Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 1.djvu/315

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saints, (1 Cor. xiv. 33.) cannot sanction the intrusion of one Bishop, however duly consecrated, into the See of another, with a view to the usurpation of his name and office, and to the organizing a systematic opposition to his authority. We are compelled therefore to regard those who are ordained, as Popish Priests are, by these intruding Bishops, as unauthorized and schismatical ministers of religion, and as violators, like the other dissenters around them, of the laws of Christ's Church, and of the unity of His fold.

J.—I thank you, Sir, for giving me so good an answer to Sam when next I meet him. And I thank you too, deeply and sincerely do I thank you, for teaching me the nature of one great branch of Christian duty which I never understood before. I seem now to see that there is a sin of which a Christian may be guilty, of which I never before thought; the sin, I mean, of refusing obedience to the command of our Redeemer to hear His Apostles; to demean ourselves as dutiful members of the Church which those holy persons founded, and over which He Himself, invisibly, presides; a sin, of which they are deeply guilty who separate themselves from that Church altogether, and join one or other of the many sects which reject her authority. Pray, Sir, by what name is such a sin properly called?

Dr.—It is called "schism," from a Greek word signifying "division." A man may forfeit the privileges enjoyed by him as a member of Christ's Church in two ways:—either on account of "heresy," of his adopting opinions opposed to the great truths of the Word of God; or through schism, through a disregard of Church authority, and a notion that so long as his doctrine is pure, he may join what sect he pleases, or even set up one for himself. The exercise of such a privilege I have heard some people call "Christian Liberty."

J. (smiling.)—I understand you, Sir; but you shall hear me use the word in this improper sense no more. The true liberty, wherewith Christ has made as free, is theirs alone, who, in reverencing His ministers, walk in the way of His commandments. Admitting, as I now do, the force of what you have said; convinced, as I now am, that the Church of England is the Apostolic Church of Christ, established by our Lord Himself, I cannot but see that their sin is indeed great, who wilfully reject and despise it.

Dr.—Such persons would do well to consider our Saviour's words to those Ministers whose successors they slight. "He that despiseth you, despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent me." (Luke x. 16.)