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schools of thought. The first notable point of difference was that which ultimately produced the sect of the NAZARENES.
It is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles that at Antioch "certain men which came down from Judæa taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses ye cannot be saved." This teaching caused no small disputation and dissension in the Church, and Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem, where a general council of the apostles and elders was held to give a deliverance upon the question (A.D. 49). At this council Peter protested against the effort to engraft Judaism upon Christianity, saying, "Why tempt ye God to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" After Paul and Barnabas had given their testimony to the success of their mission among the Gentiles, the Apostle James proceeded to formally deliver the judgment of the assembly in the following terms: My sentence is, that we trouble not them which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: but that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath-day." A letter embodying these views was sent to Antioch, where the difficulty had arisen, by Paul and Barnabas, and the decision seems to have been generally well received and to have conduced to the spread of the Church among the Gentiles (Acts xv.).
Two points arising out of this account are worthy of notice: (1) That in this first general council of the Church there is nothing to lead to the inference that Peter was recognised as the head of the Church on earth; and (2) that the question of how far the law of Moses was binding upon Jewish Christians was left unsettled.
The council, however, had spoken out clearly enough upon one vital point—that salvation was possible outside the pale and without the rites of Judaism. A small minority of the Church, however, refused to accept this decision, and became known in after years as the Nazarenes.
The name Nazarene was applied to all the followers of the Lord by their Jewish opponents, and the name was caught up also by their Gentile persecutors, as appears from Acts xxiv. 5, where Tertullus described Paul to the governor of Cæsarea as "a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes." But ultimately this name was repudiated by the Christian Church, except by that portion which for many years still maintained that there could be no salvation without full conformity to the ritual of the Jewish Dispensation.
But gradually the whole Church grew into the perception of the truth that Christianity was not an offshoot of Judaism, but a New Dispensation, and that the things which were a figure for the times then present were no longer to be held as binding upon the Gentile converts. The growth of this higher conception of the religion of Jesus Christ naturally induced Jewish converts to inquire whether it
was any longer necessary, or indeed desirable, that they should any longer be burdened with representative ordinances belonging to a bygone age.
The sect of the Nazarenes received its deathblow at the taking of Jerusalem by Tinnius Rufus A.D. 135. The Jews were severely punished and laid under heavy disabilities for having revolted against the Roman yoke; and many Christians being regarded as Jews (although the Christians had absolutely declined to participate in the revolt), they came to a determination to renounce Judaism altogether. They had found out the unwisdom of trying to sew the new cloth upon the old garments.
Up to this time the bishops of Jerusalem had all been Jews by birth, but now the Church appointed a Gentile bishop (Marcus), and the Church was no longer troubled with the question that for nearly a century had produced "no small disputation and dissension."
Some writers affirm that the Nazarenes refused to recognise as authoritative any of the early Christian writings except St. Matthew's Gospel, though they professed great respect for the opinion of the other apostles, and especially for the person and writings of St. Paul. Upon points of doctrine and of Church government the Nazarenes were regarded as perfectly sound in the faith, and hence Nazarenism has never been promoted to the honour of being accounted a "heresy."
NO. II. THE EBIONITES.
The Ebionites held the views of the Nazarenes upon the question of the ordinances of Judaism, being especially tenacious of the right of circumcision. The sect appears to have had its origin about the year 70 A.D. at a town named Pella, whither the greater portion of the Church of Jerusalem removed after the destruction of that city by Titus. The origin of the name Ebionites is involved in some obscurity. Tertullian is of opinion that one Ebion was the founder of the sect, while Origen says that the name was derived from a Hebrew word signifying "poor." This latter opinion seems to carry some weight from the fact that the Ebionites were generally found among the poorer classes, and regarded the Lord rather as an humble and crucified Saviour than as the Risen and Glorified Lord.
The Ebionites were accounted heretics, and therefore it is necessary to receive the testimony of orthodox writers concerning them and their views with some degree of reserve.
There is, however, a concurrence of testimony to the effect that though the Ebionites regarded the law of Moses as binding upon Christians they rejected some parts of the Pentateuch and the Prophecies, as well as the Gospels, the Revelation, and the Epistles. It is charged against them that they also introduced a large number of interpolations into the Gospel of Matthew, which they termed "The Gospel according to the Hebrews."
