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their appreciation of divine grace, cannot be equally deep and powerful. Whilst one sinner is quickly melted down by the tender voice of saving love, or by a silent tear of sympathy, another can be arrested only by the thunders of Sinai. And each one will afterwards cherish the truth most in that particular form in which it brought him to repentance and to Christ. It is true, Christianity is destined to work a radical change in our religious and moral principles and views; for we must be born again; old things must pass away and all things must be made new.

But its transforming and renewing influence does not destroy our natural powers, our understanding, reason and will. It only inspires them with a new and heavenly life, and turns their activity into an opposite direction. The same powers, with which the apostle Paul had formerly persecuted Christ and his followers, were afterwards employed to extend the Redeemer's kingdom, and to feed the persecuted flock with heavenly manna. So it is with all truly converted persons. And then we know also, that divine truth, as a general thing, operates slowly, like a seed and like leaven. Hence it is, that there are multitudes under the influence of the Gospel, who do not possess the power thereof. Unenlightened by the Holy Spirit, and unprepared, therefore, to understand the doctrines of Christ, they are unwilling also to exercise child-like obedience to his precepts. And yet it is their birth-right to enjoy, in connection with the enlightened Christian, the means of grace in the visible Church. Under these circumstances different opinions and conflicting views are unavoidable. And when these germs of strife receive sufficient nourishment from zealous defence and stubborn opposition, they will naturally end in division. Thus we sce, that Church-divisions do not spring from Christ, nor from Christianity as such; but from the great spiritual wants and imperfections of human nature. Hence, whilst we deeply deplore, and with the apostle Paul, censure and condemn divisions among Christians, because they are detrimental to their own interest, and to the cause of Christ in general; producing ill feeling, jealousy, opposition, rivalry and even hatred, and thus preying like a canker upon the very vitals of Christian piety and virtues, we are bound, at the same time, to acknowledge that they are the natural product of fallen human nature. And as such, we may reasonably suppose, that divisions among Christians will, in all probability, continue to exist, until fallen human nature has been restored in all its individual representatives.

That this view of Church-divisions is based upon truth, may be clearly proven from the history of the past. As far back even as the age of the apostles, we find marked and deep running divisions in the Church. And whence did they originate? Some originated with persons, others in particular views, some in customs and others in mere accidents. Against this fourfold source of divisions the IIoly Scriptures contain many solemn warnings, 1 Cor. 1:12; 3: 4-7, &c. In the one congregation at Corinth, no less than four parties existed, standing apparently in hostile opposition to each other, 1 Cor. 3. Three of these parties were firmly attached to the person and ministration of one or the other servant of God, that had labored among them. This fact proves, that even the apostles, and their immediate successors, differed in talent and ability, and that this awakened differences of opinion, and occasioned even opposition among their own beloved hearers. Nor can it be doubted for a moment, that Paul, Apollos and Cephas, in their ministrations to the people, all drew from the same fountain of wisdom and knowledge, of consolation and divine grace, namely from Christ their common master. They were also equally honest and zealous in their labors of love. But then every one of these great teachers proceeded in his own peculiar way of thought and delivery, which made different impressions upon the hearers. Hence, preferences for the personality of each one arose among the congregation, according to temperament, capacity and taste. Thus the congregation became divided, and Christians of different names was the result.

From the apostolic Church we learn also, that particular views and customs have exerted a powerful influence in producing and propagating divisions. The doctrine of free grace, as preached by the apostle Paul among the heathen and his converts, did not please the Jewish Christians, living under the ministration of the apostle Peter; and the slavish adherence of the latter to the Old Testament laws and customs, found no favor with the former. A wide difference in feeling, opinion and views existed, which led subsequently to many grievous divisions. This process has repeated itself in the Church from time to time, as we shall have occasion to show hereafter.

III. But could the followers of Christ not have prevented these divisions in the Church?

From the age of the apostles down to the present, true Christians have always been deeply sensible, that it was their duty to do so; and every real friend of the Redeemer's kingdom must feel so. With the Holy Scriptures before them, as the only ultimate rule of faith and practice, all true Christians must be conscious of the great evil of Church-divisions. For in them we hear the Saviour fervently pray,

" That all may be one as He and the Father are one." All the inspired, holy writers exhort constantly to brotherly love, unity of mind and action, and the apostle Paul earnestly rebukes Christians for causing and perpetuating divisions. In view of this, the followers of Christ have, from the beginning, prayed and labored that every existing division might be annihilated, and the household of faith be kept in union and harmony.

