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authority, should have been commu- fended; yet has it ever been breaking nicated to those whom they converted. forth from the confinement into which For, upon no spirit of strife or jealousy, men, each in his own sectarian circle, merely festering in the heart, without
would fain coop
To make a practical influence on the life and known his absolute will, and the exdoctrine, would the apostle, even if his pansive love of the Gospel, almighty introspection into men's hearts ex- God delights, as it would seem, to tended so far, have animadverted here, prove that the gifts of his Spirit are as adding bitterness to his bonds! the imprescriptible right of no men, Plainly, it must have coloured the or society of men, however generally teaching of these schismatics, and covenanted they may be; but his own have been communicated to their dis- to give or to withhold! And that, as ciples, though since it did not flow, as in times of old, he who feareth him in themselves, from wilful error or and embraceth salvation, as it is in sinful passion, it made not the word Christ Jesus, is accepted with him. of life of none effect. And this schis- “ And as is the case with all fundamatic teaching having thus the power mental truths, this fact escapes, by to work in the soul, that which is the bits and fragments; it is confessed, triumph of the Gospel and the test of though reservedly and reluctantly; its divine origin, a complete revolution and is extorted from all, but the exof the inner man, it would not empty treme maintainers of a church system, of their efficacy and blessedness to the not generally blessed to the salvation disciple, those sacraments which pre- of souls, which all gladly allow, but supposed the faith and
which absolutely and by covenant exclusive, they did not produce, but which they which is quite another thing. For either sealed or sustained. The less instance, when the sacraments of is necessarily involved in the greater. Christ cannot be obtained, they are Where God withholds not the trans- not necessary, by universal consent. forming and vital spirit, (and if he The blessing accompanies the wish, had withholden it here, St. Paul never the frame of mind, and the latter may could have rejoiced at the preaching of plainly exist in any communion, howChrist, which would thus become a
ever materially schismatical. When most impotent and hollow thing ;) he they had administered through unwould not deny the smaller, though worthy hands, yet they are confessed still blessed gifts consequent upon it to convey as powerful a grace to the —the full privileges of union with heart which, by faith, is fitted to reChrist through faith.
ceive them, as if they came from the “ But a very slight examination of hands of the greatest saint. On what the facts of the case will, I think, de- principle? None but those who theomonstrate wherein, as we behold it logise with Rome will maintain that with our own eyes, the moral and it is, because the church and the spiritual power of the Gospel consists, ministers of the church are indepenand confirm, experimentally, the teach- dent of moral laws; and if they go so ing of the apostle. And it will not far with her, they ought to go farther, only show that salvation is not closed and complete the scheme by making to the disciples of a schismatical the grace depend on the will of the teaching, but that the Gospel may be priest. The evidence which is good taught by other than the ministers of for the one, is good for the other! the word without schism. It is in its the principle surely is, that alvery nature a free and anti-formalist mighty God who giveth the graces of spirit, that of the Gospel. And, albeit, the Spirit, not as the prerogative or not on earth to be disencumbered right of those who minister, but for either of human or even authoritative the edification of his flock, will not agencies, which, in the midst of cor- permit them, by any delinquency on ruptions, and miserable obscurations the part of the church, to be of no of light and of a primitive commis- avail to those who are by faith presion, have been mightily blessed, and pared to receive them! It may destroy are any how to be retained and de- the soul of the guilty minister, and,
indirectly, the souls of those com- kind. Preserved they may be, remitted to his charge, but shall not commended they may be, but I mean deprive the righteous of his reward. a saving reception of them. Before
“ And so, in the administration of they can be received to the salvation baptism, by whomsoever administer- of the soul, they must, to each indi. ed, in the name of the blessed Trinity, vidual conscience, bear their own it is, by the consent of the church witness, and their own light with universal, still baptism. On what them. No theoretic or vicarious principle ? Because the largeness of admission is enough. The ultiGod's gifts, and the gospel mercy,
mate evidence to them is intuitive; must be measured by his love, and inward, not outward ; intensely pernone shall be withholden from it, sonal, not from other men ; identified who, whether informally or not, are with our heart and soul, and all our brought in faith within the reach being, the felt but yet inexplicable the living terms and meaning-of it. mysteries of faith! This no church The principle may be pushed further, can by an absolute act convey, nor but it is at least good for this.” hinder God from conveying.
