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RELIGIOUS COMMUNICATIONS.

Messrs. Editors,

operation of two departments of THE observations on church power, in both its legislative and government, in the PANOPLIST judiciary courts. The manner and MISSIONARY MAGAZINE, of the brethren’s exercising their August, 1808, which were an. authority, whether by delegation, swered April and May 1809, or by acting individually in may be reduced to a single point. church meeting, is not essential Christ has given certain powers to the present inquiry. It to the church, of a particular may be sufficient to remark, that description as to its extent? Is the right of the brethren to act this church limited to one pastor by a representation is admitted, and brotherhood of believers ; in the employment of ecclesias. or does it contain all the Chris. tical councils of pastors and dele. tians of a city, or district, com. gates. prising several congregations for The New Testament exhibits hearing the word, and a plurality the form of the church as respects of elders ?

a plurality of elders, in a num. 66 Whether Christ has commit. ber of instances. It is asked, ted the judicial power in the “ Are numerous instances the church to the eldership, to the only things to be taken into the exclusion of the brotherhood ?” account ? Are not the churches is no part of the question. The of which we have a particular his. brethren are not excluded. In tory very few" and "these few the only example in the New Tes. the churches of great cities ?"tament, the church meeting at Je. “If the inspired writers had gir. rusalem, the apostles and elders, ep a particular history of all the and the brethren are each distinct. churches; and, in respect of ly named, as uniting to give au. those in the country, had spoken thority to the letter of the church. of one pastor only in a church; And whatever was the subject would it be proper to call this of the letter, it exemplifies the form a contradiction in the account? of expressing an act of the church; But, admitting, that in a history and its being done under the in- of all the churches, each might fluence of the Holy Ghost, con. appear to have enjoyed a plural. firms it with a divine sanction. ity of elders; yet, even in this

There is no occasion for the case should we be obliged to con. question, " what if the brethren clude that they were ordinary should not concur with the judg- pastors and teachers ?” es to give form to their decrees?” Example in ascertaining a fact The exercise of distinct powers is particularly important; and, by the elders and brethren of the when supported by every other church, cannot be unintelligible species of testimony to be expect. to people under a civil govern, ed, is satisfactory. The circum. ment, which exemplifies the .co. cision of Isaac, at eight days old, is undeniable proof of infant cir. Deacons have their appropri. cumcision in the family of Abra. ate office, distinct from that of ham.

elders, and in the exercise of The examples of a plurality of church authority acted as breth. elders in a church are several : ren. Prophets and others in the and uniformity in this character apostolic age, endowed with mi. of the church, as far as appears, raculous gifts, do not appear to was universal. If the city was have formed a separate order, af. large and contained thousands fecting the government of the of Christians, the argument is church. All, it would seem, strengthened by its being the were then included in the terms, more certain, that they formed a apostles, elders, and brethren ; number of religious societies, by as the ordinary authorities of the meeting in different places for church are now in those of the prayer and hearing the word, elders and brethren. while notwithstanding they were John, in his letters in the Rev. one church. Whether each el. elation, addressed the angel of der had his congregation to which the church. Was the angel the he dispensed the word, or whether pastor of the church? The New.

the elders preached in different Testament mentions no example | houses by turns; and whether of a church with only one pas. they depended on their respective tor, nor any person as holding congregations for their support, an office, answering in character or received it out of the common to the angel; and the word being treasury of the church, are ques. used figurativelymay mean a court tions which, if they are not de. of the church, as naturally as an termined in the Scriptures, are individual officer. The letters left to the decision of christian of John in using the words ye prudence. To any supposition and you as well as thou, in speak. of facts, not contained in the ing to the angel, seem to address gospel history, it is not needful a collective body rather than a to attend, till a more particular single person. There is no au. account shall be found to have thority for the supposition, been given by the inspired wri. (that Johp addressed the church ters; the word of God, and not es through their pastors ;” neith. any imagination of man being er is it probable. Did he address the believer's guide.

