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By the first, they could expose him to the fury of the populace, or perhaps subject him to the Jewish rulers; and, by the second, render him obnoxious to the Roman procurator. What use they made of both articles at last, is known to every body. Nor let it be imagined, that at his trial the circumstance, apparently slight,

the high-priest's rending his clothes when he pronounced him a blasphemer, (an example which must have been quickly followed by the whole sanhedrim, and all within hearing,) was not a matter of the utmost consequence for effecting their malicious purpose. We have reason to believe, that it contributed not a little in working so wonderful a change in the multitude, and in bringing them to view the man with detestation to whom so short while before they were almost ready to pay divine honours.

16. But here it may be asked, "Can we not then say, with truth, of any of the false teachers who have arisen in the church, that they vented blasphemies?" To affirm that we cannot, would I acknowledge, be to err in the opposite extreme. Justin Martyr says of Marcion, (Apol. 2,) that he taught many to blaspheme the Maker of the world. Now, it is impossible to deny the justice of this charge, if we admit the truth of what Irenæus (lib. i. c. 29.) and others affirm concerning that bold heresiarch, to wit, that he maintained that the Author of our being, the God of Israel, who gave the law by Moses, and spoke by the Prophets, is one who perpetrates injuries and delights in war, is fickle in his opinions and inconsistent with himself. If this representation of Marcion's doctrine be just, who would not say that he reviled his Creator, and attempted to alienate from him the love and confidence of his creatures? The blasphemy of Rabshakeh was aimed only against the power of God; Marcion's, not so much against his power, as against his wisdom and his goodness. Both equally manifested an intention of subverting the faith and veneration of his worshippers. Now, it is only what can be called a direct attack, not such as is made out by implication, upon the perfections of the Lord of the universe, and what clearly displays the intention of lessening men's reverence of him, that is blasphemy in the meaning, (I say not of the rabbis, or of the canonists, but) of the sacred code. In short, such false and injurious language, and only such, as, when applied to men, would be denominated reviling, abusing, defaming, is, when applied to God, blasphemy. The same terms in the original tongues are used for both; and it would perhaps have been better, for preventing mistakes, that in modern tongues also the same terms were employed. Indeed, if we can depend on the justness of the accounts which remain of the oldest sectaries, there were some who went greater lengths in this way than even Marcion.

17. Before I finish this topic it will naturally occur to inquire, What that is, in particular, which our Lord denominates "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit ?" Matt. xii. 31, 32. Mark iii. 29.

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Luke xii. 10. It is foreign from my present purpose to enter minutely into the discussion of this difficult question. Let it suffice here to observe, that this blasphemy is certainly not of the constructive kind, but direct, manifest, and malignant. First, it is mentioned as comprehended under the same genus with abuse against man, and contradistinguished only by the object: Secondly, it is further explained, by being called speaking against, in both cases. Ος αν ειπη λογον κατα του υἱου του άνθρωπου-ός δ’αν ειπη κατα του πνεύματος του άγιου. The expressions are the same, in effect, in all the evangelists who mention it, and imply such an opposition as is both intentional and malevolent. This cannot have been the case of all who disbelieved the mission of Jesus, and even decried his miracles; many of whom, we have reason to think, were afterwards converted by the apostles. But it is not impossible that it may have been the wretched case of some who, instigated by worldly ambition and avarice, have slandered what they knew to be the cause of God, and, against conviction, reviled his work as the operation of evil spirits.

18. A late writer,* more ingenious than judicious, has, after making some just remarks on this subject, proceeded so far as to maintain that there can be no such crime as blasphemy. His argument, (by substituting defamation for blasphemy, defame for blaspheme, and man for God,) serves equally to prove that there is no such crime as defamation, and stands thus: "Defamation presupposes malice: where there is malice, there is misapprehension. Now the person who, misapprehending another, defames him, does no more than put the man's name" (I use the author's phraseology) "to his own misapprehensions of him. This is so far from speaking evil of the man, that it is not speaking of him at all. It is only speaking evil of a wild idea, of a creature of the imagination, and existing nowhere but there." From this clear manner of reasoning, the following corollary, very comfortable to those whom the world has hitherto misnamed slanderers, may fairly be deduced:-If you have a spite against any man, you may freely indulge your malevolence in saying of him all the evil you can think of. That you cannot be justly charged with defamation is demonstrable. If all that you say be true, he is not injured by you, and therefore you are no detractor. If the whole or part be false, what is false does not reach him your abuse in that case is levelled against an ideal


Independent Whig, No. 55.

