Table of Contents

Of Schism: The True Nature of it Discovered and Considered.

Title page.

Prefatory note.


Chapter I. Aggravations of the evil of schism, from the authority of the ancients — Their incompetency to determine in this case, instanced in the sayings of Austin and Jerome — The saying of Aristides — Judgment of the ancients subjected to disquisition — Some men’s advantage in charging others with schism — The actors’ part privileged — The Romanists’ interest herein — The charge of schism not to be despised — The iniquity of accusers justifies not the accused — Several persons charged with schism on several accounts — The design of this discourse in reference to them — Justification of differences unpleasant — Attempts for peace and reconciliation considered — Several persuasions hereabout, and endeavours of men to that end — Their issues.

Chapter II. The nature of schism to be determined from Scripture only — This principle by some opposed — Necessity of abiding in it — Parity of reason allowed — Of the name of schism — Its constant use in Scripture — In things civil and religious — The whole doctrine of schism in the epistles to the Corinthians — The case of that church proposed to consideration — Schism entirely in one church; not in the separation of any from a church; nor in subtraction of obedience from governors — Of the second schism in the church of Corinth — Of Clement’s epistle. — The state of the church of Corinth in those days: Ekklesia paroikousa Korinthon, — Paroikos, who; paroikia, what — Parochos, “parœcia” — To whom the epistle of Clement was precisely written — Corinth not a metropolitical church — Allowance of what by parity of reason may be deduced from what is of schism affirmed — Things required to make a man guilty of schism — Arbitrary definitions of schism rejected — That of Austin considered; as also that of Basil — The common use and acceptation of it in these days — Separation from any church in its own nature not schism — Aggravations of the evil of schism ungrounded — The evil of it from its proper nature and consequences evinced — Inferences from the whole of this discourse — The church of Rome, if a church, the most schismatical church in the world — The church of Rome no church of Christ; a complete image of the empire — Final acquitment of Protestants from schism on the principle evinced, peculiarly of them of the late reformation in England — False notions of schism the ground of sin and disorder.

Chapter III. Objections against the former discourse proposed to consideration — Separation from any church in the Scripture not called schism — Grounds of such separation; apostasy, irregular walking, sensuality — Of separation on the account of reformation — Of commands for separation — No example of churches departing from the communion of one another — Of the common notion of schism, and the use made of it — Schism a breach of union — The union instituted by Christ.

Chapter IV. Several acceptations in the Scripture of the name “church” — Of the church catholic, properly so called — Of the church visible — Perpetuity of particular churches — A mistake rectified — The nature of the church catholic evinced — Bellarmine’s description of the church catholic — Union of the church catholic, wherein it consists — Union by way of consequence — Unity of faith, of love — The communion of the catholic church in and with itself — The breach of the union of the church catholic, wherein it consisteth — Not morally possible — Protestants not guilty of it — The papal world out of interest in the church catholic — As partly profane — Miracles no evidence of holiness — Partly ignorant — Self-justiciaries — Idolatrous — Worshippers of the beast.

Chapter V. Of the catholic church visible — Of the nature thereof — In what sense the universality of professors is called a church — Amyraldus’ judgment in this business — The union of the church in this sense, wherein it consists — Not the same with the union of the church catholic, nor that of a particular instituted church — Not in relation to any one officer, or more, in subordination to one another — Such a subordination not provable — Ta archaia of the Nicene synod — Of general councils — Union of the church visible not in a general council — The true unity of the universality of professors asserted — Things necessary to this union — Story of a martyr at Bagdad — The apostasy of churches from the unity of the faith — Testimony of Hegesippus vindicated — Papal apostasy — Protestants not guilty of the breach of this unity — The catholic church, in the sense insisted on, granted by the ancients — Not a political body.

Chapter VI. Romanists’ charge of schism on the account of separation from the church, catholic proposed to consideration — The importance of this plea on both sides — The sum of their charge — The church of Rome not the church catholic; not a church in any sense — Of antichrist in the temple — The catholic church, how intrusted with interpretation of Scripture — Of interpretation of Scripture by tradition — The interest of the Roman church herein discharged — All necessary truths believed by Protestants — No contrary principle by them manifested — Profane persons no members of the church catholic — Of the late Roman proselytes — Of the Donatists — Their business reported and case stated — The present state of things unsuited to that of old — Apostasy from the unity of the church catholic charged on the Romanists — Their claim to be that church sanguinary, false — Their plea to this purpose considered — The blasphemous management of their plea by some of late — The whole dissolved — Their inferences on their plea practically prodigious — Their apostasy proved by instances — Their grand argument in this cause proposed; answered — Consequences of denying the Roman church to be a church of Christ weighed.

Chapter VII. Of a particular church; its nature — Frequently mentioned in Scripture — Particular congregations acknowledged the only churches of the first institution — What ensued on the multiplication of churches — Some things premised to clear the unity of the church in this sense — Every believer ordinarily obliged to join himself to some particular church — Many things in instituted worship answering a natural principle — Perpetuity of the church in this sense — True churches at first planted in England — How they ceased so to be — How churches may be again re-erected — Of the union of a particular church in itself — Foundation of that union twofold — The union itself — Of the communion of particular churches one with another — Our concernment in this union.

Chapter VIII. Of the church of England — The charge of schism in the name thereof proposed and considered — Several considerations of the church of England — In what sense we were members of it — Of Anabaptism — The subjection due to bishops — Their power examined — Its original in this nation — Of the ministerial power of bishops — Its present continuance — Of the church of England, what it is — Its description — Form peculiar and constitutive — Answer to the charge of schism, on separation from it in its episcopal constitution — How and by what means it was taken away — Things necessary to the constitution of such a church proposed and offered to proof — The second way of constituting a national church considered — Principles agreed on and consented unto between the parties at variance on this account — Judgment of Amyraldus in this case — Inferences from the common principles before consented unto — The case of schism, in reference to a national church in the last sense, debated — Of particular churches, and separation from them — On what accounts justifiable — No necessity of joining to this or that —Separation from some so called, required — Of the church of Corinth — The duty of its members — Austin’s judgment of the practice of Elijah — The last objection waived — Inferences upon the whole.

A Review of the True Nature of Schism.

An Answer to a Late Treatise of Mr Cawdrey about the Nature of Schism.

A Brief Vindication of the Nonconformists from the Charge of Schism.


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