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the people flock. Wherever the Spirit is not, it matters little in which of the many quarters of the great “ city of confusion” the people go for instruction; save only that they must not attend where the work of the Spirit, now proceeding in the church, is preached against; or where the great fundamental heads of doctrine are not clearly proclaimed,—of the Son of God having come in our flesh, in the "very truth of our nature ;” of His perfect sinlessness in that nature; of His baptizing us with the Holy Ghost, in order that we may be
holy, as He is holy;” and of his speedy coming in judgment, to give unto every man according to his works.
The duty of all angels of churches is very clear: it is, instantly to invite those whom the Lord has already gifted to unite themselves to their flocks; and then will they be in a condition to take the first step towards the formation of
"church according to Christ's ordinance.” It is matter of great surprize to us, that the ministers of churches in Scotland who recognise the hand of God in the present work, have not done so already ; and their remissness in this matter is no doubt the reason why the work has proceeded no further there. A witness against the pastors is all that has been hitherto effected: no preaching in the power and demonstration of the Spirit has gone forth to the people; nor can go forth, except from a church; for God will not trample upon His own ordinances. But if no man will receive His Spirit-and hitherto Mr. Irving is the only one who has submitted himself to the work of the Lord—then will He no doubt raise up other pastors of his own ordaining, and seal up all thepastors of the " city of confusion ” to hardness and impenitence of heart, and blindness of spiritual discernment. We earnestly implore those ministers whose eyes the Lord has opened, to prove themselves faithful to the small amount of the knowledge of his will with which they have been blessed, and to further his work by all possible means. We are very well aware of the consequences that would ensue upon following this counsel, to any ministers of the Churches of England and Scotland: but to what end have they been studying the prophetic Scriptures, if they do not know that the time for the fall of those establishments is come; that the pastors in them are defiling the Lord's house ; starving the people, by refusing the waters of Siloah, even the perennial fountain of the Holy Ghost springing up in the members of Christ; and fouling with their feet the residue of the services ? The time is now arrived when the churches in the pay of the state are not worthy of a moment's consideration : one has declared itself in open apostasy, and the other has not done so simply because it has not preserved as much semblance of discipline as the other, and because none of its ministers are so bold, honest, and faithful, as Messrs. Scott, Campbell, Maclean, Dow, and Irving, have proved. The sum
of the iniquity of those churches is full ; nothing remains for them but judgment. They deserve commiseration, but respect and attachment for them must come in the way of higher duties: their fate and their opinions are not to be put in competition with the plain duty of the present time. God has come once more into his church, and it is our business and privilege to receive Him with all alacrity and delight, without casting a look behind us, like Lot's wife; or upon the flesh-pots and onions of Egypt, like the Israelites; or waiting to bury our dead, like they who are dead themselves. Woe be to him who, having put his hand to this plough, shall take it off! “ for it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance.” See to it, ye ministers! see to it, ye people !
NO GIFTS, NO LOVE. It is matter of universal lamentation from within the body of the Christian church, and of accusation from without, that, instead of the members being knit together in one bond of love, they are separated by an infinity of dogmas and opinions, each of which seems only to serve as a plea for harassing a brother, and of perpetuating and multiplying the grounds of disunion. Moreover, it has been found perfectly impossible to remedy this evil, which has been growing gradually worse and worse : and the only mitigation that it has received has been by a mutual abstinence on the part of Christians, when thrown into each other's society, from speaking out the portion, and views, of truth with which each was severally imbued. Thus they could not come together for edification, since every topic or expression was carefully avoided, except what related to the mere milk of the word, the food of childhood, or of sickliness; not the strong meat, fitted for tried and valiant soldiers of the Lord.
They who have possessed hearts really filled with love, have wanted objects on which they could bestow this affection without suspicion or reserve. They have felt that it was a prostitution of the term to apply it to every person whom they met on the platform of a religious society, or in a committee-room. Their consciences were too honest to permit them to acknowledge that they felt it for many with whom they associated in church fellowship, and even in private meetings for prayer. They were thus obliged to dilute the sentiment down to one of mere benevolence, in order that it might embrace, under that mitigated form, many whom it could not receive under the other. A con
sciousness was felt that there ought to be such a sentiment as Christian love; and that, consequently, there must be objects to call it forth existing somewhere, though no one could tell where; and a mockery of it has been erected, a false form put forth, and a delusion of the flesh worked up, as a substitute for a work of the Holy Ghost.
There is a love of enemies, and a love of brethren, distinct indeed from each other, but both necessary to unite in the formation of the character of a Christian. These are not merely different in degree, but they are different in kind. The former emanates from the bond of common humanity : “Am I not a man and a brother ?” asks every individual of the human race of his fellow. This community every man has in Christ, because the Son of God took human nature, not a man, into union with Himself. Every member of this great family has claims on our sympathies, not only arising from partaking of the same liabilities to suffering, but also from the interest he has in the great work which the Son of God came to do for him. Private enmities are lost sight of in the dishonour put upon God by the unholy conduct of any one, who was made to be the image of God, and who is destroying his own soul by refusing to seek happiness exclusively in his Creator. The love of the brethren is connected by a closer and different tie : not only by unity of flesh, but by unity of spirit also; not only by unity of suffering, but by unity of life; not only by unity of the chances and phases of time, but by unity of the undiminishable enjoyments of eternity. As spirit is more noble than flesh, so is a spiritual union with the Son of God a higher privilege than a fleshly union with him. Henceforward we know not Christ himself after the flesh, but we know him by his resurrection life abiding
The union of Christian brethren is the common glory of being indwelt by God: not so much a union of member direct to member, as a union direct to the Head, and through the Head by circulation to all the other members : a union which becomes more intimate, not by approximation of member to member, but by the approximation of each to their common Head: a union which increases, not by one becoming inferior or superior to the other, but by both increasing in conformity to One infinitely superior to both.
