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state? For His fasting was not required to fulfil the law, since fasting formed no part of the law, and was engrafted upon it by the prophets, or spiritual men among the Jews, as a part of selfdiscipline, and so was an evangelical portion of the old dispensation. And, as matter of history, who, among Christians, have fasted most rigidly? Uniformly, the most spiritual; and they, increasingly, as they went on heavenwards.
And to what else can one attribute it, that so many eminent men in the French Church, amid all the disadvantages of a corrupt religion, attained a degree of spirituality rare among ourselves.
" Fasting is Popish.” If this means, that it has been preserved amid the errors of Romanism, is not this true of most of the truths of the Gospel ? Our charge against the Romanists, generally, is not that they have not preserved the truth, but that, like the Pharisees, "they have made it of none effect by their traditions ;" at least, in great measure, to so many of their members. And does not the objection imply that we have forgotten the peculiar character of our Church, which is not a mere Protestant, but a Primitive Church? And if we are to prevail in our approaching conflict with Romanism, or to be (as we seem marked out to be) a means of reclaiming that Church, must we not reconsider the character of our own Church, and take our stand in its principles, not in the protestantism of other Churches, or of the day?
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St. Cyprian on the Unity of the Church. St. Cyprian was Bishop of Carthage, and was martyred in the Valerian persecution, A. D. 258. His authority stands very high in the Church, from his early date, and from the force and magnanimity of his character. He was originally a teacher of rhetoric, and was converted to Christianity by one Cæcilius, a priest, whose name he afterwards assumed. From the time he was a Catechumen, (i. e. a candidate for baptism,) he devoted himself to the stricter form of Christian obedience, believing that in this way he should best arrive at the knowledge of divine truth ; according to the text (John vii. 17.) “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine," &c. Soon after he was baptized he sold his goods to assist the
afterwards ordained Priest; and, on the death of the Bishop of Carthage, elected in his place. During the Decian persecution, he was clamorously demanded by the populace at the heathen shows, to be thrown to the wild beasts, and in consequence retired from Carthage to a place of safety, where he remained till the fury of the enemies of Christ abated. Some years afterwards the persecution was renewed under the emperor Valerian, when he was banished, by the Roman governor, to a city at some distance from Carthage. Here he remained eleven months, and at the end of this time was arrested by his persecutors, and beheaded in the neighbourhood of his see, on September 14, A.D. 258.
His treatise on the Unity of the Church is especially valuable, as showing the clear and complete view taken by Christians at
that early period, of the doctrine of the One Holy Catholic Church, as confessed in the Creed, and maintained by the Church of England, in her Prayer Book and by her great Divines, at this day. It seems to have been written in consequence of a noted religious disturbance of the day, called the Novatian Schism.
Heresy and Schism are snares of the Devil. “Forasmuch as our Lord has given us these words of admonition. 'Ye are the salt of the earth,' and commands us not only to maintain an innocent simplicity of character, but to be prudent as well as simple ; ought we not, therefore, my beloved brethren, , to keep ourselves ever on the watch, and by anxious and active vigilance to detect and disarm the treachery of our spiritual foe? Let not us, who in Christ have been clothed with wisdom from God the Father, yet prove ourselves to lack wisdom for the protection of our eternal interests. The servants of God have other species of hostility to fear, besides that which would overthrow them by direct opposition, and undisguised assaults. It is easy to be cautious if the danger is before our eyes ; for when the foe declares himself, the mind is forearmed for the battle. But fear and caution become more needful, when the enemy steals upon us in a lurking way, and deceives by pretence of amity: an enemy that moves towards his ends by gestures of so subtle a description as to have acquired therefrom the name of Serpent. Such ever have been the arts of that being : such the dark and insidious plots, by which he makes man his victim; by such, in the beginning of the world, he wrought his deceptions, and deceived, with the blandishment of lying flatteries, the incautious credulity of simple souls. And so too he tried to tempt the Lord Himself, approaching Him by stealth, as if, for the second time, he would gain his end by evading suspicion : he was, however, detected and overpowered, his repulse resulting from his detection. Here, then, we have a lesson before us, of avoiding the way of the old man,' and treading in the footsteps of our victorious SAVIOUR ; lest we fall back, from incaution, into the
snares of death, and fail, through our neglect of prospective dangers, to possess the immortality which has been gained for us. And how can that immortality be ours, unless we keep those commandments of Christ whereby death is driven out and subdued ? For Christ Himself has warned us in these words, 'If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.' And again; • *If ye do the things I command you, henceforth I call you not servants, but friends.' In fine, it is to those who act thus, that he applies the distinction of strength and consistency; and speaks of them as founded in massive solidity upon a rock, rearing themselves amidst all the storms and blasts of this world, in tranquil and motionless stability. Whosoever,' He saith,
heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a rock: the rain descended, the floods came, the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.' We ought then to repose upon His mandates : all that He has taught and done we ought to learn and to do.
Yet how can any man say that he believes in Christ, when he does not those things which Christ has commanded him to do? How shall the reward of faith belong to the man who keeps no faith with the commandment ? Such an one is surely tottering, and will fall away, wafted about by the blasts of error, like dust in a whirlwind; for he who walks not in the way of truth, can make no advance towards salvation.
“We must, therefore, my beloved brethren, regard with suspicion, not only those dangers which are open and manifest, but those still more, which steal treacherously upon us. And in these times, when light is come unto the nations, and the beams of salvation break forth to restore and save, when the deaf hear the voice of spiritual grace, the blind open their eyes upon their God, the sick grow strong unto eternal health, the lame basten unto the Christian communion, and the dumb break out in the expressive accents of prayer, can there be any stronger instance of treachery and stratagem than for this enemy, when he sees the idols left alone, and shrines and temples deserted by the nations of them that believe, to devise the novel artifice of deceiving the
credulity even of those who bear the name and title of Christians ? Heresy and schism are his invention, for the subversion of faith, the corruption of truth, the division of unity. Those whom he can retain no longer in the blindness of the former way, he circumvents by betraying them into deviation from their new progress. He tears men away from the Church ; and while they imagine themselves to have come unto the light, and to have escaped the night of this world, he secretly infuses a second accession of darkness ; so that they continue to call themselves Christians while they stand not by the Gospel of Christ, and never heed or obey Him. They walk in darkness, and think they have light; while the enemy flatters and deceives them, transforming himself, as the Apostle says, into an angel of light, and dressing out bis emissaries as the ministers of righteousness. These are the maintainers of night for day, of death for salvation, of despair for proffered hope, of perfidy pretending honour, and of anti-Christ instead of Christ. They invest falsehood in probabilities, and employ stratagem for the frustration of truth."
The Unity of the Church-system is represented in symbol by our
Lord's words to St. Peter. “ These results, my beloved brethren, will continue to operate, so long as men neglect the source whence truth came, by never looking back to the Head over all, or keeping up the form of doctrine, which was delivered to us by our Heavenly Teacher. With those who will weigh the subject in their thoughts, and search it out, it will not be necessary to employ any protracted considerations or arguments.
It is easy to argue with a faithful mind, because truth in that case may be stated with brevity. The LORD saith unto Peter, ' I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, sball be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.' And again he says to him, one and