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often Christ's people are adjured to be one in mind, heart and action, on the very consideration that they are one, necessarily, indivisibly one, in respect of their . subu sistence in' him. •Endeavour,' says the apostle— literally, hasten, press forward, be in earnest, exert yourselves—to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.' By all means guard the gift which already makes you one. For, as there is one body,' in and by which he acts, so there is one Spirit'-not only one and the same in essence with the Father and the Son, but, as here set forth, one and the same in operation throughout all the members of Christ. These two unities, figuratively denoting their two-fold part' in him, seem to be embraced and explained, farther on in the chapter, by the literal “unity of the faith.' Now, the faith has respect, generally, to the Lord Christ as the mediatorial ‘way,' to the Father. But it is no frivolous distinction to say, that it first apprehends him as the Truth,' and then appropriates him as the Life,' of our religion. In the former office, it ensures simple membership in the body of Christ mystical ; in the latter, it derives to each member a measure of his healthful Spirit, the soul of that body. Dear and honoured Christians around me! There is' among us, in common with myriads besides, one faith ;' and it is our unity, our essential identity, through grace, in this respect, that constitutes our Catholic church-fellowship, our complete, inseparable relation in the living body, of which Christ is the quickening head.
“We have one and the same substantive belief, the belief of saving truth. Are we asked, what is the truth which we are entitled thus to distinguish? It is that truth, which the Holy Ghost himself at one time pronounces to be characteristic of the Gospel, and the secret of its power unto salvation,'-at another time treats as identical with the Gospel, and anathematizes every other,'-and, times without number, exhibiting it as in vital, vivifying relation to every leading doctrine of the system successively, assigns it a welcome prominence. What is saving truth? It is that which is termed, where all is truth, and where much else is earnestly believed, the truth,' and, more remarkably still, the faith'-the one,' same faith, of God's elect in all ages; the one,' only faith, (with its proximate and dependent truths,) in which all the elect ever have been since the age of inspiration, or ever will be until the age of vision, perfectly and surely agreed. What is saving truth? The answer may be more direct; it is that truth, which points out the short and sure way of sal. vation. It it that one precious stone, or lustrous letter in the breast-plate, which every worshipper may wear and consult at will, that to the eye of the inquiring penitent instantly stands out from the rest, or flashes forth the oracle of mercy. • What must I do to be saved ?' The answer to this is the truth,' the very Gospel of the Bible, the essence of the true catholic faith; and it runs thus, · Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved !' The salvation of men was the great end for which Christ came into the world, and for which he left a saved people in it. Now, every man that would be saved must do' just this that is written, must believe on the Divine Saviour. And of that which is necessary to be done, the doctrine is necessary to be known, and in turn made known, by us all. That is what we mean by essential, or saving truth. Brethren, in the holding fast and the holding forth of this truth, or very simple set of truths, the pastors and people of every denomination known as 'Evangelical,' are, and always have been, one. That God hath set forth his Son to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, for the remission of sins that are pastthatas by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the mediatorial obedience of one,' practically imputed to, or placed to the account of, the most ungodly that believeth in him, “shall many be made righteous,' that is, put per, fectly right with God and his offended law-that this is a righteousness altogether
by grace,' and therefore altogether ‘of God;' literally of his own devising ; consti: tuted quite out of the natural way; a righteousness 'unto and upon the penitent
believer, and not arising out of any obedience by him, or holiness within him; but still
, as being grounded on an infinite satisfaction once rendered for us, a most effectual indemnity, a most substantial investiture, a most abounding gift; and in its fulness therefore, as in its freeness, unspeakably gracious, godlike, confounding to the sinner, and a crown of glory to the Saviour. That, again, this is the only way in which the proper Gospel righteousness, inferring both pardon and a title to favour, can be acquired or retained by sinful creatures and that it is as necessary and as precious to the dying saint as it is free and complete to the sinner that has just now newly believed—brethren, this is our Gospel.' I will sum it up in an exquisite stanza, and then in a ruder couplet, of Charles Wesley's :
Could my tears for ever flow,
• Thy righteousness wearing, and cleansed by thy blood,
