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that raises the storm, throw me into the sea, and let these storms and tempests cease.”! Therewith he freely resigned his bishopric, though legally settled in it by the express command and warrant of the emperor, and the universal desires and acclamations of the people. The same excellent temper ruled in St. Chrysostom, one of his successors in that see. And this was the brave and noble disposition of mind, to which St. Clement sought to reduce the Corinthians, after they had fallen into a little schism and disorder: “Who is there among you,” says he, “ of that generous temper, that compassionate and charitable disposition ? Let him say, if this sedition, these schisms and contentions have arisen through my means, or upon my account, I will depart and be gone whithersoever you please, and will do what the people shall command; only let Christ's sheep-fold, together with the elders that are placed over it, be kept in

peace." 3

Nay, when good men were most zealous about the main and foundation articles of faith, so as sometimes rather to hazard peace, than to betray the truth, yet in matters of indifferency, and such as only concerned the rituals of religion, they mutually bore with one another, without any violation of that charity which is the great law of Christianity. Thus in that famous controversy about the keeping of Easter, so much agitated between the eastern and western churches, Irenæus in a letter to Pope Victor, (who of all that ever sat in that chair had raised the greatest stirs about it,) tells him that

| Vit. Greg. Naz. per Gregor. Presbyt. ? Homil. il, in Ep. ad Ephes. p. 1110. 3 Epist. ad Cor. p. 69.

“Bishops in former times, however they differe about the observation of it, yet always maintaine an entire concord and fellowship with one another the churches being careful to maintain a peaceabl communion, though differing in some particula rites and ceremonies, yea even when their rites anı customs seemed to clash, by meeting together at tb same place.”! Thus when Polycarp came to Roin from the churches of the east, to treat with pop Anicetus about this and some other affairs, thougl they could not satisfy each other to yield the con troversy, yet they kissed and embraced one anothe with mutual endearments, received the holy com munion together; and Anicetus, to do the greate honour to Polycarp, gave him leave to celebrati and consecrate the eucharist in his church, and a last they parted in great peace and friendship. Thi difference of the observation not at all hindered the agreement and harmony of the churches; it being agreed amongst them by common consent (says Sozomen speaking of this passage) that in keeping this festival they should each follow their own cus tom, but by no means break the peace and communion that was between them. “They reckoned it, says he, “ a very foolish and unreasonable thing, that they should fall out for a few rites and customs, who agreed in the main principles of religion."?

The Christians of those times had too deeply imbibed that precept of our Saviour, 'love one another, as I have loved you,'' to fall out about every nice and trifling circumstance. When higbliest

"Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. v. c. 24, p. 193.
? Hist. Eccl. lib. vii. c. 19, p. 734.
3 John, xv. 12.

provoked and affronted they could forbear and forpive their enemies, much more their brethren, and were not like the waspisb philosophers amongst the heathens, who were ready to fall foul upon one anbther for every petty and inconsiderable difference of opinion that was amongst them. So Origen tells Celsus: “Both amongst your philosophers and physicians,” says he, “ there are sects that have perpetual feuds and quarrels with each other, whereas we who have entertained the laws of the blessed Jesus, and have learnt both to speak and to do according to his doctrine, ‘bless them that revile us; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat.’i Nor do we speak dire and dreadful things against those that differ from us in opinion, and do not presently embrace those things which we have entertained : but as much as in us lies we leave nothing unattempted that may persuade them to change for the better, and to give up themselves only to the service of the great Creator, and to do all things as those that must give an account of their actions.”? In short, Christians were careful not to offend either God or men, but to keep and maintain peace with both. Thence that excellent saying of Ephræm Syrus the famous deacon of Edessa when he came to die; “In my whole life,” said he, “ I never reproached my Lord and Master, nor suffered any foolish talk to come out of my lips, nor did I ever curse or revile any man, or maintain the least difference or controversy with any Christian in all my life.” 3

"1 Cor iv. 12.

? Lib. v. p. 273.
* Vit. Ephræm Syr. per Gregor. Nyss. tom. ii. p. 1033.

CHAPTER IV.

Of their Obedience and Subjection to Civil

Government.

How much Christian religion transcribed into the lives of its professors contributes to the happiness of men, not only in their single and private capacities, but as to the public welfare of human societies, and to the common interests and conveniences of mankind, we have already discovered in several instances. Now because magistracy and civil government is the great support and instrument of external peace and happiness, we shall in the last place consider how eminent the first Christians were for their submission and subjection to civil government. And certainly there is scarce any particular instance wherein primitive Christianity did more triumph in the world, than in their exemplary obedience to the powers and magistrates, under which they lived; honouring their persons, revering their power, paying their tribute, obeying their laws, where they were not evidently contrary to the laws of Christ, and where they were, submitting to the most cruel penalties they laid upon them with the greatest calmness and serenity of soul. The truth is, one great design of the Christian law is to secure the interests of civil authority. Our Saviour bas expressly taught us, that we are to give unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, as well as unto God the things that are God's :'' and his apostles

Matt. xxii. 21 ; Mark. xii. 17 ; Luke, xx. 25.

spoke as plainly as words could speak it : Let every soul be subject to the higher powers; for there is no power but of God, the powers that be are ordained of God: whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist, shall receive to themselves damnation : wherefore you must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience-sake; for, for this cause pay you tribute also, for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing: render therefore to all their dues, tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour.'Here we may take notice both of the strictness and universality of the charge; and (what is mainly material to observe) this charge given the Romans at that time when Nero was their emperor, who was not only an heathen magistrate, but the first persecutor of Christians, a man so prodigiously brutish and tyrannical, that the world scarce ever brought forth such another monster. The same apostle amongst other directions given to Titus for the discharge of his office, bids him. put the people in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, and to obey magistrates.'? St. Peter delivers the same doctrine to a tittle: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether it be to the king as supreme, or unto governors as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well; for so is the will of God, that with well-doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.''

'Rom. xiii. 1-7.

2 Tit. iii. 1. 3 1 Pet. ii. !3--15.

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