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authority, should have been communicated to those whom they converted. For, upon no spirit of strife or jealousy, merely festering in the heart, without a practical influence on the life and doctrine, would the apostle, even if his introspection into men's hearts extended so far, have animadverted here, as adding bitterness to his bonds ! Plainly, it must have coloured the teaching of these schismatics, and have been communicated to their disciples, though since it did not flow, as in themselves, from wilful error or sinful passion, it made not the word of life of none effect. And this schis. matic teaching having thus the power to work in the soul, that which is the triumph of the Gospel and the test of its divine origin, a complete revolution of the inner man, it would not empty of their efficacy and blessedness to the disciple, those sacraments which presupposed the faith and grace which they did not produce, but which they either sealed or sustained. The less is necessarily involved in the greater. Where God withholds not the transforming and vital spirit, (and if he had withholden it here, St. Paul never could have rejoiced at the preaching of Christ, which would thus become a most impotent and hollow thing ;) he would not deny the smaller, though still blessed gifts consequent upon it
the full privileges of union with Christ through faith.
“ But a very slight examination of the facts of the case will, I think, de monstrate wherein, as we behold it with our own eyes, the moral and spiritual power of the Gospel consists, and confirm, experimentally, the teaching of the apostle. And it will not only show that salvation is not closed to the disciples of a schismatical teaching, but that the Gospel may be taught by other than the ministers of the word without schism. It is in its very nature a free and anti-formalist spirit, that of the Gospel. And, albeit, not on earth to be disencumbered either of human or even authoritative agencies, which, in the midst of corruptions, and miserable obscurations of light and of a primitive commission, have been mightily blessed, and are any how to be retained and de
fended; yet has it ever been breaking forth from the confinement into which men, each in his own sectarian circle, would fain coop it up. To make known his absolute will, and the expansive love of the Gospel, almighty God delights, as it would seem, to prove that the gifts of his Spirit are the imprescriptible right of no men, or society of men, however generally covenanted they may be ; but his own to give or to withhold! And that, as in times of old, he who feareth him and embraceth salvation, as it is in Christ Jesus, is accepted with him.
“And as is the case with all fundamental truths, this fact escapes, by bits and fragments; it is confessed, though reservedly and reluctantly; and is extorted from all, but the extreme maintainers of a church system, not generally blessed to the salvation of souls, which all gladly allow, but absolutely and by covenant exclusive, which is quite another thing. For instance, when the sacraments of Christ cannot be obtained, they are not necessary, by universal consent. The blessing accompanies the wish, the frame of mind, and the latter may plainly exist in any communion, however materially schismatical. When they had administered through unworthy hands, yet they are confessed to convey as powerful a grace to the heart which, by faith, is fitted to receive them, as if they came from the hands of the greatest saint. On what principle? None but those who theologise with Rome will maintain that it is, because the church and the ministers of the church are independent of moral laws; and if they go so far with her, they ought to go farther, and complete the scheme by making the grace depend on the will of the priest. The evidence which is good for the one, is good for the other ! No; the principle surely is, that almighty God who giveth the graces of the Spirit, not as the prerogative or right of those who minister, but for the edification of his flock, will not permit them, by any delinquency on the part of the church, to be of no avail to those who are by faith prepared to receive them! It may destroy the soul of the guilty minister, and, indirectly, the souls of those committed to his charge, but shall not deprive the righteous of his reward.
“ And so, in the administration of baptism, by whomsoever administer ed, in the name of the blessed Trinity, it is, by the consent of the church universal, still baptism. On what principle ? Because the largeness of God's gifts, and the gospel mercy, must be measured by his love, and none shall be withholden from it, who, whether informally or not, are brought in faith within the reach— the living terms and meaning—of it. The principle may be pushed further, but it is at least good for this.”
How forcibly does our author state the real power of the Gospel!