Bold shall I appear in the presence of God!' We cannot unite in such views of justification without acknowledging, further, the utter ungodliness, as well as guiltiness, of man by nature; the necessity of sanctifi cation by the Holy Ghost, to meeten him for the inheritance of grace,--yea, and of his much earlier, and absolutely sovereign agency on the depraved heart, to produce conviction, self-despair, and simple trust in Christ; the gracious right of all who are made just in him to the indwelling of his Spirit, through which they shall then be made holy, and happy, and full of light,- ,-as well as the necessary working of faith by love, and its issue in all obedience; then, also, the proper deity of the Saviour, and of the Sanctifier; the instrumentality of the word of truth, in men's regeneration as of faith in order to their justification ; and, consequently on that, the right of every man to judge for himself of the Scriptural soundness of that which is preached to him for truth,—and of the Scriptures to be regarded as the final and ruling appeal alike of preacher and hearer. All this we stedfastly believe. Simply observing, that He likewise agree essentially, (and more sincerely than those who torture Christian rites into symbols of anticbrist,) in the sacramental and ecclesiastical profession of this belief, so making our doctrinal unity visible, and defining our membership in the body, I would thankfully notice, next, that
"We have one and the same personal trust-viz. in grace, in the covenant of grace, in the precious blood of the covenant. This is the faith of appropriation; and it opens our way into the full “fellowship of the Spirit.' We admit, indeed, that his first operations on the souls of men individually must have initiated the church ; and, in one sense, are continually enlarging it. Every adult Christian society is a band of men whose hearts God' has, at least, touched.' The vast mass of human mind is religiously without form and void,' and darkness is over the whole,-until the Spirit of God moves upon it, and, co-operating with the Divine word, produces light -then order, harmony and advantageous distribution—and then life both blissful and beauteous. Or, to change the figure, some influence of his, attending the prophecy of preaching, causes that shaking,' on which the bones come together, bone to his bone,'-ere yet, at the prophecy of prayer, the breath comes into them, and they live. But it is certainly by means of our communion with Christ, (and that as members of his body-not in wilful isolation from it, but in the use of its ordinances and associations,) that we severally make good our gracious property in the riches of
his Spirit. We are made partakers of Christ, as we retain our subsistence in him; which condition, however, demands that with the heart' we realize the relation. Abiding in the body, and cleaving to our unseen Head with a devout and active faith, we obtain promises,' feel the sprinkled blood, delight ourselves in the Lord, worship him in the spirit, serve him without fear, conquer the world and sin, grow in grace, and possess the earnests of heaven. In this “Spirit,' this mystic life of blessed experience, hallowed affections, and celestial hopes, the true followers of a true faith are one.' This assimilates, identifies, and mutually endears them all. Nor are the experimental .gifts' of the Spirit without their appropriate manifestation, for the glory of our Head, for the assurance and edification of his members. Especially does this unity become visible, nay, matter of consciousness—a consciousness which absorbs all less genial sensations—whenever they meet together for worship. Those of us, who know nothing of this beyond the circle of their own denomination, have much to come in heaven; but those, who have sought to enrich themselves, without impoverishing others, amidst the welcome variety of gifts and grace which Christ has distributed among all, surely for the good of all, have had more of heaven begun below.' Brethren and fathers! we will not witness now of a host of long sainted dead, who yet speak to us in their writings or their biography; and to converse with whom through either medium is one of the dearest privileges of church communion : but we will recal those whom we know, or but lately knew, after the flesh; and will tender a passing testimony concerning them, which we can only regret as of very humble value. Frequent remission of pulpit-labour, and other occasions less painful have permitted to one now among you numberless opportunities of intercourse, sometimes with recognition, and oftener in luxurious obscurity, with Christians and, churches of nearly every orthodox confession-of the Moravian, the Episcopalian, the Congregational, the Baptist, the Presbyterian, of that of Monod, and Malan, and Blumhardt, and last, yet in affection first, of the Wesleyan Methodist. He has drunk deeply at the founts of their ministry, breathed their prayers, broken with them the bread of the eucharist, grown into their religious intimacy, marked their walk in private life, watched by them in affliction, and gone up with one and another of them to the very gate of heaven; and he can testify, that, if these were samples even of the general teachings of their denominations, and of the spiritual temper which those teachings promote,—we have all one faith for this life, and one hope for the life to come! Nay—I am become a fool in my glorying—but my heart throbs and expands as if it held all the hearts of Methodism in one, while I profess an humble purpose, by God's grace, to worship and labour, live and die, in spiritual communion with them all. For among all • Christ is all;" and to every one that believeth he is every where precious.
