trappings which they unwisely consented to wear, throw them back to the court of Rome, and then we can recognise in them our catholic ancestors. As we have before asserted that the history of the Roman-catholic church begins from the Council of Trent, we appeal to history since that period as an aid to prove our assertion: for, after the life of the truly catholic church had disengaged itself from this anti-Christian alliance, we must expect to find that the Roman church would begin to shew its own proper characteristics. Look, then, first at that curse of the world, the genuine product of the Roman stem*, the order of the Jesuits; whose system of immorality, as exposed by Pascal, is, as far as we can conceive, a complete system of the philosophy of the will of the flesh. Look at the rebellions which they have excited in our own England, and other Protestant states, and, if we mistake not, are now fomenting in Ireland; the cruel excesses in our Queen Mary's reign, and the attempts upon the liberties of the nation under the Stuarts; the cruel massacre of St. Bartholomew's-day in France-upon