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an increase of caution, and on the same ground of difficulty it becomes an additional incentive to an increase of diligence. You diffuse the light of philosophical knowledge, though it must lay open the fallacy and absurdity of many opinions which tradition has preserved concerning the origin and structure of the world. You introduce such laws and customs as, in a course of time, will bring on a material revolution in the manners of the nations with whom you are connected; and militate against many ritual observances, which are now protected by the supposed commands of the Almighty."* Had the apostles reasoned in this manner, we should never have contemplated those scenes of moral beauty, evolved before the eye of the philanthropist, in countries that have been blessed with the light of the gospel. Who is able to contrast the present state of England and Scotland, with their state under the reign of the Druids, and not find something to animate his exertions in the cause of Christianity.
O Scotland, much I love thy tranquil dales :
Many seem to look with suspicion on missionary efforts for the heathen, who profess to admire Domestic Missions. We are told of our Indians to the west, our coloured population, our dilapidated churches, and vacant perishing congregations, They feelingly represent the situation of our large commercial towns, and of our villages, and wind up with the cold calculation, that charity begins at home. Perhaps these persons then are foremost in the career of benevolence at home-not so reader.
We are far from contending that there are no difficulties connected with carrying the gospel to the waste places of Zion. The conquest of the world must involve perils and hardships. Some of the obstacles, however, arise from ourselves; and an excessive fondness for scientific and literary pursuits is not to be ranked among the least. The love of praise has been called the last infirmity of noble minds. It is a dictate of our nature, but it ought never to be forgotten that our nature is corrupt. Christianity has a literature peculiar to itself, in which it is ornamental to excel, yet even this, if not properly controlled, may make the heart the seat of ambition. The world cannot present
• White's Sermons at the Bampton Lecture, 1784, p. 252.
an object more pitiable, than a minister of the sanctuary, over whom the love of distinction seems to bear imperial rule. Such ministers will not be found among the waste places of Zion. A too great love of literature leads to such softness of character, as disqualifies for conflicting with any thing of a perilous nature. If the time which has been spent in compiling the many folios which are never looked into, but by a few scholars, had been employed in active operations against the kingdom of darkness, the limits of Zion would have been more widely extended at this day. Happy is that preacher who keeps all things subordinate to the love of the Saviour; for who would not rather be Brainard among his Indians, enjoying the rich consolations of the gospel, than the most accomplished scholar, holding a fruitless communion with the sages, historians and poets of antiquity.
Ministers who pursue learning to an unwarrantable extent, may gain their object. They may command the admiration of their fellow men. They may be partially useful. A burning mountain may display spots of verdure on its surface, whilst consumed within by restless fires. So long as the heart is the seat of ambition, so long the tranquillity of the gospel is absent, and unfitness for the duties of the ministry is the consequence. “ In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses. By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report, as deceivers and yet true, as unknown yet well known, as dying and behold we live, as chastened and not killed, as sorrowful yet al. ways rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.”
Another difficulty is found in the diversity of denominations into which the church is distinguished. Every effort to rescue perishing sinners, from the wrath to come, is regarded as an effort to spread abroad the influence of a sect. The glory of our Redeemer, the extension of his kingdom, and the happiness of millions, must all be sacrificed to our views of ecclesiastical policy. At the same time, it would be criminal not to acknowledge, that of late years, Christians are becoming more alive to the importance of mutual efforts for the spread of the gospel. The tribes of Israel marched under different standards, but when contending against idolatry, they rallied round one common standard.
The last discouragement we shall mention, is that overanxious care about the things of time, so characteristic of many who profess to be followers of the Saviour. The slightest contribution is supposed to make serious inroads upon our property. Regardless of the promise of Him who feeds the young ravens when they cry, and who clothes the exposed lily of the
field, they entrench themselves in a selfishness too formidable for the most pathetic representations of the heathen world. They look to their own things, and not the things of others. With the mercies of God, profusely scattered around their dwelling-with grounds and enclosures ornamented like the Leasowes, it is with reluctance they give any thing of their substance to the cause of missions. Can such persons be the followers of Jesus Christ?
But against every difficulty the cause of missions will prevail. God has spoken the word. He has foretold it with an astonishing fulness and clearness. “In that day shall this song be sung in Judah. We have a strong city. Salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. Look upon Zion the city of our solemnities. Thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation; a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed; neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams, wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby. For the Lord shall comfort Zion-he will comfort all her waste places—he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness shall be found therein—thanksgiving and the voice of melody.” This is the glowing language of inspiration. The eloquence of Greece and Rome must yield to the eloquence of heaven.