so loved the world that he gave his How forcibly does our author state only.begotten Son, to the end that all the real power of the Gospel! - who believe on him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.” - Believ“ The power of the Gospel lies, in eth in Him !” Here is the covenant very truth, in the fore-designed cor- sealed in baptism; and whosoever is so respondence between certain facts of saved, is not saved beyond, and out of revelation on one side, and certain the covenant, but by the terms of it. facts of human nature on the other, The outward ministry, however aposwrought out by an awakening of the tolical, which propagates these truths conscience to a feeling of this har. is only so far important, as it is fitted mony, and that spontaneous and to recommend them, or to gain a living acting on it, which is the work hearing for them from those whom of the Spirit. The burthen of sin- they are addressed, or to convey to the consciousness of condemnation- faith the sacramental graces, and from the sighing for deliverance from this infancy to discipline the soul, almost body of death! Christ as the Recon- to the unconscious, though still living ciler, and free Redeemer—the Holy reception of them. This is an exalted Ghost the Sanctifier-Faith and holi- vocation indeed, of divine appointness! Behold the Gospel ! Behold ment, and generally necessary to the simple instrument which is power
men's souls, but it is only an instruful to the regeneration of fallen ment and a preliminary after all. humanity, which awakens the pro- Herein, likewise, lies the superiority fouodest harmonies, and unthought of one church over another; the of capacities of the soul. Bebold the boundless superiority of our own, wisdom, before which learning is a when all the doctrine and discipline mockery, and eloquence is dumb, within her are put forth. We grant, and intellect and philosophy are the to the full, the inestimable blessing mere weapons of children by the side of an apostolical church.” of the elementary forces of nature. The one like the other, are the power What a seasonable warning to the of God. It is a shallow philosophy, Church is contained in the following and a forgetfulness of the simplest passage: practical truths, which dreams that such facts as these, if rightly appre. “ But the bare, elemental, indishended, facts in themselves so gigan- pensable, preconditions to salvation, tic, and heart-touching, and life- are the word, the facts of Revelation, giving, can receive strength, or carry and the living person, or the mighty a saving conviction from the testi- book to announce it, with the Spirit mony of any church, however named, of God to make it efficacious to the or entitled to the reverence of man- saving of the soul. This is all. It SEPTEMBER—1845.
is still the same word in the conver- plying diversities, still maintained the sion of souls, which said, • Let there mystical body in its true oneness, inbe light, and there was light;" which herency in Christ the head, and interspoke, and it was done ! which com. communion as the necessary result manded, and it was created! Let of it. not the Church indulge the dream, « Every Christian, in fact, accordthat to her the word of the Most High ing to his gifts and opportunities, dwes its strength, or the blood of the was a messenger of salvation, and atonement its emancipating and puri. preacher of the Gospel. How could fying efficacy to the conscience. She it be otherwise ? He had discovered owes, on the contrary, her power to an inestimable treasure, capable of an them. They give life to her forins ! infinite distribution, without dimi. They clothe her lips with the true nishing his own riches! He was the thunder, which is the voice of God, subject of a marvellous mercy, able to and shaketh the wilderness of the save, not only his own soul, but the world! The virtue that goes out of souls of all mankind. They were his them into the hearts and souls of men brothers in misery, and he burned to is the irrefragable evidence of the make them partakers of his joy. So divinity that is within her. She wit- he spake with his tongue, and the nesses to them, but she creates them eloquence of earnest conviction made not, any more than he who testifies him powerful to win, and to persuade. to the blind that there is a sun in Thus it was, when the persecution heaven, makes the great light that of the church at Jerusalem, scattered ruleth the day! If she forgets her the disciples abroad, far and wide. commission, the strength departeth They all went, preaching, and spread. from her; and almighty God will not ing the knowledge of the Gospel. lack ministers to the everlasting Gosa Their commission was the Spirit pel! His word will still, as hereto- within them, and the happiness of fore, not return unto him void! The making known the great salvation ! converting power is inherent in the So it was with Apollos, that mighty truths themselves! They quicken, preacher! So it was with Aquila like the sun! They live, and they
and Priscilla. So it was with those make to live !"
