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GREENWOOD's “

LATEST HER ESY."
The latest Heresy. By the Rev. Thos. Greenwood, B.A.

London, 1832. We believe that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter who should abide with the church for ever, is now manifesting his presence in certain chosen witnesses, as in the primitive times; giving to some, faith in the name of Jesus to the healing of divers diseases; causing others to speak with tongues “ as the Spirit gave them utterance ;” giving others to prophesy, and to declare the word of God with all boldness. Those who, like ourselves, have been attentive observers of the whole, and who have made themselves well acquainted with all the facts by personal observation-and those only-can fully estimate the enormity of the guilt which is now accumulating upon the professing church, by the gross misrepresentations, falsehoods, and calumnies, which its ministers are weekly propagating on this the most solemn of all doctrines; the wilful misrepresentations of which may prove, and the denial of which is, that sin declared to be unpardonable in this world or in the world to come. Few of those who know the facts, and have any Christian charity, would harrow their feelings by reading more than one or two of the scores of pamphlets which are monthly put forth in opposition to the work of the Lord. But we hold it to be our duty to glance over them all, in order to see whether there be any valid objection, either from Scripture or sound reason, against what we now receive ; knowing that the danger of receiving a delusion is scarcely inferior to that of rejecting a truth.

The only feature which these pamphlets have in common, is prejudice : many of the misrepresentations are attributable to this. The writers have not examined for themselves; but, in their zeal to condemn, have eagerly laid hold on statements which any unprejudiced person would reject, as not merely improbable, but contradictory. The utterances, for instance, are sometimes rejected because they are so extraordinary and "unearthly," so unlike the still small voice of God : and are, almost in the same breath, declared to bave nothing extraordinary or uncommon about them; nothing which natural faculties might not produce ; nothing of the mighty power of God. The tongues have been denied both because they are unknown, and because they are known; the prophesying, because it is a novelty, and because it is no novelty: the parties have been condemned because they do, and because they do not, belong to Mr. Irving's church : and the whole work has been deplored as the necessary but lamentable result of interpreting the Scriptures literally ; but forthwith reprobated as a diabolical trick and imposture, deliberately got up to countenance heretical doctrine. Such assertions pass current

amongst those have already determined to resist the work, and we can only pity them, and pray for them, that they may come to a right mind.

The early hour of the morning meetings, and the late hour of the afternoon meetings, which during the winter has rendered it necessary to have a lamp, is gravely brought forward as an objection by some of these determined cavillers. Every such person ought to know, that the morning prayer-meetings were begun in May last, during the meeting of the General Assembly; and, being called for the express purpose of praying for the blessing of God on their deliberations, were appointed to be held at the same hour when similar meetings were held in Edinburgh: and those who thus joined together in prayer found so much refreshment to their own souls, before entering on the labours of the day, that they requested to go on after the General Assembly separated, and these meetings have continued uninterruptedly ever since. The afternoon meetings of Wednesday cannot be held till four, because Mr. Irving catechises the children every week till that hour; and the Saturday meetings were made the same, for regularity.

The facts recorded in Scripture and in ecclesiastical history are not better known or understood than the facts connected with the recent manifestations. One or two texts are selected, and straitened to a degree which the context forbids, and which sets them in direct opposition to other positive declarations of Scripture, and to the uniform practice in the church, as recorded in history and as at present subsisting under our own eyes; and to these texts, so misinterpreted, we are expected to conform in this particular instance, while we deviate from it in every other

The command to keep silence in the churches in 1 Cor. xiv. 34, is by these persons pressed upon our women as absolute, unconditional, and 'universally forbidding their prophesying in public; in defiance of 1 Cor. xi., where the Apostle gives explicit directions for the manner in which women are to prophesy in the churches; in defiance of the express testimony of the Fathers to the fact of women so prophesying in the church; in defiance of the practice at present subsisting, of women making the

responses and singing in the churches with their heads covered,-a custom which, like every other general custom, preserves the outward form of a primitive doctrine.

