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bearing the cross for Christ's sake, Luke xiy. 26, 27, 33 ; by separation from and disconformity to the world, John xv. 10 ; Acts ii. 40 ; Rom. xii. 1, 2;-and by obeying the laws of Christ in all things, Luke vi. 46-49; John xv. 14.
False professors are also known as wanting in the fore. mentioned features and evidences of christian character; and in Mat. xxiii., they are marked by Christ as not acting according to their convictions of duty, verse 3 ;-as requiring of others what they will not themselves perform, v. 4;-as doing all their works to be seen of men, and recommending themselves by the ornaments of art, v. 5 ;-as seeking high places, ascendancy over others, and the honour which cometh from inen, v. 6, 7;-as rejecting the spiritual peculiarities of the kingdom of Christ, and preventing others from entering into it, v. 13 ;-as making long prayers for a pretence, while practising oppression, v. 14 ;-as zealous in making proselytes to their own cause, without seeking to convert them to God, v. 15 ;-as labouring to justify their own faults by arguments not consistent with truth and reason, v. 1622 ;-as shewing great zeal about some favourite minor points for a cloak of religious appearance, while neglecting the weightier matters of the law, v. 23, 24 ;-as making an outward shew of purity without renewed principle and sanctification of heart, v. 25—28;-as professing great regard for the fathers and martyrs of the church, while acting on the same principles of persecution by which the prophets were slain, v. 29-32. In Mat. xv. 1 9, they are described as preferring the traditions and precepts of the fathers to the laws and authority of Christ. And in John xii. 42, they are spoken of as preferring the order and worship of the synagogue to those of the christian church. It should not be forgotten that “devout and honourable women" of this class, were the most active enemies of the apostles of Christ, Acts xiii. 50.
A careful comparison of these scripture marks of true and false professors, is necessary to forming a correct judgment of the proper subjects of Christ's kingdom.
3. The laws of the kingdom are given by Christ, and held on the following principles :
(1.) Every church is bound to hold fast the writings of the apostles as the voice of Christ for their government. Mat. x. 40 ; xviii. 18 ; xix. 28 ; xxviii. 18—20 ; 2nd Thes. ii. 15 ; 1st John iv. 6.
(2.) The approved example of the primitive churches, being the practice of known law, is as binding as positive
precepts, except in things temporary. 1st Cor. iv. 17; vii: 17 ; xi. 2, 16.
(3.) The laws must be obeyed in the sense intended, and known as the words of the Lord and not of men. Acts xvii. 11-1st Cor. xiv. 36, 37–1st Thes. ii. 13.
(4.) Obedience must be rendered to Christ himself as the Head of the Church, and in the midst of them. 1st Cor. v. 4 -Eph. v. 24–Col. iii. 23-Heb. xii. 25.
(5.) It must be the obedience of faith, rendered willingly, without which there can be no acceptance now, nor reward hereafter. Psalm cx. 3—2nd Cor. viii. 12- 1st Cor. ix. 17.
(6.) Obedience to all the laws of Christ. Mat. v. 18, 19; xxviii, 20-James ii. 10.
(7.) All his laws must be obeyed to the exclusion of all “ the doctrines and commandments of men,” Mat. xv. 9Gal. i. 10 ; iv. 9-11; Col. ii. 8.
(8.) To the exclusion of all human creeds and standards, as placing the opinions of men in the room of the divine law, and as presenting a temptation to act by a borrowed faith, and of all unscriptural “ rule, authority, and power,” for enforcing obedience to truth. 1st Cor. ii. 4,5 ; xv. 24–2nd Cor. x. 3–5; 3rd John v. 9, 10.
(9.) Scripture law must rule the church in every thing, to the exclusion of acting on the principle of expediency, Gal. vi. 12, 13.
In the popular sense of the term, expediency consists in using means suitable for promoting a given end. But there is a great difference between moral and political expediency. The one aims at the accomplishment of no end, but by ways and means which the Lord hath appointed; whilst the other assumes the end as the reason for devising means, regarded by man as expedient, irrespective of scripture law as the rule of duty. The one is the principle of moral government in the kingdom of Christ, the other is the principle of human legislation. And a modification of the latter principle, assumed as the basis of the ethics of the school-men, and thereby incorporated with the popular national theology, has become a main source of corruption, by affording a license to sustain, on the ground of such expediency, what is admitted not to be taught in scripture.
The original word translated expedient in six texts of our Bible, is found in fifteen of the Greek text; and is rendered profitable, or words of the same meaning, in nine texts of the common translation, and is also so rendered in the other six, instead of the word cxpedient, by modern critics of great
authority. There is not one word in the Greek text bearing the political sense of expediency now contended for, as hav. ing any place in the christian dispensation, because the Holy Spirit never intended that men should be left to the exercise of their own wisdom or will, in doing the work of the Lord. Christ must be obeyed in the means and manner, as well as matter of the service required. He has denounced “the wisdom of the world” as being altogether inadmissible in his service, and has revealed his wrath against all who “walk after their own thoughts." His blessing will be bestowed on the means of his own appointment only, and other means will produce fruit only after their own kind,"dead works," -"fruit unto death."
