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S98

DISCOURSE

ON

THE UNITY

OF

THE

CHURCH.

ing

it;

how otherwise can

he

justly

demand

obedience, or

any with

satisfaction yield

thereto?

It

was

just that

the institution

of

so

great authority

should be

for-

tified

with

an undoubted

charter,

that

its right might be apparent,

and the duty

of subjection

might be

certain.

If

any

such

authority had been granted by

God,

in

all likelihood

it

would have

been

clearly

mentioned in Scripture,

it

being

a

matter

of high importance among

the

establishments of Christianity,

con-

ducing

to great

effects,

and grounding much duty;

especially

con-

sidering

that,

There

is

in Scripture frequent

occasion

of mentioning

it;

in

way

of

history, touching

the

use of it,

the

acts of sovereign power

afford-

ing chief

matter to the

history of any society;

in

way of

direction

to those

governors how

to manage

it;

in

way of

exhortation

to in-

feriors how

to behave themselves

in

regard to

it;

in

way of commend-

ing the

advantages which

attend

it.

It

is

therefore strange

that

its

mention

is so

balked

[overlooked].

The

apostles

do

often speak concerning ecclesiastical affairs

of all

natures,

concerning

the

decent administration of things, concerning

preservation

of

order

and

peace,

concerning

the

furtherance

of

edifi-

cation,

concerning

the

prevention and removal of

heresies, schisms,

factions, disorders;

upon any

of which

occasions

it

is

marvellous

that

they

should

not

touch

that

constitution which

was

the

proper

means

appointed

for

maintenance

of

truth,

order,

peace, decency, edification,

and all

such purposes,

and

for

remedy

of

all contrary

mischiefs.

There are mentioned

divers schisms

and

dissensions,

which

the

apostles strove,

by instruction and

persuasion,

to remove; in

which

cases,

supposing such

an authority in

being,

it

is

a

wonder

that

they

do

not mind the parties

dissenting of having

recourse

thereto

for

decision of

their

causes,

that

they

do

not exhort them to a

submis-

sion

thereto,

that

they

do

not

reprove

them

for

declining

such

a

remedy.

It

is also

strange

that

no

mention

is

made of

any

appeal made by

any

of

the

dissenting parties to

the judgment

of

such

authority.

Indeed,

if

such

an authority had

then

been

avowed

by

the

Chris-

tian

churches,

it

is

hardly

conceivable

that

any

schisms could subsist,

there

being

so

powerful

a remedy against them,

then

notably

visible

and

most

effectual, because of

its

fresh

institution,

before

it

was

darkened

or weakened by

age.

Whereas

the

apostolical

writings inculcate our subjection

to

one

Lord

in

heaven,

it

is

much

they

should

never

consider his vicegerent

or

vicegerents

upon earth, notifying and

pressing

the

duties of

obe-

dience

and

reverence toward them.

There

are,

indeed, exhortations

to honour

the

elders,

and to

obey