An undue prominency has been given by the opponents of the manifestations to the circumstance of so many of those who speak being women, but for this very sufficient reasons may be given. First, the faith of women is certainly more simple, more dependent, and more devoted, than that of men. Those who most constantly ministered to our Lord were women: the women followed him to the cross, and watched around it, when all the

case.

disciples but John forsook him and fled: the women followed him to the sepulchre, and prepared spices and ointments; and, having rested the sabbath-day, according to the commandment, very early in the morning, while it was yet dark, the women came to the sepulchre. To Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, was the resurrection first revealed ; and women in all ages of the church have been most forward in succouring the persecuted disciples of Christ, and ministering in every way to their necessities.

Another reason for thus distinguishing women now, may be, to confound the pride and idolatry of intellect in man. God always has chosen, and always will choose, the weak things of this world, to confound the things that are mighty: and to this effect there is a remarkable passage in Hartley's Short Defence of the Mystical Writers, 1764. Speaking of God raising up simple men in every age, to mortify the pride of the wise disputers of this world, and to baffle their vain pretences of searching out the hidden things of God, “by the help of their art scientifical,” so setting up human learning as an idol for all to worship, he says,

, in a note, “I have known many instances myself in unlearned men and women, whose knowledge in divine things has astonished me, and left me no room to doubt of their being taught of God in a supernatural way; and I do believe that God will shortly manifest his power in a very remarkable manner, by pouring out his Spirit of wisdom more abundantly upon the female sex; as, for other reasons, so in particular to humble the pride of those learned men who abuse their learning to the dishonour of the Spirit of truth, and to the building up a Babel of opinions and contentions in the world, to the misleading of the people and to the propagation of infidelity.” p. 448.

That women were forbidden to teach, or ask questions, in the church, is manifest from, Cor. xiv. 34. That they were allowed to speak in the Spirit, and prophesy, in the church, is also abundantly clear, especially from 1 Cor. xi.,—a chapter which no sane mind has ever doubted in applying to church worship, and which nothing but fatuity or sophistry can interpret in any other way. That women did speak in the churches, when under the influence of the Holy Spirit, is clear from church history, down to the time of_Tertullian*. Irenæus, Cyprian, and Lactantius imply it, and Eusebius often refers to it; but a few extracts from Tertullian put the fact beyond contradiction.

First, Tertullian carefully guards women against usurping those prerogatives of man which God has ordained to shew

Those who wish to see a detailed account of the opinions and practice of the primitive church, will find it in "The General Delusion of Christians," a volume just reprinted, and sold by Seeley, Fleet Street.

forth the mystery of Christ and the church, Eph. v. 32. “Non permittitur mulieri in ecclesia loqui, sed nec docere, nec tinguere, nec offerre, nec ullius virilis muneris, nedum sacerdotalis officii sortem sibi vendicare." • It is not lawful for a woman to speak in the church, nor yet to teach, nor baptize, nor offer, nor take to herself the place belonging to the man, nor the sacerdotal office.' Referring both to 1 Tim. xi. and to 1 Cor. xi. xiv. and requiring the women to be veiled in the churches ; according to the Apostolic precept, which, he says, was the custom at Corinth: “ Hodie denique virgines suas Corinthii velant.” (De Virg. vell. viii.) But that the speaking thus forbidden is only asking questions, or teaching, and not speaking in the Spirit, or prophesying, is certain and indisputable from many other passages in Tertullian, where women prophesying in the church is appealed to as a standing evidence that God is present with them still. He calls upon Marcion to produce any one, among the holiest of the women of his party, who prophesied_in the manner which was then common among Christians. “Exhibeat itaque Marcion Dei sui dona, aliquos. prophetas, qui tamen non de humano sensu, sed de Dei Spiritu sint locuti, qui et futura prænunciarint, et cordis occulta traduxerint .... Probet etiam mihi, mulierem apud se prophetasse, ex illis suis sanctioribus fæminis magni dicam. Si hæc omnia facilius a me proferuntur, et utique conspirantia regulis et dispositionibus et disciplinis creatoris, sine dubio Dei mei erit et Christus, et Spiritus, et Apostolus” (Adv. Mar. v. cap. 8.) And again, in his treatise De Anima,cap. 9, "Est hodie soror apud nos revelationum charismata sortita, quos in ecclesia inter Dominica solennia per extasin in spiritu patitur, conversatur cum angelis, aliquando etiam cum Domino, et videt et audit sacramenta, et quorundam corda dinoscit, et medicinas desiderantibus submittit. Jam vero prout Scripturæ leguntur, aut Psalmi canuntur, aut adlocutiones proferuntur, aut petitiones delegantur: ita inde materiæ visionibus subministrantur:" There is at this day with us a sister endowed with gifts of revelations, which, she being in ecstasy, receives by the Spirit in the church, during the solemnities of the Lord's-day: she converses with angels, sometimes even with the Lord, and sees and hears holy mysteries, and discerns. the hearts of some, and prescribes medicines to those who want them. But, according as it may be, whether the Scriptures are read, or Psalms are sung, or exhortations given, or prayers offered, from these several services the materials of her visions are furnished.'