many, unrecorded, yet blessed in.
struments of God, the founders of The following reference to anti- churches, which gradually grew till quity is peculiarly happy :
they were moulded into form by the
hands of the apostles, and by degrees " So it was in the primitive church. assumed that uniform organization That marvellous and unparalleled which so early, pervaded the Christian movement which renovated the world, church. And it was from the same guided by the same noiseless yet irre- force of individual conviction, worksistible force which impels the stars in ing vehemently forth on all sides, their courses, was not merely the re- that the Jews, in their dispersion, in sult of the preaching of apostles and spite of the exclusive and unproselytprophets, though they were, under izing character of the law, had difGod, the originators of life and ac- fused so widely among the nations of tion, and, to the end of their days, the earth that knowledge of the true the most honoured instruments in that God, which subsequently led so many, greatest and profoundest of human trained in that preparatory discipline, revolutions. The whole body which to embrace with an eager heart, the they gathered round them participat expanded scheme of Christianity. ed in the expansive impulse! In that And so it must ever be.
You may great spiritual fermentation, each be- frankly meet this spirit, you may came, in himself, a centre of move. authorise it, you may avail yourselves ment, albeit, from the power of the of it, but the rivers will sooner run love which burned within them, the back to their fountain head, than unity of object, and the self-sameness such a law as this be reversed. You of the spirit, amid large and multi- may use it, but destroy it you cannot. issues ;
Both Jew and Christian acted and in the productive energies of holiness, will act on this universal law.
to the heavenly fountain which union “Now it must be freely admitted with Christ has opened within the that with all this largeness and free- soul. I cannot but think that the dom of individual action, there was more profoundly we weigh both the still, on the whole, in spite of all facts and spirits of holy writ, the more exceptions, an apostolical authority diligently we compare the outward, clearly pronounced : and, more and theocratic law of the older covenant more salient, as the church expanded, with that love which, in the Gospel, a system of ministers regularly or- makes its realization possible; nay, dained and authoritatively commis- clothes itself with it, to men's eyes, as sioned. But this can in no respect with a visible body; the more we change the principle asserted by the weigh, on one hand, the impotence of apostle, who assumes throughout his nature, and, till quickened from above, epistles this ministerial and apostolical its sterility in heavenly graces, and on magistracy. And as to the relation the other, the essential fruitfulness of between authority and voluntary or faith—the more diligently you collect individual agency, in the propagation into one all that marks out to us the of the Gospel among the heathen, or character of true religion, the indemutual edification within the church, structible instincts of the heart and the true conclusion will be, not that understanding, the preaching of saints the one from the beginning resolutely and apostles, the manifold declararepressed the other, as an irregularity tions of our Lord, the rule of the last as soon as possible to be put down, judgment, and the change of heart but that, in the earliest and purest and moral revolution in which all the age, the ministerial authority was re- machinery of grace conciled with individual zeal, and the we do this, the more certain does it church with the play of individual become that, wherever holiness is, liberty. And that, whatever might there Christ has been effectually have been the cause, whether modera- preached, and whether in the visible tion and a divine discretion in the church or out of it, there is the apostolic college, or, that best recon- dwelling-place of the Spirit! To gainciler of all, a pervading charity, the say this, I was going to say, is the church contrived to combine into the madness of disappointed hypothesis service of the Gospel every variety of a straining of an irrational faith, not gift, from the inspired intellect of against worldly doubts, but the firma Paul to the most untutored zeal! and est ordinances of God; a burthening this, too, without destroying what, the church with moral contradictions within its legitimate limits, is inde- which must sink her, and a pulling structible, from unchangeable moral down, in a blind revenge, the whole causes and the nature of man-the structure of practical Christianity necessity and influence of a regular upon our own head. ministry.”
