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Christian sabbath by one common act of devotion ; striving together in prayer; and pouring forth from every town and every village the same voice of supplication, praise, and thanksgiving, in his name who is the Saviour of all; can we doubt the prevailing, efficacy of such an offering, when sincerely made ? or can we imagine a closer resemblance to the conduct of that heavenly assembly, which $54 serveth “God day and night” continually ! :
When to this we add, that every member of the Church has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and received into the number of God's faithful and elect chil. dren by baptism; what shall we require to complete the picture, but that they, who thus have been admitted into the fellow. ship of Christ's religion; who thus abide in the doctrine, and join in the prayers
of that Church, which may justly claim to be t“ built upon the foundation of the Apo“stles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself
being the chief corner 'stone ;" should " See Note LXXX. Appendix. s Rev. vii. 15.
Ephes. ii. 20.
also "continue stedfast," in the great leading characteristic of true Christian worship, “ the breaking of bread !" } _Thus connected by every external bond of unity, and 4“ going up with the multiSitude to the house of God, with the 5t voice of joy and praise," it might be hoped, that the Spirit of Peace, of which they would then be made partakers, would also dwell in their hearts; and accompanying them into the world, and directing them in their daily conversation, as well as in their religious services, would induce them to *“ follow peace with all men;" and to prove that they were the faithful disciples of him y« who loved us,' and
gave himself for us,” by the love which they uniformlys manifested one towards another.
4 Psalm xlii. 4.
x Heb. xii. 14. is
y Gal. ii. 20.
1 Cor. iii. 3.
Whereas there is among you envying, and strife,
and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men ?
WHEN the present distracted state of the Christian world is compared with the harmony and union which prevailed in the infant Church at Jerusalem, as described by the Evangelist; so lamentable a departure from primitive excellence cannot but excite sensations of humiliation and sorrow in the mind of every man, who is zealous for the honour of his religion, and well instructed in the duties of its professors.
Little consolation will such a person derive from knowing, that the divisions which now harass the Church are not peculiar to the present day. For he will perceive that their danger is not less alarming, nor their guilt less deadly, because we have inherited them from our forefathers, or can discover the injurious operations of their influence in almost every page of ecclesiastical history. The language of the Apod stle in the text shews indeed, that the evil had begun to work even in his days; but it proves also, to the confusion of the present generation, that it was then universally known, deplored, and censured as an "evil: men were not accustomed to * regard it with indifference; it had not so far insinuated itself into the very vitals of Christia anity, as to render the remedy, by which alone it could be counteracted, as intolerable as the disease ; nor were there to be found any so hardy or so blind, as to deny the mischief of disunion, or to maintain, that religious discord is not unpleasing in the sight of God. - Still however it will be useful to trace these divisions to their source; for such an investigation will at least empower us to attach the guilt of producing them where it ought to be fixed;