Shortly after the time of Tertullian the corruptions began out of which Popery finally sprang. That mystery of iniquity derived its chief support from the lying wonders which it palmed upon a credulous people: by which it brought such discredit upon every thing supernatural and miraculous, that it is a question whether that accursed system is more to be reprobated for the falsehood it has introduced, or for the truth it has smothered ; and certain it is, that many a truth which ought to be received is now rejected, because it forms part of the Papacy.

The manifestations which are now going on, are, so far as we are able to discern, precisely similar to those which Tertullian and the Fathers refer to as common in the primitive church ; and those who stigmatize these as heresies, appear to us, in so doing, to stigmatize the primitive church. The Papal perversions of these manifestations we reprobate as strongly as any one, and deny that such perversions are to be found in the work now in progress. Yet the pamphlet which has called forth these remarks has not scrupled to stigmatize it as “the latest heresy." The arguments by which this gracious visitation of God is attempted to be set aside are such as any child instructed in the Scriptures might answer. The writer of this pamphlet, for instance--which is one of the ablest that has appeared, and which evinces extensive acquaintance with what has been written on the subject-rests all his argument on the assumption that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was limited to the Apostles, and never afterwards repeated. This his argument implies, and in fact requires; but, with Cornelius and the Gentiles glaring him in the face-of whom Peter declares that “God gave them the Holy Ghost, even as unto the Apostles, and put no difference between the Apostles and them” (Acts xv. 9) --with this plain fact giving the lie to the argument, he has introduced a limitation, to meet the fact, which renders the whole argument perfectly absurd : for he includes Jews only in the restriction which is palpably false ; 'and, were it true, would be wholly irrelevant, since none of the gifted persons are Jews. Mr. Greenwood writes (p. 21): " The only persons who were taught to expect the promise of the Father at a specified time, were the Apostles, as is manifest from the Evangelical narratives.... Nor is there the slightest intimation that this gift was conferred at any time on any other Jew, male or female.”-Who, then, was Saul of Tarsus? He calls himself a “ Hebrew of the Hebrews :

says that he was "not a whit behind the very chiefest of the Apostles” (2 Cor. xi. 5; xii. 11); and he writes to the Corinthians, “ I thank my God I speak in tongues more than ye all."

But even if it were true that no Jew received the Holy Ghost after the day of Pentecost, it would be wholly unimportant to us, who are Gentiles. It is sufficient for us to know that the converts at Cesarea, at Samaria, at Antioch, and at Ephesus, received these gifts : all of which are specified in St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians; whom he addresses as all members of the one body of Christ, as all called in one hope, having one Lord, one faith, one baptism, &c. To all of them, even to the Ephe

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