Background Image
Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  454 / 470 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 454 / 470 Next Page
Page Background

406

DISCOURSE

ON

THE UNITY

OF

THE

CHURCH.

prejudicial to

the

main

designs

of Christianity, destructive

to

the

welfare

and

peace of

mankind

in

many

respects.

This

we

have

showed

particularly

concerning

the

pretence

of

the

Papacy;

and

those discourses

being

applicable

to any like universal

authority

(perhaps

with

more advantage, monarchy

being

less sub-

ject

to

abuse

than

other

ways

of

government),

I

shall forbear

to say

more.

9.

Such

an

union

is

of no need, would be

of small

use,

or would

do

little

good,

in

balance

to the great

mischiefs

and

inconveniences

which

it

would produce.

This point

also we

have declared in

regard to the Papacy;

and

we

might

say

the

same concerning

any other like authority substi-

tuted

thereto.

10.

Such a

connection

of churches is

not any

wise

needful or expe-

dient to the

design of

Christianity,

which

is

to

reduce mankind to

the

knowledge,

love,

and reverence

of God,

to a

just and

loving

con-

versation together, to

the

practice of sobriety, temperance,

purity,

meekness,

and all other

virtues, Tit.

ii.

12; all

which

things

may be

compassed

without

forming

men into

such

a

policy.

It

is

expedient

there

should

be

particular

societies,

in

which

men

may

concur

in worshipping

God,

and promoting

that

design by in-

structing and provoking

one

another to

good practice,

in

a

regular,

decent,

and

orderly

way.

It

is

convenient

that

the

subjects

of

each

temporal

sovereignty

should

live,

as

in

a

civil,

so

in

a

spiritual uniformity, in order to

the

preservation of

good-will

and

peace among

them

(for

that

neighbours

differing

in

opinion and fashions of practice will be

apt

to

contend

each for his

way,

and thence to

disaffect one

another),

for

the beauty

and pleasant harmony

of agreement in divine things, for

the

more

commodious succour

and

defence of

truth

and

piety

by unanimous

concurrence.

But

that

all

the

world should be

so

joined

is

needless,

and

will

be

apt

to produce more

mischief

than

benefit.

11.

The

church,

in

the

Scripture

sense,

has

ever

continued

one,

and

will ever

continue

so,

notwithstanding

that it

has

not had

this

political unity.

12.

It

is,

in

fact,

apparent

that

churches have

not

been

thus united

which yet have continued catholic and Christian.

It

were

great,

no less folly

than

uncharitableness, to

say

that

the

(reek

church has been none.

There

is

no church

that

has in

effect less

reason

than

that

of Rome

to

prescribe to others.

13.

The

reasons alleged

in proof

of such

an

unity

are

insufficient

and inconcluding;

which (with

great

diligence,

although not with