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for having heard and answered their prayers. This will, undoubtedly, be a breach of the monotonous custom of reading a certain set of sentences out of a book; but the breach will be holier than the literal observance of the custom. The clergyman has no more necessity laid upon him for reporting such a case to the bishop, than any other person present, or than any qui tam informer who happens to be there in the hopes of being able to get some money by laying an information. But let us advance a step further, and suppose that the bishop has had formal notice laid before him, and summons the clergyman to answer the charge: what then, in these circumstances, is the clergyman to do? Weanswer, Defend and justify the work of the Holy Ghost.
Let us now suppose a still further progress, by no means improbable, in the work,—that the bishop, or trustees, should eject the minister out of his church or chapel : what is he to do then? We answer, Stand by and feed the Aock: the Holy Ghost did not call bim to particular dead walls, but to a particular congregation of living men, women, and children: to these he must cling; for it is of their souls that God will demand an account at his hands. Let him gather them, in a barn, in a garret, in a field, or in a cellar; still, let him gather and preside over them ; but let him take heed how he abandons them, under the fallacious notion of a larger sphere of usefulness being opened to him elsewhere. If he be ejected from the parsonage and the church, he must take a lodging, and gather the people there : the place is immaterial, the people every thing.
The Lord, finding him faithful in what he has, will doubtless bless him with more: He will very probably anoint himself with His Spirit; but, at all events, will raise up in his church, and will send to him from elsewhere, prophets and evangelists: the former will seal the word of truth preached from his mouth, and shew him things to come; the latter will seek out the sheep scattered by the false shepherds in his neighbourhood, whose pastors poison them, and spoil the residue of the pasture with their feet, yet hold themselves not guilty. The body of Christ will be built up; the pastor will be a fellow-worker with Christ; and a people will be made holiness to the Lord, ready to meet Him at his coming, and who will be then the crown of rejoicing to their pastor.
The contest will lie between the admission of the voice of God and discipline of human invention ; discipline which may be useful, like all other forms and ceremonies, when used to promote God's service, but to be trampled upon instantly when used to impede it. Of all things most hateful to God, is the perversion, to the keeping away from him, of the very instruments which were made to lead to him. Zeal for ordinances, but not
for the God of the ordinances; the ordinance turned into the god, and God neglected, except in subservience to the ordinance ; is the sin of the high church party in the land.
With respect to such people as are more enlightened than their pastors, we entreat them most earnestly to walk very discreetly and tenderly. Let us suppose the case, first, where the pastor is simply undecided, because ill instructed in the Scriptural doctrine of the permanence of the gifts of the Spirit in the church; that he has never brought forward the subject in his pulpit, nor in any of his meetings with his flock; but that, when spoken to and consulted by them, he doubts whether the gifts were intended to be “ always even unto the end of the dispensation," and also disbelieves the present manifestations of them. It is to be remembered, that he has been instructed in the same Babylonish Gospel that we ourselves have been, which taught us to deny the plain meaning of plain words 5; and that, therefore, we should be tender towards him, lying still in the same error from which we ourselves have been, by God's grace alone, and by no superior honesty or clearness of discernment, so recently delivered. The duty of his flock is to put apart at least one day in the week to fast and pray for their pastor ; to confess the sin, and to feel really humbled before God at the dishonour which has so long been put upon his word ; to pray that the gifts of the Holy Ghost may be showered down upon every member of the body of Christ, and especially in their own congregation; and that their pastor, and all others, may be delivered from human teachers and perverters, and be enabled to believe God's word. So long as the circumstances of the pastor and of the flock remain in this situation, so long is it the duty of the people to remain under his care, and not to separate from him; and, above all, not to withdraw themselves into a party of their own.
Let us now suppose another case-namely, where the pastor either denies the permanence of the gifts in the church, or else admits them merely as a matter of theory; and, thinking she can go on just as well without as with them, never urges his flock to pray for their restoration, nor assembles them together for that purpose ; and, in addition to this, preaches against every single instance of the present manifestations. In this case (and such are most common, when the pastors have taken no pains to instruct themselves, but greedily swallowed all the falsehoods which they have read in the Record newspaper and religious magazines)—in such a case, it is the clear duty of all persons to withdraw from his ministry, and protest against his church as a synagogue of Satan. The directions of the word of God are clear and explicit : “ Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge ” (Prov. xix. 27):
“ Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge” (xiv. 7); and the reader will find the duty of obeying these commands forcibly insisted upon in No. XIII. p. 84, of this Journal.
The next question that occurs is, What are the people who withdraw to do afterwards? To this we reply, That if they can shelter themselves under the wings of a pastor in the first condition that we have supposed, they should by all means do so : but if there be no such in their neighbourhood, then they should assemble for worship in the house of one of their body; the master of which should be the priest of his household, and admit the rest merely as members of his family, or as strangers within his gates. They must not, however, look upon this as any thing but an expedient during the present necessity : they must not consider such meeting as a church, nor as any thing like one ; no, not even as a substitute for one : they must consider it merely as a meeting for reading God's word, prayer, and mutual edification ; and never assemble without confessing their own sin, and the sin of the church, that they are obliged to gather themselves together without any one to rule over them in the name of the Lord Jesus. They must make it always an especial subject of prayer that God would not only bestow the gifts of his Spirit upon them, but also raise up a pastor to rule over them, according to his promise, now that they are scattered by the false shepherds, who, feeding themselves and not the flock, have deprived them of their proper pasture,--the true flesh of Jesus, and the living waters of the Holy Spirit. God will assuredly hear the prayers of his faithful people, and grant them the desire of their hearts.