“ Whoever they be who thus claim It is impossible not to be impressed
their portion in Christ, I am sure thate with the following eloquent passage:
we need not dread the comparison,
for the womb of our own mother is “ Finally, the word of God has not smitten with barrenness, and left us a certain sign, whereby to she is still the fruitful parent of know where his presence is, lest saints! Nay, but, brethren, have perchance, misled by theory, cor- patience with me! wherever there be rupted by interest, or blinded by but one scintillation of Christ's image prejudice and vehement passions, we let us rejoice and be glad in it. For should bless where he has cursed, in the same proportion is the valley of and curse where he has blessed. the shadow of death, wherein men “ The tree is known by its fruits." walk, enlightened ! For though we The presence of the Holy Spirit is be of the church, and she hath been known by the life, radiant with the God's handmaid to nourish and train inward light, and bearing testimony, us up, and we be ready to live and die
in her and for her, yet the church is ever again to be gathered into the Christ's, and Christ is God's; and church's fold, it is not to be done by God's ways are in the great waters, false catholicity, an anathematising uncontrolled by our will, inscrutable spirit, or a substitution of the church by our thoughts, unlimited by our for the Gospel. Let us pray more, systems, and going forth with a divine and labour more, and preach more, freedom, in nature and in grace, from and let the burthen of our preaching everlasting to everlasting! Foras- be that of Paul's, ' Christ, and Christ much, then,' says St. Peter, as God crucified. Let us frankly embrace gave them the like gift as He did and cultivate those manifold and unto us, who believed in the Lord
powerful agencies for the spread of Jesus Christ, what was I, that I could the Gospel here and throughout the withstand God?' And who are we, world, which, in a perfect suitablethat we should do so either? "Ne
ness to our existing condition, the vertheless,' saith St. Paul, *Christ is necessity of the times, guided, as I preached, and therein I do rejoice, believe by a sure instinct, has awakenyea, and I will rejoice!' And, God ed throughout the length and breadth helping us, so will we! Amen.' of the land. Other means may have We could gladly give further ex
suited other periods; these are suited tracts from this remarkable publica
to our own, and the church has an tion, but must content ourselves with
inalienable right to adopt them, with the concluding paragraph ;
the perfect assurance of God's blessing
upon that which, whether after an“ Meanwhile, it becomes us to be cient tradition or not, she finds best humble in our rejoicing. It is neither fitted to promote his glory. Let us, wisdom, nor Christian truth, to deny bearing in mind the growing facilities that other ministrations than our own for knowledge beyond the ancient have sown the Gospel seed among the schools of our theology, adopt into masses of this great country; that, the ministry, so far as a sound even, here and there, these preachers church discretion and principle shall of the Gospel of Christ have really permit, all who, being willing to not been our enemies, but our fellow- submit to the church discipline, are labourers against vice and unbelief; mighty in the Scriptures, and apt to that they have ripened manya harvest- teach in the strength and zeal which field, which but for them would have God has given them. And anyhow, been permanently a desolation ; that, whether Christ be preached out of with all our united efforts, there are strife, or sincerity, let us rejoice and still spiritual wastes for which there thank God who hath sent fresh laare no labourers at all, and whereto bourers into his harvest! Amen." the sound of the Gospel and its humanising influences have, in no form
We envy not the individual who whatever, as yet penetrated. Finally,
hesitates to add his hearty Amen to
these sentiments. if at this moment the ministrations of dissent were withdrawn, the church
Let such principles be generally could not supply the enormous void;
recognized and accredited on the part all the winds of a fierce infidelity
of the members of our Church, and would rush in! There is yet work
we shall have gained an important enough for both ! And if her scat
advance towards Christian union. tered flock, in God's good time, are
(To be continued.)
JOURNAL OF A VISITATION TOUR, in 1843–4, through Part of
the Western Portion of his Diocese. By George M. SPENCER, D.D.,
Lord Bishop of Madras. London: Rivington. The day is happily past in which the first colonial mitre is still recent in Anglican Church is episcopal only at our memory.
Now, however, we home, and not in her dependencies have active and useful Bishops in abroad. Yet the struggle for the several very important positions; and