They were particularly violent against St. Paul, whom they regarded
as an apostate and an enemy of the law of God. Their treatment of the Lord corresponded, as is generally the case with their treatment of the Word. They regarded the Lord as an ordinary man, the son of Joseph and Mary, and believed that the Spirit of Christ descended upon Him at the period of His baptism by John, and consequently they refused to acknowledge Him as the Son of God, or as "the Word made flesh."
The Ebionites flourished for upwards of three centuries, during which time their system was a cause of much anxiety to the Church. It is generally thought that Paul was alluding to the Ebionites when, prior to his journey to Jerusalem, he solemnly warned the Church at Ephesus against the "grievous wolves" that would come among them after his departure, and that the Hymenæus and Alexander referred to in 1 Tim. i. 20 were prominent preachers of this school, and that Peter referred to Ebionitish falsities in the second chapter of his second epistle.
Indeed, so violent were the Ebionites in their opposition to the doctrines preached by the apostles that many of the Christian fathers speak of it as a Jewish sect, separated from Christianity by a very wide line of demarcation.
And, indeed, we cannot see how those who accept the Gospel account of the Lord and the apostolic version of doctrine as correct could. possibly recognise any affinity between Christianity and Ebionitism. The Deity of the Lord and the sanctity of the Scriptures are the fundamental doctrines of the religion of Jesus Christ; and the attempt of the Ebionites to engraft their views upon the Church can only be compared to the effort to cause the Church to be divided against itself. But under the good providence of the Lord there was sufficient thoroughness in the pioneers of Christianity to repudiate the unholy alliance. Though many a change of front was made during the first three centuries of the Christian era, in whatever form the error showed itself it was recognised, opposed, and repudiated in the most uncompromising manner by the authorities of the Church, though some traces of the heresy remain until this day.
The conduct of the apostles in thus rebuking every effort made to detract from the proper Deity of the Lord is worthy of notice. They adopted the name of Christian, and met from week to week to sing praises to Christ as God; they exalted the Lord as the only Hope and Refuge of a sinful world, and were jealous with a godly jealousy for the honour of their Lord and their God.
This was the first occasion upon which the Church had to do battle with pretended friends, and they were not slack in the performance of their duty. The epistles to the various Churches insisted in the strongest manner upon the authority of the Word and the Divinity of the Lord; for it was necessary in those greatly "perilous times" that the young members should be strictly enjoined to hold fast the profession of their faith without wavering. The Church was to be built up upon the Lord as the chief Corner-stone, and they would
recognise no other Foundation, for they were working in order that at His Name every knee should bow. In HIм dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; He was the only wise GOD their Saviour.
THOUGHTS AND QUERIES RESPECTING THE "HOLY SUPPER" AND SACRAMENTAL WINE.
NEW Churchmen generally cannot but agree with the simple but clear exposition of the Sacrament of the Holy Supper given by the editor in the Intellectual Repository for the present month, December 1878. There are, however, a few questions in connection with this most essential ordinance upon which many might like to have the expressed ideas of the editor or of others.
The first question is with reference to the frequency of the reception of the Sacrament. Doubtless this is a matter that must be left greatly to the conscientious judgment and feeling of the individual. We know that whilst in one section of the Church of England weekly, and even oftener, reception is enjoined as a benefit, in the Presbyterian Church of Scotland the solemn remembrance has been twice a year; and again, Swedenborg gives about three times a year, accompanied with self-examination, as right and expedient. As there at times seems a tendency, even in the New Church, to advise a more frequent reception, many would like to know upon what grounds the
advice is based.
Again, as regards the wine to be used as sacramental. We know that with many Christian communities this is at the present time a moot point. How it can be with New Churchmen, with correspondence before them, it is difficult to understand. Pure fermented natural wine ought alone to be used; that is, the juice of the grape which has been freed by the process of fermentation from all the leaves or ferment it naturally contains, and has been converted from a corruptible juice into a clear, bright aromatic fluid capable of preserving itself for almost an indefinite period—a true correspondence of Divine fruit. The whole correspondence of the process of fermentation, the action of the fungoid leaves, the evolved heat, the disengagement of the deadly carbonic acid gas, the separation of the lees, is most interesting, and ought not only to establish the propriety of using fermented wine in the Lord's Supper, but to establish in the minds of New Churchmen the entire question of alcoholic use and abuse.