+ That the reader may be satisfied that I do not wrong this author, I shall annex, in his own words, part of his reasoning concerning blasphemy. "As it is a crime that implies malice against God, I am not able to conceive how any man can commit it. A man who knows God, cannot speak evil of him and a man who knows him not, and reviles him, does therefore revile him, because he knows him not. He therefore puts the name of God to his own misapprehensions of God. This is so far from speaking evil of the Deity, that it is not speaking of the Deity at all: it is only speaking evil of a wild idea, of a creature of the imagination, and existing nowhere but


being, a chimera to which you only affix his name, (a mere trifle, for a name is but a sound,) but with which the man's real character is not concerned. Therefore, when you have said the worst that malice and resentment can suggest, you are not chargeable with defamation, which was the point to be proved. Thus the argument of that volatile author goes further to emancipate men from all the restraints of reason and conscience, than I believe he himself was aware. He only intended by it, as one would think, to release us from the fear of God: it is equally well calculated for freeing us from all regard to man. Are we from this to form an idea of the liberty, both sacred and civil, of which that author affected to be considered as the patron and friend; and of the deference he professes to entertain for the Scriptures and primitive Christianity? I hope not; for he is far from being at all times consistent with himself. Of the many evidences which might be brought of this charge, one is, that no man is readier than he to throw the imputation of blasphemy on those whose opinions differ from his own.*



THE next term I proposed to examine critically was oxioua, schism. The Greek word frequently occurs in the New Testament, though it has only once been rendered schism by our translators. However, the frequency of the use among theologians has made it a kind of technical term in relation to ecclesiastical matters; and the way it has been bandied, as a term of ignominy, from sect to sect reciprocally, makes it a matter of some consequence to ascertain, if possible, the genuine meaning it bears in holy writ. In order to this, let us, abstracting alike from the uncandid representations of all zealous party-men, have recourse to the oracles of truth, the source of light and direction.

2. As to the proper acceptation of the word axioua, when applied to objects merely material, there is no difference of sentiments among interpreters. Every one admits that it ought to be rendered rent, breach, or separation. In this sense it occurs in the Gospels; as where our Lord says, "No man putteth a piece of new cloth to an old garment; for that which is put in

In the dedication of the book to the lower House of Convocation, the author advises them to clear themselves from the imputation of maintaining certain ungodly tenets, by exposing the blasphemies of those of their own body. In No. 23, we are told that false zeal talks blasphemy in the name of the Lord; in No. 24, that persecutors blasphemously pretend to be serving God; and in No. 27. that it is a kind of blasphemy to attempt to persuade people that God takes pleasure in vexing his creatures. More examples of the commission of this impracticable crime might be produced from that author if necessary.

to fill it up, taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse, Matt. ix. 16. Χειρον σχισμα γίνεται. The same phrase occurs in the parallel passage in Mark, ch. ii. 21. From this sense it is transferred by metaphor to things incorporeal, Thus it is used once and again by the evangelist John, to signify a difference in opinion expressed in words. Of the contest among the Jews concerning Jesus, some maintaining that he was, others that he was not the Messiah, the sacred historian says, Exioμa ovv ev t οχλῳ εγενετο δι’ αυτου: "So there was a division among the people because of him," John vii. 43. Here, it is plain, the word is used in a sense perfectly indifferent; for it was neither in the true opinion supported by one side, nor in the false opinion supported by the other, that the schism or division lay, but in the opposition of these two opinions. In this sense of the word there would have been no schism, if they had been all of one opinion, whether it had been the true opinion or the false. The word is used precisely in the same signification by this apostle in two other places of his Gospel; ch. ix. 16, x. 19.