the angel, meaning the church The elders of the church were exclusive of the angel ; or did all of one character; they he use the word thou, meaning were known by one name of of. both the angel and the church ? fice, were united in the exercise Beside, if the word you intend of the same authority, were joint. both the angel and the church, ly exhorted to the same duty, who are " the rest” in the declara were all bishops, and were to be ation, “ Unto you I say, and obeyed by Christians, as those unto the rest in Thyatira.” An. that had the rule over them and other consideration is, that the had spoken to them the word of powers attributed to the angel, God. What more was requisite to try those that say they are to constitute them pastors and apostles and find them liars, are teachers ?

such as no single pastor and brotherhood are authorized to selves--mark them withdraw exercise.

yourselves.”—He gives like di. The angel therefore must have rections in several epistles, and been the presbytery, or fraterni. uses the terms brethren, and in. ty of bishops of the church, formflicted by many." But what ing an ecclesiastical court, either form is ascribed to the church in including the brethren, or acting these passages ? Has it one pas. in concurrence with them. Such tor only, or a plurality of el. a court would be competent to ders forming a presbytery? They try persons, that falsely called say nothing about it. In anoth. themselves apostles. And we do er passage Paul tells the Corio. not want evidence of their being thians, “Let your women keep in the church a plurality of el. silence in the churches," which ders to constitute this court, or seems to imply that for religious presbytery. They are mention. instruction, they had a number ed expressly as belonging to the of churches, a number of houses church of Ephesus, to the angel or congregations, though they of which one of John's letters were all the church of God which was written. The powers at. was in Corinth. tributed to the angel, and its be- Christ's ministry was under the ing addressed as a collective body, law. If he had respect to the connected with the fact that in a then existing church it was that number of churches, and as far of Moses, which had elders in as appears in all, certainly in every city. But if his commaud one, of which the angel is men. looked forward to the days of tioned, a plurality of elders be. christianity, it respected either no longed to a church, are strong particular form of the church, circumstances in proof that the or the form which the apostles angel was the court of elders, or were to establish ; which of con. presbytery of the church. The sequence is to be learned from supposition that after Paul ad. their writings and the history of dressed the elders of Ephesus, they their ministry. Viewed in what. were reduced to a single pastor, ever light any may choose, it is no implying a transfer of their au. authority for saying, “The broth. thority to the brotherhood, be- ren hear, judge, and decide.” fore John wrote to the angel of That the brethren have a voice the church, has no countenance with the elders, is not denied ; in Scripture, nor color of proba. but it is in such manper, that the bility.

elders act as rulers or bishops. What is then the evidence that In this character it is believed the church, which has the power they belong to the church, and, of discipline, is a single pastor under Christ, are its head. “God and brotherhood ? Christ com. hath set some in the church first manded - Tell it to the church ;" apostles, secondly prophers, and Paul wrote, "6 Unto the thirdly teachers." And Chris. church of God in Corinth. In tians are exhorted to remember the name of the Lord Jesus them that have the rule over them, Christ, when ye are gathered to who have spoken to them the gether-purge out the old leav. word of God. en--put away from among your Christ is the chief shepherd ;

his ministers have authority, as enjoins the two duties of pastor shepherds under him; and their and teacher toward the adult ; office is described by expressions rule and teach them. which are declarative of his. Directions are often given to Of Bethlehem it was predicted a collective body, which apply of Christ, “ Out of thee shall to a part only of the individuals come a Governor, that shall rule included in it. Paul wrote to a my people Israel.” The origi. whole church, when he said Chil. nal words rendered Governor, dren obey your parents; Hus. and shall rule are applied to his bauds love your wives ; Ye fath. ministers in the exhortations of ers provoke not your children Paul and Peter, “ Remember to wrath.” Moses delivered his obey them that have the rule law to all Israel, when God comover you ;” and “ Feed the manded by him, “ Thou shalt church--theflock of God." "Re. not wrest judgment, thou shalt member them which have the rule not respect persons, neither shalt over you,” translated as the thou take a gift.” Paul did not same original word is translated mean, that the members of the in reference to Christ, is “ Re. church were all children, all hus. member your governors.” And bands, and all fatbers : neither feed, in like manner, is Rnle the did Moses that all the individu. church. Compare Mat. ii. 6. als of the nation were to sit on with Heb. xiii. 7, 17. Acts xx. the bench of judgment ; on the 28, and i Peter v. 2.