Lawfulness is one question, expediency under circumstances is another. We may thankfully regard and accept fermented wine in its widest acceptation as a gift of God to men, and yet, although admitting temperance and self-command to be the highest plane, adopt the lower plane of total abstinence for the sake of the weak, avoiding at the same time judgment of those who, in accordance with conscience, judgment, and reason, adopt another course as most calcu lated to promote their own happy usefulness.
ROMAN CATHOLICISM AND PROTEST- seemed to have no place left for it when ANTISM. The steady approach of the the intermediate state of souls had been Ritualistic party in the Established reduced almost to a cipher. Worst of Church to the worship and ceremonies all, the new standard appeared to be in of the Church of Rome has for some hopeless conflict with the widest experitime encouraged the hope of the friends ence; for it implied that the entire of the Papacy of receiving large acces- work of discipline was in every case sions from their ranks. These hopes fully accomplished on this side the have not been fulfilled to the extent grave; that every soul passed away into anticipated. The numbers that have the unseen in a state of ripeness for a passed over, though considerable, are final destiny of bliss or woe. But viosmall compared with those that remain. lence begets violence. Within the last To hasten this work of conversion (or twenty years a reaction has arisen, under perversion) the Abbé Martin wrote a the force of which a crowd of Protestpaper in the August number of the ants, and even many who deem themContemporary Review, under the title selves to be the cream of Protestantism, "What hinders Ritualists from becom- have adopted ideas of trial and purgaing Roman Catholics?" This paper has tory beyond the grave, which vastly exnaturally attracted attention, and two ceed in latitude anything ever taught by papers in reply have appeared in the the Church of Rome." Both Mr. Gladsame periodical. The first of these is by stone and Dr. Littledale dwell largely Mr. Gladstone, and treats almost exclu- on the moral side of Roman Catholisively on the historical side of the ques- cism. "That scandal of scandals," says tion. Protestantism is enamoured of Mr. Gladstone," which I have set forth, the truth, and cannot overlook nor dis- the acceptance and commendation of regard the lessons of history. The the Decamerone [of Boccaccio-' a promoral and religious condition of the duction saturated from top to toe with the Papacy led to the Reformation. "The pagan spirit'-] from the Roman chair, Protestant and the Anglican tradition was effected amidst the storm of religious in this country start from a position war in France and in the Low Counallowed by all, that the Christian Church tries, and one year only after the same in general had, in the course of time, reigning pontiff had struck a medal and fallen away in various particulars from ordered a thanksgiving in honour of its purity. This was the state of de- the massacre of Saint Bartholomew." clension which prevailed until the six- "Our general experience," says Dr. teenth century.' This led to the Re- Littledale, "is that conversion to formation under Luther; but in England Rome involves, in a large majority of the Reformation period left the Church instances, sudden, serious, and permain a state of conflict between two schools, nent intellectual and moral deterioraboth determined on rejecting the juris- tion, especially as to the quality of diction of Rome, but seriously differing truthfulness." Of this the writer gives on questions of doctrine and ritual. In some striking examples. In a rejoinder this conflict many doctrines held by to these articles the Abbé adduces abunRome, some of which Mr. Gladstone dant evidence of the little sympathy the seems to regard with a lingering affec- Ritualists have with the Reformation or tion, were rejected by the Anglican the Reformers, and of the nearness of Church. Among these he enumerates their approach to Romanism without Prayers for the Dead, the Doctrine of crossing the line that separates them the Intermediate State, the Eucharist, from it. "It may perhaps be said," and some others. On the subject of he remarks, "within the limits of the Intermediate State Mr. Gladstone truth, that the Ritualists accept all writes: "With the obscuration of an the beliefs and all the practices of universal tradition there came, indeed, the Roman Catholic Church, with manifold confusions of doctrine: the very rare exceptions. It is certainly far final judgment, with its solemn import, easier to enumerate the things which