" I speak your mind, Sirs, when I add, that this doctrinal and spiritual unity of Christ's people presents a far ampler ground for kindly intercourse and useful cooperation than they have hitherto been agreed to occupy.
“Our unity in the truth demands our more practical union. We are bound to recognize the Christianity in others, which we value in our own doctrine and fellowship. It is the thing that we love within our pale—the essence, not the mere form; and this we are called to hallow, and to hail, in whatever varieties of creed and character it stands forth. If we do love the faith of the cross better than anything else, except the cross itself, we ought to show more love to it than we do to what is subordinate and peculiar ; much love as we may allowably manifest for the latter. And we can best prove, and best practise, our catholicity,—that is, our supreme love of truth,' and of believers for the truth's sake,—by sometimes going forth to welcome her well-known heavenly form, where she puts off the precise garb with which our preferences are wont to invest her, and perhaps appears, as in this assembly, in no denominational garb at all. And if this be due from us in ordinary circumstances, how much more when, careless of the abounding of iniquity, the love of many waxes cold,--when they are seen lifting the crosier high above the cross, as the standardsign and centre of catholicity-and when the truth is openly demeaned by their refusal to fraternize with its consistent, but nonconforming, professors. It is not for us to follow this example of low sectarianism,--if we mean to abide by essential Christianity, and to proclaim each other, and ourselves, Christians. Now is the time to embrace, and not the time to refrain from embracing.
"And then, our unity in the Spirit must needs impel us to be more united in arowal, aim, and action. How can those, who are thus intimately one, be indifferent to the fact of their fellowship, or slow to make full proof of it; unemulous of the rights of kindred, unconscious of the comfort of love,' undiscerning of the advantages of interchange? Or how can that instinctive zeal both to get and to do good, to testify for God, and to hear and know more of his hidden work in the world, which points them out as the loving, happy, experimental Christians of their own communities—how can it be prisoned within the particular walls of a sect? If it ever be so, it is for want of more of the Spirit. A new baptism of piety, together with better examples and instructions on the part of the guides of God's flock-whose duty it is both to put forth the sheep,' and to go before them'—would induce far more extended interest in the triumphs of Divine grace, a more active 'love of good men,' and stronger yearnings for catholic communion.
* Behold, then, the simple ground, and the general purport, of our present and proposed alliance. It ought not to be misunderstood, and it need not. It is not a fitful and flighty profession of indifference to all ecclesiastical forms and cognizancess nor yet an ayowal of misgiving, or of lukewarmness, about our own. Neither is it on the other hand, an idle essay, in the present jarring state of that wonderful world of mind which surrounds us, towards incorporation under some one theory of church order ; nor is it the prelude of a solemn synod for the settlement of doctrinal questions ; nor is it a pledge of denominational unity, among brethren who have actually attained one judgment, as on essential principles, so likewise on many important points, within either category; nor, least of all, is it a junction, for some political or philanthropic purpose, between parties who stand aloof on spiritual grounds, but who have found out some affinities of opinion on matters of temporal moment. No! our union, as we desire it to be, might almost be described as the precise reverse of this last. It is an union of those who are spiritually and vitally one; though externally, on account of some lingering differences of belief, worship, and church-procedure, constrained for very peace' sake to divide. It bespeaks them undivided in, and for, God. It is formed on the ground of the great Christian confession, under the attractions of the Spirit, beneath the shadow of our Saviour's cross; it is formed that we may cherish his mind, maintain his honours, and feel after his further will. Whatever may be its ulterior views, it certainly has none, and, from the composition of this pattern-meeting, can have none, beyond the theatre of a Scriptural catholicity. For the present, and in itself, it is simply declarative of our fellowship in Christ." It is to be interpreted as the not unhumble nor unanxious assertion on the part of each church of confessing believers, whose representatives are present, of a claim of membership in his mystical body; and as a most cordial recognition of that claim by all the rest,-a recognition, which we respectfully extend to all, in every place, and of every name, who, as the apostle exhorted the church at Philippi, mind the one thing.' Solemnly and joyfully believing in one Holy Ghost, not only as the Lord, but as the giver of spiritual life,—and in one catholic and apostolic church, which his inspiration created, and which his grace sustains, in Christ --we would shew forth the communion of saints. Amen!"
