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schism, is occasioned, by an attention to mere nonessentials. Still, in this case, you think the clergy of the Church should not dispute and fall out with the dissenters, about ceremonials and circumstantials; at the same time, no notice at all is taken of the dissenters having fallen out with the Church on that very account.

Now, Sir, allowing that ceremonials and circumstantials, when compared with essential doctrines, are matters of indifference; still, would it not be more reasonable and more consistent with that order and government, without which no society can subsist, and which in this country has received the sanction of legislative authority, that the dissenter should not fall out with the Church on such an account; than that the clergy should themselves go out of the Church to countenance a schism, that is to be traced up to so unjustifiable a cause? Address this argument to the dissenter, to induce him to return to the Church, from which, according to the principle here laid down by yourself, he ought not to have separated, and it is unanswerable; but when addressed to the clergy of the Church, to induce them to communicate in schism, it becomes an argument, which it might have been hoped no member of the Church would have used.

But if we examine this subject a little further, it will appear that the plausible ground you have here taken, will prove very unsound, when tried by its proper standard.

By essentials and fundamentals you mean the pure word of God, and the administration of the sacraments. According to Dr. Edwards's position,

which you seem to have embraced, those places of worship among the dissenters, "where the pure word of God is preached, and the sacraments duly administered according to Christ's ordinance, are true Churches, and therefore not schismatical.”

I am sorry to be obliged to object, both to the premises, and the conclusions. In the first place, the sacraments are not duly administered according to Christ's ordinance, unless they are administered by those who (in Bishop Burnet's words) have been ordained, according to that constitution which was settled in the Church by the Apostles." The congregations of dissenters are, on that account, in the language of our Canons, "not true and lawful Churches." But, allowing that they were true Churches, they would still be schismatical; because they have broken away from the communion of the established Church: for as the Church of Christ is but one, there cannot be two separate communions in it without schism; and the schism lies on the side of that party which separates; for to separate from a Church established by public authority, which has nothing sinful in its communion, is both disobedience to the supreme authority in the state, and a schism from the true Church.

Admitting, then, the congregations of dissenters to be true Churches, it is not sufficient to prove that they are not schismatical, because they agree in all the essential articles of faith and worship with the Church of England. This was the case

of the Donatists, who yet were schismatics from the Catholic Church. Whereas, as we have above

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observed, where there are two Churches which are not members of each other, there is a schism, though they should agree in every thing but a communion; and the Church on whose side the schism lies, is, according to the primitive lan guage, extra ecclesiam foris, out of the Catholic Church.

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The mistake which prevails on this subject, and which has led many members of the Church to communicate in schism without being conscious of it, has arisen from want of attending to the true nature of the sin of schism. Many wellmeaning persons have been apt to think, that provided they hear the doctrine of the Church, it signifies not where they hear it ; or with what congregations of Christians they assemble. But they should remember, that the sin of schism respects not only the doctrine taught, but also the place where it is taught. A departure from the doctrine, properly speaking, constitutes heresy; a departure from the Church communion, constitutes schism. There may be heresy where there is no schism, as in the case of a corrupt Church; and there may be schism where there is no heresy, as where division takes place in a pure Church. The first schism or division of the Church, that we read of, took place among the Christians at Corinth it consisted in each congregation of disciples attaching themselves to one particular minister; thereby dividing and breaking the unity of the Church, by which all Christian congregations were to join in communion with each other. "" Every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of

Cephas, and I of Christ," &c.*

Here was schism

without heresy; for in this case, the same pure doctrine was preached in each of the congregations; the preachers being all Apostolic men. The Christians, therefore, might have attended the ministry of any of these teachers; for a pure branch of the Christian Church was assembled under each of them. But their confining themselves to one particular teacher, and thereby making separate communions, which caused contentions in the Church, was that sint of schism, against which St. Paul thought it necessary to write to the Corinthians with such strength and decision.

To prevent this sin, which, it was foreseen, would be of fatal consequence to the peace and unity of the Church, St. Jerom tells us, one chosen from among the presbyters was placed in an office of superior dignity above his brethren, with the appropriate title of bishop; for the purpose of his being the centre of unity, and source of ecclesiastical government to all the particular Churches within his jurisdiction; that, like the key-stone of an arch, he might prevent the several parts of it from falling away from each other. And on this ground the ancient rule of the Catholic Church was built, that there must be but one Church and one bishop in a city in one place; the several particular Churches in that place being considered as concentered under that one bishop. And the same 1 Cor. i. 12.

A sin which Dr. Edwards allows to be "as destructive to the souls of men, as any sin whatever.”

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Now, although the preservation of the doctrine of the Gospel in one case, and the administration of the laws of the statute book in the other, were the two ends for which the government in Church and state were established; yet these two essential objects do not constitute the characteristic marks, by which the government in either case is distinguished. For, as the same excellent laws may be administered under different kinds of government, so the same doctrine may be taught in different

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