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out, in the moral nature of man, the purpose of the Divine mind. It is to the presence of Christ what the structure of the body is to the living soul. It is so united to Christ, and filled with His quickening spirit, as to partake not more of the character of a moral discipline, imposed upon us as a test of our obedience, than of the individuality of a moral being to whose living energies a material form, though accidental, it may be, in the counsel of his Maker, is necessary to its condition as a creature after it is made. It is therefore the necessary moral means to a given end. They that speak so lightly of it assume that this end is accomplished in some other way, of which no account can be given that will not equally overthrow the doctrine of the Holy Sacraments as means of grace. Assuming that this end is in other ways accomplished, the organic polity of the Church is treated as a development, a bodying forth, an accidental clothing of the mind and principle of Christianity. And here, in fact, is the question :Is the Church a means to an end, or is it a separable consequence of that end which may be otherwise effected? Are we, by means of the Church, made partakers of Christ; or, being otherwise made partakers of Christ, are we, as it may happen, made partakers of the Church? Or again, are we, by means of Baptism, made partakers of Christ; or, being otherwise made partakers of Christ, are we, as it may be or not, made partakers of Baptism? Baptism is either a means to make us partakers of
Christ, or it is not." If not, then how are we made partakers of Him? If it be, it is so as the door of the Church, the lesser Sacrament opening into the greater, " which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” And a participation in the Sacrament, so to speak, of the Church is as generally necessary to salvation as a participation in the Sacrament of Baptism. Both are equally binding in their obligation, equally moral in their character, and equally mystical in their energy and effect.
It is scarcely necessary to observe, in the next place, that the polity of the Church is subject to no control or judgment of man; and is absolutely immutable, except by the authority of God alone.
It would be hardly possible that any one, with the whole typical analogy of the Elder Church in Holy Scripture before his eyes, should have ventured on the thought of its mutableness, if he were not first to assume that the organic polity of the Church is not a means to any moral and mystical end; or to imagine that he can discover the fulfilment of all the Divine mind in the moral condition of those Christian communities which have made forfeit of their inheritance in the one visible Church. I say
he could not venture to assert that an appointed means to a transcendent end, and that too of a moral and mystical kind, could be mutable to man, who is himself to be the subject of its operations.
See the Catechism and the Baptismal Office of the Church of England.
This would be a fancy of the imagination like his of whom the prophet says, “ He maketh a god, and worshippeth it: he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.” Surely their intellectual error is no less gross who change the polity of the body of Christ, and set up a system devised by the wit and moulded by the will of man, and call it a Church. It would be a mere will-worship to submit to it. And further, it is to be remembered that this error is not a calm theory, drawn out by à priori likelihood, or propounded as a probable speculation by unbiassed minds; but it is a scheme wrung out, by an after-effort, from the difficulties in which men entangle themselves, and is the selfjustifying retrospect of minds already pledged to make a case.
But into this we cannot enter now: it is mentioned only to lay bare the weakness and unsoundness of the scheme.
It only remains to affirm, on the strength of all that has been said, that the One Holy Catholic Church is an institution divine in its original, and sacramental in its character: that is, moral, mystical, immutable, and necessary to the salvation of all to whom it is sufficiently propounded.
And with this conclusion we may leave the second part of the subject.
* Isaiah xliv. 14, 15.