• The power of the Gospel lies, in very truth, in the fore-designed correspondence between certain facts of revelation on one side, and certain facts of human nature on the other, wrought out by an awakening of the conscience to a feeling of this har mony, and that spontaneous and living acting on it, which is the work of the Spirit. The burthen of sin, the consciousness of condemnation the sighing for deliverance from this body of death! Christ as the Reconciler, and free Redeemer—the Holy Ghost the Sanctifier-Faith and holiness! Behold the Gospel ! Behold the simple instrument which is power ful to the regeneration of fallen humanity, which awakens the profoundest harmonies, and unthought of capacities of the soul. Behold the wisdom, before which learning is a mockery, and eloquence is dumb, and intellect and philosophy are the mere weapons of children by the side of the elementary forces of nature. The one like the other, are the power of God. It is a shallow philosophy, and a forgetfulness of the simplest practical truths, which dreams that such facts as these, if rightly appre. hended, facts in themselves so gigantic, and heart-touching, and life. giving, can receive strength, or carry a saving conviction from the testi. mony of any church, however named, or entitled to the reverence of man
kind. Preserved they may be, recommended they may be, but I mean a saving reception of them. Before they can be received to the salvation of the soul, they must, to each indi. vidual conscience, bear their own witness, and their own light with them. No theoretic or vicarious admission is enough. The ultimate evidence to them is intuitive ; inward, not outward ; intensely personal, not from other men; identified with our heart and soul, and all our being, the felt but yet inexplicable mysteries of faith! This no church can by an absolute act convey, nor hinder God from conveying. 6 God so loved the world that he gave his only..begotten Son, to the end that all who believe on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “ Believeth in Him!” Here is the covenant sealed in baptism; and whosoever is so saved, is not saved beyond, and out of the covenant, but by the terms of it. The outward ministry, however apostolical, which propagates these truths is only so far important, as it is fitted to recommend them, or to gain a hearing for them from those to whom they are addressed, or to convey to faith the sacramental graces, and from infancy to discipline the soul, almost to the unconscious, though still living reception of them. This is an exalted vocation indeed, of divine appointment, and generally necessary to men's souls, but it is only an instrument and a preliminary after all. Herein, likewise, lies the superiority of one church over another; the boundless superiority of our own, when all the doctrine and discipline within her are put forth. We grant, to the full, the inestimable blessing of an apostolical church.”
What a seasonable warning to the Church is contained in the following passage:
" But the bare, elemental, indispensable, preconditions to salvation, are the word, the facts of Revelation, and the living person, or the mighty book to announce it, with the Spirit of God to make it efficacious to the saving of the soul. This is all. It
is still the same word in the conversion of souls, which said, Let there be light, and there was light;" which spoke, and it was done! which com manded, and it was created! Let not the Church indulge the dream, that to her the word of the Most High owes its strength, or the blood of the atonement its emancipating and puri. fying efficacy to the conscience. She owes, on the contrary, her power to them. They give life to her forms! They clothe her lips with the true thunder, which is the voice of God, and shaketh the wilderness of the world! The virtue that goes out of them into the hearts and souls of men is the irrefragable evidence of the divinity that is within her. She witnesses to them, but she creates them not, any more than he who testifies to the blind that there is a sun in heaven, makes the great light that ruleth the day! If she forgets her commission, the strength departeth from her; and almighty God will not lack ministers to the everlasting Gos. pel! His word will still, as heretofore, not return unto him void! The converting power is inherent in the truths themselves! They quicken, like the sun! They live, and they make to live !"
plying diversities, still maintained the mystical body in its true oneness, inherency in Christ the head, and intercommunion as the necessary result of it.