After singing, and prayer by the Rev. Dr. STEINKOPFF, of the Lutheran Church, the congregation was addressed by the Rev. J. Hamilton of the National Scotch Church.
“My Christian friends, fathers, and brethren-you have heard the philosophy of this subject expounded by my brother who last addressed you—expounded so fully and so forcibly that nothing can be added to it by any except himself. And now that the Christian philosophy of union has been so ably elucidated, it falls to my lot to say a few words on its practical working. Now for the promotion of our great object, the thing most requisite in the present state of the church of Christ is to increase the number of union-loving and union-seeking Christians—to increase the number of those who will act as bonds of brotherhood. When you wish to unite two beams in a house, or two timbers in a ship, you apply their surfaces together at one end, and then drive in first one pin and then another, till the two are locked together along their entire extent. When you wish to engraft one branch upon another, you bandage them together-till they begin at some point to cohere and coalesce—the sap of the old stalk finds its way into one vessel of the graft after another, till the circulation is established, and the union is complete. When you wish to weld two metal bars the one into the other-you heat them both, and hammer them together, till point by point, and inch by inch, they are incorporated, and the twain are one. Whenever you would have union of masses you begin with union of points. You do not despise the day of small things—for if you graft, and the tree should cohere together by a single thread-by one capillary tube you have good hope that th conjunction will be effected--for this shows that they are unitable. If your hammered bars hold together by a single point, you are encouraged to put them in the welding furnace again and give them another trial--for the cohesion of two atoms is enough to prove them homogeneous—to show that they are the proper materials for riveting each to other. And even 80—if a union of churches, or of Christian communities, is ever to be effected, it must begin with a union of Christian men. If you would unite the masses, you must unite the individuals first. Hence the great advantage of a meeting like this. It brings from various communities the people of God together, and by promoting mutual acquaintance and confidence, and affection among a few, prepares the way for the eventual amalgamation of the many. And believing that there are many here who seek to act as the links and bonds of union—who would esteem it great honour did the Lord but use them each as a pin in fastening together those materials from which his tabernacle is to rise in all its goodliness and glory—believing that there are those who would be content to act as the connecting filaments, the amalgamating atoms in this blessed process of a re-united Christianity, I shall endeavour to offer some plain practical suggestions for the guidance of such.
" It strikes me that there are four things mainly needed to make an individual Christian a peace-maker-a uniter of the brethren. It needs good principles, good sense, a good spirit, and a good character. It needs good principles. A man must hold the faith—he must believe the truths of the Gospel, and live under their practi. cal power.
He must be a Christian man. Any union of saints and worldlings, of believers and formalists, will be such an unsatisfactory and short-lived union as was the mixing of the iron and clay in the toes of Nebuchadnezzar's image. Where there is no identity of principle, no affinity of faith, the union cannnot last. Then, it needs good sense. Not only does it require sound Christian principle, but it requires sound common sense. There are some men who are real Christians, who are not eminent for this quality. Their forte does not lie in common sense ; but it requires some sense, even for a well-meaning man not to frustrate his good intentions by practical errors and mismanagement. It requires much sense not to take offence where no offence