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Unity in Variety
AS IT APPEARS IN
THE DIVINE WORKMANSHIP IN OUR PLANET.
The Unity which is advocated in the following pages, is not, the Unity of party, in the bond of selfishness, nor, of ignorance, in the bond of subjection, nor, of bigotry, in the bond of hatred. No. It is “the Unity of the Spirit, in the bond of peace.
In urging the claims of the Catholicity of true Religion, it is needless to remark, that the Author by no means wishes to countenance anything approaching that “contankerous" spirit of schism, engendered by a selfish desire--Demaslike-to obtain carnal pre-eminence in the Church of God.
That conflict of opinion between rival parties, which leads to spiritual anarchy, and confusion, cannot be too strongly reprobated, by all who really desire to emulate the simplicity, and godly sincerity of the early Christian communities.
The Catholic principle of the believing people of God, may be briefly defined, as, attachment to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Living Head of the Church, and, its eternal consequence, attachment to each other.
Better than all our rivalry, and strife-far better than their common result among men-indifference—that, like ships becalmed at sea, when a religious breeze stirs our hearts, we should raise aloft our fair white sails, and come into port together, lowering them in the haven of the One true Church.*
That true Church, in the comprehensive language of our Anglican Liturgy, embraces “the blessed company of all faithful people.” The Catholic Church has been so well defined by the Great Apostle of the Gentiles, that the wonder is, how any one can be at a loss to understand its meaning. St. Peter; speaking under the immediate guidance of the Holy Ghost, says, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of
nation he who fears God, and works righteousness is accepted of Him.” Thus, we see, that the Church of God, is not now confined to any fixed locality, or, to any exclusive religious corporation, hedged in, by mechanical forms, or, boundaries of man's creation. Our Redeemer forewarned His disciples against such a narrow and contracted view. " And then, if any man shall say unto you, lo! here is Christ, or, lo! He is there, believe him not. Behold the kingdom of God is within you.” Words cannot more plainly declare, that, there is, now, no one place more sacred than another, as in the olden days of the Jewish dispensation. It is not, now, so much the position, as, the dis-position of the worshipper, to which our chief attention should be directed. “It is neither in this mountain, nor yet, at Jerusalem. The hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth."*
persons, but, in
* Blackburn's Normandie Picturesque.
The idea is thus expressed by an eminent French writer :
“Eh ! qu'importe une terre ou riante ou maudite
Qui fait un ciel de l'enfer et de l'enfer un ciel.” To account for the technical reference to Natural Science in these pages, it may not be altogether out of place to observe, that the Author, in order to be able to avail himself of arguments derived from that source, adopted the practical expedient of enrolling his name as a student in the Medical School attached to the University of Cambridge. “Although fully conscious, of the limited, and imperfect nature of the knowledge thus acquired, still, it
* John iv. 23.
be sufficient to afford an insight, however feeble, into the laws, and principles, of the Divine Workmanship in our planet.
There are certain easy generalities, accessible to every one conversant with Natural History. These have been introduced into the subject here discussed. They are intended to serve, as illustrations, of that beautiful arrangement existing in all the works of God, whether in Creation, or, Redemption—in Nature or in Grace.
It will be found, that there is, as it were, a family likeness in all the operations of the Divine handywork. And to suppose, that the Church of God, should prove the only exception to this general law, would be to place the Church alone, of all the Almighty's works, in the gloom of a sunless atmosphere.
The Divine wisdom, and loving kindness, which have enriched our planet in every department of its diversified materials, from the naked surface of the primæval granite, to the exquisite beauty, and coloring of the landscape, are evidences, of the adaptation of the law of Unity of Plan, to an endless Variety of Form.
Some points in the argument, are based upon admitted facts, for which, in certain instances, the Author is indebted to the learned Professors, at whose feet he has had the pleasure of sitting for instruction-men, whose accuracy