It is also an essential element in the constitution of the kingdom of Christ, that every church must receive the privileges, laws, gifts, and office-bearers intended for their supply and government, only from Christ himself, as made over to thein in his Testimony. It does not consist with holding the headship of Christ to depend on any patronage but that of him who is the head of supply, as well as of all authority and power ; and who, in his Testimony, has conveyed a free grant of all christian, privileges to his people. This testimony is their charter, the title-deeds of the kingdom, the ground of their right to receive from Christ himself by faith all that is contained in it, independently of the authority, dispensing power, or stewardship, of any separate order of men. It is by becoming, through grace, such as christian privileges were provided for, that believers have a right to receive and use them, as conveyed by Christ in his Testimony. “ As many as believed on him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God," and as sons they are entitled to all the privileges of children. According to the gospel commission, a church has the same right, in their associated capacity, to observe all things whatsoever Christ commanded, as to believe the gospel. And no church can admit foreign dispensing control in such matters, without impairing their union and communion with Christ as the head of supply.
This naturally leads to treat a little of the special relation between a church and its office-bearers, who are pastors* and
* It has bcen contended that two distinct orders of office-bearers one for ruling and another for teaching-s intimated by the text, “ Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in word and doctrine," Ist Tim. v. 17. But that this is not the sense of the text, is evilent from the qualifications both for ruling and teaching, being required in the one-person of the
deacons-the one intended to superintend the spiritual, and the other, the temporal concerns of the church. These are not appointed by patronage, lay or clerical, but by the free choice of the people, on finding who are qualified according to scripture rule. In Acts vi. 1-6, the choice of deacons in this way is mentioned ; and in Acts xiv. 23, it is said, “ They ordained them elders in every church.” The original word signifies to elect or choose to office by lifting up the hands, the manner in which a church expresses their mind or concurrence in all the acts of social administration.
But it is required that a church be agreed in receiving the gifts Christ intends for them, otherwise they will be wanting in fellowship with him in the matter, and give occasion for what may impair confidence and hinder edification. When, therefore, there is the appearance of division, means should be used to promote unanimity. This would be impracticable among a people guided more by their personal tastes than by the principles of Christ's government, but perfectly practicable among a people more intent on receiving what the Lord provides, than on obtaining what they desire, as in the following instance :- A church invited the pastor of another church to come and preside over them in the choice of a pastor ; and, finding them divided in opinion, he recommended a season of special prayer, that they might all be directed to one object. At the meeting for that purpose, in connexion with much prayer by the brethren, he explained to them how there was no law for the many to control the fewhow, as only one pastor was needed at the time, there would be a differing from Christ on the part of some, as well as among themselves, should they not agree about one object-how, the way to unanimity in the matter was to seek the man whom the Lord had chosen, and to ascertain this by finding which of the objects was most conformable to the view of pastoral qualification given by Paul in 1st Tim. iii. 1-7; Titus i. 59, expounded at the time for their guidance-warning them of the danger of asking a ruler to "judge them like the nations,” instead of asking onė “after God's own heart”-and entreating them to beware of being influenced by taste for “outward appearance," as in the case of Samuel when the sons of Jesse passed before him. 1st Sam. viii. 5 ; xvi. 6— 12. He then urfged them to lay aside all prepossessions, and submit to scripture rule, praying for divine guidance, believing that the Lord would hear and answer. The end sought was gained. On retiring from the meeting, one said to the pastor, . What you have taught this day has completely changed my views. I and others thought of calling Mras being the more attractive preacher, but I now see that the other is more like to Paul's views of a pastor ; and, if the rest see this, we shall be all of one mind. We have been praying, and I trust God will answer prayer.' And so it was found at another meeting, when all united in praising God joyfully, for leading them to be of one mind in the choice of a pastor.
bishop, otherwise called an elder, pastor, &c., as being "apt to teach," and at the same time,“ ruling well his own house," so as to appear also able to rule the church of God, Ist Tim. iii, 1.-5. Dr Campbell, though a Presbyterian Minister, has candidly expressed his belief that the text affords no warrant for two orders of spiritual office-bearers. In his Eccles. Hist. Sect. vi., he says" The especially is not intended to indicate a different office, but to distinguish from others those who assiduously apply themselves to the most important, as well as the most difficult parts of their office, public teaching ; the distinction intended is, therefore, not official but personal; it does not relate to difference in the powers conferred, but solely to a difference in their application." It may be added that, this corresponds with the different functions and relations of office, giving rise to a corresponding difference of designation of the same person being called Elder, Bishop, Pastor, Angel, and Minister.
In another case, one of a few who differed from the rest about the choice of a pastor, said to those who thought as he did, “I begin to think we are wrong. The whole church, as well as we, have been praying for divine guidance in the choice of a pastor; and is there not reason to suppose, that he whom the great bulk of the church is disposed to call, is the object God intends for us, rather than the man preferred by a few? The one may be as well qualified as the other ; and it strikes me, that, in Mr — being the object of the choice of a praying church, there is a providential intimation that he is the gift Christ intends for us. I shall, therefore, cordially subscribe the call, not on the principle of accommodation,-falling in with the rest, as some would say ; but I make choice of him because, all things considered, I have reason to regard him as the man the Lord hath chosen the gift he is ready to bestow in answer to prayer. His friends followed, and unanimity prevailed. Thus, are disciples led to be of one mind when not seeking their own things, but the things of Christ.
Though chosen by the church, however, it is not from them but from Christ that a pastor derives his standing, authority, and power. In a free nation, the people are the fountain of political power ; but in a church, Christ alone is the “head of all authority and power ;” and, in calling a pastor, they neither ordain the office, nor create the talents to fill that