The primitive Church looked with holy indignation upon every false teacher, who endeavored, by the spread of erroneous doctrines, to undermine the foundations of her faith. She entered boldly into battle against one heresy after another, as they sprang up in rapid succession, because they alienated her members by causing opposition and strife, and thus destroyed her peace and prosperity. In this spiritual warfare, the Church employed Gospel truth as the mighty weapon against her enemies, and she gained the victory over them all, because the great Captain of her salvation directed. By these repeated and ever increasing attacks upon her essential doctrines, the Church was compelled to strengthen and fortify her union, in order to become established more firmly as the empire of diyine truth, as the guardian and defender of the holy religion of Jesus Christ. The inherent principle of self-preservation on the one hand, and opposing powers in the form of heathenism and heresies on the other, forced the Church to aspire after uniformity in doctrine, worship and government. For this purpose she convened in councils to settle her doctrines, and to mature and adopt such plans and means, as would accomplish this desirable end. In this noble aspiration after unity in faith and practice, the primltive Church held fast to all that had been handed down to her from the age of the apostles. As yet she could in no wise be considered a “kingdom of this world ;" for she had thus far kept the simplicity of her doctrines, and carefully preserved the purity of her faith and morals. Although a tendency to excess and corruption manifested itself in various directions, yet, in all essential points, the Church remained unchanged till the fourth century. For, up to this time, she had formed no alliance with the State; but existed as an entirely separate institution, and was exclusively under the control of her Bishops, as a governing body. No compulsory measures were employed in the pursuit of her holy objects. She was Christ-like in poverty and lowliness; therefore she was also despised. All who joined her communion, had to expect no temporal reward, but bloody persecution, which broke in upon her, from time to time, with purifying power. So far then the Church had indeed been successful in establishing unity among her members, and she stood now as one united body over against all her enemies. But her work was not yet finished. The excommunication of heretics, and the suppression of their doctrines, had not annihilated them. They made their re-appearance subsequently, and caused the Church much trouble. Besides, those bloody persecutions very naturally called forth in the Church a longing desire after greatness and power, in order that she might defend herself against the enemies of God, and save her own beloved children from a cruel death.

This desire on the part of the Church was realized in the fourth century, when she formed an alliance with the Roman Empire under the first Christian Emperor, Constantine the Great. Now she was made a national Church, great and powerful indeed; but for this external grandeur she had to sacrifice her internal purity. For the whole life and character of the Church experienced a mighty change. The fulness of the IIoly Spirit, so copiously poured out in the beginning upon all her members, was now fast departing. And this prepared the way for that worldly spirit which ruled subsequently in the Church to such a fearful extent. The example of Christ, in humility, meekness, long suffering and forbearance, was gradually lost sight of ; because her attention was drawn away more and more from the internal, essential, and fixed upon the external, accidental. New forms of every kind made their appearance, of which the previous age was comparatively ignorant. Settled down in these ancient forms, the oriental, or Greek Church has remained stationary till the present day. But the Roman Church was destined to progress. From a coordinate position to the State, she elevated herself gradually above it, and with the rapid extension of her borders she increased her lofty power. Thus the Church had realized her desire; for she was now beyond the reach of all persecuting enemies, and no heresy could harm her. But also this superiority did not give entire satisfaction, because it left room still for internal divisions among her own members. In order to remove this dificulty, it was necessary that her power and authority should find a common centre and hence she abandoned the Patriarchal government, and invested the Bishop of Rome with the entire management of the Church. Thus the Papacy was instituted in the year 590. Strange as this result may appear, it was but the natural product of the original twofold desire of the Church : 1st, to keep down heresies and divisions, and 2nd, to save her members from the persecuting spirit of heathenism. Not a few individuals, therefore, but the entire Church, urged by a sense of duty from within, and forced by existing circumstances from without, established the Papacy. But why at Rome? Because Rome had, for centuries back, enjoyed the confidence of many nations, who considered her the very first among cities. She was said to have been blessed with the la

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