« Every Christian, in fact, accord. ing to his gifts and opportunities, was a messenger of salvation, and preacher of the Gospel. How could it be otherwise ? He had discovered an inestimable treasure, capable of an infinite distribution, without dimi: nishing his own riches ! He was the subject of a marvellous mercy, able to save, not only his own soul, but the souls of all mankind. They were his brothers in misery, and he burned to make them partakers of his joy. So he spake with his tongue, and the eloquence of earnest conviction made him powerful to win, and to persuade. Thus it was, when the persecution of the church at Jerusalem, scattered the disciples abroad, far and wide. They all went, preaching, and spread. ing the knowledge of the Gospel. Their commission was the Spirit within them, and the happiness of making known the great salvation ! So it was with Apollos, that mighty preacher! So it was with Aquila and Priscilla. So it was with those many, unrecorded, yet blessed in. struments of God, the founders of churches, which gradually grew till they were moulded into form by the hands of the apostles, and by degrees assumed that uniform organization which so early pervaded the Christian church. And it was from the same force of individual conviction, working vehemently forth on all sides, that the Jews, in their dispersion, in spite of the exclusive and unproselyt. izing character of the law, had diffused so widely among the nations of the earth that knowledge of the true God, which subsequently led so many, trained in that preparatory discipline, to embrace with an eager heart, the expanded scheme of Christianity. And so it must ever be. You may frankly meet this spirit, you may authorise it, you may avail yourselves of it, but the rivers will sooner run back to their fountain head, than such à law as this be reversed. You may use it, but destroy it you cannot.
The following reference to antiquity is peculiarly happy :
So it was in the primitive church. That marvellous and unparalleled movement which renovated the world, guided by the same noiseless yet irresistible force which impels the stars in their courses, was not merely the result of the preaching of apostles and prophets, though they were, under God, the originators of life and action, and, to the end of their days, the most honoured instruments in that greatest and profoundest of human revolutions. The whole body which they gathered round them participated in the expansive impulse! In that great spiritual fermentation, each became, in himself, a centre of move ment, albeit, from the power of the love which burned within them, the unity of object, and the self-sameness of the spirit, amid large and multi
will act on this universal law.
"Now it must be freely admitted that with all this largeness and freedom of individual action, there was still, on the whole, in spite of all exceptions, an apostolical authority clearly pronounced : and, more and more salient, as the church expanded, a system of ministers regularly ordained and authoritatively commissioned. But this can in no respect change the principle asserted by the apostle, who assumes throughout his epistles this ministerial and apostolical magistracy. And as to the relation between authority and voluntary or individual agency, in the propagation of the Gospel among the heathen, or mutual edification within the church, the true conclusion will be, not that the one from the beginning resolutely repressed the other, as an irregularity as soon as possible to be put down, but that, in the earliest and purest age, the ministerial authority was reconciled with individual zeal, and the church with the play of individual liberty. And that, whatever might have been the cause, whether moderątion and a divine discretion in the apostolic college, or, that best reconciler of all, a pervading charity, the church contrived to combine into the service of the Gospel every variety of gift, from the inspired intellect of Paul to the most untutored zeal ! and this, too, without destroying what, within its legitimate limits, is indestructible, from unchangeable moral causes and the nature of man—the necessity and influence of a regular ministry.”
It is impossible not to be impressed with the following eloquent passage:
“ Finally, the word of God has left us a certain sign, whereby to know where his presence is, lest perchance, misled by theory, corrupted by interest, or blinded by prejudice and vehement passions, we should bless where he has cursed, and curse where he has blessed “ The tree is known by its fruits.” The presence of the Holy Spirit is known by the life, radiant with the inward light, and bearing testimony,
to the heavenly fountain which union with Christ has opened within the soul. I cannot but think that the more profoundly we weigh both the facts and spirits of holy writ, the more diligently we compare the outward, theocratic law of the older covenant with that love which, in the Gospel, makes its realization possible; nay, clothes itself with it, to men's eyes, as with a visible body; the more we weigh, on one hand, the impotence of nature, and, till quickened from above, its sterility in heavenly graces, and on the other, the essential fruitfulness of faith-the more diligently you collect into one all that marks out to us the character of true religion, the indestructible instincts of the heart and understanding, the preaching of saints and apostles, the manifold declarations of our Lord, the rule of the last judgment, and the change of heart and moral revolution in which all the machinery of grace issues; the more we do this, the more certain does it become that, wherever holiness is, there Christ has been effectually preached, and whether in the visible church or out of it, there is the dwelling-place of the Spirit! To gainsay this, I was going to say, is the madness of disappointed hypothesisa straining of an irrational faith, not against worldly doubts, but the firma est ordinances of God; a burthening the church with moral contradictions which must sink her, and a pulling down, in a blind revenge, the whole structure of practical Christianity upon our own head.
