« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
discussion. And, lastly, in what. surd conclusion! For, although it ever way “the whole church," and is the right of the Pastor to rule; the “the brethren,” were associated people themselves have, notwithwith the “ Apostles and Elders ” in standing, most important and unasending chosen men back to Antioch lienable rights. They have ample with Paul and Barnabas, as bearers scope for the exercise of all the saof the letters containing the decision cred rights of conscience; and the which had been come to; it is certain full enjoyment of rational, Christian that that was not communicated as liberty is secured to them. the decision of the whole church at Two quotations from Baxter, in Jerusalem. After they had executed support of the preceding argument, their mission at Antioch, the Apostle may here be properly introduced :-Paul and Silas proceeded on a visit “Soine say the people are to goto other churches; and it is said vern by vote : I confess, if this were respecting them, that “as they went understood as it is spoken, according through the cities, they delivered to the proper sense of the words, them the decrees for to keep, that and practised accordingly, it were were ordained of the Apostles and contrary to the express command of Elders which were at Jerusalem.” Scripture, which commands the (Acts xvi. 4.) It was not, then, by Elders to rule well, and the people the church at Jerusalem, but by to obey them as their rulers, in the “the Apostles and Elders " there, Lord : and it seems to me to be dethat “the Holy Ghost" made known structive to the being of a political his mind on the important question church, whose constitutive parts are which had occasioned so much un- the ruling and the ruled parts; as easiness and controversy.
every school consisteth of master It is not necessary to enlarge fur- and scholars, and every commonther in correcting the misinterpreta. wealth of the pars imperans, et pars tions of Scripture, which are brought subdita :' and, therefore, those that forward for the purpose of claiming rigidly stick to this do cast out for the church the right to govern themselves from all particular poitself. All these misinterpretations litical churches' communion of originate in a mistaken view of the Christ's institution.” spirit and character of that pastoral “ The liberty of the church or governinent which Christ has pro. people must be distinguished from vided. The fact is, that the Apos. their governing power, and their extles and primitive Preachers of the ecuting duty from the power of Gospel ever remembered that those judging. And so, 1. The people are whom they were appointed to train to be guided by the Pastors as voand prepare, by evangelical teaching lunteers, and not by violence: and and salutary discipline, for eternity, therefore it is the Pastor's duty, in were their brethren; and, as such, all doubtful cases, to give the people they treated them kindly and affec- all necessary satisfaction, by giving tionately, showing them the reason them the reasons of his doings, that ableness of their proceedings, and they may understandingly and quietthus securing their cordial co-opera- ly obey and submit. 2. And, in case tion. And it is this concurrence in the people discern any notable apthe decisions and acts of their Pas- pearance of danger, by introducing tors which the primitive churches heretics and grossly impious men to were invited to give, that has been corrupt the church, and by subyerterringly regarded by some as the ing the order of Christ, they inay go exercise of the right on the part of the to their Pastors to desire satisfaction churches to govern themselves. The in the case. 3. And if, by open views of some persons on this sub- proof or notoriety, it be certain, that ject appear to be so confused as to by ignorance, fraud, or negligence, induce the belief in their ininds, that the Pastors thus corrupt the church, if the people are denied the right of the people may seek their due remegoverning themselves, they have con- dy from other Pastors and Magissequently no privileges at all. An ab. trates. 4. And they may protest their own dissent from such proceed to engage in worldly business, he ings. 5. And, in case of extremity, asks, “Is it well consistent with may cast off heretical, and impious, that scripture, (2 Tim. ii. 4,) “No and intolerable Pastors, and commit man that warreth,' (takes on him the their souls to the conduct of fitter profession of a soldier, as we emi.. men.”
nently do,) 'entangleth himself with
the affairs of this life?' plainly resages is obvious. The Pastor has ferring to the Roman law, which authority; the people have rights : absolutely forbade any soldier to fol. but, whatever measures may be ne- low any other profession. Is it well cessary to secure the full enjoyment consistent with that word : “Give of the one against the undue exer- attendance to reading, to exhortation, cise of the other, the Pastor is not to teaching: meditate on these at liberty to divest himself, or allow things, give thyself wholly to them?' others to divest him, of his legiti. (1 Tim. iv. 13, 15.) Can we be said mate scriptural right to govern the to give ourselves wholly to these church.