It is in vain, however, to conceal the painful fact that there are very few pastors indeed in the Reformed churches who are in the condition of the second supposed case. We believe, moreover, that the time of probation is at an end ; and that it is agreeable to the mind of the Lord that the whole confederacy of Protestant churches, which reject, or at least do not cry earnestly for, the voice of the Spirit of Jesus to be heard within them, are parts of Babylon the Great, synagogues of Satan, and churches of Antichrist. This cry against them is not to be made in a spirit of railing accusation against individual ministers : it is to be made without reference to them at all, and solely with the view of warning the people in love, that they may be plucked as brands out of the burning which the Lord is about to bring upon this last apostasy. We have, indeed, good hope that a great company of the priests will be obedient to the faith now, as they were in the days of old : but neither they nor the people can be delivered so long as they are not told of their danger. Of the mass we have no hope whatever, because the Bible speaks of all
Babylon, Christendom, as one undivided lump, that comes to destruction at once; because all pastors are denounced with an equally unsparing and undiscriminating hand; and because no exception for Protestantism can be found; while the analogy of interpretation, comparing it with Popery, like Aholah and Äholibah, would lead us to expect the severer doom for the system of Protestantism.
We feel too acutely the galling of the chains which have recently bound ourselves, to do otherwise than sympathize with those of our brethren who are still in the bondage from whence we have escaped. Let it not be supposed, therefore, that it is with any unholy pride, or boasting superiority, that we speak of the condition of the churches. A fear of being misunderstood upon the subject has led us to speak with more reserve than we ought to have done; for we ought to have spoken only with reference to the glory of Jesus, and the deliverance of the souls of our brethren." But we have shrunk from stating out our full convictions, through the carnal hope that by such temporizing policy men would have been gradually led to see their danger, and fly from it. The time, however, is now too short : the Judge is at the door : not a minute is to be lost : and it is our duty, at all hazards, to tell out our convictions, and leave the result to the Lord, and to the consciences of our brethren. May He be glorified and they delivered !
The people are in considerable danger in all places where the Lord has opened the mouth of his servants in prophecy, and the pastors refuse to entertain them in their churches. It was owing to this that the work of the Lord has been ofttimes hindered, and finally destroyed, in times past: and although we believe and know that He has now arisen in such mighty power and resoluteness that he will not be withstood, nor suffer the cause he has taken in hand to fail entirely; yet it may be checked partially, and dishonoured, and souls snared, by the unfaithfulness of the pastors. If there is no pastor to rule and feed the people, they will be in danger of becoming devisive and sectarian : they will idolize the Spirit for its own sake, instead of reverencing his voice as leading them to Jesus: they will learn to separate the Persons of the Godhead, and not honour them in their Unity, and in their order and sub-order : they will reverence the Spirit in the prophets above the Word in his minister : each one will fancy himself sufficient to teach himself; and they cannot grow up, or be builded up, as members one of another, and of the one body of Christ. It cannot be too often inculcated, that it is a body which the Lord now needs, which he is now seeking, and which he is determined to have; and what men like to be, in this age of Radicalism, is a heterogenous rope of sand, without any bond, cement, rule, or headship
of any kind. The servants of the absolute King, Jesus, should be greatly on their guard here : He has arisen in power, in order to enforce reverence to all his ordinances and he will not allow any one ordinance to be treated with indifference: he will punish the pastors who slight his Spirit, and he will punish the people who slight his pastors.
Satan has come in with another device, where the voice of the Spirit is reverenced, and where the people have been rightly led to see that all churches where the Spirit is not reverenced are churches of Antichrist and synagogues of the devil. He persuades them that the ordination of all pastors is invalid; and that they must look for apostles to be raised up, in order to ordain pastors, and confer miraculous powers upon them, before there can be any pastors competent to take the rule of gifted persons. This notion contains a double error: first, that God will not make use of any man in any office which he is exercising to his glory; and, second, that the gifts of pastorship must necessarily manifest themselves in a supernatural manner. We believe that it is the office which God honours, and not the man ; and that all pastors who have at any time cast themselves upon the Lord in faith, and renounced all pretensions to figures of rhetoric (which is only puffing up themselves, and not preaching the Lord), have been used by him in a manner which they themselves have been perfectly conscious to be above themselves, and which any spiritual persons in their flocks would have discerned to be of the Spirit of God, and not of the man alone. We should have a very low opinion of the spiritual discernment of any person that said he recognised the voice of the prophets in Mr. Irving's church to be the voice of the Spirit of God, who did not equally perceive the words of the Spirit in Mr. Irving's own ministrations.
Let every honest-hearted minister, therefore, take courage, and come out totally on the Lord's side. But he must do
so instantly. As yet the Lord has waited long; has warned them, by his Špirit, that if they will not receive his voice into their churches, he will raise up other churches for that purpose. Already has he raised up spiritual pastors : but he has not appointed the method of their ordination, in order to give the former one more opportunity of considering their ways. As soon as he has sealed apostles to anoint the spiritual ministry, from that moment are those now fulfilling the office cast off, and will be recognised no more. God will not reject any servant who will serve him; but a servant who will not serve him, nay, who will be lord over his Master--who will bring his Master to his bar, and say he shall act in this way, or in that way, and in no other way-verily such servants shall have their portion with the unbelievers, be their creeds and faith in doctrines what it may.