Molli paulatim flr.vescet campus arista,
T. B. BALCH:
FOR THE PRESBYTERIAN MAGAZINE.
ON CHURCH GOVERNMENT.
(Continued from page 171.) 1. My first argument to prove that the government of the church was committed, not to all the members, but to pastors and lay elders, is from analogy. The church is compared to an army, to a kingdom, to a house.
But in what does the analogy consist? A household consists of parents, who are the heads, of which the father is the supreme governor of the family; and children and servants, who are governed. In an army we immediately recognise officers, of different grades, in authority and power; and in a kingdom, supreme and subordinate rulers. .
All the adults in a family do not govern. All the members of an army and a kingdom do not rule. The church is compared to a house, an army, a kingdom, not only because all their members constitute respectively an house, an army, a kingdom: but, likewise, in regard to the rulers of these different associations. The comparison is designed to convey the idea and necessity of union. But this is not the only ground of analogy. The resemblance is designed to show that there are different officers in the church; that some members are rulers, and others are ruled, all is the fact in a house, an army, a kingdom.
The church is compared to the human body for both these reasons. “We have many members in one body-so we, being many, are one body in Christ.” Here is taught the union of the church. But in the human body all the members have not the same office. Neither have all the members of the church the same office. This conclusion is not drawn, by the apostle, in express terms, but it is manifestly implied, and explicitly illustrated in the succeeding verses.
He first establishes the unity of the church; then declares the offices of her members to be various ; and then states the offices by name, and urges to the diligent exercise of them. " Whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation; he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness." Rulers in this catalogue seem evidently to be a distinct class of officers. The church then is analogous to the human body on account of her unity, and the distinct offices which her members sustain. And on the same principles she is compared to a house, an army, a kingdom. 'In a house the male head is invested with supreme authority and power. In an army and kingdom, persons who are judged best qualified, are selected, to whom the power of governing is committed.
The conclusion, from analogy, forces itself irresistibly upon the mind, that the government of the church should not be committed to the promiscuous body of her members, but to a number of the most pious, able, and prudent men, selected for that purpose. The men, so selected, we call ruling elders, in distinction from preaching elders, “who labour in word and doctrine.” These two classes of elders constitute the rulers of the church, as I shall show hereafter. My chief design, under this head, is to prove that a part only of the members of the church are rulers, and not the whole body.
Ruler is evidently a relative term, and supposes there are some who are ruled. To say all are rulers, must lead to another conclusion, that none are ruled, which is a perfect solecism. 2. I shall argue the case from the government of the church prior to the advent of Christ.
We find that God had, at the birth of Christ, a church in the world. At this period the church was both national and local. She was founded upon a national covenant, and her organization was of a national character. Of the same character was her government. And there were certain duties, which, as a national church, her members were to perform. But this national church subsisted in a great number of local churches, that were under a local government. Such were the synagogues.
The inhabitants of the United States are but one people. As one people they have a national government, which is administered by national officers. But there are also state governments, and state officers, entirely distinct from those of a national character. These two kinds of government do not very unaptly illustrate the government of the Jewish church.
The same church, which existed at the birth of Christ, we find described in the writings of the prophets. We trace the history of the same church, backwards, through the prophetical era, to the period when Israel arrived at Mount Sinai, on their. march from Egyptian bondage, to the land of Canaan. Here the national covenant was proposed, and accepted. Here the church of God became a national church. Now, Aaron and his sons were appointed to the priesthood, and the sacerdotal office restricted to Aaron's family. Now, the tabernacle, altar, and the ark were erected, and the ceremonial system introduced. Here is the origin of the national church, which existed from that period till Christ, the great antitype of the ceremonial system, expired on the cross.
At what period the local churches, or synagogues, were established, is uncertain. It is evident that they existed at the birth of Christ, and for ages before that period.
But ascending from Mount Sinai, farther into the ages of antiquity, we trace the church, though not in her national and Levitical dress, yet, radically and essentially the same church, till the time of Abraham. Through this whole period it is evident that God had, on earth, a visible church. But had he no visible church till Abraham's day? I answer in the affirmative. And as it is somewhat easier to descend than ascend, I shall begin with Adam, in whose time, I think, the church of God may be discovered, and thence traced down to the time of Abraham.
The world was manifestly put under a dispensation of mercy, before the expulsion of our first parents from Paradise. And can we suppose that near twenty centuries should elapse, before the God of all grace, and the only object of religious worship, would have a visible church established on earth ?-before any ordinances were appointed, and any public worship prescribed ?