things if we follow another profesIn claiming for the Minister of the sion?” The great Apostle of the Gospel authority to “rule” the Gentiles sometimes “worked with church, the regular and not the oc- his own hands ;” but the occasional casional Minister is intended. It is labours of the Apostle in the infancy quite allowable for laymen to assist of the churches, and the measures their Pastors by preaching under which modern Missionaries in heatheir direction; but occasional exer- then countries are at times obliged cises in preaching do not confer the to adopt, in order to obtain tempopastoral office and its authority. The ral support, do not form the rule : persons to whom Jesus Christ has they are the exceptions to the standgiven the keys are the regular and ing permanent rule of Christ; which stated Ministers of the Gospel, who requires that they whom he calls to are fully set apart to the sacred of. the work of the ministry should be fice. The terms of the Gospel com- wholly separated from secular busimission are too comprehensive in ness, and devoted exclusively to the their import to warrant any other work of saving souls from death. idea, than that those to whom it is Nor is the preceding argument to addressed are required to renounce be understood as maintaining that every other business; to leave all every individual Pastor of the church things else behind; and devote all possesses the right of feeding and rultheir energies to the work of evan- ing the church, in so full and complete gelizing a lost world. The provision a sense, as to render him independmade for the support of the regular ent of his fellow-Pastors. The New ministry, is proof that this is the cor. Testament abounds with indicarect interpretation of the original tions of a connexion between the commission by which the Gospel primitive churches; which con. ministry was instituted. In the first nexion was maintained by means epistle to the Corinthians, the Apos- of a united ministry. The settletle institutes a comparison between ment of the question respecting the the Priests of the Jewish church and circumcision, already referred to for the Pastors of the Christian church, another purpose, affords irresistible and argues, “Do ye not know that evidence on this point. That transthey which minister about holy action proves that even the commisthings live of the things of the tem- sion of an Apostle did not render ple? and they which wait at the al- him independent of his fellow-Apostar are partakers with the altar? tles; for Paul went to Jerusalem for Even so hath the Lord ordained consultation on this business. It is that they which preach the Gospel evident, again, that that case furshould live of the Gospel.” (Chap. nishes a precedent to guide the ix. 13,14.) The case is forcibly put by church in all ages. The consultaMr. Wesley. In showing that the tion was not confined to the AposGospel rule forbids Christian Pastors tles. The Apostle Paul left Antioch with the intention of consulting the circumstances of Christian churches " Elders” as well as “the Apostles:" in all ages, with a view to ascertain and “the Elders” were actually as- what is necessary to secure their sociated with the Apostles indis- purity, is sufficient to show that such cussing and settling the question; a vital union of churches by means and the decision was given in their of a united ministry, as appears to joint names. In this union of extra. have obtained in the earliest ages, ordinary Ministers and ordinary Pas- is, if not imperatively necessary, tors is exhibited a striking instance at least highly beneficial, and conof a united ministry in the age of ducive, in a very special manner, to primitive Christianity; and it now the purity of the churches. Where remains to be seen what was the in- such union among churches does not fluence which this assembly of Pas- obtain, it is difficult to conceive by tors exerted on the different churches. what means purity of doctrine can The following passage furnishes suf- be effectually maintained. Should ficient evidence on this point: “And the Pastor of any particular church as they went through the cities, they embrace Socinian principles, and delivered them the decrees for to only possess the talent of stating keep, that were ordained of the them in a cautious and subtle manApostles and Elders which were at ner, until he gradually and alınost Jerusalem.” (Acts xvi. 4.) The de. imperceptibly undermines the orthocrees therefore which had been issued dox faith of his people; what can by these ordinary as well as extraor- save such a church from infidelity, dinary Pastors at Jerusalem, were if no corrective means are to be apbinding on all the churches. Irre- plied from without? A Connexion fragable proof is thus afforded, that affords the only efficient remedy. although the churches were respec- The interference of the collective tively provided, with their own Pas- pastorate can alone meet such a tors, they were not independent in case, which the ecclesiastical hissuch a sense as to be free from the tory of this country painfully shows efficient control of the collective has been of too frequent occurrence. pastorate. It would be in vain to Those who incline to the Independ. argue, that the proceedings of the ent form of church government have, Apostles do not in all respects form of course, what are to them, weighty a rule for after-ages. Such reason- reasons for their choice ; but, while ing would not at all apply in the pre- they freely exercise their right sent instance; for the “Elders," of judging, the Methodists claim the ordinary Pastors, who were pre- equal liberty of conscience, and sent, were joined with the Apostles prefer a connexion of churches, in authoritatively settling a question united by means of a collective pasfor the guidance of the churches torate, as the better, because, as they generally. A consideration of the think, the more scriptural, way.
