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every member ought to have exhibited a particular gift. While at the same time we confess that we are at a loss to point out one single passage in the New Testament which separates believers from persons possessing the Holy Ghost, and persons possessing gifts from those who possess none, we are fully aware of the extent to which this principle will lead us; but the question is, What says the word of God? Perhaps the solution is, that there can be no church, although there may be individuals, who do not manifest supernatural gifts: they, whose Spirit within them sympathized with the voice of the Holy Ghost in the Prophets, would feel that it was the selfsame Spirit which was in them also.- He proceeds : ' In agree'ment with this, we find St. Paul (Rom. i. 11) expressing his • desire to see the Roman Christians, that he might impart ' unto them some spiritual gift, to the end they might be established. Observe, he does not reprove them as guilty of a sin, that they did not manifest the gift; nay, he even placed ' their possession of it upon the ground of his being present
to confer it,-obviously implying that the church was not responsible for any such gift, until God had specially conferred * it by the laying on of his hands.'
Once more we repeat, that there is no such thing to be found in the New Testament as a church without the Holy Ghost, or with any such distinction as that which the author here tries to substantiate between the gifts and fruits of the Spirit. He is unfortunate in his selection of the church of Rome, as that in which none of the gifts of the Spirit prevailed until the Apostles arrived there to confer them, because the Apostle himself says directly the reverse, and gives them cautions not to be puffed up by these gifts, as he gave also to the Corinthians (Rom. xii. 3): “Now I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think ; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith : for as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth on teaching;”. &c. &c. The subject of the gifts, the administrations, and operations of the Spirit, are all referred to as things existing in the church, about which the Apostle gives directions. It is very probable that they might not have had all the gifts which the Corinthians had ; or that there might not have been so many gifted persons; and therefore, in his love to them, knowing the advantage and blessedness of the gifts, he hopes to be enabled to impart either an additional gift, or some gift to an additional number of persons.-On page 24 our author has pointed, in a note, to the Ordination Service, which inculcates the bestowal and the reception of a miraculous gift for the purpose of the ministry. We have no doubt that any man going, in this faith in God's ordinance, to it for that purpose, would receive the gift intended by it; but we are quite certain that scarcely any, even amongst the most pious, ever go for ordination with
such faith. In the whole round of our acquaintance we never heard of more than one who did, or who would not have thought it pure fanaticism to have done so. Nevertheless the church is still the church, and the ministry is still the ministry; and if men will be faithful, and trust the Lord, and deny themselves, He will give them gifts through its means, and they will receive again, by the laying on of hands, all the gifts and power of the Holy Ghost, as at first. But if the ministers of any church will teach their flocks neither to desire nor to feel the necessity of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, Jesus the Baptizer will destroy them, for putting such dishonour on His especial office, and for feeding His flock with the dry and profitless husks of their own sermons, instead of with the refreshing pastures and waters of His Spirit. As to the obvious implication, that the church was not responsible for the gifts, there is not the shadow of a shadow for such an assertion. After some remarks of the same nature, the author sums up his opinion as follows: "After much consideration, then, • I have come to the conclusion, that no ground of general responsibility for the exercise of spiritual gifts can be made out
from Scripture.' After much consideration, we have come to an exactly opposite conclusion; and we think the opinion of the author arises from that total misapprehension of the nature of the gifts, and inadequate view of their importance, which paralyses the whole religious community. In our opinion, they are the sum and substance of a church; the sine qua non of its existence for any one purpose for which a church was constituted, whether of exhibiting God, or of utility to the world : they are the armour, without which the church can perform no act which is enjoined to it.
To deny the church's responsibility for the right use of all that Christ ever gave it, because it is not now possessed of it, is in fact to throw the blame on God for its own defection. The servant, who, possessing the one talent, hid it in a napkin, was surely niore excusable than he who would lose the talent with which he was entrusted, and then make excuse to the Master that the talent was of little value ; that he could do just as well without it; and that, though indeed he did lose it, the loss was not owing to any fault of his, for that his Master must himself have withdrawn it, although he never knew when nor why. This reasoning is calculated to make men, who agree with the author in the doctrine, rest contented without that baptism of the Holy Ghost for which they are responsible; to keep them satisfied whilst settled on their lees; and to make their aspirations after the indwelling of the Father, cold and feeble. The Christian church has acted in this respect exactly as the Jewish church did : Joshua brought the people into the promised land ; shewed them the means by which they might overcome all their enemies; exhorted them to continue in the course which he had pointed out, and the example of which he had himself set them. Instead of doing this, however, no sooner was Joshua and his immediate successors removed from them, than the Jews relaxed in their exertions: first one party, Manasseh (Judges i. 27), refuse to contend any more ; then another party (vers. 28–32) desisted from the contest, and tampered with the inhabitants of the land ; until the whole church was separated into numerous small parties, oppressed in every quarter, except that occasionally a Nazarite and man of faith was raised
in different parts to give them temporary deliverance.
In like manner, the Christian church was endowed by our Lord with all necessary furniture for the subjugation of the world : but as soon as He and His immediate followers were removed, the church held parley with the learning, and next with the wealth, of the Gentiles; until it became divided and scattered into innumerable small orders, bands, parties, and sects, in which the Spirit has been oppressed, and all the essential characteristics of the original church obliterated. From time to time, indeed, a Nazarite, a Deliverer, a Judge, has appeared in different quarters, to give deliverance to particular bands. Such were Grostête, and Wicliffe, and Luther, and Cranmer, and Knox, and Wesley, and Whitfield, &c. : but these were few and far between, and the Church, as a body, has been a perfect Babel ; in which every one did that which seemed right in his own eyes ; and there has been no oneness of body, nor of faith, nor of hope, although there has been one ceremony of unmeaning baptism.
