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munion, than appears to be case with any others.
Must he then condemn the brother who has caused him pain, and all others under like predicament? No: the principle which gave assurance before, will counsel charitable construction there. Be the guilt of “ schism” what it may in sight of him who judgeth it, it cannotmust not-be determined by such knowledge as ours, that essential “ brotherhood” is at an end with any, who still make it evident by faith and conversation that they hold communion in spirit with the head, even Jesus Christ.
I fear, we are too much afraid to trust our selves with such interpretation of charity, lest we should be charged with indifference, or unfaithfulness to our own trust; and our thoughts take, rather, the channel of hostility, or our lips the words of bitterness. Him that is not Matth. xii. with us, we pronounce against us, and are disposed to rank him as an enemy. And so, perhaps, in part, (the part that belongs to this world only,) he may be. Yet we must see with a wider view than that; else, how shall we receive
Markix.40. that other sentence, He that is not against us Cf. Hooker, is on our part? Or what shall we think of the Book 5. 9.
68. or in Apostle's judgment, even where he was reprov- Collinson's
Analysis, p. 235.
Phil. i. 18. ing an insincere opposition? Notwithstanding,
every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
Cases like these offer perplexities — real and sore perplexities —in our lives' intercourse; so great, as that they might well overpower any imperfect outward judgment. He, however, who will live by faith of a Christian “brotherhood,"
and digest them deeply in his spirit, will be Cf. Isaiah enabled to overpower them. Holy Scripture will XXX. 21.
be a sure word always behind him. This will tell him which is the straight way in this perilous wilderness, when he shall turn to the right hand, and when he shall turn to the left.
But it may be objected, that “all this is mere “ passiveness.”
And if humility of spirit and the love of peace be passiveness, it surely is. But we do not think the principle here recommended can deserve such name in any culpable sense, when it is not possible to apprehend it rightly, so as to be influenced by it, without feeling ourselves bound by the closest ties to a life of exertion; to serve our brethren, and labour for their good, with activity and cheerfulness.
Or it may be contended, that “the impres“sion which our reasoning would leave, calls on “ Christians to go much beyond the measure of "simplicity; to lose sight of all distinetion be
“ tween the faithful and unfaithful, between the “ righteous and the wicked; or to bow down and " lay their bodies as the ground, and as the street, Cf. Isaiah " to all that would go over.”
But neither is this so. The simplicity of Scripture is not simplicity of the understanding, 1 Cor. xiv. but of the heart. It denies not the use of prudent circumspection. If it did, Christ had not said to his disciples, Be ye wise as serpents; Matth. X. while he bade them, at the same time, to be as". harmless as doves. The Gospel would fain pro-Cf. (e. 8.) vide us in every case with our security before-17. >
1 Cor.v.11. hand. It would have us be careful of our com-' pany. It would direct us, like the Wise Man, to leave off contention, before it be meddled with ; Prov. xvii. to disallow-to renounce the principle of it-to have nothing to do with it. Since, however, it was to be foreseen, that none would perfectly escape so many snares as are in the world by such means alone ; it forbids not, that we quit 1 Cor. xvi. ourselves like men, stedfast and courageous, or Cf. (e.g.) wise and merciful, when difficulties have en- Eph. iv. 14.
Phil. i. 14. compassed us. Not to flatter, however, it must 2 Thess. be acknowledged, that, after all, endurance is the Titus i. 9, Christian's plainest way to conquest. He must 13. a expect to bear his share, and very much beyond Jude Eior. his share, of burdens. But he will not therefore 1x. 24-27; be discouraged. Through this very pressure, he 4, 5, &c. will come to perceive a beautiful and affecting
Gal. ii. 11.
illustration of the very highest doctrine of his religion.
For, review the course of human life, as it is to be noted in its crookedness: how is it enabled to proceed at all? how comes it not to be verily choked up, and stopped altogether? Is it not, in a great measure, because the good and wise submit to bear those burdens which the selfish refuse to bear; and which must, otherwise, impede the whole machine? It might be exemplified, in plentiful instances, how this appears to be an ordinary permission of Providence. Nor was it otherwise, except as removed in infinite de
gree—that He in whom was no sin died for the Cf. Rom. v. sins of all men ; the just for the unjust ! I'Pet. iii. Such, then, we think, might be the work of
one social principle, exclusively Christian, in
gious quality: an accompanying (and as it were explanatory) one might still be wanted, to decide in things indifferent.
And such a one is at hand; much like the other, and quite peculiar to holy Scripture: I mean, that sense of future responsibility which
the New Testament inculcates, in the special · point of personal example in all lesser things, before brethren for whom Christ died.
I Cor. viii. But it is not necessary to dilate upon the effects of a subordinate principle, so strictly congenial with the other, of which we have been speaking. To a mind contemplating society under light and guidance of the greater, it will illustrate and commend itself. · One thought only concerning it shall be subjoined, which may serve a twofold purpose. If it should be objected, that “ the free sense of “ brotherhood and real equality, already insisted “ upon, may tend to encourage too.great freedom 6 of behaviour, in the Christian's daily conduct, “ or any degrading tone of loose familiarity, cal66 culated to throw down important fences in so“ ciety;" this collateral sense of the importance of “example” may prove the most salutary of all correctives, even in matters purely civil.
For it does not follow, while in spirit we regard the very meanest of our brethren as strict equals in the mercies of Christ, and as true members of his body as ourselves, that we must