(To be concluded in our next.)
SPIRITUAL LETTERS. No. X. MY DEAR FRIEND, — The great in the course of your own experience, mystery of godliness, displayed in may not have been pointed out to Jesus living and dying for us, ought you. As on this important subject, indeed to be matter of frequent for you to hear the same thing is meditation, and demands our serious not grievous, and I trust to me it inquiry. Angels' minds desire to will not be unprofitable, I am will. look into it, but men are interested ing to comply with your desire. in it. On this account I wonder It is certain no precept will not that you request my thoughts avail us, unless it is brought home on Jesus our Example ; yet I am not to our business and bosoms. It sensible of any discoveries therein was from a sense of this, when I unexplored by others, and which, first found the efficacy of the death
of our Lord, that I was led to con- derstanding, the Spirit of counsel sider the design of his life. In his and might, the Spirit of knowledge death I saw the price of my redemp- and the fear of the Lord; and shall tion; and, in his blessed life, the path make him of quick understanding of life for me ; and, in general, I in the fear of the Lord : and he discerned that, as He was born, shall not judge after the sight of lived, died, rose again, so must I his eyes, neither reprove after the be born again, live to God, die to hearing of his ears : but with sin, and rise to finished holiness, righteousness shall he judge, and by his resurrection's power. But reprove with equity. Righteousness in coming to particulars, I have shall be the girdle of his loins, and asked, How could I, a mean disciple, faithfulness the girdle of his in situation and circumstances quite reins.” (Isaiah xi. 2-5.) “Behold, different, “walk as He also walked ?” my servant shall deal prudently. I saw that this was to endure the He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor ills of life with the same spirit cause his voice to be heard in the of calm resignation and firmness as street." did the “ Man of sorrows;” and to In what respect this more immedisdain and trample on the pleasures diately related to our Lord I will of this world, steadily pursuing, not now inquire; but I have some. not my own will, but the will of times found it a reproof for loud, God; as Jesus came not to do his hasty, or harsh speaking. “He was own will, but the will of Him that holy, harmless, undefiled, separate sent him. In this light it appeared, from sinners.” “When he suffered, I was to have the same “mind in he threatened not, but submitted me which was in Christ Jesus ;” himself to him that judgeth righteand that this was meant by “putting ously.” “In his mouth was no guile.” him on.”
Froin these passages it appeared Some years ago, in an illness which how I ought to consider him in gave time for thought, I was parti- every occurrence of life, and how I cularly convinced of not having might follow him in the narrow enough read the life of our Lord, way. But the two points of view recorded by tbe Evangelists. I wrote in which Jesus as our example has down the resolution of a more at. beon of late more particularly usetentive perusal; and in his character ful to me, are, “He made himself have discovered all the wise and of no reputation ;” “He suffered, benevolent dispositions wbich the leaving us an example :" the first Scriptures exhort believers to culti- as opposed to the innate pride of vate. His zeal for the glory of God; my heart; and the second as a his boly, fervent love; his faithful. sacred motive to the enduring of ness and innocence; bis integrity; all the inconveniences of mortality, his love to the ransomed race; sym- and pain, whether of body or mind, pathy with the afflicted; his un. which I have gone through. When blamable walk, and consistent cha. I looked on Jesus sojourning in the racter; his aptness to teach; his mournful vale ; voluntarily becomsilence in reproach : these, as imita. ing low, obscure, despised; wearing ble parts of his conduct, I have been a servant's form; and have found led to contemplate, to animate the in myself the love of the honour lukewarmness of my affections, to that cometh from man, how has it correct the impetuosity of nature, checked me! how has it led to selfand to purify my whole soul, even abasement, and a rising out of the as he who loved me, and gave him- ignoble principle! When languid, self for me, was pure.