3. But it is not barely to a declared difference in judgment, that even the metaphorical use of the word is confined. As breach or rupture is the literal import of it in our language, wherever these words may be figuratively applied, the term oxoua seems likewise capable of an application. It invariably presupposes, that among those things whereof it is affirmed, there subsisted an union formerly, and as invariably denotes that the union subsists no longer. In this manner the apostle Paul uses the word, applying it to a particular church or Christian congregation. Thus he adjures the Corinthians, (1 Cor. i. 10,) by the name of the Lord Jesus, that there be no divisions or schisms among them, ἵνα μη ῃ ὑμῖν σχισματα : and in another place of the same epistle (ch. xi. 18.) he tells them, "I hear that there are divisions," or schisms, "among you," aкovw σxioμata ev vμiv VπаρуEV. In order to obtain a proper idea of what is meant by ὑπαρχειν. a breach or schism in this application, we must form a just notion of that which constituted the union whereof the schism was a violation. Now the great and powerful cement which united the souls of Christians was their mutual love. "Their hearts," in the emphatical language of holy writ, "were knit together in love," Col. ii. 2. This had been declared by their Master to be the distinguishing badge of their profession: "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another," John xiii. 35. Their partaking of the same baptism, their professing the same faith, their enjoying the same promises, and their joining in the same religious service, formed a connexion merely external and of little significance, unless, agreeably to the apostle's expression, Eph. iii. 17, it was rooted and grounded in love. As this, therefore, is the great criterion of the Christian character, and the foundation of the Christian unity, whatever alienates the



affections of Christians from one another, is manifestly subversive of both, and may consequently, with the greatest truth and energy, be denominated `schism. It is not so much what makes an outward distinction or separation, (though this also may in a lower degree be so denominated,) as what produces an alienation of the heart, which constitutes schism in the sense of the apostle; for this strikes directly at the vitals of Christianity. Indeed both the evil and the danger of the former, that is, an external separation, is principally to be estimated from its influence upon the latter, that is, in producing an alienation of heart: for it is in the union of affection among Christians, that the spirit, the life, and the power of religion, are principally placed.

4. It may be said, Does it not rather appear, from the passage first quoted, to denote such a breach of that visible unity in the outward order settled in their assemblies, as results from some jarring in their religious opinions, and by consequence in the expressions they adopted? This, I own, is what the words in immediate connexion, considered by themselves, would naturally suggest: "I beseech you, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions (schisms) among you; and that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment, I Cor. i. 10. It cannot be denied that a certain unanimity, or a declared assent to the great articles of the Christian profession, was necessary in every one, in order to his being admitted to, and kept in the communion of the church. But then it must be allowed, on the other hand, that those were at that time few, simple, and perspicuous. It is one of the many unhappy consequences of the disputes that have arisen in the church, and of the manner in which these have been managed, that such terms of communion have since been multiplied in every part of the Christian world, and not a little perplexed with metaphysical subtilties and scholastic quibbles. Whether this evil consequence was in its nature avoidable, or, if it was, in what manner it might have been avoided, are questions, though important, foreign to the present purpose. Certain it is, however, that several phrases used by the apostles in relation to this subject, such as όμοφρονες, το αυτο φρονούντες, and some others, commonly understood to mean unanimous in opinion, denote, more properly, coinciding in affection, concurring in love, desire, hatred, and aversion, agreeably to the common import of the verb poovev, both in sacred authors and in profane, which is more strictly rendered to savour, to relish, than to be of opinion.

5. Further, let it be observed, that in matters whereby the essentials of the faith are not affected, much greater indulgence to diversity of opinion was given, in those pure and primitive times, than has been allowed since, when the externals, or the form of religion, came to be raised on the ruins of the essentials, or the power, and a supposed correctness of judgment made of

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