But to be a witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we do perform the service of the LORD in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings, so your children will not say to our children in time to come, “You have no portion in the LORD.”‘(Joshua 22:27 ESV)The two tribes and a half made the mistake which all Christendom has made since. They endeavored to erect an outward symbol of unity in this altar. They hoped that it would secure them from excision from the rest of Israel. They sought to make a unity, instead of accepting this as a fact, and endeavoring to manifest it by three pilgrimages a year to God’s altar at Shiloh.
Similarly, some Christians set up a church, a system, a creed, and mode of worship, and maintain that the Divine unity can only be realized in connection with one or other of these. You must be a votary at their altar of Ed, or you run the risk of their accusing you of the sin of schism. They substitute an outward for an inward unity, and a mechanical for a vital spiritual fellowship.
If we belong to Christ, we belong to one another. The Church, with all its members, is one vine, one body, one family; and therefore we have to manifest, rather than to make the unity, concerning which our Lord thought so much in His intercessory prayer. “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.”
We are one in the thought of the Father, one in the redemption of the Son, one in the possession of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Let us be one in our relation to others, pitying, loving, aiding each other, forgiving and restoring, avoiding unkind comparisons and criticisms, remembering that the failure or success of one is that of all, and endeavoring to hasten the hour when the manifested oneness of the Church shall compel the world to believe that the Father sent the Son.