weary, dispirited, from the painful Some scriptures, too, particularly things of life, I saw the Lord of characteristic of Jesus, I have often glory weary at the well, outwardly found it profitable to reflect on, and comfortless and alone, travelling in pray over; such as this : “And the disagreeable ways, dreary deserts, Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon working at a mean trade, without a him, the Spirit of wisdom and un. place where to lay his head; without the necessaries of life; reduced ought to walk so as to apply it to to the necessity of having recourse every affair of life. to a miracle to supply them; con- It is the business of life to “considering he thus himself took our in- sider Him;" for in his sober, spotfirmities, I have been exhilarated, less mind we rise out of the ruins and made willing, in my small de- of the fall, and gain a heaven upon gree, to tread the path my Saviour earth. The more I think of Jesus, trod, and to have fellowship with whether as my propitiation, the him in his sufferings. So in tempta- source of spiritual life, or my great tion; to hear that the Son of God exemplar, the more I learn to "rewas in all points tempted like me; joice unto him with reverence." attacked by satanic guile; opposed He appears “glorious in holiness ;” by principalities and powers; the and a sacred awe mixes with the world in pleasing array set before love that enables me to call him him; this has strengthened and re- mine. vived me, and showed me that my I am abased to the dust when I duty was, like the Captain of my think “He left me an example," salvation, to resist the adversary (me the meanest follower of the steadfast in the faith, using the Lamb,) and I am no more like him. sword of the Spirit.
I can only say, I aim at it, and glory You will not, my dear friend, in my divine Advocate. He must think I am setting myself up as a for ever hide me in the secret of his teacher, but see, in answer to your pavilion, and eternally be “my inquiry, how I found Jesus as our theme, my inspiration, and my example set before me, and how I crown.”
THE EAGLE. Amongst the birds, the vulture tribe, the eagles, though they are -though one species, the lammer- widely dispersed, have their metro. geyer, comes as far north as the polis in more northern climates, and Swiss Alps-generally most abounds are distinguished also from the vulin hot climates, and is often of es- tures by making living animals chief. sential service in preventing the in- ly their prey. For this they are fection likely to be produced by gifted with a wonderful acuteness of putrid animals. To these birds our sight, and indomitable strength of Saviour's words, doubtless, allude: wing, and of legs and talons, fitting “Wheresoever the carcase is, there them for astonishing velocity of will the eagles be gathered together." flight, and for resistless force, when (Matt. xxiv. 28.) The species he had they attack and bear off their prey. in his eye was probably the Egyptian As they have no scent, their eyes vulture, (vultur percnopterus,) the are of infinite use, and enable them services of which in Egypt are strik. to discern a small bird at an almost ingly described by Hasselquist. Af- incredible distance : and often, to ter noticing its disgusting appear- get a clearer view, and more extenance, he says, “Notwithstanding sive horizon, when they leave their this, the inhabitants of Egypt can- mountain eyries, they ascend to a not be thankful enough to Provi. great height. M. Raymond, when dence for this bird. All the places he had ascended the highest peak of around Cairo are filled with the dead the Pyrenees, saw an eagle soaring bodies of asses and camels ; and above him, flying directly in the thousands of these birds fly about teeth of a violent south-wester, with and devour the carcases before they inconceivable velocity. - Kirby's putrify and fill the air with noxious Bridgewater Treatise. exhalations.” Belon observes, which proves their prevalence there, that In the book of Deuteronomy we in Palestine they devour an infinite have a very animated and beautiful number of mice, which would other. allusion to the eagle, and her ine. wise be a great pest. The cognate thod of exciting her eaglets to at