“ Whoever they be who thus claim their portion in Christ, I am sure that we need not dread the comparison, for the womb of our own mother is not smitten with barrenness, and she is still the fruitful parent of saints! Nay, but, brethren, have patience with me! wherever there be but one scintillation of Christ's image let us rejoice and be glad in it. For in the same proportion is the valley of the shadow of death, wherein men walk, enlightened! For though we be of the church, and she hath been God's handmaid to nourish and train us up, and we be ready to live and die in her and for her, yet the church is Christ's, and Christ is God's; and God's ways are in the great waters, uncontrolled by our will, inscrutable by our thoughts, unlimited by our systems, and going forth with a divine freedom, in nature and in grace, from everlasting to everlasting! ‘Forasmuch, then,' says St. Peter, as God gave them the like gift as He did unto us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, what was I, that I could withstand God?' And who are we, that we should do so either? Nevertheless,' saith St. Paul, *Christ is preached, and therein I do rejoice, yea, and I will rejoice! And, God helping us, so will we! Amen.”
We could gladly give further extracts from this remarkable publication, but must content ourselves with the concluding paragraph ;
“ Meanwhile, it becomes us to be humble in our rejoicing. It is neither wisdom, nor Christian truth, to deny that other ministrations than our own have sown the Gospel seed among the masses of this great country; that, eyen, here and there, these preachers of the Gospel of Christ have really not been our enemies, but our fellow labourers against vice and unbelief; that they have ripened many a harvest field, which but for them would have been permanently a desolation; that, with all our united efforts, there are still spiritual wastes for which there are no labourers at all, and whereto the sound of the Gospel and its humanising influences have, in no form whatever, as yet penetrated. Finally, if at this moment the ministrations of dissent were withdrawn, the church could not supply the enormous void; all the winds of a fierce infidelity would rush in! There is yet work enough for both! And if her scattered flock, in God's good time, are
ever again to be gathered into the church's fold, it is not to be done by a false catholicity, an anathematising spirit, or a substitution of the church for the Gospel. Let us pray more, and labour more, and preach more, and let the burthen of our preaching be that of Paul's, - Christ, and Christ crucified. Let us frankly embrace and cultivate those manifold and powerful agencies for the spread of the Gospel here and throughout the world, which, in a perfect suitableness to our existing condition, the necessity of the times, guided, as I believe by a sure instinct, has awakened throughout the length and breadth of the land. Other means may have suited other periods; these are suited to our own, and the church has an inalienable right to adopt them, with the perfect assurance of God's blessing upon that which, whether after ancient tradition or not, she finds best fitted to promote his glory. Let us, bearing in mind the growing facilities for knowledge beyond the ancient schools of our theology, adopt into the ministry, so far as a sound church discretion and principle shall permit, all who, being willing to submit to the church discipline, are mighty in the Scriptures, and apt to teach in the strength and zeal which God has given them. And anyhow, whether Christ be preached out of strife, or sincerity, let us rejoice and thank God who hath sent fresh labourers into his harvest! Amen.”
We envy not the individual who hesitates to add his hearty Amen to these sentiments.
Let such principles be generally recognized and accredited on the part of the members of our Church, and we shall have gained an important advance towards Christian union.
(To be continued.)
JOURNAL OF A VISITATION TOUR, in 1843—4, through Part of
the Western Portion of his Diocese. By GEORGE M. SPENCER, D.D.,
Lord Bishop of Madras. London: Rivington. The day is happily past in which the first colonial mitre is still recent in Anglican Church is episcopal only at our memory. Now, however, we home, and not in her dependencies have active and useful Bishops in abroad. Yet the struggle for the several very important positions; and