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ten by the inspiration of the apostles, and there is but one body in Christ (Rom. 12:4, 5). Yea, there is but one body universal, and but one body in Chicago, New York, or in any other city on earth. Therefore, if “God be true and every man a liar," it follows that the multitude of ecclesiastical bodies seen in these last days are not in Christ, not the one body of Christ. However, we admit that individuals who, through erroneous education, dwell in these manifold factions, and also sincerely abide in Christ, are in the one body of Christ, notwithstanding their sect relation. This, however, they are always ready to abandon when they properly discern the divine body into which God set them and the rival character of the sect into which they were taken by man. The church of God is one in heaven and on earth; hence she is necessarily one holy family wherever she appears on earth.
OF THE CHURCH.
We have just seen that God's church is one fold, one family, one body. We shall next prove from the Scriptures that her divine author demands perfect harmony in all her members, has fully provided for that unity, and forbids all divisions. Not only is the community of God one body, but all divisions of that one body are condemned in the strongest terms. Let us hear the great Founder, as he pours out his heart in prayer to the Father, while already suffering the inward pains of death in behalf of his dearly purchased church: “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are one." John 17:11. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." Verses 20, 21. “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." Verse 23.
Three times he earnestly prays that all who believe on him through the apostles' word should be one, yea, one even as he himself and the Father are one.
Are we Christians if we respect not those deep heart-yearnings of Christ? Do we care for the salvation of this lost world if we are indifferent about this heavenly unity, which the “wisdom of God” foresaw and declared essential to their faith in the divine mission of Christ on earth? The Lord knew very well that the citadel of the human soul is under the control of reason and can admit nothing without the consent of that high functionary. He also perceived that reason must pronounce division, discord, strife, and confusion inconsistent with a religion declared to emanate from God. Hence that earnest and thrice repeated prayer that we should all be one as he and the Father are one, so that the world might believe that he was really sent from heaven to save men from their sins.
The language virtually implies that if this holy unity should not be seen by the world unbelief would possess their hearts and his death on their behalf would be largely frustrated. And have not his anticipations proved sadly true! Behold, the world is today rushing on to hell; and ever since strife and division has broken the sweet “one accord” of the primitive church, the gospel has been comparatively powerless to convict of sin and the judgment, and turn the souls of men from the ways of death. There is, then, a solemn and awful weight of importance connected with this divine unity. For this cause there is perhaps no one thing more frequently enjoined in the New Testament than the oneness of all believers, no evil more preemptorily forbidden than that of schisms, and no sin more strongly denounced than that of causing division.
The apostles of the Lord, walking in the spirit and footsteps of their Master, continued the same earnest appeal for the unity of all who profess the name of Christ. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye
be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." 1 Cor. 1:10. “For ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3: 28. “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." Phil. 1:27. “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." Phil. 2:2. “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Rom. 15:5, 6. "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.” Acts 4:32.
Here are five more strong texts on unity. In the first the children of God are exhorted to be “perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment”; in the third, to "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel"; in the fourth, to “be like-minded,” “being of one accord” – not like-minded according to some man's mind or creed, not according to the mind of the flesh nor yet the edicts of some conference of preachers, but “like-minded one to another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God.” An earnest admonition is, “I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you.” For a refutation of the false statement that people can not see alike, for the confirmation of the Word and grace of God, and for the encouragement of God's saints