So surely as the church in the days of the Judges was responsible, and not God, for neglecting the directions given her by Joshua, and for losing the heart to do so; so surely is the Christian church responsible for having let go those precious endowments, by the possession of which alone could she perform the duties to which Jesus had appointed her.
The whole of Christendom, instead of exhibiting a body of churches walking by the same rule, minding the same thing, and governed by the same laws, presents but a mass of discordant and opposing materials, from which only variance, hatred, and strife arise, -church in open hostility against church, and sect
against sect. Nay, within the bounds of the same church, not only individual professors, but authorized teachers, are to be found differing widely even on some of the most important points of faith and practice. There is no need of going further for proof of this, than the very pamphlet now before us. This is " by a Clergyman of the Church of England :” there are at least a dozen more on the same subject by Clergymen of the Church of England, all differing from our author, and all from each other in some one or other essential point. It is obvious, therefore, that there is no oneness of spirit amongst the writers, who are nevertheless all teachers of the same church. What are the taught to do? There might as well be no teachers at all, as some teachers who teach that a thing is black, while there are other teachers who teach that the same thing is white: yet this must be the case where there is no voice of the Spirit to guide us into all truth. The Rev. Mr. A. asserts one proposition, and the Rev. Mr. B. asserts a contrary proposition : here is proposition against proposition ; and the scholars, instead of coming to be taught, are necessarily erected into judges over their teachers. It is really marvellous that things have been kept together as well as they have been : but in the present state of universal insubordination, and particularly in moral, intellectual, and religious subjects, it is impossible to expect any deference to be paid to a mere expression of man's opinion. Nor ought there to be: the pastors ought to be gifted themselves, and speak, not from the operation of their reasoning faculties, but from the power and with the words of the Holy Spirit within them. Still more, if they are not gifted with prophecy, is it necessary for them to have in their church prophets to teach them and their flocks,
The danger that is likely to flow from this tract, notwithstanding what the author has well said under the second head, is the continuance of the false notion that there can be such a thing as a church without the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. This is indeed sometimes, perhaps generally, admitted in words, but by making good-natured persons with®“ sweet spirits” the examples of what it is supposed Christians ought to be, and by making an unscriptural distinction between the various manifestations of the Holy Spirit, whether of power or of holiness, in gifts or fruits, an idea is attached to the words wholly foreign to their meaning in the New Testament. While men are under this false notion, and, above all, when they are ignorant, from want of experience of the holy and sanctifying effects of the voice of the living God rebuking evil, revealing hidden iniquity, directing the testimony for Jesus, upholding the witnesses whom He sends to bear it, applying Scripture to the times in which we live, unfolding dark and obscure passages, abasing human
pride, and glorifying Jesus, they never will cordially cry to the Father for that power which can alone enable them to perform his will.
The metaphorical language of the Christian church has been, for many years, taken from the time when the church dwelt in the wilderness of Sinai: and this, indeed, ought to have been her condition : but her real condition has been amongst the flesh-pots of Egypt. She returned into Egypt when she lost the gifts of the Spirit. Ever since that time she has been trying to make bricks without straw; to be a pillar of truth, without being able to prove that the truth was in her; to be a witness for God, when she had no credentials to shew that she was commissioned by Him. The learning of Egypt, and its onions and flesh-pots-human eloquence, and tithes have been her support: upon these she has leaned; and, now that they are removed from beneath her, when the infidel rabble is more learned than her office-bearers, and when her wealth is a bait too tempting for the spoiler to resist, she is stripped bare, and without a particle either of the real or of the false lustre which she once presented to the eyes of men.
She can never be delivered from the bondage of Egypt, until men really feel that they are under it. So long as they are satisfied with a religion of the intellect; so long as the first object of preachers is to draw crowds of hearers ; so long will the pulpit be prostituted to feed the vanity of vain babblers of human wisdom: but when men are sufficiently spiritual to long for the mind that was in Christ Jesus, to be satisfied that the bride of the Lamb must be holy as he is holy, and that as the tree falls so it must for ever lie, then will they be sensible that they cannot perfect holiness with instruments of less power, and of less heavenly temper, than those with which the Apostles and first Christians laboured; then will they cry to the Lord for deliverance, and He will fill them with his Spirit ; He will set them free from the bondage of the flesh, and enable them, like Elijah of old, to bear witness to kings, and princes, and priests, and people, all banded together in one confederacy against the Lord, and against His Anointed.
The great omission, however, which pervades this tract, is one which pervades the whole of the author's reasonings, and the whole of his church : The Lord is forgotten. His glory, in the gifts of his Spirit, is not once thought of. The sole idea canvassed, is, What is their use to men, and how will they square with the strait-lacing of that human system called the Church of England ? The glory of the gifts of the Spirit is, that they are the demonstration of the sovereignty to which our nature is raised by Jesus ; the proof that Christ is not an abstract proposition, but a present God; the sole perpetually abiding fulfilment of His dishonoured promise. The damning sin of the