Love is not a selfish sentiment, but exists only in reciprocity actual or hoped for. In the animals it is limited by mutual dependence; and in man, though not confined by it, yet action and reaction are necessary ingredients in it. Throughout the brute creation affection ceases as soon as the objects become independent of each other. Strength and weakness, power and helplessness, courage and timidity, firmness and docility, guidance and following, are, in some modification or other, compo
VOL, VJ.-NO, I.
nent parts of all lasting attachments. Thus, in a Christian church, the members must be linked together in order and suborder one to another, or love amongst them is impossible. As the devotion and loyalty of a soldier is through his officers to his king, so is the love of a Christian finally headed up to Christ through the office-bearers in his church. Each member must be experienced to be necessary to the well-being of the rest; it must be seen that if any member be wanting, the health of the whole body is impaired, and its functions enfeebled, before each, even the meanest, will be valued as it ought to be. The pastor, the prophet, the evangelist, the teacher, the helps, the ministers, and all the various functionaries which our Lord appointed for the healthy supply of his church, must be seen and felt to be indispensable ; and then only can Christian love, hoping, believing, bearing all things from one another, be found. Mutual confidence in each other, the absence of all suspicions and jealousies, are necessary to the manifestation of love, where it does really exist. Hence, the more numerous is an assembly the more difficult would it be, if not absolutely impossible, to preserve love throughout the whole body, and in every one of the members. Even if there were no better reasons, the size of modern congregations would alone suffice to prove, as well as be the cause of, the want of love. The Apostolic churches could never have been composed of more individuals than were able to meet in the upper chamber of a poor man.
There seems no reason why the same pastor should not preside over different portions of the flock of Christ gathered together in different folds : and if the pride and vanity of the preacher did not interfere to augment the size of modern chapels, a multitude of small places, such as private rooms, would be greatly more edifying for the body of Christ; more congenial for the exercise of mutual love, exhortation, and comfort. For all purposes of effectual prayer, it is necessary that the petition should arise from an earnest and unwavering desire. A prayer from a body not agreed in its several members, would be no prayer at all: some members would be asking for things which others wished not to possess, nay, which some had rather be without. Unity of mind is necessary to unity of purpose, and this unity is the very essence of obtaining that which is sought for. The more numerous the assembly the less probability of unity; and hence another impediment to the ends for which a church is constituted.
In the modern assemblies called churches, each individual is selfish and independent: he is not part of a body: he attends a particular minister, either from geographical convenience, or because the style of the preacher's sentiments and language harmonize with the peculiar tenor of his mind. The ministers in these assemblies are mere lecturers to a class ; with the same,
but with no other, tie between them and their audience. The audience have no connection whatever with each other. In London they change with the season, and according as the tradesmen can afford, or the gentlemen are disposed, by curtailment of their prodigality in other ways, to continue the payment of their pews during the residence of their families in
In the villages the audience varies with the leases of the farms, or according as the labourers find work in their own or in distant parishes. It is a farce-it is worse-it would be disgusting mockery to pretend that there is oneness of body between such members. It is not pretended ; men are too honest to talk such flagrant nonsense : there is no bond, there can be no bond; there is no love, there can be no love; there is no one of the many elements, all of which are necessary to constitute one body knit together by one spirit, which alone is a church, or part of the church of Christ.
Notwithstanding there is no such community as a genuine church, yet there seems to be a consciousness that it is not by individual exertion only, but by combined energies, that effect is to be produced upon the world : and hence the union into societies, which has been so prevalent, not only in latter years in this country, but in former ages, founded by Benedict, Domenick, Loyola, &c. The societies in the Popish communion left the individual members at much greater freedom to develop the particular characteristics of their minds, than those recently found in Protestant countries. In these latter, indeed, it has been well observed that each man has not only lost all personality, but has become part of a machine-or, rather, only a cog of a wheel in a machine. But, without now entering into the merits and demerits of these bodies, it is sufficient for the purpose before us to point out that they do testify against the selfishness and individualism of the present day, by shewing the necessity of a body composed of many individuals, and under the guidance of many office-bearers, to effect any religious end upon a comprehensive, general, and open scale.
Since the period when the gifts of the Spirit died out of the church, the preaching of the Gospel, and the communication of religious instruction to the brethren, have partaken more of the spirit of contention than of the spirit of love. The pride of conscious superiority, whether well or ill founded, has been prevalent; and the end of preachers and writers seems to have been to exclaim, “ Come and see how much wiser I am than others;" rather than to say, “Come and see how good and gracious is the Lord : I have been permitted to enter more into His mind and heart than I did before, and I long to make you also partakers of my increased blessedness.” Teachers have been frequently led unsuspectingly into an unhallowed tone,