contrary, in connexion with The business of a shepherd, in his precepts on this point, he gave Judea, was not so much to de. another command, “ Judges and liver food to their flocks, as to officers shalt thou make thee in all guide their movements, protect thy gates.” Paul wrote to the and govern them, while grazing Corinthian church, men, women, or lying in their fold. Accord and children, but did not intend ingly the word rendered feed or that every individual was to act in rule, as expressive of the duty of casting out a wicked person. All a shepherd, naturally implies the were to conform to the proceed. exercise of authority, as appears ings of the church, but were not in a number of instances in the all vested with authority. Neither Bible. Connected with a rod of does the apostle point out those, iron, it several times expresses who were particularly to execute Christ's rule over the nations; his command. It was not neces. without that instrument of des. sary, for they knew the form of truction, as applied to his min. their own church. To say that isters, it signifies their more mild his direction was to the brethren rule in the church.

and them only, is not warranted Christ used this word in one by the term which he uses. A. of his three commands to Peter; bout a fifth of the members “Feed my lambs-Feed (rule) might be adult brethren, by my sheep. Feed my sheep.” what rule of interpretation are He first distinguishes the young these the church ? from the adult of the flock; and The word brethren, as a friend. then by repeating his cummand ly appellation, is addressed to the and using different words, he church, including the elders, and VOL. II. New Series.

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the women and children. The sun, and receives them in greater exhortation, " Wives submit abundance; the snows melt away; yourselves to your own hus. the vivifying warmth penetrates bands,” is written to the saints the ground; the opce lifeless and faithful brethren in Christ;” roots shoot forth; the flowers so is Children obey your parents; appear in the field; and beauty and Paul, Timothy, Titus, and and verdure and plenty evince Apollos, are severally spoken the perfect adaptation of arrange. of in the word brother.

ments to the object in view. Whoever may assert that, The same wisdom is exhibited 66 There are in the New Testa. in the scheme of redemption. The ment only two original senses design proposed is the salvation of the word church ;" it is not of the sinner, and the disposition easy to believe, that the church of the means is exactly such as in Jerusalem, or in Ephesus, was is necessary to the end. The exactly like the church in the darkened mind is first to be en. house of Aquila and Priscilla, or lightened, and truths are present. of Nymphas; or that the ed ; the conscience is to be im. church, in either of these cities, pressed, and it is plainly address. made only a single congregation ed; the heart is to be melted, in assembling to hear the word. and affecting considerations are It is certain it was not under a applied. These are the means single pastor, for in both Jeru. of religion, but they are not al. salem and Ephesus the elders of ways efficacious, or rather it is the church are expressly men. not always the will of God, by tioned ; and they seem to be ex. the influence of his Spirit, to amples of the form of the church, give them effect. It is in those which was established by the instances only which are deter. apostles.

E. H. mined upon by himself, that they

are successful. The suns and THOUGHTS ON THE MEANS OF the rains of spring may leave ma. GRACE.

ny a root unquickened. Though

Paul may plant and Apollos In all the works of God, there water, it is God only, who givis a harmony and wise adjust. eth the increase. ment of parts, which cannot but In what light are the means of strike the eye of the attentive religion to be regarded ? are they observer. Every thing is in its to be viewed as instruments, place. We behold not a dis. by the use of which the impeni. jointed world; but the cause is tent sinner may procure for him. so disposed as most certainly to self a new heart and a new spirproduce the effect designed, and it? or are they to be considered the means are perfectly adapted as forming a part of the merci. to the end. If at the close of a ful system of God, and as used dreary winter it is the intention by him for the purpose of rcof the Author of nature to renew deeming those, whom he has the face of the earth, every thing chosen for himself ? is wisely arranged for the pur. Many of the disputes, which pose. The earth presents itself call forth much zcal, and distract more directly to the rays of the the minds of the ignorant, origi.

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